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Appian's History of Rome: The Spanish Wars (§§36-40)


Legionary standard (of XXX Ulpia Traiana reenactment group). Photo Jona Lendering.
Appian of Alexandria (c.95-c.165) is the author of a Roman History and one of the most underestimated of all Greek historians. Although only his books on the Roman Civil Wars survive in their entirety, large parts of other books have also come down to us. His account of the Spanish Wars is fortunately among these better preserved parts. It describes all Roman conflicts on the Iberian peninsula from the moment on which they conquered the Mediterranean coast during the war against Hannibal Barca until the final pacification by the emperor Augustus.

The translation was made by Horace White; footnotes and additions in green by Jona Lendering.


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  [§36] [206] [Publius Cornelius] Scipio, having a guard around himself that was not observed, first accused them of their misdeeds. "Nevertheless," he said, "the blame belongs only to the authors of the conspiracy, whom I will punish with your help."

He had scarcely said this when he ordered the lictors to divide the crowd in two parts, and when they had done so the senators dragged the guilty leaders into the middle of the assembly. When they cried out and called their comrades to their aid, every one who uttered a word was killed by the tribunes. The rest of the crowd, seeing that the assembly was surrounded by armed men, remained in sullen silence.

Then Scipio caused the wretches who had been dragged to the middle space to be beaten with rods, those who had cried for help being beaten hardest, after which he ordered that their necks should be fastened to stakes driven in the ground and their heads cut off. The heralds proclaimed pardon to the rest. In this way was the mutiny in Scipio's camp put down.

[§37] While the mutiny was going on in the Roman army, a certain Indibilis, one of the chiefs who had come to an understanding with Scipio, made an incursion into the territory of Scipio's allies. When Scipio marched against him he made a very stiff fight, and killed some 1,200 of the Romans, but having lost 20,000 of his own men he sued for peace. Scipio made him pay a fine, and then came to an agreement with him.

At this time also Massinissa crossed the straits, without the knowledge of Hasdrubal[son of Gesco], and established friendly relations with Scipio, and swore to join him if the war should be carried into Africa. This man remained faithful under all circumstances and for the following reason. The daughter of Hasdrubal [Sophoniba] had been betrothed to him while he was fighting under the latter's command. But king Syphax was desperately in love with the same girl, and the Carthaginians, considering it a matter of great moment to secure Syphax against the Romans, gave her to him without consulting Hasdrubal. The latter, when he heard of it, concealed it from Massinissa out of regard for him. When Massinissa learned the facts he made an alliance with Scipio.

Mago, the admiral, despairing of Carthaginian success in Spain, sailed to the country of the Ligurians and the Gauls to recruit mercenaries. While he was absent on this business the Romans took possession of Gades, which he had abandoned.

[§38] [205] From this time, which was a little before the 144th Olympiad, the Romans began to send praetors to Spain yearly to the conquered nations as governors or superintendents to keep the peace. Scipio left them a small force suitable for a peace establishment, and settled his sick and wounded soldiers in a town which he named Italica after Italy (and this was the native place of Trajan and Hadrian, who afterwards became emperors of Rome).

Scipio himself sailed for Rome with a large fleet magnificently arrayed, and loaded down with captives, money, arms, and all kinds of booty. The city gave him a glorious reception, bestowing noble and unprecedented honors upon him on account of his youth and the rapidity and greatness of his exploits. Even those who envied him acknowledged that his boastful promises of long ago were realized in facts. And so, admired by all, he was awarded the honor of a triumph.

As soon as Scipio departed from Spain, Indibilis rebelled again. The generals in Spain, collecting together an army from the garrisons and such forces as they could obtain from the subject tribes, defeated and slew him. Those who were guilty of inciting the revolt were brought to trial, and punished with loss of goods and death. The tribes that took sides with Indibilis were fined, deprived of their arms, required to give hostages, and placed under stronger garrisons. These things happened just after Scipio's departure. And so the first war undertaken by the Romans in Spain came to an end. 
 

Pacification of Spain after the Second Punic War

[§39] [197] Subsequently, when the Romans were at war with the Gauls on the Po, and with Philip of Macedonia, the Spaniards attempted another revolution, thinking the Romans now too distracted to heed them. [Praetors] Sempronius Tuditanus and Marcus Helvius were sent from Rome as generals against them, and after them Minucius. [195] As the disturbance became greater, [Marcus Porcius] Cato was sent in addition, with larger forces. He was still a very young man, austere, laborious, and of such solid understanding and superb eloquence that the Romans called him Demosthenes for his speeches, for they learned that Demosthenes had been the greatest orator of Greece.

[§40] When Cato arrived in Spain at the place called Emporia, the enemy from all quarters assembled against him to the number of 40,000. He took a short time to discipline his forces. When he was about to fight he sent away the ships which he had brought, to Massilia. Then he told his soldiers that they had not so much to fear from the superior numbers of the enemy (for courage could always overcome numbers), as from their own want of ships, so that there was no safety for them unless they beat the enemy.

With these words he had not inspired his army (as would other generals) with hope, but with fear; then he ordered an engagement. But when battle was joined he flew hither and thither exhorting and cheering his troops. When the conflict had continued doubtful till evening and many had fallen on both sides, he ascended a high hill with three cohorts of the reserve, where he could overlook the whole field. When he saw the center of his own line sorely pressed he sprang to their relief, exposing himself to danger, and broke the ranks of the enemy with a charge and a shout, and here his victory began. He pursued them the whole night, captured their camp, and slew a vast number. Upon his return the soldiers congratulated and embraced him as the author of the victory. After this he gave the army a rest and sold the plunder.

Appian   :   Roman History   :   Spanish wars   : part 9
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