Livius 29.25

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As to the number of troops put on board there is considerable divergence among the authorities. I find that some state it to have amounted to 10,000 infantry and 2200 cavalry; others give 16,000 infantry and 1600 cavalry; others again double this estimate and put the total of infantry and cavalry at 32,000 men. Some writers give no definite number, and in a matter so uncertain I prefer to include myself amongst them. Coelius declines, it is true, to give any definite number, but he exaggerates to such an extent as to give the impression of a countless multitude; the very birds, he says, fell to the ground stunned by the shouting of the soldiers, and such a mighty host embarked that it seemed as though there was not a single man left in either Italy or Sicily. To avoid confusion Scipio personally superintended the embarkation. C. Laelius who was in command of the fleet had previously sent all the seamen to their posts and kept them there while the soldiers went on board. The praetor, M. Pomponius, was responsible for the shipping of the stores; forty-five days' provisions, including fifteen days' supply of cooked food, were put on board. When all were now on board, boats were sent round to take off the pilots and captains and two men from each ship who were to assemble in the forum and receive their orders. When all were present, his first enquiry was as to the supply of water for the men and horses, whether they had put on board sufficient to last as long as the corn. They assured him that there was water in the ships sufficient to last for forty-five days. He then impressed upon the soldiers the necessity of keeping quiet and maintaining discipline and not interfering with the sailors in the discharge of their duties. He further informed them that he and Lucius Scipio would command the right division of twenty ships of war, whilst C. Laelius, prefect of the fleet, in conjunction with M. Porcius Cato, who was quaestor at the time, would be in charge of the left line containing the same number, and would protect the transports. The warships would show single lights at night, the transports would have two, while the commander's ship would be distinguished by three lights. He gave the pilots instructions to make for Emporia. This was an extremely fertile district, and supplies of all kinds were to be found there in abundance. The natives, as usually happens in a fruitful country, were unwarlike, and would probably be overpowered before assistance could reach them from Carthage. After issuing these orders he dismissed them to their ships, and on the morrow at the given signal they were, with the blessing of heaven, to set sail.


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