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Book I. XXII

toga in the midst of the senate-house, he spread it out with a gesture which did not fail to produce the alarm which might have been expected had he really carried war in its folds.

The course of the war resembled its beginning; for, as though the last curses of the Saguntines at their public self-immolation and burning had demanded such funeral rites, atonement was made to their shades by the devastation of Italy, the subjugation of Africa and the destruction of the leaders and kings who waged the war. As soon, therefore, as the dire and dismal stress and storm of the Punic War had arisen in Spain and had forged in the flames of Saguntum the thunderbolt which had long been destined to fall upon the Romans, immediately, hurried along by some compelling force, it burst its way through the midst of the Alps and swooped down upon Italy from those snows of fabulous heights like a missile hurled from the skies.

The tempest of the first assault crashed with a mighty roar between the Padus and the Ticinus. The Roman army under Scipio was scattered, and the general himself would have fallen wounded into the enemy’s hands had not his son, still a mere youth, protected his father and rescued him from the very jaws of death. This youth was destined to be that Scipio who grew up to be the conqueror of Africa and was to win a title of honour from its misfortunes.

After the battle of Ticinus came that of Trebia. It was here that in the consulship of Sempronius,1 the second storm of the Punic War wreaked its fury. On this occasion the crafty enemy, finding the day cold and snowy, after warming themselves

  • 1218 b.c.
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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.florus-epitome_roman_history.1929