1. Principio anni quo haec gesta sunt Sex. Digitius praetor in Hispania citeriore cum civitatibus iis quae post profectionem M. Catonis permultae rebellaverant crebra magis quam digna dictu proelia fecit, 2et adeo pleraque adversa ut vix dimidium militum quam quod acceperat successori tradiderit. 3nec dubium est quin omnis Hispania sublatura animos fuerit, ni alter praetor P. Cornelius Cn. f. Scipio trans Hiberum multa secunda proelia fecisset, 4quo terrore non minus quinquaginta oppida ad eum defecerunt.
Praetor haec gesserat Scipio: 5idem pro praetore Lusitanos, pervastata ulteriore provincia cum ingenti praeda domum redeuntes, in ipso itinere adgressus ab hora tertia diei ad octavam incerto eventu pugnavit, numero militum impar, superior aliis; 6nam et acie frequenti armatis adversus longum et impeditum turba pecorum agmen, et recenti milite adversus fessos longo itinere concurrerat. 7tertia namque vigilia exierant hostes; huic nocturno itineri tres diurnae horae accesserant, nec ulla quiete data laborem
1. At the start of the year in which these things occurred, Sextus Digitius, praetor in hither Spain,1 fought with the communities that had rebelled in large numbers after the departure of Marcus Cato. The battles were more numerous than noteworthy and most went so badly that Digitius passed on to his successor barely half the men he had himself been given. There is no doubt that all Spain would have been roused to rebellion had not the other praetor Publius Cornelius Scipio (son of Gnaeus Scipio)2 fought many successful battles beyond the Ebro, intimidating no fewer than fifty towns into defecting to him.
Such had been Scipio’s achievements as praetor. As propraetor, he also made an attack on the Lusitanians3 when they were actually on the road homeward carrying enormous spoils after ravaging the farther province. He fought them from the third to the eighth hour of the day in an inconclusive engagement, being no match for them numerically but having an advantage in other respects. For he had joined battle with his men in a close-formed line and faced a column drawn out and encumbered by a herd of animals; and his were also fresh troops facing men fatigued by a long march. For the enemy had set out at the third watch; and in addition to this night journey there had also been three hours of daytime travel, and the battle had
- 1Sex. Digitius (2); cf. 34.42.4, 43.7 for his election and provincial sortition.
- 2P. Cornelius Scipio (350): for his appointment to Farther Spain, cf. 34.43.7.
- 3A bellicose Iberian people in what is now Portugal (Barr. 24 D4; TIR K-29, 70). This is the first mention of Roman conflict with them, and they were not totally subdued until the time of Augustus.