Polybius, The Histories

LCL 137: 132-133

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The Histories Of Polybius

μετὰ τῆς σφετέρας δυνάμεως ἀσφαλῆ παρεσκεύασε τὴν δίοδον αὐτοῖς, ἕως ἤγγισαν τῇ τῶν Ἄλπεων ὑπερβολῇ.

50. Ἀννίβας δ᾿ ἐν ἡμέραις δέκα πορευθεὶς παρὰ τὸν ποταμὸν εἰς ὀκτακοσίους σταδίους ἤρξατο τῆς πρὸς τὰς Ἄλπεις ἀναβολῆς, καὶ συνέβη μεγίστοις αὐτὸν 2περιπεσεῖν κινδύνοις. ἕως μὲν γὰρ ἐν τοῖς ἐπιπέδοις ἦσαν, ἀπείχοντο πάντες αὐτῶν οἱ κατὰ μέρος ἡγεμόνες τῶν Ἀλλοβρίγων, τὰ μὲν τοὺς ἱππεῖς δεδιότες, 3τὰ δὲ τοὺς παραπέμποντας βαρβάρους· ἐπειδὴ δ᾿ ἐκεῖνοι μὲν εἰς τὴν οἰκείαν ἀπηλλάγησαν, οἱ δὲ περὶ τὸν Ἀννίβαν ἤρξαντο προάγειν εἰς τὰς δυσχωρίας, τότε συναθροίσαντες οἱ τῶν Ἀλλοβρίγων ἡγεμόνες ἱκανόν τι πλῆθος, προκατελάβοντο τοὺς εὐκαίρους τόπους, δι᾿ ὧν ἔδει τοὺς περὶ τὸν Ἀννίβαν κατ᾿ ἀνάγκην 4ποιεῖσθαι τὴν ἀναβολήν. εἰ μὲν οὖν ἔκρυψαν τὴν ἐπίνοιαν, ὁλοσχερῶς ἂν διέφθειραν τὸ στράτευμα τῶν Καρχηδονίων· νῦν δὲ καταφανεῖς γενόμενοι μεγάλα μὲν καὶ τοὺς περὶ Ἀννίβαν ἔβλαψαν, οὐκ ἐλάττω δ᾿ 5ἑαυτούς. γνοὺς γὰρ ὁ στρατηγὸς τῶν Καρχηδονίων ὅτι προκατέχουσιν οἱ βάρβαροι τοὺς εὐκαίρους τόπους, αὐτὸς μὲν καταστρατοπεδεύσας πρὸς ταῖς ὑπερβολαῖς 6ἐπέμενε, προέπεμψε δέ τινας τῶν καθηγουμένων αὐτοῖς Γαλατῶν χάριν τοῦ κατασκέψασθαι τὴν 7τῶν ὑπεναντίων ἐπίνοιαν καὶ τὴν ὅλην ὑπόθεσιν. ὧν πραξάντων τὸ συνταχθέν, ἐπιγνοὺς ὁ στρατηγὸς ὅτι τὰς μὲν ἡμέρας ἐπιμελῶς παρευτακτοῦσι καὶ τηροῦσι τοὺς τόπους οἱ πολέμιοι, τὰς δὲ νύκτας εἴς τινα παρακειμένην

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Book III

territory of the Allobroges, he protected them in the rear with his own forces and enabled them to reach the foot of the pass in safety.

50. After a ten days’ march of eight hundred stades91 along the bank of the Isère Hannibal began the ascent of the Alps and now found himself involved in very great difficulties. For as long as they had been in flat country, the various chiefs of the Allobroges had left them alone, being afraid both of the cavalry and of the barbarians who were escorting them. But when the latter had set off on their return home, and Hannibal’s troops began to advance into the difficult region, the Allobrogian chieftains got together a considerable force and occupied advantageous positions on the road by which the Carthaginians would be obliged to ascend. Had they only kept their project secret, they would have utterly annihilated the Carthaginian army, but, as it was, it was discovered, and though they inflicted a good deal of damage on Hannibal, they did as much injury to themselves; for the Carthaginian general having learnt that the barbarians had seized on these critical positions, encamped himself at the foot of the pass, and remaining there sent on in advance some of his Gaulish guides, to reconnoitre and report on the enemy’s plan and the whole situation. His orders were executed, and on learning that the enemy remained most strictly at their post during the daytime but retired at night to a neighboring township, he

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.polybius-histories.2010