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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter V - The War under Hannibal to the Battle of Cannae


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This premature rising of the Boii on the one hand, by delaying the departure of Scipio for Spain, essentially promoted the plans of Hannibal; on the other hand, but for its occurrence he would have found the valley of the Po entirely unoccupied, except the fortresses. But the Roman corps, whose two severely thinned legions did not number 20,000 soldiers, had enough to do to keep the Celts in check, and did not think of occupying the passes of the Alps.

The Romans only learned that the passes were threatened, when in August the consul Publius Scipio returned without his army from Massilia to Italy, and perhaps even then they gave little heed to the matter, because, forsooth, the foolhardy attempt would be frustrated by the Alps alone. Thus at the decisive hour and on the decisive spot there was not even a Roman outpost.

Hannibal had full time to rest his army, to capture after a three days' siege the capital of the Taurini which closed its gates against him, and to induce or terrify into alliance with him all the Ligurian and Celtic communities in the upper basin of the Po, before Scipio, who had taken the command in the Po valley, encountered him.

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