War declared -- The Two Scipios -- Their Defeat and Death
The Romans now sent ambassadors to Carthage to 194 demand that Hannibal should be delivered up to them as a violator of the treaty unless they wished to assume the responsibility. If they would not give him up, war was to be declared forthwith. The ambassadors obeyed their instructions, and when the Carthaginians refused to give up Hannibal they declared war. It is said that it was done in the following manner. The chief of the embassy, pointing to the fold of his toga and smiling, said: "Here, Carthaginians, I bring you peace or war, you may take whichever you choose." The latter replied: "You may give us whichever you like." When the Romans offered war they all cried out: "We accept it." Then they wrote at once to Hannibal that he was free to overrun all Spain, as the treaty was at an end. Accordingly he marched against all the neighboring tribes and brought them under subjection, persuading some, terrifying others, and subduing the rest. Then he collected a large army, telling nobody what it was for, but intending to hurl it against Italy. He also sent out ambassadors among the Gauls, and caused an examination to be made of the passes of the Alps, which he traversed later, leaving his brother Hasdrubal in command in Spain.
When the Romans saw that war must be waged against the Carthaginians in Spain and Africa (for they never dreamed of an incursion of Africans into Italy), they sent Tiberius Sempronius Longus with 160 ships and two legions into Africa. What Longus and the other Roman generals did in Africa has been related in my Punic history.195 They also ordered Publius Cornelius Scipio to Spain with sixty ships, 10,000 foot, and 700 horse, and sent his brother Gnus Cornelius Scipio with him as a legate. The former (Publius), learning from Massilian merchants that Hannibal had crossed the Alps and entered Italy, and fearing lest he should fall upon the Italians unawares, turned over to his brother the command in Spain and sailed with his quinqueremes to Etruria. What he and the other Roman generals after him did in Italy, until, at the end of sixteen years and with exceeding difficulty, they drove Hannibal out of the country, will be shown in the following book, which will contain all the exploits of Hannibal in Italy, and is called the Hannibalic book of Roman history.
Gnus did nothing in Spain worthy of mention before his brother Publius returned thither. When the latter's term of office expired, the Romans, having despatched the new consuls against Hannibal in Italy, appointed him proconsul, and sent him again into Spain. From this time the two Scipios managed the war in Spain, Hasdrubal being the general opposed to them until the Carthaginians recalled him and a part of his army to ward off an attack of Syphax, the ruler of the Numidians. The Scipios easily overcame the remainder. Many towns also came over to them voluntarily, for they were as persuasive in inducing subjects as in leading armies.
The Carthaginians, having made peace with Syphax, again sent Hasdrubal into Spain with a larger army than before, and with thirty elephants. With him came also two other generals, Mago and another Hasdrubal, the son of Gisco. After this the war became more serious to the Scipios. They were successful, nevertheless, and many Africans and elephants were destroyed by them. Finally, winter coming on, the Africans went into winter quarters at Turditania, Gnus Scipio at Orso, and Publius at Castolo. When news was brought to the latter that Hasdrubal was approaching, he sallied out from the city with a small force to reconnoitre the enemy's camp and came upon Hasdrubal unexpectedly. He and his whole force were surrounded by the enemy's horse and killed. Gnus, who knew nothing of this, sent some soldiers to his brother to procure corn, who fell in with another African force and became engaged with them. When Gnus learned this he started out, with 196 such troops as he had under arms, to assist them. The 197 Carthaginians who had cut off the former party made a charge on Gnus, and compelled him to take refuge in a certain tower, which they set on fire, and burned him and his comrades to death.
In this way the two Scipios perished, excellent men in every respect, and greatly regretted by those Spaniards who, by their labors, had been brought over to the Roman side. When the news reached Rome the people were greatly troubled. They sent Marcellus, who had lately come from Sicily, and with him Claudius [Nero], to Spain, with a fleet and 1000 horse, 10,000 foot, and sufficient means. As nothing of importance was accomplished by them, the Carthaginian power increased until it embraced almost the whole of Spain, and the Romans were restricted to a small space in the Pyrenees mountains. When this was learned in Rome the people were greatly discouraged, and apprehensive lest these same Africans should make an incursion into northern Italy while Hannibal was ravaging the other extremity. Although they desired to abandon the Spanish war it was not possible, because of the fear that that war would be transferred to Italy.