Cato the Censor -- His Victory in Spain -- Revolt of the Lusones -- The Elder Gracchus in Spain
Subsequently, when the Romans were at war with the Gauls on the Po, and with Philip of Macedon, the Spaniards 213 attempted another revolution, thinking the Romans now too 214 distracted to heed them. Sempronius Tuditanus and Marcus Helvius were sent from Rome as generals against them, and after them Minucius. As the disturbance became greater, 215 Cato was sent in addition, with larger forces. He was still 216 a very young man, austere, laborious, and of such solid understanding and superb eloquence that the Romans called him Demosthenes for his speeches, for they learned that Demosthenes had been the greatest orator of Greece.
When Cato arrived in Spain at the place called Emporia, the enemy from all quarters assembled against him to the number of 40,000. He took a short time to discipline his forces. When he was about to fight he sent away the ships which he had brought, to Massilia. Then he told his soldiers that they had not so much to fear from the superior lumbers of the enemy (for courage could always overcome numbers), as from their own want of ships, so that there was no safety for them unless they beat the enemy. With these words he had not inspired his army, as would other generals, with hope -- but with fear; then he ordered an engagement. But when battle was joined he flew hither and thither exhorting and cheering his troops. When the conflict had continued doubtful till evening and many had fallen on both sides, he ascended a high hill with three cohorts of the reserve, where he could overlook the whole field. When he saw the centre of his own line sorely pressed he sprang to their relief, exposing himself to danger, and broke the ranks of the enemy with a charge and a shout, and here his victory began. He pursued them the whole night, captured their camp, and slew a vast number. Upon his return the soldiers congratulated and embraced him as the author of the victory. After this he gave the army a rest and sold the plunder.
Now envoys came to him from all sides, from whom he required hostages. To each of their towns he sent sealed letters, and he charged the bearers that they should all deliver the letters on one and the same day, for he had fixed the day by calculating how long it would take to reach the farthest town. The letters commanded the magistrates of all the towns to demolish their walls on the very day they received the order. If there was a day's delay he threatened to sell them into slavery. They, having been lately vanquished in a great battle, and not knowing whether these orders had been sent to them alone or to all, were much perplexed, for if it were to them alone they felt that they were but weak objects of scorn, but if it were to the others also, they feared to be the only ones to delay. Wherefore, as they had no time to send to each other, and the officers who brought the letters urged them to obey, they decided to do so, each town consulting its own safety. And so they threw down their walls with all speed, for when they had once decided to obey they thought that those who did the work most expeditiously would receive most favor. Thus the towns along the river Iberus in one day, and by one act of generalship, levelled their own walls. Being less able to resist the Romans thereafter, they remained longer at peace.
Four Olympiads later, -- that is, about the 150th Olympiad, -- many Spanish tribes, having insufficient land, including the Lusones and others who dwelt along the river Iberus, revolted from the Roman rule. These being overcome in battle by the consul Fulvius Flaccus, the greater part of them scattered among their towns. The rest, being destitute of land and living a vagabond life, collected at Complega, a city newly built and fortified, and which had grown rapidly. Sallying out from this place they demanded that Flaccus should deliver to each of them a cloak, a horse, and a sword as recompense for their dead in the late war, 218 and take himself out of Spain or suffer the consequences. Flaccus replied that he would bring them plenty of cloaks, and following closely after their messengers, he encamped before the city. Far from making good their threats, they took to their heels, plundering the neighboring barbarians on the road. These people wore a thick outer garment with a double fold which they fastened with a clasp after the manner of the military cloak, and they called it the sagum.
Flaccus was succeeded in the command by Tiberius 220 Sempronius Gracchus, at which time the city of Caravis, which was in alliance with Rome, was besieged by 20,000 Celtiberians. As it was reported that the place was about to be taken Gracchus hastened all the more to relieve it. He could but circle about the besiegers, and had no means of communicating to the town his own nearness. Cominius, a prefect of horse, having considered the matter carefully, and communicated his plan to Gracchus, donned a Spanish sagum and secretly mingled with the enemy's foragers. In this way he gained entrance to their camp as a Spaniard, and passed through it into Caravis and told the people that Gracchus was approaching. Wherefore they endured the siege patiently and were saved, for Gracchus arrived three days later, and the besiegers fled. About the same time the inhabitants of Complega, to the number of 20,000, came to Gracchus' camp in the guise of petitioners bearing olive-branches, and when they arrived they attacked him unexpectedly, and threw everything into confusion. Gracchus adroitly abandoned his camp to them and simulated flight; then suddenly turning he fell upon them while they were plundering, killed most of them, and captured Complega and the surrounding country. Then he divided the land among the poor and settled them on it, and made carefully defined treaties with all the tribes, binding them to be the friends of Rome, and giving and receiving oaths to that effect. These treaties were often longed for in the subsequent wars. In this way Gracchus became celebrated both in Spain and in Rome, and was awarded a splendid triumph.