Ancient history

Preliminaries of the battle

Battle foreplay

Back in their camp, both ordered their soldiers to prepare their weapons and their courage for a last battle. If they had the happiness to triumph, their victory would not be ephemeral, but definitive. (2) They would know before the night of the following day if it would be Rome or Carthage which would make the law in the world. It was no longer Africa or Italy, it was the whole universe that would become the victor's reward; and the peril would be as great as the reward for him against whom the chances of battle would turn."
For the Romans, indeed, no asylum in this foreign and unknown land; for Carthage, when this last resource was exhausted, there was no other prospect than imminent ruin.
It was to decide this great question that the two most powerful peoples of the earth, each represented by the greatest of their generals, by the bravest of their armies, and ready to crown by a new success the edifice of their glory or to overthrow it. each, considering now his own forces, now those of the enemy, appreciated them by sight rather than by calculation, and gave way at the same time to joy and sadness. were not doing on their own were suggested to them, p ar the counsels and exhortations of their generals. The Carthaginian reminded his people of their sixteen years of exploits in Italy, of all the Roman generals, of all the armies they had cut to pieces; when he came before a soldier who had distinguished himself by some brilliant action, he reminded him of his heroic deeds. Scipio spoke of the Spains and of the battles recently fought in Africa, and of the avowed weakness of his enemy, who could neither refrain from asking for peace, so afraid was he, nor keep it faithfully, so bad faith was innate in him. He also spoke of his interview with Hannibal, whose mystery left room for guesswork. It augured well that the same auspices which had manifested themselves to their fathers before the battle of the Aegate Islands had just appeared to them also when they went out to fight. "They were nearing, he told them, the end of the war and their fatigue. It depended on them to secure the spoils of Carthage and a glorious return to their homeland, to their parents; their children, their wives and their penate gods."
All this, Scipio told them with his head held high and joy in his eyes, so that one might have thought he was already victorious. He then put his troops into battle:in the lead the hastats, behind them the principles, in the last row the triaires.