That stream is still called the Metauro; and wakens by its name recollections of the resolute daring of ancient Rome; and of the slaughter that stained its current two thousand and sixty-three years ago, when the combined consular armies of Livius and Nero encountered and crushed near its banks the varied host, which Hannibal's brother was leading from the Pyrenees, the Rhone, the Alps, and the Po, to aid the great Carthaginian in his stern struggle to annihilate the growing might of the Roman Republic, and make the Punic power supreme over all the nations of the world.
The Roman historian, who termed that struggle the most memorable of all wars that ever were carried on, wrote in no spirit of exaggeration. For it is not in ancient, but in modern history, that parallels for its incidents and its heroes are to be found. The similitude between the contest which Rome maintained against Hannibal, and that which England was for many years engaged in against Napoleon, has not passed unobserved by recent historians. "Twice," says Amold, "has there been witnessed the struggle of the highest individual genius against the resources and institutions of a great nation; and in both cases the
- Livy, lib. xxi. sec. 1.
- Vol. iii. p. 62. See also Alison, passim.