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BATTLE OF THE METAURUS.

palpably deformed by fictions and exaggerations as to be hardly deserving of attention.[1]

It is clear that, in the year 208, B.C., at least, Hasdrubal out-manoeuvred Publius Scipio, who held the command of the Roman forces in Spain, and whose object was to prevent him from passing the Pyrenees and marching upon Italy. Scipio expected that Hasdrubal would attempt the nearest route along the coast of the Mediterranean; and he therefore carefully fortified and guarded the passes of the eastern Pyrenees. But Hasdrubal passed these mountains near their western extremity; and then, with a considerable force of Spanish infantry, with a small number of African troops, with some elephants and much treasure, he marched, not directly towards the coast of the Mediterranean, but in a north-eastern line towards the centre of Gaul. He halted for the winter in the territory of the Arverni, the modern Auvergne, and conciliated or purchased the good will of the Gauls in that region, so far that he not only found friendly winter-quarters among them, but great numbers of them enlisted under him; and on the approach of spring, marched with him to invade Italy.

By thus entering Gaul at the south-west, and

  1. See the excellent criticisms of Sir Walter Raleigh on this, in his "History of the World," book v. chap. iii. sec. 11