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soldier must often escape the notice of fame, his own behaviour might sometimes confer glory or disgrace on the company, the legion, or even the army, to whose honours he was associated. On his first entrance into the service, an oath was administered to him with every circumstance of solemnity. He promised never to desert his standard, to submit his own will to the commands of his leaders, and to sacrifice his life for the safety of the emperor and the empire. The attachment of the Roman troops to their standards was inspired by the united influence of religion and of honour. The golden eagle, which glittered in the front of the legion, was the object of their fondest devotion; nor was it esteemed less impious than it was ignominious to abandon that sacred ensign in the hour of danger. These motives, which derived their strength from the imagination, were enforced by fears and hopes of a more substantial kind. Regular pay, occasional donatives, and a stated recompense after the appointed time of service, alleviated the hardships of the military life, whilst, on the other hand, it was impossible for cowardice or disobedience to escape the severest punishment. The centurions were authorised to chastise with blows, the generals had a right to punish with death; and it was an inflexible maxim of Roman discipline that a good soldier should dread his officers far more than the enemy. From such laudable arts did the valour of the imperial troops receive a degree of firmness and docility, unattainable by the impetuous and irregular passions of barbarians.
"And yet so sensible were the Romans of the imperfection of valour without skill and practice, that, in
their language, the name of an army was borrowed from the word which signified exercise. Military exercises were the important and unremitted object of their discipline. The recruits and young soldiers were constantly trained, both in the morning and in the evening; nor was age or knowledge allowed to excuse the veterans from the daily repetition of what they had completely learnt. Large sheds were erected in the winter-quarters of the troops, that their useful labours might not receive any interruption from the most tempestuous weather; and it was carefully observed that the arms destined to this imitation of war should be of double the weight which was required in real action. It is not the purpose of this work to enter into any minute description of the Roman exercises. We shall only remark that they comprehend whatever could add strength to the body, activity to the limbs, or grace to the motions. The soldiers were diligently instructed to march, to run, to leap, to swim, to carry heavy burdens, to handle every species of arms that was used either for offence or for defence, either in distant engagement or in a closer onset; to form a variety of evolutions; and to move to the sound of flutes in the Pyrrhic or martial dance. In the midst of peace, the Roman troops familiarised themselves with the practice of war; and it is prettily remarked by an ancient historian, who had fought against them, that the effusion of blood was the only circumstance which distinguished a field of battle from a field of exercise. It was the policy of the ablest generals, and even of the emperors themselves, to encourage these military studies by their presence and example; and we are informed that Hadrian as well as Trajan, frequently condescended to instruct the inexperienced soldiers, to reward the diligent, and sometimes to dispute with them the prize of superior strength or dexterity."
In our own day, and in our own country, we may congratulate ourselves in having at the head of the army a royal prince, who has given the strongest evidence of his disposition to encourage, and even to enforce, all necessary military studies and exercises; and as the British soldier is in nowise inferior to the Roman legionary in strength, courage, or devotion, there is little doubt that, although we are not a military people, if the earnestness and energy of the commanderin-chief be only emulated by his officers, the English army will have no reason to dread a comparison with any force either of ancient or modern days.
MARCH INTO ITALY AND FIRST CAMPAIGN.
Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar, surnamed Barca, or the thunderbolt, was with his father in Spain during the interval which elapsed between the first and second Punic wars; and he was only nine years old at the time when he took that famous oath of enmity against Rome, which he so religiously kept in after life.
Hannibal commanded the Carthaginian armies in Spain with uninterrupted success for nine years. The expedition to that country was originally undertaken at his instance, because he foresaw that no long time could elapse before Rome and Carthage would again be enemies.
He was sensible that Carthage was weak, in consequence of her having no native army; and he designed not only to train his existing army in a constant warfare against the bravest of barbarians, but to effect permanent conquests in Spain. It was his policy to attach the new subjects to the mother city by kind treatment, at the same time that he conciliated the native independent Princes; and he hoped thus not only to ensure a constant supply of good soldiers to recruit his armies, but, by gaining possession of the productive gold and silver mines of the south of the Peninsula, to obtain the means of paying them.
Hamilcar was slain in battle in the year B.C. 229, it is supposed in the country between the Tagus and Douro rivers, to which he had pushed his conquests. Hasdrubal, his son-in-law, appears to have inherited not only his command, but also his spirit and genius. He consolidated the conquests of Hamilcar, no less by his policy than by the engaging influence of his personal manners and character; and he accommodated himself so successfully to the feelings and habits of the Spaniards, which he had carefully studied with that view, that the native chiefs, far and near, vied with each other in their eagerness to become the allies of Carthage.
Rome watched the progress of Hasdrubal with uneasiness; and as the threatening of a Graulic invasion at that time rendered it inexpedient to have recourse to arms, she endeavoured to secure herself by a treaty, the provisions of which bound Hasdrubal not to push his conquests beyond the Iberus, and obliged each of the contracting parties to abstain from molesting the allies of the other. The city of Saguntum had lately placed itself under the protection of Kome, and was therefore, by the terms of the treaty, secure from attack, although situated so far south of the Iberus. The Romans hoped doubtless by its means, to obtain a more forward footing in Spain, from which, when the Graulic war should be terminated, they might sap the newly formed dominion of Carthage in that country.