Hannibal's pass over the Mont Cenis they seem not to have known. They had to range down to the Mediterranean; turn eastward along the Genoese coast at Nice; and then, far away from their base of operations, were cut off again and again, just as the Cimbri and Teutons were cut off by Marius. All attempts to take Rome from the Piedmontese entrance into Italy failed.
Well did Robert Stephenson, the famous English engineer, say that, in boldness of design and difficulty of execution, this Pennsylvania scheme of mastering the Alleghanies could be compared with no modern triumph short of the feats performed at the Simplon Pass and Mont Cenis.
"Chanckbury, the Wrekin or Cenis of the South Downs, is said to be 1,000 perpendicular yards above the level of the sea; on the summum jugum, or vertex, is a ring of trees planted by Mr. Goring of Whiston, and if they were arrived at maturity, would form no indifferent imitation of an ancient Druidical grove."
Susa, her headquarters, lying at the mouth of the valley up which the road over Mount Cenis finds its way, at once guards the pass and keeps open communication with France. "It is, as it were, the handle of a fan, and can be approached by three main roads only, those to Turin, Carignano, and Chivasso.
Thus in Savoy a road, smooth as a garden-walk, superseded the dangerous ascents and descents of the wood of Bramant; thus was the passage of Mont Cenis a pleasant promenade at almost every season of the year; thus did the Simplon bow his head, and Bonaparte might have said, "There are now my Alps," with more reason than Louis XIV. said, "There are now no Pyrenees."
He, mentioned that the Duke of Epernon's horse, taking fright at a red cloak, had backed over a precipice, breaking his own neck, while his master's shoulder merely was put out of joint. At the same time the Duke of Joyeuse, coming over Mount Cenis, on his return from Savoy, had broken his wrist.
M. Deviller, in his Rapport sur les travaux de percement du tunnel sous les Alpes, states that the losses of pressure observed in the air pipe at the Mont Cenis Tunnel confirm the correctness of D'Aubuisson's formula; but his reasoning applies to too complicated a formula to be absolutely convincing. Quite recently M. E. Stockalper, engineer-in-chief at the northern end of the St.
Cenimagni, or Iceni, an ancient people of Britain, inhabiting the counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, and Huntingdonshire Cenis Mons, that part of the Alps which separates Savoy from Piedmont Cenni, an ancient people of Celtic extraction Cerauni Montes, Mountains of Epirus, Monti di Chimera
Gotthard pass and began to drive back the Austrian outposts in the upper valley of the Ticino; and 5,000 men, marching over the Mont Cenis pass, threatened Turin from the west. The First Consul's aim now was to unite the two chief forces, seize the enemy's magazines, and compel him to a complete surrender.
On Didier's refusal he at once set to work, convoked the general meeting of the Franks, at Geneva, in the autumn of 773, gained them over, not without encountering some objections, to the projected Italian expedition, and forthwith commenced the campaign with two armies. One was to cross the Valais and descend upon Lombardy by Mount St. Bernard; Charlemagne in person led the other, by Mount Cenis.