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Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Vol. 3 [10]

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Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome by Titus Livius. Translated from the Original with Notes and Illustrations by George Baker, A.M.. First American, from the Last London Edition, in Six Volumes (New York: Peter A. Mesier et al., 1823). Vol. 3. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1756

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Vol. 3 of Livy’s History of Rome from its founding to the reign of Augustus.

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Edition: current; Page: [i]
THE HISTORY OF ROME, BY TITUS LIVIUS.
TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL, with notes and illustrations, BY GEORGE BAKER, A. M.

History is Philosophy teaching by examples.

bolingbroke.
FIRST AMERICAN, FROM THE LAST LONDON EDITION, IN SIX VOLUMES.—VOL. III.
NEW YORK:
published by peter a. mesier, collins & co. j. & t. swords, a. t. goodrich, henry i. megary, r. & w. a. bartow, s. gould, w. b. gilley, james eastburn, george long, prior & dunning, samuel campbell & son, e. bliss & e. white, a. durell & co. and james v. seaman. William Fry, Printer.
1823.
Edition: current; Page: [ii] Edition: current; Page: [iii]

CONTENTS OF THE THIRD VOLUME.

  • BOOK XXII. - - - - - Page. 1
  • BOOK XXIII. - - - - - - 91
  • BOOK XXIV. - - - - - 169
  • BOOK XXV. - - - - - - 243
  • BOOK XXVI. - - - - - 317
  • BOOK XXVII. - - - - - - 404
Edition: current; Page: [iv] Edition: current; Page: [1]

THE HISTORY OF ROME.

BOOK XXII.

Hannibal, after a laborious march of four days and three nights, without repose, through the marshes, in which he lost an eye, arrives in Etruria. Caius Flaminius, consul, a man of rash and inconsiderate conduct, is involved, by the artifice of Hannibal, in a dangerous defile, and cut of, with the greatest part of his army Fabius Maximus created dictator, and sent against Hannibal; avoids fighting and baffles Hannibal’s efforts. The master of the horse, Marcus Minucius, excites general dissatisfaction against the dictator’s dilatory conduct; is made equal to him in authority; engages the enemy with his half of the forces, and is saved from utter destruction by Fabius coming opportunely to his relief, with the other half of the Roman army; acknowledges his misconduct, and puts himself again under the command of the dictator. Hannibal, shut up by Fabius, in a valley at Cassilinum, extricates himself by a stratagem of tying fire-brands to the horns of oxen. Æmilius Paullus and Terentius Varro utterly defeated at Cannæ, the former being slain, with forty-five thousand men, of whom were eighty senators, and thirty who had served the office of consul, prætor, or ædile. A project of abandoning Italy quashed by Publius Cornelius Scipio, a military tribune, who afterwards acquired the surname of Africanus. Prosperous events in Spain. The Romans enlist slaves; refuse to ransom the prisoners; go out, in a body, to meet Varro, and thank him for not despairing of the commonwealth.

Y. R. 535. bc 217.I. AT the first approach of spring, Hannibal quitted his winter station. He had been foiled before, in his attempt to pass over the Appennine, by the intolerable severity of the cold; for he would gladly have effected it, exposed as he was, during his stay in quarters, to the utmost degree of apprehension and danger. For, when the Gauls, Edition: current; Page: [2] whom the hopes of spoil and pillage had allured to his standard, perceived, that, instead of carrying off booty from the lands of others, their own had become the seat of war, and that they were burthened with the winter residence of both the contending armies, they turned upon Hannibal the enmity which they had harboured against the Romans. Many plots were formed against him, by their chiefs, from the effects of which he was preserved, by their treacherously betraying one another, and discovering their designs, through the same inconstancy which led them to conspire against him. But still he was careful to guard himself against their plots, by frequent disguises; changing sometimes his dress, sometimes the covering of his head. However, his fears, on this account, were his principal motives for leaving his winter quarters earlier than usual. In the mean time at Rome, Cneius Servilius entered on the office of consul, on the ides of March. He proposed to the senate to take under consideration the state of the commonwealth; whereupon the clamour against Caius Flaminius was renewed. “They created,” they said, “two consuls, yet had but one. For what legal authority, what auspices did the other possess? These the magistrates carried with them from home, from their own tutelar gods; and also those of the public, the Latine festival being celebrated, the sacrifices on the Alban mount performed, and vows duly offered in the Capitol. Setting out in a private capacity, he could not carry the auspices with him, neither could he take them new, and for the first time, in a foreign soil.” Their apprehensions were increased by reports of prodigies, brought from various places at once. In Sicily, a number of arrows, and in Sardinia, the truncheon of a horseman, as he was going the rounds of the watch on the walls of Sulci, took fire, as was said; many fires were seen blazing on the shore; two shields sweated blood; several soldiers were struck by lightning; and the sun’s orb appeared to be contracted. At Præneste, red-hot stones fell Edition: current; Page: [3] from the sky. At Arpi, bucklers were seen in the air, and the sun fighting with the moon. At Capena, two moons appeared in the day-time. At Cære, the streams of water were mixed with blood; and even the fountain of Hercules was tinged with bloody spots. In the district of Antium, while people were reaping, bloody ears of corn fell into a basket. At Falerii, the sky seemed to be rent asunder with a very wide cleft, and through the opening a strong light burst forth; the divining tickets, without any apparent cause, were diminished in size, and one fell out, which had this inscription, ‘Mars brandishes his spear.’ About the same time, at Rome, the statue of Mars, on the Appian road, and the images of the wolves, sweated. At Capua, the sky appeared as if on fire, and the moon as falling amongst rain. Afterwards, prodigies of lesser note were heard of: some asserted that goats were converted into sheep; that a hen was turned into a male, and a cock into a female. The consul, laying before the senate all these matters, as reported, and bringing the authors of the reports into the senate-house, proposed to their consideration the affairs of religion. They decreed, that those prodigies should be expiated, some with the greater, some with the lesser victims; and that a supplication for three days should be performed at all the shrines; that, when the decemvirs should have inspected the books, all other particulars should be conducted in such manner as the gods should declare, in their oracles, to be agreeable to them. By the direction of the decemvirs, it was decreed, that, first, a golden thunderbolt, of fifty pounds weight, should be made as an offering to Jupiter; and that offerings of silver should be presented to Juno and Minerva; that sacrifices of the greater victims should be offered to Juno Regina, on the Aventine, and to Juno Sospita, at Lanuvium; that the matrons, contributing such sums of money as might be convenient to each, should carry an offering to Juno Regina, to the Aventine, and celebrate a lectisternium to her: and that even the Edition: current; Page: [4] descendants of freed women should make a contribution, in proportion to their abilities, out of which an offering should be made to Feronia. When these orders were fulfilled, the decemvirs sacrificed, with the greater victims, in the Forum at Ardea: and, lastly, so late as the month of December, sacrifices were offered at the temple of Saturn, in Rome, and a lectisternium was ordered: on which occasion the couches were laid out by senators, and also a public banquet. Proclamation was likewise made through the city, of a feast of Saturn, to be celebrated during a day and a night, and the people were commanded to keep that day as a festival, and to observe it for ever.

II. While the consul was employed at Rome in endeavouring to procure the favour of the gods, and in levying troops, Hannibal, set out from his winter quarters, and hearing that the consul Flaminius had already arrived at Arretium, he chose — notwithstanding that another road, less difficult, but longer, was pointed out to him, — the shorter one through marshes, which, at that time, were overflowed by the river Arnus, to an unusual height. He ordered the Spaniards and Africans, the main strength of his veteran troops, to march in the van, with their baggage between their divisions; that, in case they should be obliged to halt, they might not be at a loss for a supply of necessaries; then the Gauls to follow, so that they should compose the centre of the line, the cavalry in the rear; and after them Mago, with the light-armed Numidians, as a rear guard, to prevent the troops from straggling; particularly to hinder the Gauls, if weary of the labour, or of the length of the journey, from attempting either to slip away, or to stay behind: for that people, it had been found, want firmness to support fatigue. The troops in the van, though almost swallowed in mud, and frequently plunging entirely under water, yet followed the standards wherever their guides led the way, but the Gauls could neither keep their feet, nor, when they fell, raise themselves Edition: current; Page: [5] out of the gulfs, which were formed by the river from the steepness of its banks. They were destitute of spirits and almost hope; and while some, with difficulty, dragged on their enfeebled limbs, others, exhausted by the length of way, having once fallen, lay there, and died among the cattle, of which great numbers also perished. But what utterly overpowered them, was the want of sleep, which they had now endured for four days and three nights; for no dry spot could be found on which they might stretch their wearied limbs, so that they could only throw their baggage into the water in heaps, on the top of which they laid themselves down. Even the cattle, which lay dead in abundance along the whole course of their march, afforded them a temporary bed, as they looked for no further accommodation for sleeping, than something raised above the water. Hannibal himself, having a complaint in his eyes, occasioned, at first, by the unwholesome air of the spring, when changes are frequent from heat to cold, rode on the only elephant which he had remaining, in order to keep himself as high as possible above the water; but, at length, the want of sleep, the damps of the night, with those of the marshes, so disordered his head, that, as he had neither place nor time to make use of remedies, he lost one of his eyes.

III. At length, after great numbers of men and cattle had perished miserably, he got clear of the marshes; and, on the first dry ground at which he arrived, pitched his camp. Here, from scouts, whom he had sent forward, he learned with certainty, that the Roman army lay round the walls of Arretium. He then employed the utmost diligence in inquiring into the disposition and designs of the consul, the nature of the several parts of the country, the roads, and the sources from which provisions might be procured, with every other circumstance requisite to be known. As to the country, it was one of the most fertile in Italy: the Etrurian plains, which lie between Fæsulæ and Arretium, abounding with Edition: current; Page: [6] corn and cattle, and plenty of every thing useful. The consul was inflated with presumption since his former consulate, and too regardless, not only of the laws and the dignity of the senate, but even of the gods. This head-strong self-sufficiency, natural to his disposition, Fortune had cherished, by the prosperous course of success which she had granted him, in his administration of affairs, both civil and military. There was, therefore, sufficient reason to suppose, that without regarding the sentiments of gods or men, he would act on all occasions with presumption and precipitancy; and the Carthaginian, in order the more effectually to dispose him to follow the bias of his natural imperfections, resolved to irritate and exasperate him. With this view, leaving the enemy on his left, and pointing his route towards Fæsulæ, he marched through the heart of Etruria, ravaging the country, and exhibiting to the consul, at a distance, a view of the greatest devastations that could be effected by fire and sword. Flaminius, even had the enemy lain quiet, would not have been content to remain inactive; but now, seeing the property of the allies plundered and destroyed before his eyes, he thought that on him must fall the disgrace of Hannibal’s overrunning the middle of Italy, and even marching, without opposition, to attack the very walls of Rome. Notwithstanding that every member of his council recommended safe, rather than specious measures; that he should wait the arrival of his colleague, when they might enter on the business with joint forces, and with united spirit and judgment; and that, in the mean time, the enemy should be restrained from his unbounded license in plundering, by means of the cavalry and light auxiliaries; he burst away in a rage, and displayed, at once, the signals both for marching and fighting. “We must lie, then,” said he, “under the walls of Arretium, because here is our native city, and our household gods; let Hannibal slip out of our hands, ravage Italy, and, after wasting and burning all the rest, sit down Edition: current; Page: [7] before Rome; not stir from hence, in short, until the senate summons Caius Flaminius from Arretium, as formerly Camillus from Veii.” While he upbraided them in this manner, he ordered the standards to be raised with speed; and having mounted on horseback, the animal, by a sudden plunge, displaced him from his seat, and threw him over his head. All present were greatly dismayed by such an inauspicious omen, at the opening of the campaign; and, to add to their uneasiness, an account was brought, that one of the standards could not be pulled out of the ground, though the standard-bearer endeavoured it with his utmost strength. The consul, turning to the messenger, said, “Do you also bring a letter from the senate, forbidding me to act? Go, bid them dig up the standard, if fear has so benumbed their hands, that they cannot pull it out.” The army then began to march, while the principal officers, besides being averse from the design, were terrified at the two prodigies; but the generality of the soldiers rejoiced at the presumptuous conduct of the general; for they looked no farther than the confidence which he displayed, and never examined the grounds on which it was founded.

IV. Hannibal, the more to exasperate the enemy, and provoke him to seek revenge for the sufferings of his allies, desolated, with every calamity of war, the whole tract of country between the city of Cortona and the lake Trasimenus. And now the army had arrived at a spot, formed by nature for an ambuscade, where the Trasimenus approaches closest to the Crotonian mountains. Between them is only a very narrow road, as if room had been designedly left for that purpose; farther on, the ground opens to somewhat a greater width, and, beyond that, rises a range of hills. On these, he formed a camp in open view, where himself, with the African and Spanish infantry only, was to take post. The Balearians, and other light-armed troops, he drew round behind the mountains, and posted the cavalry near the Edition: current; Page: [8] entrance of the defile, where they were effectually concealed by some rising grounds; with design, that as soon as the Romans entered the pass, the cavalry should take possession of the road, and thus the whole space be shut up, between the lake and the mountains. Flaminius, though he arrived at the lake about sunset, took no care to examine the ground, but next morning, before it was clear day, passed through the narrow way, and when the troops began to spread into the wider ground, they saw only that party of the enemy which fronted them; those in ambush on their rear, and over their heads, quite escaped their notice. The Carthaginian, having now gained the point at which he aimed, the Roman being pent up between the mountains and the lake, and surrounded by his troops, immediately gave the signal for the whole to charge at once. They accordingly poured down, every one by the shortest way he could find, and the surprize was the more sudden and alarming, because a mist, rising from the lake, lay thicker on the low grounds, than on the mountains; while the parties of the enemy, seeing each other distinctly enough from the several eminences, were the better able to run down together. The Romans, before they could discover their foe, learned, from the shouts raised on all sides, that they were surrounded; and the attack began on their front and flank, before they could properly form a line, or get ready their arms, and draw their swords.

V. In the midst of the general consternation, the consul, perilous as the conjucture was, showed abundance of intrepidity; he restored, as well as the time and place would allow, the ranks, which were disordered by the men turning themselves about at all the various shouts, and wherever he could come or be heard, encouraged, and charged them to stand steady, and to fight; telling them, that “they must not expect to get clear of their present situation, by vows and prayers to the gods, but by strength and courage. By the Edition: current; Page: [9] sword, men opened a way through the midst of embattled foes; and, in general, the less fear the less danger.” But such was the noise and tumult, that neither his counsel nor commands could be heard with distinctness; and so far were the soldiers from knowing each his own standard, his rank, and post, that scarcely had they sufficient presence of mind to take up their arms, and get ready for fighting; so that many, while they were rather encumbered than defended by them, were overpowered by the enemy. Besides, the darkness was so great, that they had more use of their ears than of their eyes. The groans of the wounded, the sound of blows on the men’s bodies or armour, with the confused cries of threatening and terror, drew attention from one side to another. Some, attempting to fly, were stopped by running against a party engaged in fight; others, returning to the fight, were driven back by a body of runaways. At length, after they had made many fruitless essays in every quarter, and inclosed, as they were, by the mountains and lake on the sides, by the enemy’s forces on the front and rear, they evidently perceived that there was no hope of safety but in their valour and their weapons. Every one’s own thoughts then supplied the place of command and exhortation to exertion, and the action began anew, with fresh vigour; but the troops were not marshalled according to the distinct bodies of the different orders of soldiers, nor so disposed, that the van-guard should fight before the standards, and the rest of the troops behind them; or that each soldier was in his own legion, or cohort, or company: chance formed their bands, and every man’s post in the battle, either before or behind the standards, was fixed by his own choice. So intense was the ardour of the engagement, so eagerly was their attention occupied by the fight, that not one of the combatants perceived a great earthquake, which, at the time, overthrew large portions of many of the cities of Italy, turned rapid rivers out of their courses, carried up the sea Edition: current; Page: [10] into the rivers, and by the violence of the convulsion, levelled mountains.

VI. They fought for near three hours, and furiously in every part: but round the consul the battle was particularly hot and bloody. The ablest of the men attended him, and he was himself surprisingly active in supporting his troops, wherever he saw them pressed, or in need of assistance; and, as he was distinguished above others by his armour, the enemy pointed their utmost efforts against him, while his own men defended him with equal vigour. At length, an Insubrian horseman, (his name Decario,) knowing his face, called out to his countrymen, “Behold, this is the consul, who cut to pieces our legions, and depopulated our country and city. I will now offer this victim to the shades of my countrymen, who lost their lives in that miserable manner;” then, giving spurs to his horse, he darted through the thickest of the enemy; and, after first killing his armour-bearer, who threw himself in the way of the attack, ran the consul through with his lance. He then attempted to spoil him of his arms, but the veterans, covering the body with their shields drove him back. This event first caused a great number of the troops to fly; and now, so great was their panic, that neither lake nor mountain stopped them; through every place, however narrow or steep, they ran with blind haste, and arms, and men, were tumbled together in promiscuous disorder. Great numbers, finding no room for farther flight, pushed into the lake, and plunged themselves in such a manner, that only their heads and shoulders were above water. The violence of their fears impelled some to make the desperate attempt of escaping by swimming: but this proving impracticable, on account of the great extent of the lake, they either exhausted their strength, and were drowned in the deep, or, after fatiguing themselves to no purpose, made their way back, with the utmost difficulty, to the shallows, and were there slain, wherever they appeared, by Edition: current; Page: [11] the enemy’s horsemen wading into the same. About six thousand of the van-guard, bravely forcing their way through the opposite enemy, got clear of the defile, and knowing nothing of what was passing behind them, halted on a rising ground, where they could only hear the shouting, and the din of arms, but could not see, by reason of the darkness, nor judge with any certainty, as to the fortunes of the day: At length, after the victory was decided, the increasing heat of the sun dispelling the mist, the prospect was opened. The mountains and plains showed the desperate condition of their affairs, and the shocking carnage of the Roman army: wherefore, lest, on their being seen at a distance, the cavalry should be sent against them, they hastily raised their standards, and hurried away with all possible speed. Next day, when, besides their other distresses, they were threatened with the extremity of hunger, Maharbal, who, with the whole body of cavalry, had overtaken them during the night, pledging his faith, that if they surrendered their arms, he would suffer them to depart with single garments, they delivered themselves into his hands. But this capitulation Hannibal observed with Punic sincerity, and threw them into chains.

VII. Such was the memorable fight at the Thrasimenus, and the severe blow there received by the Romans, remarkable among the few disasters of the kind, which the nation has ever undergone. Of the Romans, fifteen thousand were slain in the field; ten thousand, who fled, and dispersed themselves through every part of Etruria, made their way afterwards, by different roads, home to the city. Of the enemy, one thousand five hundred perished in the fight, and a great many afterwards of their wounds. By some writers, the loss of men on both sides is represented as vastly greater: for my part, besides that I wish to avoid the magnifying any particular whatever, an error to which writers are in general too prone, I think it reasonable to give the preference to the authority of Fabius, who lived in the very time of this war. Hannibal Edition: current; Page: [12] dismissed, without ransom, such of the prisoners as were natives of Latium, the Romans he loaded with chains. He then ordered that the bodies of his own men should be collected, from among the heaps of the enemy, and buried; directing, at the same time, that the body of Flaminius should be sought for, with intention to honour him with a funeral; but after a most diligent search, it could not be found. As soon as the first news of this disaster arrived at Rome, the people, in great terror and tumult, crowded together into the Forum. The matrons, running up and down the streets, asked every one who came in their way, what sudden calamity was said to have happened; in what state was the army? At length, after a crowd, not less numerous than that of a full assembly of the people, had collected in the Comitium, and about the senate-house, calling on the magistrates for information, a little before sun-set, Marcus Pomponius, the prætor, told them, “We have been defeated in a great battle.” Though nothing more particular was heard from him, yet the people, catching up rumours, one from another, returned to their houses with accounts, that, “the consul was slain, together with a great part of his army; that few survived, and that these were either dispersed through Etruria, or taken by the enemy.” Every kind of misfortune, which had ever befallen vanquished troops, was now pictured in the anxious minds of those, whose relations had served under the consul Caius Flaminius, having no positive information on which they could found either hope or fear. During the next, and several succeeding days, a multitude, composed of rather more women than men, stood round the gates, watching for the arrival, either of their friends, or of some who might give intelligence concerning them; and whenever any person came up, they crowded about him with eager inquiries; nor could they be prevailed on to retire, especially from such as were of their acquaintance, until they had examined minutely into every particular. Then, when they did separate from about Edition: current; Page: [13] the informants, might be seen their countenances expressive of various emotions, according as the intelligence, which each received, was pleasing or unfavourable; and numbers, surrounding them, returned to their houses offering either congratulations or comfort. Among the women, particularly, the effects both of joy and grief were very conspicuous; one, as we are told, meeting, unexpectedly, at the very gate, her son returning safe, expired at the sight of him: another, who sat in her house, overwhelmed with grief, in consequence of a false report of her son’s death, on seeing that son returning, died immediately, through excess of joy. The prætors, during several days, kept the senate assembled in their house, from the rising to the setting of the sun, deliberating by what commander, or with what forces, opposition could be made to the victorious Carthaginians.

VIII. Before they had fully determined on the plans to be pursued, they received an account of another unexpected disaster: four thousand horsemen, who had been sent by Servilius, the consul, to the aid of his colleague, under the command of Caius Centenius, pro-prætor, were cut off by Hannibal, in Umbria, whither, on hearing of the fight at the Thrasimenus, they had marched to avoid him. The news of this event affected people differently: some, having their minds occupied by grief, for misfortunes of a momentous kind, certainly deemed the recent loss of the cavalry light, in comparison: others judged not of the accident by its own intrinsic importance; but considered, that, as in a sickly constitution, a slight cause is attended with more sensible effects, than a more powerful one in a constitution possessed of vigour; so any kind of misfortune, happening to the commonwealth in its present debilitated condition, ought to be estimated, not by the magnitude of the affair itself, but by the enfeebled state of the same, which could not endure any degree of aggravation to its distresses. Accordingly, the state had recourse to a remedy, which for a long time past had neither been Edition: current; Page: [14] used nor wanted, the nomination of a dictator: and because the consul, who alone was supposed to possess the power of nominating that officer, was abroad, and it was difficult to send either messenger or letter, through those parts of Italy, occupied, as they were, by the Carthaginian arms; and as the people could not create a dictator, no precedent having yet existed for it, they therefore, in an assembly, created a prodictator, Quintus Fabius Maximus, and a master of the horse, Marcus Minucius Rufus. These received a charge from the senate, to strengthen the walls and towers of the city; to post troops in proper places, and to break down the bridges on the rivers; since, having proved unequal to the defence of Italy, they must fight at their own doors in defence of the city.

IX. Hannibal marched straight forward, through Umbria, as far as Spoletum; which town, after he had utterly wasted all the adjoining country, he attempted to take by storm, but, being repulsed, with the loss of a great number of men, and judging, from the strength of that single colony, his attempt on which had ended so little to his advantage, what great difficulties he had to surmount, before he could master the city of Rome, he changed the direction of his route toward the territory of Picenum, which not only abounded with provisions of all sorts, but was, besides, well stored with booty, which his needy and rapacious soldiers greedily seized. There he remained, during several days, in one fixed post, and refreshed his men, who had been severely fatigued by their long marches in the winter season, and through the marshes, as well as by the battle, which, though favourable in the issue, was not gained without danger and fatigue. After allowing sufficient rest to his troops, who, however, delighted more in plundering and ravaging, than in ease and repose, he put them in motion, and spread devastation through the territories of Prætulia and Adria, the country of the Marsians, Manucinians, and Pelegnians, and the neighbouring Edition: current; Page: [15] tract of Apulia, round Arpi and Luceria. The consul, Cneius Servilius, had fought some slight battles with the Gauls, and taken one town of no great consequence; when, hearing of the disaster of his colleague, and the troops under his command, and being filled with apprehensions for the capital of his country, he resolved not to be out of the way, in a conjuncture of such extreme danger; he therefore marched directly towards Rome. Quintus Fabius Maximus, dictator, a second time, on the day wherein he entered into office, assembled the senate, when he commenced his administration with attention to the gods. Having proved, to the conviction of the assembly, that the faults committed by Caius Flaminius, the consul, through his neglect of the established sacred rites, and the auspices, were even greater than those which arose from his rashness and want of judgment; and that it was necessary to learn from the gods themselves, what atonements would appease their wrath, he prevailed on them to pass an order, which was not usual, except when some terrible prodigies were announced, that the decemvirs should consult the Sibylline leaves. These, after inspecting those books of the fates, reported to the senate, that, “the vow made to Mars, on occasion of the present war, had not been duly fulfilled; that it must be performed anew, and that in a more ample manner; that the great games must be vowed to Jupiter; and temples to Venus Erycina and Mens; that a supplication and lectisternium must be performed, and a sacred spring vowed, in case success attended their arms, and that the commonwealth remained in the same state in which it had been when the war began.” The senate, considering that Fabius would have full employment in the management of the war, ordered that Marcus Æmilius, the prætor, should take care, that all these matters might be performed in due time, according to the directions of the college of pontiffs.

X. On the passing of these decrees of the senate, the chief Edition: current; Page: [16] pontiff, Lucius Cornelius Lentulus, being advised with by the college of prætors, gave his opinion, that before any other steps were taken, the people should be consulted with respect to the sacred spring; for that a vow of that import could not be made without their order. Accordingly, the question was proposed to the people in these words: “Do ye choose and order, that what I am going to propose, shall be performed in this manner: that, in case the commonwealth of the Roman people, the Quirites, shall (as I wish it may) be preserved in safety, during the next five years, from these wars, namely, the war which subsists between the Roman people and the Carthaginians; and the wars subsisting with the Gauls, who dwell on this side of the Alps; then the Roman people, the Quirites, shall present, as an offering, whatever the spring shall produce, from the herds of swine, sheep, goats, or oxen; of which produce, accruing from the day when the senate and people shall appoint, whatever shall not have been appropriated by consecration, shall be sacrificed to Jupiter. Let him who makes the offering, make it at what time, and in what form he shall choose: in whatsoever manner he does it, let the offering be deemed proper: if that which ought to be sacrificed die, let it be deemed as unconsecrated; and let no guilt ensue. If any person undesignedly shall break, or kill it, let him incur no penalty. If any shall steal it, let not guilt be imputed to the people, nor to him from whom it is stolen. If any, unknowingly, offer the sacrifice on a forbidden day, let the offering be deemed good. Whether the offering shall be made by night or by day, whether by a freeman or a slave, let it be deemed good. If the senate and people shall order it to be made on an earlier day than a person shall make it, let the people be acquitted, and free from the guilt thereof.” On the same account, a vow was made to celebrate the great games, at the expense of three hundred and thirty-three thousand three hundred and thirty-three Edition: current; Page: [17] asses and one third;* besides three hundred oxen to be offered to Jupiter; and white oxen, and other victims, to many other deities. The vows being duly made, a proclamation was issued for a supplication, in the performance of which joined, not only the inhabitants of the city, with their wives and children, but also those of the country, who, having any property of their own, were interested in the welfare of the public. Then was performed the lectisternium, during the space of three days, under the direction of the decemvirs of religious rites. There were six couches exhibited to view, one for Jupiter and Juno, another for Neptune and Minerva, a third for Mars and Venus, a fourth for Apollo and Diana, a fifth for Vulcan and Vesta, and the sixth for Mercury and Ceres. The temples were then vowed; that to Venus Erycina, by Quintus Fabius Maximus, dictator; for such was the direction found in the books of the fates, that the person who held the highest authority in the state should vow it. Titus Otacilius, the prætor, vowed the temple to Mens.

XI. The business relating to religion being thus concluded, the dictator then proposed to the senate, to take into consideration the state of the commonwealth and the war; and to determine how many, and what legions, should be employed to stop the progress of the victorious enemy. They passed a decree, that “he should receive the army from the consul, Cneius Servilius; in addition to which, he should levy, among the citizens and allies, such numbers of horse and foot as he should judge requisite; and, in every other particular, should act and manage in such a manner as he should see conducive to the public good.” Fabius declared his intention to make an addition of two legions to the army of Servilius; these he ordered to be levied by the master of the horse, and appointed a day on which they were to assemble at Tibur. Then, Edition: current; Page: [18] having published a proclamation, that those who dwelt in towns or forts which were incapable of defence, should remove into places of safety; and that all the inhabitants of that tract, through which Hannibal was to march, should likewise remove out of the country, after first burning the houses, and destroying the fruits of the earth, to prevent his meeting any kind of supply; he himself set out, by the Flaminian road, to meet the consul and the army. Coming within sight of the troops, on their march on the bank of the Tiber, near Ocriculum, and observing the consul, with some horsemen, advancing, he sent a beadle to acquaint him, that he must approach the dictator without lictors. This order he obeyed; and their meeting raised an exalted idea of the dictatorship in the minds both of citizens and allies; who had now, in consequence of the long disuse, almost forgotten that office. Here he received a letter from the city, with intelligence, that the transport ships, carrying supplies from Ostia to the army in Spain, had been captured by a fleet of the enemy near the port of Cossa: in consequence of which, the consul was ordered to proceed immediately to Ostia, to man all the ships which were at the city of Rome, or at Ostia, with soldiers and mariners, to pursue the enemy, and guard the coasts of Italy. Great numbers of men had been levied at Rome; even the sons of freedmen, who had children, and were of military age, had enlisted. Of these troops, such as were under thirty-five years of age were put on board the ships; the rest were left to guard the city.

XII. The dictator, receiving the consul’s army from Fulvius Flaccus, his lieutenant-general, came through the Sabine territory to Tibur, on the day which he had appointed for the assembling of the new-raised troops; thence he went back to Præneste, and, crossing the country to the Latine road, led forward his army; examining, with the utmost care, the country through which he was to pass, being determined in no case, to subject himself to the disposal of Edition: current; Page: [19] fortune, except so far as necessity might constrain him. When he first pitched his camp within the enemy’s view, not far from Arpi, the Carthaginian on the same day, without delaying an hour, led out his forces, and offered battle; but, seeing every thing quiet, and no hurry or bustle in the Roman camp, he returned within his lines, observing, with a sneer, that the spirit which the Romans boasted to have inherited from Mars, was at length subdued; that they had given over fighting, and made open acknowledgment of their abatement in courage and love of glory. His mind, however, was sensibly affected, on finding that he had now to deal with a commander very unlike Flaminius and Sempronius; and that the Romans, instructed by misfortunes, had at length chosen a leader which was a match for Hannibal; and he quickly perceived that, in the dictator, he had to dread provident skill more than vigorous exertion. Having, however, not yet fully experienced his steadiness, he attempted to rouse and provoke his temper by frequently removing his camp, and ravaging under his eyes the lands of the allies, at one time withdrawing out of sight by a hasty march; at another, halting in a place of concealment at a turn of the road, in hopes of taking him at a disadvantage on his coming down into the plain. Fabius led his forces along the high grounds at a moderate distance from the enemy; so as not to let him be out of reach, nor yet to come to an engagement. His men were confined within their camp, except when called forth by some necessary occasion; and his parties, sent for forage and wood, were neither small in number, nor were they allowed to ramble. An advanced guard of cavalry and light infantry, properly equipped, and formed for the purpose of repressing sudden alarms, rendered every place safe to those of their own side, and dangerous to such of the enemy as straggled in search of plunder. Thus, a decisive trial in a general engagement was avoided. At the same time slight skirmishes of no great Edition: current; Page: [20] importance commenced on safe ground and where a place of retreat was at hand, which accustomed the soldiers, dispirited by former misfortunes, to place more confidence both in their own courage and their fortune. But he found not Hannibal more inclined to disconcert such wise plans than his own master of the horse, whom nothing but being subordinate in command, prevented from plunging the commonwealth into ruin. Confident and precipitate in his measures, and allowing his tongue an exorbitant license, he used, at first in small circles, afterwards openly in public, to call the dictator sluggish instead of cool; timid instead of cautious; imputing to him as faults what had the nearest affinity to virtues. Thus, by the practice of depressing the merit of his superior,—a practice of the basest nature, and which has become too general, in consequence of the favourable success so often attending it,—he exalted himself.

XIII. Hannibal led away his forces from the territory of Arpi into Samnium, ravaged the lands of Beneventum, took the city of Telesia, and used every means to irritate the Roman general; in hopes that by so many indignities, and the sufferings of his allies, he might be provoked to hazard an engagement on equal ground. Among the multitude of the allies of Italian birth, who had been made prisoners by the Carthaginian at Trasimenus, and set at liberty, were three Campanian horsemen. Hannibal on that occasion, by many presents and promises, engaged them to conciliate the affections of their countrymen in his favour. These now informed him, that if he brought his army into Campania, he would have an opportunity of getting possession of Capua. The affair was of much moment, and seemed to demand more weighty authority. Hannibal hesitated, inclining at one time to confide in their assurances, at another to distrust them, yet they brought him to a resolution of marching from Samnium into Campania; and he dismissed them, with repeated charges to fulfil their promises by Edition: current; Page: [21] deeds, and with orders to return to him with a greater number, and with some of their principal men. He then commanded his guide to conduct him into the territory of Casinum; having learned from persons acquainted with the country, that if he seized on the pass there, the Romans would be shut out, so as to prevent their bringing succour to their allies. But speaking with the Carthaginian accent, and mis-pronouncing the Latin words, the guide mis-apprehended him as having said Casilinum instead of Casinum; so that, turning from the right road, he led him through the territories of Allifæ, Calatia, and Cales, down into the plain of Stella. Here Hannibal looking round, and perceiving the place enclosed between mountains and rivers, called the guide, and asked him where he was; and the other answering, that he would lodge that night at Casilinum, he at last discovered the mistake, and that Casinum lay at a very great distance, in a quite different direction. On this, having scourged and crucified the guide, in order to strike terror into others, he pitched and fortified his camp, and despatched Maharbal, with the cavalry, to ravage the territory of Falerii. Here the depredations were carried as far as the waters of Sinuessa, the Numidians committing dreadful devastations, and spreading fear and consternation to a still wider extent. Yet did not this terror, great as it was, and though their whole country was involved in the flames of war, induce the allies to swerve from their allegiance. They had no desire to change their rulers, for they lived under a mild and equitable government; and there is no bond of loyalty so strong.

XIV. The Carthaginians encamped at the river Vulturnus, and the most delightful tract in Italy was seen wasted with fire, the country-seats on every side smoking in ruins. While Fabius led his army along the tops of the Massic mountains, the discontent in it was inflamed anew, and to such a degree, as to fall little short of a mutiny. During a Edition: current; Page: [22] few days past, as their march had been conducted with more expedition than usual, they had been in good temper, because they had supposed that this haste was owing to an intention to protect Campania from further ravages. But when they had gained the heights, and the enemy appeared under their eyes, setting fire to the houses of the Falernian district, with the colony of Sinuessa, and that still no mention was made of fighting, Minucius exclaimed, “Are we come hither to view the burning and slaughter of our allies, as to a spectacle grateful to the sight? If no other circumstance strikes us with shame, do we feel none with regard to these our countrymen, whom our fathers sent as colonists to Sinuessa, to secure this frontier from the inroads of the Samnites? And now the frontier is wasted with fire, not by the Samnites, a neighbouring state, but by Carthaginians, a foreign race, who, from the remotest limits of the world, have effected their progress hither, in consequence of our dilatory and slothful proceedings. Shamefully are we degenerated from our ancestors, who considered it as an affront to their government, if a Carthaginian fleet happened to sail along this coast; for we now behold the same coast filled with the enemy’s troops, and possessed by Moors and Numidians. We, who lately felt such indignation at siege being laid to Saguntum that we appealed, not only to mankind, but to treaties and to the gods, now look on without emotion, while Hannibal is scaling the walls of a Roman colony. The smoke from the burning houses and lands is carried into our eyes and mouths; our ears ring with the cries and lamentations of our allies, invoking our aid oftener than that of the immortal gods; yet, hiding ourselves here in woods and clouds, we lead about our army like a herd of cattle, through shady forests and desert paths. If Marcus Furius had adopted the design of rescuing the city from the Gauls, by the same means by which this new Camillus, this dictator of such singular abilities, selected for us in our Edition: current; Page: [23] distresses, intends to recover Italy from Hannibal, (that is, by traversing mountains and forests,) Rome would now be the property of the Gauls; and great reason do I see to dread, if we persevere in this dilatory mode of acting, that our ancestors have so often preserved it for Hannibal and the Carthaginians: But he, who had the spirit of a man, and of a true Roman, during the very day on which the account was brought to Veii, of his being nominated dictator, by direction of the senate, and order of the people, though the Janiculum was of sufficient height, where he might sit and take a prospect of the enemy, came down to the plain; and, on that same day, in the middle of the city, where now are the Gallic piles, and on the day following, on the road to Gabii, cut to pieces the legions of the Gauls. What! when many years after this, at the Caudine forks, we were sent under the yoke by the Samnites; was it by traversing the mountains of Samnium, or was it by pressing briskly the siege of Luceria, and compelling the enemy to fight, that Lucius Papirius Cursor removed the yoke from the necks of the Romans, and imposed it on the haughty Samnites? In a late case, what but quick dispatch gave victory to Caius Lutatius? For on the next day after he came in view of the enemy, he overpowered their fleet, heavily laden with provisions, and encumbered with their own implements and cargoes. To imagine that, by sitting still, and offering up prayers, the war can be brought to a conclusion, is folly in the extreme. Forces must be armed, must be led out to the open field, that you may encounter, man with man. By boldness and activity, the Roman power has been raised to its present height, and not by these sluggish measures, which cowards term cautious.” While Minucius harangued in this manner, as if to a general assembly, he was surrounded by a multitude of tribunes and Roman horsemen; and his presumptuous expressions reached even the ears of the common men, who gave evident demonstrations, that if the matter Edition: current; Page: [24] were submitted to the votes of the soldiery, they would prefer Minucius, as a commander, to Fabius.

XV. Fabius watched the conduct of his own men with no less attention than that of the enemy; determined to show, with respect to them, in the first place, that his resolution was unalterable by any thing which they could say or do. He well knew that his dilatory measures were severely censured, not only in his own camp, but likewise at Rome, yet he persisted, with inflexible steadiness, in the same mode of conduct during the remainder of the summer; in consequence of which, Hannibal, finding himself disappointed in his hopes of an engagement, after having tried his utmost endeavours to bring it about, began to look round for a convenient place for his winter-quarters: for the country where he then was, though it afforded plenty for the present, was incapable of furnishing a lasting supply, because it abounded in trees and vineyards, and other plantations of such kinds as minister rather to pleasure than to men’s necessary demands. Of this his intention, Fabius received information from scouts; and knowing, with a degree of certainty, that he would return through the same pass by which he had entered the Falernian territory, he detached parties of moderate force to take possession of Mount Callicula, and Casilinum, which city, being intersected by the river Vulturnus, is the boundary between the Falernian and Campanian territories. He himself led back his army along the same eminences over which he had come, sending out Lucius Hostilius Mancinus, with four hundred horsemen of the allies, to procure intelligence. This young man, who had often made one of the crowd of listeners to the presumptuous harangues of the master of the horse, proceeded, at first, as the commander of a party of observation ought, watching, from safe ground, the motions of the enemy: afterwards, seeing the Numidians scattered about through the villages, and having, on an opportunity that offered, slain some of them, his whole mind was instantly Edition: current; Page: [25] occupied by the thoughts of fighting, and he lost all recollection of the orders of the dictator, who had charged him to advance only so far as he might with safety, and to retreat before he should come within the enemy’s sight. Several different parties of the Numidians, by skirmishing and retreating, drew him on almost to their camp, by which time both his men and horses were greatly fatigued. Here Cartalo, commander-in-chief of the cavalry, advancing in full career, obliged his party to fly before he came within a dart’s throw, and, almost without relaxing in speed, pursued them in their flight through the length of five miles. Mancinus, when he saw that the enemy did not desist from their pursuit, and that there was no prospect of escaping, exhorted his men to act with courage, and faced about on the foe, though superior to him in every particular. The consequence was, that he, and the bravest of his party, were surrounded, and cut to pieces: the rest, betaking themselves to a precipitate flight, made their escape, first to Cales, and thence, by ways almost impassable, to the dictator. It happened that, on the same day, Minucius rejoined Fabius, having been sent to secure, by a body of troops, a woody hill, which, above Tarracina, forms a narrow defile, and hangs over the sea; because it was apprehended, that, if that barrier of the Appian way were left unguarded, the Carthaginian might penetrate into the territory of Rome. The dictator and master of the horse, having re-united their forces, marched down into the road, through which Hannibal was to pass. At this time the enemy were two miles distant.

XVI. Next day the Carthaginians, marching forward, filled the whole road which lay between the two camps; and though the Romans had taken post close to their own rampart, with an evident advantage of situation, yet the Carthaginian advanced with his light horsemen, and, in order to provoke the enemy, made several skirmishing attacks, charging, and then retreating. The Romans kept their position, Edition: current; Page: [26] and the fight proceeded without vigour, more agreeably to the wish of the dictator than to that of Hannibal. Two hundred Romans, and eight hundred of the enemy fell. There was now reason to think, that by the road to Casilinum being thus blockaded, Hannibal was effectually pent up; and that while Capua and Samnium, and such a number of wealthy allies at their back, should furnish the Romans with supplies, the Carthaginian, on the other hand, would be obliged to winter between the rocks of Formiæ, the sands of Linternum, and horrid stagnated marshes. Nor was Hannibal insensible that his own arts were now played off against himself. Wherefore, seeing it impracticable to make his way through Casilinum, and that he must direct his course to the mountains, and climb over the summit of the Callicula, lest the Romans should fall on his troops in their march, when entangled in the vallies, he devised a stratagem for baffling the enemy by a deception calculated to inspire terror, resolving to set out secretly in the beginning of the night, and proceed toward the mountains. The means which he contrived for the execution of his plan were these: collecting combustible matter from all the country round, he caused bundles of rods and dry twigs to be tied fast on the horns of oxen, great numbers of which, trained and untrained, he drove along with him, among the other spoil taken in the country, and he made up the number of almost two thousand. He then gave in charge to Hasdrubal, that as soon as the darkness of the night came on, he should drive this numerous herd, after first setting fire to their horns, up the mountains, and particularly, if he found it practicable, over the passes where the enemy kept guard.

XVII. As soon as it grew dark the army decamped in silence, driving the oxen at some distance before the van. When they arrived at the foot of the mountains and the narrow roads, the signal was instantly given that fire should be set to the horns of the oxen, and that they should be driven Edition: current; Page: [27] violently up the mountains in front; when their own fright, occasioned by the flame blazing on their heads, together with the heat, which soon penetrated to the quick, and to the roots of their horns, drove them on as if goaded by madness. By their spreading about in this manner all the bushes were quickly in a blaze, just as if fire had been set to the woods and mountains, and the fruitless tossing of their heads serving to increase the flames, they afforded an appearance as of men running up and down on every side. The troops stationed to guard the passage of the defiles, seeing several fires on the tops of the mountains, concluded they were surrounded, and quitted their post, taking their way, as the safest course, towards the summits, where they saw fewest fires blazing. Here they fell in with several of the oxen, which had scattered from the herds to which they belonged. At first, when they saw them at a distance, imagining that they breathed out flames, they halted in utter astonishment at the miraculous appearance; but afterwards, when they discovered that it was an imposition of human contrivance, and believing that they were in danger of being ensnared, they hastily, and with redoubled terror, betook themselves to flight. They met also the enemy’s light infantry, but night inspiring equal fears, prevented either from beginning a fight until day-light. In the mean time Hannibal led his whole army through the defile, where he surprised some Romans in the very pass, and pitched his camp in the territory of Allifæ.

XVIII. Fabius perceived the tumult; but, suspecting some snare, and being utterly averse from fighting, in the night particularly, he kept his men within their trenches. As soon as day appeared, a fight commenced near the summit of the mountain, in which the Romans, who had considerably the advantage in numbers, would have easily overpowered the light infantry of the enemy, separated as they were from their friends, had not a cohort of Spaniards, sent back by Edition: current; Page: [28] Hannibal for the purpose, come up to the spot. These, both by reason of the agility of their limbs, and the nature of their arms, being lighter and better qualified for skirmishing among rocks and cliffs (to which they were accustomed), by their manner of fighting, easily baffled the enemy, who were used to act on plain ground in steady fight, and who carried weighty arms. After a contest therefore, by no means equal, they both withdrew to their respective camps; the Spaniards with almost all their men safe, the Romans with the loss of many. Fabius likewise decamped, and passing through the defile, seated himself in a high and strong post above Allifæ. Hannibal, now counterfeiting an intention to proceed to Rome through Samnium, marched back as far as the country of the Pelignians, spreading devastation every where as he went. Fabius led his army along the heights, between the route of the enemy and the city of Rome, constantly attending his motions, but never giving him a meeting. From the territory of Pelignum, Hannibal altered his route; and, directing his march back towards Apulia, came to Gerunium, a city whose inhabitants had abandoned it, being terrified by a part of the walls having fallen in ruins. The dictator formed a strong camp in the territory of Larinum; and, being recalled thence to Rome, on account of some religious ceremonies, he pressed the master of the horse, not only with orders, but with earnest advice, and almost with prayers, to “confide more in prudence than in fortune; and to imitate his conduct in command rather than that of Sempronius and Flaminius. Not to think there had been no advantage gained, in having foiled the designs of the Carthaginian through almost the whole length of the summer; observing, that even physicians sometimes effect their purpose better by rest than by motion and action; that it was a matter of no small importance, to have ceased to be defeated by an enemy so inured to victory; and, after a long course of disasters, to have gained time to breathe.” After Edition: current; Page: [29] urging these cautions, which were thrown away on the master of the horse, he set out for Rome.

XIX. In the beginning of the summer wherein these transactions passed, the operations of the war commenced in Spain also, both by land and sea. Hasdrubal, to the number of ships which he had received from his brother, manned and in readiness for service, added ten; and giving the command of this fleet of forty ships to Himilco, set out from New Carthage, marching his army along the shore, while the fleet sailed on, at a small distance from the land; so that he was prepared to fight on either element, as the foe should come in his way. Cneius Scipio, on hearing that the enemy had moved from their winter-quarters, at first designed to pursue the same plan of operations; but, afterwards, on hearing that they had been joined by vast numbers of new auxiliaries, he judged it not so prudent to meet them on land; sending, therefore, on board his ships, an additional number of chosen soldiers, he put to sea, with a fleet of thirty-five sail. On the next day after his leaving Tarraco, he arrived at an harbour within ten miles of the mouth of the river Iberus, and dispatching thence two Massilian scout-boats, learned from them, that the Carthaginian fleet lay in the mouth of that river, and that their camp was pitched on the bank. Intending therefore, by a general attack with his whole force, at once to overpower the enemy, while unprovided and off their guard, he weighed anchor, and advanced towards them. They have, in Spain, a great many towers built in lofty situations, which are used both as watch-towers, and as places of defence against pirates. From these the Roman fleet was first descried, and notice given of it to Hasdrubal. This caused much confusion in the camp on land, and somewhat earlier than the alarm reached the ships, where they had not heard the dashing of oars, nor any other noise usually accompanying a fleet. The capes, likewise, shut out the enemy from their view, when on a sudden, while Edition: current; Page: [30] they were rambling about the shore, or sitting quietly in their tents, expecting nothing less than the approach of an enemy, or a fight on that day, several horsemen, dispatched by Hasdrubal, came one after another, with orders for them to go on board instantly, and get ready their arms, for that the Roman fleet was just at the mouth of the harbour. These orders the horsemen, sent for the purpose, conveyed to every part; and presently Hasdrubal himself arrived with the main body of the army. Every place was now filled with noise and tumult: the rowers and soldiers hurrying to their ships, like men making their escape from land rather than going to battle. Scarcely had all got on board when some of the vessels, having untied the hawsers at the sterns, were carried foul of their anchors. Every thing was done with too much hurry and precipitation, so that the business of the mariners was impeded by the preparations of the soldiers, and the soldiers were prevented from taking and preparing their arms by the bustle and confusion of the mariners. The Romans, by this time, were not only drawing nigh, but had already formed their ships in order of battle. The Carthaginians, therefore, falling into the utmost disorder, to which the enemy’s attack contributed not more than the confusion prevailing among themselves, tacked about, and fled; and as the mouth of the river, to which they steered their course, did not afford an entrance to such an extensive line, and as such numbers crowded in together, their ships were driven on shore; many striking on banks, others on the dry strand. The soldiers made their escape, some with their arms, others without them, to their friends, who were drawn up on the shore. However, in the first encounter, two Carthaginian ships were taken, and four sunk.

XX. The Romans, without hesitation, pursued their dismayed fleet, notwithstanding that the land was possessed by the enemy, and that they saw a line of their troops under arms, stretched along the whole shore; and all the ships Edition: current; Page: [31] which had either shattered their prows by striking against the shore, or stuck their keels fast in the sand banks, they tied to their sterns and towed out into the deep. Out of the forty ships they took twenty-five. The most brilliant circumstance attending their victory was, that by this one battle, which cost them so little, they were rendered masters of the sea along the whole extent of that coast. Sailing forward, therefore, to Honosca, they there made a descent, took the city by storm, and sacked it. Thence they proceeded to Carthage, and, after wasting all the country round, at last set fire to the houses contiguous to the very walls and gates. The ships, now heavily laden with booty, went on to Longuntica, where a great quantity of okum,* for cordage, had been collected by Hasdrubal for the use of the fleet. Of this they carried off as much as they had occasion for, and burned the rest. Nor did they carry their operations along the open coasts of the continent only, but passed over to the island of Ebusa, where they in vain attempted, during two days, and with their utmost efforts, to gain possession of the capital city. Perceiving, however, that they were wasting time to no purpose, and in pursuit of a hopeless design, they applied themselves to the ravaging of the country; and after plundering and burning several towns, and collecting a greater quantity of booty than they had acquired on the continent, they retired on board their ships; at which time ambassadors came to Scipio, from the Balearick Isles, suing for peace. From this place the fleet sailed back, and returned to the hither parts of the province, whither ambassadors hastily flocked from all the nations adjacent to the Iberus, and from many even of the remotest parts of Spain. The whole number of states, which submitted to the dominion and government of Rome, and gave hostages, amounted to more than one hundred and twenty. Wherefore the Roman general, relying now with sufficient Edition: current; Page: [32] confidence on his land forces also, advanced as far as the pass of Castulo; on which Hasdrubal withdrew toward the ocean into Lusitania.

XXI. It was now supposed that the remainder of the summer would pass without farther action; and this would have been the case, had it depended on the Carthaginians; but, besides that the native Spaniards are in their temper restless and fond of change, Mandonius and Indibilis, (the latter of whom had formerly been chieftain of the Ilergetans,) as soon as the Romans retired from the pass toward the sea-coast, roused their countrymen to arms, and made predatory irruptions into the peaceful territories of the Roman allies. Against these Scipio sent some military tribunes, with a body of lightarmed auxiliaries; and these, without much difficulty, routed all their tumultuary bands, slaying and taking many, and disarming the greater part of them. This commotion, however, drew back Hasdrubal, from his march toward the ocean, to the hither side of the Iberus, for the purpose of supporting his confederates. The Carthaginians lay encamped in the territory of Ilercao, the Romans at a place called Newfleet, when a sudden piece of intelligence diverted the war to another quarter: the Celtiberians, who of all the states in that tract were the first who sent ambassadors, and gave hostages to the Romans, had, in consequence of instructions sent by Scipio, taken up arms, and invaded the province of the Carthaginians with a powerful army, had reduced three towns by assault, and had afterwards fought two battles against Hasdrubal himself with excellent success, killing fifteen thousand of his men, and taking four thousand, with many military ensigns.

XXII. While affairs in Spain were in this state, Publius Scipio, having been, on the expiration of his consulate, continued in command, and sent thither by the senate, arrived in the province with thirty ships of war, eight thousand soldiers, and a large supply of provisions. His fleet, which, Edition: current; Page: [33] when seen at a distance, made a grand appearance, by reason of the long train of transport vessels, put into the harbour of Tarraco, causing great joy among his countrymen and allies. Here Scipio disembarked his troops, and then marched to join his brother; and they thenceforth conducted the war jointly, with perfect harmony of temper, and unanimity in their counsels. The Carthaginians were now busily employed in making head against the Celtiberians; they therefore without delay passed the Iberus, and not seeing any enemy, proceeded to Saguntum, having received information that the hostages from every part of Spain had been placed there, under custody, by Hannibal, and were guarded in the citadel by a small garrison. This pledge was the only thing which hindered all the states from manifesting their inclinations to an alliance with Rome; as they dreaded lest, in case of their defection, the blood of their children should be made the expiation of their offence. From this restraint, one man, by a device more artful than honourable, set Spain at liberty. There was at Saguntum a Spaniard of noble birth, called Abelox, who had hitherto behaved with fidelity to the Carthaginians, but had now, out of a disposition very general among barbarians, on a change of fortune, altered his attachment. But considering that a deserter coming to an enemy without bringing into their hands any advantage of consequence, is no more than an infamous and contemptible individual, he studied how he might procure the most important emolument to his new allies. Wherefore, after reviewing every expedient within the reach of his power to effect, he determined upon a plan of delivering up the hostages into their hands; judging that this alone would prove of all means the most effectual towards conciliating to the Romans the friendship of the Spanish chieftains. But as he well knew that, without an order from Bostar the commander, the guards of the hostages would do nothing, he artfully addressed Bostar himself; the latter lying at the time encamped at Edition: current; Page: [34] some distance from the city, on the very shore, with intention to hinder the approach of the Romans from the harbour. Here the other, taking him aside to a place of secrecy, represented, as if it were unknown to him, the present state of affairs; that “fear had hitherto restrained the inclinations of the Spaniards, because the Romans had been at a great distance; at present the Roman camp was on their side of the Iberus, serving as a fortress and place of refuge to all who wished a change; wherefore it was necessary that those who could no longer be bound by fear, should be bound by kindness and favour.” Bostar showing surprise, and asking what was this unthought-of kindness of such great moment, he answered, “Send home the hostages to their respective provinces: this will engage the gratitude of their parents in particular, who are men of the first consequence in their several states, and likewise of the communities in general. Every man wishes to find trust reposed in him, and trust reposed generally proves a bond of fidelity. The office of restoring the hostages to their families I demand for myself; that, as I have been the proposer of the plan, I may likewise be its promoter, by the pains which I shall take in the execution of it; and may, as far as lies in my power, render a proceeding, which is acceptable in its own nature, still more acceptable.” Having gained the approbation of Bostar, who possessed not the same degree of crafty sagacity as other Carthaginians, he went out secretly by night to the advanced guards of the enemy, where, meeting some of the Spanish auxiliaries, and being by them conducted to Scipio, he disclosed the business on which he came. Then mutual engagements being entered into, and time and place appointed for delivering up the hostages, he returned to Saguntum. The next day he spent with Bostar, in receiving instructions for the execution of his commission; and, before he left him, settled the plan so, that he was to go by night, in order to escape the observation of the enemy’s watch. At an hour concerted, he called up the guards Edition: current; Page: [35] of the boys; and setting out, he led them, as if unknowingly, into the snare prepared by his own treachery. They were then conducted into the Roman camp. In every other respect the restoration of the hostages was performed as had been settled with Bostar, and in the same mode of procedure, as if the affair were transacted in the name of the Carthaginians. But, though the act was the same, the Romans acquired a much higher degree of reputation from it than it would have produced to the Carthaginians; because the latter, having shown themselves oppressive and haughty in prosperity, it might be supposed, that the abatement of their rigour was owing to the change in their fortune, and to their fears; whereas the Roman, on his first arrival, while his character was yet unknown, commenced his administration with an act of clemency and liberality; and it was believed that Abelox would hardly have voluntarily changed sides without some good reason for such a proceeding. All the states, therefore, with general consent, began to meditate a revolt; and they would have proceeded instantly to hostilities, had they not been prevented by the winter, which obliged even the Romans and Carthaginians to take shelter in houses.

XXIII. These were the occurrences of the second campaign of the Punic war, on the side of Spain; while, in Italy, the wise delays of Fabius had afforded the Romans some respite from calamities. However, though his conduct kept Hannibal in a constant state of no little anxiety, (since he perceived that the Romans had at length chosen such a master of the military science, who made war to depend on wisdom, not on fortune,) yet it excited in the minds of his countrymen, both in the camp and in the city, only sentiments of contempt; especially when, during his absence, the master of the horse had been rash enough to hazard a battle, the issue of which (though it afforded matter for some present rejoicing) was productive of no real advantage. Two incidents occurred which served to increase the general disapprobation Edition: current; Page: [36] of the dictator’s conduct; one was an artful contrivance employed by Hannibal to mislead the public opinion; for, on the dictator’s farm being shown to him by deserters, he gave orders, that, while every other place in the neighbourhood was levelled to the ground, that alone should be left safe from fire and sword, and every kind of hostile violence; in order that this might be construed as a favour shown to him, in consideration of some secret compact. The other was an act of his own, respecting the ransoming of the prisoners; the merit of which was, at first, perhaps doubtful, because he had not waited for the direction of the senate in that case; but, in the end, it evidently redounded to his honour in the highest degree. For, as had been practised in the first Punic war, a regulation was established between the Roman and Carthaginian generals, that whichever party should receive a greater number than he returned, should pay for the surplus, at the rate of two pounds and a half of silver* for each soldier. Now the Roman had received a greater number than the Carthaginian, by two hundred and forty-seven; and, though the business was frequently agitated in the senate, yet, because he had not consulted that body on the regulation, the issuing of the money due on this account was too long delayed. Sending, therefore, his son Quintus to Rome for the purpose, he sold off the farm which had been spared by the enemy, and, at his own private expense, acquitted the public faith. Hannibal lay in an established post under the walls of Geronium, in which city, when he took and burned it, he had left a few houses to serve as granaries. From hence he generally detached two-thirds of his army to forage, and the other part he kept with himself on guard and in readiness for action, providing for the security of the camp, and, at the same time, watching on all sides, lest any attack might be made on the foragers.

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XXIV. The Roman army was, at that time, in the territory of Larinum, and the command was held by Minucius the master of the horse, in consequence, as mentioned before, of the dictator’s departure to the city. But the camp, which had been pitched on a high mountain in a secure post, was now brought down to the plains; and more spirited designs, conformable to the genius of the commander, were meditated: either an attack on the dispersed foragers, or on their camp when left with a slight guard. It did not escape Hannibal’s observation that the plan of conduct was changed, together with the commander, and that the enemy were likely to act with more boldness than prudence. He sent (which would have been scarcely expected, as the foe was so near,) a third part of his troops to forage, retaining the other two; and afterwards removed his camp to a hill about two miles from Geronium, and within view of that of the enemy, to show that he was in readiness to protect his foragers, should any attempt be made on them. From hence he saw a hill nearer to and overhanging the Roman works, and knowing that, if he went openly in the day to sieze on this, the enemy would certainly get before him by a shorter road, he despatched secretly, in the night, a body of Numidians, who took possession of it: next day, however, the Romans, despising their small number, dislodged them, and removed their own camp thither. There was now, therefore, but a small space between the ramparts of the two camps, and this the Romans almost entirely filled with their troops in order of battle. At the same time, their cavalry and light infantry, sent out from the rear against the foragers, caused great slaughter and consternation among the scattered troops of the enemy. Yet Hannibal dared not to hazard a general engagement, for with his small numbers (one-third of his army being absent) he was scarcely able to defend his camp, if it were attacked. And now he conducted his measures almost on the plans of Fabius, lying still and avoiding Edition: current; Page: [38] action, while he drew back his troops to his former situation under the walls of Geronium. According to some writers, they fought a regular pitched battle: in the first encounter the Carthaginian was repulsed, and driven to his camp; from which a sally being suddenly made, the Romans were worsted in turn, and the fight was afterwards restored by the coming up of Numerius Decimus, a Samnite. This man, the first, with respect both to family and fortune, not only at Bovianum, of which he was a native, but in all Samnium, was conducting to the army, by order of the dictator, a body of eight thousand foot and five hundred horse, which, appearing on Hannibal’s rear, was supposed, by both parties to be a new reinforcement coming from Rome with Fabius. On which Hannibal, dreading likewise some stratagem retired within his works. The Romans pursued, and, with the assistance of the Samnite, took two forts by storm before night. Six thousand of the enemy were slain, and about five thousand of the Romans. Yet though the losses were so equal, an account was sent to Rome as of a most important victory, and letters, from the master of the horse, still more ostentatious.

XXV. These matters were very often canvassed, both in the senate and in assemblies of the people. The dictator alone, amidst the general joy, gave no credit either to the news or the letters; and declared, that though all were true, he should yet apprehend more evil from success than from disappointment; whereupon Marcus Metilius, a plebeian tribune, insisted, that “such behaviour was not to be endured; the dictator, not only when present with the army, obstructed its acting with success, but also, at this distance, when it had performed good service, impeded the good consequences likely to ensue; protracting the war, in order that he might continue the longer in office, and hold the sole command both at Rome and in the army. One of the consuls had fallen in the field, and the other, under pretext of Edition: current; Page: [39] pursuing a Carthaginian fleet, had been sent away far from Italy: the two prætors were employed in Sicily and Sardinia, neither of which provinces had, at that time, any occasion for the presence of a prætor. Marcus Minucius, the master of the horse, was kept, as it were, in custody, lest he should come within sight of the enemy, or perform any military service. So that, in fact, not only Samnium, the possession of which had been yielded up to the Carthaginians, as well as that of the country beyond the Iberus, but also the Campanian, Calenian, and Falernian territories had been ravaged and destroyed; while the dictator remained inactive at Casilinum, and, with the Roman legions, protected his own estate. The army and the master of the horse, who were eager to fight, had been kept, in a manner, shut up within the trenches, and deprived of arms, like captured forces: but when, at last, the dictator left them, when they were freed from their confinement, they passed the trenches, defeated the enemy, and put him to flight. For all which reasons, if the Roman commons were possessed of their ancient spirit, he would have boldly proposed to depose Quintus Fabius from his office: as matters stood at the present, however, he would offer a moderate proposition, that the master of the horse should be invested with authority equal to that of the dictator; and still, when that should be done, that Quintus Fabius should not be sent to the army, until he should first substitute a consul in the room of Caius Flaminius.” The dictator shunned the assemblies, knowing the people’s prejudices against any thing he could say; nor even in the senate was he very favourably heard, particularly when he spoke in high terms of the enemy, and imputed to the rashness and unskilfulness of the commanders the disasters of the two preceding years, and declared, that “the master of horse should be called to account for having fought contrary to his orders. If the entire command and direction were in him, he would soon give people reason to Edition: current; Page: [40] be convinced, that to a good commander fortune is a matter of slight consideration; and that wisdom and prudence control and govern all things. For his part, he deemed it more glorious to have saved the army at a critical juncture, and without suffering disgrace, than to have slain many thousands of the enemy.”

XXVI. Having frequently discoursed in this manner without effect, and having created Marcus Atilius Regulus consul, the dictator, unwilling to be present at a contest concerning the authority of his office, set out, during the night preceding the day on which the affair of the proposition was to be decided, and went to the army. As soon as day arose, the commons met in assembly, their minds filled with tacit displeasure against the dictator, and favour towards the master of the horse; yet were not people very forward to stand forth in praise of the measure, however generally agreeable; so that while the proposition had an abundant majority, still it wanted support. The only person found to second it was Caius Terentius Varro, who had been prætor the year before; a man not only of humble, but of sordid birth. We are told that his father was a butcher, who attended in person the sale of his meat, and that he employed this very son in the servile offices of that trade. This young man having, by the money thus acquired and left to him by his father, conceived hopes of attaining a more respectable situation in life, turned his thoughts to the bar and the Forum, where, by the vehemence of his harangues in favour of men and causes of the basest sort, in opposition to the worthy citizens of fortune and character, he at first attracted the notice of the people, and afterwards obtained honourable employments. Having passed through the quæstorship, two ædileships, the plebeian and curule, and lastly, the prætorship, he now raised his views to the consulship; and artfully contriving to make the general displeasure against the dictator the means of procuring popularity Edition: current; Page: [41] to himself, he alone gained the whole credit of the order passed by the commons. Excepting the dictator himself, all men, whether his friends or foes, in the city or in the camp, considered that order as passed with the intention of affronting him. But he, with the same steadiness of mind which he had displayed in bearing the charges made against him by his enemies before the multitude, bore likewise this ill-treatment thrown on him by the people in the violence of passion; and though he received on his journey, a letter containing a decree of the senate, giving equal authority to the master of the horse; yet being fully confident that, together with the authority in command, the skill of the commanders had not been made equal, he proceeded to the army, with a spirit unsubdued either by his countrymen or the enemy.

XXVII. But Minucius, whose arrogance was scarcely tolerable before, on this flow of success and of favour with the populace, threw of all restraints of modesty and moderation, and openly boasted no less of his victory over Quintus Fabius than of that over Hannibal: “He was the only commander,” he said, “who, in the desperate situation of their affairs, had been found a match for Hannibal; and he was now, by order of the people, set on a level with Fabius. A superior magistrate, with an inferior; a dictator, with the master of the horse; of which, no instance was to be found in the records of history; and this in a state where the masters of the horse used to dread and tremble at the rods and axes of dictators; with such a high degree of lustre had his good fortune and successful bravery shone forth. He was resolved, therefore, to pursue his own good fortune, should his colleague persist in dilatory and slothful plans, condemned by the judgment both of gods and men.” Accordingly, on the first day of his meeting Fabius, he told him, that “they ought, in the first place, to determine in what manner they should exercise the command, with which they were now Edition: current; Page: [42] equally invested; that, in his judgment, the best method would be, that each should hold the supreme authority and command alternately, either for a day, or for some longer fixed portion of time, if that were more agreeable; to the end, that if he should meet any favourable opportunity of acting, he might be a match for the enemy, not only in conduct, but likewise in strength.” This Quintus Fabius by no means approved; for “fortune,” he said, “would have the disposal of every thing which should be under the direction of his colleague’s rashness. The command had been shared between them, not taken away from him: he would never, therefore, voluntarily divest himself of the power of keeping such part of the business as he could, under the guidance of prudence. He would not divide times, or days of command, with him; but he would divide the troops, and, by his own counsels, would preserve as much as he could, since he was not allowed to preserve the whole.” He accordingly prevailed to have the legions divided between them, as was the practice with consuls. The first and fourth fell to Minucius, the second and third to Fabius. They likewise divided, in equal numbers, the cavalry, and the allied and Latine auxiliaries. The master of the horse chose also that they should encamp separately.

XXVIII. Hannibal was not ignorant of any thing that passed among the enemy; for, besides the intelligence procured through his spies, he derived ample information from deserters. In these proceedings he found a twofold cause of rejoicing; for the temerity of Minucius, now free from control, he could entrap at his will; and the wisdom of Fabius was reduced to act with but half his former strength. Between the camp of Minucius, and that of the Carthaginians, stood a hill, of which, whoever took possession, would evidently render the other’s situation more inconvenient. This Hannibal wished to seize; but he was not so desirous of gaining it without a dispute, (even though it were worth his Edition: current; Page: [43] while,) as of bringing on, thereby, an engagement with Minucius; who, he well knew, would be always ready to meet him in order to thwart his designs. The whole intervening ground seemed, at first view, incapable of admitting any stratagem, having on it no kind of wood, nor being even covered with brambles; but, in reality, it was by nature formed most commodiously for an ambush, especially as, in a naked vale, no snare of that sort could be apprehended; and there were, besides, at the skirts of it, hollow rocks, several of which were capable of containing two hundred armed men. In these concealments were lodged five thousand horse and foot, distributed in such numbers as could find convenient room in each place. Nevertheless, lest the motion of any of them, coming out inconsiderately, or the glittering of their arms, might betray the stratagem in such an open valley, he diverted the enemy’s attention to another quarter, by sending, at the first dawn, a small detachment to seize on the hill above-mentioned. Immediately on the appearance of these, the Romans, despising the smallness of their numbers, demanded, each for himself, the task of dislodging them, and securing the hill; while the general himself, among the most foolish and presumptuous, called to arms, and with vain parade and empty menaces expressed his contempt of the enemy. First, he sent out his light infantry; then, the cavalry, in close order; at last, seeing reinforcements sent by the Carthaginian, he advanced with the legions in order of battle. On the other side, Hannibal, by sending up, as the contest grew hotter, several bodies of troops, one after another, to the support of his men when distressed, had now almost completed a regular line; and the contest was maintained with the whole force of both parties. The Roman light infantry in the van, marching up from the lower ground to the hill already occupied by the enemy, were repulsed; and, being forced to retreat, carried terror among the cavalry, who were advancing in their rear, and fled back to the front of the legions. Edition: current; Page: [44] The line of infantry alone remained undismayed, amidst the general panic of the rest; and there was reason to think, that in a fair and regular battle they would have proved themselves not inferior to their antagonists, so great spirits had they assumed from their late success. But the troops in ambush rising on a sudden, and making brisk attacks both on their flanks and their rear, caused such dread and confusion, that no one retained either courage to fight, or hope of escape.

XXIX. Fabius, who had first heard their cries of dismay, and afterwards saw, at a distance, their line in disorder, then said, “it is so; fortune has found out rashness, but not sooner than I feared. He, who was made in command equal to Fabius, sees Hannibal his superior both in bravery and success. But there will be time enough for reproof and resentment; march now out of your trenches. Let us extort the victory from the enemy, and from our countrymen, an acknowledgment of their error.” When a great number were now slain, and others looking about for a way to escape, on a sudden Fabius’ army showed itself, as if sent down from heaven to their relief, and, by its appearance, before the troops came within a weapon’s throw, or struck a stroke, put a stop both to the precipitate flight of their friends, and the extravagant fury of the enemy. Those who had broken their ranks, and dispersed themselves in different ways, flocked together, from all sides, to the fresh army; such as had fled in great numbers together, faced about, and forming in lines, now retreated leisurely; then, several bodies uniting, stood on their defence. And now the two armies, the vanquished and the fresh, had almost formed one front, and were advancing against the foe, when the Carthaginians sounded a retreat; Hannibal openly acknowledging, that as he had defeated Minucius, so he had been himself defeated by Fabius. The greatest part of the day being spent in these various changes of fortune, when the troops returned into their camps, Minucius calling his Edition: current; Page: [45] men together, said, “Soldiers, I have often heard, that he is the first man, in point of abilities, who, of himself, forms good counsels; that the next, is he, who submits to good advice; and that he who neither can himself form good counsels, nor knows how to comply with those of another, is of the very lowest capacity. Now, since our lot has denied us the first rank in genius and capacity, let us maintain the second, the middle one; and, until we learn to command, be satisfied to be ruled by the skilful. Let us join camps with Fabius; and, when we shall have carried our standards to his quarters; when I shall have saluted him by the title of Father; for nothing less has his kindness towards us, as well as his high dignity deserved; then, soldiers, ye will salute, as your patrons, those men, whose arms and whose prowess have just now protected you; and then this day will have procured for us, if nothing else, at least the honour of possessing grateful minds.”

XXX. The signal was displayed, and notice given to get ready to march. They then set out; and, as they proceeded in a body to the camp of the dictator, they threw him, and all around, into great surprise. When they had planted their standards before his tribunal, the master of the horse, advancing before the rest, saluted him by the title of Father; and the whole body of his men, with one voice, saluted those who stood round as their patrons. Minucius then expressed himself thus: “Dictator, to my parents, to whom I have just now compared you, in the most respectful appellation by which I could address myself, I am indebted for life only; to you, both for my own preservation, and that of all these present. That order of the people, therefore, by which I have been oppressed rather than honoured, I am the first to cancel and annul; and, so may it be happy to you, to me, and to these your armies, the preserved and the preserver, I replace myself and them, these standards, and these legions, under your command and auspices; and entreat you, that, re-admitting Edition: current; Page: [46] us to your favour, you will order me to hold the post of master of the horse, and these their several ranks.” On this they cordially embraced; and, on the meeting being dismissed, the soldiers accompanying Minucius were hospitably and kindly invited to refreshment, both by their acquaintance and those to whom they were unknown. Thus was converted into a day of rejoicing, from a day of sorrow, one which but a little before had nearly proved fatal. When an account of these events arrived at Rome, and was afterwards confirmed by letters, not only from the generals themselves, but from great numbers of the soldiers, in both the armies, all men warmly praised Maximus, and extolled him to the sky. Nor were the sentiments felt by the Carthaginians, his enemies, and by Hannibal, less honourable to him. They then at length perceived, that they were waging war against Romans and in Italy. For during the two preceding years, they had entertained such contemptuous notions, both of the Roman generals and soldiers, as scarcely to believe that they were fighting against the same nation, of which they had received from their fathers such a terrible character. We are told likewise, that Hannibal, as he returned from the field, observed, that “the cloud which hung over the mountains, had at last discharged its rain in a storm.”

XXXI. During the course of these transactions in Italy, Cneius Servilius Geminus, consul, with a fleet of one hundred and twenty ships, sailed round the coasts of Sardinia and Corsica. Having received hostages in both places, he steered his course towards Africa, and, before he made any descent on the continent, ravaged the island of Meninx, and received from the inhabitants of Cercia ten talents of silver* as a contribution, to prevent the like devastation and burning of their country: he then drew near the coast of Africa, and disembarked his forces. Here the soldiers and mariners were Edition: current; Page: [47] led out to ravage the country, in as careless a manner as if they were plundering the islands where there were very few inhabitants; in consequence of which rashness they fell unawares into a snare. Being assailed on all sides, and while they were in loose disorder, by compact bodies of men acquainted with the country of which themselves were utterly ignorant, they were driven back to their ships in a disgraceful flight, and with severe loss. There fell no less than a thousand men, among whom was Sempronius Blæsus, the quæstor. The fleet hastily setting sail from the shore, which was covered with the enemy, passed over to Sicily, and at Lilybæum was delivered to the prætor Titus Otacilius, to be conducted home to Rome, by his lieutenant-general Publius Sura. The consul himself, travelling by land through Sicily, crossed the streight into Italy, having been summoned, as was likewise his colleague, Marcus Atilius, by a letter from Qintus Fabius, in order that they might receive the command of the army from him, as the six months, the term of his office, were nearly expired. Almost all the historians affirm, that Fabius acted against Hannibal in the capacity of dictator. Cœlius even remarks, that he was the first dictator created by the people. But it escaped the notice of Cœlius and the rest, that the privilege of nominating that officer belonged solely to Cneius Servilius, the only consul in being, who was at the time, far distant from home, in the province of Gaul; and so much time must necessarily elapse before it could be done by him, that the state, terrified by the late disaster, could not endure the delay, and therefore had recourse to the expedient of creating, by a vote of the people, a prodictator; and that the services which he afterwards performed, his distinguished renown as a commander, and the exaggerations of his descendants, in the inscription of his statue, may easily account for his being called dictator instead of prodictator.

XXXII. The consuls, having taken the command of the Edition: current; Page: [48] armies, Marcus Atilius of that of Fabius, and Geminus Servilius of that of Minucius, and having erected huts for the winter, as the season required (for it was now near the close of autumn), conducted their operations conformably to the plan of Fabius, and with the utmost harmony between themselves. Whenever Hannibal went out to forage, they came upon him in different places, as opportunity served, harrassing him on his march, and cutting off stragglers; but never hazarded a general engagement, which the enemy endeavoured to bring on by every means he could contrive: so that Hannibal was reduced, by scarcity, to such distress, that had he not feared that a retreat would have carried the appearance of flight, he would have returned back into Gaul; not having the least hope of supporting his army in those places; if the succeeding consuls should adopt the same plan of operations with these. While, in the neighbourhood of Geronium, hostilities were suspended by the coming on of winter, ambassadors came to Rome from Neapolis, who brought into the senate-house forty golden bowls of great weight, and spoke to this effect: “They knew that the treasury of the Roman people was exhausted by the present war, which was carried on no less in defence of the cities and lands of the allies, than the empire and city of Rome, the metropolis and bulwark of Italy; that the Neapolitans had therefore thought it reasonable, that whatever gold had been left to them by their ancestors for the decoration of their temples, or support in time of need, should now be applied to the aid of the Roman people. That if they had thought their personal service of any use, they would with the same zeal have offered it. That the Roman senate and people would act in a manner highly grateful to them, if they would reckon every thing in possession of the Neapolitans as their own, and vouchsafe to accept from them a present, of which the principal value and importance consisted in the disposition and wishes of those who cheerfully offered it rather than in its Edition: current; Page: [49] own intrinsic worth.” Thanks were given to the ambassadors for their attention and generosity, and one bowl, which was the least in weight, was accepted.

XXXIII. About the same time a Carthaginian spy, who had lurked undiscovered for two years, was detected at Rome: his hands were cut off, and he was sent away. Twenty-five slaves, for having formed a conspiracy in the field of Mars, were crucified, and the informer was rewarded with his freedom, and twenty-thousand asses in weight.* Ambassadors were sent to Philip King of Macedonia, to insist on his delivering up Demetrius of Pharia, who, being defeated in war, had fled to him; others also were sent, at the same time, to the Ligurians, to expostulate on their having assisted the Carthaginian with men and supplies, and to observe what was doing in the neighbourhood among the Boians and Insubrians. Delegates were also sent to Illyrium, to Pineus the King, to demand the tribute, of which the day of payment had elapsed; or to receive hostages, if he wished to be allowed longer time. Thus the Romans, though pressed at home by a war immensely grievous, yet relaxed not their attention to the business of the state in any part of the world, however distant. Their care was also excited by a matter of religious concernment. The temple of Concord, vowed two years before by the prætor Lucius Manlius, on occasion of the mutiny of the soldiers in Gaul, not having been yet set about, Marcus Emilius prætor of the city, constituted duumvirs for that purpose, Cneius Pupius and Cæso Quintus Flamininus, who contracted for the building of it in the citadel. By the same prætor, in pursuance of a decree Edition: current; Page: [50] of the senate, a letter was sent to the consuls, that if they thought proper, one of them should come to Rome to elect successors, and that a proclamation should be issued for holding the election, on whatever day they might name. In answer to this, the consuls wrote back, that, “without detriment to the business of the public, they could not go to any distance from the enemy. That it would be better, therefore, that the election should be held by an interrex, than that either of them should be called away from the war.” The senate judged it more adviseable that a dictator should be nominated by a consul, for the purpose of holding the election, and Lucius Veturius Philo being accordingly nominated, appointed Manius Pomponius Matho master of the horse. But some defect being discovered in their appointment, they were ordered, on the fourteenth day, to abdicate their offices, and an interregnum took place.

Y.R. 536. bc 216.XXXIV. The consuls were continued in command for another year. The patricians declared interrex Caius Claudius Centho, son of Appius, and afterwards Publius Cornelius Asina, under whose direction the election was held; which was attended with a warm contention between the patricians and plebeians. The populace struggled hard to raise to the consulship, Caius Terentius Varro, a person of their own rank, who, as before observed, by railing against the patricians, and by other popular arts, had acquired their affection; and who, by undermining the interest of Fabius and the dictatorial authority, had made the public displeasure against him the means of adding a lustre to his own character. The patricians opposed him with their utmost efforts, lest a power should be given to those men of raising themselves to the level of nobles, by means of malignant aspersions on their characters. Quintus Bæbius Herennius, a plebeian tribune, a relation of Caius Terentius, censured not only the senate, but likewise the augurs, for having hindered the dictator from holding the election, and thought, by Edition: current; Page: [51] rendering them odious, to increase the popularity of his favourite candidate. He asserted, that, “by certain of the nobility, who, for many years, had been wishing for a war, Hannibal was induced to enter Italy; that by the same men the war was treacherously prolonged, though it might have been brought to a conclusion; further, that an army, consisting of four entire legions, was sufficiently able to cope with the enemy, was evident from this, that Marcus Minucius, in the absence of Fabius, had fought with success. That two legions had been exposed in the field, with intent that they should be defeated, and then were rescued from the brink of destruction, in order that the man should be saluted as father and patron, who had hindered the Romans from conquering, though he had afterwards prevented their defeat. That the consuls had, on the plan of Fabius, protracted the war, when they had it in their power to bring it to an end. That a confederacy to this purpose had been entered into by all the nobles, nor would the people know peace, until they elected to the consulship a real plebeian, a new man: for as to the plebeians, who had attained nobility, they were now initiated into the mysteries of their order; and, from the moment when they ceased to be despised by the patricians, looked with contempt on the commons. Who did not see, that the end and intention of appointing an interregnum was to put the election into the power of the patricians? It was with a view to this that both the consuls had remained with the army; with the same view afterwards, when, contrary to their wishes, a dictator had been nominated to hold the election, they arbitrarily carried the point, that the appointment should be pronounced defective by the augurs. They had in their hands, therefore, the office of interrex; but certainly one consul’s place was the right of the Roman commons, which the people would dispose of with impartiality, and would bestow on such a person Edition: current; Page: [52] as rather wished to conquer effectually, than to continue long in command.”

XXXV. These inflammatory speeches had such an effect on the commons, that though there stood candidates three patricians, Publius Cornelius Merenda, Lucius Manlius Volso, and Marcus Æmilius Lepidus, and two of plebeian extraction, whose families were now ennobled, Caius Atilius Serranus, and Quintus Ælius Pætus, one of whom was pontiff, the other augur; yet Caius Terentius Varro, alone, was elected consul, in order that he might have the direction of the assembly for choosing his colleague. On which the nobles, having found that his competitors possessed not sufficient strength, prevailed, by violent importunity, on a new candidate to stand forth, after he had long and earnestly refused; this was Lucius Æmilius Paullus, a determined enemy of the commons, who had been consul before with Marcus Livius, and had very narrowly escaped being sentenced to punishment, as was his colleague. On the next day of assembly, all those who had opposed Varro, having declined the contest, he was appointed rather as an antagonist than as a colleague. The election of prætors* was then Edition: current; Page: [53] held, and Manius Pomponius Matho, and Publius Furius Philus were chosen. The lot of administering justice to the citizens of Rome fell to Pomponius, that of deciding causes between Roman citizens and foreigners, to Publius Furius Philus. Two additional prætors were appointed, Marcus Claudius Marcellus for Sicily, Lucius Postumius Albinus for Gaul. All these were appointed in their absence; nor, excepting the consul Terentius, was any of them invested with an office which he had not administered before; several men of bravery and activity being passed by, because, at such a juncture, it was not judged expedient to intrust any person with a new employment.

XXXVI. Augmentations were also made to the armies; but as to the number of additional forces of foot and horse which were raised, writers vary so much, as well as in the kind of troops, that I can scarcely venture to affirm any thing certain on that head. Some authors assert, that ten thousand new soldiers were levied; others four new legions; so that there were eight legions employed: and that the legions were also augmented, both horse and foot; one thousand foot and one hundred horse being added to each, so as to make it contain five thousand foot, and four hundred horse; and that the allies furnished an equal number of foot, and double the number of horse. Some writers affirm, that, at the time of the battle at Cannæ, there were in the Roman camp eighty-seven thousand two hundred soldiers. All agree in this, that greater force, and more vigorous efforts, were now employed than in former years, in consequence of the dictator having afforded them room to hope that the enemy might be vanquished. However, before the new legions began their march from the city, the decemvirs were ordered to go and inspect the books, because people in general were terrified by prodigies of extraordinary kinds: for accounts were received, that, at Rome, on the Aventine, and, at the same time, at Aricia, a shower of stones had fallen; that, in Edition: current; Page: [54] the country of the Sabines, statues had sweated abundance of blood, and that the warm waters at Cære had flowed bloody from the spring; and this circumstance, having happened frequently, excited therefore the greater terror. In a street, near the field of Mars, several persons had been struck with lightning, and killed. These portents were expiated according to the directions of the books. Ambassadors from Pæstum brought some golden vessels to Rome, and to these, as to the Neapolitans, thanks were returned, but the gold was not accepted.

XXXVII. About the same time arrived at Ostia a fleet, sent by Hiero, with a large supply of provisions. The Syracusan ambassadors, being introduced to the senate, acquainted them, that “King Hiero had been as sincerely afflicted, on hearing of the loss of the consul Caius Flaminius, and his army, as he could have been by any disaster happening to himself, or his own kingdom. Wherefore, though he was fully sensible that the grandeur of the Roman people had shone forth, in times of adversity, with a still more admirable degree of lustre than even in prosperity, yet he had sent such supplies of every sort, for the support of the war, as are usually furnished by good and faithful allies; and he earnestly besought the conscript Fathers not to refuse them. That, in the first place, for the sake of the omen, they had brought a golden statue of Victory, of three hundred and twenty pounds weight, which they prayed them to accept, hold, and possess, as appropriated to them for ever. That they had likewise, in order to guard against any want of provisions, brought three hundred thousand pecks of wheat, and two hundred thousand of barley; and that whatever further supplies might be necessary, should be conveyed to such places as the senate should order. That he knew that the Roman people employed not in the main body of their army, or in the cavalry, any other than Roman citizens, or Latine confederates; yet as he had seen, in a Roman camp, Edition: current; Page: [55] foreign bands of light-armed auxiliaries, he had therefore sent a thousand archers and slingers, a body well qualified to oppose the Balearians, Moors, and other nations remarkable for fighting with missile weapons.” To these presents he added likewise advice: that “the prætor, to whose lot the province of Sicily might fall, should cross over with a fleet to Africa, in order to give the enemy employment for their arms in their own country, and to allow them the less leisure to supply Hannibal with reinforcements.” The senate returned an answer to the King in these terms; that “Hiero had ever acted as a man of honour, and an excellent ally; that from the time, when he first united in friendship with the Roman people, he had, through the whole course of his conduct, manifested an invariable fidelity in his attachment to them; and in all times, and in all places, had, with great liberality, supported the interest of Rome. Of this the Roman people entertained, as they ought, a grateful sense. That gold had likewise been offered by some other states, which, though thankful for the intention, the Roman people had not accepted: the statue of Victory, however, and the omen, they accepted, and had offered, and dedicated to that divinity, a mansion in the Capitol, in the temple of Jupiter supremely good and great; hoping that, consecrated in that fortress of the city of Rome, she would be pleased to remain firm and immoveable, kind and propitious to the Roman people.” The slingers, archers, and the corn were delivered to the consuls. To the fleet of ships, already in Sicily with the prætor Titus Otacilius, were added twenty-five quinqueremes, and he received permission, if he judged it conducive to the public good, to pass over to Africa.

XXXVIII. After the levies were completed, the consuls waited a few days for the arrival of the confederates from Latium. At this time the soldiers were obliged to take an oath dictated by the tribunes, which had never before been practised. For, until now, there had been no public oath Edition: current; Page: [56] taken, only that they would assemble on the orders of the consuls, and, without their orders, would not depart; and then, when they joined their decury or century, the horsemen, on being placed in their decuries, and the footmen on being placed in their centuries, used to swear voluntarily, among themselves, that they would not depart through fear or in flight; nor quit their ranks, except for the purpose of taking up or bringing a weapon, of striking an enemy, or saving a countryman. This, from having been a voluntary compact between themselves, was now put under the jurisdiction of the tribunes, who were invested with legal authority to administer this oath. Before the troops began their march from the city, the harangues of the consul Varro were frequent and full of presumption; in these he openly asserted, that the war had been purposely drawn into Italy by the nobles, and would continue fixed in the very centre of the commonwealth, if men like Fabius were to have the command; but that he, on the very first day, wherein he should get sight of the enemy, would bring it to a conclusion. The only speech made by his colleague Paullus, on the day before that on which they set out from the city, contained more truth than flattery, addressed to the people; nevertheless he used no harsh expressions against Varro, excepting thus much; that “it was a matter of surprise to him, how any man, before he was acquainted with either his own or the enemy’s forces, the situation of posts, or the nature of the country, while he remained in the city, in short, and in the garb of peace, could yet know what he should have to do when he came to take the field; and could even foretell the day on which he was to come to a general engagement. For his part, as men’s plans must be regulated by circumstances, and not circumstances by their plans, he would not be in haste to adopt prematurely any one, before the season showed its expediency. He wished that even those measures, which had been taken under the guidance of caution and Edition: current; Page: [57] prudence, might be attended with prosperous issue; since rashness, besides the folly which it involved, had been hitherto constantly unsuccessful.” Without any farther declaration, it was hence apparent, that he preferred safe to hasty counsels; and to induce him to adhere the more firmly to this resolution, Quintus Fabius Maximus is said to have addressed him, just before his departure, in this manner:—

XXXIX. “If, Lucius Æmilius, you had a colleague like yourself, (which I earnestly wish,) or, if yourself were like your colleague, any address from me would be superfluous; because, in the first place, two good consuls would, without advice from me, out of their own honourable zeal, act, in every particular, to the advantage of the public; and, in the other, two bad ones would neither admit my words into their ears, nor my counsels into their breasts. At present, when I consider, on the one hand, your colleague, and, on the other, yourself and your character, I address myself solely to you, whose endeavours, as a worthy man and citizen, I perceive, will be without effect, if the administration be defective on the other side. Evil counsels will have equal privilege and authority with good. For, Lucius Paullus, you are much mistaken if you suppose that you will have a less difficult struggle to maintain with Caius Terentius than with Hannibal. I know not whether the former may not prove more dangerous than the latter. With the one, you will contend in the field only; with the other, in all places and times; against Hannibal and his legions, you will be supported in fight, by your troops of infantry and cavalry; Varro will oppose you at the head of your own soldiers. May the mention of Caius Flaminius not prove ominous to you! But he became mad, after he became consul, when in his province, and at the head of the army: in a word, this man, before he professed himself a candidate for the consulship, afterwards, while he canvassed for it, and now, since his appointment, before he has seen Edition: current; Page: [58] the camp or the enemy, has proceeded, all along, in one continued paroxysm of insanity. And when, by raving of fights and fields of battle, he now excites such storms among the peaceful citizens in their gowns, what do you suppose he will do among the young men, who have arms in their hands, and with whom acts instantly follow words? If he shall immediately fight the enemy, as he boasts that he will, either I am ignorant of military affairs, of the nature of the present war, and of the enemy with whom we have to deal, or some other place will be rendered still more remarkable by our disasters, than was the Trasimenus. It is no time for me to boast, talking as I am to a single man; and if I have gone too far on either side, it was in contemning, not in seeking applause: but the truth is this; the only rational method of conducting the war against Hannibal, is that in which I conducted it; nor does the event alone confirm this, (for fools only judge by events,) but the reasons which did and must subsist, as long as circumstances shall remain the same and unchangeable. We are carrying on war in Italy, in our own country, and on our own soil, where all the places round are full of our countrymen and allies, who do, and will assist us with men, arms, horses, and provisions. That we may so far rely on their faithful attachment, they have given sufficient proofs in the times of our distress. Time will daily improve us, will render us more prudent, more steady. Hannibal, on the contrary, is in a foreign, an hostile territory, surrounded on all sides by enemies and dangers, far from home, far from his native country; both land and sea are possessed by his foes; no cities receive him within their walls; he nowhere sees aught which he can call his own; he lives on the plunder of the day; he has scarcely a third part of that army which he brought over the river Iberus; nor has he a supply of food for the few who remain. Do you doubt then, that by avoiding action we shall overcome him, whose strength is of itself declining every day, who has no resource of provisions, Edition: current; Page: [59] no reinforcements, no money? How long under the walls of Geronium, a wretched fort of Apulia, as if under those of Carthage, did I—But I will not vaunt even before you. See how the last consuls, Cneius Servilius and Marcus Atilius, baffled him. Believe me, Lucius Paullus, this is the only way of safety; yet this will be thwarted by your countrymen, rather than by the enemy. For the same thing will be desired by both parties; the wish of Varro, the Roman consul, will be the same with that of Hannibal, the Carthaginian. You alone will have two generals to withstand. However you will withstand them, provided you maintain a proper degree of firmness; so as not to be shaken by common fame, or by the rumours which will be spread among the people; by neither the empty applause bestowed on your colleague, nor the false imputations thrown on yourself. It is commonly said that truth is often eclipsed, but never extinguished. He who slights fame, shall enjoy it in its purity. Let them call you timid, instead of cautious; dilatory instead of considerate; an unenterprising instead of a consummate commander. I rather wish that a wise enemy may fear, than that the foolish part of your own countrymen should applaud you. Attempting every thing, you will be despised by Hannibal; doing nothing rashly, you will be feared by him. Yet I by no means recommend that nothing should be done, but that in all your proceedings you be guided by reason, not by fortune; that you keep every matter always within your own power, and under your own direction; that you be always armed and on your guard; and that you neither fail to improve a favourable opportunity, nor afford such an opportunity to the foe. Acting with deliberation, you will see every thing clearly and distinctly; haste is improvident and blind.”

XL. The consul answered rather in a desponding style: he acknowledged the truth of what had been said, but showed little hope of being able to put the advice into execution. “If Edition: current; Page: [60] Fabius,” he said, “when dictator, had been unable to withstand the arrogance of his master of the horse, what power or influence could a consul have; to oppose a seditious and hot-headed colleague? As to himself, he had in his former consulate, escaped the flames of popular rage, not without being scorched. He wished that all might end happily: but should any misfortune occur, he would expose his life to the weapons of the enemy, rather than to the votes of his incensed countrymen.” Immediately after this conversation, as we are told, Paullus set out, escorted by the principal patricians, while the plebeians attended their own consul in a crowd more numerous than respectable. When they came into the field, and the old and new troops were intermixed, they formed two separate camps; the new one, which was likewise the smaller, was nearer to Hannibal; the old one contained the greater number, and the main strength of the army. Then Marcus Atilius, one of the consuls of the former year, wishing to be dismissed, on account of the state of his health was sent to Rome; and the other, Geminus Servilius, was charged with the command of a Roman legion, and two thousand of the confederate infantry and cavalry, stationed in the smaller camp. Hannibal, though he saw the force of the enemy doubled, yet rejoiced exceedingly at the arrival of the consuls. For, besides that he had no part remaining of the provisions acquired by plunder from day to day, there was nothing now left within his reach, of which he could make prey: all the corn in every quarter, when it was found unsafe to keep it in the country, having been collected together into the fortified towns; so that, as was afterwards discovered, he had scarcely a quantity sufficient for ten days; and, in consequence of the scarcity, a design had been formed, among the Spaniards, of going over to the enemy, had time been allowed them to bring it to maturity.

XLI. But fortune herself concurred in administering fuel to the impatient temper and rashness of the consul; for, an Edition: current; Page: [61] attack having been made on their plundering parties, and a tumultuary kind of engagement ensuing, occasioned rather by the voluntary exertions of the soldiers running up to the spot, than by any preconcerted design, or order, of the commanders, the Carthaginians were considerably worsted, losing a thousand seven hundred men, while there fell, of the Romans and their confederates, not more than an hundred. However, while the victors pursued with eagerness, the consul Paullus, who held the command on that day, (for they commanded alternately,) dreading an ambuscade, obliged them to halt, though Varro expressed great indignation at it, exclaiming, that the enemy had been allowed to slip out of their hands; and that the war might have been finished, had not a stop been put to the action. Hannibal grieved not much for this loss; on the contrary, he rather believed that it would serve as a bait to ensnare the more presumptuous consul, and the soldiers, particularly the raw ones. All the circumstances of the enemy were as well known to him as his own; that the commanders were of dissimilar characters, and disunited in opinion; and that almost two-thirds of their army were raw recruits. Thinking, therefore, that he had now found both time and place convenient for a stratagem, on the following night, he led away his men, with no other encumbrance than their arms, the camp being full of their effects of all kinds, public and private: then, making them halt out of sight, behind the nearest mountains, he formed the foot in order of battle on the left, and the cavalry on the right, and conducted the baggage, as a centre line, through the interjacent valley; intending, while the enemy should be busy and encumbered in the pillaging of the camp, as if deserted by the owners, to fall upon them by surprise. Numerous fires were left in the camp, to create a belief that his intention was, by such appearances, to detain the consuls in their posts, while he should gain the advantage of time, to retreat Edition: current; Page: [62] to the greater distance, in like manner as he had deceived Fabius the year before.

XLII. When day arrived, the Romans, on observing, first, that the advanced guards had been withdrawn, and afterwards, on a nearer approach, the extraordinary silence, were filled with surprise. Then, when they discovered plainly that the camp was deserted, they ran together in crowds to the pavilions of the consuls, informing them that the enemy had fled in such haste, as to leave the tents standing; and in order to conceal their flight, had left also a number of fires. They then, with loud clamours demanded, that orders should be given for the troops to march in pursuit; and, that they should plunder the camp in their way. Varro acted the same part as the common soldiers. Paullus repeatedly represented, that they ought to proceed with care and circumspection; and, at last, when he could no otherwise restrain their mutinous proceedings, or the leader of them, he despatched Marius Statilius, a præfect of the allies, with a troop of Lucanian horse, to procure intelligence. He rode up to the gates, and, ordering the rest to halt at the outside of the trenches, he went himself with two horsemen into the camp; and, having carefully examined every circumstance, returned and reported that there was without doubt an ambush intended; for the fires were left in that quarter which faced the enemy, the tents were open, and every thing of value left in view; and that he had seen silver thrown at random in the passages, as if to invite a pillage. The very circumstances, mentioned with the intent of repressing their ardour for booty, served to inflame it; and the soldiers, shouting aloud, that if the signal were not given, they would proceed without their leaders; they did not long want one, for Varro instantly gave the signal for marching. Paullus was desirous of checking this precipitancy, and being informed that the chickens had not given a favourable auspice, ordered that the ill omen should be reported to his colleague when he Edition: current; Page: [63] was just leading the troops out of the gate; whereupon Varro, though heartily vexed at this, yet from the recollection of the recent disaster of Flaminius, and of the memorable overthrow of the consul Claudius at sea, in the first Punic war, was sensibly struck with religious scruples. The gods themselves on that day postponed, in a manner, rather than averted the calamity which hung over the Romans: for it luckily happened, that, while the troops refused to obey the consul’s orders to return into the camp, two slaves, one belonging to a horseman of Formiæ, the other to one of Sidicinum, who had been taken prisoners by the Numidians, among a party of foragers, in the consulate of Servilius and Atilius, made their escape on that very day to their owners; and, being brought before the consuls, informed them, that Hannibal’s whole army lay in ambush behind the nearest mountains. The seasonable arrival of these men procured obedience to the authority of the consuls, when one of them, by his immoderate pursuit of popular applause, had, through improper indulgence, forfeited people’s respect for their dignity, particularly with regard to himself.

XLIII. When Hannibal perceived that the Romans, though they took some inconsiderate steps, had not carried their rashness to the full extent, the stratagem being now discovered, he returned with disappointment to his camp. In this place he could not remain, many days, by reason of the scarcity of corn, and new measures were daily in contemplation, not only among the soldiery, a multitude compounded of the refuse of all nations, but even in the mind of the general himself; for the men begun to murmur, and afterwards proceeded with open clamours to demand the arrears of their pay, and to complain at first of the dearness of provisions, at last of famine. A report too prevailed, that the mercenary soldiers, particularly those from Spain, had formed a scheme of going over to the enemy, so that Hannibal himself is said to have sometimes entertained thoughts Edition: current; Page: [64] of flying into Gaul; intending to have left all the infantry behind, and, with the cavalry, to have made a hasty retreat. While these matters were in agitation, and this the disposition in the camp, he formed a resolution of removing into Apulia, where the weather was warmer, and consequently more favourable to the ripening of the harvest; and where, in proportion as he was placed at a greater distance from the enemy, the discontented would find desertion the more difficult. Accordingly he set out by night, after kindling fires as before, and leaving a few tents to keep up the appearance of a camp, in the expectation that fears of an ambush, as on the former occasion, would keep the Romans within their works. But Statilius, the Lucanian, having examined all the ground beyond the camp, and on the other side of the mountains, and bringing back an account that he had seen the enemy marching at a great distance, a consultation was held about pursuing him. Here each consul maintained the same opinion which he had ever held; but almost all the officers siding with Varro, and no one except Servilius, the consul of the former year, with Paullus, they, pursuant to the determination of the majority, set forward, under the impulse of unhappy fate, to render Cannæ for ever memorable, as a scene of disaster to the Romans. Near that town Hannibal had pitched his camp, turning the rear towards the wind called Vulturnus, which, in those plains, parched with heat, carries along with it clouds of dust. As this choice of situation was highly commodius to the men, while in camp, so was it particularly advantageous, when they were drawn up for battle; because, while the wind only blew on their backs, it would nearly blind the enemy with whom they were to fight, by carrying great quantities of dust into their faces.

XLIV. The consuls pursued the Carthaginians, taking proper care to examine the roads; when they arrived near Cannæ, and had the foe in sight, they divided their forces, as before, and fortified two camps at nearly the same distance Edition: current; Page: [65] from each other as they had been at Geronium. As the river Aufidus ran by the camps of both, the watering parties of both had access to it, as opportunity served, but not without encountering opposition. The Romans, however, in the smaller camp, which was pitched on the other side of the Aufidus, had greater liberty of supplying themselves with water, because there were none of the enemy posted on the farther bank. Hannibal, now, conceiving hopes that the consuls might be brought to an engagement in this tract, where the nature of the ground was advantageous to cavalry, in which kind of forces he had a manifest superiority, drew out his army in order of battle, and endeavoured to provoke them by skirmishes of the Numidians. On this the Roman camp was again thrown into disturbance, by mutinous behabiour in the soldiers, and dissension between the consuls; Paullus representing to Varro the fatal rashness of Sempronius and Flaminius; and Varro to him the example of Fabius, as a specious precedent for timid and inactive commanders. The one calling gods and men to witness, that none of the blame was to be imputed to him, of Hannibal’s now holding Italy as if by prescriptive right of possession; for that he was chained down by his colleague, while the soldiers, full of rage and ardour for the fight, were kept unarmed. To which the other replied, that, if any misfortune should happen to the legions, from their being hurried into an inconsiderate and rash engagement, he himself, although entirely free from all reproach, must yet bear a share of the consequences, be they what they might. Let him take care, that those, whose tongues were now so ready and impetuous, showed the same alertness during the fight.

XLV. While, instead of deliberating on proper measures, they thus wasted time in altercation, Hannibal, who had kept his forces drawn up in order of battle during a great part of the day, led back the rest towards the camp, and despatched Edition: current; Page: [66] the Numidian horse to the other side of the river, to attack a watering party, which had come from the smaller camp of the Romans. They had scarcely reached the opposite bank, when, merely by their shout, and the rapidity of their motions, they dispersed this disorderly crowd; and then pushed forward against an advanced guard, stationed before the rampart, and almost up to the very gates. The Romans, in having their camp threatened by a band of irregular auxiliaries, felt an intolerable affront, so that nothing could have restrained them from drawing out their forces and passing the river, but from the chief command being then in the hands of Paullus. On the next day, therefore, Varro, whose turn it was to command, without conferring with his colleague, displayed the signal for battle*, and marshalling his forces, led them over the river, while Paullus followed; because, though he did not approve of his design, yet he could not avoid giving him his support. Having crossed the river, they were joined by the troops from the smaller camp, and formed their line in this manner: in the right wing, next the river, they placed the Roman cavalry, and adjoining them the Roman infantry; the extremity of the left wing was composed of the confederate cavalry; and, inclosed by these, the confederate infantry stretched to the centre, so as to unite with the Roman legions. The archers, and other light-armed auxiliaries formed the van. The consuls commanded the wings, Terentius the left, Æmilius the right; the charge of the centre was committed to Geminus Servilius.

XLVI. Hannibal, at the first light, sending before him the Balearians, and other light-armed troops, crossed the river, and posted each company in his line of battle, in the same order in which he had led them over. The Gallic and Spanish cavalry occupied the left wing, near the bank, opposite the Roman cavalry, and the Numidian horse the right; the Edition: current; Page: [67] infantry forming the centre, in such a manner, that both ends of their line were composed of Africans, and between these were placed the Gauls and Spaniards. The Africans, for the most part, resembled a body of Roman troops, being furnished, in great abundance, with the arms taken partly at the Trebia, but the greater part at the Trasimenus. The shields of the Gauls and Spaniards were nearly of the same make; their swords were different, both in length and form; those of the Gauls being very long, and without points, those of the Spaniards, whose practice was rather to thrust at their enemy, than to strike, light and handy, and sharp at the point. The troops of these nations made a more terrible appearance than any of the rest, on account of the size of their bodies, and also of their figure. The Gauls were naked from their middle upward; the Spaniards clad in linen vests, of a surprising and dazzling whiteness, and bordered with purple. The whole number of infantry, drawn up in the field on this occasion, was forty thousand, of cavalry ten thousand. The generals, who commanded the wings, were, Hasdrubal on the left, and Maharbal on the right. Hannibal himself, with his brother Mago, took the command of the centre. The sun, very conveniently for both parties, shone on their flanks, whether this position was chosen designedly, or that it fell out by accident; for the Romans faced the south, the Carthaginians the north. The wind, which the natives of the country call Vulturnus, blew briskly against the Romans, and, by driving great quantities of sand into their faces, prevented them from seeing clearly.

XLVII. The shout being raised, the auxiliaries advanced, and the fight commenced, first, between the light-armed troops; then the left wing, consisting of Gallic and Spanish cavalry, engaged with the right wing of the Romans; but not in the usual method of fighting between horsemen, for they were obliged to engage front to front, no room having been left for any evolutions, the river on one side, and the Edition: current; Page: [68] line of infantry on the other, confining them, so that they could only push directly forward; at last, the horses being pressed together in a crowd, and stopped from advancing, the riders, grappling man to man, dragged each other to the ground. The contest was now maintained chiefly on foot, but was more furious than lasting; for the Roman horsemen, unable to keep their stand, turned their backs. When the fight between the cavalry was almost decided, the infantry began to engage. At first, the Gauls and Spaniards maintained their ranks, without betraying any inferiority either in strength or courage. At length the Romans, by frequent and persevering efforts, with their front regular and in compact order, drove back a body which projected before the rest of their line in form of a wedge, and which, being too thin, consequently wanted strength: as these gave ground, and retreated hastily and in disorder, they pursued, and without slackening their charge, broke through their dismayed and flying battalions; at first, to their centre line; and, at length, meeting with no resistance, they arrived at the reserved troops of the Africans, which latter had been posted on both flanks of the others, inclining backward towards the rear, while the centre, composed of the Gauls and Spaniards, jutted considerably forward. By the retreat of this prominent part, the front was thus rendered even; then, by their proceeding still in the same direction, a bending inward was at length formed in the middle, on each side of which the Africans now formed wings; and the Romans, incautiously rushing into the centre, these flanked them on each side, and, by extending themselves from the extremities, surrounded them on the rear also. In consequence of this, the Romans, who had already finished one battle, quitting the Gauls and Spaniards, whom they had pursued with much slaughter, entered now on a new one against the Africans, in which they had not only the disadvantage of being hemmed in, and, in that position, obliged to fight, but, also, Edition: current; Page: [69] that of being fatigued, while their antagonists were fresh and vigorous.

XLVIII. By this time, the battle had begun on the left wing also of the Romans, where the confederate cavalry had been posted against the Numidians: it was languid at first, and commenced with a piece of Carthaginian treachery. About five hundred Numidians, carrying, besides their usual armour and weapons, swords concealed under their coats of mail, rode up under the appearance of deserters, with their bucklers behind their backs, and having hastily alighted from their horses, and thrown their bucklers and javelins at the feet of their enemies, were received into the centre line, and conducted thence to the hindmost ranks, where they were ordered to sit down in the rear. There they remained quiet, until the fight was begun in every quarter: when, however, the thoughts and eyes of all were deeply intent on the dispute, snatching up the shields which lay in great numbers among the heaps of the slain, they fell on the rear of the Romans, and stabbing the men in the backs, and cutting their hams, made great slaughter, and caused still greater terror and confusion. While, in one part, prevailed dismay and flight, in another, obstinate fighting in spite of despair, Hasdrubal, who commanded on the left wing, after entirely routing the Roman cavalry, went off to the right, and, joining the Numidians, put to flight the cavalry of the allies. Then, leaving the Numidians to pursue them, with his Gallic and Spanish horse, he made a charge on the rear of the Roman infantry, while they were busily engaged with the Africans.*

XLIX. On the other side of the field, Paullus had, in the very beginning of the action, received a grievous wound from a sling; nevertheless, at the head of a compact band, he Edition: current; Page: [70] frequently opposed himself in Hannibal’s way; and, in several places, he restored the fight, being protected by the Roman horsemen, who, in the end, dismounted, because the consul’s strength declined so far, that he was not able even to manage his horse. Some person, on this, telling Hannibal that the consul had ordered the cavalry to dismount, he answered, as we are told, “I should have been much better pleased if he delivered them to me in chains.” The fight maintained by the dismounted cavalry was such as might be expected, when the enemy had gained undoubted possession of the victory: and as the vanquished chose to die on the spot, rather than fly, the victors, enraged at them for retarding their success, put to death those whom they could not drive from their ground. They did, however, at length oblige them to quit the field, their numbers being reduced to a few, and those quite spent with toil and wounds. They were all entirely dispersed, and such as were able repaired to their horses, in order to make their escape. Cneius Lentulus, a military tribune, seeing, as he rode by, the consul sitting on a stone, and covered with blood, said to him, “Lucius Æmilius, whom the gods ought to favour, as the only person free from the blame of this day’s disaster, take this horse, while you have any remains of strength; I will accompany you, and am able to raise you up and protect you. Add not to the fatality of the fight the death of a consul: without that, there will be abundant cause of tears and mourning.” The consul replied, “Your spirit, Cneius Cornelius, I commend; but do not waste, in unavailing commisseration, the short time allowed you for escaping out of the hands of the enemy. Go, carry a public message from me to the senate, that they fortify the city of Rome; and, before the victorious Carthaginian arrives, secure it with a powerful garrison. Carry also a private message to Quintus Fabius; tell him that Lucius Æmilius has lived, and now dies, in a careful observance of his directions. As to myself, let Edition: current; Page: [71] me expire here, in the midst of my slaughtered soldiers, that I may not either be brought, a second time, to a trial, on the expiration of my consulship, or stand forth an accuser of my colleague; or as if my own innocence were to be proved by the impeachment of another.” While they were thus discoursing, first, a crowd of their flying countrymen, and afterwards the enemy, came upon them; and these, not knowing the consul, overwhelmed him with their weapons. Lentulus, during the confusion, escaped through the swiftness of his horse. A general route now took place; seven thousand men fled into the smaller camp, ten thousand into the greater, and about two thousand into the village of Cannæ; but the town not being defended by any fortifications, these were instantly surrounded by Carthalo and the cavalry. The other consul, without joining any party of his routed troops, gained Venusia, with about seventy horsemen. The number of the slain is computed at forty thousand foot, and two thousand seven hundred horse: the loss of natives and of the confederates being nearly equal. Among these were the quæstors belonging to both consuls, Lucius Atilius, and Lucius Furius Bibaculus; twenty-one military tribunes; several who had passed through the offices of consul, prætor, or ædile, among whom are reckoned Cneius Servilius Geminus, and Marcus Minucius, who had been master of the horse in the preceding year, and consul some years before; likewise eighty who were members of the senate, or had borne those offices which qualified them to be chosen into that body, and who had voluntarily enlisted as soldiers in the legions. The prisoners taken in this battle are reckoned at three thousand foot, and three hundred horse.

L. Such was the battle of Cannæ; equally memorable with the defeat at the Allia: but as it was less fatal in its consequences, because the enemy were remiss in pursuing the blow, so, with respect to the destruction of the troops, it Edition: current; Page: [72] was more grievous and lamentable. For the flight at the Allia, while it proved the ruin of the city, preserved the men; but at Cannæ, scarcely seventy accompanied the consul who fled; almost the whole army perished with the other. Those who had collected together in the two camps, were a half-armed multitude, without leaders: from the larger was sent a message to the others, that while the enemy were sunk, during the night, in profound sleep, in consequence of their fatigue in the battle, and of their feasting for joy, they should come over to them, and they would go off in one body to Canusium. This advice some totally rejected; for they said, “Why did not these men come to them, when a junction might as well have been effected by that means? Why, but because the ground between them was full of the enemy’s troops, and that they chose to expose to such danger the persons of others, rather than their own?” The remainder, though they did not disapprove of the advice, were yet afraid to follow it. On this, Publius Sempronius Tuditanus, a military tribune, addressed them thus: “Do ye choose, then, to be taken prisoners by a most rapacious and cruel enemy, to have a price set upon your heads, by men who will examine, whether you are a citizen of Rome, or a Latine confederate, in order to pay a compliment to others, by heaping indignity and misery upon yourselves? Surely not, if ye be really fellow-citizens of the consul Æmilius, who preferred an honourable death to a life of dishonour, and of such a number of brave men, who lie in heaps around him. But, before the light overtakes us, and more numerous bodies of the enemy stop up the way, let us sally forth through those, who, without any order or regularity, make this noise before our gates; courage and the sword find a passage through the closest battalion; this open and loose band we will penetrate in the form of a wedge. Come on, then, ye who wish the preservation of yourselves and the commonwealth, follow me.” So saying, he drew his sword, Edition: current; Page: [73] and, with the troops who chose to follow him, formed as he had proposed, made his way through the midst of the enemy. Here the Numidian javelins being thrown against their right sides, which were uncovered, they removed their shields to their right hands, and thus, to the number of six hundred, effected a passage into the larger camp; proceeding thence, in conjunction with the other greater body, they arrived safe at Canusium. Such were the proceedings of the vanquished, dictated rather by accident, or each man’s particular feeling, than by deliberation among themselves, or the orders of any.

LI. When the Carthaginians, flocking round Hannibal, congratulated him on the victory, and recommended, that, after going through the fatiguing business of so great a battle, he should take himself, and allow the wearied soldiers, repose during the remainder of that day and the ensuing night; Maharbal, general of cavalry, who was of opinion that no time should be lost, said to him, “that you may be convinced how much has been accomplished by this engagement, on the fifth day following you shall feast, victorious, in the Capitol. Follow me: I will advance with the horse, that the enemy may see me arrived, before they are apprised of my being on the way.” To Hannibal these hopes appeared too sanguine, and the prospect too vast for his mind to comprehend at first view. He therefore replied, that “he applauded Maharbal’s zeal; but the affair required time for consideration.” On which Maharbal observed, “I perceive that the gods do not bestow on the same person all kinds of talents. You, Hannibal, know how to acquire victory, but you know not how to use it.” There is good reason to believe that the delay of that day proved the preservation of the city, and of the empire. On the day following, as soon as light appeared, his troops applied themselves to the collecting of the spoils, and in viewing the carnage made, which was such as shocked even enemies; so many thousand Romans, horsemen and footmen, Edition: current; Page: [74] lay promiscuously on the field, as chance had thrown them together, either in the battle, or flight. Some, whom their wounds, being pinched by the morning cold, had roused from their posture, were put to death, by the enemy, as they were rising up, covered with blood, from the midst of the heaps of carcases. Some they found lying alive, with their thighs and hams cut, who, stripping their necks and throats, desired them to spill what remained of their blood. Some were found, with their heads buried in the earth, in holes which it appeared they had made for themselves, and covering their faces with earth thrown over them, had thus been suffocated. The attention of all was particularly attracted by a living Numidian with his nose and ears strangely mangled, stretched under a dead Roman; and who, when his hands had been rendered unable to hold a weapon, being exasperated to madness, had expired in the act of tearing his antagonist with his teeth.

LII. After a great part of the day had been spent in gathering the spoils, Hannibal led his troops to attack the smaller camp; and first, by drawing a trench across, excluded the garrison from the river: but the men, being spent with labour, watching, and wounds, capitulated sooner than he had expected. It was agreed, that, besides surrendering their arms and horses, there should be paid for each Roman citizen three hundred denarii,* for an ally two hundred, for a slave an hundred; and that, on laying down this ransom, they should depart with single garments. On this, they received the enemy into the camp, and were all put into custody, but separately; that is, the citizens and allies, each by themselves. During the time spent here, such part of the troops, in the greater camp, as had sufficient strength and courage, amounting to four thousand footmen, and two hundred horse, had made their escape to Canusium; some in bodies, Edition: current; Page: [75] others straggling different ways through the country, a method equally safe. The camp was surrendered to the enemy by the wounded, and those who had staid through want of courage, and on the same terms as for the others. Abundance of spoil was found; and the whole, (except the men and horses, and whatever silver there was, most of which was on the trappings of the latter, for there was then very little used at the table, particularly in the field,) was given up to be plundered. Hannibal then ordered the bodies of his men to be collected and buried: they are said to have amounted to eight thousand of the bravest of his troops. Some writers say, that he also searched for, and interred the Roman consul. Those who escaped to Canusium, and who received from the inhabitants no farther relief than admittance within their walls and houses, were supplied with corn, clothes, and subsistence, by a woman of Apulia, named Busa, eminent for her birth and riches; in requital of which munificence, high honours were afterwards paid to her, by the senate, at the conclusion of the war.

LIII. Now, although there were four military tribunes present at Canusium; of the first legion, Fabius Maximus, whose father had been dictator the year before; of the second, Lucius Publicius Bibulus, and Publius Cornelius Scipio; and of the third, Appius Claudius Pulcher, who had been ædile the last year; yet the command in chief was, with universal consent, conferred on Publius Scipio; then very young, in conjunction with Appius Claudius. While these, with a few others, were consulting on the measures requisite in this emergency, they were told by Publius Furius Philus, son to a man of consular dignity, that “it was vain for them to cherish hopes in a case past retrieving; for the commonwealth was despaired of, and lamented as lost. That several young men of the nobility, at whose head was Lucius Cæcilius Metellus, were meditating a scheme of putting to sea, with intent to abandon Italy, and go over to the king of some Edition: current; Page: [76] other country.” This distressing incident, besides having in itself the most fatal tendency, coming unexpectedly, and immediately after so many disasters, surprised and astonished them to such a degree, that they lost for a time all thought and motion; those who were present then, advising that a council should be called on the subject; Scipio, a youth destined by fate to conduct the war to a conclusion, said, that “this was not a subject for council; the business required not deliberation, but fortitude and action. He bade those come with him, that moment, in arms, who wished the preservation of the commonwealth; for no place,” said he, “can you more truly call an enemy’s camp, than that wherein such designs are agitated.” Immediately he proceeded, attended by a few, to the lodging of Metellus; and finding there the youths, who had been mentioned, assembled in consultation, he held his drawn sword over their heads as they sat, and said, “with sincerity of heart I swear, that I will not desert the commonwealth of the Roman people; neither will I suffer any other Roman citizen to desert it. If, knowingly, I break this oath, then do thou, Jupiter, supremely good and great, overwhelm, in the severest ruin, myself, my house, my family, and my fortune. Lucius Cæcilius, and the rest of you, here present, I insist upon your taking the same oath: he that will not swear, be it known, that against him this sword is drawn.” Terrified no less than if they had seen the victorious Hannibal, they all took the oath, and surrendered themselves to Scipio, to be kept in custody.

LIV. While these things passed at Canusium, about four thousand horse and foot, who, in the flight, had been dispersed through the country, came to the consul at Venusia. These were all distributed by the Venusians through their several families, where they were received and treated with kindness. They also gave to each horseman a gown and tunic, and twenty-five denarii*; and to each footman ten denarii, Edition: current; Page: [77] and such arms as were wanted; and every other hospitable attention was shown them, both by the public and by private persons; all exerting themselves, that the Venusian state might not be out-done, in kindness, by a woman of Canusium. However, the great number of her guests, which amounted now to ten thousand, made the burthen heavier on Busa. Appius and Scipio, as soon as they learned that one of the consuls was alive, instantly despatched to him an account of the number of horse and foot which were with them; at the same time desiring his orders, whether the troops should be brought to him in Venusia, or remain at Canusium. Varro led over his forces to Canusium. And now, there was some appearance of a consular army, and they seemed capable of defending themselves, though not with their arms alone, yet certainly with the help of walls. At Rome accounts were received, that not even these relics of the citizens and allies had survived, but that both armies, with the consuls, were utterly cut off. Never, while the city itself was in safety, did such a degree of dismay and confusion prevail within the walls of Rome. I therefore shrink from the task; and will not undertake to describe a scene, of which any representation that I could give, would fall short of the reality. The report was; not of such another wound being received, as when a consul and an army were lost, the year before, at the Trasimenus, but of a multiplicity of disasters; of both armies, together with both consuls, being lost; that the Romans had now neither camp, nor general, nor soldier existing; that Hannibal was in possession of Apulia, Samnium, and of almost all Italy. Certainly we know no other nation whose spirit would not have been wholly crushed under such an immense load of misfortunes. Can I compare with it the disaster, suffered by the Carthaginians, in the sea-fight at the Ægatian islands, by which they were so dispirited that they gave up Sicily and Sardinia, and were content thenceforth to pay tribute and taxes? Edition: current; Page: [78] Or, the loss of the battle in Africa, under which this same Hannibal afterwards sunk? In no particular are they to be compared, except in this, that the latter, under their calamities, displayed nothing like an equal degree of magnanimity.

LV. The prætors, Publius Furius Philus, and Marcus Pomponius, convened the senate in the Curia Hostilia, to consult on the means of providing for the security of the city. They took it for granted that, the armies being destroyed, the enemy would come directly to attack Rome, the only object which remained to be accomplished in order to finish the war. As, in a case of such extreme danger, the extent of which was not thoroughly known, they found it difficult to resolve on any plan, and were, at the same time, stunned with the cries and lamentations of the women; for no positive information being yet received, the living and dead were, all together, lamented as lost, in almost every house. Quintus Fabius Maximus gave his opinion, that “swift horsemen should be sent along the Appian and Latine roads, who, inquiring from any whom they should meet, straggling in their flight from the field, might perhaps bring back information as to the real situation of the consuls and the armies; and, if the immortal gods, in compassion to the empire, had left any remnant of the Roman name; where these forces were; to what quarter Hannibal directed his route, after the battle; what were his intentions; what he was doing and preparing to do. These particulars ought to be inquired into, and ascertained, by active young men; and the senators themselves, as there was not a sufficient number of magistrates, ought to undertake the part of quieting the tumult and disorder of the city; to remove the women from the public places, and oblige them to confine themselves within their own doors; to restrain the lamentations of the several families; to cause silence in the city; to take care that expresses arriving with any intelligence, be conducted Edition: current; Page: [79] to the prætors; and to make every person wait, in his own house, for information respecting his own concerns. That they should moreover place guards at the gates, to binder any from going out, and force men to place their only hope of preservation in the strength of their walls and works. That when the tumult should be appeased, then the senators might properly be called back into the house to deliberate on measures for the defence of the city.”

LVI. This opinion being unanimously approved, and the crowd being removed out of the Forum by the magistrates, the senators dispersed themselves on all sides to quiet the commotions; and then, at length, a letter was brought from the consul Terentius, informing them, that “the consul Lucius Æmilius, and the army, were cut off; that he himself was at Canusium, collecting, as from a shipwreck, the relics of such a dreadful misfortune; that there were, with him, about ten thousand men, belonging to many different corps, and not yet formed into regular bodies. That the Carthaginian, showing neither the spirit of a conqueror, nor the conduct of a great general, lay still at Cannæ, bargaining about the prisoners and other booty.” Then the losses of private families also were made known through their several houses; and so entirely was the whole city filled with grief, that the anniversary festival of Ceres was omitted, because it is not allowable for persons in mourning to celebrate it, and there was not, at the time, one matron who was not so habited. Lest, therefore, for the same reason, other festivals, public or private, might be left uncelebrated, the wearing of that dress was, by a decree of senate, limited to thirty days. Now, when the tumult in the city was composed, and the senators re-assembled in their house, another letter was brought from Sicily, from the pro-prætor Titus Otacilius, stating, that “a Carthaginian fleet was ravaging the dominions of Hiero; and that, when he was preparing to carry assistance to him, in compliance with his earnest request, Edition: current; Page: [80] he had received intelligence that another fleet lay at the Ægatian islands, prepared for battle, and intending, as soon as they learned that he had gone away to guard the coast of Syracuse, to fall immediately on Lilybæum, and other parts of the Roman province. If, therefore, they wished to protect Sicily, and the king their ally, a re-inforcement of ships must be sent.”

LVII. When the letters of the consul and pro-prætor were read, it was resolved that Marcus Claudius, who commanded the fleet lying at Ostia, should be sent to take the command of the forces at Canusium; and that a letter should be written to the consul, directing, that as soon as he had delivered the army to the prætor, he should, with all the expedition consisting with the public good, come to Rome. In addition to all their misfortunes, people were also terrified by several prodigies; and, particularly, by two vestals, Opimia and Floronia, being, in that year, convicted of incontinence; one of them was, according to custom, buried alive, near the Colline gate; the other voluntarily put an end to her own life. Lucius Cantilius, secretary to one of those, whom we now call the lesser pontiffs, who had debauched Floronia, was, by order of the chief pontiff, scourged in the Forum, with such severity, that he expired under the punishment. This enormity, happening in the midst of so many calamities, as usual in such cases, converted into a prodigy, and the decemvirs were ordered to consult the books. Quintus Fabius Pictor was sent also to Delphi, to consult the oracle, and discover by what supplications, and worship, they might be able to appease the gods; and by what means a stop might be put to such a heavy train of misfortunes. Meanwhile, according to the directions of the books of the fates, several extraordinary sacrifices were performed; among which a male and female Gaul, and a male and female Greek, were buried alive in the cattle market, in a vault built round with stone; a place which had already, by a practice abhorrent Edition: current; Page: [81] from the temper of the religion of Rome, been polluted with human victims. When it was thought that sufficient atonement had been made to the wrath of the gods, Marcus Claudius Marcellus despatched from Ostia to Rome, for the security of the city, one thousand five hundred men, whom he had there, and who had been raised for the service of the fleet. He also sent on before him the marine legion, which was the third, under command of the military tribunes, to Teanum, in the territory of Sidicinum; and then, having delivered the command of the fleet to his colleague, Publius Furius Philus, he repaired himself, in a few days, by forced marches to Canusium. Pursuant to directions of the senate, Marcus Junius was nominated dictator, and Tiberius Sempronius master of the horse. They proclaimed a levy, and enlisted all the youth of seventeen years and upwards, and even some under that age, of whom they completed four legions, and a thousand horse. Envoys were also sent to the allies, and Latine confederates, with a requisition of their contingents of troops, as specified by treaty. Orders were issued for preparing armour, weapons, and other necessaries; and they even took down from the temples and porticoes the old spoils taken from enemies. The urgent necessity, and the scarcity of men of free condition, occasioned their adopting a new mode of raising soldiers, and in an extraordinary manner. They purchased, with the public money, eight thousand stout young slaves; asking each, whether he was willing to serve in the wars; and then gave them arms. They preferred employing this kind of soldiers, though they had it in their power to have ransomed the prisoners at a less expense.

LVIII. Hannibal, intoxicated with his great success at Cannæ, conducted himself as if, instead of having a war to prosecute, he had already brought it to a conclusion. Ordering the prisoners to be brought forth, he separated the allies from the rest; and, with expressions of kindness, dismissed Edition: current; Page: [82] them without ransom, as he had done formerly at the Trebia, and the lake Trasimenus. Even the Romans he called before him; and, contrary to his former practice, addressed them in very mild terms, telling them, that “he meant not to carry the war to the extinction of the Romans, but fought for glory and empire. That, as his predecessors had yielded to the Roman bravery, so he, on his part, was now endeavouring to make others yield, in turn, to his valour and good fortune. Wherefore he would give them permission to ransom themselves; and the terms should be, five hundred denarii* for each horseman, three hundred for a footman, and a hundred for a slave.” Though the ransom of the horseman was hereby raised beyond the rate stipulated on their surrendering, yet they joyfully embraced any terms. It was determined, that they should choose, by their own suffrages, ten of their number, who should go to Rome to the senate; and of their faith, no other security was required than their oath, that they would return. With these was sent Carthalo, a noble Carthaginian, who, if he perceived an inclination towards peace, was to propose the terms. After they had set out from the camp, one of them, a man devoid of Roman principles, pretending to have forgotten something, with a view of evading his oath, returned into the camp, and afterwards, before night, overtook his companions. When it was reported at Rome, that they were coming, a lictor was sent to meet Carthalo, with orders, in the name of the dictator, that he should quit the Roman territories before night.

LIX. The deputies of the prisoners, being by the dictator admitted to an audience of the senate, the principal of them, Marcus Junius, spoke to this effect: “Conscript Fathers, none of us is ignorant, that no other state ever considers prisoners in a lower light than ours does. However, unless we Edition: current; Page: [83] are too partial to our own cause, none, who ever fell into the power of an enemy, less deserved to be neglected than we do. For we did not, through cowardice, surrender our arms in the field; but, after having protracted the battle until near night, standing on the heaped bodies of the slain, we retreated within our works. During the remainder of that day, and the ensuing night, spent as we were with toil and wounds, we yet defended our camp. Next day, being entirely surrounded by the army of the conquerors, and debarred from access to water, having no hope of forcing a way through their numerous bands, and not conceiving it criminal, that, after the slaughter of fifty thousand of our army, any Roman soldier should survive the battle of Cannæ, we, at length, agreed to terms of ransom, on which our liberty should be purchased; and we delivered to the enemy our weapons, when they could no longer serve to defend us. We had heard that our ancestors ransomed themselves with gold from the Gauls; and that our fathers, notwithstanding their utter dislike to the acceptance of the terms of peace, yet sent ambassadors to Tarentum, for the purpose of ransoming prisoners. Yet, both the fight at the Allia with the Gauls, and that at Heraclea with Pyrrhus, may be called disgraceful, on account of the panic and flight. Whereas the plains of Cannæ are overspread with heaps of slaughtered Romans; and, that we survive, is owing to no other cause, than from the enemy having, in killing, exhausted their strength. There are, besides, some of our number who are not even chargeable with flying the field: having been left to guard the camp, when that was surrendered, they fell into the hands of the enemy. I envy not the good fortune, or the situation, of any fellow citizen or fellow soldier, nor do I wish, by depressing another, to exalt myself; but surely, unless there is some prize due to swiftness of foot, those men who fled, leaving most of their arms behind, and never halted until they came to Venusia, or Canusium, cannot justly Edition: current; Page: [84] claim a preference before us, or boast of themselves as more capable of affording defence to the commonwealth. However, ye will find them on trial good and valiant soldiers, and will find us also the more heartily zealous in our country’s cause, from the consideration of having been, in kindness, redeemed and reinstated by you. Ye are enlisting men of every age and condition. I hear that eight thousand slaves are to be armed. Our number is not inferior to that, and we may be ransomed at less expense than they are purchased. A comparison between ourselves and them would be an insult on the name of Roman. I think, Conscript Fathers, that, in such a case, this circumstance also deserves consideration, (if ye choose to act toward us with a degree of rigour, which we have, by no means, merited,) the nature of the enemy, in whose hands ye would leave us, whether he is such as Pyrrhus, who treated us, when his prisoners, as if we were his guests; or a barbarian, and a Carthaginian; of whom it can scarcely be determined, whether his avarice or cruelty be greater. If ye were to behold the chains, the squalid dress, and the miserable looks of your countrymen, the sight, I am convinced, would affect you not less deeply, than if ye saw your legions prostrate on the plains of Cannæ. Ye can here observe the solitude, and the tears of our relations, who stand in the porch of your senate house, waiting for your determination: when they suffer such suspence and anxiety for us, and for those who are absent, what do ye suppose must be the state of those men’s minds whose liberty and life are at stake? Believe me, that, even should Hannibal, contrary to his nature, behave with lenity towards us, yet life would be no gratification, after having been adjudged by you, unworthy of being ransomed. Formerly, prisoners, dismissed by Pyrrhus without ransom, returned home to Rome. But they returned with ambassadors, the principal men in the state, who had been sent for the purpose of ransoming them. Should I return to my country, whom my fellow citizens Edition: current; Page: [85] have not valued, as worth three hundred denarii; Conscript Fathers, every man has his own way of thinking; I know that my person and life are in hazard: but I am more deeply affected by the danger to our reputation, lest we should appear to be rejected and condemned by you. For the world will never believe that ye were actuated by the motive of saving money.”

LX. When he ceased speaking, the multitude, who stood in the Comitium, instantly raised a lamentable cry, and stretching their hands towards the senate house, besought the members to restore to them their children, their brethren, and relations. Their fears, and the urgency of the case, had brought a number of women also among the crowd of men in the Forum. The senate, as soon as the house was cleared, took the matter into consideration. Opinions were different; some recommended that the prisoners should be ransomed at the expense of the public; others, that the public money should not be expended, but that they should not be hindered from ransoming themselves, with their own private property; and that, to such as wanted money at present, it should be lent out of the treasury, on their indemnifying the nation by sureties and mortgages. Titus Manlius Torquatus, a man who carried primitive strictness, as many thought, to too great a degree of rigour, on being asked his opinion, spoke to this effect: “Had the demands of the deputies, in favour of those who are in the hands of the enemy, gone no farther than to their being ransomed, I should, without offering censure on any of them, have delivered my judgment in few words; for what else would be requisite than to admonish you, to maintain the practice transmitted from your forefathers, and to adhere to a precedent essential to military discipline? But now, since they have, in a manner, made a merit of having surrendered themselves to the foe, and claimed a preference, not only over those who were made prisoners in the field, but even over those who made their Edition: current; Page: [86] way to Venusia and Canusium, and over the consul Caius Terentius himself, I will not let you remain ignorant, Conscript Fathers, of any of the circumstances which occurred on the occasion. And I wish that the representations, which I am going to lay before you, were made in the presence of the troops themselves at Canusium, the most competent witnesses of every man’s cowardice and bravery; or, at least, that one particular person were present here, Publius Sempronius, the counsel and example of which officer, had those soldiers thought proper to follow, they would to-day be Romans in their own camp, not prisoners in that of the enemy. But as the Carthaginians were fatigued with fighting, or totally occupied in rejoicing for their success, in which state indeed most of them had even retired into their camp,—they had it in their power during the whole night to extricate themselves by sallying forth; and though seven thousand soldiers had been able to force their way, even through close battalions, yet they, neither of themselves, offered to attempt the same, nor were willing to follow the lead of another. Publius Sempronius Tuditanus never ceased advising and exhorting them, that while the numbers of the enemy round the camp were few, while quiet and silence prevailed, while the night covered their design, they would follow where he should lead; assuring them that, before day light, they might arrive in places of safety in the cities of their allies. If he had said in like manner, as in the time of our grand-fathers, Publius Decius, military tribune in Samnium, spoke, or, as in our own time, and in the former Punic war, Calphurnius Flamma said to the three hundred volunteers, when he was leading them to sieze on an eminence situated in the midst of the enemy, Soldiers, let us die, and by our deaths extricate the surrounded legions from the ambuscade.—If Publius Sempronius had spoken thus, I say, he could not surely deem you either Romans or men, if no one appeared ready to accompany him Edition: current; Page: [87] in so brave an enterprise. But still he points out the way which leads not to glory only but to safety. He shows how ye may return to your country, your parents, wives, and children. Do ye want spirit for your own preservation? What would ye do if the cause of your country required your death? Fifty thousand of your countrymen and allies lie around you slain on that same day. If so many examples of bravery do not rouse you, nothing will ever rouse you; if such a carnage has not inspired contempt of life, no other will. While in freedom and safety, wish for your country: do this as long as it is your country. It is now too late for you to wish for it, when ye are divested of its privileges, disfranchised of the rights of citizens, and become slaves of the Carthaginians. Will ye return, on terms of purchase, to that condition, which ye relinquished through pusillanimity and cowardice? To Publius Sempronius, your countryman, ordering you to take arms and follow him, ye would not listen; ye listened soon after to Hannibal, ordering you to betray your camp to him, and surrender your arms. Why do I charge them with cowardice, when I may charge them with actions highly criminal? for they not only refused to follow the person who gave them the best advice, but attempted to hinder and to stop him, had not his gallant companions with their drawn swords cleared the way of those dastards. I affirm, that Publius Sempronius was obliged to force his passage through a body of his countrymen, before he broke through that of the enemy. Has our country any reason to wish for such citizens as these; to whom, if the rest had been like, we should not have had this day one citizen of those who fought at Cannæ. Out of seven thousand men, six hundred were found, who had spirit to force their way, who returned home with freedom and their arms, forty thousand of the enemy not being able to stop them. How safely then do ye suppose might a band of near two legions have passed? In that case, Conscript Fathers, ye would have had this day, Edition: current; Page: [88] at Canusium, twenty thousand soldiers, brave and faithful. But how can these men be good and faithful citizens, (for to bravery they do not themselves lay claim,) after having attempted to stop the sally of those that wished to trust all to their swords? Or who can suppose, that they do not look with envy on the safety and glory, which the others have acquired by their valour, while they see themselves reduced by their fear and cowardice, to ignominious slavery. The entire band chose to remain in their tents, and wait the approach of day, and of the enemy, at the same time; though during the silence of the night they had a fair opportunity of effecting their escape. But though they wanted confidence to sally out of the camp, they had courage valiantly to defend it. Being besieged for several days and nights, they protected their rampart by arms: at length, after the utmost efforts and sufferings, when every support of life failed, when their strength was wasted through hunger, and they could no longer bear up under their arms, they were overcome by necessities too powerful for human nature to sustain, and a part with Sempronius gained the greater camp. Now, at sun rise, the enemy approached the rampart, and before the second hour these men who had refused to accompany him, without trying the issue of any dispute, surrendered their arms and themselves. Here, then, is the amount of their martial performances during two days; when they ought to have stood in their posts in the battle, and fought, they then fled to their camp; which, instead of defending, they surrendered; showing themselves equally useless there, and in the field. Shall I then ransom such as you? When ye ought to sally forth from your camp, ye hesitate and stay there; and when staying, there is a necessity for defending it, ye make surrender of your arms, and yourselves. Conscript Fathers, I would no more vote for ransoming those men, than I would for delivering up to Hannibal the others, who forced their way out of the camp, through the midst of the Edition: current; Page: [89] enemy, and by the highest exertions of valour restored themselves to their country.”

LXI. After this discourse of Manlius, notwithstanding that most of the senators had relations among the prisoners, yet, besides the maxim generally observed by the state, which, from the earliest times, had ever showed very little tenderness towards such, the consideration of the money requisite for the ransom operated with them as a powerful argument; indeed they were unwilling either that the treasury should be exhausted, from which a great sum had already been issued for purchasing and arming the slaves for service, or that Hannibal should receive so considerable a supply, and of which he was said to stand in the greatest need. A harsh answer then being given, that the prisoners should not be ransomed, and this new cause of grief, in the loss of so many citizens, being added to the former, the people escorted the deputies to the gate with abundance of tears and lamentations. One of the deputies left the rest, and went home, as if he had fulfilled his oath, by fallaciously returning into the camp. But, as soon as this became known, and was reported to the senate, they unanimously voted, that he should be seized, and conveyed to Hannibal, under a guard appointed by the government. This affair of the prisoners is related in another manner: that ten deputies came at first; and that the senate were for some time in doubt whether they should be admitted into the city or not; but that at length permission was granted them to enter it: but still they were refused an audience of the senate: and that afterwards, on their staying longer than the rest expected, three others were sent, Lucius Scribonius, Caius Calpurnius, and Lucius Manlius. Then, at last, the business of ransoming the prisoners was proposed to the senate by a plebian tribune, a relation of Scribonius, and their determination was, that they should not be ransomed. On this the three deputies, who came last, returned to Hannibal, but the ten former remained at Rome; as if, by Edition: current; Page: [90] having returned to Hannibal, after setting out on their journey, under pretext of getting a complete list of the prisoners, they had fulfilled their oath. The question, whether they should be delivered up to the enemy, was warmly debated in the senate, and the party who voted in the affirmative were overcome by a small majority. However, they were by the next censors so severely branded with every mark of ignominy, that some of them laid violent hands on themselves, and the rest, during all the remainder of their lives, shunned not only the Forum, but almost the public street, and the light. While such difference, in the representations given by historians, may be wondered at, still there are no means of distinguishing the truth. The greatness of the present misfortune, beyond any hitherto sustained, is demonstrated by this circumstance: that the allies, who, until this time, had stood firm in their attachment, now began to waver; for no other reason, certainly, than that they despaired of the commonwealth. The following states actually revolted to the Carthaginians, during the war: the Atellans, the Calatians, the Hirpinians, a part of the Apulians, the Samnites, excepting the Pentrians, all the Bruttians, the Lucanians, and, besides these, the Surrentinians; almost the whole coast possessed by the Greeks, the Tarentines, Metapontines, Crotonians, Locrians, and all the Cisalpine Gauls. Yet did not all these losses and revolts of their allies shake the firmness of the Romans so far as to induce them ever once to make mention of peace, either before the consul’s return to Rome, or when his arrival renewed the memory of their misfortune. But at that very time, such magnanimity was shown by the state, that, on the consul’s approaching the city, after such a heavy disaster, of which he, in particular, had been the principle cause, all ranks of people not only went out in crowds to meet him, but even returned him thanks for not having despaired of the commonwealth; whereas, had he been a general of the Carthaginians, there is no degree of punishment beyond what he must have suffered.

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BOOK XXIII.

The Campanians revolt to Hannibal. Hanno moves in the senate of Carthage to propose terms of peace to the Romans; his proposition strenuously opposed, and over-ruled by the Barcine faction. Marcellus defeats Hannibal, in a battle at Nola. Hannibal’s army encrvated by luxurious living at Capua. Cassilinum besieged by the Carthaginians, is reduced to such extremity by famine, that the people eat the leathern covers of their shields, and even mice. One hundred and ninety-seven new members, from the equestrian order, added to the senate. Lucius Postumius, prætor, with his army, defeated by the Gauls, and slain. Cneius Scipio, and Publius, overcome Hasdrubal in Spain, and conquer that country. The remaining troops of the army vanquished at Cannæ, sent to Sicily, there to remain during the continuance of the war. An alliance formed between Philip, king of Macedonia, and Hannibal. Sempronius Gracchus, consul, defeats the Campanians. Successes of Titus Manlius in Sardinia; he takes prisoners, Hasdrubal, the general, Mago, and Hanno. Claudius Marcellus gives Hannibal’s army a second defeat at Nola; and, at length, gives the Romans hopes of a favourable termination of the war.

Y.R. 536. bc 216.I. AFTER the battle of Cannæ, Hannibal, as soon as he had taken and sacked the Roman camps, removed hastily from Apulia into Samnium, being invited into the territory of Arpi by Statius Trebius, who promised to deliver the city of Compsa into his hands. Trebius was a native of Compsa, of considerable note among his countrymen, but thwarted in his ambitious views by a faction of the Mopsian family, which, through the favour of the Romans, Edition: current; Page: [92] had acquired the principal direction of affairs. When an account was received of the battle of Cannæ, and Trebius openly announced the approach of Hannibal, the Mopsian party withdrew from the city; on which it was, without a contest, surrendered to the Carthaginian, and a garrison of his troops received into it. Hannibal, leaving here all the booty, together with his baggage, and dividing his army into two parts, ordered Mago, with one division, to receive such cities of that country as were willing to revolt from the Romans, and if any should refuse, to compel them by force; while he himself, at the head of the other, marched through the country of Campania, towards the lower sea, intending to lay siege to Neapolis, in order to gain possession of a seaport town. On entering the frontiers of the Neapolitans, he placed one half of his Numidians in ambush, in places suited to the purpose; and, in general, the roads run through deep vallies, and form windings commodious for concealment: the rest he ordered to drive before them, in open view of the enemy, the prey collected in the country; and to ride up, in a menacing manner, to the gates. Against this party, which appeared to be neither regular nor numerous, a sally was made by a squadron of horse, which, by the others retreating on purpose, was drawn into the ambuscade, surrounded, and cut to pieces. Nor would one of them have escaped, had not the sea been so near, and some vessels, mostly fishing smacks, which were in view at a small distance from shore, afforded shelter to such as were able to swim. Several young men of distinction, however, were slain and taken in this action, among whom fell Hegeas, the general of the cavalry, too eagerly pursuing the enemy in their retreat. The Carthaginian was deterred from undertaking the siege of the city, by the sight of the fortifications, which showed that the enterprise would be attended with considerable difficulty.

II. From hence he marched to Capua; where, in consequence of a long course of prosperity, and the kind indulgence Edition: current; Page: [93] of fortune, the manners of the people were become extremely dissolute and licentious; and amidst the universal corruption, the commons particularly distinguished themselves, by the extravagancy of their conduct, carrying their notions of liberty to the most unbounded excess. A person, named Pacuvius Calavius, of noble birth, and, at the same time, a great favourite of the plebeians, but indebted for his popularity to intrigues of no very honourable kind, had rendered the senate dependent on his will, and that of the commons. He happened to be invested with the chief magistracy during that year, wherein the Romans were defeated at the Trasimenus; and suspected that, on an opportunity so favourable, for effecting a revolution, the commons, who had so long harboured a bitter animosity against the senate, would attempt some important enterprise; and that, if Hannibal should come into those parts with his victorious army, they would even go so far as to murder the senate, and deliver Capua into the hands of the Carthaginians. Though a man of profligate manners, yet, not being utterly abandoned, he preferred ruling the commonwealth in its present settled state to any power which he could hope for, in case of its subversion; and knowing the impossibility of any state remaining settled, if destitute of counsel to direct its affairs, he set about the execution of a plan whereby he might preserve the senate, and, at the same time, keep it in awe of himself and his party. Having convened that body, he began, by telling them, “that the design of revolting from the Romans, unless such a measure should be found absolutely necessary, could not by any means be agreeable to him, who had children by the daughter of Appius Claudius, and had disposed of a daughter of his own in marriage, at Rome, to Livius; but that, however, an affair of much greater moment, and more alarming tendency, required their attention: for, the purpose of the commons was not, by changing sides, to abolish the authority of the senate; but, by massacreing the Edition: current; Page: [94] members to leave the commonwealth without a head, and in that state to deliver it up to Hannibal and the Carthaginians. From this imminent danger, it was in his power, (he said,) to deliver them, if they would entrust themselves to his management, and, forgetting party animosities, place entire confidence in him.” Overcome by the violence of their fears, they all consented to be directed by him; on which he said, “I will shut you up in the senate house, appearing as an accomplice in their wicked plot, and while I seem to approve of designs which I should in vain oppose, I will find out a way for your safety. For the performance of this I am willing to give you any security which you may demand.” Having solemnly pledged his faith, he went out, and ordered the senate-house to be shut, leaving a guard in the porch, with orders; that no one should go in or out without his directions.

III. He then convened the people, to whom, he said, “Campanians, the opportunity for which you have so often prayed, of taking vengeance on a wicked and detestable senate, now presents itself in such a manner, that you may accomplish your wishes, without any hazard of danger to yourselves, in storming, by force of arms, their several houses which they keep secured by garrisons of their dependents and slaves. I am ready to deliver into your hands, the whole body of them shut up together in the senate-house, unattended, unarmed. Nor need you do any thing in a hurry, or without consideration. I will take care that you shall have full power of passing sentence of life or death on every one of them: so that each may suffer the punishment which he has deserved. Above all things, however, it behoves you, while you indulge the gratification of your resentment, to make even that give place to the care of your own interest and welfare. For, the object of your hatred is, as I apprehend, the present body of senators; you do not wish that the commonwealth should be entirely without a senate: for you must have either a king, an Edition: current; Page: [95] office universally detested; or a senate, the only kind of government compatible with freedom in a state. You must therefore do two things at the same time, remove the old senate, and elect a new one. I will order each of the senators to be summoned before you; concerning whose life or death I will require your judgment: whatever your sentence is, it shall be executed. But first, before punishment is inflicted on the guilty, you will elect, into his place, as a new senator, some porson of ability and spirit.” He then took his seat; and the names of the senators being thrown together into an urn, he ordered the first that happened to come out, on shaking the lots, to be proclaimed, and the person himself to be brought out from the senate-house. On hearing the name, every one eagerly cried out, that he was a worthless character, and a wicked man; and that he deserved punishment. Pacuvius then said, “I perceive what judgment has been passed on this man. He is expelled. In the room of this worthless and wicked senator, elect one endowed with probity and justice.” A general silence at first took place, from the difficulty of finding a better substitute in his room; and afterwards, some one breaking through reserve, and proposing a certain person, a clamour was instantly raised louder than against the other; some declaring, that they did not know him; others exclaiming, at one time, against his scandalous behaviour, at another, against his meanness, his sordid poverty, and the disreputable trade or occupation which he followed. The same consequences ensued, and the difficulty still increased, on the second and third senator being summoned; all which clearly proved that the people disliked the men in question, but were totally at a loss for one whom they could set in his place; for it would answer no purpose to propose the same persons a second time, whose nomination had produced nothing but a recital of their disgraces, and the rest were still more mean and obscure than those who first occurred to people’s thoughts. The consequence was, that the people withdrew Edition: current; Page: [96] from the assembly, affirming, that the evil with which men were best acquainted was the most tolerable, and ordering the senate to be discharged from custody.

IV. Pacuvius, by this obligation conferred on the senate, in thus preserving their lives, so effectually gained their affections, that they were much more earnestly disposed to support his interest, than that of the commons; and now, all ranks yielding a ready compliance with his designs, without having recourse to force of arms, he ruled with unlimited authority. Henceforward the senators, casting off all regard to their independence and their dignity, paid court to the commons, and saluted them in courteous terms; invited them, with every expression of kindness, to their houses, and then entertained them sumptuously; always undertook that side of a controversy, supported that cause, and appointed judges agreeable to that party, which was most popular, and seemed best calculated to conciliate the favour of the populace. No business was transacted in the senate in any other manner, than just as if it had consisted of a set of plebeians. The people had ever been prone to luxurious extravagance; not only from an evil propensity in their nature, but likewise through the profusion of voluptuous enjoyments that lay within their reach, and the temptations to which they were exposed in the midst of every means of gratification which land or sea could afford. But now, in consequence of the condescension and indulgence shown by persons of the first consequence, they ran into such exorbitant excess as set no limits either to their desires or expenses. They had long cast off all respect for their own magistrates, senate, and laws; and now, since the unfortunate battle of Cannæ, they began to look with contempt on the government of Rome also, which alone they had, until then, regarded with some degree of awe. The only considerations that withheld them from an immediate revolt, were, that by means of intermarriages contracted in a long course of time, many of their most illustrious and powerful Edition: current; Page: [97] families were connected with the Romans; and, besides that many of their countrymen served in the Roman armies, their strongest motive for restraining their inclination, was, concern for three hundred horsemen of the noblest families in Campania, who had been selected by the Romans, and sent into several garrisons in the cities of Sicily.

V. The parents and relations of these, with great difficulty, prevailed on the people to send ambassadors to the Roman consul. They found him at Venusia, attended by a very small number of half-armed troops, and in such a condition as could not fail to excite compassion in good and faithful allies, and contempt in the faithless and proud, such as were the Campanians. And this contempt of himself, and of his situation, the consul also increased by too unguardedly exposing and displaying the disastrous state of his affairs. For, on the ambassador’s telling him that the senate and people of Campania were much grieved that any misfortune should have happened to the Romans, and promising supplies of every kind, towards carrying on the war, he answered, “Campanians, in desiring us to call on you for supplies towards maintaining the war, you have observed the usual manner of speaking practised between allies, rather than accommodated your discourse to the present state of our fortune. For what has been left us at Cannæ, that, as if we had something of our own, we should wish to have its deficiencies made up by our allies? Should we call on you for infantry, as if we had cavalry? Should we tell you that we want money, as if that were the only thing wanted? Fortune has left us nothing; not so much as a remnant to which additions might be made. Our legions, our cavalry, arms, standards, men and horses, money, provisions, have all perished, either in the field, or in the loss of the two camps, on the following day. Wherefore, Campanians, your part is, not to aid us in the war, but, in a manner, to undertake the war in our stead. Call to mind how, formerly, when your forefathers were driven, in dismay, within the Edition: current; Page: [98] walls, terrified at the approach of the armies of their enemies, both Samnites and Sidicinians, we took them under our protection, stood up in their defence at Saticula; and this war against the Samnites, undertaken on your account, we maintained, through various vicissitudes of fortune, during a space of near one hundred years. Add to this that, though we possessed the right of sovereignty over you, we granted you an alliance on terms of equality; allowed you your own laws, and, in fine, what was to be considered (at least before the defeat at Cannæ) as the highest honour in our power to confer, we admitted a great number among you to the freedom of our city, and shared its privileges with you. For these reasons, Campanians, you ought to consider our late defeat as a common misfortune, and to deem it your duty to defend our common country. The dispute is not with the Etrurian, or the Samnite; in which case the sovereignty, though taken from us, would still remain in Italy; a Carthaginian foe draws after him, from the remotest limits of the world, from the streights of the ocean and the pillars of Hercules, an host of men who are not even natives of Africa, and who are utter strangers to all laws, to all the rules and rights of society, and almost to the language of men. This horde, cruel and savage from nature and habit, their leader has taken pains to render still more savage; making them form bridges and ramparts of human bodies heaped together, and, what is shocking even to mention, teaching them to feed on human flesh. Who, that was but born in any part of Italy, could think, without horror and detestation, of seeing, and acknowledging as sovereigns, such creatures as these, who live on such abominable food, whose very touch would convey pollution; of receiving laws from Africa and Carthage, and of suffering Italy to become a province to Moors and Numidians? It will be highly honourable to you, Campanians, that the Roman empire, tottering under so severe a blow, should be upheld and restored by your faithful zeal and strength. I suppose that Edition: current; Page: [99] there may be raised in Campania thirty thousand foot, and four thousand horse. Of money and corn you already have abundance. If your zeal in our favour be but equal to your abilities, neither shall Hannibal perceive that he has been victorious, nor the Romans that they have been defeated.”

VI. After the consul had spoken thus, the ambassadors were dismissed; and, as they were returning home, one of them, whose name was Vibius Virius, observed to the rest, that “the time had now arrived when the Campanians might not only recover from the Romans the lands of which they had been unjustly deprived, but also gain possession of the sovereignty of Italy. For they might form an alliance with Hannibal, on whatever terms they themselves should choose; and when Hannibal, after completing his success, and putting an end to the war, should depart into Africa, and withdraw his army, the sovereign power over Italy, without any dispute, would be left in the possession of the Campanians.” In these sentiments of Vibius all the rest concurred, and they accordingly made such a report of the issue of their embassy, as persuaded every one that the Roman power was utterly annihilated. The plebeians, and the greater part of the senate, began instantly to take measures for a revolt. However, by the earnest persuasions of the elder citizens, their proceedings were deferred for a few days; but, at last, the opinion of the majority prevailed, that the same ambassadors, who had gone to the Roman consul, should be sent to Hannibal. In some histories, I have read, that, before this embassy was despatched, or the design of revolting finally determined upon, ambassadors were sent by the Campanians to Rome, requiring that, if the Roman people expected succours from them, they should elect one of the consuls out of Campania; that this excited so great indignation, that they were ordered to be turned out of the senate-house; and that a lictor was sent to conduct them out of the city, and to warn them to retire, before night, out of the Roman territory. But this, Edition: current; Page: [100] bearing too great a similarity to the demand formerly made by the Latines, and Cœlius and other writers having, not without reason, omitted the mention of it, I cannot take upon me to affirm the truth of the account.

VII. The ambassadors came to Hannibal, and concluded with him an alliance, on conditions, that “no general, or magistrate of the Carthaginians, should have any authority over a citizen of Campania; nor should any native of Campania be compelled to serve in the army, or to act in any other employment. That Capua should retain its own laws and magistrates. That the Carthaginian should deliver into the hands of the Campanians, three hundred of the Roman prisoners, whom they should pitch on, in order that they might make an exchange of these for the Campanian horsemen serving in Sicily.” Such were the articles stipulated; but, to the performances to which they were bound by treaty, the Campanians added deeds of a heinous nature: for the præfects of the allies,* and other Roman citizens, part engaged in some military employment, others busied in their private concerns, the plebeians suddenly seized, and ordered them to be shut up in the baths, as if with intent to keep them there in custody; instead of which, suffocated with heat and vapour, they died in a shocking manner. These proceedings, and likewise the sending of an embassy to the Carthaginian, had been most strenuously opposed by Decius Magius; a man who wanted no qualifications that could entitle him to the chief direction of affairs, which, had not his countrymen wanted sound judgment, would certainly have been placed in his hands. When he heard that a body of troops was sent by Hannibal to garrison the city, he, at first, openly and loudly protested against giving them admittance, urging as a caution, the haughty tyranny of Pyrrhus, and the wretched Edition: current; Page: [101] slavery of the Tarentines; and afterwards, when they had been admitted, laboured to persuade the people either to expel them; or, if they wished to atone, by a brave and memorable act, for the baseness of their behaviour, in revolting from their oldest confederates and near relations, to put to death the Carthaginian garrison, and re-unite themselves to the Romans. These his proceedings being reported to Hannibal, (for all passed in public,) he first sent to summon Magius to attend him in his camp; then, on his positively refusing to come, and insisting that Hannibal had no authority over a citizen of Campania, the Carthaginian, provoked to a high degree of passion, ordered his person to be seized and dragged to him into the camp in chains; but afterwards, apprehending lest, in case of force being used, some tumult, and then, people’s minds being irritated, some imprudent scuffle might ensue, he sent forward a message to Marius Blosius, prætor of Capua, that he would come himself to that city on the next day; and accordingly, he set out, with a small body of troops. Marius, calling the people together, published orders that they should all, in a body, with their wives and children, go out to meet Hannibal: these orders were universally obeyed, not only without reluctance, but with cheerful readiness; being agreeable to the inclinations of the populace, who were impatient to behold a general who was now renowned for so many victories. Decius Magius neither went out to meet him, nor did he confine himself within doors, lest he should betray some apprehension from consciousness of misbehaviour; but, while the whole city was in hurry and confusion, through an eagerness to see and to compliment the Carthaginian, he walked carelessly in the Forum with his son, and a few of his attendants. Hannibal, immediately on entering the city, demanded an audience of the senate; but the principal Campanians then besought him not, at that time, to attend to any serious business, but, with chearfulness and freedom, to celebrate a day which his arrival had consecrated to festivity. Edition: current; Page: [102] Although furiously passionate, yet, unwilling to refuse them any thing on the commencement of their connexion, he spent a great part of that day in taking a view of the city. He was lodged at the house of the two Minii Celeres, Stenius and Pacuvius, men highly distinguished by the nobility of their birth, and the greatness of their wealth. Hither Pacuvius Calavius, whom we mentioned before, the leader of that faction, whose violence had effected the present union, brought his son, a young man, after having, with difficulty, drawn him away from the side of Decius Magius; for the youth had joined him, with the warmest zeal, in supporting the Roman alliance, and opposing the treaty with the Carthaginians; nor had the public determination, on the other side, or his respect for his father, been able to produce a change in his sentiments. Calavius, by entreaties rather than excuses, procured a pardon for him, from Hannibal, who, overcome by the father’s prayers and tears, even desired that he should be invited, together with his father, to supper, though he had intended to admit no Campanian to the entertainment, except his hosts, and Jubellius Taurea, a man celebrated for his abilities in war. The entertainment began early in the day, and the feast, as might be expected in a city remarkable for luxury, and in a house particularly so, was not conformable to the Carthaginian customs, or to military discipline, but furnished with every incentive to convivial enjoyment. Calavius’s son, Perolla, alone maintained a degree of reserve, which neither the attentions of the masters of the house, nor those sometimes added by Hannibal himself could overcome. For this he apologized by imputing it to indisposition, and his father alleged also the disturbed state of his mind, which could not then be wondered at. About sun-set, the elder Calavius, going out of the room, was followed by his son, who, when they came into a private place (a garden at the rear of the house), said to him; “Father, I have a plan to mention to you, by which we may not only procure from the Romans pardon of Edition: current; Page: [103] our misconduct, in going over to Hannibal, but also acquire to the people of Campania a much larger share of their esteem and favour than we have ever yet enjoyed.” The father, with surprise, inquiring what sort of a plan this was, he threw back his gown from his shoulder, and showed him a sword girt to his side; then said, “I will presently, with Hannibal’s blood, ratify our alliance with Rome. Of this I thought it proper to apprize you, because you may, perhaps, wish to be absent, when the deed is performed.”

IX. On this sight, and hearing these words, the old man, distracted with apprehension, as if he were then present at the perpetrating of the act which had been mentioned, exclaimed; “By all the ties, my son, which unite children to their parents, I entreat, I beseech you, do not, before the eyes of your father, commit a deed of such transcendant horror, and draw on yourself extremity of ruin. But few hours have elapsed, since, swearing by all the gods existing, and joining our right hands to his, we bound ourselves to be faithful to him; was it that immediately, on quitting the conference, we should arm against him those very hands, which we had given as sacred pledges of our faith? You are just risen from a hospitable table, to which, of only three Campanians favoured with an invitation by Hannibal, you were one; was it that you should stain that very table with the blood of your host? My entreaties, as a father, have prevailed over Hannibal’s resentment in favour of my son; shall they have less power with my son in favour of Hannibal? But suppose there were no sacred obligations in the case, no faith, no religion, no filial duty, let the most abominable deeds be perpetrated, if they do not, along with the guilt, bring ruin on ourselves. Do you mean to assault Hannibal with your single arm? What will that numerous crowd, both of freemen and slaves, be doing? What the eyes of all, intent on him alone? What so many right hands? Will they all be benumbed, during such a mad attempt? How Edition: current; Page: [104] will you be able to support the looks of Hannibal himself, which armed hosts are unable to withstand; which the Roman people behold with horror? Besides, will you be hardy enough to strike me, when, should other assistance be wanting, I shall oppose my person to the danger in defence of Hannibal’s? Now, be assured, that, if you strike and pierce his body, it must be through my breast. Suffer yourself, then, to be dissuaded here, rather than overpowered there. Let my prayers have as much weight with you, as they had to-day with him in your behalf.” Observing the youth now softened into tears, he threw his arms round him, and, embracing him, with kisses, persevered in his entreaties, until he prevailed on him to lay aside the sword, and give him his honour that he would make no such attempt. The son then said, “I, for my part, will pay to my father the debt of duty which I owe to my country. But I am grieved at the circumstances in which you stand, who have to answer for the crime of having thrice betrayed your country; once, when you advised the revolt from the Romans; a second time, when you promoted an alliance with Hannibal; and a third time, this day, when you obstruct and prevent the reunion of Capua with Rome. Do thou, my country, receive this weapon, which I wished to use with effect, in defence of this thy capital; and which I resign, not through any tenderness to the enemy, but because my father extorts it from me.” So saying, he threw the sword over the garden-wall into the street, and, to avoid suspicion, returned to the company.

X. Next day, Hannibal had audience in a full meeting of the senate, where the first part of his discourse contained nothing but expressions of affection and kindness; thanking the Campanians for having preferred his friendship to their former alliance; and, among other magnificent promises, assuring them, that Capua should, in a short time, be the metropolis of Italy; and that the Romans, as well as the Edition: current; Page: [105] other nations, should receive laws from it. He then took notice, that “there was one person who had no title to a share in the friendship of the Carthaginians, and in the terms of the treaty now concluded; who ought not to be considered, or even named, as a Campanian: this was Decius Magius. Him he demanded to be delivered into his custody, and required that the senate should, in his presence, take Magius’s conduct into consideration, and determine concerning him.” This proposition was unanimously assented to, notwithstanding that a great part of the senate thought that he had not deserved such severe treatment; and, likewise, that this first step was no small encroachment on their independence. He then, leaving the senate-house, placed himself on the judgment-seat of the chief magistrate, and gave orders that Decius Magius should be seized, brought to his feet, and there, unsupported, stand his trial. The other, retaining his undaunted spirit, insisted that, according to the terms of the treaty, he was not liable to such compulsion; on which he was loaded with chains, and ordered to be led by a lictor into the camp. As long as he was conducted with his head uncovered, he continually harangued the multitude, which every where gathered round him, calling out to them—“You have now, Campanians, the independence that you aimed at. In the middle of your Forum, in the light of day, before your eyes, I, who am inferior to no one of the Campanians, am chained and dragged to execution. What more violent outrage could have happened, were Capua taken by storm? Go out, then, to meet Hannibal, decorate the city, consecrate the day of his arrival, that you may behold such a triumph as this, over one of your own countrymen.” While he was exclaiming in this manner, the populace appearing to be moved by his remonstrances, his head was covered, and an order given, that he should be dragged more speedily out of the gate. Being brought in this manner to the camp, he was instantly put on board a ship, and sent away for Carthage: for Edition: current; Page: [106] Hannibal was apprehensive lest, in consequence of the harsh treatment shown him, some commotion might arise in the city, that even the senate might repent of having given up one of their principal members, and that, should an embassy be sent to reclaim him, he must either, by refusing their first request, give offence to his new allies, or, if he complied, must expect to find him a constant fomenter of sedition and disturbance in Capua. A storm drove the ship to Cyrene, which was at that time under the dominion of the Egyptian kings. Here Magius, having fled to the statue of King Ptolemy as a sanctuary, was carried under a guard to Alexandria, to Ptolemy; and having represented to him, that he had been put in chains by Hannibal, contrary to the terms of the treaty, he was set at liberty, and received permission to return either to Rome or Capua, whichever he pleased. Magius answered, that “at Capua he could not expect safety; that his residence at Rome, at that time, when war subsisted between the Romans and Campanians, would give him the appearance of a deserter, rather than of a guest; and that there was no place where he so much wished to live, as in the territory of the king, in whom he had found a protector, and deliverer from bondage.

XI. During these transactions, Quintus Fabius Pictor, who had been sent ambassador to Delphi, returned to Rome, and read, from a written copy, the answer which he had received. This contained instructions to what deities, and in what manner, supplications should be made; and then proceeded thus: “Romans, if you follow these directions, your affairs will improve and prosper; the business of your state will advance more agreeably to your wishes, and the Roman people will be finally victorious in the war: when your commonwealth shall be settled in safety and prosperity, then, out of the acquisitions made by your arms, send an offering to the Pythian Apollo, and dedicate to his honour a part of the booty, of the captives, and of the spoils. Banish licentiousness Edition: current; Page: [107] from among you.” After repeating these words, translated from the Greek verses, he added, that “when he retired from the oracle, he immediately performed worship to all these divinities, with offerings of wine and incense; and was ordered by the chief priest of the temple, that as he had approached the oracle, and had performed worship with a crown of laurel on his head, so he should go on board his ship, wearing the same crown, and not lay it aside until he should arrive at Rome. That he had, with the utmost diligence and reverence, executed all the commands given him, and had deposited the crown on the altar of Apollo at Rome.” The senate then decreed that those supplications, and other acts of worship, should be performed as soon as possible.

XII. While these things were passing in Rome and Italy, Mago, son of Hamilcar, had arrived at Carthage with the news of the victory at Cannæ. He had not been despatched by his brother immediately after the battle, but delayed for several days, in receiving the submissions of the cities of Bruttium which revolted. Being introduced to an audience of the senate, he gave a full account of his brother’s exploits in Italy; that “he had fought pitched battles with six consular armies, and six several commanders; of whom four were consuls, one dictator, and the other master of the horse; had slain above two hundred thousand of the enemy, and had taken above fifty thousand. Of the four consuls, he had slain two; one had escaped wounded; and the other, with scarce fifty of his men, after having lost the rest of his army. The master of the horse, an officer of equal power with a consul, had been defeated and driven off the field; and the dictator, because he always cautiously avoided an engagement, was esteemed as a commander of singular abilities. The Bruttians and Apulians, with part of the Samnites and Lucanians, had come over to the Carthaginians. Capua, which was the metropolis not only of Campania, but since the ruin of the Roman power in the battle of Cannæ, of Italy, had been Edition: current; Page: [108] surrendered to him. For these so great and so numerous successes, it was proper that the public should be grateful, and should offer thanksgivings to the immortal gods.” He then, in confirmation of this joyful intelligence, ordered the gold rings taken from the Romans to be poured down in the porch of the senate-house; and of these there was so great a heap, that, according to some writers, on being measured, they filled three pecks and a half; but the more general account, and likewise the more probable is, that they amounted to no more than one peck. He also explained to them, in order to show the greater extent of the slaughter, that none but those of equestrian rank, and of these only the principal, wore this ornament. The main purport of his discourse was, that “the nearer their prospect was of finishing the war, the more vigorous support, of every kind, ought to be afforded to Hannibal; for that it was carried on at a great distance from home, in the heart of the enemy’s country. The consumption of money and corn was great; and so many engagements, while they ruined the Roman armies, had diminished, in some degree, those of the conqueror. It was therefore necessary to send a reinforcement, and likewise to send money for the pay, and corn for the maintenance of the troops, who had merited so highly of the Carthaginian nation.”

XIII. At the conclusion of Mago’s discourse, while all were filled with joy, Himilco, one of the Barcine faction, thinking this a favourable opportunity for sarcastic reflections on Hanno, said to him, “Hanno, what is your opinion now? Are you still sorry for our entering into the war against the Romans? Advise now the delivering up Hannibal, oppose the offering thanks to the immortal gods, on occasion of these happy events. Let us hear a Roman senator in the senate-house of the Carthaginians.” To this Hanno replied; “Conscript Fathers, I should have remained silent this day, lest, in a time of general joy, I might utter some expression tending to damp it. But now, called upon, as I am, by a Edition: current; Page: [109] member of this body, to declare whether I am still sorry for our having entered into the war against the Romans, if I refuse to answer, I may incur the imputation either of superciliousness or servility; the former indicating a want of due regard to the independent rights of others, the latter to a man’s own. Let me, therefore, answer Himilco, that I have not ceased to lament the war; nor will I cease to censure that invincible commander of yours, until I shall see the war concluded on some tolerable terms; nor will any thing, except a new treaty of peace, put an end to my regret for the loss of the old. Those matters, then, which Mago just now so pompously blazoned out, afford present joy to Himilco, and the other partisans of Hannibal. To me, too, they may eventually prove matter of joy; because successes in war, if we are willing to make the proper use of fortune’s favours, will gain us a peace on the more honourable terms. For should we neglect to improve the present season, when we can possibly dictate, instead of receiving propositions for the same, even now our exultation may lead us into delusive expectations, and prove, in the end, destitute of solid advantage. For, let us see on what footing it stands at this moment. I have cut off the armies of the enemy: send me soldiers. What else would you ask, if you had been defeated? I have taken two camps, full, doubtless, of booty and provisions: give me money and corn. What other demand could you make, if your stores had been plundered, if you were beaten out of your camp? But that I may not be the only person to perceive the unaccountableness of those proceedings, I wish that either Himilco or Mago would inform me (for since I have answered Himilco, it is but reasonable and fair that I likewise, in turn, should ask a question), as the fight at Cannæ has completed the ruin of the Roman empire, and all Italy is evidently coming over to our side; in the first place, has any state of the Latine nation revolted to us? And next, has any one man, out of the thirty-five tribes, deserted?” To both Edition: current; Page: [110] these questions, Mago answering in the negative; “We have still, then,” said he, “more than enough of enemies remaining. But, be their number what it may, I should be glad to know what degree of spirit or of hope they possess?” The other declaring that he knew not that: “Nothing,” said he, “is easier to be known. Have the Romans sent any ambassadors to Hannibal to treat of peace? Have you even received any intelligence of any mention of it being made at Rome?” Both being denied, he proceeded: “Since that is the case, we have not brought the war any nearer to a conclusion than it was on the day when Hannibal first entered Italy. Most of us are old enough to remember how often victory changed sides in the former Punic war. At no time did our affairs wear a more prosperous aspect, both by land and sea, than just before the consulship of Caius Lutatius and Aulus Postumius. In the consulship of Lutatius and Postumius, we suffered a total overthrow at the Ægatian islands. Now, if, in the course of fortune, our affairs should undergo any such alteration, (may the gods avert the omen!) do you hope, that, after we shall be vanquished, we may obtain peace; whereas now, when we are victorious, there is no one disposed to offer it? For my part, were it proposed, either to offer terms of peace to the enemy, or to receive overtures from them, I know what vote I should give. But if the question before you be concerning the supplies demanded by Mago, I do not see any necessity of sending them to troops already victorious: much less can I vote for their being sent to men who delude us with false and groundless hopes.” But few were affected by this discourse of Hanno; for his known enmity to the Barcine family detracted from the weight of his arguments: and besides, men’s minds were so fully occupied by joy for the present success, that they were unwilling to listen to any thing which tended to invalidate the grounds of their triumph; and firmly believed, that, by a little farther exertion, the war would be speedily terminated. A decree of the senate was Edition: current; Page: [111] therefore passed, by a very great majority, that a reinforcement should be sent to Hannibal of four thousand Numidians, and forty elephants, with many talents of silver. At the same time the dictator was sent with Mago into Spain, to hire twenty thousand foot and four thousand horse, which were to complete the numbers of the armies both in Spain and Italy. However, this business, as is often the case in a time of prosperity, was not executed either with spirit or despatch.

XIV. The Romans, prompted by their natural activity of spirit, and also by the present situation of their affairs, omitted no kind of exertion. The consul applied, with diligence, to every business which lay within his department; and the dictator, Marcus Junius Pera, after finishing all matters respecting religion, demanded, as usual, the leave of the people to mount his horse; and then, in addition to the two city legions, levied by the consuls in the beginning of the year, and a body of slaves whom he had enlisted, and the cohorts collected out of the Picenian and Gallic territories, he had recourse to an expedient used only in times of extreme danger, when propriety gives place to utility: he published a proclamation, that “such persons as had been guilty of capital crimes, or had been ordered into confinement on account of debt, should be discharged from prosecution, and from their debts provided they enlisted with him as soldiers:” these, amounting to six thousand men, he armed with the spoils of the Gauls, which had been carried in triumph by Caius Flaminius. By these means he was enabled to set out from the city at the head of twenty-five thousand effective men. Hannibal, after gaining possession of Capua, made a second trial of the temper of the Neapolitans, by applications both to their hopes and fears; but, being disappointed therein, he removed his army into the territory of Nola: where, though he did not immediately commence hostilities, because he did not despair of the people’s voluntary Edition: current; Page: [112] submission, yet he showed a determination, in case of their delaying compliance with his expectations, to make them feel every kind of evil. The senate, and especially the leading members of it, faithfully adhered to the alliance with Rome; while the commons were, as usual, universally inclined to the party of Hannibal; so great were their fears of the devastation of their lands, and on the heavy sufferings and indignities to be endured in a siege; nor were leaders wanting to urge them to a revolt. The senate, dreading lest, if they made open profession of their intentions, they should find it impossible to withstand the violent temper of the populace, concealed them under a counterfeit appearance, and thereby found means to defer the evil. They pretended that they approved the design of revolting to Hannibal; but that they could not immediately determine on the conditions, on which it might be proper to contract this new alliance. Having thus gained time, they hastily despatched ambassadors to Claudius Marcellus, the Roman prætor, then at Casilinum with his army, informing him of the precarious situation of the state of Nola; that the country was already possessed by Hannibal, as the city would shortly be, unless it received succour: that the senate, by pretending, in compliance with the humour of the commons, that they were ready to change sides whenever the latter chose, had hitherto allayed their violent haste to revolt. Marcellus, after applauding the conduct of the Nolans, charged them to protract the business under the same pretexts, until he should arrive; and to conceal in the mean time what had passed between him and them, and every expectation of an assistance from the Romans. He himself advanced from Casilinum to Calatia; and from thence, after crossing the river Vulturnus, he proceeded through the territories of Saticula and Trebia, and passing above Suessula, came through the mountains to Nola.

XV. On the approach of the Roman prætor, the Carthaginian retired out of the territory of Nola, and marched Edition: current; Page: [113] down to the sea-coast adjacent to Neapolis, being earnestly desirous to get possession of a sea-port town to which ships might come over with safety from Africa. But having learned that Neapolis was held by a Roman general, Marcus Junius Silanus, who had been invited thither by the Neapolitans, he gave up all hopes of Neapolis, as well as of Nola, and directed his route to Nuceria. After carrying on the siege of this town for a considerable time, and making frequent attempts to reduce it by force, and also endeavouring in vain to gain over, sometimes the commons, at others the nobility, he at length starved it into a surrender; when he allowed the garrison no other terms than to retire without arms, and with single garments. Afterwards, as he had, from the beginning, wished to appear inclined to act with clemency towards all the Italians, except the Romans, he offered rewards and honours to such of the garrison as should stay and enlist with him: but he did not by these prospects prevail on one man to join him. They all departed, by different roads, to the several cities of Campania, wherever each man’s connexions, or casual impulse of inclination, directed him; but most of them to Nola and Neapolis. About thirty of the principal senators, having directed their course to Capua, and being refused admittence there, on account of their having shut their gates against Hannibal, retired to Cumæ. The plunder of Nuceria was given to the soldiers, and the city, after being sacked, was burned. Marcellus held possession of Nola; for the continuance of which he relied, not more on his own troops, than on the favourable disposition of the principal inhabitants. But strong apprehensions were entertained of the commons, and above all of Lucius [Editor: illegible word] being conscious of having fomented the design of a revolt, and dreading the resentment of the Roman prætor, he was stimulated, first, to betray his native city, and then, should that attempt miscarry, to go over to the enemy. He was a young man of an active spirit, and distinguished among the Edition: current; Page: [114] cavalry of the allies almost beyond every other: he had been found at Cannæ, half dead, among a heap of lifeless bodies, and Hannibal had, with much kindness, taken care of him, until he recovered, and even sent him home, loaded with presents. Out of gratitude for these favours, he now wished to bring the state of Nola under the power and dominion of the Carthaginians. It did not escape the observation of the prætor, that he was perplexed in mind, and anxiously employed in devising the means of effecting a revolution. However, as it was necessary to check him by punishment, or to conciliate his good will by kind treatment, he judged it more prudent to attach to himself a brave and vigorous associate, than merely to deprive the enemy of him: sending, therefore, for him, he observed, in a kind manner, that, he “must certainly be envied by many of his countrymen, as was easily known from this circumstance, that no citizen of Nola ever informed him of his many extraordinary exploits in war; but when any man served in a Roman camp, his merit could not continue in obscurity. That many of those, who had acted with him, however, had reported well of his conduct; how often, and to what great dangers, he had exposed himself, in defence of the welfare and dignity of the Roman people; particularly that, in the battle of Cannæ, he had not ceased fighting, until, being almost entirely exhausted, he was buried under a heap of men, horses, and arms. Proceed, therefore,” said he, “in your meritorious course; from me you shall meet with every distinction, every reward; in fine, and that you may give me your company the oftener, you shall find that such conduct, as it will redound to your honour, so shall it to your emolument too.” While the young man was overjoyed at such promises, he presented him with a horse of uncommon beauty, ordered the quæstor to give him five hundred silver denarii*, and commanded his lictors to admit him to his presence, whenever he chose to come. By Edition: current; Page: [115] this courteous behaviour of Marcellus, the violent temper of the youth was soothed to such a degree, that, from that time forward, no one among the allies exerted more bravery and zeal in support of the Roman cause.

XVI. As Hannibal was now at the gates, (for he had led his forces back from Nuceria to Nola,) and as the commons of the latter began anew to meditate a revolt, Marcellus retired within the walls; not that he was under any apprehension for the safety of his camp, but that he might not allow an opportunity of betraying the city, for which too many impatiently wished. From this time, it was the practice to draw up the forces on both sides in order of battle; the Romans, under the walls of Nola, the Carthaginians, before their own camp; in consequence of which, many skirmishes happened between the camp and the city, with various success; the generals being unwilling either to restrain the small parties, who, inconsiderately challenged the foe, or to give the signal for a general engagement. While the two armies continued to post themselves in this manner, the men of the first rank in Nola gave information daily to Marcellus, that “conferences were held by night between the commons and the Carthaginians; wherein it had been determined, that, when the Roman army went out of the gates on its march, the populace should make plunder of their baggage and packages; then shut the gates, and possess themselves of the walls; with intent, that, having thus taken into their own hands the disposal of their own affairs, and of the city, they should give admittance to the Carthaginians instead of the Romans.” On receiving this intelligence, Marcellus, highly commending the Nolan senators, resolved to try the fortune of a battle before any commotion should arise within. He then formed his forces in three divisions, at the three gates which faced the enemy, ordering the baggage to follow in the rear, and the invalids, servants, and sutler’s boys to carry palisades. At the gate in the centre, he placed the chief strength of the Edition: current; Page: [116] legions and the Roman cavalry; at the other two gates, on the right and left, the new-raised soldiers, light infantry, and the cavalry of the allies. The Nolans were forbidden to come near the walls or gates; and the troops, intended as a reserve, were appointed to guard the baggage, lest any attack might be made on it, while the legions should be engaged. Marshalled in this manner, they stood within the gates. Hannibal, after standing as he had done for several days past, with his troops under arms and in order of battle, until the day was far advanced, began to wonder, that neither the Roman army came out of the gates, nor one of their soldiers was to be seen on the walls. Concluding that the conferences had been discovered, and that fear had rendered the Romans unwilling to stir, he sent back part of his soldiers to the camp, with orders to bring up to the front with haste, every thing requisite for assaulting the city; for he was persuaded, that if he pressed them vigorously, while they declined action, the populace would rise in his favour. While his men in the van ran up and down, each intent upon the business assigned him, and the line drew nigh to the walls, Marcellus, on a sudden, throwing open the gate, ordered the charge to be sounded, the shout to be raised, and the infantry first, then the cavalry, to rush forth with all possible fury. These had now spread abundance of terror and confusion through the centre of the enemy’s line, when from the two gates, on the right and left, the lieutenant-general Publius Valerius Flaccus, and Caius Aurelius, burst out against the wings. The servants, sutler’s boys, and the whole of those who were left to guard the baggage, joined to increase the shout; so that to the Carthaginians, who had been led to despise them, chiefly by an opinion of the smallness of their numbers, they suddenly exhibited an appearance of a very considerable army. I can scarcely indeed take upon me to assert, as some writers have done, that two thousand three hundred of the enemy were slain, and that the loss of the Romans was no more than five Edition: current; Page: [117] hundred: but, whether the advantage was so great or not, the success of that day was highly important; I know not, whether it was not the most so of any obtained during that war: for, to avoid being conquered by Hannibal was, to the troops who were victorious on that day, a matter of greater difficulty than to conquer him afterwards.

XVII. Hannibal, thus precluded from all hope of getting possession of Nola, marched away to Acerræ; and then Marcellus, immediately shutting the gates, and posting guards to prevent any person from going out of the city, held a judicial inquiry in the Forum concerning those who had entered into a private correspondence with the enemy. Above seventy were convicted of treasonable practices. These he beheaded, and adjudged their effects to be confiscated to the use of the Roman people; and then, having lodged the government in the hands of the senate, he marched thence with all his forces, and taking post above Suessula, pitched his camp there. The Carthaginian first endeavoured to entice the people of Acerræ to a voluntary surrender, and afterwards, on finding them obstinate, prepared to invest and assault the town. However, the Acerrans possessed more courage than strength. When, therefore, they perceived the enemy drawing lines of circumvallation round their walls, despairing of being able to defend the city, they seized the opportunity, before the works were drawn completely round, and stealing away in the dead of night, through the space unoccupied by the lines, which was negligently guarded, effected their escape, some through the roads, others through pathless ways, as each was led by design or mistake, into those cities of Campania, which they knew had not deserted the alliance with Rome. Hannibal, having sacked and burned Acerræ, and hearing that the Roman dictator, with his legions, were seen from Casilinum at some distance, began to apprehend, lest, in consequence of the enemy being encamped in the neighbourhood, some disturbance might arise even at Capua, and therefore led his Edition: current; Page: [118] forces to Casilinum. That town was held at this time by five hundred Prænestines, with a small number of Romans and Latines, whom the news of the disaster at Cannæ had brought thither. The former, because the levies at Præneste were not completed at the appointed day, had set out from home too late; and, having arrived at Casilinum before the account of the defeat, and being there joined by several others, both Romans and allies, were marching forwards in a very considerable body, when the news of the fight at Cannæ induced them to turn back. Here being feared by, and fearing the Campanians, they spent several days in guarding against plots, and forming them in turn; when, receiving certain information of the revolt intended at Capua, and of Hannibal’s being received into the town, they put to death the obnoxious inhabitants by night, and seized on that part of the city which stands on this side of the Vulturnus, for it is divided by that river. And this was all the garrison the Romans had at Casilinum. To these was added a cohort of Perusians, consisting of four hundred and sixty men, driven hither by the same bad news which had brought the Prænestincs a few days before. The number of soldiers was now nearly sufficient for the defence of a place of such small extent, and which had one side inclosed by the river. A scarcity of corn made them even think the number of men too great.

XVIII. When Hannibal came within a small distance of the place, he sent forward a body of Gætulians, under an officer named Isalca, with orders, that if an opportunity could be found of conferring with the garrison, he should first endeavour to allure them, by expressions of kindness, to open the gates and receive his troops; but, if they persisted in obstinate opposition, that he should then put his forces in action, and try if he could on any side break into the city. When they came near the walls, all being silent, it was believed that the town was evacuated, and the barbarian, supposing that the garrison had retired through fear, was preparing to break Edition: current; Page: [119] down the gates; but these flying suddenly open, two cohorts, drawn up within for the purpose, rushed out with great impetuosity, and made a considerable slaughter. The first body of assailants being thus repulsed, Maharbal was sent up with a more powerful force; but neither could he withstand the sally of the cohorts. At last, Hannibal, pitching his camp close under the walls, prepared to assault this small town and garrison with the whole of his troops; completely encompassing it, and while urging on the attack with briskness in every part at once, he lost a great number of his soldiers, particularly of those who were most forward in action, by weapons thrown from the walls and towers. At one time, the besieged having had the courage to sally out, Hannibal, by placing a line of elephants in their way, was very near cutting off their retreat. He drove them, however, in confusion into the town, after they had lost a great many men in proportion to the smallness of their number; and more would have fallen, had not night put an end to the engagement. On the following day, the besiegers were animated with extraordinary ardour to carry on the assault, especially as a mural crown of gold was proposed as a prize, and as the general himself upbraided the conquerors of Saguntum with their tardy advances in the siege of a trifling fortress, situate on a level ground; reminding each in particular, as well as the whole army in general, of Trebia, Trasimenus, and Cannæ. They then began to work their machines, and to sink mines; nor were those allies of the Romans deficient either in vigour or skill, to counteract the attempts of the enemy. Against the machines they erected bulwarks, by countermines intercepted the mines, baffling all the efforts of the Carthaginian both open and concealed, until even shame compelled him to abandon the enterprise: but, lest he should appear to have entirely given up the design, he fortified a camp, where he posted a small body of troops, and then, withdrew into winter-quarters at Capua. Here, during the greater part of the winter, Edition: current; Page: [120] he kept his forces lodged in houses, men who had frequently and long endured with firmness every hardship to which human nature is liable; and had never been accustomed to, nor ever had experienced the comforts of prosperity. These men, therefore, whom no power of adversity had been able to subdue, were ruined by an excess of good fortune and by immoderate pleasures. These produced effects the more pernicious; because, being hitherto unaccustomed, as I have said, to such indulgences, they plunged into them with the greater avidity. Sleep, and wine, and feasting, and harlots, and baths, and idleness, with which, through habit, they became daily more and more delighted, enervated both their minds and bodies to such a degree, that they owed their preservation, rather to the name they had acquired by their past victories, than to their present strength. In the opinion of persons skilled in the art of war, the general was guilty of a greater fault in this instance, than in not leading forward his army directly to the city of Rome, after the battle of Cannæ: for that dilatory conduct might be supposed only to have deferred the conquest for a time, whereas this latter error left him destitute of the strength to effect it. Accordingly he marched out of Capua as if with a different army, for it retained not, in any particular, the least remains of the former discipline. Most of the men returned to the field encumbered with harlots; and, as soon as they began to live in tents, and were obliged to undergo the fatigue of marches, and other military labours; like raw recruits, their strength both of body and mind failed them: and from that time, during the whole course of the summer campaign, great numbers used to steal away from their standards, without leave, and the only lurking place of all these deserters was Capua.

XIX. However, when the rigour of the season began to abate, he drew his troops out of their winter-quarters, and returned to Casilinum; where, notwithstanding there had been a cessation from attacks, yet the continued blockade had Edition: current; Page: [121] reduced the townsmen and garrison to the extremity of want. The Roman camp was commanded by Titus Sempronius, the dictator having gone to Rome to take the auspices anew. Marcellus, who, on his part, earnestly wished to bring relief to the besieged, was prevented by the overflowing of the river Vulturnus, and by the earnest entreaties of the people of Nola and Acerræ, who dreaded the Campanians, in case of the departure of the Roman troops. Gracchus, having received injunctions from the dictator not to engage in any enterprize during his absence, but to maintain his post near Casilinum, did not venture to stir, although he received such accounts from that town, as were sufficient to overcome every degree of patience. It appeared that several, unable longer to endure hunger, had thrown themselves down precipices, and that others stood unarmed on the walls, exposing their naked bodies to the blows of the missive weapons. Gracchus felt great concern for their distresses; but he neither dared to engage in fight, contrary to the dictator’s order, (and fight he plainly must, if he attempted openly to throw in provisions,) nor had he any hope of getting them conveyed in clandestinely by his men. He therefore collected corn from all parts of the country round; and having filled therewith a great number of casks, sent a messenger to Casilinum to the magistrate, desiring that the people should catch the casks which the river would bring down. The following night was passed in attentively watching for the completion of the hopes raised by the Roman messenger, when the casks, being sent along the middle of the stream, floated down to the town, and the corn was divided equally among them all. The same stratagem was practised with success on the following night, and on the third. The casks were put into the river, and conveyed to the place of their destination in the course of the same night, by which means they escaped the notice of the enemy’s guards: but the river being afterwards rendered more rapid by continued rains, a whirling eddy drove them across to the Edition: current; Page: [122] side where the enemy’s guards were posted, and there they were discovered sticking among osiers which grew on the banks. This being reported to Hannibal, care was taken for the future to guard the Vulturnus with greater vigilance, so that no supply, sent down by it to the city, should pass without discovery. Notwithstanding which, quantities of nuts being poured into the river at the Roman camp, and floating down in the middle of the stream to Casilinum, were stopped there with hurdles. The scarcity, however, at last became so excessive, that tearing off the straps and the leathern covers of their shields, and softening them in boiling water, they endeavoured to chew them, nor did they abstain from mice or any other kind of animal. They even dug up every sort of herb and root that grew at the foot of the ramparts of the town, and when the enemy had ploughed up all the ground round the wall, that produced any herbs, they sowed it with turnip seed, which made Hannibal exclaim, “Am I to sit here before Casilinum until these grow?” Although he had hitherto refused to listen to any terms of capitulation, yet he now allowed overtures to be made to him, respecting the redeeming of the men of free condition. An agreement was made, that for each of these a ransom should be paid of seven ounces of gold; and then, having received the ratification of the same, the garrison surrendered. They were detained in custody until all the gold was paid, and afterwards honourably escorted to Cumæ. This is a more probable account than that which relates that they were slain by a body of cavalry, ordered to attack them on their departure. The greatest part of them were Prænestines; out of five hundred and seventy of these, (the number who were in the garrison,) almost one half perished by the sword or by famine, the rest returned in safety to Præneste with their commander Manicius, who had formerly been a notary there. The truth of this relation is attested by a statue of him erected in the Forum at Præneste, clad in a coat of mail, and dressed in a gown, with the head Edition: current; Page: [123] covered; and by three images, with an inscription engraved on a plate of brass, importing that “Manicius vowed these in behalf of the soldiers, who were in the garrison at Casilinum.” The same inscription was placed under the three images in the temple of Fortune.

XX. The town of Casilinum was restored to the Companians, and strengthened by a reinforcement of seven hundred men from Hannibal’s army, lest, on the departure of the Carthaginian, the Romans should attack it. To the Prænestine soldiers, the Roman senate decreed two years’ pay, and immunity from military service for five years. Being offered the rights of Roman citizens, in consideration of their bravery, they chose to remain in their own community. With regard to the fate of the Perusians, our information is not so clear; for we receive no light either from any monument of their own, or any decree of the Romans. About the same time, the Petellians, who alone of all the Bruttians had persevered in maintaining friendship with Rome, were attacked not only by the Carthaginians, who were in possession of the adjacent country, but also by the other Bruttians, who resented their following separate counsels. Unable to withstand such a multitude of foes, the Petellians sent ambassadors to Rome to solicit succour. The utmost compassion was excited in the breasts both of the senate and people by these men’s prayers and tears; for on being told that they must depend on themselves for safety, they burst out into piteous lamentations in the porch of the senate-house. The affair being proposed a second time to the consideration of the senators, by Manius Pomponius the prætor, after examining into the resources of the commonwealth in every quarter, they were obliged to acknowledge that they were not now in a capacity of assisting their distant allies; they therefore desired the ambassadors to return home, and after doing their utmost to fulfil the duty of faithful confederates, to provide for their own safety in the best manner the present circumstances would permit. When Edition: current; Page: [124] the result of this embassy was reported to the Petellians, their senate was suddenly seized with such grief and terror, that many of them advised to abandon the city, and seek refuge wherever each could find it; others, that since they were forsaken by their old connexions, they should unite with the rest of the Bruttians, and through their mediation surrender themselves to Hannibal. However, the majority were of opinion that no step should be taken rashly, or in a hurry; but that the matter should be considered anew. Accordingly it was taken under deliberation on the following day, when their fears had in some measure subsided, the more considerable persons prevailing on them to bring in all their effects from the country, and to fortify the walls and the city.

XXI. About this time letters were brought to Rome from Sicily and Sardinia. Those written from Sicily by Titus Otacilius, pro-prætor, were first read in the senate; the contents were, that “Publius Furius, the prætor, had come from Africa to Lilybæum with his fleet, and that he himself was grievously wounded, so that his life was in imminent danger, that neither pay nor corn was furnished to the soldiers and marines at the regular times, nor were there any funds from which they could be obtained; that he earnestly recommended that supplies of these articles might be sent as soon as possible, and also, that, if it seemed proper, one of the new prætors might be appointed to succeed him in his employment.” The letters of Aulus Cornelius Mammula, pro-prætor, from Sardinia, were nearly of the same purport respecting hay and corn. To both the same answer was given, that there were no means of forwarding supplies, and that they themselves must take measures for providing for their fleets and armies. Titus Otacilius, however, sending ambassadors to Hiero, the only resource of the Roman people in that quarter, received from him as much money as was necessary for the pay of the troops, and corn sufficient for six months. In Sardinia, Edition: current; Page: [125] the allied states gave a liberal contribution to Cornelius. At Rome there was such a scarcity of money, that it was judged requisite, on a proposal made to that purpose, by Marcus Minucius, plebeian tribune, to constitute three public bankers; these were Lucius Æmilius Papus, who had been consul and censor, Marcus Atilius Regulus, who had been twice consul, and Lucius Scribonius Libo, who was then plebeian tribune. Two Atilii, Marcus and Caius, being appointed commissioners for the purpose, dedicated the temple of Concord, which Lucius Manlius had vowed in his prætorship. Three pontiffs were also elected, Quintus Cæcelius Metellus, Quintus Fabius Maximus, and Quintus Fulvius Fiaccus, in the room of Publius Scantinius, deceased, and of Lucius Æmilius Paullus, the consul, and Quintus Ælius Pætus, who had fallen in the battle of Cannæ.

XXII. When the senate had repaired, as far as could be effected by human wisdom, the losses sustained by other parts of the state, through the uninterrupted course of disasters in which fortune had involved them, they at length turned their thoughts on themselves, on the solitude that appeared in the senate house, and the small number of those who assembled in the great council of the nation: for the council had not been filled up since the censorship of Lucius Æmilius, and Caius Flaminius, although, during these five years, the unfortunate battles, besides the casualties to which every man is subject, had swept off such a number of its members. As the dictator was now gone, after the loss of Casilinum, to join the army, this business was, at the earnest request of all, proposed to the consideration of the senate by Manius Pomponius, a prætor. On which Spurius Carvilius, after having, in a long speech, lamented not only the fewness, but even the total want of citizens, who might be chosen into their body, said, that “for the purpose of filling up the senate, and of forming a closer connexion with the Latine nation, he recommended, with all the earnestness which Edition: current; Page: [126] a matter of that importance demanded, that, if the Roman fathers thought proper so to order, two senators out of each of the Latine states should be invested with the rights of citizens, and adopted in the room of the members deceased.” This proposition the senators heard with no less disgust than had been excited by a demand of the same purport, formerly made by the Latines themselves. A murmur of indignation, indeed, spread through every part of the assembly, Titus Manlius in particular, saying, that “there still existed one of the same race with that consul, who formerly declared in the Capitol, that he would with his own hand put to death any Latine whom he should see in the senate-house.” Quintus Fabius Maximus said, that “never was the mention of any business in that house more perfectly unseasonable than was (when the minds of the allies were in suspense, and their fidelity doubtful,) the touching on a subject which might create farther disquiet among them. That all present were bound to bury in universal forgetfulness those inconsiderate words of one individual; for that if ever any matter occurred in that house that demanded secrecy, and induced a solemn obligation to silence, it was this proposition, which, beyond every other, ought to be covered, concealed, and consigned to oblivion, and to pass as if it never had been uttered.” This prevented any farther discussion. They then came to a resolution, that a dictator should be created, to elect members into the senate; and that he should be a person who had formerly been censor, and was the first in seniority living, of those who had held that office. They likewise ordered, that the consul Caius Terentius should be sent for, in order to nominate the dictator. Leaving his troops in Apulia, he came thence by long journies to Rome, and pursuant to the decree of the senate, on the following night, according to the custom, nominated Marcus Fabius Buteo dictator, for six months, without a master of the horse.

XXIII. Buteo mounted the rostrum, attended by his lictors, Edition: current; Page: [127] and declared, that “he did not approve of two dictators at one time, of which there had hitherto been no precedent; neither was he content with his own appointment to the dictatorship, without a master of the horse; nor of the censorial power being entrusted to a single person, and to that person a second time: nor yet of authority being granted to a dictator for six months, unless he were to command in war. But those particulars, in which accident, the exigencies of the times, and necessity, had caused such irregularities, he would reduce into regular order. For, in the first place, he would not displace any of those senators whom Caius Flaminius and Lucius Æmilius had elected, in their censorship; he would only order the list of them to be transcribed, and read over; for no single person ought to have authority to judge and determine on the character and morals of a senator; and that, in substituting others in the room of those deceased, he would regulate his choice in such a manner, that the preference should be seen to lie between one rank and another, not between one man and another.” When the list of the old senate had been read, he then elected, first, in room of the deceased members, those who, since the censorship of Lucius Æmilius and Caius Flaminius, had obtained any curule magistracy, and had not yet been elected senators, and these in order, according to the priority of their appointments to office. Next, he made choice of those who had been ædiles, plebeian tribunes, or quæstors. Then, out of such as had never held a public office, he selected those who had spoils taken from an enemy hanging in their houses, or had received the prize of a civic crown. Having, in this manner, and with the entire approbation of all ranks of men, elected into the senate one hundred and seventy-seven members, he instantly abdicated his office, ordered the lictors to depart, and came down from the rostrum a private citizen. He then mixed with the crowd employed in their private concerns, or who were loitering in the Forum, and this he did to prevent them from Edition: current; Page: [128] quitting the place to escort him. However, the warmth of their zeal was not cooled by that delay, and they conducted him [Editor: illegible word] in vast numbers.

XXIV. On the following night, the consul set out on his return to the army, without acquainting the senate, lest he should be detained in the city on account of the elections: who next day, on the business being proposed by the prætor Manius Pomponius, decreed that a letter should be written to the dictator, with directions that, if he judged it consistent with the public good, he should come home to hold the election of consuls and should bring the master of the horse, and the prætor Marcus Marcellus, in order that government might learn from them in person, the state of the public affairs, and adopt such measures as circumstances required. All those came whose presence was desired, leaving lieutenant-generals to command the legions. The dictator, speaking briefly and modestly of his own services, attributed a great share of the honour acquired to the master of the horse, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. He then published a proclamation for an assembly of election, in which were created consuls, Lucius Postumius, the third time, being absent, employed in the government of the province of Gaul; and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, then master of the horse, and curule ædile. Then followed the choosing of prætors: these were Marcus Valerius Lævinus, Appius Claudius Pulcher, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, and Quintus Mucius Scævola. As soon as the appointment of magistrates was finished, the dictator returned to Teanum, the winter-quarters of his army, leaving the master of the horse at Rome; in order that, as he was to enter into office in a few days, he might take the judgment of the senate concerning the levying and procuring troops for the service of the year. While the public attention was employed principally on this business, an account was brought of a new disaster, fortune crowding into this year events of that nature in constant succession; this was, that Edition: current; Page: [129] Lucius Postumius, consul elect, together with his army, had been cut off in Gaul. On the road through which he was to lead his army, there was a wood of vast extent, the Gauls called it Latina: the trees of this wood, adjoining the road on the right and left, the Gauls had cut in such a manner, that as long as they were untouched they stood, but on being pushed, even with the slightest force, they fell. Postumius had with him two Roman legions, and had enlisted such numbers from among the allies on the coast of the upper sea, that he led an army of twenty-five thousand men into the enemy’s country. The Gauls posted themselves round the outer skirts of the wood, and, when the army on its march entered the pass, they then pushed the outermost trees of those which they had cut; these fell against the next, and those likewise against others unsteady before, until, overwhelming the Romans on all sides, they crushed in one universal ruin, men, horses, and arms; so that scarcely ten of them made their escape; the greater part were bruised to death by the trunks of the trees, or entangled in the fragments of branches, while the remainder, dismayed by this sudden and strange disaster, were slain by the Gauls, who, in arms, enclosed every part of the wood. Out of so great a number, a very few were taken prisoners; these pushing for a bridge which lay over a river, were intercepted by the enemy, who had taken possession of it before. Here Postumius fell, fighting with the utmost bravery to avoid being taken. This general’s head the Boians cut off, and, together with the spoils taken from his body, carried it in triumph into a temple, which they held in the highest reverence. Afterwards emptying the head, as their custom is, they enchased the skull with gold, and this they used as a consecrated vessel, out of which they made libations on high festivals; and as a cup to be drank out of by the officiating priest, and the other priests of the place. The booty also, which fell into the hands of the Gauls, was as abundant, as their victory was complete: for Edition: current; Page: [130] although hardly any escaped destruction from the falling of the wood, yet every thing else was found spread regularly along the line of the lifeless troops; because there had been no flight, and consequently no removal of any thing.

XXV. On the news of this calamity, such dismay possessed the public during several days, that the shops were shut, and solitude, like that of midnight, prevailed through the whole city, until the government charged the ædiles to go round through all the streets, to order the shops to be opened, and this appearance of public mourning to be laid aside. Then Tiberius Sempronius, assembling the senate, endeavoured to console them by saying, that “they who had not sunk under the ruinous disaster at Cannæ, should not let their courage be depressed by misfortunes of less moment.” He observed, that “provided their operations against Hannibal, and their Carthaginian enemies, were attended with success, (as he hoped they would,) the prosecution of the war against the Gauls might, without danger, be suspended; and that it would be always in the power of the gods and of the Roman people to take ample vengeance for their treachery. It was their business, therefore, to consult and deliberate on the measures to be taken against the Carthaginian, and on the strength with which that war was to be conducted.” He gave them a detail of the numbers of infantry and cavalry, of Romans, and of allies, in the dictator’s army: then Marcellus laid before them the amount of his own troops, while inquiry was made as to the force in Apulia, with the consul Caius Terentius. But no plan could be devised, of forming consular armies sufficiently powerful to cope with such formidable enemies. Wherefore, though strongly stimulated by just resentment, they determined to suspend all proceedings against Gaul for that year. The dictator’s army was decreed to the consul. It was resolved that those soldiers in Marcellus’s army, who had fled from Cannæ, should be transported into Sicily, and serve there as long as the war should continue in Edition: current; Page: [131] Italy; and that to the same place should be sent the least able in the dictator’s legions, but there was no order that these should be detained during any particular term, but only for the number of campaigns directed by law. The two city legions were assigned to the other consul, who should be substituted in the room of Lucius Postumius; who, it was determined, should be elected as soon as it could be done with permission of the auspices: that two legions should be brought home, with all expedition, from Sicily; out of which, the consul appointed to the charge of those of the city, should take as many soldiers as should be necessary; that the consul Caius Terentius should be continued in command for a year, and that no diminution should be made in the force employed under him for the defence of Apulia.

XXVI. During the period in which those events took place, and these preparations were making in Italy, the war was prosecuted with no less vigour in Spain, but success had hitherto inclined to the Romans. The two Scipios, Publius and Cneius, divided the forces between them, that Cneius might conduct the operations on land, and Publius those at sea; while Hasdrubal, who commanded the Carthaginians, having little confidence in any strength that he could muster against either, kept aloof, relying for safety on the distance and on the nature of the ground, until, after long and frequent solicitations, a reinforcement was sent him from Africa, of four thousand foot and five hundred horse. At length resuming hopes, he removed his camp nearer to the enemy, and gave orders, in person, for preparing and fitting out a fleet, for the protection of the islands, and the sea-coast. In the midst of the hurry of his preparations for recommencing the war anew, he was greatly alarmed by the desertion of the commanders of his ships, who, having been severely reprimanded for abandoning the fleet at the Iberus, in a cowardly manner, had never since been very faithfully disposed, either to the general, or the interest of the Carthaginians. These deserters Edition: current; Page: [132] had excited an insurrection in the country of the Tartessians, where, at their instigation, several cities had revolted, and one they had even taken by storm. Instead, therefore, of directing his operations against the Romans, he turned them against his own nation; and, having entered their territory in an hostile manner, resolved to attack Galbus, a general of high reputation, commander of that people, who, with a powerful force, kept close within his camp, under the walls of the city, which had been taken a few days before. Accordingly, sending forward his light-armed troops to draw out the revolters to battle, he despatced part of his infantry to ravage the lands, on all sides, and pick up stragglers: thus, at the same time, the camp was alarmed, and the country filled with flight and slaughter. At length, when by different roads, the fugitives had escaped within their works, they so entirely got rid of their panic, that they had courage sufficient, not only to defend them, but even to challenge Hasdrubal to battle. They sallied out therefore in a body from the camp, dancing according to their custom; and their unexpected boldness struck terror into those who, a little before, took pains to provoke them. Hasdrubal, therefore, drew back his forces to an eminence of considerable height, and farther secured by a river running at the foot of it, ordering the advanced party of light troops, and the scattered horsemen, to retreat to the same place; but still not thinking himself sufficiently secured by the hill or the river, he fortified his camp completely with a rampart. While they thus terrified each other alternately, several skirmishes took place, in which the Numidian cavalry proved not a match for the Spanish, nor the Mauritanian javelin bearer for the targeteer; the latter possessing, together with equal activity, much greater strength and much more courage.

XXVII. The Tartessians, finding, that they could not, by advancing to his camp, entice the Carthaginian to an engagement; and that, on the other hand, an assault on it would be Edition: current; Page: [133] attended with much difficulty, stormed the city of Asena, where Hasdrubal, on entering their territory, had stored up his corn and other provisions: and this gave them the command of all the adjacent country. And now they could no longer, either on a march, or in a camp, be kept in order by any command. As soon, therefore, as Hasdrubal perceived that success had, as usual, begotten such disorder, he exhorted his men to attack them while they straggled without their standards; and descending from the hill, proceeded, in order of battle, towards their camp. His approach being announced by messengers, flying back in consternation from the watch posts and advanced guards, the general alarm was given; on which, as fast as each could take up his arms, without command, without signal, without regard to any regular disposition, or even to ranks, they rushed out to battle. The foremost had already engaged in fight, while some ran up, in small parties, and others had not yet come out of the camp. However, at the beginning, merely through their daring boldness, they struck terror into the Carthaginians; but afterwards, as their thin ranks closed with the compact bands of these, the danger, from the smallness of their numbers, becoming apparent, each began to look about for support, and, being repulsed in all parts, they collected themselves in a circle. Here, crowding together, they were driven into such a narrow compass, that they had scarcely room to move their arms, and, in this situation, were entirely surrounded, so that the slaughter of them continued through the greater part of the day. A small number, having forced a passage, made off to the woods and mountains; with like consternation, the camp was abandoned, and the whole nation, the day following, submitted to the conqueror. But it did not continue long in a state of peace: for orders were brought at several times from Carthage that Hasdrubal should, with all speed, lead his army into Italy. The report of this intended procedure, spreading through Spain, wrought a change in the disposition Edition: current; Page: [134] of almost every state, in favour of the Romans. Hasdrubal, therefore, immediately despatched a letter to Carthage, representing what mischief the said report of his departure had occasioned. That “if he were really to remove thence, the Romans would be masters of Spain, before he should cross the Iberus. For, besides that he had neither forces, nor commander, whom he could leave in his place, the Roman generals were such, that, with strength equal to theirs, it was scarcely possible to withstand them; wherefore, if they had any regard for the country in question, they ought to send a successor in his room, with a powerful army; who, though all events should prove prosperous, would find in the province but little time for repose.”

XXVIII. Although this letter made a considerable impression on the senate, yet deeming Italy of superior importance, and entitled to the first attention, they made no change in the orders respecting Hasdrubal and his forces. Himilco was sent with a complete army and an extraordinary number of ships, in order to maintain a superiority in Spain, both by land and sea, and to defend it from all attacks. After transporting his land and sea forces, he fortified a camp, drew up the ships on land, and surrounded them with a rampart; and then, attended by a body of chosen horsemen, with all possible expedition, and with the same precautions in passing through nations whose attachment was doubtful, as through those who were professed enemies, he came to Hasdrubal. As soon as he had communicated to him the decrees and orders of the senate, and learned from him, in turn, the method in which the war in Spain was to be conducted, he returned without delay to his own camp, being indebted for safety to the celerity of his motions; for, before a plot could be concerted, any where, against him, he had always left the place. Hasdrubal, previously to his march, imposed contributions on all the states under his authority; for he well knew that Hannibal had, on several Edition: current; Page: [135] occasions, purchased a passage; that no consideration, but that of pay, made his Gallic auxiliaries remain with him; and that, if he had undertaken such an expedition, unprovided with money, he could scarcely have penetrated so far as to the Alps. Having therefore, with violent haste, exacted the same, he marched down to the Iberus. When the Romans were informed of the decrees of the Carthaginians, and of Hasdrubal’s movement, the two commanders, renouncing every other business, determined with their united forces to obstruct and put a stop to his enterprise. For they considered, that, if Hannibal, whose single force Italy could hardly withstand, should be joined by the Spanish army with Hasdrubal at its head, there would be an end of the Roman empire. Anxiously intent on effecting this purpose, they made a junction of their forces on the bank of the Iberus, and, crossing the river, held a long consultation whether they should directly face the enemy, or be content with detaining him, by attacking his allies. The result was, that they determined to lay siege to the city called Ibera, from the river near which it stood, at that time the most opulent in all that part of the country. When Hasdrubal understood this, instead of bringing succour to his allies, he likewise proceeded to besiege a town, lately put under the protection of the Romans: in consequence of which, the siege already formed by the latter was raised, and their force directed against Hasdrubal himself.

XXIX. For a few days, they remained encamped at the distance, from each other, of five miles, not without skirmishes, but neither party offering battle. At length, on one and the same day, both, as if by concert, displayed the signal for fighting, and brought their whole force into the field. The Romans were formed in three lines; one half of the light troops were posted among the battalions in the front, the other half were sent back to the rear; the cavalry covered the wings. Hasdrubal composed the centre of his line of Edition: current; Page: [136] Spaniards; on the right wing, he posted his Carthaginians; on the left, the Africans and hired auxiliaries; his cavalry he placed on the wings, annexing the Numidians to the Carthaginian infantry, the others to the Africans. However, all the Numidians were not placed on the right wing, but those only, whose practice it was, to bring two horses each into the field, and often in the very hottest of the fight to spring, notwithstanding the weight of their armour, from the wearied horse upon the fresh one, like those who exhibit feats of activity as a show; so great is the agility of the men, and so docile their breed of horses. While they stood, ranged in this manner, the hopes entertained by the commanders were pretty nearly equal on both sides: for neither one party nor the other had any very great advantage, either in the number, or qualifications of their men. But the sentiments of the soldiery were widely different: for the Romans had been easily brought by their commanders to believe, that though they fought at a great distance from their country, yet their efforts were to decide the fate of Italy, and of the city of Rome. Therefore, as their return to their native soil depended on the issue of that battle, they had come to a determined resolution, either to conquer or die. The men who composed the opposite army were not possessed of such inflexible firmness; for the greatest part of them were Spaniards, who wished rather to be defeated in Spain, than, after gaining the victory, to be dragged into Italy. No sooner therefore was the first onset made, than almost, before the javelins were thrown, the centre of their line began to give way; and, on being vigorously pressed by the Romans, turned their backs. On the wings, however, the fight was maintained with spirit; the Carthaginians on the one, and the Africans on the other, charging with briskness, and, as they had their enemy in a manner inclosed between them, attacking them on both sides. But as soon as the whole of the Roman troops had once come together into the centre, its strength was sufficient to compel Edition: current; Page: [137] the wings to retire in opposite directions. Thus there were two distinct battles; and, in both, the Romans, who, after the defeat of the enemy’s centre, had the superiority both in the number and strength of their men, were completely victorious. In this engagement, vast numbers of the enemy were slain; and, had not the Spaniards fled so precipitately before the battle was well begun, very few of their whole army would have survived. The cavalry had no share in the engagement: for, as soon as the Moors and Numidians saw the centre giving way, they instantly betook themselves to a precipitate flight, leaving the wings uncovered, and driving the elephants before them. Hasdrubal, after staying until the fortune of the day was finally decided, made his escape from the midst of the carnage, accompanied by a few. His camp was taken and plundered by the Romans. If the inclinations of any people in Spain were hitherto doubtful, this battle fixed them in the interest of the Romans, and deprived Hasdrubal of every hope, not only of leading an army into Italy, but even of remaining in Spain with any degree of safety. These events being made known at Rome, by letters from the Scipios, caused universal rejoicing, not so much in consideration of the victory itself, as of Hasdrubal’s being thereby prevented from bringing his army into Italy.

XXX. While affairs in Spain proceeded in this manner, the city of Petellia in Bruttium was, after a siege of several months, taken by Himilco, an officer of Hannibal’s. This conquest cost the Carthaginians abundance of blood; but it was not force, so much as famine. that overcame the besieged: for, after having consumed all kinds of eatable fruits, and the flesh of every kind of four-footed beast, they lived at last on the leather of their shields, on herbs and roots, and the tender bark of trees, with berries gathered from the brambles. Nor were they prevailed on to surrender, until their strength was so entirely exhausted, that they were unable to stand on the walls, or to carry their arms. After Edition: current; Page: [138] getting possession of Petellia, the Carthaginian led his forces against Consentia, which was not defended with equal obstinacy, but capitulated in a few days. About the same time, an army of Bruttians invested Croton, a Greek city, formerly powerful in men and arms, but now reduced so low, by many and heavy misfortunes, that the number of its citizens of every age amounted to not quite twenty thousand. The place, therefore, being destitute of men for its defence, was easily mastered. The citadel alone held out, into which, during the confusion consequent to the storming of the city, and while the other inhabitants were put to the sword, some had made their escape. The Locrians too revolted to the Bruttians and Carthaginians, through the treachery of the nobles, who betrayed the populace. The Rhegians alone, in all that tract, maintained to the last their alliance with Rome, and their own independence. The same disposition to change spread also into Sicily, and even the family of Hiero was not entirely uninfected with the spirit of revolt: for Gelo, his eldest son, having conceived a contempt of his father’s declining age, and also, since the defeat at Cannæ, of the Roman connexion, joined the Carthaginians, and would have caused much disturbance in Sicily, had not a death so seasonable, that it threw some stain of suspicion even on his father, carried him off, while he was busy in arming the populace, and courting alliances. Such were the transactions of this year, prosperous and otherwise in Italy, Africa, Sicily, and Spain. Towards the close of the year, Quintus Fabius Maximus demanded of the senate, that he might be allowed to dedicate the temple of Venus Erycina, which he had vowed in his dictatorship; and the senate decreed, that Tiberius Sempronius, consul elect, should, as soon as he entered into office, propose to the people the creation of Quintus Fabius, duumvir, for performing the dedication of that temple. In honour of Marcus Æmilius Lepidus, who had been twice consul, and an augur, his three sons, Lucius, Marcus, and Edition: current; Page: [139] Quintus, celebrated funeral games, which lasted three days; in the course of which, they exhibited, in the Forum, twenty-two pairs of gladiators. The curule ædiles, Caius Lætorius and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, consul elect, who, during his ædileship, had likewise been master of the horse, performed the Roman games, which were also repeated during three days. The plebeian games of the ædiles, Marcus Aurelius Cotta and Marcus Claudius Marcellus, were thrice repeated.Y.R. 537. bc 215. At the conclusion of this third year of the Punic war, Tiberius Sempronius, consul, assumed the administration of his office on the ides of March. Of the prætors, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, who had formerly been twice consul, and likewise censor, held the city jurisdiction, and Marcus Valerius Lævinus that respecting foreigners. The lots gave to Appius Claudius Pulcher the province of Sicily; to Quintus Mucius Scævola that of Sardinia. The people ordained, that Marcus Marcellus should have authority as proconsul, in consideration of his being the only one of the Roman commanders, who, since the disaster at Cannæ, had fought with success.

XXXI. The senate, on the first day of their meeting upon business in the Capitol, passed a decree, that double taxes should be imposed for that year, of which, one half should be levied without delay, for the purpose of giving immediate pay to all the troops, excepting those who had been at Cannæ. With respect to the several armies they ordered, that the consul Tiberius Sempronius should appoint a day for the two city legions to repair to Cale, from whence these legions should be conducted to the Claudian camp, above Suessula. As to the legions which were there, consisting mostly of the troops who had been at Cannæ, it was ordered, that Appius Claudius Pulcher, the prætor, should transport them into Sicily, and that those then in Sicily should be brought home to Rome. To the army appointed to assemble at Cale, Marcus Claudius Marcellus was sent with orders, to lead off those Edition: current; Page: [140] city legions to the Claudian camp. Appius Claudius sent Titus Metellius Croto, lieutenant general, to take the command of the old army, and transport it into Sicily. People had at first expected in silence, that the consul would call an assembly for the election of a colleague in his office: afterwards, when they saw that Marcus Marcellus, whom above all others they wished to be appointed consul for that year, on account of his extraordinary successful conduct in his prætorship, was, as it were purposely, sent out of the way, a murmur arose in the senate-house; on observing which, the consul said, “Conscript Fathers, the public service required, that Marcus Claudius should go into Campania, to make the exchange of the armies; and that a day of election should not be proclaimed until his return, after finishing the business given him in charge, that you may have the consul whom the exigencies of the state require, and who is most agreeable to your wishes.” After this, there was no mention of an election until Marcellus returned. In the mean time, Quintus Fabius Maximus, and Titus Otacilius Crassus, were created duumvirs for the dedication of temples, the latter to dedicate one to Mens, the former, that to Venus Erycina. Both stand in the Capitol, separated by a channel running between them. A proposition was then offered to the people respecting the three hundred Campanian horsemen, who, after faithfully serving out their legal term in Sicily, had returned to Rome, that they should be admitted Roman citizens; and moreover, that they should be deemed to have been citizens of Cumæ, from the day preceding that on which the people of Campania revolted from the Romans. The passing of this law was expedited by the representation of the men themselves, that they knew not to what people they belonged, having renounced their original country, and being not yet adopted into that to which they had returned from abroad. As soon as Marcellus came home from the army, an assembly was summoned for the choice of a consul, in the room of Lucius Edition: current; Page: [141] Postumius. Marcellus was unanimously elected, and ordered to enter immediately into office; but just as he was about to assume the administration, thunder was heard, and the augurs being called, pronounced, that there must have been a defect in the election; whereupon the patricians openly asserted that the appointment of two plebeians to the consulship, of which there had never before been an instance, was what gave displeasure to the gods. On this, Marcellus abdicated the office, in the place of whom was substituted Fabius Maximus, who had twice before been honoured with it. This year the sea appeared on fire; a cow at Sinuessa brought forth a foal; the statues in the temple of Juno Sospita at Lanuvium sweated blood; and a shower of stones fell round the same temple. On account of this shower the nine days’ worship, usual on like occasions, was performed, and the prodigies were carefully expiated.

XXXII. The consuls then made division of the forces assigned them. The army which had been with Marcus Junius, the dictator, fell to the share of Fabius; and that which had been composed of volunteer* slaves, together with twenty-five thousand of the allies, was given to Sempronius. The legions, to be brought home from Sicily, were decreed to Marcus Valerius, the prætor; and Marcus Claudius, proconsul, was sent to command the army, encamped above Suessula, for the protection of Nola. The prætors set out for Sicily and Sardinia. The consuls gave public orders, that whenever they should summon a meeting of the senate, the senators and persons entitled to the privilege of speaking in council, should assemble at the Capuan gate. The prætors, presiding in the courts of justice, fixed their tribunals in the Edition: current; Page: [142] public fish-market; where they ordered all parties concerned to attend, and there justice was administered during that year. In the mean time, when Mago, Hannibal’s brother, was just ready at Carthage to carry over into Italy twelve thousand foot, and one thousand five hundred horse, twenty elephants, and one thousand talents of silver*, under the convoy of sixty ships of war, news arrived, that the army in Spain had been defeated, and that almost every state of that province had gone over to the Romans. Several were now of opinion that they ought, for the present, to lay aside all concern for Italy, and send Mago, with the fleet and army under his command, into Spain. And at this very juncture, a flattering prospect suddenly presented itself, of recovering the possession of Sardinia: for they were told, that “the Roman army there was small, and that Aulus Cornelius, the present prætor, who was well acquainted with the province, was preparing to leave it, and that a new one was expected. They were informed also that the minds of the Sardinians were become dissatisfied, under the burden of a foreign government of so long continuance; which had, during the last year, been marked with cruelty and avarice; that the people were oppressed with grievous taxes, and an unreasonable contribution of corn, and that nothing was wanting, but a head to whom they might transfer their allegiance.” This intelligence was conveyed by a secret embassy from the principal inhabitants, at the instigation chiefly of Hampsicora, who at that time possessed a share of interest and influence, far exceeding that of any other man in the island. These accounts arriving together almost at the same moment, stunned and revived them. They sent Mago with his fleet and army into Spain, and appointed Hasdrubal, surnamed the Bald, their general for Sardinia, assigning him a number of forces, nearly equal to what they had given Mago. At Rome, the consuls, Edition: current; Page: [143] after finishing every business that was to be performed in the city, were now actively employed in preparations for the campaign. Tiberius Sempronius published a proclamation, that his soldiers should assemble at Sinuessa on an appointed day; and Quintus Fabius, with the approbation of the senate, issued another, that all persons should carry in their corn, of all kinds, from the fields to the fortified towns, before the calends of June next ensuing; and that if any disobeyed this order, his farm should be laid waste, his slaves sold by auction, and his farm-houses burnt. Even the prætors appointed to preside in the courts of justice were not allowed an exemption from military employments: it was determined that the prætor Valerius should go into Apulia, to receive the command of the army from Terentius, and that when the legions from Sicily should arrive, he should employ them principally in the defence of the country, and send in their stead Terentius’s army under some lieutenant-general. Twenty-five ships were also put under the command of Publius Valerius, the city prætor, that with them he might protect the sea-coast between Brundusium and Tarentum. An equal number were assigned to Quintus Fulvius, for securing the coasts nearest to the city. Caius Terentius, proconsul, was ordered to press soldiers in the territory of Picenum, and to provide for the security of that part of the country; and Titus Otacilius Crassus, when he had dedicated the temple of Mens, was sent into Sicily, and invested with the command of the fleet.

XXXIII. On this contest, between the two most powerful nations in the world, all kings and nations kept their attention earnestly fixed; but more particularly, Philip, king of Macedonia, because he was nearer to Italy than any other, being separated from it only by the Ionian sea. When he first received information of Hannibal having passed the Alps, as he was overjoyed at the breaking out of war between the Romans and Carthaginians, so, as long as there Edition: current; Page: [144] was no important trial of their strength, his judgment remained equally balanced between the parties, uncertain to which he should wish success. But, when he saw that the Carthaginians had fought three battles, and in each of the three had proved victorious, the scale turned to the side favoured by fortune, and he despatched ambassadors to Hannibal. These, shunning the harbours of Brundusium and Tarentum, because they were guarded by the Roman squadrons, landed at the temple of Juno Lacinia; taking their way thence through Apulia, towards Capua, they fell in with the Roman posts, and were by them conducted to the prætor, Marcus Valerius Lævinus, then encamped near Luceria. Here Xenophanes, who was at the head of the embassy, with perfect composure declared, that he had been sent by king Philip to conclude a treaty of alliance and friendship with the Roman people, and was charged with despatches for the consuls, and for the senate and people of Rome. Valerius, highly delighted with the prospect of a new alliance with a king of such distinguished reputation, at a time when the defection of the old allies had become so general, received these enemies with every degree of courtesy as guests, and gave them an escort, who were ordered to point out carefully the roads, and what places, and what passes, were held by the Romans, or by the enemy. Xenophanes, after passing through the Roman posts into Campania, came thence, by the shortest road, into the camp of Hannibal, and concluded a treaty of alliance and friendship with him on these terms: that “king Philip, with the largest fleet that he could fit out, (and it was supposed that he would be able to make up the number of two hundred ships,) should come over into Italy, lay waste the sea-coast, and annoy the enemy by sea and land, as far as lay in his power. On the conclusion of the war, all Italy, with the city of Rome itself, should be the property of Hannibal and the Carthaginians, and all the booty should be at the disposal of Hannibal. As soon as the conquest Edition: current; Page: [145] of Italy should be completed, the Carthaginians should sail into Greece, and wage war against such nations as the king should direct, and all conquests to be made on the continent, and all the islands on the coast of Macedonia, should be the property of Philip, and united to his dominions.”

XXXIV. On these conditions, principally, was a treaty concluded between the Carthaginian general and the Macedonian ambassadors; and with the latter were sent Gisco, Bostar, and Mago, in quality of ambassadors to receive the ratification of it from the king in person. They arrived at the same spot near the temple of Juno Lacinia, where a ship lay waiting for them in a secret creek. Having set sail from thence, and got into the open sea, they were descried by the Roman fleet which guarded the coasts of Calabria: and Publius Valerius Flaccus despatched some Corcyran fly-boats to pursue and bring back the ship. On which the king’s party endeavoured, at first, to escape; but, afterwards, finding that they were inferior in swiftness of sail, they surrendered themselves to the Romans, and were brought to the commander of the fleet. When he inquired who they were, whence, and whither they were bound, Xenophanes, at first, repeated the feigned story, which had once already succeeded very well, “that he had been sent by Philip to the Romans, and had proceeded as far as the quarters of Marcus Valerius, but could go no farther with safety, as it was not in his power to make his way through Campania, every pass there being guarded by the enemy.” Afterwards, the Carthaginian dress and manners raised some suspicion of Hannibal’s ambassadors; and, some questions being put to them, their language betrayed them; on which, their attendants were removed into separate places, and terrified with menaces, by which means Hannibal’s letter to Philip was discovered, and also the articles of the convention between the Macedonian king and the Carthaginian general. Their designs being thus Edition: current; Page: [146] fully detected, it was judged most adviseable, that the prisoners, and their accompaniers, should with all speed be conveyed to the senate at Rome, or to the consuls, wherever they were. For this service five of the quickest sailing vessels were chosen, and the command of them given to Lucius Valerius Antias, who received orders to distribute the ambassadors through all the ships, to be kept separate under guards, and to take care that there should be no conversation or communication between them. About this time, Aulus Cornelius Mammula, returning from the province of Sardinia to Rome, gave a representation of the state of affairs in that island; that all the people were inclined to revolt; that Quintus Mucius, his successor in the government, had on his coming been so affected by the grossness and moisture of the air, that he fell into a disorder, not so dangerous, as tedious, and consequently would, for a long time, be incapable of military service; and that the army there, though strong enough for the maintenance of order in the province, during a time of peace, was yet very unequal to the support of the war, which appeared ready to break out. On this the senate decreed, that Quintus Fulvius Flaccus should enlist five thousand foot, and four hundred horse; that he should take care to have this legion conveyed to Sardinia without any delay; and that he should send some proper person, commissioned to conduct the business of the war, until Mucius’s health should be re-established. In this employment was sent Titus Manlius Torquatus, who had been twice consul, and likewise consor, and who had, in one of his consulates, subdued Sardinia. About the same time the fleet from Carthage for Sardinia, under Hasdrubal, surnamed the Bald, after suffering severely in a violent storm, was driven out of its course to the Balearick isles, where a great deal of time was lost in docking and repairing the ships, for not only their rigging, but even their hulls, had been damaged.

XXXV. On the side of Italy, the prosecution of the war, Edition: current; Page: [147] since the battle of Cannæ, had been less vigorous than usual, the strength of one party being broken, and the courage of the other enervated. The Campanians, therefore, undertook to bring the state of Cumæ into subjection to themselves. At first, they tried to prevail on that people to renounce the alliance of Rome; but not succeeding in that method, contrived a stratagem to circumvent them. There was a stated festival at Hamæ, at which all the Campanians used to attend. They told the Cumans, that the Campanian senate would come thither, and requested that the senate of Cumæ might likewise come, in order that they might consult together, and, with common consent, adopt such measures as that both states might have the same friends and the same foes; they themsleves, they said, would bring an armed force for their protection, so that there would be no danger either from the Romans or Carthaginians. The Cumans, though they suspected treachery, yet offered no objection, thinking this the best way to cover the deception, which they meditated. In the mean-time Tiberius Sempronius, the Roman consul, after performing the purification of his army at Sinuessa, where he had appointed them to assemble, crossed the river Vulturnus, and encamped at Liternum. As he had in this post no employment for his arms, he obliged the soldiers frequently to go through their exercise, that the recruits, of whom the greatest part were volunteer-slaves, might learn from practice to follow the standards, and to know their own centuries in the field. In the midst of these employments, the general’s principal care was, and he accordingly gave charges to the lieutenants-general and tribunes, that “no reproach, cast on any one on account of his former condition, should sow discord among the troops; that the veteran soldier should be satisfied at being put on a level with the recruit, the freeman with the volunteer-slave; that they should account every one sufficiently honourable and well-born, to whom the Roman people entrusted their arms Edition: current; Page: [148] and standards; observing that, whatever measures fortune made it necessary to adopt, it was equally necessary to support these when adopted.” These directions were not more carefully inculcated by the officers than observed by the soldiers; insomuch that, in a short time, they all became united in such a perfect harmony of sentiment, that it was almost forgotten what each man had been before he became a soldier. While Gracchus was thus employed, ambassadors from Cumæ brought him information of the embassy which had come to them, a few days before, from the Campanians, and the answer which they had returned, and told him, that the festival would begin on the third day following, and that not only the whole senate, but the camp and army of the Campanians would be present. Having ordered the Cumans to convey all their effects out of the fields into the city, and to keep close within the walls, Gracchus himself removed to Cumæ, on the day previous to that which the Campanians had fixed for the commencement of their sacrifices. From hence Hamæ was three miles distant. The Campanians, as had been concerted, had assembled here in great numbers, and at a small distance, Marius Alfius, who was Medixtuticus, that is, the chief magistrate of the Campanians, with fourteen thousand soldiers, was secretly encamped, and was much more busily employed in preparations for the festival, and in the measures requisite for the execution of the treacherous project, than in fortifying his camp, or any other military work. The festival at Hamæ was to last three days, and the rites began after night-fall, so as to be finished at midnight. This hour Gracchus judged the most proper for a surprise, and accordingly, posting guards at the gates to prevent any one carrying intelligence of his design, he obliged the soldiers to spend the time from the tenth hour in taking refreshment and getting some sleep, that they might assemble on a signal as soon as it grew dark; then, about the first watch, he ordered the standards to be raised, and marching Edition: current; Page: [149] out in silence arrived at Hamæ at midnight. Here, finding the Campanian camp in a neglected state, as might be expected from the soldiers having spent the night without sleep, he assaulted it through all the gates at once, and put the men to the sword, some as they lay stretched on the ground, others as they returned unarmed after finishing the sacrifices. In the tumultuous action of this night, there were more than two thousand men slain, together with their general Marius Alfius, and thirty-four military standards taken.

XXXVI. Gracchus, after making himself master of the enemy’s camp with the loss of less than one hundred men, returned quickly to Cumæ, being afraid of Hannibal, who had his camp on the Tifata over Capua. Nor was his judgment mistaken in dictating this provident step; for no sooner had the news of the overthrow reached Hannibal, than he marched by Capua with the utmost rapidity, expecting to find at Hamæ an army, which consisted for the most part of raw recruits and slaves, indulging extravagant joy in consequence of success, and employed in gathering the spoils of the vanquished, and driving off their booty. He ordered such of the Campanians as he met in their flight, to be conducted to Capua, under an escort, and the wounded to be conveyed in carriages. At Hamæ he found nothing but the traces of the recent carnage, and the ground covered with the bodies of his allies. Several now advised him to proceed directly to Cumæ, and attack that city: but, though it accorded with his anxious wishes to have Cumæ at least as a sea port, since he could not get possession of Neapolis, nevertheless, as his soldiers, on their hasty march, had brought nothing but their arms, he retired back to his camp on the Tifata. Being afterwards earnestly urged to the attack by the Campanians, he returned next day to Cumæ with every thing requisite for a siege, and after utterly wasting the country, pitched his camp at the distance of a mile from the city, in which Gracchus had determined to stay, rather through the shame of abandoning, Edition: current; Page: [150] at such a perilous juncture, allies imploring protection from him and the Roman people, than from any great confidence in his troops. Neither could the other consul, Fabius, who had his camp at Cales, venture to cross the river Vulturnus, being engaged at first in taking new auspices, afterwards in attending to prodigies, which were reported one after another; beside, while expiating these, he was told by the aruspices, that it would not be easy to obtain favour of the gods.

XXXVII. While Fabius was prevented from stirring by these causes, Sempronius was held besieged, and now was even exposed to the attacks of machines. Against a huge wooden tower, which was brought up near to the town, the Roman consul raised another tower, much more elevated, by fixing strong piles contiguous to the wall, which in itself was very high. This the besieged formed into a platform, whence, throwing stones, javelins, and other missile weapons, they maintained the defence of their works and city. At last, when the machine had approached close to the wall, and with blazing firebrands, they threw on it all at once an immense quantity of combustibles; while the soldiers within, terrified by the flames, cast themselves down headlong from the same. The garrison, sallying out from two gates at the very time, overthrew the enemy’s advanced guards, and drove them back to their camp; so that the Carthaginian was, on that day, more like a person besieged than besieging. One thousand three hundred of the Carthaginians were slain, and fifty-nine taken prisoners, who, standing careless and negligently near the walls, and on the advanced posts, and fearing nothing less than a sally, were surprised unawares. Gracchus sounded a retreat before the enemy should recover from their sudden fright, and drew back his men within the walls. Next day Hannibal, supposing that the consul, elated with success, would be willing to try the issue of a regular engagement, drew up his forces in order of battle between his Edition: current; Page: [151] camp and the city: but when he saw that not a man stirred, except in the customary guard of the town, and that nothing would be hazarded on inconsiderate hopes, he returned with disappointment to the Tifata. At the very time of the raising the siege of Cumæ, Tiberius Sempronius, surnamed Longus, fought with success against Hanno at Grumentum in Lucania, killed above two thousand of the enemy, and took forty-one military standards, losing two hundred and eighty of his own men. Hanno, expelled from the Lucanian territories, retreated backward into Bruttium. In another quarter, three towns of the Hirpinians, which had revolted from the Roman people, were attacked and retaken by the prætor, Marcus Valerius. Vercellius and Sicilius, the instigators of the revolt, were beheaded, and above one thousand of the prisoners exposed to sale: the rest of the booty was bestowed on the soldiers, and then the troops were led back to Luceria.

XXXVIII. While affairs proceeded thus in Lucania and Hirpinia, the five ships carrying the captive ambassadors of the Macedonians and Carthaginians to Rome, after making a circuit from the upper sea to the lower, round the greater part of the coast of Italy, were sailing by Cumæ, when they were observed by Gracchus, who, not knowing whether they belonged to friends or enemies, sent a part of his fleet to meet them. Here mutual inquiries discovering that the consul was at Cumæ, the ships put into that harbour, the prisoners were conducted to the consul, and the packet they had in charge delivered to him. Having read the letters of Philip and Hannibal, he inclosed, and sent them to the senate by land, ordering the ambassadors to be conveyed thither by sea. These, with the inclosures, arrived at Rome on the same day, or nearly; and the answers of the former on their examination being conformable to the contents of the letters, the senate were at first grievously perplexed at the prospect of such a formidable war impending from Macedonia, when they were scarcely able to support that with the Carthaginians. Edition: current; Page: [152] Yet, so far were they from suffering their courage to be depressed, that they instantly began to deliberate how they might, by offensive operations, divert the enemy from Italy. After ordering the prisoners to be kept in close confinement, and their attendants to be exposed to public sale, they decreed, that, besides the twenty ships, under the command of Publius Valerius Flaccus, twenty-five others should be got ready for sea. These being equipped and launched, and joined by the five which had brought the captive ambassadors, set sail from Ostia for Tarentum, and orders were sent to Publius Valerius to take on board them the soldiers, formerly commanded by Varro, and who were then at Tarentum under Lucius Apustius, lieutenant-general; and, with his fleet, which would then consist of fifty ships, not only to protect the coast of Italy, but to procure intelligence concerning the hostile designs of the Macedonians. If Philip’s intentions were found to correspond with the letters, and the informations of the ambassadors, he was then to forward intelligence of this to the prætor, Marcus Valerius, who, leaving the command of the army to his lieutenant-general, Lucius Apustius, and hastening to Tarentum to the fleet, was to cross over into Macedonia with all expedition, and use his best endeavours to detain Philip in his own dominions. For the maintenance of the fleet, and the support of the war with Macedonia, that money was ordered to be applied, which had been sent into Sicily to Appius Claudius to be returned to King Hiero, and this was conveyed to Tarentum by the lieutenant-general, Lucius Apustius. Together with it, were sent by Hiero two hundred thousand pecks of wheat, and one hundred thousand of barley.

XXXIX. While the Romans were employed in this manner, and making such preparations, the captured ship, which had been sent with the others to Rome, made its escape on the voyage, and returned to Philip; by which means he learned, that his ambassadors, with the letters, had fallen into the Edition: current; Page: [153] hands of the Romans. Wherefore, as he knew not what terms of agreement had been settled between them and Hannibal, nor what accounts they would have brought him, he despatched another embassy with the same instructions. The persons employed in this commission to Hannibal were Heraclitus, surnamed Scotinus, Crito Berræus, and Sositheus Magnes: these effected the business with which they were charged, without meeting any obstruction, either in going or returning. But the summer had passed away before Philip could put himself in motion, or enter on any enterprise: so important were the consequences attending the capture of that single vessel with the ambassadors, as to defer the war with which the Romans were threatened. With regard to the campaign in the neighbourhood of Capua, Fabius, after expiating the prodigies, passed the Vulturnus, and then both the consuls entered on action. Fabius took by assault Combulteria, Trebula, and Saticula, (cities which had revolted to the Carthaginian,) and in them were made prisoners Hannibal’s garrisons, and vast numbers of Campanians. At Nola, as was the case the year before, the senate being inclined to the side of the Romans, and the populace to that of the Carthaginians, the latter held secret cabals, in which schemes were formed for massacreing the nobility and delivering up the city: but to prevent their designs taking effect, Fabius, marching his army across between Capua and Hannibal’s camp on the Tifata, took post over Suessula in the Claudian camp, and thence detached Marcus Marcellus, proconsul, with the troops under his command, to secure the possession of Nola.

XL. In Sardinia the business of the campaign, which had been suspended ever since the prætor Quintus Mucius had been seized with a severe disorder, began to be prosecuted by Titus Manlius, who, drawing the ships of war into dock at Carale, and arming the marines to act on land, made up, with the army which he received from Mucius, the number Edition: current; Page: [154] of twenty-two thousand foot, and twelve hundred horse. With this force he marched into the enemy’s country, and pitched his camp at a small distance from that of Hampsicora. It happened that at this time the latter had gone into the country of those Sardinians, called Pelliti, with design to procure a reinforcement to his army by enlisting their young men: his son, named Hiostus, commanded in the camp, and he, with the presumption of youth, inconsiderately hazarding an engagement, was defeated, and put to flight; three thousand of the Sardinians being slain in the battle, and about eight hundred taken. The rest of the troops, at first, ran struggling through the fields and woods; but, afterwards, all directed their flight to Cornus, the principal city in that country, into which they heard that their commander had fled. This battle would have put an end to the war in Sardinia, had not the Carthaginian fleet under Hasdrubal, which had been driven out of its course to the Balearick isles, arrived just in time to revive the hopes of the revolters. Manlius, on hearing of the arrival of the Carthaginian fleet, marched back to Carale; and this afforded an opportunity to Hampsicora of effecting a junction with the Carthaginian. Hasdrubal, when he had disembarked his troops, sent back the fleet to Carthage; and then, using Hampsicora as a guide, he marched, with fire and sword, into the lands belonging to the allies of the Roman people, and would have proceeded even to Carale, had not Manlius, by throwing his army in the way, checked the violence of his depredations. For some time, they lay encamped opposite to each other, at a small distance; then followed skirmishes and encounters between small parties, in which success was various. At last they marched out to battle, and, meeting in regular array, maintained a general engagement for the space of four hours. That the victory remained so long in suspense was owing to the Carthaginians, for the Sardinians had now been accustomed to yield an easy conquest. At last, when nothing was to be seen on any side of Edition: current; Page: [155] them but the light and slaughter of the Sardinians, they also gave way. But just as they were turning their backs, the Roman general, wheeling round with that wing of his army which had, beaten the Sardinians, inclosed their rear, and then followed a carnage rather than a fight. Of the Sardinians and Carthaginians together, there fell twelve thousand; about three thousand six hundred, with twenty-seven military standards, were taken.

XLI. But what contributed, above all, to render this success brilliant and memorable, was, the taking of the general Hasdrubal, and two other Carthaginians of high distinction, Hanno and Mago; Mago being of the Barcine family, and nearly related to Hannibal, and Hanno the person who instigated the Sardinians to a revolt, and unquestionably the author of the present war. Nor was the fortune of the Sardinian commanders, on this occasion, less remarkable; for Hiostus, son of Hampsicora, fell in the fight; and the father, after having fled with a few horsemen, when, in addition to his other misfortunes, he heard also of his son’s death, put an end to his own life in the night-time, lest some interruption might prevent his design: to the rest, the city of Cornus, as on the former occasion, afforded a refuge; but Manlius attacking it with his victorious troops, made himself master of it in a few days. On this, the rest of those states, which had joined Hampsicora and the Carthaginians, made their submission, and gave hostages. Having imposed on these, in proportion to the power or delinquency of each, contributions of corn, and pay for the troops, he led back his army to Carale; and there, launching the ships of war, and embarking the troops which he had brought to the island, he sailed to Rome, and informed the senate of the total reduction of Sardinia, delivered the money raised by the contributions to the quæstors, the corn to the ædiles, and the prisoners to the prætor Quintus Fulvius. About the same time Titus Otacilius, proprætor, sailing over from Lilybæum Edition: current; Page: [156] to Africa, with a fleet of fifty ships, ravaged the Carthaginian territories. As he was returning to Sardinia, on hearing that Hasdrubal had lately crossed over thither from the Baleares, he met his fleet on its way from Africa; and, after a slight engagement in the open sea, took seven of the ships, with their crews. Their fears dispersed the rest not less effectually than a storm would have done. It happened that, at the same time, Bomilcar, with supplies of men and provisions, and forty elephants sent from Carthage, put into the harbour of Locri. On which Appius Claudius, intending to surprise him, drew all his forces hastily to Messana, under a pretext of making a circuit round the island, and with the favour of the tide crossed over to Locri; but Bomilcar had already left the place, and gone to join Hanno in Bruttium, and the Locrians shut their gates against the Romans. Without effecting any thing by such a powerful effort, Appius returned to Messana.

XLII. During this summer Marcellus made frequent excursions from Nola, where he was stationed in garrison, into the lands of the Hirpinians and Caudine Samnites, and with fire and sword caused such utter devastation through every part of the country, as renewed in Samnium the memory of those calamities which they had suffered of old. Both nations therefore immediately joined in sending ambassadors to Hannibal, who addressed him in this manner: “Hannibal, we, by ourselves, waged war against the Roman people, as long as our own arms, and our own strength, were sufficient for our defence: when we found that we could no longer trust to these, we united ourselves to king Pyrrhus; by whom being deserted, we submitted to a peace, which our circumstances made necessary, and which we continued to observe, through a space of almost sixty years, to the time when you came into Italy. Your kind demeanour and singular generosity to our countrymen, whom, when prisoners in your hands, you restored to us, as well as your bravery and success, inspired Edition: current; Page: [157] us with such esteem and admiration, that having you in health and safety to befriend us, we feared not the resentment of the Roman people, nor (if it is allowable so to speak) even that of the gods. But now, indeed, while you are not only in safety, and possessed of victory, but while you are present, and can, in a manner, hear the lamentations of our wives and children, and see our houses in flames; still, we say, we have experienced, in the course of this summer, such depredations, that it seems as if Marcus Marcellus, not Hannibal, were the conqueror at Cannæ; the Romans boasting, that you had just vigour enough for that one stroke, and having as it were lost your sting, are now become a drone. For near one hundred years, we maintained a war against the Roman people, without the assistance of any foreign leader or army, since in the two years that Pyrrhus was joined with us, he rather augmented his own forces with our strength, than defended us with his. I shall not make a display of our successes, except in sending under the yoke two consuls and two consular armies; though it is certain that other events have contributed to our glory. As to the difficulties and misfortunes which we then underwent, we can recount them with less indignation, than those which fall upon us this day. Renowned dictators, with their masters of horse; two consuls, with two consular armies at a time, were used to enter our territories; and, with every precaution of first exploring the country, and posting rear guards, proceeded in order of battle to commit depredations; at present we are in a manner the prey of one little garrison, which is scarcely sufficient to man the walls of Nola. They scour every quarter of our country; not in companies, but like common robbers, with less precaution than they would use in rambling through the province of Rome. Now the cause of this is, that you do not afford us protection, and that at the same time our youth, who, if at home, would defend us, are all employed under your standards. As we are not unacquainted with you or Edition: current; Page: [158] your forces; as we know that you have defeated and cut off so many armies of Romans; surely we must judge it an easy matter for you to overpower those marauders amongst us, who straggle about without order, and ramble wherever allured by the slightest hope of gain. They may be instantly subdued by a handful of Numidians; and while you send supporters to us, you will, by the same means, strip the Nolans of theirs. In fine, it is hoped that after having taken us under your protection, and deemed us worthy of alliance, you do not now judge us undeserving your interference in our defence.”

XLIII. To this Hannibal answered, that “the Hirpinians and Samnites did too many things at once; they represented their sufferings, petitioned for protection, and at the same time complained of being undefended and neglected. Whereas, they ought first to make the representation; then to request protection; and, in the last place, if their request were not complied with, then, and not before, to complain of having implored aid in vain. That he would lead his army not into the territories of the Hirpinians or Samnites, lest he should prove an additional burthen, but into the nearest places belonging to the allies of the Roman people; by the plunder of which, he would enrich his soldiers, and, at the same time, by the terror of his arms, drive far away the enemy from them. As to what concerned the war between him and Rome, if the fight at the Trasimenus was more honourable than that at the Trebia, and the one at Cannæ than that at the Trasimenus, he was resolved, by a still more complete and more splendid victory, to eclipse the lustre of the battle of Cannæ.” With this answer, and with ample presents, he dismissed the ambassadors; and leaving a small body of troops on the Tifata, began his march with the rest of his army, and proceeded to Nola. Thither also came Hanno from Bruttium, with the supplies and the elephants brought from Carthage. Having encamped at no great distance Edition: current; Page: [159] from the town, he found, on inquiry, every circumstance widely different from the representations made by the ambassadors of his allies. For no part of Marcellus’s conduct was such, as could be said to leave an unguarded opening either to fortune or to an enemy. When going to a plundering expedition, his practice had been to procure a knowledge of the country; to provide strong supports and a safe retreat; and to use every care and caution just as if Hannibal were present. At this time, when he perceived the Carthaginian approaching, he kept his troops within the walls, and ordered the senators of Nola to walk round on the ramparts, and take a view on every side of what passed among the enemy. From the other side, Hanno, coming up to the wall, invited Herennius Bassus and Herius Pettius to a conference; and when, with the permission of Marcellus, they came out, he addressed them by an interpreter, extolled Hannibal’s courage and success, and in the most contemptuous terms vilified the majesty of the Roman people, as mouldering into decay, together with their strength. “But,” said he, “supposing all matters were on the same footing as before, yet as it is found by experience how burthensome the government of Rome is to its confederates, and how great the generosity of Hannibal has been, even to every one of his prisoners, who bore the name of an Italian, an alliance of friendship with the Carthaginians was surely to be wished in preference to one with the Romans. If both the consuls, with their armies, were at Nola, they would no more be able to cope with Hannibal, than they had been at Cannæ; much less would a single prætor, with a handful of men, and these raw recruits, be equal to the defence of Nola. Whether Hannibal was to gain possession of that town by storm, or by capitulation, was a matter which concerned themselves more than him, for gain it he would, as he had gained Capua and Nuceria; and how different the fate of Capua was from that of Nuceria, the Nolans themselves, situated about midway Edition: current; Page: [160] between the two places, could not but know. He refrained from mentioning the consequences which necessarily followed the taking of a city by assault; and with more pleasure took upon him to engage, that, if they would deliver up Nola, together with Marcellus and the garrison, they should themselves dictate the terms on which they were to be received into friendship and alliance with Hannibal.”

XLIV. To this Herennius Bassus replied, that “for many years past, a friendship had subsisted between the states of Rome and Nola, with which neither party had, to that day, seen reason to be dissatisfied; and that though people’s attachments were to follow the changes of fortune, it was now too late for them to change theirs. Men who were afterwards to surrender to Hannibal ought not to have sent for a Roman garrison. Their destiny was now, and would continue to be, to the last, connected, in every particular, with that of the person who came to their support.” This conference took away from Hannibal all hope of gaining Nola by treachery; he therefore invested the city quite round, intending to attack the walls in all parts at once. When Marcellus saw him approach the works, having formed his troops within the gate, he sallied forth with great impetuosity. At the first push, several were beaten down and slain; then others running up to those who were engaged, and their power being brought to an equality, the battle became furious, and would have been memorable among the few which are most celebrated, had not violent rain, attended by a desperate storm, separated the combatants. After this small trial of strength, which served only to irritate their passions, they retired for that day, the Romans into the city, the Carthaginians into their camp. However, on the first irruption, some of the Carthaginians, not above thirty, fell under the shock, and not one of the Romans. The rain continued without intermission through the whole night, and lasted until the third hour of the following day. Wherefore, notwithstanding that both Edition: current; Page: [161] parties eagerly longed for battle, yet they remained during that day within their works. On the third day, Hannibal sent a part of his forces to ravage the lands of the Nolans; which, when Marcellus observed, he instantly drew out his forces and offered battle, nor did Hannibal decline the challenge. The distance between the city and the camp was about a mile: in this space, which was level, as is all the ground about Nola, the armies met. The shout raised, on both sides, called back the nearest of those cohorts which had gone into the country for plunder, to the battle, which had begun when they arrived. The Nolans joined themselves to the Roman forces; and Marcellus, after commending their zeal, ordered them to take post in reserve, and to carry off the wounded from the line; but, by no means to engage in the fight, unless they received a signal from him.

XLV. The battle was long doubtful, every one exerting himself to the utmost, the officers in encouraging the men, and the men in fighting. Marcellus urged his soldiers to press briskly on those whom they had defeated but three days before; who had been put to flight from Cumæ not many days since, and who, in the last year, had been repulsed from Nola by himself, then likewise in command, though with other troops. “All the enemy’s forces,” he told them, “were not in the field; some of them were rambling through the country in search of prey; and those who were in the fight were debilitated by Campanian luxury, having exhausted their vigour in the practice of every kind of intemperance and debauchery, through the whole course of the winter. Their former strength was gone, they were no longer possessed of that firmness, either of body or mind, which had enabled them to surmount the Pyrenean and the Alpine heights. Those they had now to engage with, might be called the shadows of those armies: men scarcely able to support their limbs and armour. Capua to Hannibal had not proved a Cannæ. There, warlike courage; there, military discipline; Edition: current; Page: [162] there, the glory of the past, and the hope of future times, were all extinguished.” While Marcellus raised the courage of his men by such contemptuous representations of the enemy, Hannibal upbraided his in terms of reproach far more bitter: “He knew these,” he said, “to be the same arms and standards, which he had seen and used at the Trebia, at the Trasimenus, and at Cannæ; but as to the men, he had certainly led one army into winter-quarters to Capua, and brought out thence another of a different kind. Do you, whom two consular armies united have never withstood, find it difficult, with all your efforts, to stand against a Roman lieutenant-general, against the exertions of one legion, and a band of auxiliaries? Does Marcellus, with his raw recruits and Nolan auxiliaries, attack us a second time with impunity? Where is that soldier of mine who dragged the consul Caius Flaminius from his horse, and took off his head? Where is he who slew Lucius Paullus at Cannæ? Has the sword lost its edge? Are your right hands benumbed; or what other prodigy is this? You, who used to conquer, when the advantage in number was against you, now, when that advantage is in your favour, scarcely maintain your ground. With great bravery in your tongues, you were used to declare, that you would take Rome if any one would lead you to it; the present is a much less difficult business. I wish to have a trial of your strength and courage here. Take Nola, a town standing in a plain, and not fenced by either sea or river; and then, when you are laden with the plunder and spoils of that opulent city, I will either lead or follow you whithersoever you choose.”

XLVI. Neither soothing nor reproaches wrought any effect towards confirming their courage. They lost ground in every quarter, while the Romans assumed fresh spirits, not only from the exhortations of their commander, but from the animating shouts raised by the Nolans, in testimony of their Edition: current; Page: [163] good wishes. The Carthaginians, at length, gave up the contest, and were driven into their camp; and even this the Roman soldiers were eager to attack; but Marcellus drew them back into Nola, where they were received with great joy, and congratulations, even by the populace, who till then had been more inclined to the Carthaginians. On that day were slain more than five thousand of the enemy; taken, six hundred, with nineteen military standards, and two elephants; four of the latter were killed in the battle. Of the Romans there fell not quite one thousand. Both, as if by a tacit convention, spent the next day in burying their dead, and Marcellus, in pursuance of a vow to Vulcan, burned the spoils. On the third day after, one thousand two hundred and seventy-two horsemen, partly Numidians, and partly Spaniards, through some resentment, I suppose, or hopes of better treatment, deserted to Marcellus; and these, during the remainder of the war, served the Romans, on many occasions, with much bravery and fidelity. After the conclusion of it, ample portions of land were assigned to them in acknowledgment of their valour; to the Spaniards, in Spain, and to the Numidians, in Africa. Hannibal, sending back Hanno from Nola to Bruttium, with the forces which he had brought thence, went himself into winter-quarters in Apulia, and cantoned his troops in the neighbourhood of Arpi. When Quintus Fabius heard that the foe was gone into Apulia, he collected stores of corn from Nola, and Neapolis, in the camp above Suessula, the fortifications of which he strengthened; and, leaving there a garrison, sufficient for the security of the post, during the winter, removed nearer to Capua, laying waste the country of Campania, with fire and sword, to such a degree, that the people were compelled, though with no great confidence in their own strength, to go out of their gates, and fortify a camp near the city in the open plain. Their force amounted to six thousand men. The infantry being very indifferent soldiers, their principal reliance was Edition: current; Page: [164] on the cavalry: these, therefore, they employed in annoying the enemy.

XLVII. Among a great number of Campanian horsemen, of high reputation, was Cerrinus Jubellius, surnamed Taurea. He was a native there, and celebrated for his abilities as a horseman far beyond all the others of that country, insomuch that while he acted in the service of Rome, there was but one Roman, Claudius Asellus, who had an equal reputation in that line. For this man, Taurea long searched as he rode before the squadrons of the enemy. At last, demanding attention, he inquired where was Claudius Asellus, and why, since he had been accustomed to assert himself to be his equal, did he not decide the point with the sword; and either by suffering a defeat give glorious spoils, or by victory acquire them? When this was reported, in the camp, to Asellus, he only waited to ask the consul’s leave to engage, though out of rule, with the challenger. Having obtained permission, he instantly armed himself, and riding out beyond the advanced guards, called on Taurea by name, and dared him to the field. The Romans had now come in crowds to behold the fight; and the Campanians, to gain a view of it, had filled not only the rampart of the camp, but likewise the walls of the city. After a prelude of furious expressions, to give the business an air of the greater consequence, they spurred on their horses, with their spears prepared for action. Having free space, wherein they parried each other’s assaults, the fight lasted for some time without a wound on either side. At length the Campanian said to the Roman, “this will be but a trial of skill between our horses, not between their riders, unless we descend into yon hollow way. There, as there will be no room for wheeling to one side or another, we may meet hand to hand.” Scarcely were the words uttered, when Claudius leaped his horse down into the road, on which Taurea, more daring in words than in action, said, “Never be an ass in a dyke,” which expression became Edition: current; Page: [165] afterwards proverbial among rustics. Claudius, riding up again into the plain, traversed the ground to a considerable distance from the road, without meeting any antagonist; and then, exclaiming against the cowardice of his foe, returned victorious to the camp, amidst general rejoicing and congratulations. To this encounter, some histories add a wonderful circumstance, (how far worthy of belief, the reader may judge for himself,) that Claudius, pursuing Taurea, as he fled back to the city, rode in at one of the enemy’s gates which stood open, and escaped unhurt through another, while the soldiers stood motionless through astonishment.

XLVIII. From this time the troops remained without employment, and the consul even drew back his camp to a distance, that the Campanians might till their grounds; nor did he offer any injury to the lands, until the blades in the corn fields were sufficiently grown to serve as forage. He then conveyed the corn in this state into the Claudian camp over Suessula, where he erected huts against the winter. He gave orders to Marcus Claudius, pro-consul, that, retaining at Nola a garrison sufficient for the defence of the place, he should send the rest of his force to Rome, lest they should be a burden to the allies, and an expense to the state. In another quarter, Tiberius Gracchus having led his legions from Cumæ to Luceria in Apulia, detached thence the prætor, Marcus Valerius, to Brundusium, with the troops which he had commanded at Luceria, ordering him to guard the coast of the Sallentine territory, and carefully pursue all such measures as should be found requisite with respect to Philip, and the Macedonian war. Towards the close of that summer, in which happened those events which we have related, letters arrived from the Scipios, Publius and Cneius, setting forth the great importance and successful issue of their operations in Spain; but that they were in want of every thing, pay, clothing, and corn for the army, and the crews of the ships. With regard to the pay, they observed, that, if the treasury Edition: current; Page: [166] were low, they would themselves devise some method of procuring it from the Spaniards; but that the other articles must, at all events, be sent from Rome, otherwise, neither the army, nor the province, could be preserved. When the letters were read, both the truth of the facts represented, and the reasonableness of the demands, were universally acknowledged; but they were struck by the following considerations: “What numerous forces on land and sea they were obliged to maintain; and, what a large additional fleet must soon be provided, in case of a war with Macedonia breaking out. That Sicily and Sardinia, which, before, had yielded a revenue, now scarcely maintained the troops employed in their own defence. That the public expenses were supplied by a tax; but as the number of those who contributed to this tax, had been diminished by the great slaughter of the troops at Trasimenus, and at Cannæ; so the surviving few, if loaded with multiplied impositions, must perish likewise, only by a different malady. It was therefore concluded, that, if the state did not find support in credit, it could find none in money; and it was judged proper, that the prætor, Fulvius, should go out to the assembly of the commons, and lay before the people the necessitous situation of the country; exhorting them, that such as had increased their estates by farming the public revenues, should now assist that government, to which they owed their prosperity, with indulgence in respect of time; and that they should engage to furnish, by contract, the supplies necessary for the army in Spain, on condition, when money should come into the treasury, of being the first paid.” These matters the prætor explained in the assembly, and gave public notice of the day, on which he would contract for the supplying of clothing, and corn, for the army in Spain, and such other things as were necessary for the men on board the fleet.

XLIX. When the time came, three companies, consisting of nineteen men, attended, in order to engage in the contract. Edition: current; Page: [167] Their demands were twofold: first, that they should be exempted from military service as long as they might be concerned in this business of the state; the other, that when they had sent goods on ship-board, any damage afterwards sustained either through the means of storms, or of the enemy, should be at the public loss. Both being complied with, they concluded the contract, and with the money of private persons: such were the habits of thinking, such the love of their country, which, with uniform influence, pervaded all ranks of men. As all engagements were entered into with great spirit, so were they fulfilled with the most faithful punctuality, and exactly in the same manner, as if the supplies were drawn, as formerly, out of an opulent treasury. At this time, the town of Illiturgi, having revolted to the Romans, was besieged by Hasdrubal, Mago, and Hamilcar son of Bomilcar. Between these three camps, the Scipios, after a difficult struggle, and a great slaughter of their opponents, forced their way into the place, introducing a quantity of corn, of which there had been a scarcity. Then, after exhorting the townsmen to defend their walls, with the same courage with which they had seen the Roman troops fight in their behalf, they marched to attack the largest of the camps, where Hasdrubal had the command. Thither also came up the two other Carthaginian generals, with their two armies, who perceived that on the issue of that attack the fate of all depended: the troops in camp therefore sallied out to the fight. There were in the engagement, of the enemy, sixty thousand; of the Romans about sixteen thousand; yet so far was the victory from being doubtful, that the Romans slew a greater number of the Carthaginians than they themselves had in the field; took above three thousand prisoners; somewhat less than one thousand horses; fifty-nine military standards; killed five elephants in the battle; and took possession of the three camps on one and the same day. When the siege of Illiturgi was thus raised, the Carthaginian Edition: current; Page: [168] armies marched to lay siege to Intibili; recruiting their forces out of that province, which was, above all others, fond of war, provided either plunder or hire was in view, and which, at that time, abounded with young men. A second general engagement took place, attended with the same event on both sides: upwards of thirteen thousand of the enemy were killed, and more than two thousand taken, with forty-two standards and nine elephants. On this, almost every state in Spain joined the party of the Romans; and, during this campaign, the events of the war there were much more important than those in Italy.

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BOOK XXIV.

Hieronymus, king of Syracuse, takes part with the Carthaginians; is put to death by his subjects, on account of his tyranny and cruelty. Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, pro-consul, with an army composed mostly of slaves, defeats the Carthaginian army under Hanno, at Beneventum; gives the slaves liberty. Most of the States in Sicily go over to the side of the Carthaginians. Claudius Marcellus consul besieges Syracuse. War declared against Philip king of Macedonia, who is surprised by night, and routed at Apollonia. Operations of the Scipios, against the Carthaginians, in Spain. Treaty of friendship with Syphax king of Numidia; he is defeated by Massinissa king of the Massylians. The Celtiberians join the Romans, and their troops are taken into pay: the first instance of mercenaries serving in a Roman army.

Y.R. 537. bc 215.I. ON his return from Campania into Bruttium, Hanno, assisted by the Bruttians, who served him also as guides, endeavoured to gain possession of the Greek cities, which were the more inclined to adhere to their alliance with Rome, for the very reason that they saw the Bruttians, whom they both hated and feared, taking part with the Carthaginians. The first attempt was made on Rhegium, and several days were spent there to no purpose. Meanwhile the Locrians hastily conveyed from the country into the city, corn, timber, and other necessaries, for which they might have occasion, wishing at the same time to leave nothing which the enemy could seize; while the multitude, Edition: current; Page: [170] which poured out of the gates, became every day more and more numerous. At last, those only were left in the place, who were obliged to prepare the works, and to carry weapons to the posts of defence. Against this mixed multitude, consisting of persons of all ages and ranks, and straggling through the fields, mostly unarmed, Hamilcar, the Carthaginian, sent out his cavalry, who, having received orders not to hurt any of them, only threw their squadrons in the way to cut off their retreat to the city, towards which they directed their scattered flight. The general himself, having taken his station on an eminence, which commanded a view both of that and the adjacent country, ordered a cohort of Bruttians to approach the walls, and invite the leaders of the Locrians to a conference, and, with assurances of Hannibal’s friendship, to persuade them to a surrender. At the beginning of the conference, the Bruttians had no credit given to any of their representations. Afterwards, when the Carthaginians appeared on the hills, and the few citizens, who had effected an escape, had informed the townsmen that the rest of the multitude were in the enemy’s power, then, overcome by fear, they answered, that they would consult the people. Accordingly, they instantly summoned an assembly, in which appeared all of the most unsettled who wished for a change of measures and of allies, with those, whose relations had been intercepted by the enemy, and who had their judgments influenced by those pledges, as if so many hostages had been given for their conduct; while a few rather approving in silence, than venturing openly to maintain the cause which they would have espoused, it was concluded, with every appearance of perfect unanimity, to surrender to the Carthaginians. Lucius Atilius, the commander of the garrison, and the Roman soldiers who were with him, were privately conveyed to the harbour, and put on board ships, to be carried off to Rhegium, and then the townsmen received Hasdrubal and his Carthaginians into the city, on the condition Edition: current; Page: [171] of an alliance being immediately entered into on terms of equality. When they had surrendered, they were very near losing the benefit of this stipulation; for the Carthaginian general accused them of having covertly sent away the Roman commander, while they alleged that he had escaped without their privity. A body of cavalry was now sent in pursuit, in case, by any accident, the current might detain him in the streight, or drive the ships to land: these did not overtake him; but they saw other ships crossing from Messana to Rhegium, which carried Roman soldiers, sent by the prætor, Claudius, as a garrison for the security of that city: in consequence of this, the enemy withdrew immediately from Rhegium. In pursuance of orders from Hannibal, a treaty of peace was concluded with the Locrians, on these terms, that “they should live in freedom under their own laws; that the city should be open always to the Carthaginians, but that the harbour should remain in their possession, as at first; and that, as the fundamental principle of the treaty, the Carthaginians should, on all occasions, assist the Locrians, and the Locrians the Carthaginians.”

II. The Carthaginians, after this, marched back from the streight, while the Bruttians expressed great dissatisfaction at their having left Rhegium and Locri in safety, for they had destined to themselves the plunder of those places. Wherefore, having formed into bodies, and armed fifteen thousand of their own young men, they set out to lay siege to Croto, another Grecian city and a sea-port; thinking that it would prove a very great accession to their power, if they should gain possession of an harbour on the coast, and of a strongly fortified town. They were embarrassed by the considerations, that they could not well venture to proceed without calling in the Carthaginians to their assistance, lest they should appear to conduct themselves, in any case, inconsistently with the character of confederates; and that, on the contrary, should the Carthaginian general again act rather as an umpire Edition: current; Page: [172] of peace, than an auxiliary in war, the attack on the independence of Croto, like the former one on Locri, would be productive, to them, of no advantage. For these reasons it was judged most adviseable to send ambassadors to Hannibal, to procure from him beforehand an engagement, that Croto, when reduced, should be the property of the Bruttians. Hannibal, remarking that persons on the spot were the fittest to determine in such a case, referred them to Hanno, from whom they could obtain no decisive answer: for these commanders did not wish that a city, so celebrated and so opulent, should be plundered; and, at the same time, they entertained hopes, that, as the Bruttians were to be the assailants, the Carthaginians not appearing either to countenance or aid the attack, the inhabitants might, the more readily, come over to their side. But the Crotonians were not united in their designs, or in their wishes. The same distemper, as it were, had seized every one of the states of Italy; the nobility and commons embracing opposite parties, the former favouring the Romans, the latter violently endeavouring to bring about an union with the Carthaginians. A deserter informed the Bruttians, that a dissension of this sort prevailed in Croto, that one Aristomachus headed the party of the commons, and pressed them to surrender to the Carthaginians; that the city, being very extensive, and the works stretching to a great extent on all sides, the watches were divided separately between the senators and commons; and that, in every quarter, where the latter had the guard, the assailants would find a ready entrance. Under the direction and guidance of this deserter, the Bruttians encircled the town, and being received into it by the plebeians, carried, at the first assault, every post except the citadel; of this the nobles held the possession, having beforehand secured a refuge there, in case of such an event as now happened. Aristomachus also fled thither, pretending that he had advised surrendering the city to the Carthaginians, not to the Bruttians.

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III. Before the coming of Pyrrhus into Italy, the wall encompassing Croto was twelve miles in circumference; since the devastation, caused by the war which then took place, scarcely one half of the inclosed space was inhabited; the river which formerly flowed through the middle of the town, now ran on the outside of the part occupied by buildings, and the citadel was at a great distance from these. Six miles from the city stood the famous temple of Juno Lacinia, more universally celebrated than the city itself, and held in high veneration by all the surrounding nations. Here, a consecrated grove, encompassed on the extremities by close-ranged trees and tall firs, comprehended in the middle a tract of rich pasture ground, in which cattle of every kind, sacred to the goddess, fed, without any keeper, the herds of each particular kind going out separately, and returning at night to their stalls, without ever receiving injury, either from wild beasts, or men. The profits, therefore, accruing from these cattle were great, out of which, a pillar of solid gold was erected and consecrated, so that the same fane became as remarkable for riches as for sanctity. Several miracles are also attributed to it, as they generally are to such remarkable places: it is said, that there is an altar in the porch of the temple, the ashes on which are never moved by any wind. The citadel of Croto, hanging over the sea on one side, and on the other facing the country, had originally no other defence than its natural situation; afterwards a wall was added, inclosing a place, through which Dionysius, tyrant of Sicily, effecting a passage over some rocks, at the back part, had taken it by surprise. The fort thus situate, and deemed sufficiently secure, was held by the nobles, while the plebeians of Croto, in conjunction with the Bruttians, carried on the siege against them. After a considerable time, perceiving that the place was too strong to be reduced by their own force, they yielded to necessity, and implored the assistance of Hanno. Hanno endeavoured to prevail on the Crotonians Edition: current; Page: [174] to surrender, allowing a colony of Bruttians to be settled among them; so that their city, wasted and depopulated by wars, might recover its former populous state; but not one of the whole number, excepting Aristomachus, would listen to the proposal; they declared warmly, that “they would rather die, than, by admitting Bruttians into their society, be obliged to adopt foreign rites, manners, laws, and, in time, even a foreign language.” Aristomachus, unable by persuasions to bring about a surrender, and finding no opportunity of betraying the citadel, as he had betrayed the town, left the place and went over to Hanno. Soon after this, ambassadors from Locri going, with Hanno’s permission, into the citadel, used many arguments to prevail on them to suffer themselves to be removed to Locri, and not to resolve on hazarding the last extremities. This design they had already got leave to execute from Hannibal himself, having sent deputies to treat with him in person. Accordingly Croto was evacuated, and the inhabitants, being conducted to the sea, went on board ships. The whole body of the people removed to Locri. In Apulia, even the winter did not produce a suspension of hostilities between the Romans and Hannibal. The consul Sempronius had his winter-quarters at Luceria; Hannibal his near Arpi. Several slight engagements passed between their troops, in consequence of opportunities offering, or of one or the other party gaining an occasional advantage; and by these, the Roman soldiery were improved, and rendered daily more cautious and guarded against the enemy’s stratagems.

IV. In Sicily, the whole course of affairs took a turn unfavourable to the Romans, in consequence of the death of Hiero, and of the kingdom devolving on his grandson Hieronymus, a boy in whom, there was originally no room to expect moderation of conduct, much less, on his being invested with absolute power. His guardians and friends were happy in finding him of such a disposition, as they could hurry, at Edition: current; Page: [175] once, into every kind of vice. It is said that Hiero, foreseeing that this would be the case, had, in the last stage of his life, formed an intention of leaving Syracuse free, lest the sovereignty, which had been acquired and established by honourable means, should, under the tyrannical administration of a boy, be destroyed through folly and extravagance. This design his daughters opposed strenuously, because they expected, that, while Hieronymus enjoyed the title of king, the whole administration of affairs would rest in them and their husbands, Andranodorus and Zoippus, for these were left the principal among his guardians. It was no easy matter for a man, now in his ninetieth year, and beset night and day, by the insinuating wiles of women, to keep his judgment at liberty, and to regulate his domestic concerns by the standard of public utility. He, therefore, only took the precaution of setting fifteen guardians over his grandson; and these he entreated, in his dying moments, to maintain inviolate the alliance with the Roman people, which he had religiously observed through a course of fifty years; to direct their endeavours principally to the making the boy tread in his steps, and pursue the maxims inculcated in his education: after giving these charges, he expired, and the governors quitted him. The will was then produced, and the prince, now about fifteen years old, was brought before the people in assembly, on which a few, who had been placed in different parts of the crowd for the purpose of raising acclamations, signified their approbation of the will; while the rest, affected as if they had lost their parent, dreaded all things, in a state thus bereft of its protector. The King’s funeral was next performed, and, more through the love and affection of his subjects, than any care of his relations, was numerously attended. In a little time after, Andranodorus displaced the other guardians, asserting that Hieronymus had attained to the years of manhood, and was capable of holding the government; and, by thus resigning the guardianship, which he held in common Edition: current; Page: [176] with many, he collected in himself singly the power of them all.

V. Scarcely would even a good and moderate prince, succeeding one so highly beloved as Hiero, have found it easy to acquire the affections of the Syracusans. But Hieronymus, as if he meant, by his own faults, to excite grief for the loss of his grandfather, demonstrated, immediately on his first appearance, how great an alteration had taken place in every particular. For the people, who had for so many years seen Hiero, and his son Gilon, no way differing from the rest of the citizens, either in the fashion of their dress or any other mark of distinction, now beheld purple and a diadem; armed guards, and the king sometimes issuing from his palace, as the tyrant Dionysius used to do, in a chariot drawn by four white horses. This assuming pride in equipage and show naturally exposed him to universal contempt; besides which, he showed a disdainful carriage when addressed, and rudeness in answering; generally refused access, not only to strangers, but even to his guardians, and debased himself by lusts of uncommon kinds, and inhuman cruelty. Such great terror therefore possessed all men, that, of his household, some had recourse to flight, others to a voluntary death, to avoid the sufferings which they apprehended. Two of the former, Andranodorus and Zoippus, the sons-in-law of Hiero, and a man named Thraso, were the only persons permitted to enter his house with any degree of familiarity; and though not much listened to on other subjects, yet when they argued, Andranodorus and Zoippus for taking part with the Carthaginians, and Thraso for maintaining the alliance with the Romans, they sometimes, by the warmth and earnestness of their disputes, attracted the young man’s attention. While matters were in this situation, a servant who was of the same age with Hieronymus, and had, from childhood, enjoyed the privileges of perfect familiarity with him, brought information of a plot formed against his life. The Edition: current; Page: [177] informer could name only one of the conspirators, Theodotus, by whom himself had been sounded on the subject. This man being instantly seized, and delivered to Andranodorus to be put to the torture, without hesitation confessed himself guilty, but still concealed his accomplices. At last, being racked, beyond what human patience could endure, he pretended to be overcome by his sufferings; but, instead of making discovery of the plotters, he pointed his informations against persons who had no concern in the business, telling a feigned story, that Thraso was the author of the conspiracy, and that the others would never have entered on any attempt of such importance, had they not been induced to it by their trust in so powerful a leader; naming, at the same time, those who, while he framed his account in the intervals between his agonies and groans, occurred to him as the most worthless among Hieronymus’s intimates. The mention of Thraso, beyond every other circumstance, made the tyrant think the information deserving of belief. He was therefore instantly consigned to punishment, and the rest, who had been named equally guiltless of the crime, underwent the like fate. Not one of the conspirators, though their associate in the plot was kept for a long time under the torture, either concealed himself or fled: so great was their confidence in the fortitude and fidelity of Theodotus; and which, indeed, were fully approved in him.

VI. The only bond which preserved the connexion with Rome being now dissolved by the removal of Thraso, immediately there appeared a manifest intention of siding with the opposite party. Ambassadors were despatched to Hannibal, who sent back a young man of noble birth, called Hannibal, and with him Hippocrates and Epicydes, who were born at Carthage, but derived their extraction originally from Syracuse, whence their grandfather had been banished; by the mother’s side, they were Carthaginians. By their means, a treaty was formed between Hannibal and the tyrant Edition: current; Page: [178] of Syracuse; and, with the approbation of the Carthaginian, they remained with the latter. The prætor, Appius Claudius, whose province Sicily was, on being acquainted with these transactions, sent, immediately, ambassadors to Hieronymus, who, telling him that they were come to renew the alliance which had subsisted with his grandfather, were heard and dismissed with derision; Hieronymus asking them, with a sneer, “what had been the event of the battle of Cannæ? for Hannibal’s ambassador’s told things scarcely credible. He wished,” he said, “to know the truth, that he might thereby determine which side offered the fairest prospect to his choice.” The Romans told him, that, when he began to listen to embassies with seriousness, they would return to Syracuse; and, after admonishing, rather than requesting him, not to violate faith rashly, they departed. Hieronymus despatched commissioners to Carthage, to conclude an alliance conformable to the treaty with Hannibal; and it was finally agreed, that when they should have expelled the Romans from Sicily, which, he said, would speedily be effected if they sent ships and an army, the river Himera, which nearly divides the island into two parts, should be the boundary between the dominions of Syracuse and those of Carthage. Afterwards, puffed up by the flatteries of people who desired him to remember, not only Hiero, but also his grandfather on his mother’s side, king Pyrrhus, he sent another embassy, representing that he thought it reasonable that Sicily should be entirely ceded to him, and that the dominion of Italy should be acquired for the people of Carthage, as an empire of their own. This fickleness and unsteadiness of mind, they, considering him as a hot-brained youth, did not wonder at; nor did they enter into any dispute on it, content with detaching him from the party of the Romans.

VII. But, on his side, every circumstance concurred to precipitate his ruin; for, after sending before him Hippocrates and Epicydes with two thousand soldiers, to endeavour Edition: current; Page: [179] to get possession of those cities which were held by Roman garrisons, he himself, with all rest of his forces, amounting to fifteen thousand horse and foot, marched to Leontini. Here the conspirators, every one of whom happened to be in the army, posted themselves in an uninhabited house, standing in a narrow lane, through which Hieronymus used to pass to the Forum. While the rest stood here, armed and prepared for action, waiting for his coming up, one of their number, whose name was Dinomenes, and being of the body-guards, had it in charge, that, as soon as the king drew near the door, he should, on some pretence, in the narrow pass, stop the crowd behind from advancing. All was executed as had been concerted. Dinomenes, by stretching out his foot, as if to loosen a knot which was too tight, arrested the people, and occasioned such an opening, that the king, being attacked as he was passing by without his armed followers, was pierced with several wounds, before assistance could be given him. Some, on hearing the shout and tumult, discharged their weapons at Dinomenes, who now openly opposed their passing; notwithstanding which, he escaped with only two wounds. However, seeing the king stretched on the ground, they betook themselves to flight. Of the conspirators, some repaired to the Forum to the populace, who were overjoyed at the recovery of liberty; others proceeded to Syracuse, to take the requisite precautions against the purposes of Andranodorus and other partisans of the king. Affairs being in this unsettled state, Appius Claudius, when he observed the storm gathering in his neighbourhood, informed the senate by letter, that all Sicily favoured the people of Carthage and Hannibal. On his part, in order to counteract the designs of the Syracusans, he drew all his troops to the frontiers between that kingdom and his own province. Towards the close of this year, Quintus Fabius, by direction of the senate, fortified, Puteoli, which, during the war, began to be much frequented as a place of trade, and placed a garrison Edition: current; Page: [180] in it. Going thence to Rome to hold the elections, he issued a proclamation for the assembly, on the first day on which it could properly meet; and, passing by the city without stopping, went down to the field of Mars. On this day, the lot of giving the first vote fell to a younger century of the Anien tribe, and this having nominated Titus Otacilius and Marcus Æmilius Regillus consuls, Quintus Fabius commanded silence, and spoke to this effect:

VIII. “If either we had peace in Italy, or had to deal with such an enemy as would allow of any remissness on our side, I should deem that man deficient in proper respect to your independent rights, who attempted to throw any obstacle in the way of those inclinations, which you bring with you into the field of election, with the purpose of conferring the high offices of the state on persons of your own choice. But when you consider that the present war is of such a nature, and the conduct of our present enemy such, that none of our commanders has ever committed an error which has not been followed by most disastrous consequences, it behoves you to come hither to give your suffrages with the same careful circumspection with which you go out in arms to the field of battle; and every one ought thus to say to himself: ‘I am to nominate a consul qualified to vie with Hannibal in the art of war.’ In the present year, at Capua, on the challenge of Jubellius Taurea, the completest horseman among the Campanians, we sent against him Claudius Asellus, the completest horseman among the Romans. Against a Gaul, who at a former time pronounced a challenge on the bridge of the Anio, our ancestors sent Titus Manlius, a man abundantly furnished both with strength and courage. I cannot deny that there was the same reason for placing every degree of confidence a few years after, in Marcus Valerius, when he took arms for the combat against a Gaul, who gave a similar defiance. Now, as, in selecting foot soldiers and horsemen, we endeavour to find such as are superior, or, if that cannot Edition: current; Page: [181] be effected, equal in strength to their antagonists; let us, in like manner, look out for a commander equal to the general of the enemy. When we shall have chosen the man of the most consummate abilities in the nation, yet still, being elected at the moment, and appointed but for one year, he will be matched against another invested with a command of long and uninterrupted continuance, not confined by any narrow limitations either of time or of authority, or which might hinder him to conduct and execute every measure according to the exigencies of the war; whereas with us, before we have well completed our preparatory operations, and when we are just entering on business, our year expires. I need say no more concerning the qualifications of the persons whom you ought to elect consul; I shall therefore only add a few observations respecting those whom the prerogative century has made the objects of its favour. Marcus Æmilius Regillus is flamen of Quirinus, consequently we could neither send him abroad from his sacred employment, nor keep him at home, without neglecting, in one case, the business of the war, or in the other, that of religion. Otacilius is married to a daughter of my sister, and has children by her. Nevertheless, I am too sensible of the obligations which I and my ancestors owe to your kindness, not to prefer the interest of the public to that of any private connexions. In a calm sea, any mariner, even a passenger, can steer the vessel; but when a furious storm arises, putting the sea into violent agitation, and the ship is hurried away by the tempest, then a pilot of skill and resolution becomes necessary. We sail not in a calm, but have already been very near foundering in several storms; you must, therefore, be careful to use the utmost prudence and caution with respect to the person whom you place at the helm. Titus Otacilius, we have had a trial of you in a less important business: you gave us no proof that we ought to confide in you for the management of affairs of greater moment. We fitted out, this year, a fleet, of which you had the Edition: current; Page: [182] command, for three purposes; to ravage the coast of Africa, to secure our own coasts of Italy, and, principally, to prevent reinforcements with money and provisions being transmitted from Carthage to Hannibal. If he has performed for the public, I do not say all, but any one of these services, create Titus Otacilius consul. But if, on the contrary, while you held the command of the fleet, every thing came to Hannibal safe and untouched, as if he had no enemy on the sea; if the coast of Italy has been more infested this year than that of Africa, what reason can you offer, why people should pitch on you in particular to oppose such a commander as Hannibal? If you were consul, we should judge it requisite to have a dictator nominated according to the practice of our forefathers. Nor could you take offence at its being thought that there was, in the Roman nation, some one superior to you in the art of war. It concerns no man’s interest more than your own, Titus Otacilius, that there be not laid on your shoulders a burthen, under which you would sink. I earnestly recommend, then, Romans, that, guided by the same sentiments which would influence you, if while you stood armed for battle you were suddenly called on to choose two commanders, under whose conduct and auspices you were to fight, you would proceed this day in the election of consuls, to whom your children are to swear obedience, at whose order they are to join the colours, and under whose care and direction they are to wage war. The lake Trasimenus and Cannæ, examples melancholy in the recollection, are, nevertheless, useful warnings to guard against the like. Crier, call back the younger Anien century to vote.”

IX. Otacilius now exclaiming with great heat, that the design of Fabius was to be continued in the consulship, and becoming very obstreperous, the consul ordered his lictors to advance to him; and, as he had not entered the city, but had gone directly, without halting, into the field of Mars, he put him in mind that the axes were carried in his fasces. The Edition: current; Page: [183] prerogative century proceeded a second time to vote, and chose consuls, Quintus Fabius Maximus, a fourth time, and Marcus Marcellus, a third time. The other centuries, without any variation, named the same. One prætor was likewise re-elected, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus. The other three chosen were new ones, Titus Otacilius Crassus, a second time, Quintus Fabius, the consul’s son, who was at the time curule ædile, and Publius Cornelius Lentullus. The election of prætors being over, a decree of the senate was passed, that “Rome should, out of course, be the province of Quintus Fulvius; and that he in particular should hold the command in the city, when the consuls should go abroad to the campaign.” Twice in this year happened great floods, and the Tiber overflowed the country, with great demolition of houses and destruction of men and cattle.Y.R. 538. bc 214. In the fifth year of the second Punic war, Quintus Fabius Maximus, a fourth, and Marcus Marcellus, a third time entering together into the consulship, attracted the notice of the public in an unusual degree; for, during many years, there had not been two such consuls. The old men observed, that thus had Maximus Rullus and Publius Decius been declared consuls, in the time of the Gallic war; and thus, afterwards, Papirius and Carvilius, against the Samnites, Bruttians, Lucanians, and Tarentines. Marcellus was chosen consul in his absence, being at the time with the army, and the office was continued to Fabius, who was on the spot, and presided in person at the election. The state of the times, the exigencies of the war, and the danger threatening the very being of the state, hindered the people from examining the precedent strictly, neither did they suspect the consul of ambition for command; on the contrary, they rather applauded his greatness of soul, because, knowing that the state stood in need of a general of the highest abilities, and that he himself was unquestionably the person so qualified, he had made light of any public censure which he might incur on the Edition: current; Page: [184] occasion, in comparison with the interest of the commonwealth.

X. On the day of the consuls entering on their office, a meeting of the senate was held in the Capitol, in which it was decreed, first, that the consuls should cast lots, or settle between themselves, which of them should, before his setting out for the army, hold the assembly for the appointment of censors. Then all those who were at the head of armies were continued in authority, and ordered to remain in the provinces: Tiberius Gracchus at Luceria, where he was with an army of volunteer slaves; Caius Terentius Varro in the Picenian, and Manius Pomponius in the Gallic territories. Of the prætors of the preceding year, Quintus Mucius was ordered, in quality of pro-prætor, to hold the government of Sardinia, and Marcus Valerius to command on the sea-coast near Brundusium, watching attentively, and guarding against any motion which might be made by Philip King of Macedonia. To Publius Cornelius Lentullus, the province of Sicily was decreed, and to Titus Otacilius the same fleet which he had commanded the year before against the Carthaginians. Numerous prodigies were reported to have happened this year; and the more these were credited by simple and superstitious people, the more such stories multiplied: that at Lanuvium crows had built their nest in the inside of the temple of Juno Sospita; in Apulia, a green palm-tree took fire; at Mantua, a stagnating piece of water, caused by the overflowing of the river Mincius, appeared as of blood; at Cales, a shower of chalk; and, in the cattle-market at Rome, one of blood fell in the Istrian street; a fountain under ground burst out in such an impetuous stream, as to roll and carry off jars and casks which were in the place, like a violent flood; lightning fell on the public court-house, in the Capitol, the temple of Vulcan in the field of Mars, a nut-tree in the country of the Sabines, and a public road, a wall and a gate at Gabii. Other stories of miracles were already spread about; that the spear of Mars at Præneste moved forward of its own accord; that an Edition: current; Page: [185] ox spoke in Sicily; that an infant in the mother’s womb, in the country of the Marucinians, had called out, “Io, Triumphe!” at Spoletum a woman was transformed into a man, and at Adria an altar was seen in the sky, and round it figures of men in white garments. Nay, even in the city of Rome itself, besides a swarm of bees being seen in the Forum, several persons, affirming that they saw armed legions on the Janiculum, roused the citizens to arms; when those who were at the time on the Janiculum asserted, that no person had appeared there except the usual inhabitants of that hill. These prodigies were expiated, conformably to the answers of the Aruspices, by victims of the greater kinds, and supplication was ordered to be performed to all the deities who had shrines at Rome.

XI. Having finished the ceremonies enjoined for conciliating the favour of the gods, the consuls proposed to the senate, to take into consideration the state of the nation, the management of the war, the number of forces to be employed, and the places where the several divisions were to act. It was resolved that eighteen legions should be employed against the enemy; that each of the consuls should take two to himself; that two should be employed in the defence of the provinces of Gaul, Sicily, and Sardinia; that Quintus Fabius, prætor, should have two under his command in Apulia, and Tiberius Gracchus two of volunteer slaves in the country about Luceria; that one should be left to Caius Terentius, proconsul, for Picenum, one to Marcus Valerius for the fleet at Brundusium, and that two should garrison the city. In order to fill up this number of legions, it was necessary to levy six new ones, which the consuls were ordered to raise as soon as possible; and, at the same time, to fit out an additional number of ships; so that, including those which were stationed on the coasts of Calabria, the fleet should, this year, consist of an hundred and fifty ships of war. The levy being finished, and the new vessels launched, Quintus Fabius Edition: current; Page: [186] held an assembly for the appointment of censors, when Marcus Atilius Regulus and Publius Furius Philus were elected. A rumour spreading, that war had broke out in Sicily, Titus Otacilius was ordered to proceed thither with his fleet; and there being a scarcity of seamen, the consuls, in pursuance of a decree of the senate, published a proclamation, that every person, who in the censorship of Lucius Æmilius and Caius Flaminius had been rated, or whose father had been rated at fifty thousand asses of brass*, or from that sum, up to one hundred thousand, or had since acquired such a property, should furnish one seaman with pay for six months; every one rated from an hundred thousand, up to three hundred thousand, three seamen, with pay for a year; every one rated from three hundred thousand, up to one million§, five seamen; every one rated higher, seven; and that senators should provide eight seamen each, with pay for a year. The seamen furnished in obedience to this ordinance, being armed and equipped by their owners, went on board the ships, with provisions ready dressed for thirty days. This was the first instance of a Roman fleet being manned at the expense of private persons.

XII. These preparations, so unusually great, raised fears among the Campanians in particular, lest the Romans should begin the campaign with the siege of Capua. They sent ambassadors, therefore, to Hannibal, entreating him to march his army to that place: acquainting him, that “the Romans were raising new armies for the purpose of laying siege to it, for there was no city against which they were more highly incensed, for having deserted their party.” As this message, and the manner in which it was delivered, intimated such strong apprehensions, Hannibal thought it adviseable to proceed with despatch, lest the Romans might be beforehand with him; whereupon, leaving Arpi, he took possession of Edition: current; Page: [187] his old camp on the Tifata over Capua. Then leaving the Numidians and Spaniards for the defence both of the camp and the city, he marched away with the rest of his forces to the lake of Avernus, under the pretence of performing sacrifice, but in reality with a design to make an attempt on Puteoli and the garrison there. As soon as Maximus received intelligence that Hannibal had departed from Arpi and was returning into Campania, he hastened back to his army, without halting either night or day, sending orders to Tiberius Gracchus, to bring forward his forces from Luceria to Beneventum, and to the prætor Quintus Fabius, son to the consul, to hasten to Luceria, in the place of Gracchus. At the same time, the two prætors set out for Sicily, Publius Cornelius to command the army, Otacilius the fleet on the sea-coast. The rest also departed to their respective provinces, and those who were continued in command remained in the same districts where they had been in the former year.

XIII. While Hannibal was at the lake Avernus, there came to him, from Tarentum, five young men of quality, who had been made prisoners, some at the lake Trasimenus, some at Cannæ, and who had been sent home with that generosity which the Carthaginian showed towards all the allies of the Romans: these told him, that “out of gratitude for his kind treatment, they had persuaded a great number of the Tarentine youth to prefer his alliance and friendship to that of the Romans; and that they had been sent as deputies by their countrymen, to request that Hannibal would draw his army nearer to Tarentum; that if his standards and his camp were once seen from that place, the city would, without any delay, be delivered into his hands; for the commons were under the influence of the younger men, and the management of public affairs was with the commons.” Hannibal, after highly commending and loading them with a profusion of promises, desired them to return home in order to bring the scheme to maturity, saying, that he would be there in due time. With Edition: current; Page: [188] these hopes the Tarentines were dismissed. Hannibal had, before their application, conceived an ardent wish to gain possession of Tarentum; he saw that it was a city not only opulent and of great note, but likewise a seaport, commodiously situated, opposite Macedonia; and that King Philip, should he pass over into Italy, would steer his course to that harbour, because the Romans were in possession of Brundusium. Having performed the sacrifice which he had proposed at his coming, and having, during his stay, utterly laid waste the lands of Cumæ, as far as to the promontory of Misenum, he changed his route suddenly to Puteoli, with design to surprise the Roman garrison. This consisted of six thousand men, and the place was secured, not only by the nature of its situation, but by strong works. Here Hannibal delayed three days, and attempted the garrison on every quarter; but, finding no prospect of success, he marched forward to ravage the territory of Neapolis, rather for the sake of gratifying his resentment, than with any hope of becoming master of the town. By his arrival in the neighbourhood, the commons of Nola were encouraged to stir, having for a long time been disaffected to the cause of the Romans, and harbouring, at the same time, resentment against their own senate. Deputies, therefore, came to invite Hannibal, with a positive promise to deliver the city into his hands: but the consul Marcellus, whom the nobles solicited, by his expeditious measures prevented the design from taking place. In one day he made a march from Cales to Suessula, though he met with some delay in passing the river Vulturnus; and from thence, on the ensuing night, introduced into Nola six thousand foot and three hundred horse, to support the senate. While every precaution requisite for securing the possession of Nola was thus used by the consul with vigorous despatch, Hannibal, on the other side, was dilatory in his proceedings; for, after having twice before been baffled in a project of the Edition: current; Page: [189] same kind, he was now the less inclined to credit the professions of the Nolans.

XIV. Meanwhile the consul, Quintus Fabius, set out to attempt the recovery of Casilinum, which was held by a Carthaginian garrison; and, at the same time, as if by concert, there arrived at Beneventum, on one side, Hanno from Bruttium, with a large body of infantry and cavalry; and, on another, Tiberius Gracchus, from Luceria. The latter came first into the town; then, hearing that Hanno was encamped at the river Calor, about three miles distant, and that, by detachments from thence, devastations were committed on the country, he marched out his troops, pitched his camp about a mile from the enemy, and there held an assembly of his soldiers. The legions which he had with him consisted mostly of volunteer slaves, who had chosen rather to merit their liberty in silence, by the service of a second year, than to request it openly. He had observed, however, as he was leaving his winter-quarters, that the troops, on their march, began to murmur, asking, whether “they were ever to serve as free citizens?” He had, however, written to the senate, insisting, not so much on their wishes, as on their merits; declaring that “he had ever found them faithful and brave in the service; and that, excepting a free condition, they wanted no qualification of complete soldiers.” Authority was given him to act in that business, as he himself should judge conducive to the good of the public. Before he resolved upon coming to an engagement, therefore, he gave public notice, that “the time was now come, when they might obtain the liberty which they had so long wished for. That he intended, next day, to engage the enemy in regular battle, in a clear and open plain, where, without any fear of stratagems, the business might be decided by the mere dint of valour. Every man then, who should bring home the head of an enemy, he would, instantly, by his own authority, set free; and every one, who should retreat from his post, he would Edition: current; Page: [190] punish in the same manner as a slave. Every man’s lot now depended on his own exertion; and, as security for their obtaining their freedom, not only he himself stood pledged, but the consul Marcellus, and even the whole senate, who, having been consulted by him on the subject of their freedom, had authorized him to determine in the case.” He then read the consul’s letter and the decree of the senate, on which an universal shout of joy was raised. They eagerly demanded the fight, and ardently pressed him to give the signal instantly. Gracchus gave notice that they should be gratified on the following day, and then dismissed the assembly. The soldiers, exulting with joy, especially those who were to receive liberty as the price of their active efforts for one day, spent the rest of their time until night in getting their arms in readiness.

XV. Next day, as soon as the trumpets began to sound to battle, the above-mentioned men, the first of all, assembled round the general’s quarters, ready and marshalled for the fight. At sun-rise Gracchus led out his troops to the field, nor did the enemy hesitate to meet him. Their force consisted of seventeen thousand foot, mostly Bruttians and Lucanians, and twelve thousand horse, among whom were very few Italians, almost all the rest were Numidians and Moors. The conflict was fierce and long; during four hours neither side gained any advantage, and no circumstance proved a greater impediment to the success of the Romans, than from the heads of the enemy being made the price of liberty; for when any had valiantly slain an opponent, he lost time, first, in cutting off the head, which could not be readily effected in the midst of the crowd and tumult, and then his right hand being employed in securing it, the bravest ceased to take a part in the fight, and the contest devolved on the inactive and dastardly. The military tribunes now represented to Gracchus, that the soldiers were not employed in wounding any of the enemy who stood on their legs, but in maiming those Edition: current; Page: [191] who had fallen, and instead of their own swords in their right hands, they carried the heads of the slain. On which he commanded them to give orders with all haste, that “they should throw away the heads, and attack the enemy: that their courage was sufficiently evident and conspicuous, and that such brave men need not doubt of liberty.” The fight was then revived, and the cavalry also were ordered to charge: these were briskly encountered by the Numidians, and the battle of the horse was maintained with no less vigour than that of the foot; so that the event of the day again became doubtful, while the commanders, on both sides, vilified their adversaries in the most contemptuous terms, the Roman speaking to his soldiers of the Lucanians and Bruttians, as men so often defeated and subdued by their ancestors; and the Carthaginian, of the Romans, as slaves, soldiers taken out of the workhouse. At last Gracchus proclaimed, that his men had no room to hope for liberty, unless the enemy were routed that day, and driven off the field.

XVI. These words so effectually inflamed their courage, that, as if they had been suddenly transformed into other men, they renewed the shout, and bore down on the enemy with an impetuosity, which it was impossible longer to withstand. First the Carthaginian vanguard, then the battalions were thrown into confusion; at last the whole line was forced to give way; they then plainly turned their backs, and fled precipitately into their camp, in such terror and dismay, that none of them made a stand, even at the gates or on the rampart; and the Romans following close, so as to form almost one body with them, began anew a second battle within their works. Here, as the fight was more impeded by the narrowness of the place, so was the slaughter more dreadful, the prisoners also lending assistance, who, during the confusion, snatched up weapons, and forming in a body, cut off numbers in the rear. So great, therefore, was the carnage, that out of so large an army, scarcely two thousand men, most of Edition: current; Page: [192] whom were horsemen, escaped with their commander; all the rest were either slain or made prisoners; thirty-eight standards were taken. Of the victorious party, there fell about two thousand. All the booty was given up to the soldiers, except the prisoners, and such cattle as should be claimed by the owners within thirty days. When they returned into the camp, laden with spoil, about four thousand of the volunteer soldiers, who had fought with less spirit than the rest, and had not broken into the Carthaginian camp along with them, dreading punishment, withdrew to an eminence at a small distance. Next day they were brought down from thence by a military tribune, and arrived just as Gracchus was holding an assembly, which he had summoned. Here the proconsul, having, in the first place, honoured with military presents the veteran soldiers, according to the degree of courage and activity shown by each in the fight, said, that “as to what concerned the volunteers, he rather wished that all in general, worthy and unworthy, should receive commendations from him, than that any should be reprimanded on such a day as that;” and then, praying that “it might prove advantageous, happy, and fortunate to the commonwealth and to themselves;” he pronounced them all free. On which declaration, in transports of joy, they raised a general shout, and while they now embraced and congratulated each other, raising their hands towards heaven, and praying for every blessing on the Roman people, and on Gracchus in particular, the proconsul addressed them thus: “Before I had set all on an equal footing of freedom, I was unwilling to distinguish any by a mark, either of bravery or of cowardice. But now, since I have acquitted the honour of government, lest every distinction between them be lost, I will order the names of those who, conscious of being remiss in the action, have lately made a secession, to be laid before me; and, summoning each, will bind them by an oath, that, as long as they shall serve me in the army, they will never, except obliged by sickness, Edition: current; Page: [193] take food or drink in any other posture than standing. This penalty you will undergo with patience, if you consider, that your cowardice could not be more slightly branded.” He then gave the signal of preparation for a march, and the soldiers, carrying and driving on their booty, returned to Beneventum so cheerful and so gay, that they seemed to have come home from a feast, given on some remarkable occasion, rather than from a field of battle. All the Beneventans poured out in crowds to meet them at the gates, embraced the soldiers, congratulated them, and pressed them to come to their houses. They had already prepared entertainments in their inner courts, and entreated Gracchus to permit his soldiers to partake of the same. Gracchus gave them leave, on condition that they should all dine in the public street: every thing was accordingly brought out before each person’s door, where the volunteers dined with the caps of liberty, or white woollen fillets in their hands, some reclining, others standing, who, at the same time, attended the rest. This afforded a sight so pleasing, that Gracchus, on his return to Rome, ordered a representation of that day’s festival to be painted in the Temple of Liberty, which his father caused to be built on the Aventine, out of money accruing from fines, and which he afterwards dedicated.

XVII. While these transactions passed at Beneventum, Hannibal, after ravaging the lands of Neapolis, marched his army to Nola. The consul, as sooh as he was apprised of his approach, sent for the proprætor Pomponius, and the army which lay in the camp over Suessula; being determined to go out, and not to decline an engagement with him. He sent Caius Claudius Nero with the main strength of the cavalry, in the dead of the night, through the gate which was most distant from the enemy, ordering him to ride round so as not to be observed, until he came behind their army, to follow them leisurely as they moved, and as soon as he should perceive that the battle was begun, to advance on their rear. Edition: current; Page: [194] What prevented Nero from executing these orders, whether mistake of the road, or the shortness of the time, is uncertain. Although the battle was fought while he was absent, yet the Romans had evidently the advantage; but by the cavalry not coming up in time, the plan of operations was disconcerted. Marcellus, not daring to follow the retiring foe, gave the signal for retreat, while his men were pursuing their success. However, more than two thousand of the enemy are said to have fallen that day; of the Romans less than four hundred. About sunset, Nero returned, after having to no purpose fatigued the men and horses through the whole day and night, without even getting a sight of the Carthaginian; he was very severely reprimanded by the consul, who went so far as to affirm, that he was the cause of their not having retorted on the enemy the disaster suffered at Cannæ. Next day the Roman army marched out to the field, but Hannibal, tacitly acknowledging his defeat, kept within his trenches. In the dead of the night of the third day, giving up all hope of getting possession of Nola, a project never attempted without loss, he marched away towards Tarentum, where he had a greater prospect of success.

XVIII. Nor did less spirit appear in the administration of the Roman affairs at home, than in the field. The censors being, by the emptiness of the treasury, discharged from the care of erecting public works, turned their attention to the regulating of men’s morals, and checking the growth of vices, which, like distempered bodies, ever apt to generate other maladies, had sprung up during the war. First, they summoned before them those, who, after the battle of Cannæ, were said to have formed the design of deserting the commonwealth, and abandoning Italy. At the head of these was Lucius Cæcilius Metellus, who happened to be quæstor at the time. They then ordered him, and the others accused of the same criminal conduct, to plead to the charge; and as these could not clear themselves, they pronounced judgment, Edition: current; Page: [195] that those persons had made use of words and discourses, tending to the detriment of the commonwealth, inasmuch as they purported the forming of a conspiracy for the purpose of abandoning Italy. Next to these were summoned the over ingenious casuists, with respect to the means of dissolving the obligation of an oath, who supposed, that by returning privately into Hannibal’s camp, after having begun their journey with the rest of the prisoners, they should fulfil the oath which they had taken. Of these, and the others above-mentioned, such as had horses at the public expense, were deprived of them, and they were all degraded from their tribes and disfranchised. Nor was the care of the censors confined merely to the regulating of the senate and the equestrian order. They erased from the lists of the younger centuries, the names of all those who had not served as soldiers during the last four years, not having been regularly exempted from service, or prevented by sickness. These, in number above two thousand, were disfranchised, and all were degraded from their tribes. To this simple censorial sentence was added a severe decree of the senate, that all those whom the censors had degraded should serve as foot soldiers, and be sent into Sicily, to join the remains of the army of Cannæ; the time limited for the service of soldiers of this description being, until the enemy should be driven out of Italy. While the censors now, on account of the impoverished treasury, declined contracting for the repairs of the sacred edifices, the furnishing of horses to the curule magistrates, and other matters of like nature, a great number of those, who had been accustomed to engage in contracts of the kind, waited on them, and recommended that they “transact every kind of business, and engage in contracts, in the same manner as if there were money in the coffers; assuring them, that no one would call on the treasury for payment, until the conclusion of the war.” Afterwards came the former owners of those whom Tiberius Sempronius had made free at Beneventum; Edition: current; Page: [196] who said, that they had been sent for by the public bankers, in order that they might receive the price of their slaves; but that they did not desire it until the war should be at an end. When this disposition to support the credit of the treasury appeared among the plebeian class, the property belonging to minors, and of widows, began to be brought in; the people believing that they could not deposit it any where in greater security, or with more religious regard to their trust, than under the public faith: and when any thing was bought, or laid in for the use of the said minors or widows, a bill was given for it on the quæstor. This generous zeal of the private ranks spread from the city into the camp, where no horseman, no centurion, would take his pay; and should any have received it, the others would have censured them as mercenary.

XIX. The consul, Quintus Fabius, lay encamped before Casilinum, which was defended by a garrison of two thousand Campanians, and seven hundred of Hannibal’s soldiers. The commander was Statius Metius, sent thither by Cneius Magius Atellanus, who was chief magistrate that year, and was now employed in arming the populace and the slaves promiscuously, intending to attack the Roman camp while the consul was laying siege to the place. None of his designs escaped the knowledge of Fabius, who therefore sent a message to his colleague at Nola, that, “while the siege of Casilinum was carried on, there was a necessity for another army to oppose the Campanians; that either he himself should come, leaving a moderate garrison at Nola, or, if affairs there required his stay, from not yet being in a state of security against the attempts of Hannibal, he should in that case send for the proconsul, Tiberius Gracchus, from Beneventum.” On receiving this message, Marcellus, leaving two thousand men to garrison Nola, came with the rest of his army to Casilinum, and, by his arrival, the Campanians, who were on the point of breaking out into action, were kept Edition: current; Page: [197] quiet. And now the two consuls, with united forces, pushed on the siege. But the Roman soldiers, in their rash approaches to the walls, receiving many wounds, and meeting little success in any of their attempts, Quintus Fabius gave his opinion, that they ought to abandon an enterprise which, though of slight importance, was attended with as much difficulty as one of great consequence; and that they should retire from the place, especially as more momentous business called for their attention. Marcellus prevented their quitting the siege with disappointment, urging, that there were many enterprises of such a nature, that, as they ought not to be undertaken by great generals, so when once engaged in they ought not to be relinquished, because the reputation either of success or of failure, must be productive of weighty consequences. All kinds of works were then constructed, and machines of every description pushed forward to the walls. On this, the Campanians requested of Fabius that they might be allowed to retire in safety to Capua, when, a few having come out of the town, Marcellus seized on the pass by which they came, and immediately a promiscuous slaughter began near the gate, and soon after, on the troops rushing in, it spread through the city. About fifty of the Campanians, who first left the place, ran for refuge to Fabius, aud under his protection escaped to Capua. Thus was Casilinum taken by surprise, during the conferences and delays of those who went to negociate terms of capitulation. The prisoners, both Campanians and Hannibal’s soldiers, were sent to Rome, and there shut up in prison, and the multitude of the townspeople were dispersed among the neighbouring states, to be kept in custody.

XX. At the same time, when the army, after effecting their purpose, removed from Casilinum, Gracchus, who was in Lucania, detached, under a præfect of the allies, several cohorts, which had been raised in that country, to ravage the lands of the enemy. These Hanno attacked while they straggled Edition: current; Page: [198] in a careless manner, and retaliated a blow almost as severe as that which he had received at Beneventum; then, to avoid being overtaken by Gracchus, he retired with the utmost speed into Bruttium. As to the consuls, Marcellus returned to Nola, whence he had come; Fabius proceeded into Samnium, in order to overrun the country, and recover, by force, the cities which had revolted. The Samnites of Caudium suffered the most grievous devastations; their territory was laid waste with fire to a great extent, and men and cattle were carried off as spoil. The following towns were taken from them by assault: Combulteria, Telesia, Compsa, Melæ, Fulfulæ, and Orbitanium; from the Lucanians, Blandæ, Æcæ, belonging to the Apulians, was taken after a siege. In these towns twenty-five thousand were taken or slain, and three hundred and seventy deserters retaken; these, being sent by the consul to Rome, were all beaten with rods in the Comitium, and cast down from the rock. All this was performed by Fabius in the course of a few days. Bad health confined Marcellus at Nola, and prevented his taking the field. At the same time the prætor, Quintus Fabius, whose province was the country round Luceria, took by storm a town called Accua, and fortified a strong camp near Ardonea. While the Romans were thus employed in various places, Hannibal had arrived at Tarentum, after utterly destroying every thing in his way. At last, when he entered the territory of Tarentum, his troops began to march in a peaceable manner: nothing was injured there, nor did any ever go out of the road; this proceeding flowed manifestly not from the moderation either of the soldiers or their commander, but from a wish to acquire the esteem of the Tarentines. However, after he had advanced almost close to the walls, finding no commotion raised in his favour, an event which he expected to happen on the sight of his van-guard, he encamped about the distance of a mile from the town. Three days before Hannibal’s approach, Marcus Livius being sent by the proprætor. Edition: current; Page: [199] Marcus Valerius, commander of the fleet at Brundusium, had formed the young nobility of Tarentum into bodies; and, posting guards at every gate, and along the walls, wherever there was occasion, by his unremitting vigilance both by day, and more particularly by night, left no room for any attempt, either of the enemy or of the wavering allies. Wherefore, after many days were spent there to no purpose, Hannibal, finding that none of those who had attended him at the lake Avernus either came themselves or sent any message or letter, and perceiving that he inconsiderately suffered himself to be led by delusive promises, decamped and withdrew. He did not even then do any injury to their country, for though his counterfeited tenderness had brought him no advantage, yet he still entertained hopes of prevailing on them to renounce their present engagements. When he came to Salapia he collected there stores of corn from the lands of Metapontum and Heraclea, for midsummer was now past, and the place appeared commodious for winter-quarters. From hence he sent out the Moors and Numidians to plunder the territory of Sallentum, and the nearest woody parts of Apulia, where not much booty was found of any other kind than horses, several studs of which made the principal part of their acquisitions; of these, four thousand were distributed among the horsemen to be trained.

XXI. The Romans, seeing that a war of no slight moment was ready to break out in Sicily, and that the death of the tyrant had only given the Syracusans enterprising leaders, without working any change in their principles or tempers, decreed that province to the consul Marcus Marcellus. Immediately after the murder of Hieronymus, the soldiers in Leotini had raised a tumult, furiously exclaiming, that the death of the king should be expiated by the blood of the conspirators. Afterwards, the words LIBERTY RESTORED, a sound ever delightful to the ear, being frequently repeated, and hopes being held out of largesses from the royal Edition: current; Page: [200] treasure, of serving under better generals, mention at the same time being made of the tyrant’s shocking crimes, and more shocking lusts; all these together produced such an alteration in their sentiments, that they suffered the body of the king, whom just now they had so violently lamented, to lie without burial. The rest of the conspirators remained in the place in order to secure the army on their side; but Theodotus and Sosis, getting on horseback, galloped with all possible speed to Syracuse, wishing to surprise the king’s party, while ignorant of every thing that had happened. But not only report, than which nothing is quicker on such occasions, but likewise an express, by one of Hieronymus’s servants, had arrived before them. Wherefore Andranodorus had strengthened with garrisons both the island* and the citadel, and also every other post which was convenient for his purpose. After sunset, in the dusk of the evening, Theodotus and Sosis rode into the Hexapylum, and having shown the king’s garment dyed with blood, and the ornament which he wore on his head, passed on through the Edition: current; Page: [201] Tycha, calling the people at once to liberty and to arms, and desiring them to come all together into the Achradina. As to the populace, some ran out into the streets, some stood in the porches of their houses, some looked on from the roofs and windows, all inquiring into the cause of the commotion. Every place blazed with lights, and was filled with various confused noises. Such as had arms assembled in the open places; such as had none, pulled down from the temple of Olympian Jove the spoils of the Gauls and Illyrians, presented to Hiero by the Roman people, and hung up there by him; beseeching the god to lend, with good will, those consecrated weapons to men taking them up in defence of their country, of the temples of their deities, and of their liberty. This multitude was also joined to the watch, stationed in the several principal quarters of the city. In the island Andranodorus had, among other places, occupied the public granary with a guard; this place, which was inclosed with hewn stone, and built up to a great height, like a citadel, was seized by the band of youths appointed by Andranodorus to garrison it, and they despatched a message to the Achradina, that the corn therein was at the disposal of the senate.

XXII. At the first dawn the whole body of the people, armed and unarmed, came together into the Achradina to the senate-house; and there, from an altar of Concord, which stood in the place, one of the principal nobles, by name Polyænus, made a speech fraught with sentiments both of liberty and moderation. He said that “men who had experienced the hardships of servitude and insult, knew the extent of the evil against which they vented their resentment; but what calamities civil discord introduces, the Syracusans could have learned only from the relations of their fathers, not from their own experience. He applauded them for the readiness with which they had taken arms, and would applaud them yet more if they did not make use of them unless Edition: current; Page: [202] constrained by the last necessity. At present he thought it adviseable that they should send deputies to Andranodorus, to require of him to be amenable to the direction of the senate and people, to open the gates of the island, and withdraw the garrison. If he meant, under the pretext of being guardian of the sovereignty for another, to usurp it into his own hands, he recommended it to them to recover their liberty by much keener exertions than had been shown against Hieronymus.” Accordingly, on the breaking up of the assembly, deputies were sent. The meetings of the senate were now revived; for though it had, during the reign of Hiero, continued to act as the public council of the state, yet since his death, until now, it had never been convened, or consulted on any business. When the commissioners came to Andranodorus, he was much moved by the united voice of his countrymen, by their being in possession of the other quarters of the city, and moreover by that division of the island, which was the strongest, being lost to him, and in the hands of the other party. But his wife, Demarata, daughter of Hiero, still swelling with royal arrogance and female pride, reminded him of an expression frequently uttered by Dionysius the Tyrant, who used to say, that “a man ought to relinquish sovereign power when he was dragged by the feet, not while he sat on horseback. It was easy,” she said, “at any moment, to resign the possession of a high station; to arrive at, and acquire it, was difficult and arduous.” Desired him to “ask from the ambassadors a little time for consideration, and to employ it in sending for the soldiers from Leontini, to whom, if he promised some of the royal treasure, he might dispose of every thing at his pleasure.” These counsels, suited to the character of the woman, Andranodorus neither totally rejected nor immediately adopted; judging it the safer way to the acquisition of power, to yield to the times for the present. He therefore desired the deputies to carry back for answer, that “he would be obedient to the directions Edition: current; Page: [203] of the senate and people.” Next day, at the first light, he opened the gates of the island, and went into the Forum in the Achradina. There he ascended the altar of Concord, from whence Polyænus had addressed the people the day before, and first, at the beginning of his discourse, spent some time in entreating their pardon for the delay which he had made, for “he had kept the gates shut,” he said, “not with intention to separate his own interest from that of the public, but through fearful uncertainty, the sword being once drawn, when, and in what way, an end might be put to the shedding of blood; whether they would be content with the death of the tyrant, which was all that the cause of liberty required, or whether all who had any connexion with the court, either by consanguinity, affinity, or employments of any kind, were to be put to death, as accomplices in another’s guilt. As soon as he perceived that those who had freed their country, meant also, together with liberty, to grant it safety, and that the designs of all aimed at the promotion of the public happiness, he had not hesitated to replace, under the direction of the people, both his own person, and every thing else committed to his charge and guardianship, since the prince who had entrusted him therewith had perished through his own madness.” Then, turning to those who had killed the tyrant, and addressing Theodotus and Sosis by name, “you have performed,” said he, “a memorable exploit: but believe me, the career of your glory is only begun, not finished; and there yet subsists the utmost danger, that unless you exert yourselves immediately to secure peace and harmony, the nation may carry liberty to licentiousness.”

XXIII. After this discourse, he laid the keys of the gates and of the royal treasure at their feet. Being dismissed, full of joy, the people, with their wives and children, spent that day in offering thanksgivings in all the temples of the gods, and on the day following an assembly was held for the election of prætors. Among the first was chosen Andranodorus; Edition: current; Page: [204] the greater number of the rest were elected from the band of conspirators against the king. Two of these were absent at the time, Sopater and Dinomenes; who, on hearing what had passed at Syracuse, conveyed thither the money belonging to the king, which was at Leontini, and delivered it to quæstors appointed for the purpose: to whom was also delivered the treasure which was in the island and in the Achradina. That part of the wall, which formed too strong a fence between the island and the city, was, with universal approbation, abolished. The other events which took place corresponded with the general zeal for liberty, which now actuated men’s minds: Hippocrates and Epicydes, when intelligence was received of the tyrant’s death, which the former had wished to conceal even by the murder of the messenger, were deserted by the soldiers; and, as the safest step in their present circumstances, returned to Syracuse. Lest their stay there should subject them to suspicion, as if they were watching some opportunity for effecting a revolution, they addressed first the prætors, and afterwards, through them, the senate; represented, that, “being sent by Hannibal to Hieronymus, as to a friend and ally, they had obeyed his orders, in conformity to the will of their own commander. That they wished to return to Hannibal, but as they could not travel with safety while every part of Sicily was overspread with the Roman arms, they requested that a guard might be granted to escort them to Locri in Italy, and that thus, with very little trouble, the senate would confer a great obligation on Hannibal.” The request was easily obtained, for the senate wished the departure of those generals of the late king, men well skilled in war, and at the same time needy and daring. But this measure, so agreeable to their wishes, they did not execute with the care and expedition requisite. Meanwhile those young men, accustomed to a military life, employed themselves sometimes among the soldiery; at others, among the deserters, the greatest number of whom were Roman Edition: current; Page: [205] seamen; at others, among the very lowest class of plebeians, in propagating insinuations against the senate and nobility; hinting to them, that “in the appearance of reviving the former alliance, they were secretly forming and preparing to execute a scheme of bringing Syracuse under the dominion of the Romans; and that then their faction, and the few advocates for the renewal of the treaty, would domineer without control.”

XXIV. Crowds of people, disposed to listen to and believe such reports, flocked into Syracuse in great numbers every day, and afforded, not only to Epicydes, but to Andranodorus likewise, some hopes of effecting a revolution. The latter, wearied by the importunities of his wife, who urged that “now was the time to possess himself of the sovereignty, while all was in a state of disorder, in consequence of liberty being lately recovered, but not yet established on a regular footing; while the soldiers, who owed their livelihood to the pay received from the late king, were yet at hand, and while the commanders sent by Hannibal, who were well acquainted with those soldiers, could aid the enterprise,” took, as an associate in his design, Themistus, to whom Gelon’s daughter was married; and, in a few days after, incautiously disclosed the affair to one Ariston, an actor on the stage, whom he was accustomed to entrust with other secrets; a man whose birth and circumstances were both reputable; nor did his employment disgrace them, because, among the Greeks, that profession is not considered as dishonourable. This man, resolving to be guided by the duty which he owed to his country, discovered the matter to the prætors; who, having learned by unquestionable proofs that the information was well founded, first consulted the elder senators, by whose advice he placed a guard at the door of the senate-house, and, as soon as Themistus and Andranodorus entered, put them to death. This fact, in appearance uncommonly atrocious, the cause of which was unknown to the rest, occasioned Edition: current; Page: [206] a violent uproar; but, having at length procured silence, they brought the informer into the senate-house. He then gave a regular detail of every circumstance, showing that the conspiracy owed its origin to the marriage of Gelon’s daughter, Harmonia, with Themistus; that the auxiliary troops of Africans and Spaniards had been engaged for the purpose of massacreing the prætors and others of the nobility, whose property, according to orders given, was to be the booty of their murderers; that a band of mercenaries, accustomed to the command of Andranodorus, had been procured, with the design of seizing again on the island. He afterwards laid before them every particular; what things were to be done, and by whom, together with the whole plan of the conspiracy, supported by men with arms, ready to execute it. On which the senate gave judgment, that they had suffered death as justly as Hieronymus. The crowd round the senate-house being variously disposed, and unacquainted with the real state of the case, became clamorous: but, while they were uttering furious threats, the sight of the conspirators’ bodies in the porch of the senate-house impressed them with such terror, that they silently followed the well-judging part of the plebians to an assembly which was summoned. Sopater was commissioned by the senate and his colleagues to explain the matter to the people.

XXV. He brought his charges against the deceased as if they were then on trial: after taking a review of their former lives, he insisted that whatever wicked and impious acts had been perpetrated since the death of Hiero, Andranodorus and Themistus were the authors of them. “For what,” said he, “did the boy Hieronymus ever do by the direction of his own will? What, indeed, could he do who had scarcely exceeded the years of childoood? His guardians and teachers exercised the sovereign power, screened from the public hatred which fell on him; and therefore ought to have died either before Hieronymus or with him. Nevertheless, those Edition: current; Page: [207] men who had merited and been doomed to die, have, since the death of the tyrant, attempted new crimes; at first openly, when Andranodorus, shutting the gates of the island, assumed the throne as his by inheritance, and kept as proprietor what he had held as trustee: afterwards, being abandoned by those who were in the island, and blockaded by all the rest of the citizens who held the Achradina, and finding his open and avowed attempts on the crown ineffectual, he endeavoured to attain it by secret machinations and treachery: nor could he be induced to alter his measures even by kindness and the honour conferred on him; for it should be remembered that among the deliverers of their country, this treacherous conspirator against its liberty was chosen a prætor. But the spirit of royalty has been infused into these men by their royal consorts, Hiero’s daughter married to one, Gelon’s to the other.” At these words a shout was heard from every part of the assembly, that “none of the race of the tyrants ought to live.” Such is the nature of the populace; they are either abject slaves or tyrannic masters. Liberty, which consists in a mean between these, they either undervalue, or know not how to enjoy with moderation; and in general, there are not wanting agents disposed to foment their passions, who, working on minds which delight in cruelty, and know no restraint in the practice of it, exasperate them to acts of blood and slaughter. Thus, on the present occasion, the prætors instantly proposed the passing of an order, and it was hardly proposed before it was passed, that all the royal family should be put to death; whereupon persons sent by these magistrates, executed the sentence on Demarata, daughter of Hiero, and Harmonia, daughter of Gelon, the wives of Andranodorus and Themistus.

XXVI. There was another daughter of Hiero, called Heraclea, wife to Zoippus; who having been sent by Hieronymus ambassador to King Ptolemy, had continued abroad in voluntary exile. On getting notice that the executioners were Edition: current; Page: [208] coming to her also, she fled for refuge into the chapel of her household gods, taking with her two maiden daughters, with their hair dishevelled, and their appearance in every other particular calculated to excite compassion: to this she added prayers, beseeching the executioners, “by the memory of her father Hiero, and of her brother Gelon, not to suffer her, an innocent woman, to be involved in ruin under the hatred incurred by Hieronymus. To her nothing had accrued, from his being on the throne, but the exile of her husband; neither, during the life of Hieronymus, was her situation the same with that of her sister, nor since his death was her cause the same. Must it not be allowed, that if Andranodorus had succeeded in his projects, her sister would have reigned with him, whereas she must have been in servitude with the rest? If any one should tell Zoippus, that Hieronymus was killed and Syracuse free, who could doubt but he would instantly get on board a ship and return to his country? How deceitful were the hopes of men! Could he imagine, that in his native soil, restored to liberty, his wife and children were struggling to preserve their lives; and in what respect did they obstruct the cause of liberty or the laws? What danger could arise from them, a solitary, and, in a manner, widowed woman, and her poor orphan children? But though no danger was apprehended from them, yet the whole royal race was detested. Let herself and children be banished far from Syracuse and from Sicily; let them be conveyed to Alexandria; a wife to her husband, the daughters to their father.” Finding them still inexorable, and wishing to make the best use of the time, (for she saw some even drawing their swords,) she desisted from farther entreaties for herself, and continued to beseech them to “spare, at least, her daughters, who were children of an age which even enraged enemies refrain from injuring; and not, while they pursued their revenge against tyrants, to imitate themselves the crimes which had raised their hatred.” While she was speaking, Edition: current; Page: [209] they dragged her from the sanctuary, and slew her; and then turned their weapons against the children, who were sprinkled with the blood of their mother. But they, deprived of reason by grief and fear together, rushed out of the chapel with such quickness, that, had a passage been open to the public street, they would have filled the whole city with tumult: even as it was, though the extent of the house was not great, they several times made their way through the midst of many armed men, without receiving a wound, and extricated themselves from those that took hold of them, notwithstanding the number and strength of the hands with which they had to struggle; but at length, being reduced to the last weakness by wounds, after covering every place with their blood, they fell and expired. This scene, piteous in itself, was rendered yet more so by an incident that ensued; for shortly after, arrived a message, countermanding their execution, the sentiments of the people having suddenly turned to the side of compassion: and this compassion was soon converted into anger, on account of the precipitancy with which the sentence had been hurried on, so as to leave no time for re-consideration or the subsiding of passion. The populace, therefore, expressed much discontent, and insisted on an assembly of election to fill up the places of Andranodorus and Themistus, for both had been prætors; and this election was not at all likely to terminate in a manner agreeable to the present prætors.

XXVII. A day was appointed for the election, when, to the surprise of all, some person in the remotest part of the crowd named Epicydes; then another, in the same quarter, Hippocrates; which names were afterwards the most frequently repeated, with the manifest approbation of the multitude. The assembly itself was an irregular one; for, not the commons alone, but also great numbers of the soldiery, and even of deserters, who wished to overturn every present establishment, composed the disorderly crowd. The magistrates, at first, pretended ignorance of what was going forward, Edition: current; Page: [210] thinking to protract the business; but, at last, overcome by the united voice of so very many, and dreading an insurrection, they declared those men prætors: who, however, did not immediately unveil their sentiments, though greatly chagrined,—first, at ambassadors having gone to Appius Claudius to conclude a truce of ten days, and then, when that was obtained, on others being sent to negociate a renewal of the old alliance. At this time the Romans had a fleet of an hundred sail at Murgantia, watching what might be the result of the commotions of Syracuse, in consequence of the deaths of the tyrants, and to what points the view of the people might be directed by the late acquisition of liberty, to which they had so long been strangers. Meanwhile, the Syracusan ambassadors had been sent by Appius to Marcellus on his arriving in Sicily; who, when he heard the terms on which they proposed the alliance, conceiving expectations that the business might be adjusted to mutual satisfaction, sent ambassadors on his part to Syracuse, to treat with the prætors in person. Here was no longer the same quiet and tranquillity: on news being received that a Carthaginian fleet had arrived at Pachynum, Hippocrates and Epicydes, freed from apprehension, now began, sometimes among the mercenary soldiers, at others among the deserters, to spread insinuations, that there was a design of betraying Syracuse to the Romans. And when Appius came and kept his fleet stationed at the mouth of the harbour, with intention to raise the spirits of the other party, this gave the utmost appearance of credibility to their ill-grounded suggestions, insomuch that the populace at the first ran down in a tumultuous manner, to oppose the landing of his men, if such an attempt should be made.

XXVIII. In this troubled state of affairs, it was judged necessary to call a general assembly. Here, while opposite parties drew contrary ways, and a civil war was on the point of breaking out, one of the leading nobles, named Apollonides, Edition: current; Page: [211] addressed them in a discourse of very salutary tendency at such a juncture; telling them that “no state ever had a nearer prospect either of safety or of ruin. If all would unanimously incline either on the side of the Romans or to that of the Carthaginians, their prosperity and happiness would equal that of any other nation whatever. If separate parties laboured to counteract each other, the war between the Carthaginians and the Romans was not more furious, than would be that which must follow between the Syracusans themselves, when each party should have its own troops, its own arms, its own leaders within the same walls. The most effectual endeavours ought to be used to bring all to unanimity in opinion. Which of the alliances might be the more profitable, was a question of a very inferior nature, and of much less moment. Nevertheless, on the choice of allies, they ought rather to follow the judgment of Hiero than that of Hieronymus, and give the preference to a friendship, of which they had an happy experience for fifty years, before one which would be at the present new to them, and was formerly found deceitful. Another consideration ought to be allowed some weight in their resolves; that it was in their power to decline a treaty of friendship with the Carthaginians; and yet not to enter, immediately at least, into a war with them; whereas with the Romans, they must instantly have either peace or war,” The less of party spirit and warmth this speech contained, the greater was its influence on the hearers. To the prætors, and a select number of senators, a military council was joined, and even the commanders of companies, and the præfects of the allies, were ordered to share in their consultations. After the affair had been frequently debated with great heat, they at last resolved, because they could discover no plan on which war could be maintained against the Romans, that a treaty of peace should be formed with them, and that ambassadors should be sent with those of that nation, then in Syracuse, to ratify it.

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XXIX. Not many days had passed, when deputies from the Leontines arrived, requesting aid for the defence of their country; and this application was considered as coming most seasonably for ridding the city of a disorderly turbulent rabble, and removing their leaders out of the way. The prætor, Hippocrates, was ordered to conduct the deserters thither; and these were accompanied by great numbers of mercenary auxiliaries, so that the whole amounted to four thousand soldiers. This expedition was highly pleasing, both to the persons employed, and to their employers; the former gaining, what they had long wished for, an opportunity for disturbing the government; the latter rejoicing at such a nuisance being removed; the sink, as it were, of the city. However, this proved only like giving a sick person present ease, that he might relapse with an aggravation of his disorder. For Hippocrates began at first, by secret excursions, to ravage the nearest parts of the Roman province; but afterwards, when Appius had sent a body of troops to protect the territories of the allies, he attacked, with his entire force, a detachment posted in his way, and killed a great number. When Marcellus was informed of these transactions, he instantly despatched ambassadors to Syracuse, to complain of this infraction of the treaty, and to represent, that occasions of quarrel would never be wanting, unless Hippocrates and Epicydes were banished, not only from Syracuse, but far from every part of Sicily. Epicydes not choosing, by remaining where he was, either to face the charge of being a confederate in his absent brother’s crime, or to omit contributing his share towards effecting a rupture, went off to his seceding countrymen at Leontini, where, finding the inhabitants filled with a sufficient degree of animosity against the Roman people, he undertook to detach them from the Syracusans also. For “the latter,” he said, “had stipulated in their treaty with Rome, that every state which had been subject to their kings, should for the future be subject to them; Edition: current; Page: [213] and they were not now content with liberty, unless they possessed along with it regal and arbitrary power over other nations. The proper answer, therefore, to be given to any requisition from them was, that the Leontines deemed themselves entitled to freedom no less than themselves, if it were only because their city was the spot where the tyrant fell; that there liberty was first proclaimed, where the troops had abandoned the king’s generals, and flocked to Syracuse. Wherefore that article must be expunged from the treaty, or a treaty containing such an article should not be admitted.” The multitude were easily persuaded; and when ambassadors from Syracuse complained of their cutting off the Roman detachment, and delivered an order, that Hippocrates and Epicydes should depart either to Locri, or to any other place which they chose, provided they retired out of Sicily, the Leontines roughly answered, that they had not commissioned the Syracusans to make a treaty of peace with the Romans for them, neither were they bound by other people’s treaties.” This answer the Syracusans laid before the Romans, declaring that “the Leontines were not under their direction; that, therefore, the Romans might make war on that people without any violation of the treaty with Syracuse, and that they would not fail to give their assistance in it, on condition that the others, when reduced to submission, should be again subjected to their government.”

XXX. Marcellus marched against Leontini with his whole force, sending also for Appius, that he might attack it on another quarter; and so great was the ardour of the soldiers on that occasion, inspired by their resentment for the detachment being cut off while a treaty of peace was depending, that at the first sssault, they carried the town. Hippocrates and Epicydes, when they saw the enemy in possession of the walls, and breaking open the gates, retired, with a few others, into the citadel, from whence they made their escape secretly, during the night, to Herbessus. The Syracusans having Edition: current; Page: [214] marched from home in a body, eight thousand in number, were met at the river Myla by a messenger, who acquainted them, that Leontini was taken, and who mixed several falsehoods with the truth, saying, that both soldiers and townsmen had been put to the sword without distinction; nor did he believe that any one above the age of childhood, was left alive; that the city was sacked, and the effects of the wealthy bestowed on the soldiers. On hearing such a shocking account, the army halted; and, every one being highly exasperated, the commanders, who were Sosis and Dinomenes, entered into consultation how they should act. The false report had received a colour of truth sufficient to justify apprehension, from the circumstance of a number of deserters, amounting to two thousand, having been beaten with rods and beheaded. But not one of the Leontines, or the other soldiers, had been hurt after the capture of the city was completed; and every kind of property had been restored to the owners, except what was destroyed in the first confusion of the assault. The troops, who complained grievously of their fellow-soldiers being treacherously put to death, could not be prevailed on, either to proceed to Leontini, or to wait in their present post for more certain intelligence. On which the prætors, perceiving that they were inclined to mutiny, but that this ferment would not be of long duration if their ringleaders in this foolish conduct were removed, led the army to Megara, whence they themselves, with a small body of horse, proceeded to Herbessus, with hopes that, in consequence of the general consternation, the city might be surrendered into their hands; but, being disappointed in their expectations, they next day decamped from Megara, in order to lay siege to it with the whole of their force. Hippocrates and Epicydes now adopted a plan, which, though at first sight not free from danger, yet, every hope being cut off, was the only one which they could pursue; this was to put themselves into the hands of the soldiery, of whom a great part were well acquainted Edition: current; Page: [215] with them, and all were incensed on account of the supposed slaughter of their fellow-soldiers; and they accordingly went out to meet the army on its approach. It happened that the corps which led the van was a battalion of six hundred Cretans, who in the reign of Hieronymus, had served under their command, and were also under an obligation to Hannibal, having been taken prisoners at the Trasimenus, with other auxiliaries to the Romans, and dismissed. Hippocrates and Epycides knowing them by their standards, and the fashion of their armour, advanced to them, holding out olive branches and other emblems of suppliants, and besought them to receive them into their ranks, to protect them there, and not to betray them into the hands of the Syracusans, by whom they themselves would soon be delivered up to the Romans, to be murdered. The Cretans immediately, with one voice, bade them keep up their courage, for they should share every fortune with them.

XXXI. During this conversation the standards had halted, nor had the cause of the delay yet reached the general. But soon a rumour spread, that it was occasioned by Hippocrates and Epicydes, and a murmur ran along the whole line, evidently demonstrating that the troops were pleased at their coming. On this, the prætors instantly rode forward, at full speed, to the van, asking, “What sort of behaviour was this? What did the Cretans mean by such disorderly conduct, maintaining conversation with an enemy, and allowing them to mix in their ranks?” They then ordered Hippocrates to be seized, and put in chains. On which words such a clamour ensued, begun by the Cretans, and continued by the rest, as clearly showed that if they proceeded farther in the matter, they would have cause to be apprehensive for their own safety. Alarmed and perplexed by their situation, they ordered the army to march back to Megara, and sent expresses to Syracuse, with accounts of their present state. While the men were disposed to entertain every kind of suspicion, Edition: current; Page: [216] Hippocrates, to increase their apprehensions, employed an artifice: having sent out some of the Cretans to watch the roads, he afterwards read publicly a letter composed by himself, but which he pretended had been intercepted. The address was, “The prætors of Syracuse to the consul Marcellus.” After the usual salutations, it mentioned, that “he had acted rightly and properly in not sparing any in Leontini. That all the mercenary soldiers were to be considered in the same light, and never would Syracuse enjoy tranquillity as long as one of the foreign auxiliaries remained, either in the city, or in their army:” they therefore requested him to use his endeavours to reduce under his power those who were encamped with their prætors at Megara, and, by putting them to death, effectuate, at length, the delivery of Syracuse.” As soon as this was read to the soldiers, they ran on all sides to arms with such clamours, that the prætors, in a fright, rode away, during the confusion, to Syracuse. But even their flight did not serve to quell the mutiny, and several attacks were made on the Syracusan troops: nor would one of them have found mercy, had not Epicydes and Hippocrates opposed the rage of the multitude, not through compassion, or any humane intention, but through fear of forfeiting all hope of ever returning to the city; and from this further consideration, that, while they should find these men themselves both faithful soldiers and hostages, they would, at the same time, engage also the favour of their relations and friends; in the first place, by so great an obligation conferred, and then, by having such a pledge in their hands. As they knew, too, from experience, how slight and insignificant an impulse is sufficient to set the populace in motion, they procured a soldier, who had been one of the number besieged in Leontini, and suborned him to carry to Syracuse, a story corresponding with the feigned tale told at Myla; and, by avowing himself the author, and asserting as facts, of which he had been an eye-witness, those particulars, Edition: current; Page: [217] of which doubts were harboured, to irritate the passions of the people.

XXXII. This man not only gained credit with the populace, but, being brought before the senate, had address enough to influence even their judgment; and several, not apt to be over credulous, openly observed, that “it was happy that the avarice and cruelty of the Romans had been unmasked at Leontini. Had they come into Syracuse, their behaviour would have been the same, or probably more barbarous, as the incitements to avarice were greater there.” Wherefore all agreed in opinion, that the gates ought to be shut, and guards posted for the defence of the city. But they did not so generally agree in the object either of their fears or their aversions. Among the military of all descriptions, and a great part of the plebeians, their hatred fell on the Roman nation; while the prætors, and a few of the nobility, notwithstanding that their judgment had been infected by the false intelligence, yet took more pains to guard against a nearer and more immediate danger: for Hippocrates and Epicydes were already at the Hexapylum; and the relations of the native soldiers then in the army, were using many arguments to persuade the people to open the gates, and to let their common country be defended against the Romans. And now one of the gates of the Hexapylum had been opened, and the troops had begun to march in, when the prætors arrived at the spot; they endeavoured, at first by commands and menaces, then by counsel and advice, to deter the inhabitants from their purpose; and, at last, finding all these ineffectual, they descended from their dignity, and had recourse to entreaties, beseeching them not to betray their country to men who were lately instruments of a tyrant, and who now imprisoned the soldiers minds. But, in the heat of the present ferment, the ears of the multitude were deaf to all such arguments, and efforts were made to break open the gates on the inside, no less violent than those from without. They were all soon Edition: current; Page: [218] forced, and the whole army received into the Hexapylum. The prætors, with the youth of the city, fled for safety into the Achradina. The mercenaries, deserters, and all the soldiers of the late King, then in Syracuse, augmented the force of the enemy. In consequence, the Achradina was taken at the first assault, and the prætors, except such as could make their escape in the confusion, were all put to death. Night put an end to the shedding of blood. Next day the slaves were invited to freedom; all the prisoners were discharged from confinement, and the motley rabble, composed of all these different sorts, elected Hippocrates and Epicydes prætors: thus Syracuse, after a short enjoyment of the sunshine of liberty, sunk back into its former state of servitude.

XXXIII. As soon as the Romans were informed of these events, they immediately decamped from Leontini, and marched to Syracuse. At the same time it happened that ambassadors, sent by Appius, and who were approaching the place in a quinquereme, with difficulty escaped being taken: which, however, was the fate of a quadrireme, ordered to advance some distance before their galley, on its entering the harbour. And now not only the laws of peace, but even those of war, had been all thrown aside, when the Roman army pitched their camp at Olympium, a temple of Jupiter so called, distant a mile and a half from the city. From hence also it was judged proper to send ambassadors, who were prevented entering the city by Hippocrates and Epicydes, with their adherents, coming out from the gate to meet them. The Roman, whose part it was to speak, said, that “the Romans came not with the intention of making war on the Syracusans, but of giving succour and support both to such as, after extricating themselves from the midst of carnage, fled to them for refuge; and also to those, who, overpowered by fear, endured a bondage more shocking, not only than exile, but even than death. Nor would the Romans suffer such an abominable massacre of their allies to pass unpunished. Edition: current; Page: [219] Wherefore if those, who had taken refuge with them, were allowed to return to their country with safety, and the authors of the massacre were delivered up, and liberty and their laws restored to the Syracusans, there would be no occasion for quarrel. If these requisitions were not complied with, whoever was the cause of the refusal should undergo the severest vengeance which their arms could inflict.” To this Epicydes replied, that “if they had been charged with any message to him, and his friends, they would have returned an answer. That when the government of Syracuse should be in the hands of those to whom they came, they might then return to Sicily. If they began hostilities, they should learn, on trial, that the siege of Syracuse was a very different kind of business from that of Leontini.” So saying, he turned his back on the ambassadors, and shut the gates. The Romans then, immediately, began to form the siege of Syracuse, both by land and sea; by land, on the side of the Hexapylum; by sea, on that of the Achradina, the wall of which is washed by its waves. Having mastered Leontini by the terror which their assault inspired, and that at the first attack, they doubted not but they should be able, in some quarter or other, to make their way into a city of such wide extent, and whose defended parts lay at such a distance from each other; they pushed forward therefore to the walls every kind of machine used in sieges.

XXXIV. This enterprize, from the spirit and vigour with which it was undertaken, must have met the expected success, had it not been for one single person then in Syracuse: this was Archimedes, a man singularly skilled in the science of astronomy, and a great geometrician, eminently distinguished in the invention and construction of warlike engines, by means of which, with very slight exertions, he baffled the efforts of the enemy, made with immense labour. The wall, which, being drawn along unequal eminences, was in some parts high and difficult of access, in others low and liable to Edition: current; Page: [220] be approached through the level vales, he furnished with machines of all kinds, adapted to the nature of each particular place. That of the Achradina, which, as before observed, is washed by the sea, Marcellus attacked from his largest ships; while from the small vessels, the archers, slingers, and light-infantry, (whose weapon is of such a kind that it cannot well be thrown back, except by experienced hands,) wounded almost every one defending the works. These, requiring room for the discharge of their missiles, kept at a distance: but the other and larger ships, eight in number, were fastened together in pairs, by the removal of one tier of oars; while those on the exterior sides moved them both as if a single ship. These carried turrets of several stories in height, with instruments for demolishing the rampart. Against this naval armament, Archimedes disposed, on the walls, engines of various sizes. On the ships, which lay at a distance, he discharged rocks of immense weight; and those which lay nearer, lighter and therefore more numerous annoyances. And lastly, he opened in the wall from top to bottom a great number of spike-holes, a cubit in diameter, through which without being seen, or in danger of being hurt, they poured arrows and darts from scorpions. Some ships having come up closer, in order that the weapons from the engines might fly over them, he used an engine called Tolleno, composed of a long lever supported at the middle, and fixed in such a manner that one arm of it projected beyond the wall; from the extremity of this hung, by a strong chain, an iron grapple, which, taking hold of the fore part of the ship, while the other extremity of the lever was weighed down to the ground by a heavy counterpoise of lead, lifted up the prow and set the vessel on its stern; the grappel then was suddenly disengaged, and the ship was, to the utter consternation of the seamen, dashed into the water with such force, that even if it had fallen in an erect position, it would have taken in a great deal of water. By these means the assailants were Edition: current; Page: [221] foiled in every attempt by sea; abandoning therefore that part of the plan, they bent all their efforts to the pushing forward the operations by land, and with their whole force. But on this side, too, the place was furnished with a similar train of engines of every description, procured in a course of many years by the direction and at the expense of Hiero, and through the singular skill of Archimedes. The nature of the ground also was favourable to the defendants, because the rock on which the foundations of the wall were laid, is in most places so steep, that not only bodies thrown from an engine, but such as rolled down by their own weight, fell with great power on the enemy: the same cause rendered the ascent difficult to be climbed, and the footing unsteady. Wherefore a council being held, it was resolved, since every attempt ended in disappointment and disgrace, to desist from farther attacks, and only to blockade the place so closely as to cut off all supplies of provisions, either by land or sea.

XXXV. Meanwhile, Marcellus marched, with about a third part of the forces, to recover those cities which, during the general disturbances, had revolted to the Carthaginians. Helorus and Herbessus he received by voluntary surrender. Having taken Megara by storm, he sacked and demolished it, in order to strike terror into others, particularly the Syracusans. About the same time Himilco, who had for a long time kept his fleet at the promontory of Pachynum, landed at Heraclea, which is also called Minoa, twenty-five thousand infantry, three thousand horses, and twelve elephants; a much greater force than he had before on board his ships at Pachynum. When Syracuse was seized by Hippocrates, he had gone to Carthage, and there, being encouraged by ambassadors from him as chief, and by letters from Hannibal, who affirmed that the time was now come for recovering possession of Sicily with the highest honour; and as his own advice given on the spot had no small degree of influence, he easily procured an order, that the greatest force possible Edition: current; Page: [222] of infantry and cavalry should be transported into that island Immediately on his arrival he reduced Heraclea, and within a few days after, Agrigentum; raising at the same time in all the other states, who sided with the Carthaginians, such warm hopes of expelling the Romans from Sicily, that at last even the Syracusans, besieged as they were, assumed new courage. Judging that a part of their forces would be sufficient for defence alone, they divided the business in such a manner, that Epicydes should command the troops so appointed for guarding the city, and Hippocrates, in conjunction with Himilco, conduct the war against the Roman consul. The latter accordingly, with ten thousand foot and five hundred horse, having passed by night through some intervals between the Roman posts, began to pitch his camp near the city Acrillæ: while they were raising their fortifications, Marcellus came upon them, for he was now returning from Agrigentum, to which place he had in vain hastened by quick marches, in hope of reaching it before the enemy, but he found it already in their possession, and expected nothing less at that time than to meet a Syracusan army in his way. However, through fear of Himilco and the Carthaginians, for whom he was by no means a match with the force which he then had, he was marching with all possible caution, and with his troops prepared for every occurrence.

XXXVI. This precaution adopted against the Carthaginians, happened to prove useful in respect of the Syracusans. Finding them scattered, separately employed in forming their camp, and mostly unarmed, he surrounded and cut off the whole of their infantry; the cavalry, after a slight opposition, fied with Hippocrates to Acræ. This stroke having effectually checked the designs of those states, which were disposed to revolt from the Romans, Marcellus returned to Syracuse; and, after a few days, Himilco, being joined by Hippocrates, came and encamped at the river Anapus, about eight miles distant. About the same time fifty-five Carthaginian ships of Edition: current; Page: [223] battle, commanded by Bomilcar, as admiral, put into the great harbour at Syracuse, and a Roman fleet of thirty quinqueremes landed the first legion at Panormus; it seemed, indeed, as if the theatre of war was removed hither from Italy, so intent were both nations on the affairs of Sicily. Himilco expected that the Roman legion, landed at Panormus, would fall a prey to him on its way to Syracuse; but he missed it by taking the road which led through the inland parts of the country, while the legion, keeping close to the sea-coast, and being attended by the fleet, effected a junction with Appius Claudius, who, with a part of his forces, came as far as Pachynum to meet it. Nor did the Carthaginians delay longer at Syracuse. On the one hand, Bomilcar was diffident of his own strength at sea, as the Romans had a fleet, of at least double his number; and, at the same time, as he perceived that the only effect of his forces remaining there, where they could do no service, would be, the aggravating the distress of his allies in the article of provisions, he sailed out into the main, and passed over to Africa. On the other hand, Himilco had in vain followed Marcellus to Syracuse, in hopes of finding an opportunity of engaging him before he should join the larger division of his army; but being disappointed in this, and seeing likewise that the enemy’s post at Syracuse was secured from every attempt, both by the fortifications and the number of their forces, he did not choose to waste time to no purpose in sitting there as a spectator of the siege carried on against his allies, and therefore decamped and marched away his army, with intention to carry it wherever a prospect of a revolt from the Romans should invite him, that he might invigorate by his presence the resolution of those who favoured his interest. And first, through the treachery of the inhabitants, who betrayed the Roman garrison, he got possession of Murgantia, where the Romans had large magazines of corn and every kind of provisions.

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XXXVII. By this revolt, other states were encouraged to imitate the example; and the Roman garrisons were either driven out of the fortresses, or betrayed and overpowered. Enna, standing on a lofty eminence, which was steep and craggy on every side, was not only impregnable by reason of its situation, but had moreover a strong force in its citadel, with a governor who could not be easily overreached by treachery. This was Lucius Pinarius, a man of spirit and activity, who relied more on his own precaution, to render every scheme of perfidy impracticable, than on the fidelity of the Sicilians; and his solicitude to be prepared for every emergency was now increased by the intelligence he had received of so many cities revolting, or being betrayed, and the garrisons put to death. Wherefore, every thing was kept in a state of readiness, with guards and watches constantly on duty, as well by night as by day, nor did the soldier ever quit his arms or his post. When the leading men in Enna, who had already bargained with Himilco for the betraying of the garrison, understood that the Roman commander had left no room for the practice of any deception, they resolved to act openly, and represented to him, that the city and the citadel ought to be under their care, since they had been connected with “the Romans as free men in alliance, not as slaves in custody.” They therefore required that the keys of the gates should be returned to them, observing, that “on good allies honour was the strongest tie, and that then only would the senate and people of Rome think them deserving of thanks, when they should continue in friendship out of their own free will, not through compulsion.” To this the Roman answered, that “he was placed there by his general, and from him had received the keys of the gates and the custody of the citadel, which he held not at his own disposal, or that of the inhabitants of Enna, but at his who had committed them to his charge. That to relinquish a man’s post in a garrison, was, among the Romans, a capital crime, Edition: current; Page: [225] and that parents had confirmed that law even by the death of their own children. That the consul Marcellus was not far distant; let them send ambassadors to him, who had the right and authority to determine.” They declared positively, that they would not send, and gave him notice, that, since words were of no avail, they would seek some other means of asserting their liberty. Pinarius then desired, “that if they did not choose to take the trouble of sending to the consul, they would, at least, allow him to meet the people in assembly, that it might be known whether these were the denunciations of a party only, or of the whole state;” which being agreed to, an assembly was proclaimed for the following day.

XXXVIII. After this conversation, he went back immediately into the citadel, and calling the troops together, spoke thus: “Soldiers, you must have heard in what manner the Roman garrisons have, of late, been betrayed and cut off by the Sicilians. The same treachery you have escaped, principally through the kindness of the gods, and next through your own resolution, in keeping continual guard and watch under arms, without intermission by day or by night. I wish it were in our power to pass the rest of our time without either enduring or offering cruel treatment. But this caution, which we have hitherto used, guards only against their secret machinations; which, not having succeeded to their wish, they now openly and plainly demand the keys of the gates. The moment these are delivered to them, Enna will be made over to the Carthaginians, and we shall be massacred here in a more shocking manner than were those of Murgantia. This one night’s time, I have, with difficulty, procured for consultation, that I might apprize you of the imminent danger to which you are exposed. At sunrise they intend to hold an assembly for the purpose of criminating me, and incensing the populace against you: before to-morrow night, therefore, Enna will be deluged either with your blood, or with that of its inhabitants. If they anticipate your measures, Edition: current; Page: [226] you will have no resource; if you anticipate theirs, you will have no danger: whoever first draws the sword, his will be the victory. Do you, therefore, in arms, and with all your attention awake, wait for the signal. I will be in the assembly, and, by talking and disputing, will prolong the time until every thing shall be ready. As soon as I give the signal with my gown, then let me see that you raise a shout on every quarter, attack the multitude, and mow down all with the sword; take care that no one be left alive from whom either force or fraud can be feared. O! Mother Ceres and Proserpine, and you other gods whether of the superior or inferior regions, who patronise this city and these consecrated lakes and groves, so prosper us, I beseech you, with your favour and assistance, as we undertake such an enterprise with a view of averting, not of afflicting injury. I would use more words in exhorting you, soldiers, if you were to have a contest with men in arms: that unarmed and unguarded crowd you will kill until you shall be satisfied with killing: besides, the consul’s camp is at hand, so that nothing can be feared from Himilco and the Carthaginians.”

XXXIX. Being dismissed with this exhortation, they went to take refreshment. Next day they posted themselves in different places, to block up the streets, and shut the passes against the townsmen going out; the greatest part of them, on and round the theatre, as they had been before accustomed to stand spectators of the assemblies. The Roman commander was conducted by the magistrates into the presence of the people, where he represented, that the power and authority of determining the business in question lay in the consul, not in him, urging mostly the same arguments, which he had used the day before; on which a few at first, then greater numbers, at last all, with one voice, insisted on his delivering the keys; and when he hesitated and demurred, began to threaten him furiously, showing evidently that they would no longer refrain from the utmost violence. The governor Edition: current; Page: [227] then gave the concerted signal with his gown. The soldiers were prepared, having a long time expected it with earnest attention; and now, while some of them, with loud shouts, ran down from the higher places against the rear of the assembly, others, in close array, blocked up the passages from the theatre. Thus, pent up in the inclosure, the inhabitants of Enna were put to the sword. Yet did they perish, not only by the weapons of their enemy, but by their own hasty flight, for many tumbled over the others, and the whole falling on the wounded, the living on the dead were all promiscuously heaped together. From thence, the soldiers spread themselves over the city, and, as if it had been taken by storm, filled every part of it with terror and carnage, their rage venting itself with no less fury on the unarmed crowd, than if their passions had been exasperated by an equality of danger in the heat of battle. Thus, by an act either wholly unjustifiable, or excuseable only on the ground of necessity, the possession of Enna was retained. Marcellus showed no disapprobation of the deed; on the contrary, he granted the plunder of that place to the soldiers; thinking that the Sicilians, deterred by fear of like treatment, would desist from the practice of betraying the Roman fortresses. The history of the sad catastrophe of this city, which stood in the middle of Sicily, and was so conspicuous, both on account of the extraordinary natural strength of its situation, as also on account of every part of it being rendered sacred by the monuments of the rape of Proserpine of old, reached every part of the island almost in one day. People considered that horrid carnage as a violation of the mansions of the gods, as well as of those of men; and now even those who had hesitated until this time, openly declared in favour of the Carthaginians. Hippocrates then retired to Murgantia, and Himilco to Agrigentum; for they had, on an invitation from the treacherous inhabitants, brought their armies to Enna to no purpose. Marcellus returned into the territory of Leoutini, Edition: current; Page: [228] where, having stored his camp with magazines of corn and other provisions, and left a small body of troops to defend it, he went to carry on the siege of Syracuse. Appius Claudius having obtained his leave to go to Rome to canvass for the consulship, he appointed in his room Titus Quintus Crispinus to the command of the fleet and of the old camp. He fortified a camp for himself, in which he erected huts for the winter, at a place called Leon, five miles distant from the Hexapylum. These were the transactions in Sicily previous to the commencement of winter.

XL. During that summer, the war with king Philip, which had been apprehended for some time, broke out into action. Deputies came from Oricum to the proprætor Marcus Valerius, who commanded the fleet at Brundusium and on the neighbouring coasts of Calabria, informing him, that Philip had first attempted Appollonia, sailing up the river with a hundred and twenty barks of two banks of oars; and, not succeeding there as speedily as he expected, had afterwards marched his army secretly by night to Oricum, which city, being situated in a plain, and being but weakly defended, either by fortifications or by men and arms, was overpowered at the first assault. To this information they joined entreaties, that he would bring them succour, and repel the attacks of that avowed enemy to the Romans from the maritime cities, which were assailed for no other reason, than because they lay contiguous to Italy. Marcus Valerius, leaving a lieutenant-general, Titus Valerius, to maintain his present post, and putting on board the ships of burthen a number of soldiers, for whom there was not room in the ships of war, set sail with his fleet fully equipped and prepared, and arrived on the second day at Oricum, and without much difficulty retook that city, which had for its defence but a weak garrison, left by Philip at his departure. Hither came deputies from the Appollonians, with information, that they were besieged, because they refused to take part Edition: current; Page: [229] against the Romans, and that they were unable longer to withstand the force of the Macedonians, unless a Roman garrison were sent to their aid. Valerius promised to comply with their wishes, and sent two thousand chosen men in ships of war to the mouth of the river, under the command of Quintus Nævius Crista, præfect of the allies, a man of an enterprising spirit and experienced in service. He, as soon as his men were landed, sent back the ships to join the rest of the fleet at Oricum, whence he came; and leading his troops at a distance from the river, through a road where he was least likely to meet any of the king’s party, got into town by night, without being discovered by them. During the following day all remained quiet, while the præfect reviewed the forces of the Appollonians, their arms, and the defences of the city. On examining all those matters, he found sufficient ground for confidence; at the same time learning from scouts, that a great degree of negligence and inattention prevailed among the enemy. In consequence of this intelligence, he marched out of the city in the dead of the night, without any noise, and, on entering their camp, found it so neglected and exposed, that a thousand of his men had gotten within the rampart, as we are well assured, before any one perceived them, and had they refrained from killing the soldiers, might have reached the pavilion of the king. The destroying of those who were nearest to the gate roused the others from sleep: and immediately such terror and dismay took possession of all, that not one of them offered to take arms, or to attempt expelling the assailants: nay, instead of that, even the king himself fled in the same condition as he had started out of bed; half naked in a manner, and in a dress which would scarcely be decent for a private soldier, much less a monarch, he effected his escape to his ships in the river. Thither also the rest of the multitude directed their precipitate flight. Somewhat less than three thousand men were either killed or taken, but the number of prisoners considerably Edition: current; Page: [230] exceeded that of the killed. The camp was then sacked, and the Appollonians carried into their city, for the defence of their walls on any future occasion, the catapultas, balistas, and other engines, which had been provided for the purpose of demolishing them; all the rest of the booty found in the camp was consigned to the Romans. As soon as the news of this event reached Oricum, Marcus Valerius instantly drew his fleet to the mouth of the river, lest the King should attempt to escape by water. Philip, therefore, despairing of being able to cope with his adversaries, either by land or sea, drew up some of his ships into dock, burned the rest, and with his troops, mostly unarmed and despoiled of their baggage, returned by land into Macedonia. Marcus Valerius, with the Roman fleet, wintered at Oricum.

XLI. In Spain the contending parties met with various success during this campaign. For, before the Romans passed the river Iberus, Mago and Hasdrubal defeated a very numerous army of Spaniards, and all farther Spain would have revolted from the Romans, had not Publius Cornelius, by a rapid march, arrived in time to confirm the wavering resolutions of his allies. The Romans encamped, first at a place called the High Fort, remarkable for the death of the great Hamilcar. The fortress was strong, and they had already provided a store of corn. Nevertheless, because all the country round was full of the enemy’s troops, and as the Roman army, on its march, had been harassed by their cavalry, without being able to take revenge, and had lost two thousand men, who either loitered behind or straggled through the country, they removed thence to the neighbourhood of a friendly people, and fortified a camp at the mount of Victory. Hither came Cneius Scipio with all his forces; while on the other side, Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, with a complete army, joined the other two Carthaginian generals, and their whole combined forces sat down opposite to the Roman with a river between them. Publius Scipio, going out privately with Edition: current; Page: [231] some light-armed troops to take a view of the adjacent country, passed not unobserved by the enemy, who would have cut him off in an open plain, had he not seized an eminence, which was nigh. Even there he was closely invested, but his brother coming up, relieved him from that dangerous situation. Castulo, a strong city, reckoned among the most remarkable in Spain, and so closely connected with the Carthaginians, that Hannibal had married a native of it, revolted to the Romans. The Carthaginians laid siege to Illiturgi, because it was held by a Roman garrison, and they had reason to expect that it would soon fall into their hands, chiefly in consequence of a scarcity of provisions. Cneius Scipio, with a legion lightly equipped, marched to the relief of the allies and the garrison, and forced his way into the city, between the two camps of the enemy with great slaughter of their men. On the day following he made a sally, and fought with the same success. In the two battles, he killed above twelve thousand men, and took more than ten thousand, with thirty-six military standards: in consequence of which losses, the Carthaginians raised the siege. They then sat down before the city of Bigerra, which also was in alliance with the Romans, but on the approach of Cneius Scipio raised the siege without a battle.

XLII. The Carthaginians then removed their camp to Munda, whither the Romans quickly followed them. Here a general engagement took place, which lasted near four hours: the Romans had decidedly the advantage; but, while they were pursuing the victory with the utmost ardour, the signal of retreat was given, in consequence of Cneius Scipio’s thigh being pierced through with a javelin; the soldiers round him being seized with a panic, in the supposition that the wound was mortal. There was no doubt, but that, if they had not been thus stopped, they would, on that day, have taken the enemy’s camp. Not only their soldiers, but elephants also, had already been driven up to the rampart, and, on the top Edition: current; Page: [232] of it, thirty-nine elephants had been killed with spears. Twelve thousand men are said to have fallen in this battle, and near three thousand to have been taken, with fifty-seven military ensigns. From thence the Carthaginians retreated to the city of Aurinæ, and the Romans, not to allow them time to recover from their defeat, followed them closely. Here Scipio, though carried into the field in a litter, engaged them again, and obtained a decided victory: though fewer of the enemy, by half, were slain in this battle than in the former; because, after their loss on that occasion, they could only bring a smaller number into the field. But as they are a race fitted by nature for the reviving of wars and the recruiting of armies, they soon, through the diligence of Mago, who was sent by his brother to levy soldiers, filled up the complement of their troops, and resumed courage to risk a-fresh the issue of a battle. Though their battallions were now composed mostly of foreign soldiers, yet fighting on a side which had suffered so many discomfitures within a few days, they showed the same spirit as before, and the same consequence ensued. More than eight thousand men were slain, not many short of a thousand taken prisoners, together with fifty-eight military standards. The greater part of the spoils had belonged to the Gauls, among which were golden chains and bracelets in great numbers; there were also two remarkable chieftains of the Gauls killed in that battle, Mœnicaptus and Civismarus: eight elephants were taken, and three killed. During this current of success in Spain, the Romans began to feel ashamed of having suffered the town of Saguntum, the original object of dispute, to continue five years in the possession of the enemy. Wherefore, dislodging the Carthaginian garrison, they retook possession of the town, and restored it to such of the inhabitants as had survived the violence of the conflict. As to the Turdetanians, who had been the instigators of the war between the Carthaginians and the people, they totally subdued them, sold them as slaves, and Edition: current; Page: [233] rased their city to the ground. Such were the occurrences in Spain during the consulate of Quintus Fabius and Marcus Claudius.

XLIII. At Rome, no sooner had the new plebeian tribunes entered into office, than one of them, Lucius Metellus, summoned the censors, Publius Furius and Marcus Ætilius, to trial before the people. In the preceding year, when he was quæstor, they had degraded him from the equestrian rank and from his tribe, and had disfranchised him on account of his having formed a conspiracy at Cannæ, to abandon Italy: but they were supported by the other nine tribunes, who protested against their being brought to trial, and were consequently discharged. The death of Publius Furius prevented their closing the Lustrum; and Marcus Ætilius abdicated his office. The election of consuls was held by the consul Quintus Fabius Maximus, and two were chosen who were both absent at the time, Quintus Fabius Maximus, the present consul’s son, and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, a second time. The prætors appointed were Marcus Atilius, and two who were then curule ædiles, Publius Sempronius Tuditanus and Cneius Fulvius Centumalus, and lastly, Marcus Æmilius Lepidus. It is recorded, that stage plays were now, for the first time, exhibited four days successively, by direction of the curule ædiles. This Tuditanus, now ædile, was the person who, at Cannæ, while the rest were stupified by fear, in consequence of such a dreadful disaster, made his way through the middle of the enemy.

Y.R. 539. bc 213.XLIV. As soon as the elections were finished, the consuls elect were called home to Rome, by the advice of the present consul Quintus Fabius, and assumed the administration. They then called a meeting of the senate, to determine concerning their own provinces and those of the prætors, the armies to be employed, and the commanders to whom each was to be allotted. These were distributed in the following manner: To the consuls was assigned the province of making Edition: current; Page: [234] head against Hannibal; and of the armies, the one which Sempronius himself had already under his command, and another commanded by the late consul Fabius. These consisted of two legions each. Marcus Æmilius, the prætor, to whose lot the foreign jurisdiction had fallen, (his share in the administration of justice being consigned to his colleague, Marcus Atilius, city prætor,) was to hold the province of Luceria, and the two legions which Quintus Fabius, the present consul, had commanded as prætor; to Publius Sempronius fell the province of Ariminium; to Cneius Fulvius, Suessula, with two legions likewise to each; Fulvius to take with him the city legions; Tuditanus to receive his from Marcus Pomponius. The following commanders and provinces were continued: to Marcus Claudius, Sicily, so far as the limits of Hiero’s dominions had extended; to Lentullus, proprætor, the old Roman province in that island; to Titus Otacilius, the fleet. No additions were made to their armies. Greece and Macedonia were allotted to Marcus Valerius, with the legion and fleet which he had there; to Quintus Mucius, Sardinia, with his old army, which consisted of two legions, and to Caius Terentius, Picenum, with the one legion at the present under his command. It was ordered, that, besides those mentioned, two city legions should be levied, and twenty thousand troops of the allies. These were the leaders, these the forces, provided for the defence of the Roman empire, against a multitude of enemies, either declared or suspected. The consuls, after raising the two city legions, and filling up the numbers of the others, before they quitted Rome, expiated several prodigies, which had been reported. A wall and a gate had been struck by lightning, and also the temple of Jupiter at Aricia. Besides which, several deceptions of the eyes and ears were credited as facts; that the figures of ships of war had appeared in the river at Tarracina, where no such ships were; that in the temple of Jupiter, at Vicilinum in the district of Compsa, a clashing Edition: current; Page: [235] of arms was heard, and that the river at Amiturnum flowed in streams of blood. When the expiation of these was performed, according to the direction of the pontiffs, the consuls set out, Sempronius to Lucania, Fabius to Apulia. The father of the latter coming into the camp at Suessula, as lieutenant-general under his son, the son went out to meet him, and the lictors, out of reverence to his dignity, went on in silence, until the old man rode past eleven of the fasces, when the consul ordering his next lictor to take care, he called to him to dismount, and the father then, at length, alighting, said, “I had a mind, my son, to try whether you were properly sensible of being consul.”

XLV. Into this camp Darius Altinius of Arpi came privately by night, with three slaves, promising that if he were properly rewarded, he would betray Arpi to them. Fabius held a council to consider of the matter, when some were of opinion, that “he ought to be scourged and put to death as a deserter, being a common foe to both parties, ever ready to change sides; who, after the misfortune at Cannæ, as if faith ought to follow the changes of fortune, had gone over to the Carthaginians, and drawn Arpi into a revolt; and now, when the Roman affairs were, contrary to his hopes and wishes, recovering from that disaster, it must appear doubly base to offer to serve, by an act of treachery, the party on whom he had practised his treachery before. Such a wretch, who always appeared to act on one side, while his wishes were on the other, such a perfidious ally and fickle enemy, ought to be made a third lesson to deserters along with the Falerian and Pyrrhus’s traitors.” On the other hand Fabius, the consul’s father, said, that “people did not attend to the state of the times; but, in the very heat of war, as in a time of tranquillity, pronounced their decisions on every case without any allowance for circumstances. Thus, at a time when they should rather contrive and labour to prevent, if possible, any of the allies revolting from the Roman cause, or become Edition: current; Page: [236] wavering in their inclinations, they were of opinion, that a person who repented and showed an inclination to return to his former connexions, ought to be punished for an example. But if those who had once forsaken the part of the Romans, were at no time allowed to return to it, who could doubt, but that their nation would be deserted by its allies, and that they would shortly see every state in Italy combined under Carthaginian treaties? Nevertheless, he was not disposed to think that any confidence should be reposed in Altinius: but he would strike out a middle way of proceeding, and recommend that, at present, he should not be treated either as an enemy or an ally, but should, during the continuance of the war, be kept in custody, at a small distance from the camp, in some city, whose fidelity could be relied on; and that, in the event of peace, it should be considered whether his former defection pleaded stronger for punishment, or his present return for pardon.” This advice of Fabius was adopted. Altinius was bound in chains, and, together with his attendants, delivered into custody; and a large quantity of gold which he had brought with him, was ordered to be kept for his use. He was sent to Cales, where he was allowed to go out by day, attended by guards, who confined and watched him by night. When he was missed at his house in Arpi, search was made for him at first, then the report of what had happened spreading through the city, occasioned a tumult among the citizens, as if they had lost their leader; so that, dreading an alteration of their present system, they despatched, instantly, to Hannibal, an account of the affair. This was not at all displeasing to the Carthaginian, because he had long harboured suspicions of him, knowing the duplicity of his character; and besides, he had now gained an excuse for seizing and confiscating his great property. However, in order to make people believe that he was actuated rather by anger than rapaciousness, he exhibited a scene of uncommon barbarity; for, having ordered his wife and children to be Edition: current; Page: [237] brought into the camp, he made a strict inquiry concerning the flight of Altinius, and likewise concerning the quantities of gold and silver which he had left at home; and, when he had got sufficient information of every particular, he burned them alive.

XLVI. Fabius set out from Suessula, intending to open the campaign with the siege of Arpi, and having pitched his camp about half a mile from the place, and taken a near view of the situation and fortifications of the town, he resolved to make his principal attack on a quarter where the works were the strongest, and the guard the most negligently kept. After providing every thing requisite for an assault, he selected out of the whole army the ablest centurions, and placed over them tribunes of known bravery, giving them six hundred soldiers, which number was deemed sufficient, with orders, that, on the sounding of the signal of the fourth watch, they should advance with scaling ladders to the chosen spot. The gate on that side was low and narrow, the corresponding street being little frequented, as leading through a deserted part of the town. He ordered them, after first scaling the wall, to proceed to this gate, and break down the bars on the inside; then, as soon as they had got possession of that quarter of the city, to give the signal with a cornet, that the rest of the forces might join them, saying, that he would have every thing in readiness. His orders were executed with vigour and spirit; while a circumstance, which seemed likely to obstruct the undertaking, proved the most favourable for concealing their operations. A heavy rain at midnight obliged the guards and watches in the town to slip away from their posts, and run for shelter into the houses, while the loudness of the storm, which was most violent at the beginning, prevented their hearing the noise made by those who were breaking the postern, and the sound, becoming afterwards more soft and regular, lulled most of the men to sleep. As soon as the assailants had secured possession of the gate, they placed Edition: current; Page: [238] the cornet players in the street, at equal distances, and ordered them to sound as a summons to the consul; who, finding this part of the plan executed, immediately ordered his troops to march, and, a little before day, entered the city through the broken gate.

XLVII. At length the enemy were roused, the rain too abating with the approach of day. There was in the city a garrison of Hannibal’s troops, amounting to five thousand effective men, and the armed people of Arpi themselves were three thousand more. These latter, the Carthaginians, to guard against any treachery on their rear, opposed in front to the enemy. The fight was maintained for some time in the dark, and in narrow streets, the Romans having seized not only all the passes, but the houses likewise next to the gate, lest they might be struck or wounded by any thing thrown down from them. Some of the Arpians and Romans recognising each other, began to enter into conversation; the latter asking what had been the demerit of their countrymen, or what the merit of the Carthaginians, that could induce Italians to wage war in their favour,—in favour of foreigners and barbarians; in fine, against their ancient allies, and striving to reduce Italy to a state of vassalage, and to make it a tributary province to Africa? The Arpians, in excuse for themselves, declared, that, without knowing any thing of the matter, they had been sold to the Carthaginians by those who had the management of their affairs, and that they were kept in a state of subjection and oppression by a faction of a few. In consequence of this declaration, greater numbers on both sides joined in the conversation. At last the prætor of Arpi was brought by his countrymen to the consul, and mutual assurances being given, in the midst of the standards and troops, the Arpians on a sudden turned their arms against the Carthaginians in favour of the Romans. A body of Spaniards, also, nearly a thousand in number, came over to the consul, without stipulating any Edition: current; Page: [239] other condition than that the Carthaginian garrison should be allowed to depart unhurt; which article was punctually fulfilled: the gates were thrown open: they were dismissed in safety, and joined Hannibal at Salapia. Thus was Arpi restored to the Romans, without any other loss than that of the life of one man, long since branded with treason, and lately with desertion. To the Spaniards a double allowance of provisions was ordered; and, on very many occasions afterwards, the goverment found them brave and faithful soldiers. While one of the consuls was in Apulia, and the other in Lucania, an hundred and twelve Campanian horsemen, all men of noble birth, having, under pretence of ravaging the enemy’s country, obtained leave from the magistrates to go out of Capua, came to the Roman camp above Suessula, told the advanced guard who they were, and that they wished to speak with the prætor. Cneius Fulvius, who commanded there, on receiving their message, ordered ten of their number, unarmed, to be conducted into his presence; and having heard their demands, which amounted to no more than that, on Capua being recovered, their property might be restored to them, he received them all into protection. At the same time the other prætor, Sempronius Tuditanus, reduced, by force, the town of Aternum, took above seven thousand prisoners, and a considerable quantity of brass and silver coin. At Rome a dreadful fire raged during two nights and one day: every thing between the Salinæ and the Carmental gate was levelled to the ground, as were the Æquimælium and the Jugarian street. The fire, catching the temples of Fortune, of Mother Matuta, and of Hope, on the outside of the gate, and spreading to a vast extent, consumed a great number of buildings, both religious and private.

XLVIII. During this year, the two Cornelii Publius and Cneius, by the prosperous course of affairs in Spain, and from their having recovered many old, and acquired many Edition: current; Page: [240] new allies, were encouraged to extend their views to Africa itself. Syphax, at this time king of a part of Numidia, had suddenly commenced a war with the Carthaginians: to him they sent three centurions as ambassadors, to form a treaty of frendship and alliance, and to assure him, that, if he continued to prosecute the war against the Carthaginians, the Roman senate and people would be thankful for the service, and would use their best endeavours to repay the kindness afterwards to his entire satisfaction. This embassy was very acceptable to the barbarian: he entered into conversation with the ambassadors on the art of war; and when he heard the discourses of those experienced veterans, and compared his own practice with such a regular system of discipline, he became sensible of his ignorance in many particulars. Then he requested, as the first instance of that favour, which he might expect from good and faithful allies, that “two of them might carry back to their commanders the result of their embassy, and the other remain with him as his instructor in military knowledge; adding that the people of Numidia were quite unacquainted with the method of fighting on foot, and were useful only on horseback: that this was the mode practiced by their ancestors since their first existence as a nation, and to the same had the present generation been accustomed since their childhood. That he had to deal with an enemy whose chief confidence lay in the power of their infantry; and that, therefore, if he expected to put himself on an equality with them in point of firm strength, he must procure a body of foot soldiers to oppose theirs. That his dominions abounded with numbers of men fit for the purpose, but that he was totally ignorant of the proper method of arming, training, and marshalling them; and they were in every respect awkward and unmanageable, like a mere mob collected by chance.” The ambassadors answered, that they would, at the present, comply with his desire, provided he gave them an assurance that he would send the person back, in Edition: current; Page: [241] case their commanders should disapprove of what they had done. The name of him who remained with the king was Quintus Statorius. With the two centurions, the Numidian sent into Spain ambassadors on his part, to receive the ratification of the convention from the Roman generals; and he charged them, after they should have executed this commission, to persuade the Numidians, who acted as auxiliaries in the Carthaginian garrisons, to come over to the other side. Satorius, finding abundance of young men, raised an army of infantry for the king, and forming them into distinct bodies, according to the Roman method, taught them, in taking their posts and performing their several evolutions, to follow their standards and keep their ranks; and he so inured them to the practice of military works, and other duties of soldiers, that, in a short time, the king placed not more confidence in his cavalry than in his infantry, and, even in a pitched battle, on a level plain, he defeated an army of Carthaginians. The arrival of the king’s ambassadors was productive of great advantages to the Romans in Spain, for, as soon as it was known, the Numidians began to come over in great numbers from the enemy. In this manner did friendship commence between the Romans and Syphax. Of which transaction, as soon as the Carthaginians got notice, they instantly despatched ambassadors to Gala, who reigned in the other part of Numidia, over the nation called Massylians.

XLIX. Gala had a son named Masinissa, at that time only seventeen years old, but endowed with such talents as, even then, afforded strong presumption that he would leave the kingdom more extensive and opulent than when he received it. The ambassadors represented, that, “since Syphax had united himself with the Romans, for the purpose of being enabled, by their assistance, to exert greater force against the other kings and natives of Africa, it would be the interest of Gala to enter into alliance, as soon as possible, with the Carthaginians, on the other side; that, before Syphax passed over Edition: current; Page: [242] into Spain, or the Romans into Africa, it would be very practicable to overpower the former, who had, as yet, gained no advantage from his connexion with Rome, except the name of it. Gala was easily persuaded to take part in the war, especially as his son earnestly solicited the command of the armies; and, in conjunction with the legions of the Carthaginians, he totally defeated Syphax in a great battle, in which, as we are told, thirty thousand men were slain. Syphax fled from the field with a few horsemen, and took refuge among the Maurusian Numidians, who inhabit the remotest coast of the ocean, opposite to Gades. Here the barbarians, attracted by his fame, flocked to him from all sides, in such numbers, that he was soon at the head of a very great army. In order to prevent his carrying this force into Spain, from which he was separated only by a narrow streight, Masinissa, with his victorious troops, came up with him; and there, by his own strength, without any aid from the Carthaginians, he maintained the war against Syphax with great glory. In Spain nothing memorable was performed, except that the Roman generals brought over to their side the youth of Celtiberia, granting them the same pay which they had stipulated with the Carthaginians, and sending above three hundred Spaniards of the highest distinction into Italy, to endeavour to draw off their countrymen, who served as auxiliaries in Hannibal’s army. The only incident which occurred in Spain remarkable enough to deserve being recorded, was, that the Celtiberians, in this year, were the first mercenary troops ever entertained in the Roman armies.

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BOOK XXV.

Publius Cornelius Scipio, afterwards called Africanus, elected ædile before he had attained the age required by the law. The citadel of Tarentum, in which the Roman garrison had taken refuge, betrayed to Hannibal. Games instituted in honour of Apollo, called Apollinarian. Quintus Fulvius and Appius Claudius, consuls, defeat Hanno the Carthaginian general. Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus betrayed by a Lucanian to Mago, and slain. Centenius Penula, who had been a centurion, asks the senate for the command of an army, promising to engage and vanquish Hannibal; is cut off with eight thousand men. Cneius Fulvius engages Hannibal, and is beaten, with the loss of sixteen thousand men slain; he himself escapes with only two hundred horsemen. Quintus Fulvius and Appius Claudius, consuls, lay siege to Capua. Syracuse taken by Claudius Marcellus, after a siege of three years. In the tumult occasioned by taking the city, Archimedes is killed, while intently occupied upon some figures which he had drawn in the sand. Publius and Cornelius Scipio, after having performed many eminent services in Spain, are slain, together with nearly the whole of their armies, eight years after their arrival in that country; and the possession of that province would have been entirely lost, but for the valour and activity of Lucius Marcius, a Roman knight, who, collecting the scattered remains of the vanquished armies, utterly defeats the enemy, storming their two camps, killing thirty-seven thousand of them, and taking eighteen hundred, together with an immense booty.

Y.R. 539. bc 213.I. HANNIBAL passed the summer, during which these events took place in Africa and Spain, in the territory of Tarentum, in continual expectation of having that city betrayed into his hands. Meanwhile some Edition: current; Page: [244] inconsiderable towns of that district, with others belonging to the Sallentines, revolted to him. At the same time, of the twelve Bruttian States which had, a year or two before, gone over to the Carthaginians, the Consentians and Thurians put themselves again under the protection of the Roman people, and more of them would have done the same, had not Lucius Pomponius Veientanus, præfect of the allies, who, in consequence of several predatory expeditions in the territory of Bruttium, had acquired an appearance of a regular commander, assembled a tumultuary army, and fought a battle with Hanno. A vast number of his men were killed or taken on the occasion, but they were only an undisciplined rabble of peasants and slaves; and the least part of the loss was the præfect himself being taken among the rest; for, besides his inconsiderate rashnesss in bringing on this engagement, having been formerly a farmer of the revenue, he had, by every iniquitous practice, proved faithless and detrimental, both to the state and to the companies concerned in that business. The consul Sempronius had many slight skirmishes in Lucania, none worthy of mention, but reducing several inconsiderable towns. In proportion as the war was protracted to a greater length, and successes and disappointments produced various alterations, not only in the situations, but in the sentiments of men, superstitious observances, and these mostly introduced from abroad, gained such ground among the people in general, that it seemed as if either mankind or the deities had undergone a sudden change. And now the customed rites were disused, not only in private, and within doors, but even in the public streets, the Forum, and the Capitol. These were frequented by crowds of women sacrificing, and offering prayers to their gods, in modes hitherto unknown at Rome. A low sort of sacrificers, and soothsayers, had enslaved the people’s understandings, and the number of these were increased in consequence of the great influx of the peasantry from the country, who, as Edition: current; Page: [245] their lands lay long untilled by reason of the continuance of the war, and the inroads of the enemy, were driven into the city through want and fear. These found an easy means of profit, in working on the deluded minds of the multitude, which practice they carried on as if it were a lawful occupation. At first, every well-judging person expressed indignation at such proceedings; afterwards, the matter came to be noticed by the senators, and attracted public censure from the government. The ædiles, and the judges of criminal causes*, were sharply rebuked by the senate, for not having prevented these practices, although, when they had attempted to disperse from the Forum the crowd assembled on such an occasion, and to remove the implements of their rites, they were in imminent danger of personal injury. The evil now appearing too powerful to be checked by the efforts of the inferior magistrates, the senate gave a charge to Marcus Atilius, prætor of the city, to free the public from those superstitious nuisances. For this purpose, he read their decree in a general assembly; and, at the same time, gave notice, that “whosoever had any books of divination, and forms of prayer used on such occasions, or the art of sacrificing in writing, should bring all such books and writings to him before the calends of April, and that no person should in any place, either public or consecrated, perform sacrifice in any new or foreign mode.”

II. Several of the priests established by law died this year, Lucius Cornelius Lentulus, chief pontiff, Caius Papirius Maso, son of Caius, a pontiff, Publius Furius Philus, an augur, and Caius Papirius Maso, son of Furius, a decemvir for the direction of religious rites. In the room of Lentulus was substituted, in the college of pontiffs, Marcus Cornelius Cethegus; in that of Papirius, Cneius Servilius Cœpio: Lucius Quintius Flaminius was created augur, and Lucius Cornelius Edition: current; Page: [246] Lentulus decemvir for the direction of religious rites. The time of the consular election now drew nigh; but, as it was not judged expedient to call away the consuls from the war, which they were prosecuting with vigour, Tiberius Sempronius, consul, nominated Caius Claudius Centho dictator, to hold the elections, and he appointed Quintus Fulvius Flaccus his master of the horse. The dictator, on the first day whereon the assembly could meet, elected consuls Quintus Fulvius Flaccus the master of the horse, and Appius Claudius Pulcher, who had held the government of Sicily, as prætor. Then were elected prætors, Cneius Fulvius Flaccus, Caius Claudius Nero, Marcus Junius Silanus, Publius Cornelius Sulla. As soon as the elections were finished, the dictator resigned his office. This year, with Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, Publius Cornelius Scipio, afterwards surnamed Africanus was curule ædile. The plebeian tribunes opposed the pretensions of the latter to the ædileship, and insisted that he ought not to be admitted as a candidate, because he was not of the age required by law*, on which he answered, “If it is the will of all the citizens to make me ædile, I am old enough:” on this, the people hastened into their respective tribes, to give their votes in his favour, and with such a degree of zeal, that the tribunes at once relinquished their design. The compliments paid to the public by those ædiles were these: the Roman games were exhibited with magnificence, considering the circumstances of the times, and repeated during one day; with a donation of a gallon of oil to each street. The plebeian ædiles, Lucius Villius Tappulus, and Edition: current; Page: [247] Marcus Fundanius Fundulus, brought before the people a charge of incontinency against a considerable number of matrons, and several who were convicted were driven into exile. The plebeian games were repeated during two days; and, on occasion of these games, a banquet in honour of Jupiter was celebrated.

Y.R. 540. bc 212.III. Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, a third time, and Appius Claudius, entered upon the administration of the consulship. The provinces were assigned to the prætors by lot; the administration of justice, both to citizens and foreigners, formerly divided between two, now fell to Publius Cornelius Sulla; Apulia was allotted to Cneius Fulvius Flaccus, Suessula to Caius Claudius Nero, and Etruria to Marcus Junius Silanus. It was decreed, that the consuls should conduct the war against Hannibal, and that each should receive two legions, one from Quintus Fabius consul of the former year, the other from Fulvius Centumalus; that, of the prætors, Fulvius Flaccus should command those legions which were at Luceria, under the prætor Æmilius, and Claudius Nero those which were in Picenum under Caius Terentius, and that they themselves should raise recruits to fill up the numbers of their respective armies. To Marcus Junius, for the service in Etruria, were given the two city legions of the preceding year. Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and Publius Sempronius Tuditanus were continued in command of their provinces, Lucania and Gaul, with the same forces as before; as was Publius Lentulus in the old Roman province in Sicily; Marcus Marcellus in Syracuse, and the late dominions of Hiero; Titus Otacilius in the command of the fleet, Marcus Valerius in that of Greece, Quintus Mucius Scævola in that of Sardinia, and the two Cornelii, Publius and Cneius, in that of Spain. In addition to the troops already on foot, two city legions were levied by the consuls, the number of these this year being raised to twenty-three. The behaviour of Marcus Postumius Pyrgensis impeded these levies of the consuls, Edition: current; Page: [248] and went very near exciting a great and general commotion. This man was a farmer of the revenue, and for many years had not, in the whole empire, any equal in fraud and avarice, excepting Lucius Pomponius Veientanus, who was made prisoner by the Carthaginians under Hanno, while he was inconsiderately ravaging the lands of Lucania. As the public were to undergo any loss of the supplies sent for the use of the armies, which should be occasioned by storm, these two had fabricated accounts of pretended shipwreck; and even such as they reported with a degree of truth, had happened through their own fraudulent contrivance, not through accident. Having put a few goods, of little worth, on board of old shattered vessels, they sunk these in the deep, after taking out the sailors into boats prepared for the purpose, and then made a false return of the cargoes, as of much more considerable value than they really were. A discovery of this fraud had been made the year before to Marcus Atilius the prætor, and by him communicated to the senate; but still no vote of censure had passed on it, because the senators were unwilling to disoblige, at such a time as that, the body of revenue farmers. The assembly of the people, however, proved a more strict avenger of it; and two plebian tribunes, Spurius and Lucius Carvilius, exerting themselves at last, when they saw that such conduct was become generally odious and scandalous, proposed a fine on Marcus Postumius of two hundred thousand asses in weight.* When the day arrived on which the cause was to be argued, such vast numbers of the commons attended the assembly, that the area of the Capitol could scarcely contain them; and when the pleadings were finished, the only hope which the defendant seemed to have, was, that Caius Servilius Casca, a plebian tribune, his near relation and intimate friend, should interpose a protest, before the tribes were called on for their opinions. After Edition: current; Page: [249] the witnesses had been examined, the tribunes desired the people to withdraw, and the urn was brought, in order that the tribes should draw lots, and then proceed to determine the matter. Meanwhile the revenue farmers urged Casca to stop the proceedings for that day, at which the commons loudly declared their displeasure, and Casca happening to sit foremost at a front corner of the Rostrum, his mind was highly agitated at once by fear and shame. Finding no support in him, the revenue farmers, for the purpose of obstructing the business, rushed, in a compact body, into the space which had been cleared by the withdrawing of some, wrangling at the same time with the remaining people and with the tribunes. The dispute now seemed likely to proceed to violence, when the consul Fulvius said to the tribunes, “Do you not see that your authority is annihilated, and that an insurrection will probably be the consequence, unless you quickly dismiss the assembly of the commons?”

IV. The commons were accordingly dismissed; and the consuls, having assembled the senate, required their judgment concerning the interruption given to the assembly of the people, and the audacious violence of the revenue farmers, representing at the same time, that “Marcus Furius Camilus, whose banishment was followed by the downfall of the city, had submitted to a sentence of condemnation, passed on him by his angry countrymen. That before him, the decemvirs, whose laws were the public rule of conduct to the present day, and, afterwards, many of the most distinguished personages in the state, had yielded themselves to the public judgment. But Postumius, an obscure individual of Pyrgi, had wrested from the Roman people their right of suffrage; had dissolved an assembly of the commons, annihilated the authority of the tribunes, arrayed a band of men, and seized on a post, with design to cut off all communication between the commons and their tribunes, and to prevent the tribes being called to vote. That nothing had restrained the people from Edition: current; Page: [250] riot and bloodshed, but the calmness and moderation of the magistrates, in giving way for the time to the desperate audaciousness of a few, in suffering themselves and the Roman people to be overcome, and rather than an occasion should be given to those, who wished for a riot, dissolving, according to the defendant’s desire, the assembly, whose proceedings he intended to hinder by force of arms.” Every man of character reprobatd such conduct as its heinousness deserved, and a decree of the senate was passed, declaring such violent outrage treason against the state, and of pernicious example; on which the Carvilii, plebeian tribunes, desisting from the prosecution of the fine, immediately brought forward a capital accusation against Postumius, and ordered, that unless he gave bail, he should be taken into custody by the beadle, and carried to prison. Postumius, after giving bail, did not appear. The tribunes then proposed to the commons, and the commons passed this order, that “if Marcus Postumius did not appear before the calends of May, and, being summoned on that day, did not answer to the charge, or show sufficient cause for his non-appearance, he should be adjudged an exile, his goods should be confiscated, and himself interdicted from fire and water*.” They then proceeded to prosecute on capital charges, and compelled to give bail, each of those who had fomented the tumult and disorder. At first, they threw into prison such as could not find security, and afterwards, even such as could; to avoid the danger of which treatment, most of those concerned went into exile. Such were the consequences of the fraud of the revenue farmers, and of their daring attempt to screen themselves from punishment.

V. An assembly was then held for the election of a chief pontiff, at which Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, the new pontiff, Edition: current; Page: [251] presided. Three candidates maintained a very obstinate contest, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, now a third time consul, who had formerly served the office of censor; Titus Manlius Torquatus, distinguished likewise by two consulships and the censorship; and Publius Licinius Crassus, who was also to solicit for the office of curule ædile. The latter, young as he was, gained a complete victory over his competitors in this dispute, notwithstanding their advantages in respect of years, and the honours with which they were decorated. Before him there had not occurred, in the course of an hundred and twenty years, an instance of any person who had not sat in a curule chair, being created chief pontiff, excepting Publius Cornelus Calussa. Although the consuls found it very difficult to complete the levies of young men for the purposes of filling up vacancies in the old legions and raising new ones for the city, yet the senate forbade them to cease their endeavours, and ordered two sets of triumvirs to be appointed, one of which within, and the other beyond, the distance of fifty miles, should inspect into the number of free-born men in all the market-towns and villages, and enlist such for soldiers as had strength enough to carry arms, though they should not yet have attained the regular age for service; and that “the plebian tribunes would be pleased to propose to the people the passing of an order, That all persons under the age of seventeen years, who should take the military oath, should be allowed their years of service, in like manner as if they had been of the age of seventeen, or older, when enlisted.” In pursuance of this decree of the senate, two sets of triumvirs were appointed, who enlisted free-born youths in every part of the country.

VI. At this time a letter was read in the senate, written from Sicily by Marcus Marcellus, relative to a request of the troops serving under Publius Lentulus. This army consisted of those who had been in the battle of Cannæ; they had been sent abroad into Sicily, as mentioned before, under a rule, Edition: current; Page: [252] that they should not be brought home to Italy before the conclusion of the Carthaginian war. With the permission of Lentulus, they sent the most respectable among the horsemen and centurions, and a chosen number of the legionary infantry as deputies to Marcus Marcellus, to his winter-quarters; and, when they were admitted to an audience, one of them addressed him in this manner: “Marcus Marcellus, we would have carried our remonstrances into Italy to you, while you were consul, immediately after the passing of that severe, if we may not call it unjust, decree of the senate concerning us, had we not entertained the hope, that being sent into a province full of disturbance, in consequence of the death of their kings, to maintain a war of difficulty against the united forces of the Sicilians and Carthaginians, we might, by our wounds and blood, have made satisfaction to the anger of the senate, as, in the memory of our fathers, our countrymen, taken by Pyrrhus at Heraclea, made atonement by their exertions in arms against the same Pyrrhus. Yet, Conscript Fathers, for what demerit on our part did you then conceive, or do you now retain, displeasure against us? Addressing you, Marcus Marcellus, I consider myself as addressing both the consuls and the whole senate; for had you been our consul at Cannæ, both our affairs and those of the public would have been in a happier state. Suffer me then, I beseech you, before I complain of the hardship of our situation, to clear ourselves of the guilt which is laid to our charge. If the cause of our ruin at Cannæ was not the wrath of the gods, nor the decree of fate, under whose laws the immutable series of human events is carried on in a regular chain, but misconduct in some, to whom, I pray you, is that misconduct to be imputed? To the soldiers, or to the commanders? As a soldier, I shall certainly never say anything of my commander, especially since I know that thanks have been given him by the senate, for not having despaired of the commonwealth, and that, since his flight from Cannæ, he has been continued Edition: current; Page: [253] in command through every succeeding year. We have heard, moreover, that others who saved their lives on that melancholy occasion, and who were then our military tribunes, sue for, and administer offices of honour, and hold the command of provinces: Is it, Conscript Fathers, that you easily grant pardon to yourselves, and to your offspring, while you inexorably pour vengeance on our worthless heads? Was it no disgrace for a consul, and other chiefs of the state, to fly, when no other hope was left; and did you send your soldiers into the field, under a particular obligation to die there? At the Allia, almost the whole army fled; at the Caudine Forks, the troops, without even attempting opposition, surrendered to the enemy; not to mention other and shameful defeats. Nevertheless, so far were these armies from having any mark of ignominy contrived for them, that the city of Rome was recovered by means of those very troops who had fled from the Allia to Veii; and the Caudine legions, who had returned without arms to Rome, being sent back armed into Samnium, sent under the yoke, that very enemy who had so lately exulted in their disgrace. But can any one make a charge of cowardice, or running away, on the troops who fought in the battle of Cannæ, in which more than fifty thousand men fell; from which the consul made his escape with only seventy horsemen; and from which no one brought away his life, who does not owe it to the enemy’s being fatigued with killing? At the time when the proposal of ransoming the prisoners was rejected, people, in general, bestowed praises on us, for having reserved ourselves for the use of the commonwealth, for having gone back to the consul to Venusia, and formed an appearance of a regular army. Now, we are in a worse condition than were those taken by an enemy in the time of our fathers: for, in their case, there was only an alteration made in their arms, in their station in the army, and in the place where they were to pitch their tents in camp; all which, however, they reversed, at once, by a strenuous exertion in Edition: current; Page: [254] the service of the public, by one successful battle. None of them were sent into banishment; not one was precluded from the hope of serving out his legal term, and gaining a discharge; in short, they were brought face to face with an enemy, in fighting whom they might at once put an end either to their life or their dishonour. We, to whom nothing can be imputed, except that our conduct was the cause that any one Roman soldier survived the battle of Cannæ, are driven away to a distance, not only from our native country, and from Italy, but even from an enemy, to a place where we may grow old in exile, shut out from all hope, all opportunity of obliterating our disgrace, or of appeasing the wrath of our countrymen, or, in fine, of dying with honour. However, we seek not either an end of our ignominy, or the rewards of valour; we desire only permission to give a proof of our spirit, and to exercise our courage; we seek labour and danger, that we may discharge the duties of men, and of soldiers. This is now the second year, during which war is maintained in Sicily with great vigour on both sides; the Carthaginians conquer some cities, the Romans others; armies of infantry, and of cavalry, engage in battle; the operations are carried on at Syracuse by land and by sea; we plainly hear the shouts of the combatants, and the din of their arms, while we lie inactive and torpid, as if we had neither hands nor armour. With legions composed of slaves, the consul Tiberius Sempronius fought many pitched battles: they enjoy the fruits of their labour, freedom, and the rights of citizens. Let us be considered at least as slaves, purchased for the purpose of the present war. Let us be allowed to face the enemy, and to acquire freedom in battle. Do you choose to try our courage on sea, or on land; in the field, or in assaulting towns? Our petition is for the most arduous enterprizes, the greatest labour, and the utmost danger: that what ought to have happened at Cannæ, may happen as soon as possible, since the Edition: current; Page: [255] whole remainder of our lives, from that day, has been doomed to shame.”

VII. At the conclusion of this speech they prostrated themselves at Marcellus’s feet. Marcellus told them, that a business of that sort lay not within his authority, or his power; that he would write to the senate, and govern himself, in every particular, by the judgment of that body. His letter on the subject was brought to the new consuls, and read by them in the senate, when the matter being taken into consideration, a decree was passed to this purpose, that “the senate saw no reason why the interests of the commonwealth should be entrusted to men who had deserted their fellow-soldiers in battle at Cannæ. That if Marcus Claudius, the proconsul, was of a different opinion, he should act as he might judge consistent with the public good, and his own honour; provided that none of those persons should be excused from labour, or receive any military present in reward of courage, or be brought home to Italy while the enemy had any footing there.” After this, in pursuance of a decree of the senate, and an order of the people, an assembly of election was held by the city prætor, in which were created five commissioners for repairing the walls and towers, and two sets of triumvirs; one, to search for the effects belonging to the temples, and register the offerings; the other, to repair the temples of Fortune, and Mother Matuta, within the Carmental gate, and likewise that of Hope, on the outside of the gate, which had been consumed by fire the year before. There were dreadful storms at this time: on the Alban mount, a shower of stones lasted, without intermission, for two days; many places were struck with lightning; two buildings in the Capitol, the rampart of the camp above Suessula, in many places, and two of the men on guard were killed. A wall and some towers at Cumæ were not only struck, but demolished by lightning. At Reate, a huge rock was seen to fly about, and the sun appeared more red than usual, and of a Edition: current; Page: [256] colour like blood. On account of these prodigies there was a supplication for one day, the consuls employing themselves, for several others, in the performance of religious rites; at the same time solemn worship was performed, during nine days. The revolt of the Tarentines, after having been long hoped for by Hannibal, and apprehended by the Romans, happened to be accelerated by a cause which originated at a distance: a Tarentine, named Phileas, had been a long time at Rome under the pretext of political business. Being a man of a restless disposition, and conceiving that he was losing his active powers during his stay in that city, he contrived to gain access to the hostages from Tarentum, who were kept in the court of the Temple of Liberty, and guarded with the less care, because it was not the interest either of themselves or of their state to impose upon the Romans. Having, after frequent conversations, procured their concurrence in his scheme, and bribed two of their keepers, he brought them out of their confinement in the beginning of the night, and fled in company with them. As soon as day arrived, the news of their escape spread through the city, and a party, sent in pursuit of them, seized them all at Tarracina, and brought them back. They were led into the Comitium, and with the approbation of the people scourged with rods, and thrown down from the rock.

VIII. The cruelty of this punisment exasperated the inhabitants of the two most considerable Grecian cities in Italy, both as communities, and as individuals connected in relation, or friendship, with the persons thus put to death. A conspiracy was formed in consequence, by about thirteen of the young nobility at Tarentum, at the head of whom were Nico and Philemenus. Judging it necessary, before they took any step, to confer with Hannibal, they went out of the city by night, under pretence of hunting, and repaired to the place where he lay. When they came within a small distance of his camp, the rest concealed themselves in a wood near the Edition: current; Page: [257] road, while Nico and Philemenus, proceeding to the advanced guard, were taken into custody, and, at their own request, conducted into the presence of Hannibal. When they had laid before him the reasons for their undertaking, and what they intended to perform, they received high commendations, and a profusion of promises; and were desired, in order to make their countrymen believe that they came out of the city in search of plunder, to drive home before them some cattle belonging to the Carthaginians, which had been turned into pasture; at the same time, assurance was given them, that they might do it with safety, and without a dispute. Such a booty acquired by the young men was much noticed, and people wondered the less at their frequently repeating the same kind of enterprize. At another meeting with Hannibal, a covenant was solemnly ratified, that the Tarentines should, together with freedom, retain their own laws, and all their rights; that they should neither pay any kind of tribute to the Carthaginians, nor, without their own consent, receive a garrison from them; but that the present garrisons, when overpowered, should be put into the hands of the Carthaginians. After the terms were thus settled, Philemenus continued his practice of going out, and returning into the city, by night, with still greater frequency, attended by dogs and other requisites for hunting, of which he was remarkably fond; then, bringing home something, which he either took himself in the chase, or carried off from the enemy, who laid it purposely in his way, he generally presented it to the commander, or to the watchmen at the gates, who supposed that he chose to pass particularly by night, through fear of surprize. When this practice had now become so customary, that, at whatever time of night he gave the signal by a whistle, the gate would be opened, Hannibal thought it was time to put their design into execution. He lay at the distance of three days’ journey, and, in order that his keeping his camp fixed in one and the same spot, for such a length of time, might create the less wonder, Edition: current; Page: [258] feigned himself sick. Even the Romans in garrison at Tarentum had now ceased to look with suspicion on his remaining so long inactive.

IX. But when he determined to go on to Tarentum, choosing out of the infantry and cavalry ten thousand men, who, in activity of body, and lightness of their armour, seemed best qualified for expedition, he began his march at the fourth watch of the night; having first detached about eighty Numidian horsemen, with orders to scour the country on each side of the road, examining every place carefully, least any of the people who might observe his approach from a distance should escape: to bring back such as were before them on the way, and to kill all whom they met, in order that the neighbouring inhabitants might have reason to suppose it a plundering party, rather than an army. Hannibal, after marching with rapid speed, pitched his camp at the distance of about fifteen miles from Tarentum: nor did he, even there, discover to the soldiers their destination, only giving it in charge not to suffer any one to turn aside, or quit the line; and, above all, to keep their attention alert to receive orders, and to do nothing without the command of their officers; adding, that in due time he would let them know what he wished to be done. About the same hour, a report had reached Tarentum, that a small number of Numidian horsemen were ravaging the lands, and had spread terror among the inhabitants through a great part of the country: but the Roman commander paid no farther regard to this intelligence, than to order a party of cavalry to go out very early next morning, to stop these depredations; and, so far was he from increasing his vigilance in other respects, that, on the contrary, he considered this inroad of the Numidians as a proof, that Hannibal and his army had not stirred from their camp. Early in the night, the Carthaginian put his troops in motion, and Philemenus, with his usual burthen, taken in hunting, served him as a guide, while the rest of the conspirators waited for the concerted Edition: current; Page: [259] signals. It had been settled among them, that Philemenus, bringing in his game through the gate where he was accustomed to pass, should introduce some men in arms, while Hannibal should, on another side, approach the gate called Temenis, which, being about the middle of the land side, faced towards the east and near which, within the walls, stood some tombs, where Nico waited his arrival. On approaching the place, Hannibal, according to agreement, raised up a fire, and made it blaze. The same signal was returned by Nico, and then the fires were extinguished on both sides. Hannibal led on his men in silence to the gate. Nico, falling suddenly on the guards, who were fast asleep, slew them in their beds, and threw the gate open. Hannibal then entered with his infantry, but ordered the cavalry to halt without, in order that if occasion should require, they might have open ground to act in. At the same time, Philemenus, on the other side, drew nigh the postern through which he had usally passed, and his signal, which had now become familiar, with his well known voice, saying that he was hardly able to bear the weight of a huge beast he had killed, soon brought out a watchman, and the gate was opened. While two young men carried in a boar, he himself followed with a huntsman unincumbered, and while the watchman, astonished at the size of the animal, turned incautiously to those who carried it, he ran him through with a hunting spear. About thirty armed men then pushed in, slew the rest of the watchmen, and broke open the next gate, through which a band of soldiers in array immediately burst in. These were conducted thence, in silence, to the Forum, and there joined Hannibal. The Carthaginian now sent the Tarentines of his party, with two thousand Gauls, formed in three divisions, through the several parts of the city with orders to take possession of the most frequented streets, and, on a tumult arising, to kill the Romans every where, and spare the townsmen. But to render this practicable, he gave direction to the young Tarentines, that Edition: current; Page: [260] whenever they saw any of their countrymen at a distance, they should bid them be quiet and silent, and fear nothing.

X. Now all was tumult and uproar as usual in a city newly taken, but how occasioned, no one knew with certainty. The Tarentines supposed, that the Romans had risen in arms to sack the city; the Romans, that an insurrection, with some treacherous intent, had taken place among the townsmen. The commander, being roused at the beginning of the disturbance, fled away to the port, and getting into a boat was carried round to the citadel. The consternation was increased by the sound of a trumpet heard from the theatre: it was a Roman one, procured before hand by the conspirators for this purpose, and being unskilfully blown by a Greek, it was impossible to discover who gave that signal, or to whom it was given. When day appeared, the sight of the Carthaginian and Gallic arms removed all doubt from the minds of the Romans; and, on the other side, the Greeks seeing these lie slaughtered in every quarter, perceived that the city was taken by Hannibal. When the light became more clear, and the Romans, who survived the carnage, had fled into the citadel, the tumult began gradually to subside, then Hannibal ordered the Tarentines to be called together without their arms. They all attended, some few excepted, who had accompanied the Romans in their retreat into the citadel, resolved to share every fortune with them. Here Hannibal addressed the Tarentines in terms of much kindness; reminded them of his behaviour to their countrymen, whom he had taken at the Trasimenus or Cannæ, inveighing, at the same time, against the overbearing tyranny of the Romans. He then ordered each to retire to his own house, and to write his name on the door; because, on a signal shortly to be given, he would order every house, not so inscribed, to be plundered; adding, that if any should write his name on the habitation of a citizen of Rome, (for the Romans lived in houses of their own,) he should be treated as an enemy. The assembly was then dismissed, and Edition: current; Page: [261] as soon as the doors were marked with inscriptions, so as to distinguish the houses of friends from those of enemies, the signal was given, and the troops spread themselves through all parts of the town to plunder the quarters of the Romans, in which a considerable booty was found.

XI. On the following day, he led on his forces to attack the citadel; but found, that on the side towards the sea, which flows almost round it, forming it into a peninsula, it was defended by very high rocks, and, on the side towards the town, by a wall, and a very large ditch; and that consequently it was impregnable, either in the way of assault, or by regular approaches. Not choosing either to be detained from more important business, by taking on himself the care of defending the Tarentines, or in case he left them without a strong garrison, to put it in the power of the Romans to attack them from the citadel whenever they pleased, he determined to cut off the communication between the citadel and the city by a rampart. Besides, he entertained some hopes, that the Romans, attempting to hinder this, might be brought to an engagement, and that, should they sally forth with more than ordinary eagerness, great numbers of them might be cut off, and the strength of the garrison thereby reduced to such a degree, that the Tarentines could alone defend the city against them. As soon as the work was begun, the garrison, suddenly throwing open one of the gates, made an attack on the workmen. The guard there stationed suffered themselves to beaten off, in order that the others might grow bolder on success, and that great numbers of them might join the pursuit, and advance to a greater distance. This they did: when on a signal given, the Carthaginians, whom Hannibal had kept in readiness for this purpose, rushed forward on all sides. The Romans were unable to withstand their onset; while the narrowness of the ground, and the difficulties caused by the part of the work already begun, and the implements collected for carrying it on, obstructed their hasty flight, so that most of them tumbled headlong Edition: current; Page: [262] into the ditch, and more lives were thus lost than in the battle. The work was then carried on without any farther obstruction. A ditch of vast dimensions was dug, and on the inner side of that a rampart thrown up. It was resolved likewise to add at a small distance behind, and in the same direction, a wall, so that even without a garrison the townsmen might be able to secure themselves against any attack of the Romans. Hannibal, however, left a company to serve as such, and at the same time to assist in completing the wall; and then marching out with the rest of his forces, he encamped at the river Galesus, about five miles distant from the city. From this post he returned to inspect the work, and finding that it had advanced much more briskly than he had expected, conceived hopes of being able even to make himself master of the citadel, which is not secured, like other fortresses of the kind, by height of situation, but built on level ground, and divided from the city only by a wall and a trench. The approaches were now pushed forward with every kind of machinery, when a reinforcement, sent from Metapontum, inspired the Romans with courage to assail the works of the enemy, by surprize, in the night. Some of them they levelled, others they destroyed by fire, this put an end to Hannibal’s attacks on the citadel in that quarter. His only prospect of success was now in a blockade, and that not very flattering, because the citadel, being seated on a peninsula, commanded the entrance of the harbour, and had the sea open; while the city was of course debarred from the importation of provisions, and the besiegers were in more danger of want, than the besieged. Hannibal, calling together the chiefs of the Tarentines, enumerated all the present difficulties, and added, that “he could neither see any way of storming so strong a fortress, nor place any hope in a blockade, as long as the enemy had the command of the sea. But if he were possessed of ships, by means of which he could prevent the introduction of supplies, the garrison would speedily either abandon the place, or surrender.” In Edition: current; Page: [263] this the Tarentines agreed with him, but they were of opinion, that “he who offered the counsel ought likewise to offer aid to put it in execution: for, if the Carthaginian ships were called over from Sicily, they would be able to effect the purpose; as to their own, which were shut up in a narrow creek, how could they, while the enemy commanded the harbour’s mouth, ever make their way into the open sea?”—“They shall make their way,” said Hannibal: “many things, difficult in their nature, are made easy by good management. Your city lies in a plain; very wide and level roads stretch out to every side; by that which runs across the middle of the city, from the harbour to the sea, I will, without much labour, carry over your ships on waggons. The sea, now in possession of the foe, will then be ours; we will invest the citadel on that side, and on this by land; or rather, we will shortly take possession of it, for the garrison will either abandon it, or surrender themselves with it.” This discourse excited not only hopes of the design being accomplished, but the highest admiration of the general’s skill. Immediately waggons were collected from all parts, and fastened together; machines were applied to haul up the ships, and the road was repaired, in order that the vehicles might meet the less obstruction in passing. Beasts for drawing, with a number of men, were then procured; the work was commenced with briskness, so that, in a few days, the fleet, equipped and manned, sailed round the citadel, and cast anchor just before the mouth of the harbour. In this state Hannibal left affairs at Tarentum, and returned to his winter-quarters. Whether the defection of the Tarentines took place in this, or the preceding year, authors are not agreed: the greater number, and those who lived nearest to the time of these transactions, represent it as having happened as here stated.

XII. At Rome, the Latine festival detained the consuls and prætors until the fifth of the calends of May: on that day, having completed the solemnities on the mount, they set out Edition: current; Page: [264] for their respective provinces. A new perplexity, respecting religious matters, afterwards occurred, arising from the divinations of Marcius. This Marcius had been a celebrated soothsayer, and when, in the preceding year, an inquiry after such books as regarded them was made, according to the decree of the senate, his had come into the hands of Marcus Atilius, the city prætor, who was employed in that business, and he had handed them over to the new prætor Sulla. Of two predictions of this Marcius, one, on account of its verity, for it was actually fulfilled, procured credit to the other, the time of whose completion had not yet arrived. In the former of these, the defeat at Cannæ was foretold, nearly in these words: “Roman of Trojan race, fly the river Cannæ, lest foreigners compel thee to fight in the plain of Diomede. But thou wilt not believe me until thou fillest the plain with blood, and the river carry many of thy thousands slain from the fruitful land into the great sea. To fishes, and birds, and beasts of prey inhabiting the earth, to these, thy flesh be food. For so has Jupiter said to me.” Those who had served in the army in those parts recollected the plains of the Argive Diomede and the river Cannæ, as well as the defeat itself. The other prophecy was then read: it was more obscure; and the expression more perplexed:—“Romans, if you wish to expel the enemy, and the ulcer which has come from afar, I direct, that games be vowed to Apollo, and that they be performed in honour of that deity, every year, with cheerfulness. When the people shall have granted a particular sum out of the public fund, let private persons contribute, each according to his ability. At the performance of these games, that prætor will preside who shall hold the supreme administration of justice in respect to the people and commons. Let the decemvirs sacrifice victims after the Grecian mode. If you do these things properly you shall ever rejoice, and your state will improve; for Apollo will extirpate your foes who quietly feed on your plains.” They Edition: current; Page: [265] took one day to explain this prophecy, and on the following, a decree of the senate was passed, that the decemvirs should examine the books concerning the performance of games and sacrifices to Apollo. When the examination was made, and the result reported to the senate, they voted, that games should be vowed to Apollo, and that when these should be finished, ten thousand asses in weight* should be given to the prætor to defray the expenses of the public worship, and also two victims of the larger sort.” By another decree they ordered, that “the decemvirs should sacrifice according to the Grecian rites, and with the following victims: to Apollo, with a gilded steer; to Diana, with two white gilded goats; and to Latona, with a gilded heifer.” The prætor, when about to exhibit the games in the great circus, published a proclamation, that the people should, during those games, pay in their contributions, proportioned to their ability, for the service of Apollo. This was the origin of the Apollinarian games, which were vowed and performed for the attaining of success, and not of health, as is generally supposed. At the exhibition of the games all wore garlands, the matrons made supplications, and people in general feasted in the courts of their houses, with their doors open; and the day was solemnized with every kind of religious ceremony.

XIII. While Hannibal was in the neighbourhood of Tarentum, both the consuls continued in Samnium, showing every appearance of an intention to besiege Capua. The inhabitants of that city began already to feel a calamity, usually attendant on long sieges, a famine, the consequence of their having been hindered by the Roman armies from tilling their lands. They therefore sent deputies to Hannibal, entreating that, before the consuls should march the legions into their country, and all the roads should be occupied Edition: current; Page: [266] by their parties, he would order corn to be conveyed into Capua from the neighbouring places. On this, Hannibal immediately commanded Hanno to march away with his army from Bruttium into Campania, and to take care that the Capuans should be well supplied with corn. Hanno, on leaving Bruttium, was careful to avoid the camps of the enemy, and the consuls who were in Samnium; and coming near Beneventum, encamped on an elevated spot, three miles from that town. From thence he issued orders that the corn collected in the summer should be brought in from the states of that country, who were of his party, to his camp, and appointed troops to escort the convoys. He then sent an express to the Capuans, fixing a day on which they should attend, to receive the corn, with the carriages of all kinds, and beasts of burthen, which they could collect. This business the Campanians conducted with their usual carelessness and indolence; little more than forty carriages were sent, and with them a few beasts of burthen: for which they were sharply rebuked by Hanno, who observed, that even hunger, which kindled a spirit in dumb beasts, could not stimulate those people to active diligence; however, he appointed another day, when they were to come for the corn with more sufficient means of conveyance. The people of Beneventum being informed of every particular of these transactions, instantly despatched ten deputies to the consuls encamped near Bovianum, who, as soon as they heard what was going on at Capua, agreed between themselves, that one of them should lead his army into Campania; and, accordingly, Fulvius, to whose lot that province had fallen, setting out by night, marched into the town of Beneventum. Here, the distance being short, he quickly learned, that Hanno had gone out with a division of his army to forage; that the business of delivering the corn to the Capuans was managed by a quæstor; that two thousand carts had arrived, attended by a disorderly unarmed rabble; that every thing was done Edition: current; Page: [267] with hurry and confusion, and that the regularity of a camp, and military subordination were entirely banished by the intermixture of such a number of peasants. This intelligence being sufficiently authenticated, the consul issued orders that the soldiers should get in readiness, against the next night, their standards and arms, as he intended to attack the Carthaginian camp. Leaving all their knapsacks and baggage at Beneventum, they began their march at the fourth watch; and arriving, a little before day, at the camp, struck such terror there, that if it had stood on level ground, they might undoubtedly have taken it at the first assault: it was protected by the height of its situation, and its fortifications, which could not be approached on any side, except by a steep and difficult ascent.

XIV. At the dawn of day a furious battle commenced: the Carthaginians not only maintained their rampart, but, having the advantage of the ground, tumbled down the enemy as they climbed up the steeps; nevertheless, the obstinate courage of the latter overcame all obstacles, and they made their way in several parts at once up to the rampart and trenches, but at the expense of many wounds, and a great loss of men. The consul, therefore, calling together the military tribunes, told them, that “this inconsiderate attempt must be given up, and that he judged it the safer course to carry back the army, immediately, to Beneventum, and then, on the day following, to pitch his camp so close to that of the enemy, as to put it out of the power, either of the Campanians to go out, or of Hanno to return into it; and that, in order to effect this with the greater ease, he should send for his colleague, and the army under his command; and that they should direct their whole force to that point.” This plan of the general was disconcerted, after the retreat began to sound, by the shouts of the soldiers, expressing their scorn of such pusilanimous orders. Close to one of the enemy’s gates was a Pelignian cohort, whose commander, Vibius Accuæus, Edition: current; Page: [268] snatched the standard, and threw it over the rampart; uttering imprecations on himself and the cohort, if they left their ensign in the hands of the enemy. He then rushed forwards, across the ditch and rampart, into the camp. The Pelignians now fought within the rampart, when Valerius Flaccus, a military tribune of the third legion, began upbraiding the Romans with dastardly behaviour, in yielding up to the allies the honour of taking the camp. On this, Titus Pedanius, first centurion, and who commanded the first century, snatching the ensign from the standard-bearer, cried out, “this standard too, and I your centurion, will instantly be within the rampart; let those follow who wish to save the same from falling into the enemy’s hands.” Then crossing the ditch, he was followed, first, by the men of his century, and, afterwards, by the whole legion. The consul now, seeing them mount the rampart, altered his design, and instead of calling off the troops, exerted himself to incite and animate them; representing the imminent hazard and danger to which that very gallant cohort of their allies, and a legion of their own countrymen, were exposed. On which they, one and all, with the utmost ardour, regardless whether the ground was easy or difficult, pushed onwards through every obstacle; and, in spite of the showers of weapons, which fell on every side, and of all the opposition which the enemy with their arms and bodies could give them, forced their way in. Many even of the wounded, and of those whose blood and strength began to fail them, struggled forward, that they might fall in the camp of the enemy. It was entered therefore in as short a space as if it had stood in a plain, and had no fortification to protect it. Both armies being now shut up together within the rampart, the sequel was a carnage, not a fight: upwards of six thousand of the enemy were slain, and above seven thousand taken, together with the Campanians who came for the corn, and all their train of waggons and beasts of burthen. There was also great abundance of Edition: current; Page: [269] other booty, which Hanno and his plunderers had collected out of the lands of the states in alliance with the Roman people. After demolishing the enemy’s camp, the army returned to Beneventum, and there the consuls (for Appius Claudius came thither in a few days after), divided and sold the spoil. Those who were chiefly instrumental in this affair, particularly Accuæus the Pelignian, and Titus Pedanius first centurion of the third legion, received honorary presents. Hanno, who was then at Caminium, in the territory of Cæres, on being informed of the loss of his camp, returned with the small party of foragers which he had with him, into Bruttium, in a manner more like a flight than a march.

XV. The Campanians, when informed of the disaster which had fallen on them and their allies, despatched deputies to Hannibal, to acquaint him, that “the two consuls were at Beneventum, within one day’s march of Capua; so that the war might almost be said to be close to their gates and walls. That unless he afforded them speedy succour, Capua would fall into the enemy’s power in a shorter time than Arpi had done. That even Tarentum, taken in its whole extent, not to speak of its citadel, ought not to be deemed of such consequence, as to induce him to neglect the defence of Capua, (a city which he used to compare to Carthage,) and to throw it into the hands of the Roman people.” Hannibal promised to pay due attention to the affairs of the Campanians; and, for the present, sent with their deputies a body of two thousand horsemen, to assist them in protecting their lands from depredations. Meanwhile, the Romans, among the variety of their other concerns, were not disregardful of the citadel of Tarentum, and the garrison besieged in it. By direction of the senate, Caius Servilius, lieutenant general, was sent by Publius Cornelius, prætor, into Etruria, to purchase corn; with which having loaded several vessels, he passed through the guardships of the enemy, and arrived in the port of Tarentum. His coming produced such a change in their disposition, Edition: current; Page: [270] that they who, a little before, when their hopes of relief were small, had frequently, in conferences, been solicited by the Carthaginian to desert the Roman cause, began now to solicit him to come over to them. The garrison was abundantly strong, for the troops stationed at Metapontum had been brought hither for the defence of the citadel. The Metapontines being hereby freed from the restraint under which they had been held, instantly revolted to Hannibal; as did the Thurians, on the same coast, induced, not only by the example of the Tarentines and Metapontines, with whom they were connected by consanguinity, being originally descended from natives of the same country of Achaia, but principally by resentment against the Romans, for the late execution of the hostages. The friends and relations of these sent letters and messages to Hanno and Mago, who were at no great distance in Bruttium, that if they brought their army near the walls, they would deliver the city into their hands. There was a small garrison at Thurium commanded by Marcus Atinius, and they supposed that he might be easily tempted to engage rashly in a battle; not from any confidence in his own troops, (for they were very few,) but from relying on the support of the young men of the place, whom he had purposely formed into companies and armed, that he might have them ready to aid him in exigencies of the kind. The Carthaginian commanders, dividing their forces, entered the territory of Thurium; and then Hanno, at the head of the infantry, in hostile array, advanced towards the city; while Mago, with the cavalry, halted under the cover of some hills, which stood conveniently for concealing the stratagem. Atinius learning nothing from his scouts but the march of the infantry, and ignorant both of the treachery within the city, and of the enemy’s ambush, led out his forces to battle. The infantry engaged without any degree of vigour, the only exertions being made by the few Romans in front, the Thurians rather waiting for the issue, than taking any part in the action, while the Carthaginian line retreated on purpose to Edition: current; Page: [271] draw the incautious enemy to the back of the hill, where their horse was posted. No sooner did they arrive here, than the cavalry, rushing on with loud shouts, instantly put to flight the crowd of Thurians, who were almost ignorant of discipline, and not very faithfully attached to the party on whose side they appeared. The Romans, notwithstanding their being surrounded, and hard pressed, by the infantry on one side, and the cavalry on the other, maintained the fight for a considerable time: at last, they also turned their backs, and fled towards the city. Here the conspirators were collected together in a body, and received with open gates the multitude of their countrymen; but when they saw the routed Romans making towards them, they cried out, that the Carthaginians were close at hand, and if the gates were not speedily closed, the enemy, and all together, would pour in. In this manner they shut out the Romans, and left them to perish by the sword. Atinius, however, with a few others, gained admittance. A dispute now arose, and lasted for some time, one party maintained that they ought to defend the city, another, that they ought to yield to fortune, and surrender it to the conquerors. But, as is too often the case, bad counsels prevailed. They conveyed Atinius, with a few attendants, to the ships near the shore, which they did out of personal regard to himself, and on account of the justice and mildness of his conduct in command, rather than out of good will to the Romans, and then opened their gates to the Carthaginians. The consuls led their legions from Beneventum into the territory of Campania, with the intention not only of destroying the corn, which was now in the blade, but of laying siege to Capua; hoping to signalize their consulate by the destruction of so opulent a city, and, at the same time, to free their government from the great shame of suffering a revolt so near home to pass unpunished during the space of three years. But, that Beneventum should not be without a garrison, and that, in case of sudden emergencies, if Hannibal should come to Capua to succour his allies, Edition: current; Page: [272] as they had no doubt but he would, there might be a body of cavalry to oppose his, they ordered Tiberius Gracchus to come from Lucania to Beneventum, with his horse and light infantry, and to appoint some officer to command the legions in camp, in order to preserve peace in Lucania.

XVI. While Gracchus was performing sacrifices, preparatory to his departure from Lucania, a prodigy of disastrous import occurred: when a victim was killed, two snakes, creeping up from some hiding-place to the entrails, eat the liver, and after being seen by all present, suddenly vanished. It is even said, that when, by advice of the aruspices, the same sacrifice was repeated, and the pots containing the entrails were more carefully watched, the snakes came a second, and a third time; and after eating the liver, went away unhurt. Though the diviners gave warning, that this portent concered the general, and that he ought to be on his guard against secret enemies, and plots, yet his impending fate could not be averted by any effort of prudence. There was a Lucanian, called Flavius, the head of that division of his countrymen who adhered to the Romans when the other went over to Hannibal; and he was, that year, in the chief magistracy, having been elected prætor by his party. This man, changing his mind on a sudden, and seeking some means of ingratiating himself with the Carthaginian, did not think it enough to draw his countrymen into a revolt, unless he ratified the league between him and the enemy with the head and blood of his commander, to whom he was also bound by ties of hospitality, and whom, notwithstanding, he determined to betray. He held a private conference with Mago, who commanded in Bruttium, and having received from him a solemn promise, that if he would deliver the Roman general into the hands of the Carthaginians, the Lucanians should be received into friendship, and retain their own laws and their liberty, he conducted the Carthaginian to a spot, whither, he said, he would bring Gracchus with a few attendants. He then desired Edition: current; Page: [273] Mago to arm both horsemen and footmen, and to take possession of that retired place, where a very large number might be concealed. After thoroughly examining the same on all sides, they appointed a day for the execution of the plan. Flavius then went to the Roman general, and told him, that “he had made some progress in an affair of great consequence, to the completion of which the assistance of Gracchus himself was necessary. That he had persuaded all the prætors of those states in Lucania, who, during the general defection in Italy, had revolted to the Carthaginians, to return into friendship with the Romans, alleging that the power of Rome, which, by the defeat at Cannæ, had been brought to the brink of ruin, was every day improving and increasing, while Hannibal’s strength was declining, and had sunk almost to nothing. That with regard to their former transgression, the Romans would not be implacable; for never was there a nation more easily appeased, and more ready to grant pardon; and asking, how often had their own ancestors received pardon of rebellion? These things,” he said, “he had represented to them; but that it would be more pleasing to them to hear the same from Gracchus himself, to be admitted into his presence, and to touch his right-hand, that they might carry with them that pledge of faith. He had fixed a place,” he said, “for the parties to meet, remote from observation, and at a small distance from the Roman camp; there the business might be finished in a few words, and the alliance and obedience of the whole nation of Lucania secured to the Romans.” Gracchus, not perceiving, either in this discourse, or in the proposition itself, any reason to suspect perfidy, and being imposed on by the plausibility of the tale, left the camp with his lictors and one troop of horse, and following the guidance of his guest, fell precipitately into the snare. The enemy at once rose from their ambush, and, what removed all doubt of treachery, Flavius joined himself to them. Weapons were now poured Edition: current; Page: [274] from all sides on Gracchus and his horsemen. He immediately leaped down from his horse, ordered the rest to do the same, and exhorted them, “as fortune had left them but one part to act, to dignify that part by their bravery. To a handful of men, surrounded by a multitude in a valley hemmed in by woods and mountains, what else was left than to die? The only alternative they had was, either tamely waiting their blows, to be massacred, like cattle, without the pleasure of revenge, or with minds totally abstracted from the thoughts of pain or of what the issue might be, and actuated solely by resentment and rage, to exert every vigorous and daring effort, and to fall covered with the blood of their expiring foes.” He desired that “all should aim at the Lucanian traitor, and deserter;” adding that “whoever should send that victim before him to the infernal regions, would acquire distinguished glory, and the greatest consolation for his own loss of life.” While he spoke thus, he wrapped his robe about his left arm, (for they had not even brought bucklers with them,) and then rushed on the murderers. The fight was maintained with greater vigour than could have been expected, considering the smallness of their number. The Romans, whose bodies were uncovered and exposed, on all sides, to weapons thrown from the higher grounds into a deep valley, were mostly pierced through with javelins. Gracchus being now left without support, the Carthaginians endeavoured to take him alive; but, observing his Lucanian guest among them, he rushed with such fury into the thickest of the band, that they could not sieze him without the loss of many lives. Mago immediately sent his body to Hannibal, desiring that it should be laid, with the fasces taken at the same time, before the general’s tribunal. This is the true account of the matter: Gracchus was cut off in Lucania, near the place called the Old Plains.

XVII. Some lay the scene of this disaster in the territory of Beneventum, at the river Calor, where they say, he went Edition: current; Page: [275] from the camp to bathe, attended by his lictors and three servants; that he was slain by a party of the enemy, who happened to be lurking in the oziers which grew on the bank, while he was naked and unarmed, attempting, however to defend himself with the stones brought down by the river. Others write, that, by direction of the aruspices, he went out a half a mile from the camp, that he might expiate the prodigies before-mentioned in a place free from defilement, and that he was surrounded by two troops of Numidians, who were lying in wait there. So far are writers from agreeing with regard either to the place or the manner of the death of a man so renowned and illustrious. There are also various accounts of his funeral: some say that he was burried by his own men in the Roman camp; others, whose account is more generally received, that a funeral pile was erected for him by Hannibal, at the entrance of the Carthaginian camp, and that the troops under arms marched in procession round it, with the dances of the Spaniards, and the several motions of their arms and bodies peculiar to each nation; while Hannibal himself joined in solemnizing his obsequies with every mark of respect, both in the terms in which he spoke of him, and in the manner of performing the rites. Such is the relation of those who state the affair as having happened in Lucania. If those are to be believed who affirm that he was killed at the river Calor, the enemy kept possession of Gracchus’s head only, which being brought to Hannibal, he immediately sent Carthalo to convey it into the Roman camp to Cneius Cornelius, the quæstor; solomnizing the funeral of the general in his camp; in, the performance of which the Beneventans joined with the soldiers.

XVIII. The consuls, having entered the Campanian territories, spread devastation on all sides, but were soon alarmed by the townsmen, in conjunction with Mago and his cavalry, marching hastily out against them. They called in the troops to their standards, from the several parts where they Edition: current; Page: [276] were dispersed; but, before they had completed the forming of their line of battle, they were put to the rout, and lost above fifteen hundred men. On this success, that people, naturally disposed to arrogance, assumed the highest degree of confidence, and endeavoured to provoke the Romans by frequent skirmishes: but the battle, into which they had been incautiously drawn, had rendered the consuls more circumspect. However, the spirit of their party was revived, and the boldness of the other diminished, by an occurrence, in itself, of a trivial nature, but that, in war, scarcely any incident is so insignificant, that it may not, on some occasion, give cause to an event of much importance. A Campanian, called Badius, had been a guest of Titus Quintius Crispinus, and lived on terms of the closest friendship and hospitality with him, and their intimacy had increased in consequence of Crispinus having, in his own house at Rome, given very kind and affectionate attendance to Badius in a fit of sickness which he had there before the defection of Campania. This Badius, now, advancing in front of the guards posted before one of the gates desired that Crispinus might be called: on being told of it, Crispinus, retaining a sense of private duties even after the dissolution of the public treaties, imagined that his old acquaintance wished for an amicable interview, and went out to some distance. As soon as they came within sight of each other, Badius cried out, “Crispinus, I challenge you to combat: let us mount our horses, and, making the rest keep back, determine which of us is superior in arms.” To which Crispinus answered, that “they were neither of them at a loss for enemies, on whom they might display their valour: that, for his part, should he even meet him in the field of battle, he would turn aside, to avoid imbruing his hands in the blood of a guest;” he then attempted to go away. Whereupon, the Campanian, with greater passion, upbraided him as a coward; casting on him undeserved reproaches, which might with greater propriety have been Edition: current; Page: [277] applied to himself, at the same time charging him as being an enemy to the laws of hospitality, and as pretending to be moved by concern for a person to whom he knew himself unequal; he said, that “if not sufficiently convinced, that by the rupture of the public treaties, private obligations were at the same time dissolved, Badius, the Campanian, now, in presence of all, in the hearing of the two armies, renounced all connections of hospitality with Titus Quintius Crispinus, the Roman. He was under no bond of society with him; an enemy had no claim of alliance on an enemy, whose country and whose tutelary deities, both public and private, he had come to invade: if he were a man, he would meet him. Crispinus hesitated long, but, at last, the men of his troop persuaded him not to suffer the Campanian to insult him with impunity. Wherefore, waiting only to ask leave of the generals to fight, out of rule, with one who gave him a challenge, with their permission he took arms, mounted his horse, and calling Badius by name, summoned him to the combat. The Campanian made no delay, and they encountered in full career. Crispinus passing his spear over Badius’s buckler, ran it through his left shoulder, and, on his falling in consequence of the wound, dismounted in order to despatch him as he lay, but Badius, to avoid impending death, left his horse and his buckler, and ran off to his own party. Crispinus seized the horse and arms, and with these glorious badges of victory, and with his bloody weapon held up to view, was conducted by the soldiers, amidst praises and congratulations, to the consuls, from whom he received ample commendations, and honourable presents.

XIX. Hannibal marched from the territory of Beneventum to Capua, and, on the third day after his arrival there, drew out his forces to face the enemy, confident that after the Campanians had a few days before, without his assistance, fought them with success, the Romans would be much less able to withstand him and his army, which had so often defeated Edition: current; Page: [278] them. When the battle began, the Roman army was in danger of being worsted, in consequence, principally, of a charge made by the enemy’s cavalry, who overwhelmed them with darts, until the signal was given to their own cavalry to charge; and now the contest lay between the horse, when Sempronius’s army, commanded by the quæstor Cneius Cornelius, being descried at a distance, gave an equal alarm, each party fearing that it was a reinforcement coming to his antagonist. The signal of retreat was therefore given on both sides, as if by concert; and quitting the field on almost equal terms, they retired to their several camps: the Romans, however, had lost the greater number of men by the first onset of the horse. Next night, the consuls, in order to draw Hannibal from Capua, marched away by different routes, Fulvius to the territory of Cumæ, Appius Claudius into Lucania. On the day following, when Hannibal was informed that the Romans had forsaken their camp, and gone off in two divisions, by different roads, he hesitated at first, considering which of them he should pursue; and at length determined to follow Appius, who, after leading him about through whatever track he chose, returned by another road to Capua. Hannibal met, in that part of the country, an unlooked for opportunity of striking an important blow: there was one Marcus Centenius, surnamed Penula, distinguished among the centurions of the first rank both by the size of his body, and by his courage: this man, who had served his time in the army, being introduced to the senate by the prætor, Publius Cornelius Sulla, requested of the senators to grant him the command of five thousand men, assuring them, that “being thoroughly acquainted both with the enemy and the country, he would speedily perform something that should give them satisfaction; and that the same wiles, by which hitherto the Roman commanders used to be entrapped, he would practise against the inventor of them.” The folly of this proposal was equalled by the folly with which it was Edition: current; Page: [279] assented to; as if the qualifications of a centurion and a general were the same. Instead of five, eight thousand men were granted him, half citizens and half allies; besides these, he collected in his march through the country a considerable number of volunteers; and, having almost doubled the number of his army, he arrived in Lucania, where Hannibal, after a vain pursuit of Appius, had halted. There was no room for doubt about the result of a contest between such a captain as Hannibal, and a sabaltern; in short, between armies, of which one was become veteran in a course of conquest, the other entirely new raised, for the most part undisciplined and but half armed. As soon as the parties came within view of each other, neither declining an engagement, the lines were instantly formed. Notwithstanding the disparity of the forces, the battle was maintained in a manner unprecedented under such circumstances, the Roman soldiers, for more than two hours, making the most strenuous efforts, as long as their commander stood: but he, anxious to support his former reputation, and dreading moreover the disgrace which would afterwards fall on him, if he survived a defeat occasioned by his own temerity, exposed himself rashly to the weapons of the enemy, and was slain; on which the Roman line immediately fell into confusion, and gave way. But even flight was now out of their power, for so effectually had the enemy’s cavalry shut up every pass, that, out of so great a multitude, scarcely a thousand made their escape; the rest, meeting destruction on every side, were all cut off in various ways.

XX. The consuls resumed the siege of Capua with the utmost vigour, and took measures for procuring and collecting every thing requisite for carrying it on. A magazine of corn was formed at Casilinum; a strong post was fortified at the mouth of the Vulturnus, where now stands a city: and a garrison was put into Puteoli: formerly fortified by Fabius Maximus, in order to secure the command both of the river, Edition: current; Page: [280] and of the sea adjoining. The corn lately sent from Sardinia, and that which the prætor, Marcus Junius, had bought up in Etruria, was conveyed from Ostia into these two maritime fortresses, to supply the army during the winter. Meanwhile, in addition to the misfortune sustained in Lucania, the army of volunteer slaves, who, during the life of Gracchus, had performed their duty with the strictest fidelity, supposing themselves at liberty by the death of their commander, forsook their standards, and disbanded. Hannibal, though not inclined to neglect Capua, or to abandon his allies at such a dangerous crisis, yet, having reaped such signal advantage from the inconsiderate conduct of one Roman commander, was induced to turn his attention to an opportunity which offered of crushing another. Some deputies from Apulia informed him, that Cneius Fulvius, the prætor, had at first, while engaged in the sieges of several cities of that country, which had revolted to Hannibal, acted with care and circumspection; but that afterwards, in consequence of an overflow of success, both himself and his men being glutted with booty, had so entirely given themselves up to licentiousness, that they neglected all military discipline. Wherefore, having on many other occasions, and particularly a few days before, learned from experience how little formidable an army was when under an unskilful commander, he marched away into Apulia.

XXI. Fulvius and the Roman legions lay near Herdonia, where intelligence no sooner arrived that the enemy was approaching, than the troops were very near snatching up their standards, and marching out to battle without the prætor’s orders; and the suffering themselves to be restrained was owing to the opinion entertained by them, that they might act as they chose. During the following night, Hannibal, who had learned the disorder in their camp, and that most of them, calling the whole to arms, had presumptuously insisted on their commander’s giving the signal, concluded with Edition: current; Page: [281] certainty, that he should now have an opportunity of fighting with advantage. He posted in the houses all around, and in the woods and thickets, three thousand light-armed soldiers, who, on notice given, were suddenly to quit their concealments; at the same time ordering Mago, with about two thousand horsemen, to secure all the passes on that side, to which he supposed the enemy would direct their flight. Having made these preparatory dispositions during the night, at the first dawn of day he led out his forces to the field: nor did Fulvius decline the challenge, though not so much led by any hope conceived by himself, as forcibly drawn by the blind impetuosity of his men. The line was therefore formed with the same inconsiderate hurry with which they came out of the camp, just as the humour of the soldiers directed; for each, as he happened to come up, took whatever post he liked, and afterwards, either as whim or fear directed, forsook that post. The first legion, and the left wing, were drawn up in front, extending the line in length; and, notwithstanding the loud remonstrances of the tribunes, that it was not deep enough to have any strength or firmness, and that the enemy would break through wherever they attacked, so far were they from paying attention, that they would not even listen to any wholesome advice. Hannibal now came up, a commander of a very different character, and with an army neither of a like kind, nor marshalled in like manner. The Romans consequently withstood not their first attack. Their commander, in folly and rashness equal to Centenius, but far his inferior in spirit, as soon as he saw the matter going against him, and his men in confusion, hastily mounted his horse, and fled with about two hundred horsemen. The rest of the troops, vanquished in front, and surrounded on the flanks and rear, were put to the sword, in such a manner, that out of eighteen thousand men, not more than two thousand escaped. The camp fell into the enemy’s hands.

XXII. The news of these defeats, happening so quickly Edition: current; Page: [282] after one another, being brought to Rome, filled the minds of the public with much grief and consternation. However, as the consuls were hitherto successful in their operations in the quarter where the principal stress of the war lay, the alarm occasioned by these misfortunes was the less. The senate despatched Caius Lætorius and Marcus Metilius deputies to the consuls, with directions, that they should carefully collect the remains of the two armies, and use their endeavours to prevent them from surrendering to the enemy, through fear and despair, as had been the case after the defeat at Cannæ; and that they should make search for the deserters from the army of the volunteer slaves. The same charge was given to Publius Cornelius, who was also employed to raise recruits; and he caused proclamation to be made at all the fairs and markets, that the slaves in question should be searched for, and brought back to their standards. All this was executed with the strictest care. Appius Claudius, the consul, after fixing Decius Junius in the command at the mouth of the Vulturnus, and Marcus Aurelius Cotta at Puteoli, with orders that when any ships should arrive from Etruria and Sardinia, to send off the corn directly to the camp, went back himself to Capua, where he found his colleague Quintus Fulvius busy in bringing in supplies of all kinds from Casilinum, and making every preparation for prosecuting the siege of Capua. They then joined in forming the siege, and also sent for Claudius Nero, the prætor, from the Claudian camp at Suessula; who, leaving behind a small garrison to keep possession of the post, marched down with all the rest of his forces to Capua. Thus there were three prætorian pavilions erected round that city, and the three armies, commencing their operations in different quarters, proceeded to inclose it with a rampart and trench, erecting forts at moderate distances; so that when the Campanians attempted to obstruct their works, they fought them, in several places at once, with such success, that, at last, the Edition: current; Page: [285] besieged confined themselves within their walls and gates. However, before these works were carried quite round, the townsmen sent deputies to Hannibal, to complain of his abandoning Capua, and delivering it, in a manner, into the hands of the Romans; and to beseech him, now at least, when they were not only invested, but even pent up, to bring them relief. The consuls received a letter from Publius Cornelius the prætor, that “before they completed the circumvallation of Capua, they should give leave to such of the Campanians as chose it, to retire from the town, and carry away their effects with them. That as many as withdrew before the Ides of March should enjoy their liberty and their property entire: but that both those who withdrew after that day, and those who remained in the place should be treated as enemies.” This notice was accordingly given to the Campanians, who received it with such scorn, that they answered with reproaches, and even menaces. Hannibal had led his legions from Herdonia to Tarentum, in hopes that, either by force or stratagem, he might gain possession of the citadel of that town; but, being disappointed therein, he turned his route toward Brundusium, which he expected would be betrayed to him. While he was wasting time here, also, to no purpose, the deputies from Capua came to him, bringing at the same time, their complaints, and intreaties for succour. To these Hannibal answered in an arrogant style, that he had before raised the siege of their town; and that the consuls would not now wait his coming. With this encouragement the deputies were dismissed, and with difficulty made their way back into the city, which was by this time surrounded with a double trench and a rampart.

XXIII. At the very time when the circumvallation of Capua was going on, the siege of Syracuse came to a conclusion, having been forwarded not only by the vigour and spirit of the besieging general and his army, but also by treachery within. For in the beginning of the spring, Marcellus Edition: current; Page: [284] had deliberated some time, whether he should turn his arms against Himilco and Hippocrates, who were at Agrigentum, or stay and press forward the siege of Syracuse, though he saw that the city could neither be reduced by force, as being from its situation impregnable by land or sea, nor by famine, as supplies from Carthage had almost open access. Nevertheless, that he might leave no expedient untried, he had enjoined some deserters from Syracuse,—many of whom of the highest rank were then in the Roman camp, having been banished when the defection from the Romans took place, on account of their disapprobation of the design of changing sides,—to confer with persons of their own way of thinking, to sound the temper of the people, and to give them solemn assurances, that if the city were delivered into his hands, they should live free under their own laws. There was no opportunity of conversing on the subject, because the great number of persons suspected of disaffection had made every one attentive and vigilant to prevent any such attempt passing unobserved. A single slave, belonging to some of the exiles, was sent as a deserter into the city, and he, communicating the business to a few, opened a way for a negotiation of the kind. After this, some few getting into a fishing boat, and concealing themselves under the nets, were carried round in this manner to the Roman camp, where they held conferences with the deserters, and the same was done frequently, in the same manner, by several other parties; at last, the number amounted to eighty, and their plot was now ripe for execution, when a person called Attalus, offended that some part of the business had been concealed from him, discovered their design to Epicydes, and they were all put to death with torture. This project, thus rendered abortive, was soon succeeded by another: one Damippus, a Lacedæmonian, being sent from Syracuse to king Philip, had been taken prisoner by the Roman fleet; Epicydes earnestly wished to ransom him in particular, and Edition: current; Page: [285] from this Marcellus was not averse; for the Romans, even at that time, were desirous of procuring the friendship of the Ætolians, with which nation the Lacedæmonians were in alliance. Some persons were accordingly deputed to treat for his release, and the place judged the most central and convenient to both parties was at the Trogilian port, adjoining the tower called Galeagra. As they came several times to this spot, one of the Romans, having a near view of the wall, by reckoning the stones, and estimating, as far as he was able, the measure of each in the face of the work, conjectured nearly as to its height, and finding it considerably lower than he or any of the rest had hitherto supposed, so that it might be scaled with ladders of even a moderate length, he represented the matter to Marcellus. The information was deemed not unworthy of attention, but as that spot could not be openly approached, being, for the very reason mentioned, guarded with particular care, it was determined to watch for a favourable opportunity: this was soon found, through the means of a deserter, who brought intelligence that the besieged were celebrating the festival of Diana, which was to last three days; and as, in consequence of the siege, most kinds of provisions were scarce, they indulged themselves in greater quantities of wine, which Epicydes supplied to the whole body of the plebeians, and which was distributed among the tribes by the people of distinction. Marcellus, on hearing this, communicated his design to a few military tribunes; and having, by their means, selected centurions and soldiers properly qualified for an enterprise at once important and daring, he privately procured scaling ladders, and ordered directions to be conveyed to the rest of the troops, that they should take their suppers early, and go to rest, because they were to be employed on an expedition in the night. Then, at the hour when he judged that the people, who had begun to feast early in the day, would be surfeited with wine, and begin to sleep, he ordered the Edition: current; Page: [286] men of one company to proceed with their ladders, while about a thousand men in arms were with silence conducted in a slender column to the spot. The foremost having, without noise or tumult, mounted the wall, the rest followed in order, the boldness of the former giving courage even to the timorous.

XXIV. This body of a thousand men had now gained possession of a part of the city, when the rest, bringing up greater numbers of ladders, scaled the wall; the first party having given them a signal from the Hexapylos, to which they had penetrated without meeting a single person in the streets: for the greater part of the townsmen having feasted together in the towers, were now either overpowered by wine, and sunk in sleep, or, being half inebriated, still continued their debauch. A few of them, however, who were surprised in their beds, were put to death. Vigorous efforts were then made to force open a postern gate near the Hexapylos, and at the same time, the signal agreed on was returned from the wall by a trumpet. And now the attack was carried on in all quarters, not secretly, but with open force; for they had reached the Epipolæ, where there were great numbers of the guards stationed, and it became requisite not to elude the notice of the enemy, but to terrify them; and terrified they were: for as soon as the sound of the trumpet was heard, and the shouts of the troops who had mastered part of the city, the guards thought that the whole was taken, and some of them fled along the wall, others leaped down from the ramparts, and crowds flying in dismay, were tumbled headlong. A great part of the townsmen, however, were still ignorant of the misfortune which had befallen them, being all of them overpowered with wine and sleep; and in a city of such vast extent, what happened in any one quarter, could not be very readily known in all the rest. A little before day, a gate of the Hexapylos being forced, Marcellus, with all his troops, entered the city. This roused the townsmen, who betook Edition: current; Page: [287] themselves to arms, endeavouring, if possible, to preserve the place. Epicides hastily led out some troops from the island called Nasos, not doubting but he should be able to drive out what he conjectured to be a small party, and which he supposed had found entrance through the negligence of the guards, telling the affrighted fugitives whom he met, that they were adding to the tumult, and that they represented matters greater and more terrible than they were. But when he saw every place round the Epipolæ filled with armed men, he waited only to discharge a few missive weapons, and marched back into the Achradina, dreading not so much the number and strength of the enemy, as that some treachery might, on such an opportunity, take place within, and that he might find the gates of the Achridina and the island shut against him. When Marcellus entered the gate, and had from the high grounds a full view of the city, the most beautiful perhaps of any in those times, he is said to have shed tears partly out of joy at having accomplished an enterprise of such importance, and partly from the sensations excited by reflecting on the high degree of renown which the place had enjoyed through a long series of years. Memory represented to him the Athenian fleet sunk there; two vast armies cut off with two generals of the highest reputation: the many wars maintained against the Carthaginians with such equality of success; the great number of powerful tyrants and kings, especially Hiero, whom all remembered very lately reigning, and who besides all the distinctions which his own merit and good fortune conferred on him, was highly remarkable for his zealous friendship to the Roman people: when all these reflections occurred to his mind, and were followed by the consideration, that every object then under his view would quickly be in flames, and reduced to ashes,—thus reflecting, before he advanced to attack the Achridina, he sent forward some Syracusans, who, as has been mentioned, were within the Roman quarters, to try if Edition: current; Page: [288] they could, by mild persuasions, prevail on the Syracusans to surrender the town.

XXV. The fortifications of the Achradina were occupied by deserters, who could have no hope of a pardon in case of a capitulation; these, therefore, would not suffer the others to come nigh the walls, nor to hold conversation with any one. Marcellus, finding that no opportunity could offer of effecting any thing by persuasion, ordered his troops to move back to the Euryalus. This is an eminence at the verge of the city, on the side most remote from the sea, commanding the road which leads into the country and the interior parts of the island, and therefore very commodiously situate for securing admittance to convoys of provisions. The commander of this fortress was Philodemus, an Argive, stationed here by Epicydes. To him Sosis, one of the regicides, was sent by Marcellus with certain propositions; who, after a long conversation, being put off with evasions, brought back an account that the Argive required time for deliberation. He deferred giving any positive answer from day to day, in expectation that Hippocrates and Himilco, with their legions, would come up; and he doubted not that if he could once receive them into the fortress, the Roman army hemmed in as it was within walls, might be effectually cut off. Marcellus, therefore, seeing no probability of the Euryalus being either surrendered or taken, encamped between Neapolis and Tycha, parts of the city so named, and in themselves equal to cities; for he feared, lest, if he went into the more populous parts, the greedy soldiers might not, by any means, be restrained from pillaging. Hither came deputies from the Neapolis and the Tycha, with fillets and other badges of supplicants, praying him to spare the lives of the inhabitants, and to refrain from burning their houses. On the subject of these petitions, offered in the form of prayers rather than of demands, Marcellus held a council; and according to the unanimous determination of all present, published orders to Edition: current; Page: [289] the soldiers, to “offer no violence to any person of free condition, but that they might seize every thing else as spoil.” The walls of the houses surrounding his camp served it as a fortification, and, at the gates facing the wide streets, he posted guards and detachments of troops, to prevent any attack on it while the soldiers should be in search of plunder. On a signal given the men dispersed themselves for that purpose: and, though they broke open doors, and filled every place with terror and tumult, yet they refrained from bloodshed, but put no stop to their ravages, until they had removed all the valuable effects which had been amassed there in a long course of prosperous fortune. Meanwhile Philodemus, seeing no prospect of relief, and receiving assurances that he might return to Epicydes in safety, withdrew the garrison, and delivered up the fortress to the Romans. While the attention of all was turned to the commotion in that part of the city which was taken, Bomilcar, taking advantage of a stormy night, when the violence of the weather would not allow the Roman fleet to ride at anchor in the deep, slipped out of the harbour of Syracuse with thirty-five ships, and finding the sea open, sailed forth into the main, leaving fifty-five ships to Epicydes and the Syracusans. After informing the Carthaginians of the perilous state of affairs in Syracuse, he returned thither, in a few days, with an hundred ships, when he received, as is said, many valuable presents from Epicydes out of the treasure of Hiero.

XXVI. Marcellus by gaining possession of the Euryalus, and putting a garrison into it, was freed from one cause of anxiety; for he had apprehended that a body of the enemy’s forces might get into that fortress on his rear, and thence annoy his troops, pent up as they were, and entangled among walls. He then invested the Achradina, forming three camps in proper situations, in hopes, by a close blockade, of reducing it by a want of necessaries. The out-guards on both sides, had been quiet for several days, when Hippocrates and Edition: current; Page: [290] Hamilco suddenly arrived; and the consequence was an attack on the Romans in different quarters at once. For Hippocrates, having fortified a camp at the great harbour, and given a signal to the garrison in the Achradina, fell on the old camp of the Romans, where Crispinus commanded; and, at the same time, Epicydes sallied out against the posts of Marcellus, while the Carthaginian fleet warped in close to the shore, which lay between the city and the Roman station, in order to prevent any succour being sent by Marcellus to Crispinus. Their attacks, however, caused more alarm than real injury; for Crispinus, on his part, not only repulsed Hippocrates from his works, but made him fly with precipitation, and pursued him to some distance; and, in the other quarter, Marcellus beat back Epicydes into the town. It was even supposed that enough was now done to prevent any danger in future, from their making sudden sallies. To other evils attendant on the siege, was added a pestilence; a calamity felt by both parties, and fully sufficient to divert their thoughts from plans of military operations. It was now autumn; the places, where they lay, were in their nature unwholesome, but much more so on the outside of the city than within; and the heat was so intense, as to impair the health of almost every person in both the camps. At first, the insalubrity of the season and the soil produced both sicknesses and deaths: afterwards the attendance on the diseased, and the handling of them, spread the contagion wide; insomuch, that all who were seized by it either died neglected and forsaken, or, also infecting such as ventured to take care of them, these were carried off also. Scarcely any thing was seen but funerals; and both day and night, lamentations from every side rang in their ears. At last, habituated to these scenes of woe, they contracted such savageness, that so far from attending the deceased with tears and sorrowings, they would not even carry them out and inter them, so that they lay scattered over the ground in the view of all, and who Edition: current; Page: [291] were in constant expectation of a similar fate. Thus the dead contributed to the destruction of the sick, and the sick to that of the healthy, both by the apprehensions which they excited, and by the contagion and noisome stench of their bodies; while some, wishing rather to die by the sword, singly assailed the enemy’s posts. But the distemper raged with much greater fury in the Carthaginian camp than in that of the Romans: for the latter, by lying so long before Syracuse, were become more hardened against the air and the rains. Of the enemy’s troops, the Sicilians, as soon as they saw that the spreading of the distemper was owing to an unhealthy situation, left it, and retired to the several cities in the neighbourhood, which were of their party: but the Carthaginians, who had no place of retreat, perished (together with their commanders, Hippocrates and Himilco,) to a man. Marcellus, when he perceived the violence of the disorder increasing, had removed his troops into the city, where being comfortably lodged, and sheltered from the inclemency of the air, their impaired constitutions were soon restored: nevertheless great numbers of the Roman soldiers were swept away by this pestilence.

XXVII. The land forces of the Carthaginians being thus entirely destroyed, the Sicilians, who had served under Hippocrates, collected from their several states stores of provisions, which they deposited in two towns, of no great size, but well secured by strong situations and fortifications; one three miles distant from Syracuse, the other five; and, at the same time, they solicited succours. Meanwhile Bomilcar, going back again to Carthage with his fleet, gave such a representation of the condition of the allies, as afforded hopes that it might be practicable, not only to succour them in such a manner as would ensure their safety, but also to make prisoners of the Romans in the very city which they had, in a manner, reduced; and by this means he prevailed on the government to send with him as many transport vessels as could Edition: current; Page: [292] be procured laden with stores of every kind, and to make an addition to his own fleet. Accordingly he set sail with an hundred and thirty ships of war, and seven hundred transports, and met with a wind very favourable for his passage to Sicily, but the same wind prevented his doubling Cape Pachynum. The news of Bomilcar’s arrival first, and afterwards his unexpected delay, gave joy and grief alternately both to the Romans and Syracusans. But Epicydes, dreading lest, if the same easterly wind which then prevailed should continue to blow for some days longer, the Carthaginian fleet might sail back to Africa, delivered the command of the Achradina to the generals of the Mercenaries, and sailed away to Bomilcar. Him he found lying to, with the heads of his vessels turned towards Africa, being fearful of an engagement with the enemy, not on account of any superiority in their strength or number of ships (for his own was the greater,) but because the wind was the more advantageous to the Roman fleet. With difficulty, then, he prevailed on him to consent to try the issue of a naval engagement. On the other side, Marcellus, seeing that an army of Sicilians was assembling from all quarters of the island, and that the Carthaginian fleet was approaching with abundance of supplies, began to fear, lest, if he should be shut up in an hostile city, and that every passage being barred both by land and sea, he should be reduced to great distress. Although unequal to the enemy in number of ships, he yet determined to oppose Bomilcar’s passage to Syracuse. The two hostile fleets lay off the promontory of Pachynum, ready to engage as soon as moderate weather should allow them to sail out into the main. On the subsiding of the easterly wind, which had blown furiously for several days, Bomilcar first put his fleet in motion, and his van seemed to make out to sea with intent to clear the cape; but, when he saw the Roman bearing down on him, and being suddenly alarmed, from what circumstance is not known, he bore away to sea, and sending Edition: current; Page: [293] messengers to Heraclea, ordering the transports to return to Africa, he sailed along the coast of Sicily to Tarentum. Epicydes, thus disappointed in a measure from which he had conceived very sanguine hopes, and unwilling to go back into the besieged city, whereof a great part was already in possession of the enemy, sailed to Agrigentum, where he proposed rather to wait the issue of affairs than to attempt any new enterprise.

XXVIII. When the Sicilians in camp were informed of all these events, (that Epicydes had withdrawn from Syracuse, that the Carthaginians had abandoned the island, and in a manner, surrendered it a second time to the Romans,) they demanded a conference with those who were shut up in the town, and learning their inclinations, they sent deputies to Marcellus, to treat about terms of capitulation. There was scarcely any debate about the conditions, which were,—that whatever parts of the country had been under the dominion of the kings should be ceded to the Romans; and the rest, together with independence, and their own laws, should be guaranteed to the Sicilians. Then the deputies invited the persons entrusted with the command by Epicydes to a meeting, and told them, that they had been sent by the Sicilian army to them as well as to Marcellus, in order that those within the city, as well as those without, should all share one fortune, and that neither should stipulate any article, separately, for themselves. From these they obtained permission to enter the place, and converse with their relations and friends, to whom they recited the terms which they had already adjusted with Marcellus; and, by the prospect of safety which they held out to their view, prevailed on them to unite in an attack on Epicydes’s generals, Polyclitus, Philistio, and Epicydes, surnamed Syndos. These they put to death, and then calling the multitude to an assembly, and lamenting the famine they had undergone, insisted, that “notwithstanding they were pressed by so many calamities, yet Edition: current; Page: [294] they had no reason to complain of fortune, because it was in their power to determine how long they would endure their sufferings. The reason which induced the Romans to besiege Syracuse was, affection to its inhabitants, not enmity. For when they heard that the government was seized on by the partizans of Hannibal, and afterwards by those of Hieronymus, Hippocrates, and Epicydes; they then took arms, and laid siege to the city, with the purpose of subduing, not the city itself, but those who cruelly tyrannised over it. But after Hippocrates had been carried off, Epicydes excluded from Syracuse, his generals put to death, and the Carthaginians expelled, and unable to maintain any kind of footing in Sicily, either by fleets or armies, what reason could the Romans then have for not wishing the safety of Syracuse, as much as if Hiero himself, so singularly attached to the Roman interest, were still alive? Neither the city, therefore, nor the inhabitants, stood in any other danger than what they might bring on themselves, by neglecting an opportunity of reconciliation with the Romans: but such another opportunity they never could have, as that which presented itself at that instant, on its being once known that they were delivered from their insolent tyrants.”

XXIX. This discourse was listened to with universal approbation; but it was resolved that, before any deputies should be appointed, prætors should be elected: and then some of the prætors themselves were sent deputies to Marcellus. The person at the head of the commission addressed him to this effect “Neither was the revolt, at the beginning, the act of us Syracusans, but of Hieronymus, whose conduct towards you, was not near so wicked as his treatment of us; nor, afterwards, was it any Syracusan, but Hippocrates and Epicydes, two instruments of the late king, who while we were distracted between fear on one side and treachery on the other, broke through the peace established on the death of the tyrant; nor can any period be named, in Edition: current; Page: [295] which we were at liberty, and were not at the same time in friendship with you. At present it is manifest, that as soon as ever, by the death of those who held Syracuse in bondage, we became our own masters, we have come, without a moment’s hesitation, to deliver up our arms, to surrender ourselves, our city, and fortifications, and to refuse no conditions which you shall think fit to impose. Marcellus, the gods have given you the glory of taking the most renowned and most beautiful of all the Grecian cities; whatever memorable exploits we have at any time performed, either on land or sea, all will go to augment the splendour of your triumph. Let it not be your wish, that men shall learn, from tradition, how great a city you have reduced, but rather, that the city itself may stand a monument to posterity, exhibiting to the view of every one who shall approach it, by land or by sea, our trophies over the Athenians and Carthaginians; then, yours over us; and that you may transmit Syracuse, unimpaired, to your family, to be kept under the patronage and guardianship of the race of the Marcelli. Let not the memory of Hieronymus weigh more with you, than that of Hiero. The latter was much longer your friend, than the former your enemy; and, besides, you have felt many effects of the kindness of the one, while the other’s madness tended only to his own ruin.” From the Romans all their requests were easily obtained, and their safety ran no hazard from that quarter: there was more danger from an hostile disposition among themselves, for the deserters, apprehending that they were to be delivered up to the Romans, brought the auxiliary troops of mercenaries to entertain the same fears. Hastily taking arms, they first slew the prætors; then spreading themselves over the city, put to death in their rage every person whom chance threw in their way, pillaging every thing on which they could lay hands. Afterwards, that they might not be without leaders, they created six præfects three to command in the Achradina, and three in the island. The tumult Edition: current; Page: [296] at length subsiding, the mercenaries discovered, on inquiry, the purport of the articles concluded on with Marcellus, and then began to see clearly, what was really the case, that their situation was widely different from that of the deserters. Very seasonably the deputies returned at this time from Marcellus, and assured them, that the suspicion which had provoked their fury was groundless, and that the Romans had no kind of reason to demand their punishment.

XXX. One of the three commanders in the Achradina was a Spaniard, by name Mericus. To sound him, a Spanish auxiliary in the camp of the Romans was purposely sent in the train of the deputies, who, taking an opportunity when he found Mericus alone, first informed him in what state he had left the affairs of Spain, from whence he had lately come; that “every thing there was under subjection to the Roman arms;” and added, “that it was in his power, by some service of importance, to become distinguished among his countrymen; whether it were that he chose to accept a commission in the Roman army, or to return to his native country. On the other hand, if he persisted in attempting to hold out the siege, what hope could he entertain when he was so closely invested both by sea and land?” Mericus was so much affected by these arguments, that, when it was determined to send deputies to Marcellus, he appointed, as one of them, his own brother, who being conducted by the same Spaniard to a secret interview with Marcellus, and having received satisfactory assurances from him, and concerted the method of conducting the business they had planned, returned to the Achradina. Then Mericus, with design to prevent all suspicion of treachery, declared, that “he did not approve of deputies thus going backwards and forwards; that none such ought to be received or sent; and, that the guard might be kept with the stricter care, the proper posts ought to be divided among the præfects, so that each should be answerable for the safety of his own quarter.” Edition: current; Page: [297] Every one approved of this division of the posts; and the tract which fell to his own lot, was that from the fountain Arethusa, to the mouth of the great harbour: of this he apprised the Romans. Marcellus therefore gave orders, that a transport ship, full of soldiers, should be towed in the night, by the barge of a quadrireme, to the Achradina; and that they should be landed opposite to the gate which is near the said fountain. This being executed at the fourth watch, and Mericus having, according to concert, admitted the soldiers into the gate, Marcellus, at the first light, assaulted the walls of the Achradina with all his forces, by which means he not only engaged the attention of those who guarded it, but caused several battalions to flock thither from the island, quitting their own posts to repel the furious assault of the Romans. While this alarm was at the height, some light gallies, prepared beforehand, sailed round, and landed a body of troops on the island; and these, making an unexpected attack on the half-manned posts, and the open gate, without much difficulty made themselves masters of the island; for it was abandoned to them by the garrison, who fled in consternation. The deserters maintained their ground with no more steadiness than these; for, being diffident in some degree even of each other, they betook themselves to flight during the heat of the conflict. When Marcellus learned that the island was taken, that one quarter of the Achradina was in possession of his troops, and that Mericus had joined them with the party under his command, he sounded a retreat, lest the royal treasure, which fame represented much larger than it was, should be rifled by the soldiers.

XXXI. The impetuosity of the soldiers being restrained, the deserters in the Achradina found time and opportunity to escape. The Syracusans, at length delivered from their fears, opened the gates of the fortress, and sent an humble deputation to Marcellus, asking nothing more than their own lives, and those of their children. Marcellus summoned a Edition: current; Page: [298] council, to which he likewise invited those Syracusans who, having been driven from home in consequence of the disturbances in the city, had remained in the Roman quarters; and he gave the deputies this answer, that “the friendly acts of Hiero, through a space of fifty years, were not more in number than the injuries committed against the Roman people within a few years past, by those who were in possession of Syracuse. But most of these had recoiled on the heads where they ought to fall; and those people had inflicted on each other much more severe punishments for their infraction of treaties, than the Romans would have wished. That he had, indeed, laid siege to Syracuse, and prosecuted it through the three last years, not with design that the Roman people might keep that state in servitude to themselves, but that the leaders of the deserters might not hold it under captivity and oppression. What part the Syracusans might have acted for the promoting of this design, was manifest from those of their countrymen who were within the Roman quarters; from the conduct of the Spanish general Mericus, who surrendered the quarter under his command; and from the late, indeed, but resolute measure adopted by themselves. That the advantages accruing to him, from all the toils and dangers by sea and land, which he had undergone through such a length of time under the Syracusan walls, were by no means equal to what Syracuse might have procured to itself.” The quæstor was then sent with a guard to the island, to receive and secure the royal treasure; and the city was given up to the troops to be plundered, centinels being first placed at the several houses of those who had staid in the Roman quarters. While numberless horrid acts of rage and of avarice were perpetrated, it is related that, in the violence of the tumult, which was as great as greedy soldiers ever caused in sacking a captured city, Archimedes, while intent on some geometrical figures which he had drawn in the sand, was slain by a soldier, who knew not who Edition: current; Page: [299] he was; that Marcellus lamented his death, and gave him an honourable funeral, and that inquiry was also made for his relations, to whom his name and memory proved a protection and an honour. In this manner nearly, was Syracuse taken, and in it such a quantity of booty, as Carthage, which waged an equal contest with Rome, would scarcely have afforded at that time. A few days before the conquest of Syracuse, Titus Otacilius, with eighty quinqueremes, sailed over from Lilybæum to Utica, and, entering the harbour before day, seized a number of transports laden with corn; he then landed his troops, ravaged a great part of the country round the city, and brought back to his fleet much booty of all kinds. On the third day from his departure, he returned to Lilybæum, with an hundred and thirty vessels filled with corn and spoil. He sent off their cargoes immediately to Syracuse, where, if this supply had not arrived so seasonably, both the conquerors and the vanquished were threatened alike with a destructive famine.

XXXII. As to the affairs of Spain, near two years had passed without any thing very material being done, and the business of the war consisted rather in scheming than in acting; but now, the Roman generals, quitting their winter-quarters, united their forces, and a council being held, all concurred in opinion that, since their sole object had hitherto been to detain Hasdrubal from the prosecution of his intended march into Italy, it was now time to think of an end to the war in Spain; and they trusted that their strength was rendered adequate to the undertaking, by the addition of thirty thousand Celtiberians, whom they had, during the preceding winter, engaged to join their arms. There were three armies of the enemy; one under Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, and another under Mago, were encamped together at the distance of about five days march. The third lay nearer, and was commanded by Hasdrubal, son of Hamilcar, the oldest general in Spain, who was posted near a city named Anitorgis. Edition: current; Page: [300] Him the Roman generals wished to overpower first, and they were confident that their strength was abundantly sufficient to effect it: their only concern was, lest Hasdrubal and Mago, dispirited by his retreat, might retire into the inaccessible forests and mountains, and thus protract the war. They therefore concluded, that it would be most advisable by separating their forces, to extend the compass of their operations, so as to comprehend the whole war at once. Accordingly, they divided them in such a manner that Publius Cornelius was to lead two-thirds of the Romans and allies against Mago and Hasdrubal; and Cneius Cornelius, with the other third of the veteran troops, and the Celtiberian auxiliaries, was to act against the Barcine Hasdrubal. The commanders began their march together, the Celtiberians advancing before them, and pitched their camp near the city of Anitorgis, within view of the enemy, from whom they were separated by a river. There Cneius Scipio, with the forces before-mentioned, halted, and Publius Scipio proceeded, according to his allotment, to the scene of action.

XXXIII. When Hasdrubal observed that there were but few Roman soldiers in the camp, and that all their dependance was on the Celtiberian auxiliaries, being well acquainted with the perfidious disposition of every barbarous nation, and particularly of these, among whom he had waged war for so many years, he contrived secret conferences with their leaders; for as both camps were full of Spaniards, an intercourse was easy; and with whom he concluded a bargain, that, for a valuable consideration, they should carry away their troops. Nor did this appear to them a heinous crime: for it was not required that they should turn their arms against the Romans, and the hire given for not fighting was as great as could be expected for fighting; besides, rest from fatigue, the returning to their homes, and the pleasure of seeing their friends and families, all these were matters highly agreeable to them, so that the chiefs were not more easily Edition: current; Page: [301] persuaded than were their followers. It was farther considered, that they need not fear the Romans, whose number was small, even if they should attempt to detain them by force. It will ever, indeed, be incumbent on Roman generals to avoid carefully such kind of mistakes, and to consider instances like this as powerful warnings, never to confide so far in foreign auxiliaries, as not to keep in their camps a superior force of their native troops, and of their own proper strength. The Celtiberians, on a sudden, took up their standards and marched off, giving no other answer to the Romans (who besought them to stay), than that they were called away by a war at home. When Scipio saw that it was impossible to detain the auxiliaries either by intreaties or force; that, without them, he was unable either to cope with the enemy, or effect a re-union with his brother; and that there was no other resource at hand, from which he could hope for safety, he resolved to retreat as far back as possible, avoiding, with the utmost caution, any encounter with the enemy on equal ground;—for they had crossed the river, and followed almost at the heels of his retreating troops.

XXXIV. At the same time Publius Scipio was surrounded with equal fears and greater danger, occasioned by a new enemy: this was young Masinissa, at that time an ally of the Carthaginians, afterwards rendered illustrious and powerful by the friendship of the Romans. He, with his Numidian cavalry, met Publius Scipio as he approached, harrassing him incessantly night and day. Not only were strangglers, who went to a distance from the camp for wood and forage, intercepted by him, but he would even ride up to the very intrenchments; and often, charging into the midst of the advance guards, fill every quarter with the utmost confusion. In the night-time also, by sudden attacks, he frequently caused terror and alarm at the gates, and on the rampart; nor did any place, or any time, afford the Romans respite from fear and anxiety, confined as they were within their trenches, Edition: current; Page: [302] and debarred from procuring every kind of necessary, suffering almost a regular blockade; and which they knew would be still more close, if Indibilis, who was said to be approaching, with seven thousand five hundred Suessetanians, should join the Carthaginians. Impelled by the inextricable difficulties of his situation, Scipio, heretofore a commander of known caution and prudence, adopted the rash resolution of going out by night to meet Indibilis, and to fight him. Accordingly, leaving a small guard in the camp, under the command of Titus Fonteius, lieutenant-general, he marched out at midnight, and falling in with the enemy, began an engagement. The troops encountered each other in the order of march rather than of battle; however, irregular as the manner of fighting was, the Romans had the advantage. But on a sudden the Numidian cavalry, whose observation the general thought he had escaped, falling on his flanks, struck great terror into the troops, and, while they had this new contest to maintain, a third enemy fell upon them, the Carthaginian generals coming up with their rear during the heat of the battle. Thus the Romans were assailed on every side, unable to judge against which enemy they might best direct their united strength, in order to force a passage. While their commander fought, and encouraged his men, exposing himself to every danger, he was run through the right side with a lance. The party who made the attack on the band collected about the general, when they saw Scipio fall lifeless from his horse, being elated with joy, ran shouting up and down through the whole line, crying out, that the Roman commander was killed; which words clearly determined the battle in favour of the enemy. The latter, immediately on losing their general, began to fly from the field; but though they might have found no great difficulty in forcing their way through the Numidians, and the other light-armed auxiliaries, yet it was scarcely possible that they should escape from such a multitude of cavalry, and of footmen who were nearly Edition: current; Page: [303] equal to the horses in speed. Accordingly, almost as many fell in the flight as in the battle, nor probably would one have survived, had not the night stopped the pursuit, it being by this time late in the evening.

XXXV. The Carthaginian generals were not remiss in making advantage of their good fortune: without losing time after the battle, and scarcely allowing the soldiers necessary rest, they marched away, with rapid haste to Hasdrubal, son of Hamilcar, confidently assured, that after uniting their forces with his, they should be able to bring the war to a speedy conclusion. On their arrival at his camp, the warmest congratulations passed between the commanders and the armies, overjoyed at their late successes, in which so great a general, with his whole army, had been cut off; and they expected, as a matter of certainty, another victory equally important. Not even a rumour of this great misfortune had yet reached the Romans; but there prevailed among them a melancholy kind of silence, and a tacit foreboding; such a presage of impending evil as the mind is apt to feel when looking forward with anxiety. Cornelius, after the desertion of the auxiliaries, had nothing to dispirit him except the augmentation which he observed in the enemy’s force, yet was he led by conjectures and reasoning, rather to entertain a suspicion of some disaster, than any favourable hopes. “For how,” said he, “could Hasdrubal and Mago, unless decisively victorious in their own province, bring hither their army without oppositions? And how could it happen, that Publius had neither opposed their march, nor followed on their rear, in order that, if he found it impracticable to prevent the junction of the enemy’s armies, he might, in any case, unite his forces with those of his brother.” Distracted with these perplexing thoughts, he could see no other means of safety at present, than by retreating as fast as possible. Accordingly, in the night, and while the enemy, ignorant of his departure, remained quiet, he performed a march of considerable length. On the return of Edition: current; Page: [304] day, the enemy, perceiving that his army had decamped, sent forward the Numidians, and set out on the pursuit with all the expedition in their power. Before night, the Numidians overtook them, and harrassed them with attacks, sometimes on the flanks, sometimes on the rear. They then began to halt, and defend themselves: but Scipio earnestly exhorted them to fight and advance at the same time, lest the enemy’s infantry should overtake them.

XXXVI. But as by this method of advancing at one time, and halting at another, they made but little progress on their way, and as the night now approached, Scipio called in his men, and collecting them in a body, drew them off to a rising ground, not very safe indeed, especially for dispirited troops, yet higher than any of the surrounding grounds. Here the infantry, receiving the baggage and the cavalry into the centre, and forming a circle round them, at first repelled, without difficulty, the attacks of the Numidian skirmishers. Afterwards, the three regular armies of the enemy approached with their entire force; when the general saw that without some fortification his men would never be able to maintain their post; he therefore began to look about, and consider whether he could by any means raise a rampart round it. But the hill was so bare, and the surface so rocky, that not so much as a bush was to be found which could be cut for palisadoes, nor earth with which to raise a mound, nor any means of forming a trench, or any other work; nor was any part of it such as to render it of difficult approach or ascent, every side rising with a gentle acclivity. However, that they might place in the way of the enemy some resemblance of a rampart, they tied the panniers together, and building them as it were on one another, formed a mound about their post, throwing on bundles of every kind of baggage where there was a deficiency of panniers for raising it. When the Carthaginian armies came to the place, they mounted the hill with perfect ease, but were at first so surprised at this strange appearance Edition: current; Page: [305] of a fortification that they halted, notwithstanding their officers every where called out, and asked them, “why did they stop, and not tear down and scatter about that ridiculous work, scarcely strong enough to stop women or children;” adding, that “they now had the enemy shut up as prisoners, and hiding themselves behind their baggage.” Such were their contemptuous reproofs; but it was no easy matter either to climb over, or to remove, the bulky loads which lay in the way, or to cut through the panniers so closely compacted and burried under heaps of baggage. The packages which obstructed them were at length removed, and a passage opened to the troops; and the same being done in several parts, the camp was forced on all sides, while the Romans, inferior in number, and dejected by misfortunes, were every where put to the sword by the more numerous enemy, elated with victory. However, a great number of the soldiers fled into the woods which lay at a small distance behind, and thence made their escape to the camp of Publius Scipio, where Titus Fonteius his lieutenant-general, commanded. Cneius Scipio, according to some accounts, was killed on the hill, in the first assault; according to others, he fled into a castle standing near the camp; this was surrounded with fire, and the doors, which were too strong to be forced, being thus burned, they were taken; and all within, together with the general himself were put to death. Cneius Scipio perished in the seventh year after his coming into Spain, the twenty-ninth day after the fall of his brother. Their deaths caused not greater grief at Rome, than in every part of Spain. Nay, among their countrymen, the loss of the armies, the alienation of the province, the misfortune of the public, challenged a share of their sorrow; whereas Spain lamented and mourned for the commanders themselves, and for Cneius even more than for his brother, because he had been longer in the government of their country, had earlier engaged their affections, and was the first who gave them a specimen of the Roman justice and moderation.

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XXXVII. The army was now supposed to be utterly ruined, and Spain to be entirely lost, when one man retrieved the Roman affairs from this desperate condition: this was Lucius Marcius, son of Septimus, a Roman knight, a young man of an enterprising temper, and of a capacity which would do credit to a rank much superior to that in which he was born. These very great talents had been improved by the discipline of Cneius Scipio, under which he had, in a course of many years, acquired a thorough knowledge of all the arts of war. Collecting the soldiers, after their dispersion in the flight and drafting others out of the garrisons, he formed an army far from contemptible, with which he joined Titus Fonteius, the lieutenant-general of Publius Scipio. Such a superior ascendancy was possessed by a Roman knight in the respect and esteem of the soldiery, that, after fortifying a camp on the hither side of the Iberus, they determined that a commander should be chosen for the two armies by the suffrages of the soldiers. On this, relieving each other successively in the guard of the rampart and other posts, until every one had given his vote, they all concurred in conferring the chief command on Lucius Marcius. The remaining time of their stay there, which was but short, was employed in strengthening the camp, and collecting provisions; the soldiers executing every order not only with diligence, but without betraying any dejection whatever. But when intelligence was brought that Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, was coming to crush the last remains of opposition; that he had passed the Iberus and was drawing near; and when they saw the signal of battle displayed by a new commander—then, recollecting what captains and what forces had used to support their confidence when going out to fight, they all on a sudden burst into tears, and beat their heads. Some raised their hands towards heaven, taxing the gods with cruelty; others prostrate on the ground, invoked by name each his own former commander: nor could their lamentations be restrained by all the efforts Edition: current; Page: [307] of the centurions, or by the soothings and expostulations of Marcius himself, who asked them, “why they abandoned themselves to womanly and unavailing tears, and did not rather summon up their fiercest courage, for the common defence of themselves and the commonwealth, and for avenging their slaughtered generals?” Meanwhile, on a sudden, the shout and the sound of trumpets were heard, for the enemy were by this time near the rampart; and now their grief being instantly converted into rage, they hastily snatched up their arms, and, as if instigated by madness, ran to the gates, and made a furious attack on the forces, who were advancing in a careless and irregular manner. This unexpected reception immediately struck the Carthaginians with dismay: they wondered whence such a number of enemies could have started up, since the almost total extinction of their force; whence the vanquished and routed derived such boldness, such confidence in themselves; what chief had arisen since the death of the two Scipios; who should command in their camp; who could have given the signal for battle? Perplexed and astonished at so many incidents, so unaccountable, they first gave way; and then, on being pushed with a vigorous onset, turned their backs: and now, either a dreadful havoc would have been made among the flying party, or the pursuers would have found their impetuosity turn out inconsiderate and dangerous to themselves, had not Marcius quickly sounded a retreat, and by stopping them in the front, and even holding back some with his own hands, repressed the fury of the troops. He then led them into the camp, with their rage for blood and slaughter still unabated. The Carthaginians at first retreated precipitately from the rampart; but when they saw that there was no pursuit, they imagined that the others had halted through fear; and then, as if holding them in contempt, they returned to their camp at an easy pace. Conformable to the same notion was their careless manner of guarding their works; for although the Romans Edition: current; Page: [308] were at hand, yet they considered them merely as the remains of the two armies vanquished a few days before: and, in consequence of this error, negligence prevailed among the Carthaginians in every particular. Marcius, having discovered this, resolved on an enterprise, at first view rather rash than bold; which was, to go and attack the enemy’s post; for, he considered that it would be easier to storm the camp of Hasdrubal while he stood single, than to defend his own, in case the three generals and three armies should again unite; and besides, that, on one hand should he succeed in his attempt, he would gain relief from the distresses that encompassed him; and on the other, should he be repulsed, yet his daring to make the attack would rescue him from contempt.

XXXVIII. However, lest the suddenness of the affair, and the apprehensions incident to men acting by night, might disconcert an undertaking which, at best, seemed but ill suitable to his present condition, he judged it advisable to communicate his design to the soldiers, and to animate their spirits. Accordingly, being assembled, he addressed them in a speech to this effect: “Soldiers, either my dutiful affection to our late commanders, both during their lives and since their death, or the present situation of us all, might be sufficient to convince every one of you, that the command with which I am invested, though highly honourable, as the gift of your judgment, is still in reality full of labour and anxiety. For at the time when (only that fear benumbs the sense of grief) I should not be so far master of myself as to be able to find any consolation for our losses, I am compelled singly to study the safety of you all; a task most difficult to a mind immersed in sorrow; so much so, that while I am devising the means of preserving to our country these remnants of the two armies, I cannot, even in those moments, be wholly abstracted from it. For bitter remembrance haunts me; and the two Scipios, by day and by night, disquiet me with anxious cares and dreams, and often awake me out of sleep. Edition: current; Page: [309] They charge me, not to let them, or their men, (your fellow-soldiers, who for eight years maintained in this country a superiority in arms,) or our commonwealth, remain unrevenged; to follow their discipline, and their maxims; and that as, during their lives, no one was more obedient to their commands than I was, so I should, after their death, ever deem that conduct the best, which I have most reason to think that they would have pursued on any emergency. I could wish, soldiers, that you, on your part, would not pay them the tribute of tears and lamentations, as if they were no longer in existence; they who live and flourish in the fame of their achievements; but that, whenever the memory of them recurs, you would go into battle, as if you saw them encouraging you, and giving you the signal. Most certainly it must have been their image presenting itself to your eyes and minds that animated you yesterday to that memorable action, in which you gave the enemies a proof that the Roman race had not become extinct with the Scipios, and that the strength and valour of that nation, which was not crushed by the disaster at Cannæ, will ever rise superior to the severest inflictions of fortune. Now, after you have, from the suggestions of your own courage, braved danger with such intrepidity, I wish to try how much of the same bravery you will exert under the direction of your commander: for yesterday, when I gave the signal of retreat, on seeing, you pursue the routed Carthaginians with precipitation, I did not mean to break your spirit, but to reserve it for a more glorious and more advantageous opportunity; that you might afterwards, in short, and at a more favourable juncture, with full preparation, and well armed, assail your enemy unprepared, unarmed, and even buried in sleep. Nor, soldiers, did I conceive the hope of such an occasion offering, inconsiderately, and without reason, but founded it on the real state of things. Suppose any one should ask you, by what means, with your small numbers, and after suffering a defeat, you Edition: current; Page: [310] defended your camp against numerous forces elated with victory; you would surely give no other answer than that, being from these very circumstances apprehensive of danger, you had strengthened your quarters on every side with works, and kept yourselves ready and prepared for action. And this is always the case: men are least secure on that side, where their situation removes the apprehension of danger: because wherever they think care unnecessary, they will be there unguarded and open. There is no one thing which the enemy at present less apprehend, than that we, so lately blockaded and assaulted, should have the confidence to assault their camp. Let us dare then to do what no one will believe we dare to undertake: the very persuasion of its difficulty will make it easy to us. At the third watch of the night I will lead you thither in silence. I know, certainly, that they have not a course of watches, nor regular guards. The noise of our shout at their gates, and the first attack, will carry the camp. Then, while they are torpid with sleep, dismayed by the sudden tumult, and surprised, unarmed in their beds, let that carnage be made, from which you were vexed at your being recalled yesterday. I am aware that the enterprise must appear presumptuous; but in cases of difficulty, and when hopes are small, the most spirited counsels are the safest; because, if in the moment of opportunity, which quickly fleets away, you hesitate, even but a little, you will in vain wish for it afterwards, when it is no more. They have one army in our neighbourhood, and two others at no great distance. From an immediate attack we have reason to expect success; you have already made trial of your own strength, and of theirs; but if we defer the matter, and they, on being informed of our behaviour in yesterday’s irruption, cease to look on us with contempt, it is probable that all their commanders, and all their forces, will unite in one body. In that case, can we hope to be able to withstand the enemy’s three generals, and three armies, whom Cneius Scipio, with his army Edition: current; Page: [311] entire, could not withstand? As our generals were ruined by the dividing of their forces, so may the enemy, while separate and divided, be overpowered. There is no other way in which we can act with effect: let us therefore wait for nothing beyond the opportunity which the next night will afford us. Retire now, with the favour of the gods; refresh yourselves with food and rest, that you may, strong and vigorous, break into the camp of the enemy with the same spirit with which you defended your own.” They heard with joy this new plan proposed by their new general, which pleased them the more, on account of its daring boldness. The remainder of the day was employed in preparing their arms, and taking their victuals, and the greater part of the night was given to rest. At the fourth watch they were in motion.

XXXIX. At the distance of six miles beyond the nearest camp lay another body of Carthaginians. Between the two was a deep valley, thick set with trees. About the middle of this wood, by a stratagem worthy the genius of a Carthaginian, a Roman cohort and some cavalry were placed in concealment. The communication being thus cut off, the rest of the troops were led in silence to the nearest body of the enemy, and finding no advanced guard before the gates, or watches on the rampart, they marched in, without meeting an opposer, as they would into their own camp. The charge was then sounded, and the shout raised; some kill the assailed before they are quite awake, some throw fire on the huts which were covered with dry straw, some seize the gates to cut off their flight. The fire, the shouting, and the slaughter, all together, so stunned and confounded the enemy’s senses, that they neither could hear each other, nor think of what they should do. Unarmed, they every where fell in among troops of armed foes: some hastened to the gates; others, finding the passes shut, leaped over the rampart: and every one as soon as he got out, fled directly towards the other camp. These were intercepted by the Edition: current; Page: [312] cohort and cavalry rushing out from their ambush, and were all slain to a man, and even had any escaped, the Romans, having taken the nearer camp, ran forward to the other with such rapid haste, that no one could have arrived before them with the news of the disaster. At this camp, as it lay at a greater distance from an enemy, and as many had gone out before day in quest of forage, wood, and booty, they found every thing in a still more neglected and careless state; the weapons only standing at the outposts, the men unarmed, sitting or lying on the ground, or walking about before the gates and rampart. In this unguarded situation they were attacked by the Romans, yet warm from the late fight, and flushed with victory. No opposition therefore could be given them at the entrances; within, indeed, the first shout and the tumult having brought many together from all parts of the camp, a fierce conflict arose, which would have lasted long, had not the sight of the blood on the shields of the Romans, discovered to the Carthaginians the defeat of their other party, and struck them with dismay. This panic occasioned a general flight; every one, except such as the sword overtook, rushing out wherever a passage could be found. Thus, in one night and day, through the successful conduct of Lucius Marcius, were two of the Carthaginian camps taken by storm. Claudius, who translated the annals of Acilius from the Greek language into the Latin, affirms, that there were thirty-seven thousand of the enemy killed, one thousand eight hundred and thirty taken, and a vast booty acquired; among which was a silver shield of an hundred and thirty-eight pounds weight, embossed with the image of the Barcine Hasdrubal. Valerius Antias says, that Mago’s camp only was taken, where seven thousand were killed; and that, in the other battle, when the Romans sallied out and fought Hasdrubal, ten thousand fell, and that four thousand three hundred and thirty were taken. Piso writes, that Mago, having hastily pursued our troops who were retreating, five thousand of his men were killed in an ambuscade. Edition: current; Page: [313] All mention the name of the commander, Marcius, with great honour; and to his real glory they added also miraculous incidents; among others, that while he was haranguing his men, a flame was seen at the top of his head, without being felt by him, to the great fright of the surrounding soldiers. It is said, that, as a monument of his victory over the Carthaginians, the shield with the image of Hasdrubal, styled the Marcian, remained in the Capitol until the burning of that temple.* After this, hostilities were suspended in Spain for a long time, both parties being unwilling, after such severe shocks given and received, to risk an action which might be wholly destructive to one or both.

XL. During the time of these transactions in Spain, Marcellus having, after the taking of Syracuse, adjusted the other affairs of Sicily with such integrity and good faith as augmented not only his own glory, but likewise the majesty of the Roman people carried off to Rome the ornaments of the city, the statues and pictures with which it abounded. These were no doubt the spoils of enemies, and acquired by the right of war, yet they first gave rise to a taste for the works of Grecian artists, and to the consequent unbounded rapacity with which all places, indiscriminately, both sacred and profane, have been plundered; and which, at last, has been exercised even against the deities of Rome, and that very temple itself, in the first instance, which was decorated by Marcellus with peculiar elegance: for formerly, those which he dedicated near the Capuan gate were visited by foreigners on account of their exquisite ornaments, of which a very small portion remains. Supplicatory embassies came to Marcellus from almost every state in Sicily; as their cases were dissimilar, so were the terms granted them. Such as either had not revolted, or had returned into amity, before the reduction of Syracuse, were received as faithful Edition: current; Page: [314] allies, and treated with kindness; while such as, after that event, had submitted through fear, being considered as conquered, had terms dictated to them by the victor. Still, however, the Romans had remaining, at Agrigentum, some enemies far from contemptible—Epicydes and Hanno, who had been commanders in the late war, with a third and new one, sent by Hannibal in the room of Hippocrates, of a Lybophœnician race, a native of Hippo, called by his countrymen Mutines, an enterprising man, and instructed under no less a master than Hannibal himself in all the arts of war. To him Epicydes and Hanno assigned the auxiliary Numidians; with these he overran the lands of their enemies in such a manner, and was so active in visiting their allies for the purpose of securing their fidelity, and of giving them succour as occasion required, that, in a short time, he filled all Sicily with his fame, and was considered as one of the principal supports of the Carthaginian party. The Carthaginian general therefore, and the Syracusan, who had hitherto remained shut up within the walls of Agrigentum, were induced, not only by the advice of Mutines, but by confidence in their strength, to venture out of the town, and they pitched their camp on the bank of the river Himera. When Marcellus was informed of this, he instantly put his troops in motion, and sat down, at the distance of about four miles from them, to observe their motions and intentions. But Mutines left him neither room nor time for deliberation, for he crossed the river, and charged his advanced guards with such fury as to cause great terror and disorder. Next day, in a kind of regular engagement, he drove the Romans back into their fortifications. He was then called away by a mutiny of the Numidians which broke out in the camp, and as about three hundred of them had retired to a town called Heraclea of Minos, he went thither, in order to pacify and bring them back. At his departure he is said to have recommended earnestly to the other generals not to come to an engagement Edition: current; Page: [315] with the enemy during his absence. This gave much offence to both, particularly to Hanno, who was already jealous of his reputation: “that Mutines should dictate to him; a mongrel African to a Carthaginian general, commissioned by the senate and people.” He prevailed on Epicydes, who was disinclined to the measure, to consent that they should cross the river, and offer battle; alleging, that if they waited for Mutines, and the issue of the battle should prove fortunate, the honour would all be ascribed to him.

XLI. Marcellus, fired with indignation at the thought that he, who had beaten off from Nola, Hannibal, when elated with his victory at Cannæ, should give way to such adversaries as these, and whom he had repeatedly defeated on land and sea, ordered his men to take arms hastily, and march out to meet them. While he was arranging his troops, ten Numidians from the enemy’s line came to him at full gallop, and told him, that their countrymen, influenced first by the same motive which caused the mutiny, in which three hundred of their number had retired to Heraclea, and secondly, by seeing their own commander, at the very eve of a battle, sent out of the way, by officers who wished to derogate from his merit, had resolved to remain inactive during the fight. Contrary to the insidious character of their nation, they fulfilled their promise. This added new spirits to the Romans, for the intelligence was quickly conveyed along the ranks, that the enemy were forsaken by their horse, which had been considered as the most formidable part of their force. At the same time, it damped the courage of the Carthaginians, who, besides seeing themselves deprived of the support of the principal part of their strength, became even apprehensive of being attacked by their own cavalry. There was therefore no great contest: the first onset decided the affair. The Numidians stood quiet, on the wings, during the action, and when they saw their confederates turning their backs, accompanied them only a short Edition: current; Page: [316] way on their flight; for, observing that all in confusion made towards Agrigentum, in order to avoid the hardships of a siege, they withdrew themselves into several of the neighbouring cities. Many thousands were killed, and many taken, together with eight elephants. This was the last battle fought by Marcellus in Sicily, after which he returned in triumph to Syracuse. The year was now near to a close. The Roman senate therefore decreed that Publius Cornelius, prætor, should write to the consuls at Capua, that while Hannibal was at a great distance, and no business of moment was going on there, one of them should, if they thought proper, come to Rome to elect new magistrates. On receiving the letter, the consuls settled between themselves, that Claudius should hold the elections, and Fulvius remain at Capua. Claudius elected consuls, Cneius Fulvius Centumalus, and Publius Sulpicius Galba, son of Servius, who had not before held any curule office. Then Lucius Cornelius Lentulus, Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, Caius Sulpicius, and Caius Calpurnius Piso were elected prætors. The city jurisdiction fell to Piso, Sicily to Sulpicius, Apulia to Cethegus, and Sardinia to Lentulus. The present consuls were continued in command for the ensuing year.

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BOOK XXVI.

Hannibal encamps upon the banks of the Anio, within three miles of Rome. Attended by two thousand horsemen, he advances close to the Colline gate, to take a view of the walls and situation of the city. On two successive days the hostile armies are hindered from engaging by the severity of the weather. Capua taken by Quintus Fulvius and Appius Claudius: the chief nobles die, voluntarily, by poison. Quintus Fulvius, having condemned the principal senators to death, at the moment they are actually tied to the stakes, receives dispatches from Rome, commanding him to spare their lives, which he postpones reading, until the sentence is executed. Publius Scipio, offering himself for the service, is sent to command in Spain: takes New Carthage in one day. Successes in Sicily. Treaty of friendship with the Ætolians War with Philip, king of Macedonia, and the Acarnanians.

Y. R. 541 bc 211I. The consuls Cneius Fulvius Centumalus and Publius Sulpicius Galba, as soon as they came into office, on the ides of March, convened the senate in the capitol, and proposed to their consideration the state of the commonwealth, the method of conducting the war, and the disposition of the provinces and armies. Quintus Fulvius and Appius Claudius, the consuls of the preceding year, were continued in command; the legions which they had at present, were decreed to them, and an injunction was added, that they should not quit the siege of Capua, until they had Edition: current; Page: [318] reduced the place. This was a point on which the Romans kept their attention fixed with particular solicitude, not only from resentment, for which no state ever gave juster cause, but from the consideration, that a city so eminent and powerful, as it had, by its revolt, drawn several states into the same measure, would probably, if recovered, dispose their minds to wish for a reconciliation with the government under which they had formerly lived. Two prætors also, of the preceding year, were continued in command, Marcus Junius in Etruria, and Publius Sempronius in Gaul, each with the two legions which he then had. Marcus Marcellus was also continued, that he might, in quality of proconsul, finish the remainder of the war in Sicily, with the army then under his command. Directions were given him, that he should take the complement requisite for completing the numbers of his troops, if that should be necessary, out of the legions which Publius Cornelius, proprætor, commanded in Sicily; conditionally, however, that he should not choose any soldier from among those who had been prohibited by the senate from receiving a discharge, or returning home before the conclusion of the war. To Caius Sulpicius, whose lot was the province of Sicily, were decreed the two legions formerly commanded by Publius Cornelius, and a supply of men from the army of Cneius Fulvius, which had been shamefully defeated and put to flight, the year before, in Apulia. For the soldiers of this description the senate had fixed the same term of service as for those concerned at Cannæ; and, as a farther mark of ignominy to both, it was ordered, that they should not reside during the winter in towns, nor build their winter huts nearer to any town than ten miles. To Lucius Cornelius, in Sardinia, the two legions were given which Quintus Murius had commanded; a supply of men, if requisite, the consuls were ordered to enlist. Titus Otacilius and Marcus Valerius were ordered, with the fleets and legions then under their command, to guard the coasts Edition: current; Page: [319] of Greece and Sicily. On the former station were employed fifty ships and one legion; on the latter, one hundred ships and two legions. Twenty-three Roman legions were, this year, employed in the war on land and sea.

II. In the beginning of the year, on a letter from Lucius Marcius being laid before the senate that assembly declared his services highly meritorious; but his assuming a title of honour (for, unauthorised either by order of the people or direction of the senate, he had, in addressing the senate, styled himself proprætor,) gave general offence. They deemed it “a precedent of pernicious tendency, that commanders should be chosen by the troops; and that the established privileges of assemblies, held under auspices, should be transferred to a giddy soldiery, in camps and provinces remote from the magistrates and laws.” Several were of opinion, that the senate should take the matter into consideration; but it was judged more expedient to defer any notice of it until after the departure of the messengers who brought the letter from Marcius. It was agreed, that an answer should be sent to him, respecting provisions and clothing for the army, saying that the senate would take care of both those matters: but it was resolved that it should not be addressed to Lucius Marcius, proprætor, lest he should consider, as determined, a question which they had reserved for future discussion. After the couriers were dismissed, the first business proposed by the consuls, and which was unanimously agreed upon, was, that application should be made to the plebeian tribunes, to take the sense of the commons with all convenient speed, as to what person they would choose to be sent into Spain with a commission to command the army lately under Cneius Scipio. The tribunes were advised with accordingly, and the question was published for consideration: but people’s thoughts were wholly engrossed by a contest on another subject: Caius Sempronius Blæsus, having instituted a prosecution against Cneius Fulvius, on account of the loss of the army in Apulia, inveighed against Edition: current; Page: [320] him continually in public harangues, affirming that “although many commanders had, through rashness and unskilfulness, brought their armies into situations of extreme danger, yet never had any one, except Cneius Fulvius, corrupted his legions with every kind of vice before he exposed them to destruction: so that it might be said, with truth, that their ruin was effected before they had even seen an enemy; and that they were vanquished, not by Hannibal, but by their own commander. No elector could too carefully scrutinize the character of the person to whom he was entrusting an army. What a difference between this man and Tiberius Sempronius! The latter, though the army committed to him consisted of slaves, yet by proper discipline and wise regulations, had quickly improved them to such a degree, that, in the field of battle, not one of them evinced by his conduct either his condition or his birth; and they became a safeguard to the allies, a terror to the enemy. They snatched, as it were, out of Hannibal’s grasp, and restored to the Roman people, the cities of Cumæ, Beneventum, and several others; whereas Cneius Fulvius, having received an army of Roman citizens, honourably born and liberally educated, had debauched them by all the low vices of slaves, and sunk them into such a state of degeneracy, that they were insolent and turbulent among the allies, spiritless and dastardly among foes; and so far from withstanding the attack of the Carthaginians, they withstood not even their shout. Nor, indeed, was it wonderful that the soldiers did not stand their ground in battle, when their commander was the first who fled. For his part, he rather wondered that any of them had fallen in their posts, and that they did not, one and all, accompany Cneius Fulvius in his panic and flight. Caius Flaminius, Lucius Paullus, Lucius Postumius, Cneius and Publius Scipio, had chosen rather to fall in fight, than to abandon their troops in a desperate situation. But Cneius Fulvius was almost the only messenger who brought to Edition: current; Page: [321] Rome the news of his army being cut off. It was contrary,” he said, “to every rule of honour and equity, that the troops engaged at Cannæ, because they fled out of the field, should be transported into Sicily, and prohibited from returning thence before the termination of the war in Italy, and that a decree, to the same purport, should have been lately passed in the case of the legions under the command of Cneius Fulvius, while Cneius Fulvius himself, after running away from a battle brought on by his own temerity, should escape all punishment; that he should spend his old age where he had spent his youth, in the stews and brothels, while his soldiers, who were no otherwise culpable than in resembling their commander, were cast out, in a manner, into exile, condemned to a service of ignominy. So unequal was the dispensation of liberty at Rome to the rich and to the poor; to the man who had arrived at honours, and to those who still continued in obscurity.”

III. Fulvius endeavoured to transfer the guilt from himself to the soldiers; asserting, that “in consequence of their insisting violently on fighting, they were led out to the field, not on the same day on which they desired it, because it was then evening, but on the day following, when both the time and the ground were favourable to them; but that they were so overawed, either by the reputation or the strength of the enemy, that they did not make a stand. That, in the hurry of the general flight, he was carried away by the crowd, as had been the case of Varro, at the battle of Cannæ, and of many other generals. And how could he, by his single resistance, serve the cause of the commonwealth; unless, indeed, his death were considered as a remedy for the public misfortunes? He had not been brought into any dangerous situation by want of provisions, or by want of caution; neither was he, in consequence of marching unguardedly, surprised by an ambuscade, but defeated by open force, by dint of arms, in a fair engagement, nor had he the power of determining Edition: current; Page: [322] the degree of courage to be exerted either by his own men, or by the enemy: every man’s own disposition supplied either courage or cowardice.” The matter came twice to a hearing, and, at both times, the penalty was laid at a fine. At the third hearing, witnesses were produced; and, besides his being loaded with charges of the most scandalous nature, great numbers deposed on oath, that the prætor was the first who showed any symptoms of fear, and began the flight; and that the soldiers, being abandoned by him, and supposing that the general’s fears were not without grounds, fled likewise; on which, the anger of the people was inflamed to such a pitch, that the whole assembly cried out that the prosecution ought to be capital. On this point a new contest arose; for, as the tribune had, on two former occasions, prosecuted the offence as finable, and at a third, proposed to prosecute it as a capital, an appeal was made to the tribunes of the commons. They declared, that “they could not debar their colleague from prosecuting, as, by the practice of former times, he had a right to do, either on the written laws, or the general practice, until he should obtain judgment, either of capital punishment, or a fine, against the defendant a private person.” Then Sempronius gave notice, that he demanded judgment of treason against Cneius Fulvius; and he made a requisition to the city prætor, Caius Calpurnius, to appoint a day for the assembly. The accused then rested his hopes on another expedient, the procuring at his trial the support of his brother, Quintus Fulvius, who, at this time, stood high in the public esteem, both on account of the merit of his past services, and the expectation of his speedily reducing Capua. But Fulvius having sent a petition to this purpose, couched in terms calculated to excite compassion, as in a case where a brother’s life was concerned, and the senate answering, that his quitting Capua would be injurious to the public interest, Cneius Fulvius, at the approach of the day appointed for the assembly, withdrew Edition: current; Page: [323] into exile to Tarquinii. The commons passed an order confirming his banishment as legal.

IV. In the mean-time the grand operations of the campaign were directed against Capua, where, however, the siege was carried on, rather by a close blockade than by vigorous assaults. This caused so great a famine, that the populace and the slaves could no longer endure it, and yet there was no way of sending messengers to Hannibal, the approaches were all so strictly guarded. At length a Numidian was found, who, taking a letter, engaged to make his way with it; and, going out by night, he passed through the middle of the Roman camp. This encouraged the Campanians to try, while they had any remains of vigour, what might be done by sallies from all sides of the town. In many engagements which followed, their cavalry were generally successful, their infantry worsted: but the besiegers were not nearly so much pleased by the advantages which they had gained, as mortified at being overcome, in any particular, by an enemy besieged, and on the point of being taken. At last the Romans adopted a method of supplying by art their deficiency in strength. Out of all the legions were selected young men, who from the power and lightness of their bodies, possessed the greatest agility: to these were given bucklers, shorter than those of the cavalry, and to each seven javelins four feet long, pointed with iron, in the same manner as the missile javelins now used by the light infantry. The cavalry, each taking one of these behind him on his horse, taught them, by frequent exercise, so to ride, and to dismount quickly, when the signal was given. As soon as, from daily practice, they seemed to perform this with sufficient expertness, they were led out into a plain, between the camp and the walls, against the cavalry of the Campanians, who stood there in order of battle. When they came within a weapon’s cast, these light footmen dismounted, and, forming in a moment, instead of cavalry, a line of infantry ran forward against the Edition: current; Page: [324] enemy’s horse; and, as they advanced, discharged their javelins, one after another, with great fury; by the vast number of which, thrown against men and horses indiscriminately, very many were wounded. But the novelty and unexpectedness of such a proceeding caused still greater fright, and, while they were in this disorder, the cavalry made their charge, and drove them back even to their gates with great slaughter. Henceforward the Romans had the superiority in the field in respect of both horse and foot. It was then made an established regulation, that in all the legions there should be light infantry of this sort, who are called velites. We are told, that the person who had advised the mixing of footmen with the cavalry was Quintus Navius, a centurion; and that he was, on that account, highly honoured by the general.

V. While affairs at Capua were in this state, Hannibal’s judgment was long suspended between his wishes, on one hand, to acquire possession of the citadel of Tarentum, and, on the other, to retain Capua. At length, however, he determined in favour of the latter; because on that object he saw that the attention of all men, both friends and enemies, was fixed; as the fate of that city would demonstrate what kind of consequences were to be expected from revolting from the Romans. Leaving, therefore, in Bruttium, the greatest part of his baggage, and all his heavier armed troops, and selecting such of the infantry and cavalry as were best qualified for an expeditious march, he took the route to Campania. Notwithstanding he went with much speed, yet he was followed by thirty-three elephants. In a retired valley behind Mount Tifata, which overhangs Capua, he halted; and, having, at his coming, taken the fort of Galatia, from which he dislodged the garrison by force, he prepared to act against the besiegers. He sent forward to the besieged information of the time when he intended to assault the Roman camp, in order that they might be in readiness, and Edition: current; Page: [325] pour out at once from all the gates. This gave the besiegers a most violent alarm: for, while he carried on his attack on one side, all the Campanians, both horse and foot, and with them the Carthaginian garrison, commanded by Bostar, and Hanno, sallied out on the other. In this dangerous situation the Romans, lest by running together to one part they should leave any other unguarded, divided their forces in this manner. Appius Claudius was opposed to the Campanians; Fulvius to Hannibal; Caius Nero, proprætor, with the cavalry of the sixth legion, took post on the road leading to Suessula, and Caius Fulvius Flaccus, lieutenant-general, with the cavalry of the confederates, on the side opposite the river Vulturnus. The fight began with the usual shouting and tumult. But, besides the other noises of men, horses, and weapons, the multitude of Campanians, unable to bear arms, being spread along the walls, raised so loud a shout, accompanied with the clangor of brazen instruments, such as is commonly made in the dead of night on occasion of eclipses of the moon, that it drew the attention even of the combatants. Appius easily repulsed the Campanians from the rampart. Hannibal and his Carthaginians, a more powerful force, pressed hard on Fulvius. There the sixth legion gave way to the enemy, and, on its being broken, a cohort of Spaniards, with three elephants pushed through to the very rampart. It had made an effectual breach in the Roman line; but while flattered, on the one hand, with the hope of forcing into the camp, it was threatened on the other with being cut off from the main body of the army. When Fulvius saw the dastardly behaviour of the legion, and the danger of the camp, he exhorted Quintus Navius, and the other principal centurions, to fall on that cohort that was fighting close to the rampart, and to cut it in pieces; he observed to them, that “the juncture was critical in the last degree; that these men must either be allowed a passage—and then they would break into the camp with less labour than they had exerted in forcing their way Edition: current; Page: [326] through a thick line of troops,—or they must be despatched at the foot of the rampart. This would not be a matter of much contest; they were few in number, and shut out from their friends, and the very breach, which, while the Romans were dispirited, was seen in their line, would, if they faced about upon the foe, prove the means of inclosing and attacking them on all sides at once.” Navius, on hearing these words of the general, took, from the standard-bearer, the standard of the second company of spearmen, and advanced with it against the enemy, threatening to throw it into the midst of them if the soldiers did not instantly follow him, and take a share in the fight. His person was very large, and the standard, raised aloft, attracted the eyes of all. When he came up to the front of the Spaniards, showers of javelins were poured on him from all sides, almost the whole body directing their attacks against him alone; but neither the multitude of the enemies, nor the force of their weapons, could repel the onset of this single combatant.

VI. At the same time, Marcus Atilius, a lieutenant-general, caused the standard of the first company of principes belonging to the same legion to be brought forward against the enemy. The officers commanding in the camp, Lucius Porcius Licinus and Titus Popilius, lieutenants-general, fought with vigour in defence of their trenches, and killed on the very rampart some elephants in the act of attempting to cross it. The bodies of these filling up the ditch, as by a mound or a bridge, afforded a passage to the assailants, and a desperate slaughter was made here, fighting on the bodies of the dead elephants. On the other side of the camp, the Campanians, and the Carthaginian garrison had been repulsed, and the fight was now maintained close to the gate of Capua, which opens toward the city of Vulturnus. The Romans were hindered from forcing their way in, not so much by the arms of the soldiers, as by the ballistæ and scorpions with which the gate was furnished; and which, by the missile Edition: current; Page: [327] weapons they threw, kept the assailants at a great distance. The ardour of the Romans was, besides, checked by their commander, Appius Claudius, being wounded; for while he was encouraging his men in the van, he received a thrust from a javelin in the upper part of his breast below the left shoulder. Nevertheless a vast number of the enemy was killed before the gate, and the rest were driven in disorder into the city. When Hannibal saw that the Spanish cohort was slain to a man, and that the Romans maintained the defence of their camp with the utmost degree of vigour, he gave over the assault, and began to retreat; making his line of infantry face about, and the cavalry cover their rear against any attack. The legions were ardently intent on pursuing the enemy; but Flaccus ordered a retreat to be sounded, supposing that enough had been done to make the Campanian, and Hannibal himself, sensible, how little able he was to protect them. Some who have written accounts of this battle inform us, that there were slain on that day, of Hannibal’s army, eight thousand men, and three thousand of the Campanians; and that fifteen standards were taken from the Carthaginians, eighteen from the Campanians. In other accounts I find that the importance of the battle was not by any means so great, and that there was more of alarm in the case, than of fighting; that a party of Numidians and Spaniards, with some elephants, having, by surprise, broken into the Roman camp, the elephants going through the middle of it overthrew the tents with great noise, so that the beasts of burden broke their collars and ran about frightened; that to increase the disorder a stratagem was used. Hannibal sending in some persons who could speak the Latin language, of whom he had many, giving orders, in the name of the consuls, that, as the camp was lost, every man should fly, as he was able, to the nearest mountains; but that the imposition was quickly detected; and its progress stopped by a great slaughter of the enemy, and that the elephants were Edition: current; Page: [328] driven out of the camp with firebrands. This battle, in whatsoever manner begun and ended, was the last that was fought, previous to the surrender of Capua. The medixtuticus, or chief magistrate of the Campanians, for this year, was Seppius Lesius, a man of obscure birth and small property. There is a story, that, at a former time, when his mother was, in his behalf (he being under age,) expiating a prodigy which happened in the family, the aruspex answered her, that the supreme power at Capua, would come to that boy: on which knowing no circumstance that could countenance such an expectation, she replied, “What you say supposes the affairs of the Campanians in a truly desperate state, when the supreme magistracy is to come to my son.” This expression, meant in derision of a true prediction, proved itself true in the event; for the people being distressed by the sword and by famine, and destitute of every kind of hope, those who were entitled by birth to expect the posts of honour, declining to accept them, Lesius, who exclaimed that Capua was deserted and betrayed by the nobility, obtained the post of supreme magistrate, and was the last Campanian who held it.

VII. Hannibal, seeing that he could neither bring the enemy to another engagement, nor force a passage through their camp into Capua, and fearing, lest the new consuls might cut off his supplies of provisions, determined to drop a design in which he had no prospect of success, and to remove from the place. To what quarter he should next direct his route was then to be resolved; and, while he was earnestly deliberating on this head, he felt his mind strongly impelled to make an attempt on Rome itself, the grand source of the war: a measure always ardently wished for, and the omission of which, on the favourable occasion after the battle of Cannæ, was generally censured by others, and not defended by himself. He thought that he need not despair of gaining possession of some part of the city during the panic and tumult which his unexpected approach would occasion; and that Edition: current; Page: [329] when Rome should be in danger, either both the commanders or at least one of them, would leave Capua; and that, should they divide their forces, this, by weakening both, would afford either him or the Campanians a chance of acting with success. One consideration made him uneasy, that, on his departure, the Capuans might perhaps immediately surrender. He therefore by rewards, engaged a Numidian, who was of a disposition to undertake any thing for pay, to be the bearer of a letter to the people, and, going into the Roman camp in character of a deserter, to pass out privately on the other side to Capua. This letter was full of encouragements to hold out: “his departure,” he told them, “would prove the means of their safety, as it would draw away the Roman generals and armies from before Capua to the defence of Rome.” He exhorted them “not to let their spirits sink; for by patient resolution, for a few days, they would free themselves entirely from the siege.” He then ordered all the vessels on the river Vulturnus to be siezed, and brought up to a fort which he had before erected for the security of his camp. As soon as he was informed that a sufficient number of these had been procured to carry over his troops, he led them down by night to the river, provided with victuals for ten days, and, before morning they gained the other side.

VIII. That this step was intended, Fulvius Flaccus had discovered, from deserters, before it was put in execution; and had apprised the senate of it by a letter sent to Rome, where men’s minds were variously affected by the intelligence. At a meeting of the senate, which was immediately convened on this alarming emergency, Publius Cornelius, surnamed Asina, recommended, that all concern about Capua, with every other matter, should be laid aside, and all the generals and armies called home, from every part of Italy, for the defence of the capital. Fabius Maximus represented it as utterly disgraceful to retire from Capua, and to let their Edition: current; Page: [330] fears excited, and their motions directed, by every nod and menace of Hannibal. “Was it credible,” he said, “that he who after gaining the victory of Cannæ had not dared to approach the city, should now, after being repulsed from Capua, conceive an expectation of taking Rome? His purpose in coming was not to attack Rome, but to raise the siege of Capua. As to Rome, Jupiter and the rest of the gods, witnesses of the treaties broken by Hannibal, would, with the troops then in the city defend it.” These opposite opinions were both rejected, and that of Publius Valerius Flaccus, which pointed out a middle course, was adopted. He advised, that due attention should be paid to both the affairs in question, and that a letter should be sent to the generals commanding at Capua, informing them of the force then in that city, mentioning that “they themselves knew what number of troops Hannibal brought with him, and how many were necessary for carrying on the siege of Capua;” and directing, that “if one of the generals and a part of the army could be sent to Rome, and, at the same time, the siege be properly carried on by the remaining troops, and the other general; then, that Claudius and Fulvius should settle between themselves which should conduct the siege of Capua, and which should come home to defend their native city in any attack.” A decree of the senate, to this effect having been passed and carried to Capua, Quintus Fulvius, proconsul, whose part it was to go to Rome, his colleague being indisposed in consequence of his wound, having selected out of the three armies fifteen thousand foot and one thousand horse, conveyed them over the Vulturnus. Having learned with certainty that Hannibal intended to go by the Latine road, he despatched couriers before him to the corporate towns on and near the Appian road, Setia, Cora, and Lanuvium, with orders that the people of those places should not only have provisions prepared for their use, but also bring them down to the road from the lands which lay out of the Edition: current; Page: [331] way; and that they should draw together bodies of soldiers into their towns, that every man might stand forth in defence of his own state.

IX. Hannibal, after passing the Vulturnus, encamped for that day at a small distance from the river. On the day following, he passed by Cales, and came into the Sidicinian territory where he halted one day to lay it waste; and then marched along the Latine way through the territories of Suessa, Allifæ and Casinum. Under the walls of Casinum he remained encamped two days, ravaging the country round. Proceeding thence by Interamna and Aquinum, he came into the Fregellan region, to the River Lyris, where he found the bridge broken down by the people with design to check his progress. On the other hand, Fulvius had met a delay at the Vulturnus, for Hannibal had burned the ships, and he found great difficulty, in a place where timber was exceedingly scarce, to procure rafts for transporting his army. But this being at length effected, the rest of his march was easy and expeditious; for not only in the towns, but on both sides of the road, he was accommodated with plenty of provisions; while the soldiers cheerfully exhorted each other to quicken their pace, in the consideration that they were going to defend their native city. At Rome, a messenger from Fregella who had, without stopping, travelled a day and a night caused a most violent alarm; which, being augmented by people running up and down, and adding groundless circumstances to what they had heard, put the whole city into a tumultuous ferment. The lamentations of the women were not only heard from the private houses; but the matrons in all quarters, rushing out into the public streets, ran to all the temples, where they swept the altars with their dishevelled hair, fell on their knees, and with hands raised up towards the heavens and the gods, prayed that they would rescue the city of Rome from the attempts of its enemies and preserve from hostile violence the Roman mothers, and Edition: current; Page: [332] their little children. The senate remained assembled at the Forum, that the magistrates there might, on any occasion consult them readily. Some accepted commands of parties, and repaired to the several posts to execute their duties; others offered their services wherever they might be requisite. Guards were posted in the citadel, in the capitol, on the walls, on the outside of the city, and likewise on the Alban mount, and in the fort of Æsula. In the midst of this confusion, news arrived that Quintus Fulvius, proconsul, had set out with an army from Capua; and lest his authority should be diminished by his coming into the city,* the senate passed a decree that Quintus Fulvius should have equal power with the consuls. Hannibal after ravaging the lands of Fregella with particular severity, in resentment for the breaking down the bridges, came through the territories of Frusino, Ferentinum, and Anagnia, into that of Lavici, thence pursuing his route through Algidum to Tusculum, where, being refused admittance into the town he marched towards the right, to Gabii, and bringing down his army from thence into the lands of the Pupinian tribe pitched his camp eight miles from Rome. In proportion as he came nearer to the city, the greater was the number of its fugitives slain by the Numidians, who advanced before him, and very many prisoners of all ranks and ages were taken.

X. During this general commotion Fulvius Flaccus, with his army, entered Rome through the Capuan gate, and proceeded along the middle of the city, and through the Carinæ, to the Esquiliæ; where, passing out, he pitched his tents between the Esquiline and Colline gates. The plebeian ædiles brought thither provisions for the troops: the consuls and senate came into the camp, and there held their consultations Edition: current; Page: [333] on the measures requisite in the present state of affairs. It was then resolved, that the consuls should encamp before the Colline and Esquiline gates; that Caius Calpurnius, city prætor, should command in the capitol and citadel; and that the senate should be kept assembled, in full numbers, in the Forum, as sudden exigencies might probably require their consideration. Meanwhile, Hannibal moved his camp forward to the river Anio, three miles from the city, and posting there his troops, he himself, with two thousand horsemen, proceeded from the Colline gate as far as the temple of Hercules, riding about, and taking as near a view as he could of the fortifications and situation of the city. Flaccus, ashamed of his being suffered to do this, and so much at his ease, sent out a party of cavalry against him, with orders to make those of the enemy retire into their camp. When the fight began, the consuls ordered a body of Numidian deserters, who were then on the Aventine (to the number of twelve hundred,) to march across the middle of the city to the Esquiliæ, judging that none would be better qualified to act among the hollows, and garden walls, and tombs, and inclosed roads in that quarter. Some persons, seeing from the capitol and citadel these men filing off on horseback, on the brow of the Publician hill, cried out, that the Aventine was taken; and this incident caused such confusion and terror, that, if the Carthaginian camp had not been just at the outside of the walls, the whole multitude would, in their consternation, have rushed out there. As it was, they ran back into the houses, and up to the roofs, from whence they poured down stones and weapons on their own soldiers passing the streets, whom they took for enemies: Nor could the commotion be suppressed, or the mistake rectified, so thronged were the streets with crowds of peasants and cattle, which the sudden alarm had driven into the city. The party of Numidian cavalry were successful against the enemy, and drove them away. As it was necessary to suppress in various Edition: current; Page: [334] different places the many disturbances which were continually arising on every slight occasion, a decree was passed, that all who had been dictators, consuls, or censors, should have the authority of magistrates, until the foe should retire from the walls. By this means a great many tumults, which were raised without foundation, during the remainder of that day, and the following night, were entirely crushed.

XI. Next day, Hannibal, crossing the Anio, drew up his forces in order of battle; nor did Flaccus and the consuls decline the challenge. When the armies on both sides stood nearly marshalied for the decision of a contest of such magnitude, where the city of Rome was to be the prize of the conqueror, a prodigious shower of rain, mixed with hail, so grievously annoyed both parties, that, scarcely able to hold their arms, they retired to their respective camps, not moved in the slightest degree, by any fear of their adversaries. On the next day, likewise, when the armies were formed on the same ground, the same kind of storm separated them; and, as soon as they had retired, the weather became wonderfully serene and calm. This was considered by the Carthaginians as portentous; and, we are told, that Hannibal was heard to say, that “sometimes the will, sometimes the power of taking the city of Rome, was denied him.” His hopes were also damped by two other incidents; one of some weight, the other trivial. The more important was, that, while he lay with his army under the walls of the city of Rome, he understood that a reinforcement of soldiers for Spain had marched out, with standards borne before them. The one of less importance was, and which he learned from a prisoner, that, at this very time, the ground, whereon his camp stood, happened to be sold, and the price was not in the least lowered on that account. It appeared to him so great an insult, that a purchaser should be found at Rome for that ground which he actually held and possessed by right of conquest, that he immediately called a crier, and ordered him Edition: current; Page: [335] to set up to sale the silversmith’s shops, which at that time stood round the Roman Forum. Discouraged by all these circumstances, he moved his camp to the river Tutia, six miles from the city, and proceeded thence to the grove of Feronia, where was a temple at that time, much celebrated for its riches; the Capenatians and other neighbouring states being accustomed to bring hither the first fruits of their lands, and other offerings, according to their abilities, by which means it was decorated with abundance of gold and silver: of all these offerings the temple was then despoiled. After Hannibal’s departure, large heaps of brass were found in it, the soldiers having through remorse for this impious proceeding, thrown in pieces of uncoined metal. That this temple was pillaged, all writers agree. But Cœlius asserts, that Hannibal, in his march towards Rome, turned aside thither from Eretum; and he traces his route through Amiternum, Cutilii, and Reate; alleging, that, from Campania, he came into Samnium, thence into Pelignia; then, passing near the town of Sulmo, proceeded into the territory of the Marrucinians, thence through the lands of Alba into Marsia, and so on to Amiternum, and the village of Foruli. Nor is this diversity of opinion owing to people’s having lost within so short a period, a distinct remembrance of the traces of so great an army: for, that he went in that track, is certain; the only matter in doubt is, whether he took this route in advancing towards Rome, or in his return thence to Campania.

XII. But Hannibal showed not such obstinate perseverance in his endeavours to raise the siege of Capua, as the Romans did in pushing it forward: for, from Lucania, he hastened away into Bruttium, and all the way to the very strait and the city of Rhegium, with such speed, that in consequence of his sudden arrival he was very near taking that place by surprise. Capua, though the vigour of the siege had not in the mean-time been at all relaxed, yet felt the return of Flaccus; and it was matter of great wonder to the besieged, Edition: current; Page: [336] that Hannibal had not come back at the same time. But, in discoursing with some of the besiegers, they soon learned, that they were left to themselves and abandoned; and that the Carthaginians considered the hope of maintaining possession of Capua as desperate. This afflicting intelligence was followed by an edict of the proconsul, published by direction of the senate, and spread among the enemy, that “any native of Campania who should come over before a certain day should be indemnified for all that was past.” But not one embraced the offer, though they were not restrained by fidelity to their associates, so much as by their fears, because at the time of their revolting they had committed crimes too enormous, as they supposed, to be forgiven. However, though none of them were led to desert by a regard to private interest, yet neither was any proper care taken to promote the interest of the public. The nobility had renounced all public business, and could not be compelled to meet in the senate; and he who was in the office of chief magistrate, was a man who had not, from thence, derived any honour on himself, but had, from his own worthlessness, stripped the office of its weight and authority. Not one of the nobles even appeared in the Forum, or in any public place; but kept themselves shut up in their houses, in daily expectation of the downfall of their city, and the ruin of their country, together with their own destruction. The administration of all business had devolved on Bostar and Hanno, the commanders of the Carthaginian garrison, the chief object of whose concern was, their own danger, not that of their allies. These men wrote to Hannibal in terms not only free, but harsh, charging him, that “besides surrendering Capua into the hands of the enemy, he had abandoned them and their garrison to the hazard of all kinds of torture: that he had gone off to Bruttium as if on purpose to be out of the way, lest the city should be taken in his sight. This was not like the conduct of the Romans, whom not even an attack on the Edition: current; Page: [337] city of Rome could draw away from the siege of Capua: so much more steady were Romans in enmity, than Carthaginians in friendship.” They told him, that “if he would return to Capua, and bring his whole force thither, both they and the Campanians would be ready to sally forth to his assistance. They had not crossed the Alps for the purpose of waging war with the people of Rhegium, or of Tarentum: wherever the Roman legions were, there ought likewise to be Carthaginian armies. In this manner success had been obtained at Cannæ; in this manner at the Trasimenus; by uniting, by keeping their camp close to that of the enemy, by making trial of fortune.” Having written a letter to this effect, they gave it to some Numidians, who had before promised their service for a reward agreed on. After these had come into the camp to Flaccus as deserters, intending to watch for an opportunity, of proceeding thence, (the famine which had raged so long in Capua affording any one a colourable pretence for deserting,) a Campanian woman, who had been mistress to one of these, came unexpectedly into the camp, and informed the Roman general that the Numidians had came over with a treacherous design, and were carrying a letter to Hannibal; and that of this she was ready to convict one of them, who had disclosed the matter to her. On being brought to an examination, he at first maintained firmly that he did not know the woman; but afterwards, yielding reluctantly to the force of truth, on seeing that the racks were called for and brought out, he confessed the fact. The letter was produced, and a farther discovery made of a matter not hitherto mentioned, that several other Numidians, under the appearance of deserters, were strolling about in the Roman camp. These, in number about seventy, were apprehended, and, together with the late deserters, beaten with rods; their hands were then cut off, and they were driven back to Capua.

XIII. The sight of a punishment so grievous quite broke Edition: current; Page: [338] the spirits of the Campanians. The populace, crowding about the senate-house, compelled Lesius to call a meeting of the senate, and openly threatened the nobles, who, for a long time past, had absented themselves from public assemblies, that, if they did not attend the meeting, they would go round to each of their houses, and drag them out by force. The fear of this procured the magistrate a full senate. At this meeting, while the rest proposed sending ambassadors to the Roman generals, Vibius Virius, who had been the principal promoter of the revolt from the Romans, on being asked his opinion, said, that “those who spoke of sending ambassadors, and of peace, and a surrender, did not consider either what they themselves would do, if they had the Romans in their power, or what they must expect to suffer from them. What!” said he, “do you imagine that your surrender now will be of the same kind with that, whereby, in order to obtain support against the Samnites, we delivered ourselves and all belonging to us into the hands of the Romans? Have you already forgotten at what season and in what circumstances, we revolted from the Romans? Have you already forgotten how, at the time of this revolt, we put to death, with indignity and torture, their garrison, which might have been dismissed? How often, and with what bitter animosity, we have sallied out against them, since they began the siege; and even attacked their camp? That we invited Hannibal, in hopes of crushing them; and that we lately sent him hence to attack the city of Rome? Recollect, on the other hand, the instances of their animosity against us; that you may, from thence, be able to estimate what room there is for hope. When there was a foreign enemy in Italy, and that enemy was Hannibal; when war blazed in every quarter, they, neglecting every other concern, neglecting Hannibal himself, sent both their consuls with two consular armies to attack Capua. These two years they have kept us shut up, surrounded with trenches, and Edition: current; Page: [339] consuming us by famine; although they themselves, together with us, undergo the extremest dangers, and the severest labours; often losing many at their rampart and trenches, and, at last, being nearly beaten out of their camp. But I will not enlarge upon these matters. To endure toils and hardships in attacking an enemy’s city, is no new thing; it is usual. What I am going to mention, affords a proof of resentment and implacable hatred. Hannibal, with a powerful army of horse and foot, assaulted their camp, and got possession of a part of it. The greatness of their danger did not, in the least, dispose them to drop the siege. Crossing the Vulturnus, he laid waste the territory of Cales with fire: such a severe calamity of their allies called them not away. He ordered his troops to march in hostile array to the city of Rome itself: this storm, ready to burst on their heads, they likewise slighted. Passing the Anio, he encamped within three miles of Rome, and at last advanced to the very walls and gates, showing a determination to deprive them of their city, unless they quitted Capua. They did not quit it. Wild beasts inflamed with blind fury and rage, you may draw away to the assistance of their young, if you go up to their dens and cubs. As to the Romans, not the blockade of Rome, nor their wives and children, whose lamentations might almost be heard even here, not their altars, their houses, the temples of their gods, and the sepulchres of their ancestors profaned and violated, could draw them away from Capua; so keen are their wishes to bring us to punishment, so eager their thirst for our blood. And, perhaps, not without reason: for we, on our parts, would have done the same, had fortune given us the power. Wherefore, since the immortal gods have determined otherwise, and though I ought not to decline death; yet while I am free, while I am master of myself, I can, by a death-both honourable and easy, avoid the tortures and indignities which the enemy hopes to inflict on me. Never will I see Appius Edition: current; Page: [340] Claudius and Quintus Fulvius puffed up with the insolence of victory; nor will I be dragged in chains through the city of Rome, as a spectacle in their triumph, that I may afterwards, either in a dungeon or tied to a stake, have my back mangled with stripes, and submit my neck to a Roman axe; never will I see my native city demolished, and reduced to ashes, nor the Campanian matrons and virgins dragged to violation. Alba, from whence they themselves sprung, they rased from the foundation, that no monument of their extraction or origin might exist. Can I believe that they will spare Capua, against which they are more violently incensed than against Carthage? Whosoever of you, then, are disposed to yield to destiny, before they become spectators of so many scenes of such horrid kinds, for these a banquet is prepared and ready, this day, at my house. When you have indulged plentifully in food and wine, the same cup that will be given to me shall go round. That cup will save our bodies from torture, our minds from insult, our eyes and ears from the sight and hearing of all the cruelties and indignities that await the conquered. There will be persons in readiness to throw our lifeless bodies on a large pile kindled in the court-yard of the house. This way alone conducts us to death with honour and freedom. Our enemies themselves will admire our courage, and Hannibal will be convinced, that the allies, whom he deserted and betrayed, were men of determined valour.”

XIV. More approved of the proposal contained in this speech of Vibius, than had resolution to adopt it. The greater part of the senate, conceiving hopes that the clemency of the Roman people, often experienced in former disputes, might be extended even to their case, after passing a decree for that purpose, sent ambassadors to surrender Capua to the Romans. About twenty-seven senators followed Vibius Virius to his house; where, after feasting with him, and, as far as they could, banishing from their minds, by wine, all Edition: current; Page: [341] feeling of the impending evil, they every one took the poison. They then broke up the meeting, gave their hands, took the last embrace, condoling with one another on their own fall, and that of their country. Some remained there, in order to be burned together on one pile, and the rest retired to their several houses. Their veins were filled by the victuals and wine; which circumstance retarded the efficacy of the poison in hastening death, so that most of them lingered through that whole night, and part of the next day; however, they all expired before the gates were opened to the enemy. On the day following, the gate of Jupiter which was opposite to the Roman camp, was opened by order of the proconsul, and through it marched in one legion, and two confederate squadrons, under the command of Caius Fulvius, lieutenant-general. His first care was, to have all the arms and weapons in the city brought to him; then, placing guards at all the gates, to prevent any one going or being conveyed out, he secured the Carthaginian garrison, and ordered the Campanian senators to go into the camp to the Roman generals. On their arrival there, they were all immediately thrown into chains, and ordered to furnish the quæstors with an account of what gold and silver they possessed. The gold amounted to seventy pounds weight, the silver to three thousand two hundred. Of the senators, twenty-five were sent to Cales, and twenty-eight to Teanum, to be kept in custody. These were the persons who appeared to have been chiefly instrumental in bringing about the revolt from the Romans.

XV. With respect to the punishment of the Campanian senate, Fulvius and Claudius could by no means agree. Claudius was inclined to favour their suit for pardon; the opinion of Fulvius was more severe. Appius, therefore proposed, that the entire determination of that matter, should be removed to Rome; observing, that it was highly reasonable that the senate should have an opportunity of inquiring, Edition: current; Page: [342] whether they had brought any of the Latine confederates, or of the municipal towns, to take part in their designs, and whether they had been assisted by them in the war. Fulvius insisted, that “it would be to the last degree improper, that faithful allies should have their minds disturbed by dubious imputations, and be subjected to informers, who never scruple either what they say or do. Any inquiry of that kind, therefore he was resolved to suppress and stifle.” After this conversation they parted; and Appius made no doubt that his colleague, though he spoke in this determined manner, would yet, in a case of such importance, wait for letters from Rome. But Fulvius, apprehensive that his intention might be frustrated by that very means, dismissed the officers attending at his pavilion, and ordered the military tribunes and præfects of the allies to give notice to two thousand chosen horsemen, to be in readiness at the third trumpet. With this body of horse he set out in the night for Teanum, and entering the gate at the first light, proceeded straight to the Forum. The arrival of the horsemen having caused immediately a concourse of the people, he ordered the Sidicinian magistrate to be summoned, and commanded him to bring forth the Campanians whom he had in his custody. Accordingly they were all brought forth, beaten with rods and beheaded. From thence, he rode away at full speed to Cales; where, when he had taken his seat on the tribunal, and the lictors were binding the Campanians to the stakes, a courier, arriving in haste from Rome, delivered him a letter from Caius Calpurnius, the prætor, and a decree of the senate in their favour. A murmur immediately spread from the tribunal through the whole assembly, that the case of the Campanians was reserved for the cognizance of the senate. Fulvius, suspecting this to be so, when he received the letter, thrust it unopened into his bosom, and commanded the crier to order the lictor to proceed in his duty according to law. Thus those also who were at Cales suffered punishment. Edition: current; Page: [343] He then read the letter and the decree, when it could not obstruct the business already finished, and which had been hurried on lest it might be obstructed. When Fulvius was rising from his seat, Taurea Jubellius, a Campanian, making his way through the middle of the city and of the crowd, called on him by name. Fulvius, wondering what his business with him might be, resumed his seat; on which the other said, “Order me also to be put to death, that you may boast of having killed a braver man than yourself.” Fulvius said, that “the man had certainly lost his reason,’ and observed besides, that “if he were inclined to comply with his desire, he was now restrained by a decree of the senate.” Jubellius on this exclaimed: “Since, after seeing my country reduced to captivity, after losing my friends and relations, after having killed, with my own hand, my wife and children, to prevent their suffering any indignity, I am denied even the means of dying in the same manner with these my countrymen; let me seek from my own resolution a deliverance from this detested life;” and then stabbing himself through the breast, with a sword which he had concealed under his garment, he fell lifeless at the general’s feet.

XVI. Because not only the whole business relative to the punishment of the Campanians, but, also, most of the other transactions, in that quarter, were conducted agreeably to the single judgment of Flaccus, some writers affirm, that Appius Claudius died before the surrender of Capua. They say, too, that this same Taurea neither came voluntarily to Cales, nor died by his own hand; but that, while he was among the rest, tied to a stake, and because the expressions which he loudly vociferated could not be well heard, amidst the noise of the crowd, Flaccus had ordered silence to be made, and that then Taurea uttered the words before-mentioned: that “he, a man of consummate valour, was to be put to death by one his inferior in courage!” that, on his saying this, the crier, by order of the proconsul, pronounced aloud Edition: current; Page: [344] this order, “Lictor, apply the rods to this man of valour, and on him first execute the law.” Some writers assert also, that he read the decree of the senate before he beheaded the prisoners; but because there was an expression annexed, that “if he judged proper, he should refer the business entire to the senate,” he interpreted this as giving him authority to determine what he judged most conducive to the public good. From Cales he returned to Capua, and received the submission of Attella and Calatia. In these towns also, the persons who had been in the managements of affairs, were punished. Upon the whole, eighty of the principal members of the senate were put to death; and about three hundred Campanian nobles were thrown into prison. The rest, being sent into several of the cities of the Latine confederates to be kept in custody, perished by various means. The whole remaining multitude of Campanian citizens were ordered to be sold. How to dispose of the town and its territory remained to be considered: and here, many were of opinion, that a city, so hostile in disposition, so near the Roman borders, and so formidably powerful, ought to be demolished. However, the consideration of immediate utility prevailed; and, on account of the soil, which was well known to be endued with a fertility qualifying it for every kind of cultivation, and beyond any other in Italy, the city was preserved, to be a kind of settlement of husbandmen. For the purpose of peopling the same, all those of its former inhabitants, who had not become citizens, together with the freedmen, dealers and tradesmen, were ordered to remain; the land and public buildings became the property of the Roman people. It was however, determined, that Capua should have no other privilege of a city, than the being inhabited; no system of civil polity, no assembly of a senate or commons, no magistrates. For it was supposed that a multitude, without a public council, without a ruling head, participating in no common rights, would be incapable of forming designs in Edition: current; Page: [345] concert. It was further ordained, that the administration of justice should be conducted by a præfect, to be sent yearly from Rome. In this manner were the affairs of Capua adjusted, with a policy in every particular commendable. Severe and speedy punishment was inflicted on the most guilty; the populace were dispersed beyond all hope of return; but no passionate resentment was vented, in fire and devastation on the unoffending houses and walls. There was impressed on the minds of all the allies, an advantageous opinion of Roman clemency in the sparing of this very celebrated and opulent city, the demolition of which would have deeply afflicted, not only all Campania, but every state in its neighbourhood. This conduct extorted also from the enemy a full acknowledgment of the power of the Romans to punish faithless allies while they were convinced how utterly inadequate the ability of Hannibal was to afford them the protection engaged for.

XVII. The attention of the senate being no longer necessary to the business of Capua, they decreed to Claudius Nero six thousand foot and three hundred horse, to be chosen by himself out of those two legions which he had commanded at that place, with a like number of foot, and eight hundred horse of the confederate Latines. This army he embarked at Puteoli, and carried over to Spain. When the fleet arrived at Tarraco, he disembarked the troops, hauled the ships on shore, and, to augment his numbers, armed the marines; then, marching to the river Iberus, and receiving the forces then with Titus Fonteius and Lucius Marcius he proceeded towards the enemy. Hasdrubal, son of Hamilcar, was at this time encamped in Ausetania, at a place called the Black Stones, between the towns of Illeturge and Metissa—a valley surrounded by hills and woods, the entrances to which were seized by Nero. In order to extricate himself, Hasdrubal sent a messenger with the wand of peace, engaging that, if he were allowed to depart, he would entirely Edition: current; Page: [346] evacuate Spain. This proposal the Roman received with joy. The Carthaginians then requested, that a conference might be held in order to settle, in writing, the rules to be observed respecting the surrender of the citadels of the several towns, and the appointment of a day whereon the garrisons were to be withdrawn, removing, without obstruction, every thing that belonged to them. This request being complied with, Hasdrubal gave orders, that as soon as it should begin to grow dark, the part of his army least calculated for expeditious movements should get out of the defile as they were able: particular care, however, was taken that great numbers should not leave it at once, because a few were more likely both to pass in silence, and unobserved by the enemy, and also to make their way through the narrow and difficult paths. Next day the commanders of it met; but the whole of it was purposely wasted by Hasdrubal in speaking and writing abundance of things perfectly immaterial; and, consequently the conference was postponed to the next. He thus gained the space of the following night also, to send out more of his troops, and even the next day, did not conclude the business. In this manner several days were passed in openly debating on the conditions, and the nights in privately sending off the Carthaginians; so that, when the greater part of his troops had got clear, his sincerity decreasing along with his fears, he refused to abide by what he himself had proposed. And now, almost the whole of the infantry had made their way out of the defile, when, at the dawn of day, a thick fog overspread both that and all the adjacent plains; which Hasdrubal perceiving, sent to Nero to defer the conference until the next morning, alleging, that this was a day on which the Carthaginians were prohibited by their religion from transacting any serious business. Even this raised no suspicion of deceit. Hasdrubal, having obtained the indulgence he had demanded, instantly quitted the camp with his cavalry and elephants; and, without causing Edition: current; Page: [347] any alarm, gained a place of safety. About the fourth hour, the fog being dispersed by the sun, the day cleared up, and showed to the Romans the enemy’s deserted camp. Then, at last, Nero became acquainted with Carthaginian perfidy, and was so provoked at having thus been duped, that he set out directly in pursuit of the retreating enemy, determined to bring him to an engagement; but the other eluded all his endeavours. Some skirmishes however took place between the rear of the Carthaginians and the advanced guard of the Romans.

XVIII. Meanwhile those Spanish states, which, after the late disaster, had abandoned the cause of the Romans, did not return to their alliance, but no others had lately deserted them. At Rome, since the recovery of Capua, the senate and people gave not more earnest attention to the affairs of Italy, than to those of Spain; they therefore determined to augment the army there, and to send a general to command it. But it was not so easy to agree on the person to be sent, as it was to perceive that extraordinary care ought to be employed in the choice of one to be commissioned to such a charge, in which two most eminent commanders had fallen within the space of thirty days, and where he was to supply the place of the two. Some named one, some another, until the resolution was at last adopted, of leaving it to the people in assembly, to elect a proconsul for Spain; and the consuls accordingly proclaimed a day for the election. It had been expected, at first, that those who believed themselves qualified for such an important command, would become candidates; and the failure of this expectation renewed the affliction of the public, for the severe blow which they had sustained, and for the generals whom they had lost. Under this dejection of mind, almost incapable of forming a judgment on the state of things, the people, nevertheless, on the day of election, repaired to the field of Mars, where they fixed their eyes on the magistrates, watching the countenances of Edition: current; Page: [348] the several men of the greatest eminence, who only cast looks of perplexity one on another. And now, every one began with added sorrow to remark, that their affairs were hopeless, and the cause of the public so desperate that no one dared to accept the command in Spain, when on a sudden, Publius Cornelius Scipio, a son of Publius, who was killed in Spain, being then about the age of twenty-four, went up to an eminence, from whence he could be seen, and declared himself a candidate. The eyes of the whole assembly were instantly turned on him, and universal acclamations testified hopes and presages of prosperity and success to his commission. Orders were given, that they should immediately proceed to give their suffrages, when not only every century, without exception, but every individual, voted, that Publius Scipio should have the command in Spain. When the business was finished, and the vehemence and ardour of their emotions had subsided, a sudden silence ensued; and they now began to reflect on the strange manner in which they had acted, governing themselves rather by partial inclination, than by judgment. His early age was the principal cause of their uneasiness: while some at the same time conceived terrible apprehensions from the fortune attending his house, and even from his name. The two families he belonged to were then in mourning; and he was to set out for a province where he must carry on his operations between the tombs of his father and of his uncle.

XIX. When he perceived that, after going through the business with such great alacrity of zeal, the people were yet impressed with solicitude and anxiety, he summoned an assembly; and there enlarged on the subject of his years, on the command entrusted to him, and the war to be carried on; and this he did with such magnanimity and elevation of sentiment, as to rekindle and renew the ardour which had subsided, and to fill the people with greater confidence than either the faith reposed in any human professions, or than Edition: current; Page: [349] reason, judging from the most promising state of affairs, usually supplies. For Scipio was deserving of admiration, not only for real virtues, but also for a certain judicious method of displaying them to advantage, to which he had been trained from his youth. He generally represented any matter, which he wished to carry with the multitude, as recommended either by a vision in the night, or by an admonition impressed on his mind by the gods; whether owing to the influence of some kind of superstition in him, or with the design of bringing men to execute his orders and schemes without hesitation, as if they were directed by the responses of an oracle. To prepare their minds for this, he never transacted any business, public or private (from the very moment of assuming the manly gown,) without first going to the Capitol, walking into the temple, and sitting there for some time; generally alone, and in some retired spot. This custom, which was observed by him through the whole course of his life, made several people give credit to a notion which was then propagated either by his own contrivance or by some unknown author, that he was of divine extraction; like to the fable formerly told of Alexander the Great. The fiction went, that he was begotten by a huge serpent; in which form the prodigy, it was said, had been very often seen in his mother’s chamber, and on people’s coming in, glided away suddenly, and disappeared. These miraculous stories he himself never discouraged, but rather artfully countenanced, neither contradicting any thing of the kind, nor absolutely affirming it. Many other remarkable incidents in respect of this youth (some real and others fictitious,) had procured for him a degree of admiration surpassing what was due to any human being; and these were the motives which then induced the public to intrust him, at so unripe an age, with the conduct of so momentous a business as that to which he had aspired. To the remains of the whole army, still in Spain, and the forces carried thither from Puteoli with Claudius Nero, were added ten thousand foot and Edition: current; Page: [350] one thousand horse; and Marcus Junius Silanus, proprætor, was sent with him, to assist in the management of affairs. Thus setting sail from Ostia, on the Tiber, with a fleet of thirty ships, which were all quinqueremes, and coasting along the shore of the Tuscan sea, the Alps, and the Gallic gulf, and then doubling the promontory of Pyrene, he disembarked his forces at Emporium, a city of Greeks, who came originally from Phocæa. Thence, having ordered the fleet to follow, he marched by land to Tarraco, and there held a convention of all the allies; for, on the news of his arrival, embassies had poured in from every state in the province. Here he ordered the ships to be laid up on shore, after sending back four triremes of the Massilians, which had, out of respect, accompanied him from home. He then applied himself to giving answers to the embassies of the several states, whose minds had been held in suspense by the succession of so many various events; and this he performed with much dignity of spirit, resulting from a thorough confidence in his own abilities; but at the same time, not one presumptuous word fell from him, and in every thing which he said, there appeared at once the greatest elevation of sentiment, and the greatest candour.

XX. Leaving Tarraco, he visited the several states of the allies, and the winter-quarters of the army. Here he bestowed much praise on the soldiers, for having, after all their sufferings, in two such dreadful disasters succeeding one another, still retained possession of the province, not allowing the enemy to derive any advantage from their success, but excluding them entirely from the country on the hither side of the Iberus, and honourably securing the safety of the allies. Marcius he kept near himself, and treated with him upon terms so highly honourable as plainly demonstrated, that he feared nothing less, than that any one might eclipse his own glory. Silanus then succeeded in the room of Nero, and the troops lately arrived went into winter quarters. Scipio having, without loss of time, repaired to the places where Edition: current; Page: [351] his presence was requisite, and finished the business there to to be done, returned to Tarraco. The enemy were, by this time, possessed with an opinion of Scipio not inferior to that entertained by his own countrymen and the allies; and they felt, moreover, a kind of foreboding of what was to come, which (the less able they were to account for apprehensions of which no cause appeared) impressed the greater dread upon their minds. They had gone into winter quarters in different parts of the country: Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, at Gades, on the ocean; Mago in the inland parts, the greatest part of his troops being stationed above the pass of Castulo; and Hasdrubal, son of Hamilcar, in the neighbourhood of Saguntum, on the banks of the Iberus. Towards the end of that summer wherein Capua was taken, and Scipio came into Spain, a Carthaginian fleet, which was called over from Sicily to Tarentum to cut off the supplies of the Roman garrison in the citadel, shut up indeed, every access to it by sea; but, by lying there too long, caused a greater scarcity among their friends than among the enemy: for the quantity of corn that could be brought into the town along the coasts, which were kept in awe, and through the ports, which were kept open by the power of the Carthaginian fleet, was not equal to the consumption of the fleet itself, crowded as it was with a mixed multitude of people of every description; and while the garrison of the citadel, being few in number, could support themselves out of the magazines previously formed without any importation, all that could be brought in was too little to answer the demands of the Tarentines and the fleet. At last the fleet was sent away, which gave greater satisfaction than its coming had done, but produced very little relief to the scarcity; for when the naval force was removed, no more corn could be brought in.

XXI. Towards the close of this summer, Marcus Marcellus having returned to Rome from his province of Sicily the prætor, Caius Calpurnius, assembled the senate in the temple of Bellona, to give him audience. Here, after expatiating Edition: current; Page: [352] on the services which he had performed, and complaining in mild terms, not more on his own account than on that of his soldiers, that though he had completed all the business of the province, he had not been allowed to bring home the army, he requested permission to enter the city in triumph. This occasioned a long debate, wherein it was urged on one side, that after they had in his absence decreed a supplication and a thanksgiving to the immortal gods in his behalf, and for services happily accomplished, the refusing him a triumph when he appeared to demand it, would imply an inconsistency; and, on the other, that, as they had decreed that he should give up the command of the army to a successor (which kind of decree was never passed, unless when war still subsisted in the province,) there would be no less inconsistency in voting him a triumph, as if the war were concluded, and while the troops, who could best testify whether he merited that honour or not, were in a distant country. The matter was at length compromised, with a decree that he should enter the city in ovation. The plebeian tribunes, by direction of the senate, proposed to the people the issuing of an order, that Marcus Marcellus should enjoy the authority of a general during the day on which he should pass through Rome in ovation. On the day preceding that of his entrance, he triumphed on the Alban mount; and, in his ovation had great abundance of spoils borne before him into the city. Together with a model, representing the captured city of Syracuse, were carried in procession the catapultas, balistas, and every other kind of engine used in war. Likewise, the valuable ornaments collected by their kings, at vast expense, during a long continuance of peace; abundance of wrought silver and brass furniture of various kinds, precious garments, and a great number of remarkably fine statues, with which kind of ornaments Syracuse had abounded as much as any of the Grecian cities. Eight elephants were also led in his train, as an emblem of his victory over the Carthaginians; and what formed not the least attractive part Edition: current; Page: [353] of the show, he was preceded by Sosis the Syracusan, and Mericus the Spaniard, with crowns of gold on their heads, the former of whom had guided the Romans into Syracuse by night, the other had delivered the island and its garrison into their hands. To both of these the freedom of the state was granted, and to each five hundred acres of land. The portion intended for Sosis was ordered to be given to him in the territory of Syracuse, out of the estates which had belonged either to the kings or to the enemies of the Roman people, with any house that he should choose of those which had belonged to persons punished according to the laws of war. Mericus, and the Spaniards who came over with him, were to have a city and lands allotted to them, in some of those parts of Sicily which had revolted from the Romans: and Marcus Cornelius was commissioned to assign these to them wherever he should judge proper. Four hundred acres of land in the same country were decreed to Belligenes, by whose persuasions Mericus had been prevailed on to secede from the Carthaginians over to the Romans. After the departure of Marcellus from Sicily, a Carthaginian fleet landed eight thousand foot and three thousand Numidian horse, who were soon joined by the Murgantians, and their revolt was followed by that of Hybla, and several other cities of less note. The Numidians; headed by Mutines, making excursions through every part of the island, wasted with fire and sword the lands of those who were in alliance with Rome. Besides these untoward circumstances, the Roman troops, being incensed partly because they had not been carried home with their commander, and partly because they had been forbidden to winter in towns, became very remiss in their duty, and wanted rather a leader than inclination for a mutiny. In the midst of these difficulties, the prætor, Marcus Cornelius, by sometimes soothing, sometimes reproving the soldiers, brought them to a calmer temper, and also reduced to submission all the states which had revolted; out Edition: current; Page: [354] of which he assigned Murgantia to those Spaniards who were entitled to a city and lands by the senate’s decree.

XXII. Asb oth the consuls were employed in the one province of Apulia, and as the danger to be apprehended from Hannibal and the Carthaginians was not diminished, they were ordered to cast lots for Apulia and Macedonia as their provinces. Macedonia fell to Sulpicius, and he succeeded in the room of Lævinus. Fulvius was called to Rome to preside at the elections; and, holding an assembly, the younger Veturian century, being the first to vote, named Titus Manlius Torquatus, and Titus Otacilius, consuls. Manlius being present, a crowd gathered around him to offer their congratulations, there being no doubt of the concurrence of the people. Surrounded as he was by a vast multitude, he went up to the consul’s tribunal, requesting permission to say a few words, and that the century which had voted might be called back. After the assembly had waited some time with impatience, to know what he intended to require, he excused himself from accepting the office, on account of the weakness of his eyes, observing, that “it would be shameless presumption in a pilot, or a general, who was obliged to transact his own proper business by the help of other people’s eyes, to expect that the lives and fortunes of men should be committed to his charge. Wherefore, he requested the consul to order the younger Veturian century to be called back to vote anew, and to recollect, while they were electing consuls, the war that subsisted in Italy, with the present exigences of the commonwealth; and that people’s ears were scarcely yet relieved from the noise and tumult raised by the enemy, when a few months ago they lay close to the walls of Rome.” Here he was interrupted by the century, who one and all cried out that they would not alter their vote. Torquatus then replied, “should I become consul, neither shall I be able to endure your behaviour, nor you my government; go back, then, and vote again, and consider that there is a Carthaginian war subsisting in Italy, and that the leader of your Edition: current; Page: [355] enemies is Hannibal.” The century then, moved by the authority of the man, and the murmurs of admiration expressed by all around, besought Titus to summon the elder Veturian century, as they wished to confer with persons older than themselves, and to be directed by them in their choice of consuls. The elder Veturian century was accordingly summoned, and time was allowed for the others to confer with them, apart from the crowd, in the inclosure of the voters. The elders said, that there were three proper objects for their consideration, two of whom had already passed through a full course of public honours, Quintus Fabius, and Marcus Marcellus; that if they had a particular wish to elect a consul, yet untried, against the Carthaginians, there was Marcus Valerius Lævinus, who had conducted the war against king Philip, both on land and sea, with extraordina-success. They accordingly consulted together, respecting those three, and the elders being dismissed, the younger century proceeded to vote. They named as consuls Marcus Claudius Marcellus, whose character then shone in full splendour, in consequence of his glorious conquest of Sicily, and Marcus Valerius, both absent;—and were followed by all the rest of the centuries. Men may ridicule the admirers of ancient times, but I shall ever remain persuaded, that even though there should exist a republic of philosophers, such as speculative men are fond of forming in imagination, but which never was known, yet there could not be produced either a nobility of more solid judgment, and of more unambitious tempers, nor a populace guided by sounder moral principles, than were these of whom I speak. That a century of young men should wish to consult their elders on the choice of a person to whom they were to entrust the government by their vote, appears indeed at present scarcely credible; but it is because, in the fashion of this age, even sons slight and disregard the counsel of their parents.

XXIII. They then proceeded to the election of prætors, and Publius Manlius Volso, Lucius Manlius Acidinus, Edition: current; Page: [356] Caius Lætorius, and Lucius Cincius Alimentus, were chosen. It happened that, just as the elections were finished, an account arrived that Titus Otacilius, whom the people would probably have appointed consul, in his absence, together with Titus Manlius, if the course of the election had not been interrupted, had died in Sicily. The games of Apollo had been celebrated the year before, and, on the proposal of the prætor, Calpurnius, that they should be performed this year also, a decree was made by the senate, that they should be celebrated annually for ever. This year several prodigies were seen and reported. At the temple of Concord, a statue of Victory, which stood on the summit of the roof, being struck by lightning, and shaken at its base, fell and stuck among the ensigns of the goddess which were on the pediment. From Anagnia and Fregella reports were brought, that a wall and some gates were by the like means thrown down; that, in the forum of Sudertum, streams of blood ran for a whole day; that a shower of stones fell at Eretum, and that at Reate a mule had produced a foal. These prodigies were expiated with the greater victims; the people were ordered to perform a supplication, of one day’s continuance, to avert the wrath of the gods, and the nine days festival was solemnized. Several of the public priests died this year, and new ones were appointed in their places. In the room of Marcus Æmilius Numida, decemvir of religious affairs, was substituted Marcus Æmilius Lepidus; in the room of Marcus Pomponius Matho, pontiff, Caius Livius; and in the room of Spurius Carvilius Maximus, augur, Marcus Servilius. Because Titus Otacilius Crassus, who was a pontiff, died after the conclusion of the year, there was no nomination of any person to his place. Caius Claudius, flamen of Jupiter, because he had committed some irregularity in the distribution of the entrails, resigned the office.

XXIV. About this time Marcus Valerius Lævinus, after having first sounded the dispositions of the principal men in secret conferences, came with some light ships to a council Edition: current; Page: [357] of the Ætolians, which had been previously summoned for this purpose. Here, to convince them of the flourishing state of the affairs of Italy and Sicily, he expatiated in high terms on the reduction of Capua, and of Syracuse, adding, that “the Romans inherited, even from their earliest ancestors, a constant disposition to study the interest of their allies; some of whom they had admitted into their state to equal privileges with themselves, and others were supported by them in such situations, that they chose rather to be allies, than fellow-citizens. That the Ætolians would be held by them in the higher degree of estimation, on account that they would be the first, of all the nations separated from them by the sea, who united with them in friendship. That Philip and the Macedonians were troublesome neighbours; but that he had already broken their strength and spirits, and was determined to reduce them so low, that they should not only evacuate those cities, of which they had forcibly deprived the Ætolians, but should find Macedonia itself an uneasy residence. As to the Acarnanians, whose dismemberment from their body gave the Ætolians much concern, he engaged to replace them under the former charter of obedience to their authority and jurisdiction.” These assertions and promises of the Roman general, Scopas, who was then prætor of the nation, and Dorimachus, a principal man among the Ætolians, confirmed by their own authority; and therefore, with the less reserve, and greater assurance of gaining belief, extolled the power and exalted reputation of the Roman people. However, that which had the greatest influence was the hope of recovering Acarnania. The particulars were accordingly reduced to writing, on which they were to join in a treaty of alliance and friendship with the Roman people, and a clause was added, that “if it was agreeable to their own wish, the Eleans, and Lacedæmonians should be included on the same terms of friendship, and also Attalus, Pleuratus, and Scerdilædus.” Attalus was king of Asia, the others of Thrace and Illyria. The terms of the treaty were. Edition: current; Page: [358] that “the Ætolians should immediately commence war against Philip on land: that the Romans should assist them with not less than twenty ships of five banks of oars: that, of all the cities that should be taken as far as Corcyra, beginning from Ætolia, the buildings of every description, together with the lands thereunto belonging, should be the property of the Ætolians; all other booty of what kind soever to be given up to the Romans: that the Romans should use their endeavours to secure to the Ætolians the possession of Acarnania: that, if the Ætolians should make peace with Philip, an article should be inserted in the treaty, declaring it valid, only on condition that Philip should refrain from committing hostilities on the Romans, their allies, or any under their dominion: in like manner if the Roman people should form an alliance with the king, that they should take care not to allow him a right of making war on the Ætolians and their allies.” Such was the purport of the negociation entered into by the above-named powers, two copies of which were made two years after, and deposited, one, by the Romans, in the capitol, and the other by the Ætolians, at Olympia, that these consecrated records might bear evidence of its contents. This delay arose from the Ætolian ambassadors having been too long detained at Rome, which however was no impediment to the business of the war; for the Ætolians immediately commenced hostilities against Philip, while Lævinus attacked Zacynthus, a small island near the coast of Ætolia, which has one city of the same name with itself. This, excepting the citadel, he reduced by storm, and taking from the Acarnanians Æniadæ and Nasus, put them into the hands of the Ætolians. Judging that Philip was now sufficiently embroiled in war with his neighbours to prevent his thinking of Italy, the Carthaginians, and his compact with Hannibal, he retired to Corcyra.

XXV. Philip received the account of the defection of the Ætolians at Pella, where he had fixed his residence for the winter. As he was to move his army into Greece in Edition: current; Page: [359] the beginning of the next spring, he determined to strike terror into the Illyrians, and the cities in that quarter, in return for the alarms which they had caused to him, so that they should leave Macedonia unmolested during his absence; accordingly, he undertook a sudden expedition against the territories of Oricum and Apollonia. The Apollonians who came out to meet him he compelled to fly with dismay into their city; then, after ravaging the frontiers of Illyricum, he pursued his route with the same degree of expedition into Pelagonia, where he took Sintia, a town belonging to the Dardanians, and which would have afforded them a passage into Macedonia. Having finished this business with all possible speed, he turned his thoughts to the war which he had to maintain against the Ætolians and the Romans in conjunction, and marched down through Pelagonia, Lyncus, and Bottæa into Thessaly, in hopes that many of these states might be prevailed upon to join him in support of the war with the Ætolians. Leaving therefore at the narrow entrance of Thessaly, one of his generals, named Perseus, with four thousand soldiers, to secure the pass against the Ætolians, he went himself at the head of his army, before he should be engaged by more important business, into Macedonia, and thence into Thrace and Mædica. This nation had been accustomed, whenever they saw the king employed in a foreign war, and the kingdom left unguarded, to make incursions into Macedonia: he therefore set about wasting the country about Phragandæ, and laid siege to the city of Jamphorina, the capital and principal fortress of Mædica. Scopas, when he learned that the king had gone into Thrace, and was employed in carrying on war there, armed all the young men of the Ætolians, and prepared to carry hostilities into Acarnania. This nation, conscious of their inability to oppose him, seeing too that the cities of Æniadæ and Nasus were already lost, and that they were besides threatened with an invasion by the Romans, formed a plan of action dictated by passion rather than by prudence. Edition: current; Page: [360] Their wives, children, and all persons above the age of sixty years, they sent away into the neighbouring states of Epirus: while all from fifteen to sixty bound themselves to each other by an oath, to march against the enemy, and not to return home unless victorious; framing a dreadful execration on such of their countrymen as should receive into their city or house, or admit to their table or fire-side, any one who had given way to the foe, or quitted his post in battle. They addressed also a most solemn obtestation, of the same purport, to the states with whom they had an intercourse; beseeching, at the same time, the Epirotes to inter in one common tomb such of their men as should fall in battle, and to fix this epitaph over their graves: here lie the acarnanians, who died fighting in defence of their country, against the violence and injustice of the ætolians. With minds highly inflamed by these and such like means, they encamped in the extreme border of their country, on the side where they expected the enemy; and, by the despatches which they sent to Philip, representing the great danger that threatened them, obliged him to drop the prosecution of the designs in which he was engaged, although Jamphorina had already capitulated, and all his affairs were in a prosperous train. The enterprise intended by the Ætolians was postponed, first, on their hearing of the association entered into by the Acarnanians; and, afterwards, on the news of Philip’s approach, which made them even draw back into the interior parts of their own country. Philip, however, though he had hastened by long marches to prevent the Acarnanians being overwhelmed, yet did not advance farther than Dios, whence on hearing that the Ætolians had retired from Acarnania, he also removed to Pella.

XXVI. Early in the spring Lævinus set sail from Corcyra, and, doubling the cape of Leucate, came to Naupactum, whence he sent notice, that he was proceeding to Anticyra in order that Scopas and the Ætolians might be there to join him. Antyra stands in Locris, on the left hand on entering Edition: current; Page: [361] the Corinthian Gulf, and the march thither by land is short, as is the passage by sea, from Naupactum. In about three days after this, the siege of that town was commenced by the combined forces; but the attack on the side next the sea was the more difficult to be withstood, because there were on board the fleet engines and machines of every sort; and besides, the assailants were Romans. In a few days, therefore, the city capitulated, and was given up to the Ætolians. The spoil, according to compact, fell to the Romans. Here Lævinus received a letter, acquainting him that he had been declared consul in his absence, and that Publius Sulpicius was coming to succeed him in the command of the fleet. But he was siezed by a tedious sickness, which delayed his return to Rome longer than any one wished.Y. R. 542. bc 210. Marcus Marcellus, entering on the consulship on the ides of March, held, on the same day, a meeting of the senate, merely for form’s sake, for he declared, that “he would introduce nothing respecting the state of the commonwealth, or the distribution of the provinces, in the absence of his colleague. That he understood that there were great numbers of Sicilians in the neighbourhood of the city, at the country houses of persons who wished to depreciate his character; and so far was he from hindering an open publication of the charges fabricated and circulated by his enemies, that he would have given them instantly an opportunity of laying such charges before the senate; were it not that they pretended some kind of fear to speak of a consul in the absence of his colleague. That, however, when Lævinus arrived, he would certainly suffer no business to be transacted before the Sicilians were introduced to an audience of the senate. That Marcus Cornelius had made a kind of levy through all Sicily, for the purpose of sending to Rome the greater number of complaints against him; and that the same person with a view to injure his reputation, had, by his letters, filled the city with false representations Edition: current; Page: [362] of war still subsisting in Sicily.” The consul’s behaviour on that day made people conceive a good opinion of the moderation of his temper. He then adjourned the senate, and it was expected that there would be almost a total suspension of every kind of business until the return of the other consul. Want of employment, as usual, gave occasion to various murmurs against the populace: they made great complaint of “the length of the war; of the devastation of the country by Hannibal on all sides of the city; of Italy being exhausted by levies of men, and of the loss of armies happening almost every year; of consuls being now elected, who, both of them, had a passion for war; men too enterprising and daring, who, in a time of profound peace, were capable of exciting quarrels, and therefore there was the less reason to expect that, during the actual existence of hostilities, they would allow the public time to breathe.”

XXVII. These discourses were interrupted by a fire which broke out near the Forum, in the night preceding the festival of Minerva. Seven shops, where five were afterwards built, and the banking-houses, which are now called the New Banks, were in flames in several places at once. Next the private buildings were consumed (for the public halls were not then there,) with the prison, called the Quarry, and the fish-market, also the old palace of king Numa. With difficulty the temple of Vesta was saved, principally by the activity of thirteen slaves, who were afterwards purchased for the public, and discharged from servitude. The fire raged during a night and a day. There was no doubt of its being caused by human means, the flames blazing out at the same moment, and at considerable distances. The consul therefore, by direction of the senate, published a proclamation, that whoever discovered the persons that had occasioned the same, such discoverer should receive as a reward, if a freeman, a sum of money, if a slave, his liberty. Induced by this, a slave belonging to the Campanian family of the Calivii, by name Mannus, gave information, that “his masters, and five other Edition: current; Page: [363] young Campanian noblemen, whose parents had been beheaded by Quintus Fulvius, were the perpetrators of the deed, and that they would effect the like destruction in various places, if they were not put into confinement.” On this they were taken into custody, as were also their slaves. At first they spoke with scorn of the informer and his discovery: they said “he had run away from his masters, in consequence of having been chastised the day before with a whipping; and, in a fit of resentment and folly, had forged this charge, on the ground of an event merely accidental.” But, when they were brought face to face with their accuser, and the instruments of their villany began to be examined by torture in the middle of the Forum, they all confessed their guilt; and the masters and their slaves who were privy to the design were punished as they deserved. The informer received his liberty and twenty thousand asses.* The consul Lævinus, as he passed by Capua, was surrounded by a multitude of the Campanians, who besought him, with tears, to give them permission to go to Rome, there to entreat the senate to suffer themselves to be moved, at length, with compassion; and not to carry resentment so far as to their utter ruin, nor to let the whole race of Campanians, be extirpated by Quintus Flaccus. Flaccus declared, that “he had no personal quarrel whatsoever with the Campanians; a public and hostile enmity towards them he certainly had, and should retain as long as he knew them to harbour the same sentiments towards the Roman people. There was not on earth,” he said, “any race, or any state, that bore a more inveterate hatred to the Roman name. The reason of his keeping them confined within the walls was, that when any of them contrived to get out they roamed about the country like wild beasts, tearing and slaying whatever fell in their way. Some had fled to join Hannibal, others had gone to set Rome on fire, and the consul would find, in the half-burnt Forum, the traces of Campanian villany. An attempt had been made Edition: current; Page: [364] even on the temple of Vesta, on the sacred fire, and the fatal pledge* of the Roman empire deposited in her shrine. For his part, he could by no means think it safe to allow the Campanians to enter the walls of Rome.” Lævinus, however, ordered the Campanians to follow him thither; having first made them bind themselves by an oath to Flaccus, to return to Capua on the fifth day after receiving an answer from the senate. Surrounded by this train, and followed also by the Sicilians and Ætolians, who came out to meet him he proceeded to Rome, bringing into the city, as accusers of two men, whose characters had been rendered illustrious by the conquest of two very celebrated cities, the parties whom they had vanquished in war. However both the consuls proposed, first, to the consideration of the senate, the state of the commonwealth, and the disposal of the provinces.

XXVIII. Lævinus then made a report of the state of Macedonia and Greece, of the Ætolians, Acarnanians, and Locrians; and of the services which he himself had performed there, on land and sea; acquainting them, that “Philip, who came with an army against the Ætolians, had been driven back by him into Macedonia, and had retired into the interior parts of his kingdom; and that the legion might be brought home from thence, the fleet being sufficient to prevent any attempt of the king upon Italy.” This part of the business which respected himself, and the province where he had commanded, he went through alone: the questions relative to the distribution of the provinces were put by both consuls jointly. The senate decreed, that “Italy, and the war with Hannibal, should be the province of one of the consuls; that the other should have the command of the fleet lately under that of Titus Otacilius; and, in conjunction with Edition: current; Page: [365] the prætor, Lucius Cincius the government of Sicily.” The two armies decreed to them were those then in Etruria and Gaul, consisting of four legions. The two city legions of the former year were ordered to be sent into Etruria; the two lately under the command of the consul Sulpicius into Gaul; and Gaul, with these legions, to be governed by such person as the consul who had the province of Italy should appoint. Caius Calpurnius, being continued in command for a year after the expiration of his prætorship, was sent into Etruria. Capua was appointed the province of Quintus Fulvius, whose command was also prolonged for a year. An order was made, that the numbers both of the native and allied troops should be reduced, so that out of two legions should be formed one, containing five thousand foot and three hundred horse, and that those men should be discharged who had served the greatest number of campaigns; but that, in each legion of the allies, there should be left seven thousand foot and three hundred horse; and that, in discharging the old soldiers, the same rule should be observed respecting the length of their services. With regard to Cneius Fulvius, consul of the last year, no alteration was made, either in his province Apulia, or in the army under his command; only he was continued another year in authority. Publius Sulpicius his colleague, was ordered to disband his whole force, excepting the marines; as was Marcus Cornelius, as soon as the consul should arrive in the province. To the prætor, Lucius Cincius, for the defence of Sicily, were assigned the troops of Cannæ, equivalent to two legions. To the prætor Publius Manlius Volso, were allotted, for the service of Sardinia, the same number of legions which Lucius Cornelius had commanded in the same province the year before. The consuls were ordered to raise legions for the city, but not to oblige any man to enlist who had served in the armies of Marcus Claudius, Marcus Valerius, or Quintus Fulvius, and the number of Roman legions to be employed during that year was fixed at twenty-one.

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XXIX. When the senate had passed these decrees, the consuls cast lots for the provinces. Sicily, and the fleet, fell to Marcellus; Italy, with the war against Hannibal, to Lævinus. This decision, as if Syracuse were now a second time taken, struck the Sicilians, who stood within sight of the consuls, waiting till the lots were drawn, with such dismay, that their bitter lamentations, and mournful expressions of grief attracted the eyes of all present, and afforded afterwards much matter of discourse. For they went round to each of the senators, dressed in mourning, and affirming, that “they were resolved to abandon, not only each his native state, but all Sicily, if Marcellus should come thither again as governor. Formerly, when they had deserved no harsh treatment at his hands, he had been implacable in his resentment towards them; to what lengths, then, might not his anger now carry him, when he knew that they had come to Rome with complaints against him? Better would it be for that island to be buried under the fires of Ætna, or sunk in the sea, than to be delivered over as it were to execution at the will of an enemy.”—These complaints of the Sicilians, after being at first carried about to the houses of the nobility, and canvassed in frequent conversations, which took rise either from compassion to the Sicilians, or ill-will to Marcellus, made their way even into the senate. A requisition was there made to the consuls, that the senate should be consulted on an exchange of provinces. To this Marcellus answered, that “though the Sicilians had been already heard by the senate, his opinion might still be different; but in order that no one should be able to say that these people were curbed by fear, or restrained from uttering their complaints with freedom against a man to whose power they were soon to be subject; in the present state of things, if his colleague had no objection, he was ready to change his province.” He warmly intreated them “not to prejudge the depending cause by the interposition of any decree. For since it would be unjust to give his colleague his choice of a province without Edition: current; Page: [367] putting it to the lot, how much greater would be the injustice, nay, the indignity, if that which he had obtained by lot were transferred to the other?” Accordingly the senate, after declaring what was their wish, without passing a decree, adjourned, and the consuls, between themselves, made an exchange of provinces. Thus did fate, impending over Marcellus, drag him, as it were, within the sphere of Hannibal; that he who had been the first Roman commander who ravished from that general a large portion of his glory, by defeating him in battle, might be the last who contributed, by his fall, to the aggrandizement of the same man’s reputation; and this at a time when the events of the war, in general, were particularly favourable, to the side of the Romans.

XXX. When the provinces were exchanged, the Sicilians were introduced into the senate, where they expatiated, in many words, on the unalterable attachment of king Hiero to the Roman people, assuming merit from thence to themselves and their nation. “As to the tyrants, Hieronymus, and, after him, Hippocrates and Epicydes, they themselves had ever detested them,” they said, “for many reasons, but particularly for taking part with Hannibal against the Romans. For this cause Hieronymus was put to death by the principal young men of the nation, authorised, in a manner, by the public voice. Seventy of their youths, of the highest distinction, had conspired, on the same account, to kill Hippocrates and Epicydes, but were disappointed of the support which they expected from Marcellus, by a delay in the bringing up of his army to Syracuse at the time agreed on; so that, their design being discovered, they were all put to death by the tyrants. Even the tyrannical usurpation of Hippocrates and Epycides owed its beginning to the cruelty practised by Marcellus in the sacking of Leontini. The principal Syracusans, alarmed at this, never ceased afterwards imploring Marcellus, and promising to deliver the city into his ands, at any time that he chose to appoint: but his wish Edition: current; Page: [368] was to take it by assault. Finding, however, after every effort which could be made on land or sea, that this was impracticable, he chose to depend on Sosis, a brazier, and Mericus, a Spaniard, for putting him in possession of Syracuse, rather than on the first men of the city, who had so often, to no purpose, voluntarily made the same offer; in order, no doubt, that he might have the more plausible excuse for plundering and massacring the oldest allies of the Roman people. If the defection to Hannibal had been the act, not of Hieronymus, but of the senate and people of Syracuse; if the body of the Syracusans, and not their tyrants, Hippocrates and Epicydes, who held them in subservience to their will, had shut the gates against Marcellus; if they had waged war against the Roman people with the animosity of Carthaginians, to what greater length could Marcellus have carried hostilities than he did; unless he were to demolish the city? He certainly left nothing at Syracuse except the walls and empty houses, while the temples were broken open and pillaged, and from which the ornaments of the gods, and even the gods themselves, had been carried away. Many were stripped of their whole possessions, so as not to have remaining, from the wreck of their fortunes, even the naked soil, out of which they might support themselves and their families. Wherefore they besought the Conscript Fathers to order restoration to be made to the owners, if not of all their property, at least of such part of it as could be found and claimed on proof.” When they had uttered their complaints in this manner, and were ordered by Lævinus to withdraw from the senate-house, that the members might deliberate on the subject of their demands; “No,” said Marcellus, “let them stay, that I may answer in their hearing, since, Conscript Fathers, such are the terms on which we serve in your wars, that the parties, whom we conquer by our arms, are to become our prosecutors, and two cities, taken this year, are to prosecute their captors, Capua Fulvius, and Syracuse Marcellus.”

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XXXI. The deputies being brought back into the senate-house, the consul then said; “Conscript Fathers, I am not so unmindful of the majesty of the Roman people, and of the high office with which I am invested, as that I should, while bearing the dignity of a consul, appear as a defendant to answer charges made by Greeks, if the subject of the present inquiry were merely respecting misconduct on my part. But the question is, not what I have done, but rather what those men deserved at my hands. For, if they were not our enemies, I should be equally blameable for injuring Syracuse now, as when Hiero was alive. But, if they renounced our alliance, attacked our ambassadors with violence and arms, shut the gates of their city and called in an army of Carthaginians to defend it against us; who can think it unreasonable that men who committed hostilities should have suffered them in turn? I rejected the offers of the principal Syracusans to give me possession of the city, it is true; I chose rather to confide, in a case so important, solely in Sosis, and the Spaniard Mericus. You are not the meanest of the Syracusans, since you object meanness to others. Now, is there one among you, who ever promised to open the gates to me, or to admit my armed troops into the city? You execrate and abhor those who did; and do not, even here, abstain from reviling them; so far is it from being fact, that yourselves would have done the same. The low condition of the persons employed, which these men make a matter of reproach, shows, Conscript Fathers, how ready I was to listen to the offers of any man who was willing to exert himself in the service of our state. Before I commenced the siege of Syracuse, I tried to effect a restoration of tranquillity, at one time by sending ambassadors, at another time, by going myself to treat on the subject; and, afterwards, when they neither scrupled to offer violence to my ambassadors, nor would give any answer to myself in a personal interview with their leaders at the gates, I then, after surmounting many difficulties Edition: current; Page: [370] on land and sea, at length took Syracuse by force of arms. Of the consequences which befel them on the capture of their city, they might, with more propriety, complain to Hannibal and the Carthaginians, and to their companions in defeat, than to the senate of the nation which conquered them. Conscript Fathers, if I had intended to deny that Syracuse was plundered, I would never have decorated the city of Rome with its spoils. As to what I, in capacity of a conqueror, either took from individuals, or bestowed on any, I am fully confident that I acted, in those respects, agreeably both to the laws of war and to the deserts of each. That you ratify these proceedings, Conscript Fathers, concerns the interest of the republic more than that of mine. My duty has been discharged with honour; but it is of importance to the commonwealth that you do not, by rescinding my acts, render other commanders in future remiss. And now, Conscript Fathers, as you have heard both the Sicilians and me face to face, we will retire together from your house, that the senators may, in my absence, deliberate with the greater freedom.” The Sicilians were accordingly dismissed, and he went away to the Capitol to enlist soldiers.

XXXII. The other consul then required the determination of the fathers respecting the demands of the Sicilians; on which a long and warm debate ensued. A great part of the senate, adopting an opinion introduced by Titus Manlius Torquatus, declared, that “in their judgment the war ought to have been waged against the tyrants, who were equal enemies to the Syracusans and to the Roman people; that the city ought to have been recovered by treaty, not taken by force; and, when recovered, should have been re-established in freedom under its ancient laws, and not subjected to the calamities of war, after having been long harassed under a wretched slavery. In the contests between the tyrants and the Roman general, the prize proposed to the conqueror had been utterly destroyed, a city of the greatest beauty and Edition: current; Page: [371] fame, formerly the granary and treasury of the Roman people; one by whose generosity and munificence the republic had, on many occasions of difficulty, and lately, in the present Carthaginian war, been assisted, honoured, and adorned. If King Hiero, that most faithful friend to the interests of the Roman empire, were to rise from the shades, with what face, could either Syracuse or Rome be shown to him? When, after beholding his native city in its plundered and half-demolished state, he should, on coming into Rome, see, at the entrance of it, almost in the very gates, the spoils of his own country?” Although these, and many such warm expressions, tending to disparage the character of Marcellus, and excite compassion for the Sicilians, were uttered by the members, yet the senate, through their regard for Marcellus, pursued a milder course in forming their decree; the purport of which was, that “all acts done by him in his administration of the war, and after his final success therein, should be deemed valid. In respect of the time to come, the senate would take care of the concerns of Syracuse, and would give a charge to the consul Lævinus, to promote the prosperity of that city, as far as could be done without detriment to the commonwealth.” Two senators were sent to the Capitol to desire the consul to come back to the senate-house; and, the Sicilians also being called in, the decree was read. The deputies, after receiving assurances of kindness, were dismissed; and they then threw themselves at the feet of the consul Marcellus, beseeching him to pardon the expressions which they had used, for the purpose of procuring pity and relief of their misfortunes, and to receive them and the city of Syracuse into his protection and patronage. The consul returned a mild answer, and dismissed them.

XXXIII. The senate next gave audience to the Campanians, who spoke in a more piteous strain, but had a more difficult cause to plead; for neither could they deny that they had deserved the punishments inflicted, nor were there Edition: current; Page: [372] tyrants in the case, on whom they could transfer the guilt. They only alleged, that they had suffered enough of punishment, in so many senators being taken off by poison, and so many by the executioner. That, “of their nobles, only a few remained alive, whom neither consciousness of crime had driven to acts of despair, nor the resentment of their conqueror condemned to death: who, in behalf of themselves and their families, prayed for liberty, and some portion of their property; being citizens of Rome, and most of them closely connected there in affinities and near relationships, in consequence of the frequent intermarriages which took place during a long series of years.” They were then ordered to withdraw, and the senators were for some time in doubt whether Quintus Fulvius should not be called home from Capua, (for the other proconsul, Claudius, had died after the taking of the place,) in order that the matter might be discussed in the presence of the commander, as had been done in the case of Marcellus and the Sicilians. But afterwards, seeing in the house Marcus Atilius, and Flaccus’s brother, Caius Fulvius, who had been lieutenant-generals under him; also Quintus Minucius, and Lucius Veturius Philo, who had held the same commission under Claudius,—men who had been present at every transaction; and being unwilling either to recall Fulvius from Capua, or to delay the Campanians by an adjournment, they desired to hear the sentiments of Marcus Atilius Regulus, whom they deemed superior in judgment to any of the rest who had been at Capua; and he spoke to this effect: “I recollect attending the consuls, in council, after the reduction of Capua, when inquiry was made whether any of the Campanians had deserved well of our state; when it was discovered that two women had done so, Vestia Oppia, a native of Atilla, resident in Capua, and Fancula Cluvia, formerly a courtesan; the former having daily offered sacrifice for the safety and success of the Roman people, the latter having secretly conveyed Edition: current; Page: [373] food to the starving prisoners. But it was at the same time found, that the disposition of all the rest of the Campanians towards us was precisely that of the Carthaginians; yet those beheaded by Fulvius were not the most criminal among them, but the most eminent in rank. How the senate can determine on the case of the Campanians, who are Roman citizens, without an order of the people, I do not see. This rule was observed by our ancestors, in respect of the revolted Satricans, and measures were taken that Marcus Antistius, plebeian tribune, should first propose, and the commons pass, an order empowering the senate to decide finally in the affair of that people. My opinion, therefore, is, that application be made to the tribunes of the commons, that one or more of them may propose to the people an order authorising us to determine concerning the Campanians.” By direction of the senate, Lucius Atilius, a plebeian tribune, made the proposition accordingly in these words: “Concerning all the Campanians, Atellans, Calatians, Sabatians, who have surrendered themselves to Fulvius, proconsul, and submitted to the power and dominion of the Roman people; also concerning whatsoever they may have given up, whether land, city, divine, or human property; with respect to all these things, I ask you, Roman citizens, what you choose should be done?” The commons passed this order:—“Whatsoever the senate, being first sworn, or the majority of its members, then present, may determine, that we will and order.”

XXXIV. In pursuance of this order of the people, the senate took the business into consideration; and, in the first place, restored to Oppia and Cluvia their liberty and effects, with directions, that “if they wished to ask any other reward from the senate, they should come to Rome.” Separate decrees were passed respecting the several families of the Campanians, all of which it would be useless to enumerate. The properties of some were ordered to be confiscated; themselves, their wives, and children to be sold, excepting such Edition: current; Page: [374] of their daughters as had been placed in marriage before they came into the power of the Roman people. Others were ordered to be kept in close confinement, and their cases to be considered at a future time. They also made distinct estimates of the possessions of others, in order to determine whether they should be forfeited or not. They voted, that all the cattle seized, except the horses; all the slaves, except grown-up males; and every thing which did not appertain to the soil, should be restored to the owners. They ordered, that all the Campanians, Atellans, Calatians, and Sabatians, exclusive of those who, themselves or their parents, were then among the enemy, should be free; with the restriction, that none of them should be capable of becoming a Roman citizen, or a Latine confederate; and that none of those who had been in Capua while the gates were shut, should remain beyond a certain day in the city or territory thereof. They voted, that a place of habitation should be assigned to those people beyond the Tiber, and not contiguous to it: that such as had neither been in Capua during the war, nor in any Campanian city which had revolted from the Roman people, should be removed to the other side of the river Liris, next to Rome; and those who had come over to the Romans before Hannibal came to Capua, to the hither side of the Vulturnus: that none of them should have land or house nearer to the sea than fifteen miles: that, as to those who should be transplanted to the farther side of the Tiber, neither themselves nor their posterity should purchase or possess property in any other place than in the Veientian, Sutrian, or Nepetian territories; nor should any possess a greater extent of ground than fifty acres: that the property of all the senators, and of those who had held public employments at Capua, Atella, or Calatia, should be sold at Capua; but that the men of free condition, who, according to the order passed, were likewise to be set up for sale, should be sent to Rome. The images and brazen statues, which were said to Edition: current; Page: [375] have been taken from the enemy, whether they were sacred or private property, they left to the disposal of the college of pontiffs. They then dismissed the Campanians, whose distress and affliction were increased by these determinations beyond what they had felt at their coming to Rome, and who exclaimed no longer against Fulvius’s cruelty towards them, but against the rigorous severity of the gods, and their own accursed fortune.

XXXV. After the Sicilians and Campanians were dismissed, a levy of troops was made; and, as soon as that was finished, the business of procuring a supply of rowers for the fleet came under consideration. As there was neither a sufficiency of men for this purpose, nor any money, at that time, in the treasury to purchase or pay them, the consuls published an edict, that private persons should, as on former occasions, in proportion to their fortunes and stations, supply rowers with pay and subsistence for thirty days. This edict caused such loud murmurs and such ill-humour among the people, that a leader, rather than matter, was wanting to produce an open insurrection. It was said, that “the consuls, after they had done with the Sicilians and Campanians, had taken the Roman commons in hand, to harass and ruin them: that, after being exhausted by paying taxes for so many years, they had nothing left but land, and that naked and waste. Their houses the enemy had burned; the slaves, who ought to till the ground, the state had taken away, sometimes purchasing them for soldiers at a trifling price, at others ordering them to serve as rowers. If any one had a little silver or brass, he was obliged to part with it to pay rowers and the yearly duties. As to themselves, no authority, no force, could compel them to give what they had not. The consuls might sell their goods, and vent their cruelty on their persons, which were all that remained: nor had they any thing wherewith they could even redeem or save themselves from such treatment.” These discontented expressions Edition: current; Page: [376] were uttered not in private, but openly in the Forum, and in the presence of the consuls themselves, by immense multitudes that stood around them; nor were the consuls able, either by reproof or consolation, to pacify them. It was at length determined to give them three days, to consider of these matters; and this time they themselves employed in procuring information, and contriving the best mode of proceeding. On the following day, they held a meeting of the senate on the subject of a supply of rowers, and after using many arguments to show that the remonstrances of the commons were but reasonable, they changed the tenor of their discourse so far as to say, that “this burthen, whether reasonable or unreasonable, must be imposed on the private citizens. How could the fleets be otherwise manned, as there was no money in the treasury; and, without fleets, how could Sicily be kept in obedience, Philip be kept out of Italy, or the coasts of Italy protected?”

XXXVI. In circumstances of such extreme perplexity, deliberation was of little avail, and a kind of torpor possessed men’s faculties, until the consul Lævinus addressed them thus: “As the magistrates in point of dignity precede the senate, and the senate the people, so ought they to take the lead in undergoing every thing burthensome and difficult. When you wish to enjoin any task on inferiors; if you impose the same duty on yourself and your connexions, you will find those inferiors the more ready to obey. Nor is an expense deemed heavy, when people see those of the highest ranks take on themselves more than their proportion of it. Do we wish, then, that the Roman people should have a fleet, and the means of equipping it? That private citizens should, without murmuring, supply rowers? Let us enforce the edict first on ourselves. Let us, senators, lodge to-morrow in the public treasury all our gold, silver, and coined brass; each reserving of the gold, rings for himself, his wife, and children, and a bulla for his son; and he who has a wife Edition: current; Page: [377] and daughters, an ounce weight for each, out of the silver; and for those who have sat in a curule chair, let them have the ornaments of a horse, and a pound weight of silver, that they may not be without a salt-cellar and a dish to be used in the worship of the gods. To the other senators, only a pound of silver and five thousand asses* of brass coin should be allowed, that is, for every father of a family. All the rest of our gold, silver, and coined brass, let us at once convey to the receivers of the public money, before we pass any decree, that our voluntary contribution, and the ardour of our zeal in aiding the republic, may excite a spirit of emulation in the equestrian order first, and then in the people in general. This is the only equitable way which my colleague and myself, after much conversation on the subject, have been able to discover; adopt it, then, and may the gods be propitious to you. The safety of the commonwealth effectually ensures the safety of private property; if you abandon the interest of the republic, you will in vain attempt to preserve your own.” This scheme was received with warm and unanimous approbation, insomuch that the thanks of the body were returned to the consuls. The senate was then adjourned, and all the members immediately hastened to bring in their gold, silver, and brass to the treasury, and this with such ardour and emulation, that while each pressed to have his name among the first in the public registers, the commissioners were not able to receive, nor the clerks to enter, the contributions. The zeal and unanimity displayed by the senate were copied by the equestrian order, and, after them, by the commons. Thus, without any edict, without any authoritative act of magistracy, the state was provided with a sufficient supply of rowers, and also with a fund for their support; and every preparation for the campaign being finished, the consuls set out for their respective provinces.

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XXXVII. At no period of the war did both the Romans and the Carthaginians feel a greater vicissitude of hopes and fears; such an intermixture of events, of opposite natures, taking place alike on both sides. For on that of the Romans, with regard to the provinces, the misfortunes in Spain on the one hand, and the successes in Sicily on the other, produced a mixture of sorrow and rejoicing; and in Italy, as the loss of Tarentum was injurious and grievous, so the citadel and garrison being preserved, beyond expectation, was matter of joy: while in like manner, the sudden terror and panic, caused by the investiture and attack of the city of Rome, were in a few days converted into triumph by the reduction of Capua. Affairs beyond sea were, also, balanced in a kind of counterpoise. Philip became their enemy at a juncture very far from seasonable; but then they acquired new allies in the Ætolians, and in Attalus, king of Asia; fortune thus early pledging her promise, as it were, to the Romans, for the empire of the east. On the side of the Carthaginians, likewise, the loss of Capua was counterbalanced by the acquisition of Tarentum; and, as they valued themselves highly on the honour of having advanced to the walls of the city of Rome without opposition, so they were grieved at the failure of their design, and felt ashamed at being slighted to such a degree, as that, while they lay under the walls of Rome, a Roman army should have marched out, from another quarter of the city, for Spain. With regard also to Spain itself, as they thought they had good reason to hope, that, in consequence of the destruction of two renowned generals and powerful armies, the war there would be at an end, and the Romans expelled the country, so their mortification was the greater in proportion, on finding that Lucius Marcius, a leader who owed his post to the irregular voice of the multitude, had rendered their victory insignificant and fruitless. Thus, Fortune holding the scales even, every thing on both sides hung in suspense, and the parties retained their hopes Edition: current; Page: [379] unabated, and their fears unallayed, just as if they were now first commencing the war.

XXXVIII. One circumstance, above all, filled Hannibal’s mind with the most painful reflections; it was, that in consequence of the Romans having prosecuted the siege of Capua with so much more determined resolution than he had exerted for its relief, many of the states of Italy had conceived sentiments very unfavourable to his cause. He found it impossible to maintain his authority over all of these by force, unless he were to break down his army into a great number of small detachments, which would very ill suit his condition at the time; nor could he leave the fidelity of allies open to the solicitations of hope, or the threatenings of fear. Wherefore, as his mind had from nature a strong bias to avarice and cruelty, he determined to plunder the places which he could not keep, and so leave them to the enemy in a state of desolation. This scheme, so dishonourable in its purpose, proved equally so in its consequences: for it alienated from him the affections not only of the persons so greatly aggrieved, but likewise of all the rest; this specimen of his character extending its influence far beyond the numbers involved in the calamity. The Roman consul at the same time was not remiss in making trials of the disposition of every city where any prospect of success appeared. In Salapia there were two leading men, Dasius and Blasius: the former was a friend to Hannibal; the latter, as far as he could with safety, favoured the interest of the Romans, and, by means of secret emissaries, had given Marcellus hopes of having the place betrayed to him; but this was a measure, which, without the concurrence of Dasius, could not be effected. After long and anxious deliberation, and then, rather from want of a more promising plan, than hope of succeeding, he opened the proposition to Dasius. But he, being both averse from the design, and glad also of an opportunity of injuring his competitor for power, disclosed the affair to Hannibal, Edition: current; Page: [380] who summoned them both before him; and, while he was employed on his tribunal in despatching some other business, intending presently to attend to that of Blasus, the accuser and accused both standing together in a spot cleared for them by the people, Blasius began to urge Dasius on the subject of surrendering the town. On which the latter, as if the matter now proved itself, exclaimed, that the other was attempting to seduce him to treachery, even in Hannibal’s immediate presence. To Hannibal, and to those who were present, the more audacious the fact charged on Blasius was, the less credible it appeared. They knew that there was an emulation and hatred subsisting between the two, and supposed that an imputation of this kind was alleged, because, as from its nature, it could not be supported by the testimony of witnesses, it was the more likely to be false. The parties were therefore dismissed; but Blasius, notwithstanding what had passed, never desisted from this bold undertaking, until by incessant teasing on the same subject, and proving how advantageous such a measure would be to themselves and their country, he extorted the other’s consent that Salapia, and the Carthaginian garrison, which consisted of five hundred Numidians, should be delivered up to Marcellus. This, however, could not be effected without considerable bloodshed; for these Numidians were much the bravest body of Cavalry in the whole Carthaginian army, and this was an occurrence which it was impossible for them to foresee. But though they could not, in the city, make use of their horses, yet, on the tumult arising, they hastily took arms, and attempted to make their way out; when, finding an escape impracticable, they sold their lives dear, fighting to the last; nor did more than fifty of their whole number fall alive into the hands of the Salapians. The loss of this body of cavalry was a much severer blow to Hannibal than that of the place, for thenceforward the Carthaginians were never superior in cavalry, which they had, hitherto, always been.

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XXXIX. At this time the scarcity in the citadel of Tarentum became almost intolerable. Marcus Livius, commander of the Roman garrison there, relied entirely for supplies, on Sicily; and to secure to these a safe passage along the coast of Italy, a fleet of twenty ships had been stationed at Rhegium. The charge of the fleet and provisions was entrusted to Decius Quintius, a man of obscure birth, but who, by many brave actions, had acquired a large share of military fame. At first, he had only five ships, the largest of which were two triremes, given him by Marcellus; afterwards, when he was known to have behaved, on many occasions, with much spirit and bravery, he received a reinforcement of three quinqueremes; at last, he himself, by exacting from the confederate states of Rhegium, Velia, and Pæstum, the ships due by treaty, had made up a fleet of twenty sail, as abovementioned. Having, with this fleet, set sail from Rhegium, he was met at Sacriportus, about fifteen miles from the city, by Democrates, with an equal number of Tarentine ships. The Roman was coming to the relief of the garrison, not supposing it probable that he should meet an enemy; from Croton and Sybaris, however, he had furnished his ships with their full complement of rowers, and besides, considering the size of his vessels, they were exceedingly well equipped and armed. It so happened, that, just when the Tarentine came in sight, the wind entirely died away, a circumstance which gave him full time to adjust the rigging, and put the rowers and soldiers in readiness for the battle that was to follow. They engaged with a degree of ardour seldom shown by complete fleets, because the objects for which they contended were of more importance than the fleets themselves. The Tarentines, having recovered their city from the Romans, at the end of almost one hundred years, struggled now to diliver the city also from subjection; knowing that if, by the exertions of their fleet, they should take from the enemy the dominion of the sea, they would be thereby effectually excluded Edition: current; Page: [382] from even a distant hope of provisions: the Romans, on the other hand, laboured, by retaining possession of the citadel, to show the world, that the loss of the city was owing, not to the strength or valour of the assailants, but to artifice and treachery. The signal, then, being given on both sides, they charged each other with the beaks of their vessels, and none, during the conflict, either drew back his own ship, or suffered his adversary to get clear of him, but held it by throwing in an iron grapple; and thus the engagement became so close, that they fought, not only with missile weapons, but with swords, and almost hand to hand. The prows, being lashed together, remained unmoved, while the sterns were turned round by the force of their adversaries oars. The ships were crowded so close together, and within so narrow a place, that scarcely any weapon fell without effect into the sea. They pressed front against front, like lines of land forces, and the combatants could pass from one ship to another. But there was one conflict remarkable above the rest, between two which engaged in the van: in the Roman ship was Quintius himself; in the Tarentine, Nico, surnamed Perco, who bitterly hated, and was hated, by the Romans, not only in consequence of the public quarrel, but also of personal resentment, for he was one of that faction which had betrayed Tarentum to Hannibal. This man, while Quintius was encouraging his men, and, at the same time, fighting, and off his guard, darted a spear through his body, and he fell headlong, with his armour, into the sea: then the victorious Tarentine boldly leaped into the ship, where the loss of the commander had thrown all into confusion, and they quickly retired before him. The forepart of the ship was now in possession of the Tarentines, while the Romans, in a compact body, with difficulty defended the poop; when another trireme of the enemy suddenly appeared at the stern, and the Roman ship, thus inclosed between the two, was taken. The rest, on seeing this, were struck with dismay, and fled in Edition: current; Page: [383] different directions. Some were sunk in the deep, and others, being run aground by the rowers, soon became a prey to the Thurians and Metapontines. Of the store-ships, which followed with the provisions, a few fell into the enemy’s hands; the remainder stood away into the main, and escaped by shifting their sails with every change of the wind. In the meantime, the fortune of affairs at Tarentum was not at all the same: for a party, amounting to four thousand men, having gone out to forage, spreading themselves up and down the country, Livius, the commander of the Roman garrison, who carefully watched every opportunity of acting to advantage, sent out, from the citadel, Caius Persius, an active and brave officer, with two thousand soldiers. He fell upon the enemy while they were scattered widely, and in small parties; and, after continuing for a long time to cut them off, drove the small remainder of this large detachment to the city, where they were admitted through the gates half opened, lest the Romans should enter along with them, and become masters of it. Thus the affairs of Tarentum were equally balanced, the Romans being victorious on land, the Tarentines by sea. Both were disappointed alike in their hopes of provisions, even after they had actually come within their sight.

XL. About this time, after a great part of the year had elapsed, and he had been long wished for by both the old and new allies, the consul Lævinus arrived in Sicily, where he judged that the first and most material business to be done, was, the regulating the affairs of Syracuse, which had not yet been reduced into order in the short space since the late pacification. He then led his legions to Agrigentum, which was the only place still in arms, and held by a strong garrison of Carthaginians; and here fortune favoured his enterprize. The Carthaginians were commanded by Hanno, but placed their whole dependence on Mutines and the Numidians. The latter, making frequent excursions through every part of Sicily, carried off spoil from the allies of the Romans, and neither Edition: current; Page: [384] force nor art could shut him out from Agrigentum, nor hinder him from sallying forth whenever he thought proper. The high reputation which he thus acquired, as it obscured the fame of the commander in chief, excited his envy; so that even success, because obtained by his means, afforded but little pleasure to Hanno, who at last took from him his commission, and gave it to his own son, thinking that, by divesting him of the command, he should deprive him of his popularity among the Numidians. But the effect was widely different, for, by this discovery of his jealousy, he increased their attachment to Mutines, who did not tamely submit to the indignity of this undeserved ill-treatment, but quickly despatched secret emissaries to Lævinus, to treat about the surrender of the town. Through these, mutual assurances were given, and the method of accomplishing the business concerted; and then the Numidians, dislodging or killing the guards, seized a gate which opened towards the sea, and received a party of Romans sent thither for the purpose. When these were already marching into the heart of the city and the Forum, with much noise and tumult, Hanno, thinking that it was nothing more than such a disturbance and secession of the Numidians as had happened before, came out to quell the mutiny: but observing, at a distance, that the number was greater than that of those forces, and hearing the Roman shout, with which he was not unacquainted, he resolved, before he came within reach of their weapons, to betake himself to flight. Getting out of the town at an opposite gate, he took Epicydes with him, and came with a small number to the sea side. There they luckily found a bark, and abandoning to the enemy the island of Sicily, about which a contest had been maintained through so many years, passed over to Africa. The rest of the Carthaginians and Sicilians attempted to fly with blind precipitation, but the gates being closed, they were cut to pieces. Lævinus, on gaining possession of the town, scourged and beheaded those who had been in the management Edition: current; Page: [385] of the affairs of Agrigentum: the rest he sold, together with the spoil, and remitted all the money to Rome. Accounts of the sufferings of the Agrigentines spreading through all Sicily, produced at once a general revolution in favour of the Romans. In a short time, twenty towns were betrayed to them, six taken by storm, and forty put themselves under their protection by voluntary surrender. To the leading men in these states the consul dispensed rewards and punishments according to the merits and demerits of each; and having compelled the Sicilians at length to lay aside arms, and turn their thoughts to agriculture, that the island might, from its fertile soil, not only afford plenty of subsistence to the inhabitants, but, as it had done on many occasions formerly, contribute supplies of provisions to Rome, and even to all Italy, he left Sicily, carrying with him a large multitude from Agathyrna. This was a motley rabble, four thousand in number, composed of vagabonds of every description, exiles, and bankrupts, the greater part guilty of capital crimes, who, even when they lived in their native countries under the government of laws, and afterwards, when a similarity of condition, arising from various causes, had drawn them together to Agathyrna, always supported themselves by robberies and rapines. Such men as these, so likly to excite new disturbances, the consul thought it unsafe to leave behind, in an island which had but just then obtained rest from intestine wars, and where the people were but beginning to unite on the terms of concord established by the late pacification: besides, they might prove useful to the people of Rhegeum, who wanted a band trained to robberies, for the purpose of ravaging the territories of Bruttium. Thus, so far as concerned Sicily, this year put an end to hostilities.

XLI. In Spain, Publius Scipio, as soon as the spring appeared, launched his ships; summoned to Tarraco, by an edict, the auxiliary troops of the allies, and then directed the fleets and transports to proceed to the mouth of the river Iberus. Edition: current; Page: [386] This place he also appointed for the meeting of the legions whom he ordered out of winter quarters; and he himself, attended by five thousand men of the allied troops, set out from Tarraco to join the army. When he arrived at the camp, thinking it proper to say something encouraging to the soldiers, particularly those who had been longest in the province, and had survived so many and so great disasters, he called them together, and addressed them in this manner: “Never has there been a new commander, except myself, who could, with justice and propriety, give thanks to his soldiers before he had employed them. Fortune laid me under obligations to you ere I saw your camp, or knew my province; first, because you showed such dutiful respect to my father and uncle during their lives, and since their deaths; and next, because, when the possession of the province had been lost by a dreadful calamity, you recovered it by your bravery, and have preserved it entire for the Roman people, and for me who succeed to the command. But as, through the bounty of the gods, the design of our present proceedings is not to maintain our own footing in Spain, but to deprive the Carthaginians of all footing in it; not to stand on the bank of the Iberus, and hinder the enemy from passing it, but to pass over ourselves, and carry the war to the other side, I fear lest, to some of you, the undertaking may seem too great and too bold, considering the remembrance of our late misfortunes, and my early time of life. There is no person living, from whose memory the defeats in Spain can less be obliterated than from mine; for there my father and uncle lost their lives within the space of thirty days; so that funerals in our family followed one another in quick succession. But while the disaster which bereft our house of parents: and left me almost the only surviving member of it, depresses my mind with grief, still the fortunes of our nation, and its courageous spirit, forbid me to despair of the public welfare. It is the lot assigned to us, by some kind of fatality, that, in Edition: current; Page: [387] all important wars, we should pass through defeat to victory. Omitting instances in ancient times, the case of Porsena, the Gauls, and the Samnites, I shall begin with the Punic wars. In the last, how many fleets, how many generals, how many armies, were lost? Need I mention the like events during the present war? At all the defeats I was either present in person, or lamented more deeply than any other, those from which I was absent. The Trebia, the Trasimenus, Cannæ, what are they but monuments of Roman consuls and armies slain? Then the defection of Italy, of the greater part of Sicily, of Sardinia; the extreme terror and affright, when Hannibal’s camp was pitched between the Anio and the walls of Rome, and that victorious commander was seen at our very gates. But amidst this general ruin of affairs, the courage of the Roman people alone stood unshaken and immoveable. This, when all our hopes lay prostrate on the ground, raised and supported them. And first of all, you, soldiers, under the conduct and auspices of my father, withstood Hasdrubal, when, after the defeat at Cannæ, he was on his way to the Alps and to Italy; where, if he had effected a junction with his brother, the Roman name would not now have been in existence: but the successes obtained here have counterbalanced the losses sustained in other places. At present, through the good favour of the gods, affairs in Italy and Sicily are in a prosperous train, daily improving, and wearing a more favourable aspect. In Sicily, Syracuse and Agrigentum have been taken; the enemy entirely expelled the island, and the province restored to the dominion of the Roman people. In Italy, Arpi has been recovered, Capua taken; Hannibal, after a disorderly flight, through his whole route from the city of Rome, has been obliged to retreat into the remotest corner of Bruttium, where he prays to the gods for nothing more than that he may be permitted to withdraw in safety, and quit the land of his enemy. Could there then, soldiers, be a greater inconsistency, than that, when disasters Edition: current; Page: [388] were thus crowded one upon another, and the gods themselves seemed, in a manner, to take part with Hannibal, you, with my parents, (for I will mention both under the same revered name,) supported here the tottering fortune of the Roman people; and that now when, in other quarters, every event is prosperous and joyful, you should let your courage sink? As to the events which have lately happened, I wish they had passed without giving me more cause of mourning than they have given you. Now, however, the immortal gods, the guardians of the Roman empire, who inspired all the centuries with the resolution of offering the command to be given to me, by their auguries and auspices, and by visions in the night, portend all prosperity and joy. My own mind, likewise, which has hitherto been my surest prophet, presages that Spain is to be ours; that the whole Carthaginian race will soon be banished hence, and spread themselves over the lands and seas in their ignominious flight. What my mind prognosticates from its own feelings, the same is suggested by reason, and supported by arguments of no delusive nature. Their allies, disgusted by their ill-treatment, send ambassadors to implore our protection; their three commanders, having quarrelled to such a degree as almost to come to open hostilities, have divided their army into three parts, and drawn these asunder into countries the most remote from each other. The same fortune now impends over them which formerly crushed us; for they are deserted by their confederates, as we were formerly by the Celtiberians; and they have divided their forces, which was the cause of destruction to my father and uncle. Intestine discord will hinder them from acting together again; nor will they, separately, be able to resist us. Only do you, soldiers, preserve your attachment to the name of Scipio, to the offspring of your own commanders; a branch, as it were, shooting forth from the trunks which have been felled. You, veteran soldiers, lead your new commander, and your young associates, Edition: current; Page: [389] over the Iberus; lead us into those lands where you have often marked your route with many deeds of valour. Trust me, you shall soon find, that the resemblance which you suppose you see in me to my father and uncle, is not confined to figure, countenance, and features; but that I inherit no small portion of their capacity, their honour, and their courage; these you shall find so faithfully copied from the original, that every man of you shall say, that his own commander, Scipio, has either returned to life, or has been born again.”

XLII. Having, by this discourse, animated the courage of his men, and leaving three thousand foot and three hundred horse, under Marcus Silanus, for the defence of the province, he marched the rest of his forces, which amounted to twenty-five thousand foot, and two thousand five hundred horse, over the Iberus. Although many now advised, that, as the Carthaginian armies were separated at so great distances, he should attack the one that lay nearest; yet, apprehending that such a step would probably make them all reunite, and that he should not, alone, be able to cope with the three armies, he determined, for the present, to employ his forces in an attack on New Carthage, a city which possessed great wealth of its own, and was besides, at that time, filled with the enemy’s magazines of every kind for the use of the war; there were lodged their arms, their money, and the hostages from all the states of Spain. It was, also, most conveniently situated for a passage into Africa, having a harbour sufficiently capacious for any fleet whatever, and, there is reason to think, the only one in all that tract of the Spanish coast that joins our sea. No one in the whole army knew the destination of its march except Caius Lælius. He was sent round with the fleet, and ordered so to regulate the sailing of it, that the army should come within view, and the ships enter the harbour, at the same point of time. On the seventh day after leaving the Iberus, the fleet and army arrived, as had been concerted, at Carthage; the camp was pitched on the northern Edition: current; Page: [390] side of the city, and a rampart was thrown up on the rear of it, the front being secured by the nature of the ground. The situation of Carthage is this: about the middle of the coast of Spain is a bay, which is open to the south-west wind more than to any other, and stretches inland two thousand five hundred paces, spreading in breadth to an extent somewhat greater. In the mouth of this bay lies a small island, which breaks the force of the sea, and renders the harbour secure from all winds except the south-west: from the bottom of the bay there runs out a peninsula, consisting of high land, on which the city is built, and this is surrounded on the east and south by the sea; on the west it is inclosed by a morass, which spreads a little way towards the north, and whose depth is variable according as the sea overflows or ebbs. The city is connected with the continent by an isthmus, about two hundred and fifty paces broad; on which, though a fortification would have cost but little labour, the Roman general did not raise any, choosing either to mortify the enemy by this display of confidence, or, as he would often have occasion to advance to the walls, to have a retreat open.

XLIII. When he had completed his works in those parts which required defence, he drew up the ships in the harbour in order of battle, with intent to dispirit the enemy with the sight of a marine force also to be employed against the town; then going round the fleet in a boat, he charged the commanders to keep the night-watches with great care, because an enemy, when he is first besieged, is apt to make every effort in every quarter. He then went back to the camp, and wishing to explain to the soldiers his reason for preferring this plan of opening the campaign with the siege of a town, and by exhortations to inspire them with hopes of reducing it, he called them to an assembly, and spoke to this effect: “Soldiers, if any man among you shall suppose that you have been brought hither for the sole purpose of attacking a single city, he will judge merely from the work in which you are Edition: current; Page: [391] employed, without taking into calculation the advantages to accrue from it. For you will, in fact, attack the walls of one city: but, in that one city, you will capture all Spain. Here are the hostages of all her illustrious kings and states; and, as soon as these shall be in your power, they will instantly deliver up to our disposal every thing which is now under subjection to the Carthaginians. Here is deposited the enemy’s treasure, without which they cannot proceed in the war, having mercenary troops to maintain; and which, at the same time, will be most serviceable to us, as the means of conciliating the friendship of the barbarians. Here are their engines, arms, accoutrements, and all their warlike stores, which, while they answer our purposes, will leave the enemy destitute. Besides, we shall gain possession of a city of distinguished beauty and opulence, and highly convenient to us on account of its excellent harbour, by means of which we can have constant supplies, both from sea and land, of every thing requisite for the maintenance of the war. And while we acquire to ourselves these great advantages, we shall at the same time strip the enemy of much greater. This is their grand fortress; this their granary, their treasury, their armory; this is the repository of all their wealth. Hence there is a direct passage into Africa; this is the only station for a fleet between the Pyrenees and Gades, and from hence Africa spreads its terror over all Spain. But as I perceive that you are arrayed and marshalled for action, let us pass on, and assault New Carthage with our whole strength, with confidence and courage.” To this they all replied with a loud voice, “that they would do so;” and he immediately led them to the city, giving orders for the assault both by sea and land.

XLIV. On the other side Mago, the commander of the Carthaginians, when he saw the preparations for an assault going forward both on land and sea, disposed his forces in the following manner: opposite to the Roman camp he drew Edition: current; Page: [392] up two thousand of the townsmen; the citadel he garrisoned with five hundred soldiers, and five hundred others he placed on a high part of the city, towards the east; the rest of the troops he ordered to watch carefully every occurrence, and to hasten to whatever spot the shout, or sudden exigencies, might call them. Then, opening the gate, he sent out those whom he had formed in the street leading towards the Roman camp. The Romans, by direction of the general himself, drew back a little, that by being near their camp they might the more easily receive reinforcements during the engagement. At the beginning, both parties stood their ground, with little advantage on either side; but, after some time, the reinforcements continually sent from the camp not only drove back the enemy, but pressed them so close, while they fled in disorder, that had not a retreat been sounded, they would probably have rushed into the city intermixed with the fugitives. Nor was the consternation greater in the field than in every part of the city; in many places the troops in a panic abandoned their posts and fled, and the walls were left defenceless, those who ought to guard them having leaped down wherever they found a way. Scipio, going up on an eminence called Mercury’s Hill, observed this their state, on which he ordered all his men to be called out from the camp, to bring scaling-ladders, and advance to the assault. He himself, covered by the shields of three able young men, because weapons of all kinds were now cast from the place in vast numbers, came up close to the works, encouraged his men and gave the necessary orders. But what contributed above all to inflame the courage of the soldiers, was his being thus an immediate spectator and witness of the bravery or cowardice of every one of them. They rushed forward, therefore, regardless of the enemy, or of the wounds inflicted by them; nor could the walls, or the armed troops with which they were now lined, deter them from mounting with eager emulation. At the same time an assault commenced Edition: current; Page: [393] from the ships on that quarter of the town which is washed by the sea. But here, though a great alarm was raised, little effectual exertion could be made; because, while the men brought in the boats to the shore, while they hastily landed the soldiers and scaling-ladders, and while every one pressed forward to the land by the speediest way, through their own hurry and impatience they obstructed one another.

XLV. In the mean time the Carthaginian general had again filled the walls with numerous troops, and great abundance of weapons, brought out from their immense magazines, lay in heaps ready for use. But neither men nor weapons, nor any thing else, proved such an effectual defence as the walls themselves: for they were of such a height, that few of the ladders could reach the summit, and the longer any of these were, the weaker they were in proportion: as those, then, who had mounted to the top could not advance, and others nevertheless climbed up after them, the ladders were broken by their weight. In several cases, where the the ladders stood upright, the men, on rising to so great a height, were seized with giddiness, and fell to the ground. While men and ladders were every where falling in this manner, and the enemy, from success, assumed more boldness and alacrity, the signal for retreat was given. This afforded hopes to the besieged, not only of present rest after such a laborious contest, but also of future safety; as it made them imagine that their city was impregnable by scalade and assault, and that their works were so difficult to be surmounted, that they would always give time to their commanders to bring up forces to their relief. Scarcely had the noise of the first tumult subsided, when Scipio ordered other men, who were fresh and unfatigued, to take the ladders from the weary and wounded, and to renew the assault with additional vigour. Being told at this juncture that the tide was ebbing, and having before learned from some fishermen of Tarraco, (who used to pass through the morass in light Edition: current; Page: [394] boats, and, when these ran aground, by wading,) that footmen might easily find a passage to the wall, he in person led five hundred soldiers thither. It was now about mid-day, and, besides the water being naturally drawn off into the sea by the reflux of the tide, a brisk northerly wind arising, carried the water along, in the same direction with the tide, and had rendered it so shallow, that in some places it reached only to the navel, in others scarcely to the knees. This circumstance, discovered in reality by his own diligence and sagacity, Scipio attributed, as a prodigy, to the interposition of the gods, who, to give a passage to the Romans, changed the course of the sea, and removed morasses, opening ways never before trodden by human foot. Impressing this on his men, he bade them follow Neptune, who acted as their guide, and make their way to the wall through the middle of the swamp.

XLVI. On the land part, the assailants had a most laborious task. The height of the walls was not the only obstruction that they met, for, as the enemy had the Romans below them, they could aim their blows against either of their sides as they came up; so that, while they were climbing, these were more endangered than the fronts of their bodies. But, in the other quarter, the five hundred found no difficulty either in crossing the morass, or mounting the rampart: for neither was that side strengthened by any work, being deemed sufficiently secure by the nature of the ground and the marsh, nor was there any party of soldiers or guard stationed at it, because all were intent on bringing succour to the place where the danger appeared. Entering the city, therefore, without opposition, they proceeded with the utmost speed to the gate; at which the whole contest was maintained; and so intent on this dispute were, not only the minds of all, but likewise the eyes and ears of the combatants, and of the people who looked on and encouraged them, that no one perceived that the enemy had entered the place, until Edition: current; Page: [395] their weapons came pouring on their backs, and they found themselves between the two forces. The garrison were so affrighted and confounded, that they were no longer capable of making a defence. The walls were seized by the Romans, who, both within and without, applied themselves to the breaking open the gate, and this being soon cut to pieces, so as to leave a clear passage, the troops marched in to the attack. By this time, great numbers had got in by scaling the walls, and these employed themselves every where in killing the townsmen. Those who had entered by the opening, composing a regular body, under their officers, and maintaining their ranks, proceeded through the heart of the city into the Forum. Scipio, perceiving that the enemy fled hence by two different ways; some towards the hill, which lay eastward, and was defended by a garrison of five hundred men, others to the citadel, into which Mago himself had retired, with almost all the soldiers who had been beaten off from the walls, sent one half of his forces to storm the hill, and led himself the other half against the citadel. The hill was taken at the first attack. Mago attempted at first to defend the citadel, but soon seeing every place filled with the enemy, and that no hope remained, surrendered himself, the citadel, and garrison. Until the citadel was surrendered, the soldiers had continued to put the townsmen to the sword in every quarter, nor did they spare any adult who fell in their way; but then, on a signal given, they desisted from shedding blood, and, being now completely victorious, they turned themselves to the collecting of the plunder, the quantity of which, of all sorts, was immense.

XLVII. The males of free condition taken prisoners amounted to ten thousand; of these, such as were citizens of New Carthage he discharged, and restored to them the city, and all their effects, which the war had not consumed. There were two thousand artisans, whom he adjudged to be the public property of the Roman people, giving them hopes of Edition: current; Page: [396] speedily regaining their liberty, provided they worked industriously in the service of the army. Of the rest of the multitude, all the younger inhabitants, and the able-bodied slaves, he sent to fill up the numbers of rowers in his fleet, which he augmented with eight ships captured here. Besides all these, were found the hostages of the Spanish states, who were treated with as much care and attention, as if they had been the children of allies. The quantity of military stores taken was exceedingly great; catapultas, of the larger size, one hundred and twenty, of the smaller, two hundred and eighty-one; ballistas, large, twenty-three, small, fifty-two; of scorpions, large and small, and of arms and missive weapons, a vast number; military standards, seventy-four. Of gold and silver also, a prodigious mass was brought in to the general; there were two hundred and seventy-six golden bowls, every one of them almost of a pound weight; of silver, wrought and coined, eighteen thousand three hundred pounds weight, and of silver utensils a prodigious number. All these articles were weighed and reckoned to the quæstor Caius Flaminius; besides forty thousand pecks of wheat, and two hundred and seventy thousand of barley. One hundred and thirteen storeships were boarded and taken in the harbour, several of them with their cargoes, consisting of corn and arms: likewise brass, iron, canvass, hemp, and other materials proper for equipping a fleet: so that, among such vast stores of every thing useful in war, Carthage itself was the least valuable acquisition.

XLVIII. Scipio, ordering Caius Lælius, with the marines, to guard the city, led back the legions into their camp. As the soldiers were much fatigued by having gone through, in one day, every different kind of fight; for they had engaged the enemy in the field, had undergone great labour and danger in storming the city, and, after it was taken, had fought on disadvantageous ground with those who had taken refuge in the citadel; he directed them to employ the remainder of Edition: current; Page: [397] that day in taking refreshment and rest. On the day following, having called together both the land and the naval forces, he began with returning praise and thanks to the immortal gods, who had “not only, in the space of one day, given him possession of the most opulent city in all Spain, but had previously amassed in it the greatest part of the wealth of that country, and of Africa also, so that no resources were now left to the enemy, while he and his army had a superfluity of all things.” He then highly commended the courageous behaviour of the soldiers, observing, that “neither the force sent out against them, nor the height of the walls, nor the unexplored fords of the morass, nor a fort seated on a steep hill, nor the citadel, though most strongly fortified, had deterred them from surmounting and breaking through every obstacle. Wherefore, though he owed every acknowledgment to them all, nevertheless the person who first mounted the wall was entitled to the peculiar honour of a mural crown;” and he desired that he who thought himself deserving of that present should claim it. Two claimants appeared, Quintus Trebellius, a centurion of the fourth legion, and Sextus Digitius, one of the marines: but the warmth with which they themselves supported their pretensions was far inferior to the eager zeal which each excited in his favour among the corps to which he belonged. Caius Lælius, commander of the fleet, favoured the marines, Marcus Sempronius Tuditanus the legionaries. This contention threatening at length to end in a mutiny, Scipio published notice, that he appoint three delegates, who, after examining the merits of the case, and hearing witnesses, should determine which had made his way first into the town. Accordingly, he named Caius Lælius and Marcus Sempronius advocates for the contending parties, with Publius Cornelius Caudinus, a person uninterested in the cause, as umpire: and ordered these three delegates to sit and determine in it. But the dispute was now maintained with greater violence than ever, in consequence Edition: current; Page: [398] of those men of high rank, who had acted, not as advocates, but as moderators in the case, being thus excluded. Wherefore Caius Lælius, quitting the court, went up to the tribunal to Scipio, and told him, that “the proceedings of parties surpassed all bounds of temperance and moderation, insomuch that they hardly refrained from blows. But, though no violence should ensue, nevertheless such conduct afforded an ill example; as, in this case, the honour due to merit was sought by one or other through the means of fraud and falsehood. On this side stood the legionary soldiers, on that the marines, both ready to swear, by all the gods, rather what they wished, than what they knew to be true; and to involve in the crime of perjury not only themselves in their own persons, but the military standards and eagles, and the sacred word of a soldier:” he added, that “he brought him this information at the desire of Publius Cornelius and Marcus Sempronius.” Scipio, highly approving of Lælius’s conduct, summoned a general assembly, and there pronounced judgment, that “having received sufficient proof that Quintus Trebellius and Sextus Digitius gained the top of the wall at the same time, in acknowledgment of their bravery he bestowed mural crowns on both.” He then bestowed gifts on the rest, in proportion to their courage and merit: above all, he honoured Caius Lælius, commander of the fleet, with every encomium of the highest kind that could have been paid to himself, and presented him besides, with a golden crown and thirty oxen.

XLIX. He then ordered the hostages of the Spanish states to be called. What the number of these was, I will not presume to affirm; for I find, in some writers, that they were about three hundred, in others, seven hundred and twenty-five. Authors differ as much in respect of other particulars; the Carthaginian garrison, one writer says, amounted to ten thousand men; another to seven, another to no more than two thousand. In some accounts ten thousand prisoners are Edition: current; Page: [399] said to have been taken, in others above twenty-five thousand. I should set down the scorpions, great and small, that were taken at sixty, if I were to follow the Greek historian Silenus; if Valerius Antias, at six thousand greater, and thirteen thousand smaller; so contradictory are the several accounts. Nay, they do not even agree as to the commanding officer. The greater number affirm that Caius Lælius had charge of the fleet, while there are some who assign it to Marcus Junius Silanus. Valerius Antias tells us, that it was Armes who commanded the Carthaginian garrison, and who surrendered to the Romans; other writers assert that it was Mago. They vary in the number of the ships taken, in the weight of the gold and silver, and of the money brought into the public treasury. If we are not to remain in a state of doubt, but must believe some or other of their accounts, those which hold the mean, between the highest and the lowest, are most likely to be true. Scipio, however, when the hostages were called before him, first desired them not to be dispirited; for “they had come into the power of the Roman people, whose wish it always was to bind all to them by kindness, rather than by fear; and to have foreign nations united to them in good faith and amicable alliance, and not in a state of oppression and gloomy servitude.” He then took an account of the prisoners, distinguishing the number belonging to the several states, to each of which he sent expresses, desiring them to come and receive their respective hostages: some of whom, however, as their ambassadors happened to be present, he restored on the spot; ordering the quæstor, Caius Flaminius, to take care that the rest should be kindly treated. There now came forward from among the crowd of hostages, a woman far advanced in years, the wife of Mandonius, brother to Indibilis, the chieftain of the Illergetians: she threw herself at the general’s feet, and with tears besought him to give the guards more strict injunctions respecting the care and treatment to be shown to the women. Scipio assuring her Edition: current; Page: [400] that they should not want any kind of accommodation, she replied, “Those are not matters about which we are much solicitous: for what accommodation can be considered as insufficient for persons in our situation? Anxiety of a very different kind rends my heart, when I consider the age of these young persons; for as to myself, I am now beyond any danger of those injuries to which our sex is liable.” On each side of her stood the daughters of Indibilis, in the bloom of youth and beauty, and several others of equal distinction, by all of whom she was revered as a parent. Scipio answered, “Out of regard to myself, and out of regard to the Roman discipline, I should take care that no right, any where deemed sacred, should suffer violation from us. In the present case, the virtue and merit of women of such distinction as you are, who, in the midst of misfortunes, forget not the delicacy of character becoming the most respectable of your sex, demand from me an extraordinary degree of attention.” He then gave them in charge to a person on whose strict regularity of conduct he could entirely rely, and gave him a particular charge that they should be treated with all the respect and decency due to the wives and mothers of guests.

L. The soldiers afterwards brought to him, as a prisoner, a damsel of such exquisite beauty, that she attracted the eyes of all. Scipio, on making inquiries concerning her country and parents, discovered, among other particulars, that she was betrothed to a young prince of the Celtiberians, named Allucius. He therefore immediately summoned from home her parents, and affianced husband; and when the latter arrived, having, in the mean time, heard that he was most passionately enamoured of his intended bride, he addressed his discourse to him more particularly than to the lady’s parents: “A young man myself,” said he, “I address myself to a young man, that there may be the less reserve in our conversation on this occasion. When your mistress, being taken by our soldiers, was brought to me, and I was told of the very Edition: current; Page: [401] great affection you have for her, which indeed her beauty made me readily believe, I considered that, in my own case, if my thoughts were not totally engrossed by the affairs of the public, and I were at liberty to indulge the pleasurable pursuits adapted to my time of life, especially in a lawful and honourable love, I should wish that my affection for my intended bride, though warm even to a degree of extravagance, should yet be viewed with an indulgent eye; and I therefore resolved, in your case, where no tie of duty confines me, to do all in my power in favour of your passion. Your beloved, while in my care, has been treated with as respectful an attention as she could have met with, had she been in the house of your father and mother-in-law, her own parents. She has been preserved in perfect safety, that I might be able to present her to you, her purity unspotted, a gift worthy of me to bestow, and of you to receive. The only return I require for a present of such value, is, that you be a friend to the Roman people; and that, if you believe me to be a man of worth, such as these nations have heretofore known my father and my uncle, you be assured that there are, in the Roman state, great numbers of men like themselves; and that no nation at this day on earth can be named, which you ought less to choose as an enemy to you and yours, or whose friendship you ought more ardently to desire.” The youth, overwhelmed at once with joy and diffidence, and holding Scipio’s right hand, invoked all the gods to recompense on his behalf, such exalted goodness; since his own ability was utterly disproportioned, either to his own wishes, or his benefactor’s generosity. Scipio then accosted, in friendly terms, the parents and relations of the young woman, who, having brought with them a very large weight of gold to purchase her liberty, on her being restored to them without ransom, earnestly besought him to accept it from them, assuring him, that they should deem themselves as much obliged by his compliance, as by the restoration of their Edition: current; Page: [402] child in safety. Unwilling to reject such pressing solicitations, he ordered it to be laid at his feet; then, calling, Allucius to him, he said, “Besides the dowry which you are to receive from your father-in-law, you must take also this marriage-present from me,” bidding him carry away the gold, and keep it to himself. Overjoyed by these honours and presents, the young man was dismissed to his home, where he filled the ears of his countrymen with the well-merited praises of Scipio. “A god-like youth,” he said, “had come among them; subduing all, not by the power of his arms only, but by his goodness and magnanimity.” Full of such sentiments, he made a levy among his dependents, and, within a few days, returned to Scipio with one thousand four hundred chosen horsemen.

LI. Scipio kept Lælius with him to assist with his advice in disposing of the prisoners, hostages, and booty; and when all these matters were properly adjusted, he gave him a quinquereme, and, ordering him to take on board Mago and fifteen senators of Old Carthage, who had been made prisoners at the same time, sent him to Rome with the news of his success. The few days which he had resolved to pass at Carthage he employed in exercising both his land and naval forces. On the first day, the legions made excursions, and evolutions under arms, through a space of four miles; on the second, he ordered them to review and scour their arms before their respective tents; on the third, forming opposite parties, they engaged each other, in a manner representing a regular battle, but with blunted weapons, and throwing the like kind of darts. On the fourth they were allowed to rest, and, on the fifth, the rovings commenced again. This regular succession of labour and rest, they kept up as long as they remained at Carthage. In calm weather, the rowers and marines pushing out to sea, made trial, in mock sea-fights, of the activity of their ships. Such was their employment on the outside of the walls, and these exercises on land and sea qualified both their minds and bodies for real Edition: current; Page: [403] action. Within, all parts of the city resounded with warlike preparations, workmen of every kind being collected together in a public arsenal. The general attended to every particular with equal care: at one time he was busy in the fleet and dock-yard; at another, he headed the legions in their excursions; again, he employed his time in overseeing the works, which were carried on, with great diligence and emulation, by a multitude of workmen in the arsenals, armory, and dock-yards, and great numbers of necessary articles finished every day. Having thus set on foot these preparations, repaired the breaches in the walls, and established posts for the guard of the city, he set out for Tarraco, and, on his way thither, received as he went along a great number of embassies. Some of these he answered on the road, and dismissed; others he adjourned to Tarraco, where he had appointed a general meeting of all the allies both new and old. Accordingly, this meeting was attended by almost every state on the hither-side of the Iberus, and also by many from the farther Spain. The Carthaginian generals, at first, carefully suppressed the intelligence of Carthage being taken; afterwards, when that event became too notorious to be any longer concealed or dissembled, they affected to speak of it with little concern. They said, that “by an unexpected attack, and the efforts of one day, one city in Spain had been surprized and taken in a manner by stealth: that an inexperienced youth, elated by the acquisition of a prize of but little consequence, had, by his immoderate joy, imposed on it the appearance of an important victory; but as soon as he should hear that three generals, and three armies of his enemies, all flushed with victory, were marching towards him, he would quickly be struck with the recollection of the deaths which had happened in his family.” Such was their language in public, while they themselves were fully sensible how great a diminution their strength had suffered in every particular by the loss of Carthage.

Edition: current; Page: [404]

BOOK XXVII.

Cneius Fulvius, proconsul, defeated by Hannibal, and slain: the consul Claudius Marcellus, engages him, with better success. Hannibal, raising his camp, retires; Marcellus pursues, and forces him to an engagement. They fight twice: in the first battle Hannibal gains the advantage; in the second, Marcellus. Tarentum betrayed to Fabius Maximus, the consul. Scipio engages with Hasdrubal, the son of Hamilcar, at Bætula, in Spain, and defeats him. Among other prisoners, a youth of royal race, and exquisite beauty, is taken; Scipio sets him free, and sends him, enriched with magnificent presents, to his uncle Masinissa. Marcellus and Quintus Crispinus, consuls, drawn into an ambuscade by Hannibal: Marcellus is slain; Crispinus escapes. Operations by Publius Sulpicius, prætor, against Philip and the Achæans. A census held: the number of citizens found to amount to one hundred and thirty-seven thousand one hundred and eight: from which it appears how great a loss they had sustained by the number of unsuccessful battles they had of late been engaged in. Hasdrubal, who had crossed the Alps with a reinforcement for Hannibal, defeated by the consuls Marcus Livius and Claudius Nero, and slain; with him fell fifty-six thousand men.

Y.R. 542. bc 210.I. SUCH was the state of affairs in Spain. In Italy, the consul Marcellus, after regaining possession of Salapia, which was betrayed into his hands, took, by storm, Maronea and Meles, cities belonging to the Samnites. He made prisoners three thousand of Hannibal’s soldiers, left in garrison; the booty, which was considerable, was given up to the soldiers. Here were found, also, two Edition: current; Page: [405] hundred and forty thousand pecks of wheat, and one hundred and ten thousand of barley. But the joy occasioned hereby was much less than the grief felt for an overthrow a few days after, near the city of Herdonea. Cneius Fulvius, proconsul, lay there encamped, in hopes of recovering that city, which, after the defeat at Cannæ, had revolted from the Romans; but his post was neither strong by nature, nor secured by proper guards. The negligence natural to that commander’s disposition was increased by perceiving that the inhabitants, as soon as they heard that Hannibal, after the loss of Salapia, had withdrawn from that part of the country into Bruttium, began to waver in their attachment to the Carthaginians. Intelligence of all these particulars was conveyed to Hannibal by private messengers from Herdonea; and, while it made him anxious to preserve an allied city, at the same time inspired hopes of attacking the enemy unprepared. With his troops, therefore, lightly equipped for expedition, he hastened to Herdonea by such long marches, that he almost anticipated the report of his approach; and, to strike the greater terror, he advanced in order of battle. The Roman commander, fully equal to him in boldness, but inferior in judgment and strength, hastily led out his forces, and engaged him. The fifth legion, and the left wing of allied infantry, commenced the fight with vigour. But Hannibal gave directions to his cavalry, that, as soon as the lines of infantry should have their thoughts and eyes entirely occupied on the contest between themselves, they should ride round; that one half of them should fall on the enemy’s camp, and the other on the rear of their troops that were engaged. With a sneer on the name of Fulvius, he assured them, that, as he had utterly defeated him in the same country two years before, the present battle would have a similar issue. Nor was this expectation ill-grounded: for, after many of the Romans had fallen, in the close conflict between the lines of infantry (the companies and battalions nevertheless still maintaining their Edition: current; Page: [406] ground), the tumult raised by the cavalry in the rear, and the enemy’s shout from the camp, which was heard at the same time, put to flight the sixth legion, which, being posted in the second line, was thrown into disorder by the Numidians; as were afterwards the fifth, and those in the van. Some fled in hurry and confusion, the rest were surrounded and slain; among whom fell Cneius Fulvius himself, with eleven military tribunes. How many thousands of the Romans and allies were slain in that battle, who can positively affirm, when I find in some historians thirteen thousand? The conqueror possessed himself of the camp and the spoil. Having discovered that Herdonea was disposed to revolt to the Romans, and would not continue faithful to him after his departure, he removed the inhabitants to Metapontum and Thurium, and burned the city to the ground. The leaders of the party, who were found to have held secret conference with Fulvius, he put to death. The Romans who escaped the slaughter of this disastrous day, fled, half-armed, by different roads into Samnium, to the consul Marcellus.

II. Marcellus, not too much dismayed by so great a disaster, wrote to Rome to the senate an account of the general and army being lost at Herdonea; adding, that, notwithstanding this misfortune, “he, who had quelled the haughty spirit of Hannibal, when his confidence was at the highest, in consequence of his victory at Cannæ, was now going against him, with the same degree of resolution, and would take effectual care that his present joy and exultation should be short.” At Rome, as people’s grief for the past was great, so were their fears of the future. The consul, passing over from Samnium into Lucania, pitched his camp at Numistro, on level ground, within view of Hannibal, who was posted on a hill. He gave, besides, another proof of confidence in his own strength, for he was the first to offer battle. Nor did Hannibal, on seeing the standards advance through the gates, decline the challenge. However, they drew up their forces in such a manner, Edition: current; Page: [407] that the right wing of the Carthaginians stretched up the hill, and the left wing of the Romans was brought close to the town. From the third hour, the action had lasted until night, and the fatigue of fighting for such a length of time had overpowered the foremost lines, consisting, on the side of the Romans, of the first legion and the right wing of allies; on Hannibal’s side, of the Spanish infantry, Balearick slingers, and the elephants, which, at the beginning of the engagement, had been brought into the field. And now the fight flagged for a considerable time, neither party having gained any advantage, when the third legion advanced into the place of the first, and the left wing of the allies into that of the right; on the side of the enemy, likewise, the wearied were relieved by fresh troops. On this, both parties being in full spirits and vigour, instead of the former languid efforts, a furious conflict at once arose; but night separated the combatants before the victory could be decided. Next morning, the Romans stood, in order of battle, from sunrise, during a great part of the day, and none of the enemy coming out to face them, gathered the spoils at their leisure, and collecting the bodies of the slain into one spot, burned them on a funeral pile. In the following night, Hannibal decamped in silence, and marched off towards Apulia; but, as soon as day-light discovered the enemy’s flight, Marcellus, leaving his wounded at Numistro, with a small garrison, the command of which he gave to Lucius Furius Purpureo, a military tribune, set out immediately in close pursuit, and overtook him at Venusia. Here, during several days, many skirmishes happened between parties sallying from the outposts, in which infantry and cavalry were intermixed, and which produced more noise and tumult than real advantage to either side; but which, in general, terminated in favour of the Romans. From thence the two armies marched through Apulia without any engagement of consequence; for Hannibal seeking opportunities for stratagems, removed always by night, Marcellus never following but in clear day-light, and Edition: current; Page: [408] after having carefully examined the country through which he was to pass.

III. Meanwhile, as Flaccus was spending much time at Capua, in selling the property of the nobility, and setting to farm the forfeited estates, all of which he let for a rent of corn, he was furnished with a fresh occasion for practising severity on the Campanians; for he received certain information of a wicked scheme, of an extraordinary nature, which had for some time been hatching in secret. Having removed the soldiers out of the houses, for two reasons, first, because he chose that the houses of the city should be held along with the lands; and, next, because he feared lest excessive luxury might enervate his army, as it had that of Hannibal, he had made them build huts for themselves, in the military manner, near the gates and walls. Now most of these were formed of hurdles, or boards, some of reeds interwoven, and all of them covered with straw, as if purposely intended for combustion. One hundred and seventy Campanians, at the head of whom were two brothers, of the name of Blosius had conspired to set fire to all these, at one hour of the night. But the design was discovered by some slaves belonging to the Blosii, whereupon, the gates being instantly shut by order of the proconsul, and the soldiers having, on the signal being given, assembled under arms, all who were concerned in the conspiracy were seized, and after undergoing a severe examination by torture, condemned and put to death. The informers were rewarded with their freedom, and ten thousand asses* each. The Nucerians and Acerrans, having complained that they had no place of habitation, as Acerra was partly burned, Nuceria demolished, Fulvius sent them to Rome to the senate. Permission was granted to the Acerrans to rebuild what had been thus destroyed; and the Nucerians, agreeably to their own choice, were transplanted to Atella, the inhabitants of the latter being ordered to remove Edition: current; Page: [409] to Calatia. Among the multiplicity of important affairs, (some prosperous, others adverse,) which occupied the thoughts of the public, even the citadel of Tarentum was not forgotten: Marcus Ogulnius and Publius Aquilius, being commissioned for the purpose, went into Etruria to purchase corn, which was to be conveyed to Tarentum; and, together with the corn, were sent thither, as a reinforcement to the garrison, one thousand men out of the city troops, consisting of equal numbers of Romans and allies.

IV. The summer was now nearly elapsed, and the time of the consular election drew nigh: but a letter received from Marcellus, affirming that it would be injurious to the public interest, if he were to depart a step from Hannibal, who was retreating before him, while he, by a close pursuit, distressed him materially, threw the senate into some perplexity, as they were unwilling either to call home the consul, at a time when he was most actively employed against the enemy, or to let the year pass without consuls. It was judged most advisable, though the other consul Valerius was abroad, that he should rather be recalled, and even from Sicily. Accordingly, in pursuance of an order of the senate, a letter was sent to him by Lucius Manlius, prætor of the city, and, together with it, that of the consul Marcellus, that from them he might perceive the reason, which induced the senate to recall him from his province, rather than his colleague. About this time ambassadors came to Rome from King Syphax, with a recital of all the successful battles which he had fought against the Carthaginians, and assurances that “their King entertained not a more inveterate enmity to any nation than to the Carthaginian, nor a more warm friendship for any than for the Roman;” adding, that “he had before sent embassies into Spain, to the Roman generals, Cneius and Publius Cornelius; and that he now wished to seek, as it were at the fountain head, the friendship of the Romans.” The senate not only answered his ambassadors with kindness, but sent Edition: current; Page: [410] others in return, charged with presents to the King; these were Lucius Genucius, Publius Pœtelius, and Publius Popilius. The presents which they carried were, a purple gown and vest, an ivory chair, and a golden bowl of five pounds weight. They received orders also to proceed to visit other chieftains of Africa, carying with them donatives of gowns with purple borders, and golden bowls weighing three pounds each. To Alexandria, also, were sent Marcus Atilius and Manius Acilius, in embassy to Kind Ptolemy Philopater and Queen Cleopatra, to revive and renew the former treaty of friendship; bearing with them a purple gown and vest, with an ivory chair, for the King; an embroidered gown and a purple robe for the Queen. During this summer, many prodigies were reported from the neighbouring cities and country; that at Tusculum, a lamb was yeaned with its udder full of milk; and that the temple of Jupiter was struck on the roof by lightning, and almost entirely stripped of its covering: that at Anagnia, about the same time, the ground before one of the gates was fired, and without the aid of any combustible matter continued burning a day and a night; that at Compitum, in the district of Anagnia, the birds forsook their nests on the trees in the grove of Diana; that near the mouth of the harbour of Tarracini, snakes of wonderful size were seen in the sea, and sporting like fishes; that at Tarquinii, a pig was littered which had a human face; and that, in the district of Capena, at the grove of Feronia, four statues sweated blood profusely for a day and a night. These evil omens were expiated with victims of the greater kind, in conformity to the order of the pontiffs; and a supplication was ordered to be performed at all the shrines, one day at Rome, and another in the district of Capena, at the grove of Feronia.

V. The consul Marcus Valerius, on receipt of the letters by which he was summoned home, gave up the command of the province and the army to the prætor Cincius; sent Marcus Edition: current; Page: [411] Valerius Messala, commander of the fleet, with half of the ships to Africa, to plunder the country, and, at the same time, to gain intelligence of the motions and intentions of the Carthaginians: then he set out himself with ten ships, and arriving at Rome, after a prosperous voyage, immediately convened the senate. Here he recited the services which he had performed; that “after hostilities had been carried on in Sicily, and many severe losses sustained on land and sea during almost sixty years, he had brought the war to a final termination. That there was not one Carthaginian in Sicily, nor one Sicilian, of those who had been compelled by fear to fly and live abroad, who was not then at home; that all had been reinstated in the possession of their own cities and estates, and were employed in ploughing and sowing; that the land, after having been long deserted, was at length filled again with inhabitants, and in a condition both to afford plenty to its occupiers, and the most certain supplies of provisions to the Roman people either in peace or war.” After this, Mutines, and such others as had deserved well of of the Roman people, were introduced to the senate; who, to fulfil the engagements of the consul, bestowed rewards on them all. Mutines was even made a Roman citizen, an order for that purpose being proposed to the commons by a plebeian tribune, in pusuance of directions from the senate. While these matters passed at Rome, Marcus Valerius Messala, with fifty ships, arriving on the coast of Africa before day, made an unexpected descent on the lands of Utica, which he ravaged to a great extent; and, after taking many prisoners, and other booty of every kind, reimbarked, set sail for Sicily, and returned to Lilybæum, on the thirteenth day after he had left it. On examining the prisoners, the following particulars were discovered, and all, in order, communicated by letter to the consul Lævinus, that he might know the real state of affairs in Africa. That “there were at Carthage five thousand Numidians, commanded by Masinissa, Edition: current; Page: [412] son of Gala, a young man of a very enterprizing spirit; and that people were employed in all parts of Africa, in hiring other troops, which were to be sent to Spain, to Hasdrubal, in order that, with the most numerous army which he could muster, and with all possible expedition, he might pass over into Italy and join Hannibal. That on this measure the Carthaginians placed all their hopes of success. That, besides this, they were fitting out a very great fleet for the recovery of Sicily, and that the prisoners believed it would sail thither in a very short time.” When the letter containing this information was read, it made so great an impression on the senate, that they all concurred in opinion, that the consul ought not to wait for the elections, but to nominate a dictator to hold them, and return without delay to his province. This plan was obstructed by a dispute which arose; for the consul declared that he would nominate dictator Marcus Valerius Messala, who was then in Sicily, commanding the fleet; but the senate insisted, that a dictator could not be nominated who was in any place out of the Roman territory, which extended not beyond the limits of Italy. Marcus Lucretius, plebeian tribune, proposing the question hereupon, the senate decreed thus; “that the consul, before he left the city, should consult the people as to who they wished to be appointed dictator, and should nominate to that office whomsoever they should order. That, if he refused this, the prætor should hold the meeting, and if he also were unwilling to do it, that then the tribunes should propose the question.” Valerius declared, that he would not ask the judgment of the people on a matter properly belonging to his own jurisdiction, and he forbade it in the prætor; on which the plebeian tribunes proposed the question, and the commons ordered, that Quintus Fulvius, then at Capua, should be created dictator. But in the night preceding the day on which the assembly of the people was to be held, the consul went off privately to Sicily; and the senate, left thus unsupported, took Edition: current; Page: [413] the resolution of ordering a letter to be sent to Marcus Claudius, desiring him to give assistance to the commonwealth, which his colleague had deserted, and to nominate the dictator fixed on by the people. Accordingly, Quintus Fulvius was nominated dictator by the consul Claudius; and, in compliance with the same order of the people, the dictator, Quintus Fulvius, named Publius Licinius Crassus, then chief pontiff, master of the horse.

VI. The dictator, on coming to Rome, sent Cneius Sempronius Blæsus, who had been a lieutenant-general under him at Capua, into the province of Etruria, to take the command of the army there, in the room of the prætor, Caius Calpurnius, whom he called away by letter, to command his own army at Capua. He appointed for the elections the earliest day on which they could be held; but a dispute arising between the dictator and the tribunes, they could not be finished on that day. The younger Galerian century having obtained by lot the privilege of voting first, named as consuls, Quintus Fulvius and Quintus Fabius; and the centuries, voting in their course, would have followed them, had not two plebeian tribunes, Caius and Lucius Arennius, interposed. They asserted that “the re-electing of the same person to the supreme magistracy was not easily reconcileable to the principles of a republic; and much more pernicious would the precedent be, if the very person who presided at the election were himself to be chosen. If therefore the dictator admitted his own name in the list of candidates, they would protest against the election; but, if he received on the list any other except himself, they would give no obstruction to the business.” The dictator maintained the propriety of the proceedings of the assembly, on the grounds of a vote of the senate, an order of the people, and several precedents. For “in the consulate of Cneius Servilius, when the other consul Caius Flaminius had fallen at the Trasimenus, the question was, by direction of the senate, proposed Edition: current; Page: [414] to the people, and the people ordered that, so long as the war continued in Italy, it should be lawful for them to re-elect to the consulship, and that as often as they should see proper, any of those who had already held that office. As to precedents in point, he had one of ancient date, in the case of Lucius Postumius Megellus, who, while he was interrex, was, in the assembly where he himself presided, created consul, with Caius Junius Bubulcus; and a recent one, in the case of Quintus Fabius, who certainly would never have suffered himself to be re-elected, if it were inconsistent with the public good.” After long dispute, maintained by these and such arguments, an agreement at last took place between the dictator and the tribunes to abide by the determination of the senate. The senators were of opinion, that the present state of the commonwealth was such as required that the administration of its affairs should be in the hands of experienced commanders, skilled in all the arts of war; and they therefore disapproved of any opposition to the proceedings of the assembly of election. The tribunes then acquiesced, and the election proceeded. Quintus Fabius Maximus a fifth time, and Quintus Fulvius Flaccus a fourth, were declared consuls. The following persons were then elected prætors: Lucius Veturius Philo, Titus Quintus Crispinus, Caius Hostilius Tubulus, Caius Arunculeius. As soon as the appointment of magistrates for the year was finished, Quintus Fulvius resigned the dictatorship. Towards the end of this summer, a Carthaginian fleet of forty ships, under the command of Hamilcar, sailed over to Sardinia, and committed great depredations in the district of Olbia. Afterwards, on the prætor, Publius Manlius Vulso, appearing there with an army, they proceeded to the other side of the island, and ravaged the lands of Caralita, from whence they returned with booty of all kinds to Africa. Several Roman priests died this year, and others were substituted in their places. Caius Servilius was made a pontiff, in the room of Titus Otacilius Edition: current; Page: [415] Crassus; Tiberius Sempronius Longus, son of Tiberius, an augur, in the room of Otacilius Crassus; and the same Tiberius Sempronius, a decemvir for directing religious rites, in the room of Tiberius Sempronius Longus, son of Caius. Marcus Marcius, king in religious matters, and Marcus Æmilius Papus, chief curio, died, but their places were not filled up during this year. Lucius Veturius Philo, and Publius Licinius Crassus, chief pontiff, were created censors for the year. Licinius Crassus had not, before this appointment, been either consul or prætor, but was advanced at one step, from the ædileship to the censorship. However, these censors neither chose a senate, nor transacted any public business, being prevented by the death of Lucius Veturius, on which Licinius abdicated the office. The curule ædiles, Lucius Veturius and Publius Licinius Varus, repeated the exhibition of the Roman games once. The plebeian ædiles, Quintus Catius and Lucius Porcius Licinius, out of the money accruing from fines, erected brazen statues in the temple of Ceres, and exhibited games with much magnificence and splendour, considering the circumstances of those times.

VII. At the end of the year, Caius Lælius, Scipio’s lieutenant-general, on the thirty-fourth day after he set sail from Tarraco, arrived at Rome, and passing through the streets, with the train of prisoners whom he brought, attracted a vast concourse of people. Next day, being introduced to the senate, he delivered the advices with which he was charged, that Carthage, the metropolis of Spain, had been reduced in one day, several revolted cities brought back to obedience, and new alliances formed with others. From the prisoners, information was gained, corresponding, in general, with that contained in the letter of Marcus Valerius Messala. What gave the greatest uneasiness to the senate, was Hasdrubal’s intended march into Italy, which was scarcely able to withstand Hannibal, and the force which he had already with him Edition: current; Page: [416] Lælius also, coming out into the general assembly, gave a similar account. The senate, in consideration of the services performed by Publius Scipio, decreed a supplication for one day; and then ordered Caius Lælius to return with all expedition to Spain, with the ships which he had brought thence. On the authority of a great many historians, I have fixed the taking of Carthage in this year, although I am not ignorant that several have placed it in the year following; but it appeared to me very improbable, that Scipio should have passed a whole year in Spain without doing any thing.Y.R. 543. bc 209. The consulate of Quintus Fabius Maximus, a fifth time, and Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, a fourth, commencing on the ides of March, a decree was passed on the same day, appointing Italy the province of both, but they were to command separately in different quarters; Fabius to conduct the operations of the war at Tarentum, Fulvius in Lucania and Bruttium. Marcus Claudius was continued in command for a year. The prætors then cast lots for their provinces: Caius Hostilius Tibullus obtained the city jurisdiction; Lucius Veturius Philo, the foreign, with Gaul; Titus Quintus Crispinus, Capua; and Caius Arunculeius, Sardinia. The troops were distributed among the provinces in this manner: to Fulvius, were decreed the two legions which Marcus Valerius Lævinus had in Sicily; to Quintus Fabius, those which Caius Calpurnius had commanded in Etruria; the city troops were to replace those in Etruria, and Caius Calpurnius was to command the same province, with the army; Titus Quintius was to have the government of Capua, with the army which had served there under Quintus Fulvius; Lucius Veturius was to receive, from Caius Lætorius proprætor, the province of Ariminum, with the army then on the spot; to Marcus Marcellus were assigned the legions, with which he had in his consulate acted successfully; to Marcus Valerius, in conjunction with Lucius Cincius, (for they also were continued in command in Sicily,) the troops of Cannæ were given, Edition: current; Page: [417] with orders to complete their full complement out of the surviving soldiers of Cneius Fulvius’s legions. These were collected together, and sent by the consuls into Sicily, being stigmatized by the same ignominious order under which the troops of Cannæ served, and those of the army of the prætor Cneius Fulvius, whom the senate, through resentment at the like cowardice, had formerly ordered thither. To Caius Arunculeius were assigned, for Sardinia, the same legions which had served in that province under Publius Manlius Vulso. Publius Sulpicius was continued in command for a year, to hold the province of Macedonia, and with the same legion and the same fleet which he then had. Thirty quinqueremes were ordered to be sent from Sicily to Tarentum, to Quintus Fabius the consul; and, with the rest of the fleet, Marcus Valerius Lævinus was either to sail over to Africa himself, to ravage the country, or to send thither Lucius Cincius, or Marcus Valerius Messala. With respect to Spain no change was made, only that Scipio and Silanus were continued in command, not for a year, but until they should be recalled by the senate. Such was the distribution made of the provinces, and of the commands of the armies for that year.

VIII. Among other business of more serious importance, the assembly, convened for the purpose of electing to the priesthood a chief curio, in the room of Marcus Æmilius, revived an old dispute; for the patricians insisted, that Caius Mamilius Vitulus, the only plebeian candidate, ought not to be allowed to stand, because none but a patrician had ever held that office of the priesthood. The tribunes, being appealed to, referred the business to the senate. The senate voted, that the people might act therein as they should think proper. Thus Caius Mamilius Vitulus was elected chief curio, being the first plebeian admitted into that office. Publius Licinius, chief pontiff, compelled Caius Valerius Flaccus, against his will, to be inaugurated flamen of Jupiter. Caius Edition: current; Page: [418] Lætorius was created decemvir for the performance of religious rites, in the room of Quintus Mucius Scævola deceased. I should willingly pass over in silence the reason of the flamen being forced into the office, labouring, as he then did, under a bad character, had he not afterwards acquired a very good one. Caius Flaccus had spent his youth in idleness and debauchery, and his vicious courses had drawn on him the displeasure of his own brother Lucius Flaccus, and of his other relations: and Publius Lucius was in hope of reclaiming him. Indeed, when his thoughts became engaged in the care of the sacrifices and religious performances, he quickly made such a complete alteration in his conduct, from what it had hitherto been, that, among all the young men of the time, no one was held in higher esteem, or more entirely approved by the principal patricians, by his own family, and by all. This universal good character inspiring him with a proper sense of his own worth, he asserted a privilege which had for many years been laid aside, on account of the unworthiness of former flamens, that of having a seat in the senate. On his coming into the senate-house, the prætor, Lucius Licinius, led him out; on which he appealed to the tribunes of the commons, alleging that he only claimed an ancient privilege of his priesthood, which was conferred on the office of flamen, together with the purple-bordered robe and the curule chair. The prætor argued that such a right depended not on the copies of annals, rendered obsolete by their antiquity, but on the customary practice of more recent times; and that in the memory of their fathers and even grandfathers no flamen of Jupiter had been allowed it. The tribunes thought it reasonable, that, as the right had been suffered to fall into disuse through the inattention of former flamens, the injury ensuing should affect only themselves, and not the office; and accordingly, without any opposition from the prætor himself, and with the universal approbation of the senate and commons, they introduced the flamen to a Edition: current; Page: [419] seat in the senate, though all men were of opinion that his having attained his object, was owing to the strict integrity of his conduct rather than to any privilege of the priesthood. The consuls, before they departed for their provinces, raised two city legions, and such a number of soldiers as was necessary to make up the complement of the other armies. The force which hitherto had served in the city, the consul Fulvius gave to his brother Caius Fulvius Flaccus, lieutenant-general, with orders to march it into Etruria, and to bring home to Rome the legions then in that province. The other consul, Fabius, having collected the relics of Fulvius’s army, which amounted to three thousand three hundred and thirty-six men, ordered his son Quintus Maximus to conduct them into Sicily, to the proconsul Marcus Valerius, and to receive from him the two legions and thirty quinqueremes. The removal of these legions out of the island made no diminution, in respect either of strength or appearance, in the force stationed in that province. For, besides two veteran legions, completely recruited to their full complement, the proconsul had a great multitude of Numidian deserters, both horse and foot, and he also enlisted in his service those Sicilians who had served in the army of Epicydes, and that of the Carthaginians, men well experienced in war. By annexing a part of these foreign auxiliaries to each of the Roman legions, he preserved the appearance of two armies; with one of which he ordered Lucius Cincius to guard that part of the island which was formerly the kingdom of Hiero; and, with the other, he himself took charge of the rest of it, separated formerly by the boundaries of the Roman and Carthaginian dominions. He likewise made division of the fleet, which consisted of seventy sail, in order that they might extend their protection of the coasts round the whole circumference of the island. Attended by the cavalry of Mutines, he went in person through every part of the province, to view the lands, observe what parts were cultivated, and what were Edition: current; Page: [420] not, commending or reproving the owners accordingly. In consequence of his care in this particular, such an abundance of corn was produced, that, besides sending a quantity to Rome, he conveyed to Catana a sufficient supply for the army, which was to be employed during the summer at Tarentum.

IX. But the transportation of those soldiers into Sicily, the greater part of whom were Latines and allies, was very near proving the cause of formidable disturbances; so true it is, that the issues of great affairs often depend on trival circumstances. For the Latines and allies, in their meetings, began to murmer, that “they had now for ten years been drained by levies and contributions. That, generally every year, they suffered great losses in the war. Many were slain in the field, many were cut off by sickness; and that every one of their countrymen, enlisted as a soldier by the Romans, was more effectually lost to them, than if he were taken prisoner by the Carthaginians; because the latter was sent back, without ransom, to his country, whereas the other was ordered by the Romans out of Italy, into banishment indeed, rather than to military service. The troops of Cannæ were now growing old in that situation, having been in it nearly eight years, and would end their lives before the enemy, whose strength was at the present in a state particularly flourishing, would retire out of Italy. If veteran soldiers were not to return home, and still new ones to be enlisted, there would not, in a short time, be one of that description remaining. Wherefore it was become necessary, before they should be reduced to the last degree of desolation and want, to deny to the Romans that which particular circumstances alone would shortly render it impossible to grant. If that people saw the allies cordially uniting in such a measure, they certainly would think of making peace with the Carthaginians: otherwise, as long as Hannibal lived, Italy would never be free from war.” Thus did they argue in their assemblies. The Roman colonies were, at this time, thirty in number; all Edition: current; Page: [421] of whom had ambassadors at Rome; and twelve of them presented a remonstrance to the consuls, stating that they had not the means of furnishing the supplies of men and money. These were Ardea, Nepete, Sutrium, Alba, Carseoli, Cora, Suessa, Circeii, Setia, Cales, Narnia, and Interamna. The consuls, surprised at such an extraordinary declaration, and wishing to deter them from the meditated secession, to which end they supposed that censure and reproof would be more effectual than gentle measures, answered, that “the expressions which they had dared to use were such as the consuls could not prevail on themselves to repeat in the senate. For they contained not a refusal of military duty, but an open defection from the Roman people. They advised them, therefore, to return home instantly to consult with their respective countrymen, as if no step had yet been taken; since their infamous design, though disclosed in words, had not proceeded to action; and to remind them that they were not natives of Campania, or of Tarentum, but of Rome. That from thence they derived their origin, and from thence were sent out into colonies, into lands taken from enemies, for the purpose of increasing population; and that, consequently, whatever duties children owe to parents, these they owed to the Romans, if they had any remains of natural affection, or any regard for their mother country. They desired them, therefore, to confer on the matter anew; for that, as to the measures which they had inconsiderately mentioned, their tendency was to betray the Roman empire, and to give up the conquest of it to Hannibal.” Though the consuls, one after the other, reasoned with them in this manner for a long time, yet the ambassadors were not in the least moved, but replied, that “they had nothing new to represent to the senate at home, neither had that assembly grounds for new deliberation, when they neither had men to be enlisted, nor money to pay them.” The consuls, finding them inflexible, laid the affair before the senate: and here it excited such serious apprehensions in Edition: current; Page: [422] every mind, that great numbers cried out, that “the ruin of the empire was at hand; that the other colonies would act in the same manner; so would the allies; that all had conspired to betray the city of Rome to Hannibal.”

X. The consuls endeavoured to console and encourage the the senate, telling them, that “the other colonies would maintain their allegiance and duty as heretofore; and that even these which had swerved from their duty, if ambassadors were sent round among them, instructed to apply reproofs, and not intreaties, would be impressed with respect for the sovereign authority.” Having received power from the senate to act and manage as they should see most conducive to the public good, they began by sounding the dispositions of the other colonies; and then, summoning their ambassadors, demanded of them in public, whether they had their contingents of soldiers ready according to the regulation? To this Marcus Sextilius, of Fregellæ, in behalf of the eighteen colonies, made answer, that “the soldiers were ready according to the regulation; that if a greater number should be required, they would bring them; and, that whatever else the Roman people should command or wish, they would perform with zeal and diligence. That they wanted not sufficiency of means, and had more than a sufficiency of inclination.” On this the consuls, after premising that all the praises which themselves could bestow would be inadequate to their merits, unless they were joined by the thanks of the whole body of the senate in full assembly, desired them to accompany them into the senate-house. The senate complimented them by a decree conceived in the most honourable terms possible, and then charged the consuls to conduct them into an assembly of the people also, and there, among the many other important services which those colonies had performed to them and their ancestors, to make proper mention of this recent instance of their meritorious conduct towards the commonwealth. Even now, after so many ages, their names should Edition: current; Page: [423] not be lost in silence, nor should they be defrauded of their due praise: they were these—Signia, Norba, Saticulum, Brundusium, Fregellæ, Luceria, Venusia, Adria, Firma, Ariminum; on the coast of the other sea, Pontia, Pæstum, and Cosa; and in the inland parts, Beneventum, Æsernia, Spoletum, Placentia, and Cremona. Supported by these, the Roman empire was enabled to stand; and they received every mark of gratitude both in the senate, and in the assembly of the people. The former ordered, that no mention should be made of the other twelve dependencies, which had refused to furnish their quota for the war, and that the consuls should neither dismiss nor detain their ambassadors, nor hold any communication with them: such a tacit proof of displeasure was judged the most suitable to the dignity of the Roman people. While the consuls were busy in expediting the other necessary preparations for the campaign, it was resolved to draw out of the treasury the vicesimary gold, (that is to say, a fund formed of the twentieth part of the value of slaves enfranchised,) which was reserved for exigencies of the utmost necessity. There was drawn out accordingly to the amount of four thousand pounds weight of gold. Of this were given to the consuls, to Marcus Marcellus and Publius Sulpicius, proconsuls, and to Lucius Veturius, the prætor, to whom the lots had given the province of Gaul, five hundred pounds each: and besides this, there were given, in particular charge, to the consul Fabius, one hundred pounds of gold to be carried into the citadel of Tarentum. The remainder they employed in making contracts, with ready money, for clothing the army, who were then serving in Spain, with so much honour to themselves and to their commander.

XI. It was also resolved, that, before the consuls set out from the city, they should expiate several prodigies which had happened. On the Alban mount, a statue of Jupiter, and a tree, standing near the temple; at Ostia, a grove; at Capua, Edition: current; Page: [424] a wall, and the temple of Fortune; and, at Sinuessa, a wall and gate, were struck by lightning. Farther it was reported, that the Alban water flowed in a bloody stream; that, at Rome, in the cell of the temple of Fors Fortuna, an image, which was in the crown of the goddess, fell from her head into her hands: that an ox spoke at Privernum; that a vulture, while the Forum was crowded, flew down into one of the shops; and that, at Sinuessa, an infant was born whose sex was doubtful, such as are commonly called in Greek (a language more manageable than ours, particularly in the compounding of words), Androgynes; that a shower of milk fell, and that a boy was born with the head of an elephant. These prodigies were expiated with the larger kinds of victims. Orders were given for a supplication to be performed at all the shrines, and prayers to be offered during one day, for the averting of misfortunes; and a decree passed, that the prætor Caius Hostilius should vow and celebrate the games of Apollo, in like manner as they had, of late years, been vowed and celebrated. At the same time, the consul Quintus Fulvius held an assembly for the election of censors. The censors chosen were men who had never yet been consuls, Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, and Publius Sempronius Tuditanus. By direction of the senate the question was proposed to the people, and the people ordered, that these, by their censorial authority, should let to farm the lands of Campania. The choosing of the senate was delayed by a dispute between the censors about the nomination of the prince of it: the making the choice had fallen, by lot, to Sempronius; but Cornelius alleged that he ought to observe the practice handed down from their ancestors, which was to appoint as prince, the person who, in the list of censors stood the first of any then living, and this was Titus Manlius Torquatus. Sempronius maintained, that when the gods gave a person the lot of appointing, they gave him at the same time full freedom of choice: that he would act in this case agreeably to his own Edition: current; Page: [425] judgment, and would name to the honour contended for, Quintus Fabius Maximus, whom he could prove to be the first of the whole Roman state, even in Hannibal’s opinion. After a long dispute, his colleague gave up the point, and Sempronius chose the consul, Quintus Fabius Maximus, prince of the senate. Then the list of the new senate was read, in which eight were left out, among whom was Lucius Cæcilius Metellus, infamous for having, after the defeat at Cannæ, advised the abandonment of Italy. In their review of the equestrian order also, they censured every one concerned with him; but the number disgraced on that account was very small. From all the cavalry of the legions of Cannæ then in Sicily, and their number was great, their horses were taken away. To this they added another punishment in point of time, ordering that the campaigns which those men had served on horses given by the public, should not entitle them to release, but that they should serve during ten others on horses of their own. They also searched for, and discovered, a great number, who ought to be ranked in the cavalry, and all of these who had been seventeen years old at the beginning of the war, and had not served, they disfranchised. They then contracted for the repairs of the buildings round the Forum, which had been destroyed by the fire,—seven shops, the shambles, and the royal palace.

XII. Having finished the necessary business at Rome, the consuls set out for the campaign. Fulvius, first, went forward to Capua; in a few days after, Fabius followed, and he earnestly entreated his colleague in person, and Marcellus by letter, to make the most vigorous efforts to keep Hannibal employed, while he should carry on the siege of Tarentum; observing that, when that city should be taken from the enemy, who was already repulsed in every quarter, and would then have no place where he could rest, or to which he could retreat for safety, he would not have even a pretence for staying longer in Italy. He likewise sent an express to Edition: current; Page: [426] Rhegium, to the commander of the body of troops, which the consul Lævinus had placed there, to act against the Bruttians, and which consisted of eight thousand men, all accustomed to live by plunder, the greater part of whom had been brought out of Sicily from Agathyrna, as was mentioned above. To these were joined many natives of the country, who deserted from the Bruttians, equally daring, and under equal necessity to dare every thing. He ordered this band to be led, first, to ravage the lands of Bruttium, and afterwards to besiege the city of Caulon. These orders they executed, not only with diligence, but with avidity; and after plundering the country, and dispersing the inhabitants, attacked the city with their utmost vigour. Marcellus, incited by his colleague’s letter, and also by an opinion which he had himself conceived, that he was the only Roman general able to cope with Hannibal, quitted his winter-quarters as soon as forage could be found, and met him at Canusium. The Carthaginian was, at this time, employed in endeavouring to entice the Canusians to a revolt, but, on hearing of Marcellus’s approach, he decamped and retired. The country was open, affording no cover for an ambuscade, for which reason he resolved to draw back into more woody tracts. Marcellus pressed close on his steps, encamped within view of him, and, as soon as the trenches were finished, drew out his legions and offered battle. Hannibal sent out single troops of cavalry, and the light spearmen from his infantry, to skirmish with the enemy, but did not think it adviseable to risk the issue of a general engagement. He was, however, drawn into a contest of that sort which he wished to avoid: for although, by marching away in the night, he gained some ground of the enemy, yet Marcellus overtook him in an open country, and, as he was forming his camp, put a stop to his works, by attacking the workmen on all sides. In consequence of this, a pitched battle ensued, in which all the forces, on both sides, were engaged; but night coming on, they separated, Edition: current; Page: [427] without any advantage being gained on either side. They then hastily, before it grew dark, fortified their camps, at a very little distance from each other. Next day, as soon as light appeared, Marcellus led out his forces to the field; nor did Hannibal decline the contest, but in a long speech exhorted his men to “remember Trasimenus and Cannæ, and to crush the presumption of the foe, who pressed so closely on their steps; not suffering them either to march or encamp in quiet, or even to breathe, or look about them. Every day, the rising sun, and the Roman army, appeared together on the plains. But if the enemy should once be compelled to quit the field, especially with some loss of blood, they would afterwards conduct their operations with less turbulence and violence.” Irritated by such expressions, and at the same time vexed at being continually harrassed on quitting their camp, they began the fight with great fury. The battle was maintained for more than two hours; then, on the Roman side, the right wing and the chosen band, called extraordinaries, began to give ground; on observing which, Marcellus brought up the eighteenth legion to the front. But, while the others were retiring in confusion, and these advancing, with but little alacrity, into their place, the whole line was disordered and in a little time totally broken: at last, fear getting the better of their shame, they fairly turned their backs. In this battle, and the flight which followed, there fell no less than two thousand seven hundred of the Romans and allies; among these four Roman centurions, and two military tribunes, Marcus Licinius and Marcus Fulvius. Four military standards were lost by the wing which first fled, and two by the legions which advanced in the place of the flying allies.

XIII. After the army had retired into the camp, Marcellus reprimanded them in terms so harsh and bitter, that they felt more from the discourse of their incensed commander, than from all they had suffered, in the unsuccessful fight, Edition: current; Page: [428] through the whole day. He said to them; “as matters have turned out, I praise and thank the immortal gods, that the victorious enemy did not assault our camp itself, while you were hurrying into the gates, and over the rampart, in such utter dismay. You would certainly have abandoned that, through the same panic that made you give up the battle. What fright is this? What terror, what forgetfulness both of your own character and that of your adversaries, has at once seized your minds? Surely they are the same enemies, in defeating and pursuing of whom you spent the whole of the last summer; who, for some days past, have fled before you night and day, while you pressed on their rear; whom, yesterday, you did not allow either to continue their march, or to form their camp. I say nothing of the advantages on which you ought to pride yourselves; but will mention what, of itself, ought to fill you with shame and remorse: yesterday you fought it out to the end on equal terms. What alteration has last night, what has this day made? Have your forces been diminished; have theirs been augmented? I cannot persuade myself that I am speaking to my own army, or to Roman soldiers. The arms and appearances of the men are such as usual. But, if you had possessed the usual spirit, would the enemy have seen your backs? Would he have carried off a standard from any one company or cohort? Hitherto, he has boasted of putting our legions to the sword; you, this day, have been the first who have conferred on him the glory of putting a Roman army to flight.” On this the troops, universally, besought him to pardon their behaviour of that day; and entreated him, whenever he pleased, to make another trial of the courage of his soldiers. “I will try you, soldiers,” said he, “and to-morrow will lead you into the field; that in the character of conquerors, not of vanquished men, you may obtain the pardon which you desire.” He then ordered, that the cohorts which had lost their standards should receive barley for their allowance, and the centurions Edition: current; Page: [429] of the companies whose standards had been lost, he deprived of their swords; commanding that all, both infantry and cavalry, should be ready under arms on the following day. The assembly was now dismissed, all acknowledging that the reproofs which they had received were not more severe than they deserved; for that no person in the Roman army had, that day, behaved like a man, except the general alone, to whom they ought to make atonement, either by their death or by a glorious victory. On the day following they attended according to orders, armed and accountred. The general then commended them, and said, that “he would bring forward, into the first line, those who had fled first the day before, and the cohorts which had lost their standards; that he now gave notice, that it was incumbent on them to fight and to conquer, and to exert themselves vigorously, one and all, to prevent the news of yesterday’s flight reaching Rome, before that of the present day’s triumph.” They were then ordered to refresh themselves with food, that, in case the fight should last longer than usual, they might have strength to go through it. After every thing had been said and done to rouse the courage of the soldiers, they marched out to the field.

XIV. When this was told to Hannibal, he said, “we have to deal with an enemy who can neither bear good fortune nor bad: if he gets the better, he pursues the vanquished with presumption and vehemence; if he is worsted, he renews the contest with the victors.” He then ordered the signal to be sounded, and led out his forces. Both parties fought now with much more vigour than the day before; the Carthaginians struggling to maintain the glory acquired yesterday, the Romans to remove their disgrace. On the side of the Romans, the left wing, and the cohorts which had lost their standards, fought in the front line; while the twentieth legion was drawn up on the right wing. Lucius Cornelius Lentulus, and Caius Claudius Nero, lieutenant-generals, commanded the wings; Marcellus himself took the charge of Edition: current; Page: [430] the centre, that he might animate the men by his presence, and be an immediate witness of their behaviour. On Hannibal’s side, the front line was composed of the Spanish troops, who were the main strength of his army. When the fight had long continued doubtful, Hannibal ordered the elephants to be brought up to the van, hoping by their means, to occasion fear and disorder. At first, they broke the ranks, and by treading down some, and terrifying others, on either side, so as to put them to flight, made an opening in the line in one part: and the alarm would probably have spread farther, had not Caius Decimius Flavus, a military tribune, snatching the standard of the first band of spearmen, ordered that company to follow him. He then led them to the spot where the elephants were throwing all into confusion, with directions to discharge their javelins at them. Every weapon took place, for there was no difficulty in hitting, at a small distance, bodies of such huge bulk, especially as they were crowded close together. But though they were not all of them wounded, yet those, in whose flesh the javelins stuck, as they are creatures whose motions cannot be depended on, betaking themselves to flight, drove back even those that were unhurt. And now, not any particular company alone, but every soldier who could come up with the retreating elephants, with all his might hurled javelins at them. Thus attacked, the more violently did the animals rush upon their owners, and made so much the greater carnage of them, than they had made of the enemy, as one of them, when frightened or hurt, is hurried on more forcibly than he could be driven by the manager sitting on his back. While the enemy’s line was in this great disorder, in consequence of those beasts breaking through it, the Romans made a brisk onset, and without much opposition from troops so scattered and confused, drove them off the ground. Marcellus ordered his cavalry to charge them as they fled, and the pursuit did not cease, until they were driven, in consternation, into their Edition: current; Page: [431] camp: for, besides other circumstances which caused terror and tumult, two elephants had fallen in the very entrance of the gate, so that the men were obliged to make their way over the trench and rampart. Here the slaughter of the enemy was the greatest. There were killed no less than eight thousand men, and five elephants. Nor did the Romans gain the victory without loss of blood: of the two legions, about one thousand seven hundred were killed, and of the allies above one thousand three hundred. Great numbers, both of Romans and allies, were wounded. In the following night Hannibal decamped, and though Marcellus wished to pursue him, he was prevented by his wounded, which were in great number. Scouts, who were sent to observe his march, brought intelligence, next day, that Hannibal had taken the road towards Bruttium.

XV. About the same time, the Hirpinians, Lucanians, and Volscians surrendered themselves to the consul Quintus Fulvius, delivering up Hannibal’s garrisons which they had in their cities, and were mildly received by the consul, with only a verbal reproof for their past errors. Hopes of similar gentle treatment were held out to the Bruttians also, through two brothers, Vibius and Pactius, of the most illustrious family of any in that nation, who came to request the same terms of capitulation which were granted to the Lucanians. The other consul, Quintus Fabius, took by assault, Manduria, a town in the territory of Sallentum. Here he made four thousand prisoners, and gained much booty of other kinds. Proceeding thence to Tarentum, he pitched his camp at the very mouth of the harbour. Of the ships, which Livius had kept here for the purpose of protecting convoys, he loaded part with machines and implements fit for assailing walls, the rest he furnished with engines, stones, and missile weapons of every kind; the store-ships also, not confining himself to such only as were moved by oars, he fitted out in the same manner, in order that some might bring Edition: current; Page: [432] out the machines and ladders to the walls, while the others, from their ships at some distance, should annoy, with missile weapons, the men employed in defending them. These ships were thus fitted up and prepared, for the purpose of an attack on that side of the city which is washed by the open sea, which was now clear of the enemy; for the Carthaginian fleet had sailed over to Corcyra, at the time when Philip was preparing to attack the Ætolians. Meanwhile, the party which carried on the siege of Caulon in Bruttium, hearing of Hannibal’s approach, and fearful of being overpowered, retired to an eminence, which, though it secured them from an immediate attack, was destitute of every other convenience. In the prosecution of the siege of Tarentum, Fabius received very great assistance towards the accomplishment of that important business, from an incident, trivial in appearance: the Tarentines had in the city a party of Bruttians, given to them by Hannibal, and the commander of this party was desperately in love with a young woman, whose brother was in the army of the consul Fabius. This man, being informed, by a letter from his sister, of her new acquaintance with a stranger of so great wealth, and so highly honoured among his countrymen, conceived hopes that by means of his sister, her lover might be wrought into any scheme; and this project he communicated to the consul: his reasoning appeared not ill-founded, and he was ordered to go as a deserter into Tarentum. Here being introduced by his sister to the notice of the commander, he began by artfully sounding his disposition, and having satisfied himself that his temper was as fickle as he could wish, by the aid of female blandishments he prevailed on him to betray the post, of which he commanded the guard. When both the method and the time for the execution of this design were settled, the soldier was let out of the town privately, through the intervals between the guards, and related to the consul what had been done, and what was further intended. Edition: current; Page: [433] At the first watch, Fabius, after giving proper directions to the troops in the citadel, and to those who had the guard of the harbour, went himself quite round the harbour, and sat down, in concealment, on the side of the city facing the east. The trumpets then began to sound, at once, from the citadel, from the port, and from the ships which had been brought to the shore, on the side next to the open sea. At the same time a shout was raised, and a prodigious tumult purposely made, on every side where there was very little danger. Meanwhile the consul kept his men quiet and silent. Democrates, therefore, who had formerly commanded the fleet, and who happened now to command there, perceiving every thing near him quiet, while other parts resounded with tumult and shouting like that of a city stormed, fearful lest, while he hesitated, the consul might force a passage, and march in his troops, carried off his party to the citadel, because the most alarming noise proceeded from that quarter. Fabius, from the length of time, and likewise from the silence which prevailed, (for, where, a little before, there was an uproar among the men rousing each other, and calling to arms, now not a word was heard,) imagined that the guard was withdrawn; he therefore ordered the ladders to be brought up to that part of the wall, where, according to the information of the contriver of the plot, the cohort of Bruttians held the guard. In this place, favoured and assisted by the Bruttians, the Romans first gained possession of the wall, over which they climbed into the city; and then the nearest gate was broken open, that the troops might march through in a body. These entering the town a little before day, raised a shout, and, without meeting any one in arms, proceeded to the Forum, having drawn on themselves the attention of the combatants in every quarter, whether at the citadel or the harbour.

XVI. At the entrance of the Forum, a vigorous opposition was made, but it was not persevered in. A Tarentine Edition: current; Page: [434] was no match for a Roman, either in spirit, in arms, in warlike skill, nor yet in vigour or bodily strength. They only discharged their javelins, and then scarcely waiting till the fight began, turned their backs; and, as they were acquainted with the streets of the city, ran different ways to their own houses, or those of their friends. Two of their commanders, Nico and Democrates, fell, fighting courageously. Philonus, who had been the author of the plot for betraying the city to Hannibal, rode away from the fight at full speed; his horse was not long after seen, straying through the city without a rider, but his body was never found, and the general opinion was, that he fell from his horse into an open well. Carthalo, as he was coming to the consul unarmed, to remind him of their fathers being connected by an intercourse of hospitality, was slain by a soldier who met him in the way. The rest were put to the sword without distinction, armed and unarmed, Carthaginians and Tarentines alike. Many even of the Bruttians were killed, either through mistake, or through the inveterate hatred borne towards them by the Romans, or with design to discountenance the report of the place being betrayed, and that it might rather appear to have been taken by force of arms. After this carnage, the victors proceeded, in several parties, to plunder the city. We are told that there were taken here thirty thousand persons in a state of servitude, a vast quantity of silver wrought and coined, eighty-seven thousand pounds weight of gold, together with statues and pictures in such numbers, as almost to rival the decorations of Syracuse. But Fabius, with more greatness of mind than was shown by Marcellus, refrained from meddling with booty of that sort; and when his secretary asked him what he would have done with the statues of their gods, which were of gigantic size, and habited like warriors, he ordered him to “let the Tarentines keep their angry gods to themselves.” Then the wall, which separated the citadel from the town, was demolished and Edition: current; Page: [435] rased. Amid these transactions, Hannibal, having made prisoners the party employed in the siege of Caulon, who capitulated, hearing of the siege of Tarentum, marched night and day with all expedition to relieve it: but while he was hastening thither, he received the news of its being taken. On this he observed, “the Romans, too, have their Hannibal; we have lost Tarentum through the same arts by which we acquired it.” That he might not, however, seem to have turned back as in flight, he encamped on the spot where he had halted, about five miles from the city; and, after staying there a few days, retreated to Metapontum. From hence he sent to Tarentum two Metapontines, with letters from the principal men in that state to Fabius, to receive his promise of impunity for what was past, on condition of their delivering Metapontum and the Carthaginian garrison into his hands. Fabius, supposing the offer to be made with sincerity, appointed a day on which he would come to Metapontum, and gave letters in answer, which were delivered to Hannibal, who, overjoyed at the success of his stratagem, and at finding that even Fabius was not proof against artifice, formed an ambuscade at a small distance from Metapontum. As Fabius was taking the auspices, previous to his departure for Tarentum, the birds repeatedly refused the favourable signs; also, when he consulted the gods by sacrifice, the aruspex warned him to beware of treachery and plots. As he did not come on the appointed day, the two Metapontines were sent back, to remove any scruple that retarded him, but being suddenly seized, and dreading an examination by torture, they disclosed the whole plot.

XVII. In Spain, in the beginning of the summer, there came over to Scipio, who had spent all the preceding winter in conciliating the affections of the barbarians, partly by presents, and partly by sending home their hostages and prisoners, a person named Edesco, a distinguished commander among the Spaniards. This man’s wife and children were in Edition: current; Page: [436] the hands of the Romans; but, besides this motive, he was also actuated by that almost unaccountable propension which had brought over all Spain from the Carthaginian interest to that of the Romans. Led by the same motive, Indibilis and Mandonius; unquestionably the two first men in Spain, with the whole body of their countrymen, deserted Hasdrubal, and withdrew to an eminence overlooking his camp, from whence, along a continued ridge of hills, they could retire with safety to the Romans. When Hasdrubal saw the enemy’s strength increasing by such large accessions, while his own was daily diminished, and would probably, unless by a bold effort he effected something, continue to decay, in the same manner as it had begun, he resolved to bring on a battle as soon as possible. Scipio was even more desirous of an engagement; as well because his hopes were strong, in consequence of the success which had hitherto attended his affairs, as because he wished to engage with a single general and his forces, rather than with all together, which he would perhaps be forced to do, were they to unite. However, should he be under a necessity of fighting more than one army at once, he had taken a judicious method to augment his strength: for, perceiving that there would be no employment for his marine, as the coast of Spain was entirely clear of any Carthaginian fleet, he hauled up the ships on land at Tarraco, and joined the marines to his land forces. As to arms for them, he had abundance, between those taken in Carthage, and those which had been afterwards made by the great number of workmen whom he employed. With this force, Scipio, in the beginning of spring, by which time he was rejoined by Lælius, who had returned from Rome, and without whom he undertook no enterprize of any extraordinary moment, set out from Terraco, and advanced towards the enemy. On his march, during which he found every place well affected, the allies showing him all respect, and escorting him as he passed through each of their states, he Edition: current; Page: [437] was met by Indibilis and Mandonius, with their armies. Indibilis spoke for both, not with the ignorance and temerity of a barbarian, but with a modest gravity, appearing rather to apologise for their changing sides, as a measure of necessity, than to boast of it, as if it had been greedily embraced on the first opportunity; for “he knew,” he said, “that the term deserter was deemed dishonourable by a man’s old associates, and held in suspicion by the new. Nor did he blame men for this manner of thinking; provided only, that the merits of the case, and not the mere name, were made the grounds of this double aversion.” He then enumerated his services to the Carthaginian generals; and, on the other hand, their avarice, tyranny, and ill-treatment of every kind heaped on him and his countrymen. “For these reasons,” he said, “his body only had, hitherto, been on their side; his mind had long been on that side where, he believed, that respect was paid to laws divine and human. To the gods themselves, people have recourse with supplications for redress, when they can no longer endure the violence and injustice of men. He entreated Scipio not to consider their conduct as deserving either punishment or reward; but to form his judgment on a trial of them from that day forward, and by that standard to estimate the recompense which they might hereafter be thought to deserve.” The Roman answered, that he would comply with their desire in every particular; and would not consider them in the light of deserters, because they had not thought themselves bound to adhere to such an alliance, when the other party scrupled not to violate every obligation divine and human. Then their wives and children, being brought into the assembly, were restored to them, and received with tears of joy. That day they were entertained in lodgings prepared for them; and, on the next, the terms of association were ratified, and they were dismissed to bring up their forces; afterwards they encamped Edition: current; Page: [438] in conjunction with the Romans, until they conducted them to the spot where the enemy lay.

XVIII. The nearest army of Carthaginians was that commanded by Hasdrubal, which lay near the city of Bæcula. In the front of this camp he had posted advanced guards of cavalry. On these, the Roman light infantry, the front rank, and those who composed the van guard, instantly, as they arrived, and without waiting to choose ground for a camp, made an attack, and with such apparent contempt, as plainly demonstrated what degree of spirit each party possessed. The cavalry were driven within their works, whither they fled in confusion, pressed almost to the very gates. The action of that day having only whetted their ardour for a contest, the Romans pitched their camp. Hasdrubal, during the night, drew back his army to a hill, the summit of which was spread out into a level plain; on the rear of the hill was a river, and on the front and on either side it was encircled by a kind of steep bank: at some distance below this, lay another plain, sloping downwards, the circumference of which was likewise bounded by another bank of equally difficult ascent. Into this lower plain, Hasdrubal, next day, on seeing the enemy’s line formed in front of their camp, sent down his Numidian cavalry, and the light-armed Balearians and Africans. Scipio, riding round the companies and battalions, desired them to observe, that “the enemy, renouncing at once all hope of being able to oppose them on plain ground, endeavoured to secure themselves on hills; waiting within sight, and confiding in the strength of their posts, not in their valour and their arms. But Roman soldiers had mounted the higher defences of Carthage. Neither hills, nor a citadel, nor the sea itself had stopped the progress of their arms. Those heights, which the enemy had seized, would answer no other purpose than that of compelling them, in their flight, to leap down craggs and precipices: but he would prevent their escaping, even in that way.” Accordingly, he gave orders to two cohorts, that Edition: current; Page: [439] one of them should secure the entrance of the valley, through which the river ran; and that the other should block up the road, which led from the city into the country, across the declivity of the hill. He then put himself at the head of the light troops, which had, the day before, beaten the enemy’s advanced guards, and led them against the light-armed forces posted on the brink of the lower descent. For some time they proceeded over rough ground, without meeting any other obstacle than the difficulty of the way; afterwards, when they came within reach, vast quantities of weapons of every sort were poured down upon them; while, on their side, not only the soldiers, but a multitude of servants mixed among the troops, assailed the enemy with stones, which they found every where scattered, and which, in general, were of such a size as that they could be thrown by the hand. But, though the ascent was difficult, and they were almost overwhelmed with darts and stones, yet, through the skill which they had acquired by practice in climbing walls, and the obstinacy of their courage, the foremost gained the summit. When they got upon ground that was any way level, and where they could stand with firm footing, they soon beat back the enemy; who, though light and fit for skirmishing, and able enough to defend themselves at a distance, while an uncertain kind of fight was waged with missive weapons, yet, when the matter came to close fighting, were quite deficient in steadiness; so that they were driven with great slaughter into the line of troops posted on the higher eminence. On this, Scipio, ordering the conquerors to press forward against their centre, divided the rest of the forces with Lælius, whom he ordered to go round the hill to the right, until he should find a gentler ascent, while he himself, making a small circuit to the left, charged the enemy in flank. This, at once, threw their line into disorder, though they attempted to change the position of their wings, and face about their ranks towards the several shouts, which assailed their ears from every quarter. During Edition: current; Page: [440] this confusion, Lælius also came up, and the enemy, by retreating, through fear of being wounded from behind, broke their front line, and left an opening for the Roman centre, who never could have made their way up against ground so disadvantageous, had the ranks remained entire, and the elephants kept their posts in the front of the battalions. While numbers were slain in every quarter, Scipio, who with his left wing had charged the right of the enemy, continued the attack with the greatest fury against their naked flank. And now the Carthaginians had not even a passage open for flight; for the Roman detachments had taken possession of the roads both on the right and left; add to this, that their commander and principal officers, in endeavouring to make their escape, filled up the gate of the camp, while the disorderly route of the frightened elephants were as terrible to them as were the enemy. There were slain therefore not less than eight thousand men.

XIX. Hasdrubal had, before the battle, hastily sent off his treasure; and now, forwarding the elephants, he collected the flying troops, directing his course along the river Tagus, toward the Pyrenees. Scipio took possession of the Carthaginian camp, and having bestowed on the soldiers all the booty, except the persons of free condition, he found, on taking an account of the prisoners, ten thousand foot, and two thousand horse. Of these, he sent home all the Spaniards without ransom, the Africans he ordered the quæstor to sell. On this, the multitude of Spaniards who stood around, both those who had formerly surrendered, and those taken the day before, unanimously saluted him by the title of king. But Scipio, ordering the crier to command silence, told them, that “to him the highest title was that of general, which his soldiers had conferred upon him. That the title of king, in other places highly respected, was, at Rome, deemed odious. They might, indeed, within their own breasts, judge of him as possessing the spirit of a king, if they deemed that the Edition: current; Page: [441] most honourable perfection in a human mind, but they must refrain from the application of the name.” Even these barbarians were sensibly effected by the greatness of his mind, that could look down contemptuously on a title, which from the rest of mankind attracts wonder and admiration. He then distributed presents among the petty princes and chieftains of the Spaniards, desiring Indibilis to choose, out of the great number of horses taken, three hundred, such as he liked. While the quæstor, in pursuance of the general’s order, was selling off the Africans, he observed among them a boy of extraordinary beauty; and, hearing that he was of royal blood, he sent him to Scipio. Scipio, asking him, “who, and of what country he was; and why, at that early age, he had been found in a camp?” He told him, that “he was a Numidian, called by his countrymen Massiva; that being left an orphan by the death of his father, he was educated in the family of his maternal grandfather, Gala, King of Numidia. That he had come over into Spain with his uncle Masinissa, who had lately brought a body of cavalry to the assistance of the Carthaginians. That he had never before been in a battle, having been prohibited by Masinissa on account of his youth; but that, on the day of the engagement with the Romans, he had privately taken a horse and arms, and, unknown to his uncle, gone out into the field, where, by his horse falling, he was thrown to the ground, and made a prisoner by the Romans.” Scipio, ordering the boy to be taken care of, finished what business was to be done at the tribunal; then, retiring into his pavilion, he called the youth, and asked him, whether he wished to return to Masinissa? To which the other, his eyes suffused with tears of joy, replied, that above all things it was what he wished. He then gave as presents to him, a gold ring, a vest with a broad purple border, a Spanish cloak with a golden clasp, likewise a horse fully accoutred; and, ordering a party of horsemen to escort him as far as he chose, sent him away.

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XX. He then held a council, to settle a plan of operations; when many advised him, without delay, to go in pursuit of Hasdrubal: but such a step he thought too hazardous, lest Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, and Mago should unite their forces with those of that commander. Contenting himself, therefore, with sending some troops to occupy the passes of the Pyrenees, he passed the remainder of the summer in receiving the submissions of the Spanish states. Not many days after the battle fought at Bæcula, when Scipio, on his return to Tarraco, had just got clear of the pass of Castulo, the two generals, from the Farther Spain, Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, and Mago, joined Hasdruba—a reinforcement too late, the battle being lost: but their coming was very seasonable in another respect, as it gave him the assistance of their counsel, respecting the measures to be taken for the farther prosecution of the war. On this occasion, when they compared accounts of the dispositions of the Spaniards in each of their several provinces, Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, alone, made a favourable report; giving his opinion, that the remote tract of Spain, which lies on the ocean and about Gades, was, as yet, unacquainted with the Romans, and therefore sufficiently well affected to the Carthaginians. The other Hasdrubal and Mago agreed in pronouncing, that “the affections of all, both in their public and private capacities, were attached to Scipio by the kind treatment which he gave them; and that there would be no end of desertions, until all the Spanish soldiers were either removed into the remotest parts of Spain, or carried away into Gaul. Therefore, though the Carthaginian senate had passed no order for the purpose, yet it was necessary that Hasdrubal should go into Italy, where the principal stress of the war lay, and where the final decision of it must be expected; in order, at the same time, to carry away all the Spanish soldiers out of Spain, and out of the way of hearing the name of Scipio: that the Carthaginian army, being greatly reduced, as well by desertions as by the late unfortunate Edition: current; Page: [443] battle, should be filled up with Spanish recruits: that Mago, giving up his forces to Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, should go over in person to the Balearick islands, with a large sum of money, to hire auxiliaries: that Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, should, with the remainder, retire into Lusitania, and by no means come to an engagement with the Romans: that out of all their effective horsemen, a body of three thousand cavalry should be made up for Masinissa, to make excursions through what they called Hither Spain, succour their allies, and carry depredations through the towns and lands of the enemy.” Having determined on these measures, the commanders separated, to put their resolves in execution. Such were the transactions of this year in Spain. At Rome, the reputation of Scipio rose higher every day. The taking of Tarentum, though effected by artifice rather than by courage, yet gave some degree of glory to Fabius. The lustre of Fulvius’s character began to fade. Marcellus was even spoken of with displeasure, because, besides the failure in his first battle, he had in the middle of summer, while Hannibal was carrying his excursion through various parts of Italy, drawn off his army to Venusia, to lodge them in houses. He had a bitter enemy in Caius Publius Bibulus, a plebeian tribune: this man, ever since the battle which proved unfortunate, had, in frequent harangues, represented Claudius in a dishonourable light, endeavouring to render him odius to the commons; and he now proposed to deprive him of the command. The friends of Claudius nevertheless procured an order, that Marcellus, leaving at Venusia a lieutenant-general, should come home to Rome, to clear himself of those charges, on which his enemies founded the resolutions which they proposed; and that, during his absence, no step should be taken towards divesting him of the command. It so happened that Marcellus came to Rome, to rescue his character from disgrace, and the consul Quintus Fulvius to hold the elections, at the same time.

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XXI. The business respecting Marcellus’s commission was debated in the Flaminian circus, amidst a vast concourse of plebeians, and people of all ranks. The tribune of the commons brought forward heavy charges, not only against Marcellus, but against the whole body of the nobles. “To their treacherous and dilatory conduct,” he said, it was owing, that Hannibal now held possession of Italy, as his province, for the tenth year, and passed more of his life there than in Carthage. The Roman people now enjoyed the fruits of continuing Marcellus in command: his army, after being twice routed, was spending the summer at Venusia, and dwelling in houses instead of the camp.” These, and such like invectives of the tribune, Marcellus so thoroughly refuted, by a recital of the services which he had performed, that not only the question concerning the annulling of his commission was negatived, but, on the day following, every one of the centuries, with the greatest unanimity, concurred in electing him consul. The colleague joined with him, was Titus Quintius Crispinus, then a prætor. Next day were elected prætors, Publius Licinius Crassus Dives, then chief pontiff, Publius Licinius Varus, Sextus Julius Cæsar, Quintus Claudius, flamen. During the very time of the elections, the public were much disturbed with apprehensions of a revolt in Etruria. That some scheme of that kind had been set on foot by the Arretians was asserted in a letter of Caius Calpurnius, who, in the character of proprætor, held the government of that province. Wherefore Marcellus, consul elect, was immediately despatched thither, with orders to inquire into the affair, and, if he should see occasion, to send for his army, and remove the war from Apulia to Etruria. The fear of this gave the Etrurians such a check, as kept them quiet. Ambassadors from the Tarentines came to solicit a treaty of peace, requesting that they might be allowed to live in freedom under their own laws; but the senate desired them to come again, when the consul Fabius would have returned to Rome. Both the Edition: current; Page: [445] Roman and plebeian games were this year repeated for one day. The curule ædiles were Lucius Cornelius Caudinus, and Servius Sulpicius Galba; the plebeian, Caius Servilius and Quintus Cæcilius Metellus. Many people insisted that Servilius could not legally have held the office of tribune, nor could now hold that of ædile, because it was well known that his father, who, for ten years, was supposed to have been killed by the Boians near Mutina, when Triumvir for the distribution of lands, was still living, and in the hands of the enemy.

Y.R. 544. bc 208.XXII. In the eleventh year of the Punic war commenced the consulate of Marcus Marcellus, a fifth time, (reckoning the consulship, which, because of an irregularity in the election, he did not hold,) and Titus Quintus Crispinus. It was decreed, that both the consuls should be employed in Italy, as their province; and that out of the two consular armies of the preceding year, with a third, which was at Venusia, and had been under the command of Marcellus, the consuls were to choose whatever two they liked; and the third was to be assigned to the commander, to whose lot the province of Tarentum and Sallentum should fall. The other provinces were distributed in this manner: with regard to the prætors, the city jurisdiction was assigned to Publius Licinius Varus; the foreign, with such other employment as the senate should direct, to Publius Licinius Crassus, chief pontiff; Sicily to Sextus Julius Cæsar, and Tarentum to Quintus Claudius, flamen. Quintus Fulvius Flaccus was continued in command for the year, and ordered, with one legion, to hold the government of the province of Capua, which had been held by Titus Quintus when prætor. Caius Hostilius Tubulus was likewise continued, that, as proprætor, he might succeed Caius Calpurnius in the command of the two legions in Etruria; and Lucius Veturius Philo was continued, that he might, in quality of proprætor, retain the government of his present province of Gaul, with the same two legions which he Edition: current; Page: [446] had there when prætor. With regard to Caius Aurunculeius, who, in his prætorship, had, with two legions, held the government of the province of Sardinia, the senate passed a decree in the same terms with that respecting Lucius Veturius, but, for the defence of that province, an additional force was assigned him of fifty ships of war, which Scipio was to send from Spain. The business of continuing all these officers in command was laid before an assembly of the people. To Publius Scipio and Marcus Silanus, their present province of Spain, and the armies at present with them, were decreed for the year. An order was sent to Scipio, that, out of eighty ships which he then had,—some brought with him from Italy, some taken at Carthage,—he should send fifty over to Sardinia; because a report prevailed that great naval preparations were going on at Carthage, where the intention was to overspread the whole coasts of Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia with a fleet of two hundred sail. The business of Sicily was divided thus: the troops of Cannæ were given to Sextus Cæsar: Marcus Valerius Lævinus (for he also was continued in authority) was to have the fleet of seventy ships, which lay on the coast of that island. To these were joined the thirty ships which had been at Tarentum the year before; and with this fleet of one hundred sail, if he thought proper, he was to pass over and make depredations on Africa. Publius Sulpicius, also, was continued in command for the year, that he might hold the province of Macedonia and Greece, with the same fleet which he had before. With respect to the two legions which remained in the city of Rome, no alteration was made. Leave was given for the consuls to raise recruits, to complete the troops wherein there was any deficiency of numbers. Twenty-one legions were employed this year in the service of the Roman empire. A charge was given to Publius Licinius Varus, city prætor, to repair thirty old ships of war, which lay at Ostia, and to furnish twenty new ones, with their full complement of men, that he might have a fleet Edition: current; Page: [447] of fifty sail to guard the sea coasts in the neighbourhood of Rome. Caius Calpurnius was forbidden to remove his army from Arretium, before the arrival of his successor. Both he and Tubero were ordered to be particularly watchful on that side, lest any new schemes might be formed.

XXIII. The prætors went to the provinces, but the consuls were detained by business respecting religion; for they could not readily effect the expiation of several prodigies which had been reported. From Campania, accounts were brought, that two temples at Capua, those of Fortune and Mars, and several tombs, were struck by lightning; and at Cumæ, mice gnawed some gold in the temple of Jupiter, so apt is superstitious weakness to introduce the deities into the most trivial occurrences; that at Casinum, a very large swarm of bees settled in the Forum; at Ostia, a wall and gate were struck by lightning; at Cære, a vulture flew into the temple of Jupiter; and that at Vulsinii blood flowed from a lake. On account of these portents, there was a supplication performed of one day’s continuance. During many successive ones, sacrifices were offered of victims of the larger kinds, and yet no favourable omens appeared, nor, for a long time, was there any indication of the gods becoming propitious. The baneful events, thus forboded, affected not immediately the safety of the state, but fell on the persons of the consuls. The Apollinarian games had been first celebrated by the city prætor, Cornelius Sulla, in the consulate of Quintus Fulvius, and Appius Claudius; and, thenceforward, all the city prætors, in succession, had performed them; but they vowed them only for one year, and fixed no particularly day for their observance. This year, a grievous epidemic disorder fell both on the city and country; however, the sickness was rather tedious than mortal. On account of this malady, a supplication was performed in all the streets of Rome, the city prætor, Publius Licinius Varus, being at the same time ordered to propose to the people to enact a law, that a vow Edition: current; Page: [448] should be made for the perpetual celebration of those games on a stated day. Accordingly he himself first engaged for it, holding the games on the third day of the nones of July, which day has ever since been observed as an anniversary festival.

XXIV. The rumours concerning the Arretians grew every day more and more alarming, and greatly increased the anxiety of the senate; wherefore orders were despatched to Caius Hostilius, not to defer taking hostages from that people; and Caius Terentius Varro was sent with a commission to receive them from him, and conduct them to Rome. On his arrival, Hostilius immediately ordered one legion, which was encamped before the gates, to march into the city; and then, having posted guards in proper places, he summoned the senate to attend him in the Forum, and made a demand of hostages. The senate requested two days time to consider of the matter; but he insisted that they should, give them instantly, or he would, next day, take all the children of the senators. He then directed all the military tribunes, præfects of the allies, and centurions, to guard the gates carefully, that no one might go out of the city in the night. This was not performed with proper care and diligence; for, before the guards were posted at the gates, or night came on, seven principal senators made their escape with their children. At the first light, on the day following, the senate being summoned into the Forum, they were missed, and their property was sold. From the rest of the senators, one hundred and twenty hostages were received, who were their own children, and they were delivered to Caius Terentius to be conducted to Rome. He represented every thing to the senate, in such a light as greatly increased their suspicions: wherefore, as if the hostile intentions of the Etrurians were no longer to be doubted, an order was given to Caius Terentius himself, to lead one of the city legions to Aretium, and keep it there, as a garrison to the city. It was Edition: current; Page: [449] at the same time determined that Caius Hostilius, with the rest of the troops, should make a circuit through the whole province; that those who wished to excite disturbances might have no opportunity of putting their designs in execution. When Caius Terentius, with the legion, arrived at Arretium, and demanded from the magistrates the keys of the gates, they told him that they were not to be found; but he, believing rather that they had been put out of the way through some evil design, than lost through negligence, put on new locks, making use of every precaution to keep all things fully under his own power. He earnestly cautioned Hostilius not to expect to retain the Etrurians in quiet by any other means than by putting it out of their power to stir.

XXV. About this time, the business of the Tarentines occasioned a warm debate in the senate, where Fabius was present, exerting himself in favour of those whom he had subdued by arms, while others spoke of them with much asperity, charging them as equal in guilt and deserving equal punishment with the Campanians. The senate resolved, conformably to the opinion of Manius Acilius, that the town should be secured by a garrison, and all the Tarentines confined within the walls, and that the business should be taken under consideration at a future time, and when Italy should be in a state of greater tranquility. The case of Marcus Livius, governor of the citadel of Tarentum, was also debated with no less warmth: some advised to pass a vote of censure on him, because that, in consequence of his indolence, Tarentum had been betrayed to the enemy; while others thought him deserving of reward, for having defended the citadel for five years, and for having, singly, been the principal cause of the recovery of Tarentum. Moderate people affirmed, that the cognizance of his conduct belonged to the censors, not to the senate; and of this opinion was Fabius; nevertheless adding —“Livius was, no doubt, the cause of Tarentum being recovered, as his friends have so often boasted Edition: current; Page: [450] in the senate; but it should be borne in mind that it could not have been recovered, if it had not been lost.” The consul, Titus Quintus Crispinus, marched with a reinforcement into Lucania, to join the army formerly commanded by Quintus Fulvius Flaccus. Marcellus was detained by several obstacles respecting religion, which occurred, in quick succession, to disturb his mind: one of which was, that, having in the battle with the Gauls at Clastidium vowed a temple to Honour and Virtue, he had been hindered, by the pontiffs, from dedicating it; for they insisted, that one shrine could not, with propriety, be consecrated to more than one deity: because, if it should be struck with lightning, or any kind of prodigy happen in it, the expiation would be difficult, as it could not be determined to which of the deities sacrifice ought to be made; for one victim could not, properly, be offered to two divinities, unless they were known to be two to whom such victim must be acceptable. Wherefore a separate temple was erected to Virtue, and the work pushed forward with haste; nevertheless these temples were not dedicated by him. At length he set out, with a number of recruits, to join the army, which he had left the year before at Venusia. Crispinus, observing the great degree of fame which the taking of Tarentum had procured to Marcellus, prepared to lay siege to Locri in Bruttium, sending to Sicily for engines and machines of all sorts, and calling over a fleet from thence, to attack that quarter of the city which stretched down to the sea. But he laid aside his design of the siege, because Hannibal had advanced to Licinium; he heard, too, that his colleague had led out his army from Venusia, which made him wish to unite their forces. Crispinus therefore withdrew from Bruttium into Apulia, and the two consuls sat down in separate camps, distant from each other less than three miles, between Venusia and Bantia. Hannibal also returned into the same country, as soon as he had saved Locri from a siege. And now the consuls, being both impatient for action, offered battle Edition: current; Page: [451] almost every day; not doubting but that, if the enemy would hazard an engagement with the two consular armies united, they might effectually put an end to the war.

XXVI. As Hannibal, of the two battles which he had fought with Marcellus the year before, had gained one and lost the other, he might now, in case of an engagement with the same antagonist, find reasonable grounds both of hope and fear; but he could, by no means, believe himself equal to a contest with the two consuls together. Applying himself, therefore, wholly to his old artifices, he watched an opportunity for an ambuscade. However, several skirmishes were fought between the camps with various success, and the consuls began to think that the summer might be spun out in this manner. They were of opinion, however, that the siege of Locri might, nevertheless, be prosecuted; and they wrote to Lucius Cincius to come over, with the fleet, from Sicily to that place; and, to carry on the siege on the land side, they ordered half the troops in garrison at Tarentum to march thither. Hannibal, having received previous intimation from some Thurians of these intended measures, sent a party to lie in ambush on the road from Tarentum. There under the hill of Petellia, three thousand horsemen and two thousand foot were placed in concealment; and the Romans, marching carelessly, without having examined the road, fell into the snare, where no less than two thousand soldiers were killed, and about twelve hundred taken prisoners: the rest flying different ways, through the fields and woods, returned to Tarentum. Between the Roman and Carthaginian camps, stood a hill, interspersed with trees, which neither party at first had occupied, because the Romans knew not the nature of the ground on the side which faced the camp of the enemy, and Hannibal had judged it to be better fitted for an ambush than for a camp: accordingly he sent thither, for the purpose, a strong detachment of Numidians, whom he concealed in the middle of a thicket; not one of whom stirred from his post Edition: current; Page: [452] in the day, lest either their arms or themselves might be observed from a distance. There ran a general murmer through the Roman camp, that this hill ought to be seized, and secured by a fort, lest, if Hannibal should get possession of it, they should have the enemy, as it were, over their heads. The observation struck Marcellus, and he said to his colleague, “Why not go ourselves with a few horsemen, and take a view of the place? After examining the matter with our own eyes, we shall be able to judge with more certainty.” Crispinus assenting, they proceeded to the spot, attended by two hundred and twenty horsemen, of whom forty were Fregellans, the rest Etrurians: they were accompanied by two military tribunes, Marcus Marcellus, the consul’s son, and Aulus Manlius, and by two præfects of the allies, Lucius Arennius and Marcus Aulius. Some writers have recorded, that the consul Marcellus offered sacrifice on that day, and that, on the first victim being slain, the liver was found without its head: in the second, all the usual parts appeared, but there was a swelling observed on the head of the liver; the aruspex also observing, that, in the second case, the entrails, being imperfect and foul, afforded no very happy presages.

XXVII. But the consel Marcellus was possessed with such a passionate desire for a trial of strength with Hannibal, that he never thought his own camp close enough to his; and on this occasion, as he was passing the rampart, he left directions that every soldier should be ready in his place, in order that, if the hill which they were going to examine, should be approved of, the whole might strike their tents, and follow them thither. In front of the camp was a small plain, and the road, leading thence to the hill, was open on all sides, and exposed to view. A watchman whom the Numidians had posted, not in expectation of an opportunity so important as this, but with the hope of cutting off any party that might straggle too far in search of wood or forage, gave them the signal to rise at once from their concealments. Those who Edition: current; Page: [453] were to come forth from the summit and meet the enemy in front did not show themselves, until the others, who were to enclose them on the rear, had got round. Then all sprung forward from every side, and, raising a shout, made a furious onset. Though the consuls were so situated in the valley that they could neither force their way up the hill, which was occupied by the enemy, nor, surrounded as they were, effect a retreat, the dispute might nevertheless have been protracted for a longer time, had not the Etrurians begun to fly, and thereby filled the rest with dismay. However, the Fregellans, though abandoned by the Etrurians, did not give up the contest, as long as the consuls remained unhurt; who, by their exhortations, and their own personal exertions, supported the spirit of the fight: but, afterwards, seeing both the consuls wounded, and Marcellus pierced through with a lance, and falling lifeless from his horse, then the few betook themselves to flight, carrying with them Crispinus, who had received two wounds from javelins, and young Marcellus, who was also hurt. One of the military tribunes, Aulus Manlius, was slain: of the two præfects of the allies, Marcus Aulius was killed, and Lucius Arennius taken: of the lictors of the consuls, five fell alive into the enemy’s hands; of the rest, some were slain, the others fled with the consul. Forty-three horsemen fell in the fight and pursuit, and eighteen were made prisoners. The troops in camp had taken the alarm, and were going to succour the consuls, when they saw one consul, and the other consul’s son, both wounded, and the small remains of the unfortunate party on their return. The death of Marcellus, unhappy in other respects, was no less so in this, that by a conduct, ill-becoming either his age (for he was now above sixty years old), or the prudence of a veteran commander, he had so improvidently precipitated himself, his colleague, and, in some measure, the whole commonwealth into such desperate hazard. I should engage in too many and too long discussions on a single event, if I were Edition: current; Page: [454] to recite all the various relations given by different writers of the death of Marcellus. To omit other authors, Lucius Cælius presents us with three different narratives of that occurrence: one received by tradition; another written, and contained in the funeral panegyric, delivered by his son, who was present in the action; and a third, which he produces as the real state of the fact, discovered by his own inquiries. But how much soever reports vary, most of them, notwithstanding, concur in stating, that he went out of his camp to view the ground, and all, that he was slain in an ambuscade.

XXVIII. Hannibal, supposing that the enemy must be greatly dismayed by the death of one of their consuls, and the wounds of the other, and wishing not to lose any advantage which a juncture so favourable might afford, removed his camp immediately to the hill on which the battle had been fought. Here he found the body of Marcellus, and interred it. Crispinus, disheartened by his colleague’s death and his own wounds, decamped in the silence of the following night, and, on the nearest mountains that he could reach, pitched his camp in an elevated spot, secure on all sides. On this occasion, the two commanders displayed great sagacity in their proceedings, while one endeavoured to effect, the other to guard against deception. Hannibal had, with Marcellus’s body, gotten possession of his ring, and Crispinus, fearing lest mistakes occasioned by means of this signet might give room to the Carthaginian for practising some of his wiles, sent expresses round to all the neighbouring states to inform them, that “his colleague had been slain, that the enemy was in possession of his ring, and that they should, therefore, give no credit to any letters written in the name of Marcellus.” This message from the consul had but just arrived at Salapia, when a letter was brought thither from Hannibal, written in the name of Marcellus, intimating, that “he would come to Salapia on the night which was to follow that day; and directing that the soldiers of the garrison Edition: current; Page: [455] should be ready in case he should have occasion to employ them.” The Salapians were aware of the fraud; and judging that Hannibal, whom they had incensed, not only by their defection from his party, but by killing his horsemen, was seeking an opportunity for revenge, sent back his messenger, who was a Roman deserter, in order that the soldiers might act, as should be thought proper, without being watched by him; they then placed parties of the townsmen on guard along the walls, and in the convenient parts of the city, forming the guards and watches for that night with more than ordinary care. On each side of the gate, through which they expected the enemy to come, they placed the main strength of the garrison. About the fourth watch Hannibal approached the city: his van-guard was composed of Roman deserters, armed also in the Roman fashion. These, when they came to the gate, as they all spoke the Latin language, called up the watchmen, and ordered them to open the gate, for the consul was at hand. The watchmen, as if awakened by their call, were all in a hurry and bustle, striving to open the gate, which had been shut by letting down the portcullice: some raised this with levers, others pulled it up with ropes to such an height, that men might come in without stooping. Scarcely was the passage sufficiently opened, when the deserters rushed in eagerly through the gate; and, when about six hundred had entered, the rope, by which it was kept suspended, being loosened, the portcullice fell down with a great noise. Part of the Salapians now attacked the deserters, who, as if among friends carried their arms carelessly on their shoulders, as on a march; while the rest, from the tower adjoining the gate and from the walls, beat off the enemy with stones, and pikes, and javelins. Thus Hannibal, ensnared by an artifice worthy of himself, was obliged to retire, and went thence to raise the siege of Locri, which Cincius was pushing forward with the utmost vigour, having constructed various works, and being supplied with engines of every kind from Sicily. Mago, Edition: current; Page: [456] who almost despaired of being able to hold out and maintain the defence of the city, received the first gleam of returning hope from the news of Marcellus’s death. This was soon followed by an express, acquainting him that Hannibal, having sent forward the Numidian cavalry, was hastening after, at the head of the main body of infantry, with all the speed he could make. As soon, therefore, as he understood, by signals made from the watch-towers, that the Numidians were drawing nigh, he, with his own forces, suddenly throwing open a gate, rushed out furiously on the besiegers. The suddenness of his attack, rather than inequality of strength, at first made the dispute doubtful; but afterwards, when the Numidians came up, the Romans were struck with such dismay, that they fled in confusion towards the sea and their ships, leaving behind their works and machines which they used in battering the walls. In this manner did the approach of Hannibal raise the siege of Locri.

XXIX. When Crispinus learned that Hannibal had gone into Bruttium, he ordered Marcus Marcellus, military tribune, to lead away to Venusia the army which had been under the command of his colleage; and he himself, with his own legions, set out for Capua, being scarcely able to endure the motion of a litter, his wounds were so very painful. But he first despatched a letter to Rome, with an account of Marcellus’s death, and of his own dangerous situation. “It was not in his power,” he said, “to go to Rome to attend the elections, because he was sure he should not be able to bear the fatigue of the journey; and besides, that he was uneasy about Tarentum, lest Hannibal might march thither from Bruttium. It was therefore necessary that some persons should be commissioned to come to him in his quarters, men of prudence, to whom he could with freedom speak his thoughts on the present state of affairs.” The reading of this letter caused great sorrow for the death of one consul, and apprehensions for the safety of the other. The senate, therefore, Edition: current; Page: [457] sent Quintus Fabius the younger to Venusia, to take the command of the army there; and deputed three persons to wait on the consul, Sextus Julius Cæsar, Lucius Licinius Pollio, and Lucius Cincius Alimentus, who had a few days before come home from Sicily. These were ordered to deliver a message to the consul, that if he could not come himself to Rome, to hold the elections, he would, within the Roman territories, nominate a dictator for that purpose; and directions were given, that in case the consul should have gone to Tarentum, then Quintus Claudius, the prætor, should lead the army from its present quarters into that part of the country where he could afford protection to the greatest number of the cities of the allies. In the course of this summer Marcus Valerius passed from Sicily to Africa with a fleet of one hundred sail, and making a descent near the city of Clupea, ravaged the country to a great extent, meeting scarcely any one in arms. After which, the troops employed in these depredations made a hasty retreat to their ships, in consequence of a sudden report that the Carthaginian fleet was approaching. This fleet consisted of eighty-three ships, with which the Roman commander came to an engagement not far from Clupea, and gained a complete victory. After taking eighteen ships, and dispersing the rest, he returned to Lilybæum with abundance of booty, acquired both on land and sea.

XXX. Philip, during this summer, brought assistance to the Achæans, in compliance with their earnest entreaties; for, on one side, Machanidas, tyrant of the Lacedæmonians, harassed them continually by irruptions from his territories, which lay contiguous to theirs; and on another, the Ætolians, transporting an army, in ships, through the streight which runs between Naupactus and Patræ, called by the neighbouring inhabitants Rhios, had spread devastations through the country. A report also prevailed, that Attalus, king of Asia, intended to come over into Europe, because the Ætolians, in their last general council, had constituted him chief magistrate Edition: current; Page: [458] of their state. While Philip was, for all these reasons, marching down into Greece, he was met at the city of Lamia by the Ætolians, under the command of Pyrrhias, who had been created prætor for that year, conjointly with Attalus, on account of the latter’s absence. Besides their own forces, they had a body of auxiliaries sent by Attalus, and about one thousand men from the Roman fleet of Publius Sulpicius. Against this commander, and these forces, Philip fought twice with success; and, in each battle, slew at least one thousand. The Ætolians, being so greatly dismayed, as to keep themselves close under the walls of Lamia, Philip led back his army to Phalara. This place, being situated on the Malian bay, was formerly thickly inhabited, on account of its excellent harbour, the safe anchorage on either side, with other commodious circumstances, to which both the sea and the land contributed. Hither came ambassadors from Ptolemy king of Egypt, the Rhodians, Athenians, and Chians, with intent to compose the differences between Philip and the Ætolians. The Ætolians also invited a mediator from among their neighbours, Amynander, king of Athamania. But the concern of all was engaged, not so much by their regard for the Ætolians, who were remarkable for an arrogance unbecoming a Grecian state, as by their wishes to prevent Philip from interfering in any of the affairs of Greece; an interference which would be highly dangerous to the general liberty. The deliberations concerning a pacification were adjourned to the meeting of the council of the Achæans, and a certain time and place were fixed for that assembly. In the mean time, a truce for thirty days was obtained. The king, proceeding thence through Thessaly and Bœotia, came to Chalcis in Eubœa, with design to exclude Attalus from the harbours and coasts, for intelligence had been received that he intended to come to Eubœa with a fleet. Afterwards, leaving there a body of troops to oppose Attalus, in case he should happen to arrive in the mean time; and setting out Edition: current; Page: [459] himself with a few horsemen and light infantry, he came to Argos. Here the superintendance of the games of Hærean Juno and Nemæan Hercules being conferred on him by the suffrages of the people, because the kings of the Macedonians affect to derive the origin of their family from that city, he performed those in honour of Juno; and, as soon as they were finished, went off instantly to Ægium, to the council summoned some time before. In this assembly several schemes were proposed for putting an end to the Ætolian war, that neither the Romans nor Attalus might have any pretence for entering Greece. But every measure of the kind was defeated at once by the Ætolians, when the time of the truce had scarcely expired, on their hearing that Attalus was arrived at Ægina, and that the Roman fleet lay at Naupactus. For being called into the council of the Achæans, where were likewise present the same ambassadors who had treated of a pacification at Phalara, they at first complained of some trifling acts committed during the truce, contrary to the faith of the convention, at last declaring that the war could not be terminated on any other terms than by the Achæans giving back Pylus to the Messenians, Atintania to the Romans, and Ardyæa to Scerdilædus and Pleuratus. Philip, conceiving the utmost indignation at the vanquished party presuming to prescribe terms to their conqueror, said, that “in listening before to proposals of peace, or in agreeing to a truce, he had not been led by any expectation that the Ætolians would remain quiet, but by his wish to have all the confederates witnesses that the object of his pursuits was peace; of theirs, war.” Thus, without any thing being effected towards an accommodation, he dismissed the assembly, left five thousand soldiers to protect the Achæans, receiving from them five ships of war, with which, added to a fleet lately sent to him from Carthage, and some vessels then on their way from Bithynia, sent by king Prusias, he had resolved, if he could effect the junction, to try his strength in a naval engagement Edition: current; Page: [460] with the Romans, who had long been masters of the sea in that part of the world. After dissolving the council, he went back to Argos, because the time of the Nemæan games was approaching, and he wished to give them, by his presence, an additional degree of splendour.

XXXI. While the king was employed in the celebration of the games, and, during that season of festivity, indulging his mind in relaxation from military operations, Publius Sulpicius setting sail from Naupactus, arrived on the coast between Sicyon and Corinth, making violent depredations on that fine and fertile country. The news of this event called away Philip from the exhibition. He marched off with rapidity at the head of his cavalry, leaving orders for the infantry to follow; and, while the Romans were straggling at random, and heavily laden with booty, not apprehending any danger of the kind, he attacked and drove them to their ships. Thus the Roman fleet returned to Naupactus with little cause of triumph for the booty which they had taken. On the other side, Philip, by the fame of a victory, whatever might be its real importance, gained however over Romans, added greatly to the lustre of the remaining part of the games; and the festival was celebrated with extraordinary rejoicings, to which he contributed also by his popular behaviour: for, laying aside his diadem, purple robe, and other royal apparel, he set himself, with respect to appearance, on a level with the rest; than which nothing can be more grateful to the people of free states. This conduct would have afforded very strong hopes of general liberty, had he not debased and dishonoured all by intolerable debauchery: for, night and day, with one or two attendants, he ranged through the houses of married people. He had lowered his dignity to the common level, consequently the less conspicuous he appeared, the less restraint he was under; and thus the liberty of which he had given others an empty prospect, he stretched to the utmost in the gratification of his own libidinous Edition: current; Page: [461] desires. Money and seductive discourses were not always sufficient for his purposes; he even employed violence in aid of them, and dangerous was it for husbands and parents to show inflexible strictness in obstructing the lustful passions of the king. He took from Aratus (a man of distinction among the Achæans) his wife, named Polycratia, and deluding her with the hope of being married to a sovereign prince, carried her into Macedonia. After spending the time of the celebration of the games, and several days after they were finished, in this scandalous manner, he marched to Dymæ, with design to dislodge a garrison of the Ætolians, who had been invited by the Eleans, and received into that city. At Dymæ he was joined by the Achæans, under Cycliades their chief magistrate, who were inflamed with hatred against the Eleans, because they refused to unite with the other states of Achaia, and highly incensed against the Ætolians, whom they believed to be the authors of the war carried on against them by the Romans. Leaving Dymæ, and uniting their forces, they passed the river Larissus, which separates the territory of Elis from that of Dymæ.

XXXII. The first day on which they entered the enemy’s borders, they spent in plundering. On the next, they advanced to the city in order of battle, having sent forward the cavalry, to ride up to the gates, and provoke the Ætolians, who were ever well inclined to embrace an opportunity of sallying out from their works. They did not know that Sulpicius, with fifteen ships, had come over from Naupactus to Cyllene, and landing four thousand soldiers, had, in the dead of night, lest his march should be observed, thrown himself into Eli