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Titus Livius - The History of Rome: Book 22

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B.C. 217-216

Hannibal, after an uninterrupted march of four days and three nights, arrives in Etruria, through the marshes, in which he lost an eye.

Caius Flaminius, the consul, an inconsiderate man, having gone forth in opposition to the omens, dug up the standards which could not otherwise be raised, and been thrown from his horse immediately after he had mounted, is insnared by Hannibal, and cut off by his army near the Thrasimene lake. Three thousand who had escaped are placed in chains by Hannibal, in violation of pledges given. Distress occasioned in Rome by the intelligence. The Sibylline books consulted, and a sacred spring decreed. Fabius Maximus sent as dictator against Hannibal, whom he frustrates by caution and delay. Marcus Minucius, the master of the horse, a rash and impetuous man, inveighs against the caution of Fabius, and obtains an equality of command with him. The army is divided between them, and Minucius engaging Hannibal in an unfavourable position, is reduced to the extremity of danger, and is rescued by the dictator, and places himself under his authority. Hannibal, after ravaging Campania, is shut up by Fabius in a valley near the town of Casilinum, but escapes by night, putting to flight the Romans on guard by oxen with lighted faggots attached to their horns. Hannibal attempts to excite a suspicion of the fidelity of Fabius by sparing his farm while ravaging with fire the whole country around it. Aemilius Paulus and Terentius Varro are routed at Cannae, and forty thousand men slain, among whom were Paulus the consul, eighty senators, and thirty who had served the office of consul, praetor, or edile. A design projected by some noble youths of quitting Italy in despair after this calamity, is intrepidly quashed by Publius Cornelius Scipio, a military tribune, afterwards surnamed Africanus. Successes in Spain, eight thousand slaves are enlisted by the Romans, they refuse to ransom the captives, they go out in a body to meet Varro, and thank him for not having despaired of the commonwealth.

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Spring was now at hand, when Hannibal quitted his winter quarters, having both attempted in vain to cross the Apennines, from the intolerable cold, and having remained with great danger and alarm. The Gauls, whom the hope of plunder and spoil had collected, when, instead of being themselves engaged in carrying and driving away booty from the lands of others, they saw their own lands made the seat of war and burdened by the wintering of the armies of both forces, turned their hatred back again from the Romans to Hannibal; and though plots were frequently concerted against him by their chieftains, he was preserved by the treachery they manifested towards each other; disclosing their conspiracy with the same inconstancy with which they had conspired; and by changing sometimes his dress, at other times the fashion of his hair, he protected himself from treachery by deception. However, this fear was the cause of his more speedily quitting his winter quarters. Meanwhile Cneius Servilius, the consul, entered upon his office at Rome, on the ides of March. There, when he had consulted the senate on the state of the republic in general, the indignation against Flaminius was rekindled. They said "that they had created indeed two consuls, that they had but one; for what regular authority had the other, or what auspices? That their magistrates took these with them from home, from the tutelar deities of themselves and the state, after the celebration of the Latin holidays; the sacrifice upon the mountain being completed, and the vows duly offered up in the Capitol: that neither could an unofficial individual take the auspices, nor could one who had gone from home without them, take them new, and for the first time, in a foreign soil." Prodigies announced from many places at the same time, augmented the terror: in Sicily, that several darts belonging to the soldiers had taken fire; and in Sardinia, that the staff of a horseman, who was going his rounds upon a wall, took fire as he held it in his hand; that the shores had blazed with frequent fires; that two shields had sweated blood at Praeneste; that redhot stones had fallen from the heavens at Arpi; that shields were seen in the heavens, and the sun fighting with the moon, at Capena; that two moons rose in the day-time; that the waters of Caere had flowed mixed with blood; and that even the fountain of Hercules had flowed sprinkled with spots of blood. In the territory of Antium, that bloody ears of corn had fallen into the basket as they were reaping. At Falerii, that the heavens appeared cleft as if with a great chasm; and, that where it had opened, a vast light had shone forth; that the prophetic tablets had spontaneously become less; and that one had fallen out thus inscribed, "Mars shakes his spear." During the same time, that the statue of Mars at Rome, on the Appian way, had sweated at the sight of images of wolves. At Capua that there had been the appearance of the heavens being on fire, and of the moon as falling amidst rain. After these, credence was given to prodigies of less magnitude: that the goats of certain persons had borne wool; that a hen had changed herself into a cock; and a cock into a hen: these things having been laid before the senate as reported, the authors being conducted into the senate-house, the consul took the sense of the fathers on religious affairs. It was decreed that those prodigies should be expiated, partly with full-grown, partly with sucking victims; and that a supplication should be made at every shrine for the space of three days; that the other things should be done accordingly as the gods should declare in their oracles to be agreeable to their will when the decemviri had examined the books. By the advice of the decemviri it was decreed, first, that a golden thunderbolt of fifty pounds' weight should be made as an offering to Jupiter; that offerings of silver should be presented to Juno and Minerva; that sacrifices of full-grown victims should be offered to Juno Regina on the Aventine; and to Juno Sospita at Lanuvium; that the matrons, contributing as much money as might be convenient to each, should carry it to the Aventine, as a present to Juno Regina; and that a lectisternium should be celebrated. Moreover, that the very freed-women should, according to their means, contribute money from which a present might be made to Feronia. When these things were done, the decemviri sacrificed with the larger victims in the forum at Ardea. Lastly, it being now the month of December, a sacrifice was made at the temple of Saturn at Rome, and a lectisternium ordered, in which senators prepared the couch and a public banquet. Proclamation was made through the city, that the Saturnalia should be kept for a day and a night; and the people were commanded to account that day as a holiday, and observe it for ever.


While the consul employs himself at Rome in appeasing the gods and holding the levy, Hannibal, setting out from his winter quarters, because it was reported that the consul Flaminius had now arrived at Arretium, although a longer but more commodious route was pointed out to him, takes the nearer road through a marsh where the Arno had, more than usual, overflowed its banks. He ordered the Spaniards and Africans (in these lay the strength of his veteran army) to lead, their own baggage being intermixed with them, lest, being compelled to halt any where, they should want what might be necessary for their use: the Gauls he ordered to go next, that they might form the middle of the marching body; the cavalry to march in the rear: next, Mago with the light-armed Numidians to keep the army together, particularly coercing the Gauls, if, fatigued with exertion and the length of the march, as that nation is wanting in vigour for such exertions, they should fall away or halt. The van still followed the standards wherever the guides did but lead them, through the exceeding deep and almost fathomless eddies of the river, nearly swallowed up in mud, and plunging themselves in. The Gauls could neither support themselves when fallen, nor raise themselves from the eddies. Nor did they sustain their bodies with spirit, nor their minds with hope; some scarce dragging on their wearied limbs; others dying where they had once fallen, their spirits being subdued with fatigue, among the beasts which themselves also lay prostrate in every place. But chiefly watching wore them out, endured now for four days and three nights. When, the water covering every place, not a dry spot could be found where they might stretch their weary bodies, they laid themselves down upon their baggage, thrown in heaps into the waters. Piles of beasts, which lay every where through the whole route, afforded a necessary bed for temporary repose to those seeking any place which was not under water. Hannibal himself, riding on the only remaining elephant, to be the higher from the water, contracted a disorder in his eyes, at first from the unwholesomeness of the vernal air, which is attended with transitions from heat to cold; and at length from watching, nocturnal damps, the marshy atmosphere disordering his head, and because he had neither opportunity nor leisure for remedies, loses one of them.


Many men and cattle having been lost thus wretchedly, when at length he had emerged from the marshes, he pitched his camp as soon as he could on dry ground. And here he received information, through the scouts sent in advance, that the Roman army was round the walls of Arretium. Next the plans and temper of the consul, the situation of the country, the roads, the sources from which provisions might be obtained, and whatever else it was useful to know; all these things he ascertained by the most diligent inquiry. The country was among the most fertile of Italy, the plain of Etruria, between Faesulae and Arretium, abundant in its supply of corn, cattle, and every other requisite. The consul was haughty from his former consulship, and felt no proper degree of reverence not only for the laws and the majesty of the fathers, but even for the gods. This temerity, inherent in his nature, fortune had fostered by a career of prosperity and success in civil and military affairs. Thus it was sufficiently evident that, heedless of gods and men, he would act in all cases with presumption and precipitation; and, that he might fall the more readily into the errors natural to him, the Carthaginian begins to fret and irritate him; and leaving the enemy on his left, he takes the road to Faesulae, and marching through the centre of Etruria, with intent to plunder, he exhibits to the consul, in the distance, the greatest devastation he could with fires and slaughters. Flaminius, who would not have rested even if the enemy had remained quiet; then, indeed, when he saw the property of the allies driven and carried away almost before his eyes, considering that it reflected disgrace upon him that the Carthaginian now roaming at large through the heart of Italy, and marching without resistance to storm the very walls of Rome, though every other person in the council advised safe rather than showy measures, urging that he should wait for his colleague, in order that, joining their armies, they might carry on the war with united courage and counsels; and that, meanwhile, the enemy should be prevented from his unrestrained freedom in plundering by the cavalry and the light-armed auxiliaries; in a fury hurried out of the council, and at once gave out the signal for marching and for battle. "Nay, rather," says he, "let him be before the walls of Arretium, for here is our country, here our household gods. Let Hannibal, slipping through our fingers, waste Italy through and through; and, ravaging and burning every thing, let him arrive at the walls of Rome; let us move hence till the fathers shall have summoned Flaminius from Arretium, as they did Camillus of old from Veii." While reproaching them thus, and in the act of ordering the standards to be speedily pulled up, when he had mounted upon his horse, the animal fell suddenly, and threw the unseated consul over his head. All the bystanders being alarmed at this as an unhappy omen in the commencement of the affair, in addition word is brought, that the standard could not be pulled up, though, the standard-bearer strove with all his force. Flaminius, turning to the messenger, says, "Do you bring, too, letters from the senate, forbidding me to act. Go, tell them to dig up the standard, if, through fear, their hands are so benumbed that they cannot pluck it up." Then the army began to march; the chief officers, besides that they dissented from the plan, being terrified by the twofold prodigy; while the soldiery in general were elated by the confidence of their leader, since they regarded merely the hope he entertained, and not the reasons of the hope.


Hannibal lays waste the country between the city Cortona and the lake Trasimenus, with all the devastation of war, the more to exasperate the enemy to revenge the injuries inflicted on his allies. They had now reached a place formed by nature for an ambuscade, where the Trasimenus comes nearest to the mountains of Cortona. A very narrow passage only intervenes, as though room enough just for that purpose had been left designedly; after that a somewhat wider plain opens itself, and then some hills rise up. On these he pitches his camp, in full view, where he himself with his Spaniards and Africans only might be posted. The Baliares and his other light troops he leads round the mountains; his cavalry he posts at the very entrance of the defile, some eminences conveniently concealing them; in order that when the Romans had entered, the cavalry advancing, every place might be enclosed by the lake and the mountains. Flaminius, passing the defiles before it was quite daylight, without reconnoitering, though he had arrived at the lake the preceding day at sunset, when the troops began to be spread into the wider plain, saw that part only of the enemy which was opposite to him; the ambuscade in his rear and overhead escaped his notice. And when the Carthaginian had his enemy enclosed by the lake and mountains, and surrounded by his troops, he gives the signal to all to make a simultaneous charge; and each running down the nearest way, the suddenness and unexpectedness of the event was increased to the Romans by a mist rising from the lake, which had settled thicker on the plain than on the mountains; and thus the troops of the enemy ran down from the various eminences, sufficiently well discerning each other, and therefore with the greater regularity. A shout being raised on all sides, the Roman found himself surrounded before he could well see the enemy; and the attack on the front and flank had commenced ere his line could be well formed, his arms prepared for action, or his swords unsheathed.


The consul, while all were panic-struck, himself sufficiently undaunted though in so perilous a case, marshals, as well as the time and place permitted, the lines which were thrown into confusion by each man's turning himself towards the various shouts; and wherever he could approach or be heard exhorts them, and bids them stand and fight: for that they could not escape thence by vows and prayers to the gods but by exertion and valour; that a way was sometimes opened by the sword through the midst of marshalled armies, and that generally the less the fear the less the danger. However, from the noise and tumult, neither his advice nor command could be caught; and so far were the soldiers from knowing their own standards, and ranks, and position, that they had scarce sufficient courage to take up arms and make them ready for battle; and certain of them were surprised before they could prepare them, being burdened rather than protected by them; while in so great darkness there was more use of ears than of eyes. They turned their faces and eyes in every direction towards the groans of the wounded, the sounds of blows upon the body or arms, and the mingled clamours of the menacing and the affrighted. Some, as they were making their escape, were stopped, having encountered a body of men engaged in fight; and bands of fugitives returning to the battle, diverted others. After charges had been attempted unsuccessfully in every direction, and on their flanks the mountains and the lake, on the front and rear the lines of the enemy enclosed them, when it was evident that there was no hope of safety but in the right hand and the sword; then each man became to himself a leader, and encourager to action; and an entirely new contest arose, not a regular line, with principes, hastati, and triarii; nor of such a sort as that the vanguard should fight before the standards, and the rest of the troops behind them; nor such that each soldier should be in his own legion, cohort, or company: chance collects them into bands; and each man's own will assigned to him his post, whether to fight in front or rear; and so great was the ardour of the conflict, so intent were their minds upon the battle, that not one of the combatants felt an earthquake which threw down large portions of many of the cities of Italy, turned rivers from their rapid courses, carried the sea up into rivers, and levelled mountains with a tremendous crash.


The battle was continued near three hours, and in every quarter with fierceness; around the consul, however, it was still hotter and more determined. Both the strongest of the troops, and himself too, promptly brought assistance wherever he perceived his men hard pressed and distressed. But, distinguished by his armour, the enemy attacked him with the utmost vigour, while his countrymen defended him; until an Insubrian horseman, named Ducarius, knowing him also by his face, says to his countrymen, "Lo, this is the consul who slew our legions and laid waste our fields and city. Now will I offer this victim to the shades of my countrymen, miserably slain;" and putting spurs to his horse, he rushes through a very dense body of the enemy; and first slaying his armour-bearer, who had opposed himself to his attack as he approached, ran the consul through with his lance; the triarii, opposing their shields, kept him off when seeking to despoil him. Then first the flight of a great number began; and now neither the lake nor the mountains obstructed their hurried retreat; they run through all places, confined and precipitous, as though they were blind; and arms and men are tumbled one upon another. A great many, when there remained no more space to run, advancing into the water through the first shallows of the lake, plunge in, as far as they could stand above it with their heads and shoulders. Some there were whom inconsiderate fear induced to try to escape even by swimming; but as that attempt was inordinate and hopeless, they were either overwhelmed in the deep water, their courage failing, or, wearied to no purpose, made their way back, with extreme difficulty, to the shallows; and there were cut up on all hands by the cavalry of the enemy, which had entered the water. Near upon six thousand of the foremost body having gallantly forced their way through the opposing enemy, entirely unacquainted with what was occurring in their rear, escaped from the defile; and having halted on a certain rising ground, and hearing only the shouting and clashing of arms, they could not know nor discern, by reason of the mist, what was the fortune of the battle. At length, the affair being decided, when the mist, dispelled by the increasing heat of the sun, had cleared the atmosphere, then, in the clear light, the mountains and plains showed their ruin and the Roman army miserably destroyed; and thus, lest, being descried at a distance, the cavalry should be sent against them, hastily snatching up their standards, they hurried away with all possible expedition. On the following day, when in addition to their extreme sufferings in other respects, famine also was at hand, Maharbal, who had followed them during the night with the whole body of cavalry, pledging his honour that he would let them depart with single garments, if they would deliver up their arms, they surrendered themselves; which promise was kept by Hannibal with Punic fidelity, and he threw them all into chains.


This is the celebrated battle at the Trasimenus, and recorded among the few disasters of the Roman people. Fifteen thousand Romans were slain in the battle. Ten thousand, who had been scattered in the flight through all Etruria, returned to the city by different roads. One thousand five hundred of the enemy perished in the battle; many on both sides died afterwards of their wounds. The carnage on both sides is related, by some authors, to have been many times greater. I, besides that I would relate nothing drawn from a worthless source, to which the minds of historians generally incline too much, have as my chief authority Fabius, who was contemporary with the events of this war. Such of the captives as belonged to the Latin confederacy being dismissed without ransom, and the Romans thrown into chains, Hannibal ordered the bodies of his own men to be gathered from the heaps of the enemy, and buried: the body of Flaminius too, which was searched for with great diligence for burial, he could not find. On the first intelligence of this defeat at Rome, a concourse of the people, dismayed and terrified, took place in the forum. The matrons, wandering through the streets, ask all they meet, what sudden disaster was reported? what was the fate of the army? And when the multitude, like a full assembly, having directed their course to the comitium and senate-house, were calling upon the magistrates, at length, a little before sunset, Marcus Pomponius, the praetor, declares, "We have been defeated in a great battle;" and though nothing more definite was heard from him, yet, full of the rumours which they had caught one from another, they carry back to their homes intelligence, that the consul, with a great part of his troops, was slain; that a few only survived, and these either widely dispersed in flight through Etruria, or else captured by the enemy. As many as had been the calamities of the vanquished army, into so many anxieties were the minds of those distracted whose relations had served under Flaminius, and who were uninformed of what had been the fate of their friends, nor does any one know certainly what he should either hope or fear. During the next and several successive days, a greater number of women almost than men stood at the gates, waiting either for some one of their friends or for intelligence of them, surrounding and earnestly interrogating those they met: nor could they be torn away from those they knew especially, until they had regularly inquired into every thing. Then as they retired from the informants you might discern their various expressions of countenance according as intelligence, pleasing or sad, was announced to each; and those who congratulated or condoled on their return home. The joy and grief of the women were especially manifested. They report that one, suddenly meeting her son, who had returned safe, expired at the very door before his face--that another, who sat grieving at her house at the falsely reported death of her son, became a corpse, from excessive joy, at the first sight of him on his return. The praetors detained the senators in the house for several days from sunrise to sunset, deliberating under whose conduct and by what forces, the victorious Carthaginians could be opposed.


Before their plans were sufficiently determined another unexpected defeat is reported: four thousand horse, sent under the conduct of C. Centenius, propraetor, by Servilius to his colleague, were cut off by Hannibal in Umbria, to which place, on hearing of the battle at Trasimenus, they had turned their course. The report of this event variously affected the people. Some, having their minds preoccupied with heavier grief, considered the recent loss of cavalry trifling, in comparison with their former losses; others did not estimate what had occurred by itself, but considered that, as in a body already labouring under disease, a slight cause would be felt more violently than a more powerful one in a robust constitution, so whatever adverse event befell the state in its then sickly and impaired condition, ought to be estimated, not by the magnitude of the event itself, but with reference to its exhausted strength, which could endure nothing that could oppress it. The state therefore took refuge in a remedy for a long time before neither wanted nor employed, the appointment of a dictator, and because the consul was absent, by whom alone it appeared he could be nominated, and because neither message nor letter could easily be sent to him through the country occupied by Punic troops, and because the people could not appoint a dictator, which had never been done to that day, the people created Quintus Fabius Maximus pro dictator, and Marcus Minucius Rufus master of the horse. To them the senate assigned the task of strengthening the walls and towers of the city, of placing guards in such quarters as seemed good, and breaking down the bridges of the river, considering that they must now fight at home in defence of their city, since they were unable to protect Italy.


Hannibal, marching directly through Umbria, arrived at Spoletum, thence, having completely devastated the adjoining country, and commenced an assault upon the city, having been repulsed with great loss and conjecturing from the strength of this one colony, which had been not very successfully attacked, what was the size of the city of Rome, turned aside into the territory of Picenum, which abounded not only with every species of grain, but was stored with booty, which his rapacious and needy troops eagerly seized. There he continued encamped for several days, and his soldiers were refreshed, who had been enfeebled by winter marches and marshy ground, and with a battle more successful in its result than light or easy. When sufficient time for rest had been granted for soldiers delighting more in plunder and devastation than ease and repose, setting out, he lays waste the territories of Pretutia and Hadria, then of the Marsi, the Marrucini, and the Peligni, and the contiguous region of Apulia around Arpi and Luceria. Cneius Servilius, the consul, having fought some slight battles with the Gauls, and taken one inconsiderable town, when he heard of the defeat of his colleague and the army, alarmed now for the walls of the capital, marched towards the city, that he might not be absent at so extreme a crisis. Quintus Fabius Maximus, a second time dictator, assembled the senate the very day he entered on his office; and commencing with what related to the gods, after he had distinctly proved to the fathers, that Caius Flaminius had erred more from neglect of the ceremonies and auspices than from temerity and want of judgment, and that the gods themselves should be consulted as to what were the expiations of their anger, he obtained a resolution that the decemviri should be ordered to inspect the Sibylline books, which is rarely decreed, except when some horrid prodigies were announced. Having inspected the prophetic books, they reported, that the vow which was made to Mars on account of this war, not having been regularly fulfilled, must be performed afresh and more fully; that the great games must be vowed to Jupiter, temples to Venus Erycina and Mens; that a supplication and lectisternium must be made, and a sacred spring vowed, if the war should proceed favourably and the state continue the condition it was in before the war. Since the management of the war would occupy Fabius, the senate orders Marcus Aemilius, the praetor, to see that all these things are done in good time, according to the directions of the college of pontiffs.


These decrees of the senate having been passed, Lucius Cornelius Lentulus, pontifex maximus, the college of praetors consulting with him, gives his opinion that, first of all, the people should be consulted respecting a sacred spring: that it could not be without the order of the people. The people having been asked according to this form: Do ye will and order that this thing should be performed in this manner? If the republic of the Roman people, the Quirites, shall be safe and preserved as I wish it may, from these wars for the next five years, (the war which is between the Roman people and the Carthaginian, and the wars which are with the Cisalpine Gauls), the Roman people, the Quirites, shall present whatsoever the spring shall produce from herds of swine, sheep, goats, oxen and which shall not have been consecrated, to be sacrificed to Jupiter, from the day which the senate and people shall appoint. Let him who shall make an offering do it when he please, and in what manner he please; in whatsoever manner he does it, let it be considered duly done. If that which ought to be sacrificed die, let it be unconsecrated, and let no guilt attach; if any one unwittingly wound or kill it, let it be no injury to him; if any one shall steal it, let no guilt attach to the people or to him from whom it was stolen; if any one shall unwittingly offer it on a forbidden day, let it be esteemed duly offered; also whether by night or day, whether slave or free-man perform it. If the senate and people shall order it to be offered sooner than any person shall offer it, let the people being acquitted of it be free. On the same account great games were vowed, at an expense of three hundred and thirty-three thousand three hundred and thirty-three asses and a third; moreover, it was decreed that sacrifice should be done to Jupiter with three hundred oxen, to many other deities with white oxen and the other victims. The vows being duly made, a supplication was proclaimed; and not only the inhabitants of the city went with their wives and children, but such of the rustics also as, possessing any property themselves, were interested in the welfare of the state. Then a lectisternium was celebrated for three days, the decemviri for sacred things superintending. Six couches were seen, for Jupiter and Juno one, for Neptune and Minerva another, for Mars and Venus a third, for Apollo and Diana a fourth, for Vulcan and Vesta a fifth, for Mercury and Ceres a sixth. Then temples were vowed. To Venus Erycina, Quintus Fabius Maximus vowed a temple; for so it was delivered from the prophetic books, that he should vow it who held the highest authority in the state. Titus Otacilius, the praetor vowed a temple to Mens.


Divine things having been thus performed, the dictator then put the question of the war and the state; with what, and how many legions the fathers were of opinion that the victorious enemy should be opposed. It was decreed that he should receive the army from Cneius Servilius, the consul: that he should levy, moreover, from the citizens and allies as many horse and foot as seemed good; that he should transact and perform every thing else as he considered for the good of the state. Fabius said he would add two legions to the army of Servilius. These were levied by the master of the horse, and were appointed by Fabius to meet him at Tibur on a certain day. And then having issued proclamation that those whose towns or castles were unfortified should quit them and assemble in places of security; that all the inhabitants of that tract through which Hannibal was about to march, should remove from the country, having first burnt their buildings and spoiled their fruits, that there might not be a supply of any thing; he himself set out on the Flaminian road to meet the consul and his army; and when he saw in the distance the marching body on the Tiber, near Ocriculum, and the consul with the cavalry advancing to him, he sent a beadle to acquaint the consul that he must meet the dictator without the lictors. When he had obeyed his command, and their meeting had exhibited a striking display of the majesty of the dictatorship before the citizens and allies, who, from its antiquity, had now almost forgotten that authority; a letter arrived from the city, stating that the ships of burden, conveying provisions from Ostia into Spain to the army, had been captured by the Carthaginian fleet off the port of Cossa. The consul, therefore, was immediately ordered to proceed to Ostia, and, having manned the ships at Rome or Ostia with soldiers and sailors, to pursue the enemy, and protect the coasts of Italy. Great numbers of men were levied at Rome, sons of freed-men even, who had children, and were of the military age, had taken the oath. Of these troops levied in the city, such as were under thirty-five were put on board ships, the rest were left to protect the city.


The dictator, having received the troops of the consul from Fulvius Flaccus, his lieutenant-general, marching through the Sabine territory, arrived at Tibur on the day which he had appointed the new-raised troops to assemble. Thence he went to Praeneste, and cutting across the country, came out in the Latin way, whence he led his troops towards the enemy, reconnoitering the road with the utmost diligence; not intending to expose himself to hazard any where, except as far as necessity compelled him. The day he first pitched his camp in sight of the enemy, not far from Arpi, the Carthaginian, without delay, led out his troops, and forming his line gave an opportunity of fighting: but when he found all still with the enemy, and his camp free from tumult and disorder, he returned to his camp, saying indeed tauntingly, "That even the spirit of the Romans, inherited from Mars, was at length subdued; that they were warred down and had manifestly given up all claim to valour and renown:" but burning inwardly with stifled vexation because he would have to encounter a general by no means like Flaminius and Sempronius; and because the Romans, then at length schooled by their misfortunes, had sought a general a match for Hannibal; and that now he had no longer to fear the headlong violence, but the deliberate prudence of the dictator. Having not yet experienced his constancy, he began to provoke and try his temper, by frequently shifting his camp and laying waste the territories of the allies before his eyes: and one while he withdrew out of sight at quick march, another while he halted suddenly, and concealed himself in some winding of the road, if possible to entrap him on his descending into the plain. Fabius kept marching his troops along the high grounds, at a moderate distance from the enemy, so as neither to let him go altogether nor yet to encounter him. The troops were kept within the camp, except so far as necessary wants compelled them to quit it; and fetched in food and wood not by small nor rambling parties. An outpost of cavalry and light-armed troops, prepared and equipped for acting in cases of sudden alarm, rendered every thing safe to their own soldiers, and dangerous to the scattered plunderers of the enemy. Nor was his whole cause committed to general hazard; while slight contests, of small importance in themselves, commenced on safe ground, with a retreat at hand, accustomed the soldiery, terrified by their former disasters, now at length to think less meanly either of their prowess or good fortune. But he did not find Hannibal a greater enemy to such sound measures than his master of the horse, who was only prevented from plunging the state into ruin by his inferiority in command. Presumptuous and precipitate in his measures, and unbridled in his tongue, first among a few, then openly and publicly, he taunted him with being sluggish instead of patient, spiritless instead of cautious; falsely imputing to him those vices which bordered on his virtues; and raised himself by means of depressing his superiors, which, though a most iniquitous practice, has become more general from the too great successes of many.


Hannibal crosses over from the Hirpini into Samnium; lays waste the territory of Beneventum; takes the town of Telesia; and purposely irritates the dictator, if perchance he could draw him down to a battle on the plain, exasperated by so many indignities and disasters inflicted on his allies. Among the multitude of allies of Italian extraction, who had been captured by Hannibal at the Trasimenus, and dismissed, were three Campanian horsemen, who had even at that time been bribed by many presents and promises from Hannibal to win over the affections of their countrymen to him. These, bringing him word that he would have an opportunity of getting possession of Capua, if he brought his army into the neighbourhood in Campania, induced Hannibal to quit Samnium for Campania; though he hesitated, fluctuating between confidence and distrust, as the affair was of more importance than the authorities. He dismissed them, repeatedly charging them to confirm their promises by acts, and ordering them to return with a greater number, and some of their leading men. Hannibal himself orders his guide to conduct him into the territory of Casinum, being certified by persons acquainted with the country, that if he seized that pass he would deprive the Romans of a passage by which they might get out to the assistance of their allies. But his Punic accent, ill adapted to the pronunciation of Latin names, caused the guide to understand Casilinum, instead of Casinum; and leaving his former course, he descends through the territory of Allifae, Calatia, and Cales, into the plain of Stella, where, seeing the country enclosed on all sides by mountains and rivers, he calls the guide to him, and asks him where in the world he was? when he replied, that on that day he would lodge at Casilinum: then at length the error was discovered, and that Casinum lay at a great distance in another direction. Having scourged the guide with rods and crucified him, in order to strike terror into all others, he fortified a camp, and sent Maharbal with the cavalry into the Falernian territory to pillage. This depredation reached as far as the waters of Sinuessa; the Numidians caused destruction to a vast extent, but flight and consternation through a still wider space. Yet not even the terror of these things, when all around was consuming in the flames of war, could shake the fidelity of the allies; for this manifest reason, because they lived under a temperate and mild government: nor were they unwilling to submit to those who were superior to them, which is the only bond of fidelity.


But when the enemy's camp was pitched on the Vulturnus, and the most delightful country in Italy was being consumed by fire, and the farm-houses, on all hands, were smoking from the flames, whilst Fabius led his troops along the heights of Mount Massicus, then the strife had nearly been kindled anew, for they had been quiet for a few days, because, as the army had marched quicker than usual, they had supposed that the object of this haste was to save Campania from devastation; but when they arrived at the extreme ridge of Mount Massicus, and the enemy appeared under their eyes, burning the houses of the Falernian territory, and of the settlers of Sinuessa, and no mention made of battle, Minucius exclaims, "Are we come here to see our allies butchered, and their property burned, as a spectacle to be enjoyed? and if we are not moved with shame on account of any others, are we not on account of these citizens, whom our fathers sent as settlers to Sinuessa, that this frontier might be protected from the Samnite foe: which now not the neighbouring Samnite wastes with fire, but a Carthaginian foreigner, who has advanced even thus far from the remotest limits of the world, through our dilatoriness and inactivity? What! are we so degenerate from our ancestors as tamely to see that coast filled with Numidian and Moorish foes, along which our fathers considered it a disgrace to their government that the Carthaginian fleets should cruise? We, who erewhile, indignant at the storming of Saguntum, appealed not to men only, but to treaties and to gods, behold Hannibal scaling the walls of a Roman colony unmoved. The smoke from the flames of our farm-houses and lands comes into our eyes and faces; our ears ring with the cries of our weeping allies, imploring us to assist them oftener than the gods, while we here are leading our troops, like a herd of cattle, through shady forests and lonely paths, enveloped in clouds and woods. If Marcus Furius had resolved to recover the city from the Gauls, by thus traversing the tops of mountains and forests, in the same manner as this modern Camillus goes about to recover Italy from Hannibal, who has been sought out for our dictator in our distress, on account of his unparalleled talents, Rome would be the possession of the Gauls; and I fear lest, if we are thus dilatory, our ancestors will so often have preserved it only for the Carthaginians and Hannibal; but that man and true Roman, on the very day on which intelligence was brought him to Veii, that he was appointed dictator, on the authority of the fathers and the nomination of the people, came down into the plain, though the Janiculum was high enough to admit of his sitting down there, and viewing the enemy at a distance, and on that very day defeated the Gallic legions in the middle of the city, in the place where the Gallic piles are now, and on the following day on the Roman side of Gabii. What many years after this, when we were sent under the yoke at the Caudine forks by the Samnite foe, did Lucius Papirius Cursor take the yoke from the Roman neck and place it upon the proud Samnites, by traversing the heights of Samnium? or was it by pressing and besieging Luceria, and challenging the victorious enemy? A short time ago, what was it that gave victory to Caius Lutatius but expedition? for on the day after he caught sight of the enemy he surprised and overpowered the fleet, loaded with provisions, and encumbered of itself by its own implements and apparatus. It is folly to suppose that the war can be brought to a conclusion by sitting still, or by prayers, the troops must be armed and led down into the plain, that you may engage man to man. The Roman power has grown to its present height by courage and activity, and not by such dilatory measures as these, which the cowardly only designate as cautious." A crowd of Roman tribunes and knights poured round Minucius, while thus, as it were, haranguing, his presumptuous expressions reached the ears of the common soldiers, and had the question been submitted to the votes of the soldiers, they showed evidently that they would have preferred Minucius to Fabius for their general.


Fabius, keeping his attention fixed no less upon his own troops than on the enemy, first shows that his resolution was unconquered by the former. Though he well knew that his procrastination was disapproved, not only in his own camp, but by this time even at Rome, yet, inflexibly adhering to the same line of policy, he delayed through the remainder of the summer, in order that Hannibal, devoid of all hope of a battle, which he so earnestly desired, might now look out for a place for winter quarters, because that district was one of present, but not constant, supply, consisting, as it did, of plantations and vineyards, and all places planted luxurious rather than useful produce. This intelligence was to Fabius by his scouts. When he felt convinced that he would return by the same narrow pass through which he had entered the Falernian territory, he occupied Mount Callicula and Casilinum with a pretty strong guard. Which city, intersected by the river Vulturnus, divides the Falernian and Campanian territories. He himself leads back his troops along the same heights, having sent Lucius Hostilius Mancinus with four hundred of the allied cavalry to reconnoitre; who being one of the crowd of youths who had often heard the master of the horse fiercely haranguing, at first advanced after the manner of a scout, in order that he might observe the enemy in security; and when he saw the Numidians scattered widely throughout the villages, having gotten an opportunity, he also slew a few of them. But from that moment his mind was engrossed with the thoughts of a battle, and the injunctions of the dictator were forgotten, who had charged him, when he had advanced as far as he could with safety, to retreat before he came within the enemy's view. The Numidians, party after party, skirmishing and retreating, drew the general almost to their camp, to the fatigue of his men and horses. Then Karthalo, who had the command of the cavalry, charging at full speed, and having put them to flight before he came within a dart's throw, pursued them for five miles almost in a continuous course. Mancinus, when he saw that the enemy did not desist from the pursuit, and that there was no hope of escape, having encouraged his troops, turned back to the battle though inferior in every kind of force. Accordingly he himself, and the choicest of his cavalry, being surrounded, are cut to pieces. The rest in disorderly retreat fled first to Cales, and thence to the dictator, by ways almost impassable. It happened that on that day Minucius had formed a junction with Fabius, having been sent to secure with a guard the pass above Tarracina, which, contracted into a narrow gorge, overhangs the sea, in order that Hannibal might not be able to get into the Roman territory by the Appian way's being unguarded. The dictator and master of the horse, uniting their forces, lead them down into the road through which Hannibal was about to march his troops. The enemy was two miles from that place.


The following day the Carthaginians filled the whole road between the two camps with his troops in marching order; and though the Romans had taken their stand immediately under their rampart, having a decidedly superior position, yet the Carthaginian came up with his light horse and, with a view to provoke the enemy, carried on a kind of desultory attack, first charging and then retreating. The Roman line remained in its position. The battle was slow and more conformable to the wish of the dictator than of Hannibal. On the part of the Romans there fell two hundred, on the part of the enemy eight hundred. It now began to appear that Hannibal was hemmed in, the road to Casilinum being blockaded; and that while Capua, and Samnium, and so many wealthy allies in the rear of the Romans might supply them with provisions, the Carthaginian, on the other hand, must winter amid the rocks of Formiae and the sands and hideous swamps of Liternum. Nor did it escape Hannibal that he was assailed by his own arts; wherefore, since he could not escape by way of Casilinum, and since it was necessary to make for the mountains, and pass the summit of Callicula, lest in any place the Romans should attack his troops while enclosed in valleys; having hit upon a stratagem calculated to deceive the sight, and excite terror from its appearance, by means of which he might baffle the enemy, he resolved to come up by stealth to the mountains at the commencement of night. The preparation of his wily stratagem was of this description. Torches, collected from every part of the country, and bundles of rods and dry cuttings, are fastened before the horns of oxen, of which, wild and tame, he had driven away a great number among other plunder of the country: the number of oxen was made up to nearly two thousand. To Hasdrubal was assigned the task of driving to the mountains that herd, after having set fire to their horns, as soon as ever it was dark; particularly, if he could, over the passes beset by the enemy.


As soon as it was dark the camp was moved in silence; the oxen were driven a little in advance of the standards. When they arrived at the foot of the mountains and the narrow passes, the signal is immediately given for setting fire to their horns and driving them violently up the mountains before them. The mere terror excited by the flame, which cast a glare from their heads, and the heat now approaching the quick and the roots of their horns, drove on the oxen as if goaded by madness. By which dispersion, on a sudden all the surrounding shrubs were in a blaze, as if the mountains and woods had been on fire; and the unavailing tossing of their heads quickening the flame, exhibited an appearance as of men running to and fro on every side. Those who had been placed to guard the passage of the wood, when they saw fires on the tops of the mountains, and some over their own heads, concluding that they were surrounded, abandoned their post; making for the tops of the mountains in the direction in which the fewest fires blazed, as being the safest course; however they fell in with some oxen which had strayed from their herds. At first, when they beheld them at a distance, they stood fixed in amazement at the miracle, as it appeared to them, of creatures breathing fire; afterwards, when it showed itself to be a human stratagem, then, forsooth, concluding that there was an ambuscade, as they are hurrying away in flight, with increased alarm, they fall in also with the light-armed troops of the enemy. But the night, when the fear was equally shared, kept them from commencing the battle till morning. Meanwhile Hannibal, having marched his whole army through the pass, and having cut off some of the enemy in the very defile, pitches his camp in the country of Allifae.


Fabius perceived this tumult, but concluding that it was a snare, and being disinclined for a battle, particularly by night, kept his troops within the works. At break of day a battle took place under the summit of the mountain, in which the Romans, who were considerably superior in numbers, would have easily overpowered the light-armed of the enemy, cut off as they were from their party, had not a cohort of Spaniards, sent back by Hannibal for that very purpose, reached the spot. That body being more accustomed to mountains, and being more adapted, both from the agility of their limbs and also from the character of their arms, to skirmishing amid rocks and crags, easily foiled, by their manner of fighting, an enemy loaded with arms, accustomed to level ground and the steady kind of fighting. Separating from a contest thus by no means equal, they proceeded to their camps; the Spaniards almost all untouched; the Romans having lost a few. Fabius also moved his camp, and passing the defile, took up a position above Allifae, in a strong and elevated place. Then Hannibal, pretending to march to Rome through Samnium, came back as far as the Peligni, spreading devastation. Fabius led his troops along the heights midway between the army of the enemy and the city of Rome; neither avoiding him altogether, nor coming to an engagement. From the Peligni the Carthaginian turned his course, and going back again to Apulia, reached Geronium, a city deserted by its inhabitants from fear, as a part of its walls had fallen down together in ruins. The dictator formed a completely fortified camp in the territory of Larinum, and being recalled thence to Rome on account of some sacred rites, he not only urged the master of the horse, in virtue of his authority, but with advice and almost with prayers, that he would trust rather to prudence than fortune; and imitate him as a general rather than Sempronius and Flaminius; that he would not suppose that nothing had been achieved by having worn out nearly the whole summer in baffling the enemy; that physicians too sometimes gained more by rest than by motion and action. That it was no small thing to have ceased to be conquered by an enemy so often victorious, and to have taken breath after successive disasters. Having thus unavailingly admonished the master of the horse, he set out for Rome.


In the beginning of the summer in which these events occurred, the war commenced by land and sea in Spain also. To the number of ships which he had received from his brother, equipped and ready for action, Hasdrubal added ten. The fleet of forty ships he delivered to Himilco: and thus setting out from Carthage, kept his ships near the land, while he led his army along the shore, ready to engage with whichever part of his forces the enemy might fall in with. Cneius Scipio, when he heard that the enemy had quitted his winter quarters, at first formed the same plan; but afterwards, not daring to engage him by land, from a great rumour of fresh auxiliaries, he advances to meet him with a fleet of thirty-five ships, having put some chosen soldiers on board. Setting out from Tarraco, on the second day, he reached a convenient station, ten miles from the mouth of the Iberus. Two ships of the Massilians, sent forward from that place reconnoitering, brought word back that the Carthaginian fleet was stationed in the mouth of the river, and that the camp was pitched upon the bank. In order, therefore, to overpower them while off their guard and incautious, by a universal and wide-spread terror, he weighed anchor and advanced. In Spain there are several towers placed in high situations, which they employ both as watch-towers and as places of defence against pirates. From them first, a view of the ships of the enemy having been obtained, the signal was given to Hasdrubal; and a tumult arose in the camp, and on land sooner than on the ships and at sea; the dashing of the oars and other nautical noises not being yet distinctly heard, nor the promontories disclosing the fleet. Upon this, suddenly one horseman after another, sent out by Hasdrubal, orders those who were strolling upon the shore or resting quietly in their tents, expecting any thing rather than the enemy and a battle on that day, immediately to embark and take up arms: that the Roman fleet was now a short distance from the harbour. The horsemen, despatched in every direction, delivered these orders; and presently Hasdrubal himself comes up with the main army. All places resound with noises of various kinds; the soldiers and rowers hurrying together to the ships, rather like men running away from the land than marching to battle. Scarcely had all embarked, when some, unfastening the hawsers, are carried out against the anchors; others cut their cables, that nothing might impede them; and by doing every thing with hurry and precipitation, the duties of mariners were impeded by the preparations of the soldiers, and the soldiers were prevented from taking and preparing for action their arms, by the bustle of the mariners. And now the Roman was not only approaching, but had drawn up his ships for the battle. The Carthaginians, therefore, thrown into disorder, not more by the enemy and the battle than by their own tumult, having rather made an attempt at fighting than commenced a battle, turned their fleet for flight; and as the mouth of the river which was before them could not be entered in so broad a line, and by so many pressing in at the same time, they ran their ships on shore in every part. And being received, some in the shallows, and others on the dry shore, some armed and some unarmed, they escaped to their friends, who were drawn up in battle-array over the shore. Two Carthaginian ships were captured and four sunk on the first encounter.


The Romans, though the enemy was master of the shore, and they saw armed troops lining the whole bank, promptly pursuing the discomfited fleet of the enemy, towed out into the deep all the ships which had not either shattered their prows by the violence with which they struck the shore, or set their keels fast in the shallows. They captured as many as twenty-five out of forty. Nor was that the most splendid result of their victory: but they became masters of the whole sea on that coast by one slight battle; advancing, then, with their fleet to Honosca, and making a descent from the ships upon the coast, when they had taken the city by storm and pillaged it, they afterwards made for Carthage: then devastating the whole surrounding country, they, lastly, set fire also to the buildings contiguous to the wall and gates. Thence the fleet laden with plunder, arrived at Longuntica, where a great quantity of oakum for naval purposes had been collected by Hasdrubal: of this, taking away as much as was sufficient for their necessities, they burnt all the rest. Nor did they only sail by the prominent coasts of the continent, but crossed over into the island Ebusus; where, having with the utmost exertion, but in vain, carried on operations against the city, which is the capital of the island, for two days, when they found that time was wasted to no purpose upon a hopeless task, they turned their efforts to the devastation of the country; and having plundered and fired several villages, and acquired a greater booty than they had obtained on the continent, they retired to their ships, when ambassadors from the Baliares came to Scipio to sue for peace. From this place the fleet sailed back, and returned to the hither parts of the province, whither ambassadors of all the people who dwell on the Iberus, and of many people in the most distant parts of Spain, assembled. But the number of states who really became subject to the authority and dominion of the Romans, and gave hostages, amounted to upwards of one hundred and twenty. The Roman therefore, relying sufficiently on his land forces also, advanced as far as the pass of Castulo. Hasdrubal retired into Lusitania, and nearer the ocean.


After this, it seemed probable that the remainder of the summer would be peaceful; and so it would have been with regard to the Punic enemy: but besides that the tempers of the Spaniards themselves are naturally restless, and eager for innovation, Mandonius, together with Indibilis, who had formerly been petty prince of the Ilergetes, having stirred up their countrymen, came to lay waste the peaceful country of the Roman allies, after the Romans had retired from the pass to the sea-coast. A military tribune with some light-armed auxiliaries being sent against these by Scipio, with a small effort put them all to the rout, as being but a disorderly band: some having been captured and slain, a great portion of them were deprived of their arms. This disturbance, however, brought back Hasdrubal, who was retiring to the ocean, to protect his allies on this side the Iberus. The Carthaginian camp was in the territory of Ilercao, the Roman camp at the New Fleet, when unexpected intelligence turned the war into another quarter. The Celtiberians, who had sent the chief men of their country as ambassadors to the Romans, and had given them hostages, aroused by a message from Scipio, take up arms and invade the province of the Carthaginians with a powerful army; take three towns by storm; and after that, encountering Hasdrubal himself in two battles with, splendid success, slew fifteen thousand and captured four thousand, together with many military standards.


This being the state of affairs in Spain, Publius Scipio came into his province, having been sent thither by the senate, his command being continued to him after his consulate, with thirty long ships, eight thousand soldiers, and a large importation of provisions. That fleet, swelled to an enormous size by a multitude of transports, being descried at a distance, entered safe the port of Tarraco, to the great joy of the citizens and allies. Landing his troops there, Scipio set out and formed a junction with his brother, and thenceforward they prosecuted the war with united courage and counsels. While the Carthaginians, therefore, were occupied with the Celtiberian war, they promptly crossed the Iberus, and not seeing any enemy, pursue their course to Saguntum; for it was reported that the hostages from every part of Spain, having been consigned to custody, were kept in the citadel of that place under a small guard. That pledge alone checked the affections of all the people of Spain, which were inclined towards an alliance with the Romans; lest the guilt of their defection should be expiated with the blood of their children. One man, by a stratagem more subtle than honourable, liberated the Spaniards from this restraint. There was at Saguntum a noble Spaniard, named Abelux, hitherto faithful to the Carthaginians, but now (such are for the most part the dispositions of barbarians) had changed his attachment with fortune; but considering that a deserter going over to enemies without the betraying of something valuable, would be looked upon only as a stigmatized and worthless individual, was solicitous to render as great a service as possible to his new confederates. Having turned over in his mind, then, the various means which, under the favour of fortune, he might employ, in preference to every other, he applied himself to the delivering up of the hostages; concluding that this one thing, above all others, would gain the Romans the friendship of the Spanish chieftains. But since he knew that the guards of the hostages would do nothing without the authority of Bostar, the governor, he addresses himself with craft to Bostar himself. Bostar had his camp without the city, just upon the shore, in order to preclude the approach of the Romans from that quarter. He informs him, taken aside to a secret place, and as if uninformed, in what position affairs were: "That hitherto fear had withheld the minds of the Spaniards to them, because the Romans were at a great distance: that now the Roman camp was on this side the Iberus, a secure fortress and asylum for such as desired a change, that therefore those whom fear could not bind should be attached by kindness and favour." When Bostar, in astonishment, earnestly asked him, what sudden gift of so much importance that could be, he replied, "Send back the hostages to their states: this will be an acceptable boon, privately to their parents, who possess the greatest influence in their respective states, and publicly to the people. Every man wishes to have confidence reposed in him; and confidence reposed generally enforces the fidelity itself. The office of restoring the hostages to their homes, I request for myself; that I may enhance my project by the trouble bestowed, and that I may add as much value as I can to a service in its own intrinsic nature so acceptable." When he had persuaded the man, who was not cunning as compared with Carthaginian minds in general, having gone secretly and by night to the outposts of the enemy, he met with some auxiliary Spaniards; and having been brought by them into the presence of Scipio, he explains what brought him. Pledges of fidelity having been given and received, and the time and place for delivering the hostages having been appointed, he returns to Saguntum. The following day he spent with Bostar, in taking his commands for effecting the business; having so arranged it, that he should go by night, in order that he might escape the observation of the enemy, he was dismissed; and awakening the guards of the youths at the hour agreed upon with them, set out and led them, as if unconsciously, into a snare prepared by his own deceit. They were brought to the Roman camp, and every thing else respecting the restoration of the hostages was transacted as had been agreed upon with Bostar, and in the same course as if the affair had been carried on in the name of the Carthaginians. But the favour of the Romans was somewhat greater than that of the Carthaginians would have been in a similar case; for misfortune and fear might have seemed to have softened them, who had been found oppressive and haughty in prosperity. The Roman, on the contrary, on his first arrival, having been unknown to them before, had begun with an act of clemency and liberality: and Abelux, a man of prudence, did not seem likely to have changed his allies without good cause. Accordingly all began, with great unanimity, to meditate a revolt; and hostilities would immediately have commenced, had not the winter intervened, which compelled the Romans, and the Carthaginians also, to retire to shelter.


Such were the transactions in Spain also during the second summer of the Punic war; while in Italy the prudent delay of Fabius had procured the Romans some intermission from disasters; which conduct, as it kept Hannibal disturbed with no ordinary degree of anxiety, for it proved to him that the Romans had at length selected a general who would carry on the war with prudence, and not in dependence on fortune; so was it treated with contempt by his countrymen, both in the camp and in the city; particularly after that a battle had been fought during his absence from the temerity of the master of the horse, in its issue, as I may justly designate it, rather joyful than successful. Two causes were added to augment the unpopularity of the dictator: one arising out of a stratagem and artful procedure of Hannibal; for the farm of the dictator having been pointed out to him by deserters, he ordered that the fire and sword and every outrage of enemies should be restrained from it alone, while all around were levelled with the ground; in order that it might appear to have been the term of some secret compact: the other from an act of his own, at first perhaps suspicious, because in it he had not waited for the authority of the senate, but in the result turning unequivocally to his highest credit, with relation to the exchange of prisoners: for, as was the case in the first Punic war, an agreement had been made between the Roman and Carthaginian generals, that whichever received more prisoners than he restored, should give two pounds and a half of silver for every man. And when the Roman had received two hundred and forty-seven more than the Carthaginian, and the silver which was due for them, after the matter had been frequently agitated in the senate, was not promptly supplied, because he had not consulted the fathers, he sent his son Quintus to Rome and sold his farm, uninjured by the enemy, and thus redeemed the public credit at his own private expense. Hannibal lay in a fixed camp before the walls of Geronium, which city he had captured and burnt, leaving only a few buildings for the purpose of granaries: thence he was in the habit of sending out two-thirds of his forces to forage; with the third part kept in readiness, he himself remained on guard, both as a protection to his camp, and for the purpose of looking out, if from any quarter an attack should be made upon his foragers.


The Roman army was at that time in the territory of Larinum. Minucius, the master of the horse, had the command of it; the dictator, as was before mentioned, having gone to the city. But the camp, which had been pitched in an elevated and secure situation, was now brought down into the plain; plans of a bolder character, agreeably with the temper of the general, were in agitation; and either an attack was to be made upon the scattered foragers, or upon the camp now left with an inconsiderable guard. Nor did it escape the observation of Hannibal, that the plan of the war had been changed with the general, and that the enemy would act with more boldness than counsel. Hannibal himself too, which one would scarcely credit, though the enemy was near, despatched a third part of his troops to forage, retaining the remaining two-thirds in the camp. After that he advanced his camp itself nearer to the enemy, to a hill within the enemy's view, nearly two miles from Geronium; that they might be aware that he was on the alert to protect his foragers if any attack should be made upon them. Then he discovered an eminence nearer to, and commanding the very camp of the Romans: and because if he marched openly in the day-time to occupy it, the enemy would doubtless anticipate him by a shorter way, the Numidians having been sent privately in the night, took possession of it. These, occupying this position, the Romans, the next day, despising the smallness of their numbers, dislodge, and transfer their camp thither themselves. There was now, therefore, but a very small space between rampart and rampart, and that the Roman line had almost entirely filled; at the same time the cavalry, with the light infantry sent out against the foragers through the opposite part of the camp, effected a slaughter and flight of the scattered enemy far and wide. Nor dared Hannibal hazard a regular battle; because with so few troops, that he would scarcely be able to protect his camp if attacked. And now he carried on the war (for part of his army was away) according to the plans of Fabius, by sitting still and creating delays. He had also withdrawn his troops to their former camp, which was before the walls of Geronium. Some authors affirm that they fought in regular line, and with encountering standards; that in the first encounter the Carthaginian was driven in disorder quite to his camp; but that, a sally thence having been suddenly made all at once, the Romans in their turn became alarmed; that after that the battle was restored by the arrival of Numerius Decimius the Samnite; that this man, the first in family and fortune, not only in Bovianum, whence he came, but in all Samnium, when conducting by command of the dictator to the camp eight thousand infantry and five hundred horse, having shown himself on the rear of Hannibal, seemed to both parties to be a fresh reinforcement coming with Quintus Fabius from Rome; that Hannibal, fearing also some ambuscade, withdrew his troops; and that the Roman, aided by the Samnite, pursuing him, took by storm two forts on that day; that six thousand of the enemy were slain, and about five thousand of the Romans; but that though the loss was so nearly equal, intelligence was conveyed to Rome of a signal victory; and a letter from the master of the horse still more presumptuous.


These things were very frequently discussed, both in the senate and assemblies. When the dictator alone, while joy pervaded the city, attached no credit to the report or letter; and granting that all were true, affirmed that he feared more from success than failure; then Marcus Metilius, a Plebeian tribune, declares that such conduct surely could not be endured. That the dictator, not only when present was an obstacle to the right management of the affair, but also being absent from the camp, opposed it still when achieved; that he studiously dallied in his conduct of the war, that he might continue the longer in office, and that he might have the sole command both at Rome and in the army. Since one of the consuls had fallen in battle, and the other was removed to a distance from Italy, under pretext of pursuing a Carthaginian fleet; and the two praetors were occupied in Sicily and Sardinia, neither of which provinces required a praetor at this time. That Marcus Minucius, the master of the horse, was almost put under a guard, lest he should see the enemy, and carry on any warlike operation. That therefore, by Hercules, not only Samnium, which had now been yielded to the Carthaginians, as if it had been land beyond the Iberus, but the Campanian, Calenian, and Falernian territories had been devastated, while the dictator was sitting down at Casilinum, protecting his own farm with the legions of the Roman people: that the army, eager for battle, as well as the master of the horse, were kept back almost imprisoned within the rampart: that their arms were taken out of their hands, as from captured enemies: at length, as soon as ever the dictator had gone away, having marched out beyond their rampart, that they had routed the enemy and put him to flight. On account of which circumstances, had the Roman commons retained their ancient spirit, that he would have boldly proposed to them to annul the authority of Quintus Fabius; but now he would bring forward a moderate proposition, to make the authority of the master of the horse and the dictator equal; and that even then Quintus Fabius should not be sent to the army, till he had substituted a consul in the room of Caius Flaminius. The dictator kept away from the popular assemblies, in which he did not command a favourable hearing, and even in the senate he was not heard with favourable ears, when his eloquence was employed in praising the enemy, and attributing the disasters of the last two years to the temerity and unskilfulness of the generals; and when he declared that the master of the horse ought to be called to account for having fought contrary to his injunction. That "if the supreme command and administration of affairs were intrusted to him, he would soon take care that men should know, that to a good general fortune was not of great importance; that prudence and conduct governed every thing; that it was more glorious for him to have saved the army at a crisis, and without disgrace, than to have slain many thousands of the enemy." Speeches of this kind having been made without effect, and Marcus Atilius Regulus created consul, that he might not be present to dispute respecting the right of command, he withdrew to the army on the night preceding the day on which the proposition was to be decided. When there was an assembly of the people at break of day, a secret displeasure towards the dictator, and favour towards the master of the horse, rather possessed their minds, than that men had not sufficient resolution to advise a measure which was agreeable to the public; and though favour carried it, influence was wanting to the bill. One man indeed was found who recommended the law, Caius Terentius Varro, who had been praetor in the former year, sprung not only from humble but mean parentage. They report that his father was a butcher, the retailer of his own meat, and that he employed this very son in the servile offices of that trade.


This young man, when a fortune left him by his father, acquired in such a traffic, had inspired him with the hope of a higher condition, and the gown and forum were the objects of his choice, by declaiming vehemently in behalf of men and causes of the lowest kind, in opposition to the interest and character of the good, first came to the notice of the people, and then to offices of honour. Having passed through the offices of quaestor, plebeian, and curule aedile, and, lastly, that of praetor; when now he raised his mind to the hope of the consulship, he courted the gale of popular favour by maligning the dictator, and received alone the credit of the decree of the people. All men, both at Rome and in the army, both friends and foes, except the dictator himself, considered this measure to have been passed as an insult to him; but the dictator himself bore the wrong which the infuriated people had put upon him, with the same gravity with which he endured the charges against him which his enemies laid before the multitude; and receiving the letter containing a decree of the senate respecting the equalization of the command while on his journey, satisfied that an equal share of military skill was not imparted together with the equal share of command, he returned to the army with a mind unsubdued alike by his fellow-citizens and by the enemy.


But Minucius, who, in consequence of his success and the favour of the populace, was scarcely endurable before now especially, unrestrained by shame or moderation, boasted not more in having conquered Hannibal than Quintus Fabius. "That he, who had been sought out in their distress as the only general, and as a match for Hannibal; that he, an event which no record of history contains, was by the order of the people placed upon an equal footing with himself,--a superior with an inferior officer, a dictator with a master of the horse,--in that very city wherein the masters of the horse are wont to crouch and tremble at the rods and axes of the dictator. With such splendour had his valour and success shone forth. That he therefore would follow up his own good fortune, though the dictator persisted in his delay and sloth; measures condemned alike by the sentence of gods and men." Accordingly, on the first day on which he met Quintus Fabius, he intimated "that the first point to be settled was the manner in which they should employ the command thus equalized. That he was of opinion that the best plan would be for them to be invested with the supreme authority and command either on alternate days, or, if longer intervals were more agreeable, for any determinate periods; in order that the person in command might be a match for the enemy, not only in judgment, but in strength, if any opportunity for action should occur." Fabius by no means approved of this proposition: he said, "that Fortune would have at her disposal all things which the rashness of his colleague had; that his command had been shared with him, and not taken away; that he would never, therefore, willingly withdraw from conducting the war, in whatever post he could with prudence and discretion: nor would he divide the command with him with respect to times or days, but that he would divide the army, and that he would preserve, by his own measures, so much as he could, since it was not allowed him to save the whole." Thus he carried it, that, as was the custom of consuls, they should divide the legions between them: the first and fourth fell to the lot of Minucius, the second and third to Fabius. They likewise divided equally between them the cavalry, the auxiliaries of the allies and of the Latin name. The master of the horse was desirous also that they should have separate camps.


From this Hannibal derived a twofold joy, for nothing which was going on among the enemy escaped him, the deserters revealing many things, and he himself examining by his own scouts. For he considered that he should be able to entrap the unrestrained temerity of Minucius by his usual arts, and that half the force of the sagacity of Fabius had vanished. There was an eminence between the camps of Minucius and the Carthaginians, whoever occupied it would evidently render the position of his enemy less advantageous. Hannibal was not so desirous of gaining it without a contest, though that were worth his while, as to bring on a quarrel with Minucius, who, he well knew, would at all times throw himself in his way to oppose him. All the intervening ground was at first sight unavailable to one who wished to plant an ambuscade, because it not only had not any part that was woody, but none even covered with brambles, but in reality formed by nature to cover an ambush, so much the more, because no such deception could be apprehended in a naked valley and there were in its curvatures hollow rocks, such that some of them were capable of containing two hundred armed men. Within these recesses, five thousand infantry and cavalry are secreted, as many as could conveniently occupy each. Lest, however, in any part, either the motion of any one of them thoughtlessly coming out, or the glittering of their arms, should discover the stratagem in so open a valley, by sending out a few troops at break of day to occupy the before-mentioned eminence, he diverts the attention of the enemy. Immediately, on the first view of them, the smallness of their number was treated with contempt, and each man began to request for himself the task of dislodging the enemy. The general himself, among the most headstrong and absurd, calls to arms to go and seize the place, and inveighs against the enemy with vain presumption and menaces. First, he despatches his light-armed, after that his cavalry, in a close body, lastly, perceiving that succours were also being sent to the enemy, he marches with his legions drawn up in order of battle. Hannibal also, sending band after band, as the contest increased, as aids to his men when distressed, had now completed a regular army, and a battle was fought with the entire strength of both sides. First, the light infantry of the Romans, approaching the eminence, which was preoccupied, from the lower ground, being repulsed and pushed down, spread a terror among the cavalry, which was marching up also and fled back to the standards of the legions: the line of infantry alone stood fearless amidst the panic-struck; and it appeared that they would by no means have been inferior to the enemy, had it been a regular and open battle, so much confidence did the successful battle a few days before inspire. But the troops in ambush created such confusion and alarm, by charging them on both flanks and on their rear, that no one had spirit enough left to fight, or hope enough to try to escape.


Then Fabius, first having heard the shout of the terrified troops, and then having gotten a view of their disordered line, exclaims, "It is so; and no sooner than I feared, has adverse fortune overtaken temerity. Equalled to Fabius in command, he sees that Hannibal is superior to him in courage and in fortune. But another will be the time for reproaches and resentment. Now advance your standards beyond the rampart: let us wrest the victory from the enemy, and a confession of their error from our countrymen." A great part of the troops having been now slain, and the rest looking about for a way to escape; the army of Fabius showed itself on a sudden for their help, as if sent down from heaven. And thus, before he came within a dart's throw or joined battle, he both stayed his friends from a precipitate flight and the enemy from excessive fierceness of fighting. Those who had been scattered up and down, their ranks being broken, fled for refuge from every quarter to the fresh army; those who had fled together in parties, turning upon the enemy, now forming a circle, retreat slowly, now concentrating themselves, stand firm. And now the vanquished and the fresh army had nearly formed one line, and were bearing their standards against the enemy, when the Carthaginians sounded a retreat; Hannibal openly declaring that though he had conquered Minucius, he was himself conquered by Fabius. The greater part of the day having been thus consumed with varying success, Minucius calling together his soldiers, when they had returned to the camp, thus addressed them: "I have often heard, soldiers, that he is the greatest man who himself counsels what is expedient, and that he who listens to the man who gives good advice is the second, but that he who neither himself is capable of counselling, and knows not how to obey another, is of the lowest order of mind. Since the first place of mind and talent has been denied us, let us strive to obtain the second and intermediate kind, and while we are learning to command, let us prevail upon ourselves to submit to a man of prudence. Let us join camps with Fabius, and, carrying our standards to his pavilion, when I have saluted him as my parent, which he deserves on account of the service he has rendered us and of his dignity; you, my soldiers, shall salute those men as patrons, whose arms and right-hands just now protected you: and if this day has conferred nothing else upon us, it hath at least conferred upon us the glory of possessing grateful hearts."


The signal being given, there was a general call to collect the baggage: then setting out, and proceeding in order of march to the dictator's camp, they excited at once the surprise of the dictator himself and all around him. When the standards were planted before the tribunal, the master of the horse, advancing before the rest, having saluted Fabius as father, and the whole body of his troops having, with one voice, saluted the soldiers who surrounded him as patrons, said, "To my parents, dictator, to whom I have just now equalled you, only in name, as far as I could express myself, I am indebted for my life only; to you I owe both my own preservation and that of all these soldiers. That order of the people, therefore, with which I have been oppressed rather than honoured, I first cancel and annul, and (may it be auspicious to me and you, and to these your armies, to the preserved and the preserver,) I return to your authority and auspices, and restore to you these standards and these legions, and I entreat you that, being reconciled, you would order that I may retain the mastership of the horse, and that these soldiers may each of them retain their ranks." After that hands were joined, and when the assembly was dismissed, the soldiers were kindly and hospitably invited by those known to them and unknown: and that day, from having been a little while ago gloomy in the extreme, and almost accursed, was turned into a day of joy. At Rome, the report of the action was conveyed thither, and was afterwards confirmed, not less by letters from the common soldiers of both armies, than from the generals themselves, all men individually extolled Maximus to the skies. His renown was equal with Hannibal, and his enemies the Carthaginians and then at length they began to feel that they were engaged in war with Romans, and in Italy. For the two preceding years they entertained so utter a contempt for the Roman generals and soldiers, that they could scarcely believe that they were waging war with the same nation which their fathers had reported to them as being so formidable. They relate also, that Hannibal said, as he returned from the field that at length that cloud, which was used to settle on the tops of the mountains, had sent down a shower with a storm.


While these events occur in Italy, Cneius Servilius Geminus, the consul, having sailed round the coast of Sardinia and Corsica with a fleet of one hundred and twenty ships, and received hostages from both places, crossed over into Africa, and before he made a descent upon the continent, having laid waste the island of Meninx, and received from the inhabitants of Cercina ten talents of silver, in order that their fields too might not be burnt and pillaged, he approached the shores of Africa, and landed his troops. Thence the soldiers were led out to plunder, and the crews scattered about just as if they were plundering uninhabited islands and thus, carelessly falling upon an ambuscade, when they were surrounded--the ignorant of the country by those acquainted with it, the straggling by those in close array, they were driven back to then ships in ignominious flight, and with great carnage. As many as one thousand men, together with Sempionius Blaesus, the quaestor, having been lost, the fleet hastily setting sail from the shore, which was crowded with the enemy, proceeded direct for Italy, and was given up at Lilybaeum to Titus Otacilius, the praetor, that it might be taken back to Rome by his lieutenant, Publius Suia. The consul himself, proceeding through Sicily on foot, crossed the strait into Italy, summoned, as well as his colleague, Marcus Atilius, by a letter from Quintus Fabius, to receive the armies from him, as the period of his command, which was six months, had nearly expired. Almost all the annalists record that Fabius conducted the war against Hannibal, as dictator Caelius also writes, that he was the first dictator created by the people. But it has escaped Caelius and all the others that Cneius Servilius, the consul, who was then a long way from home in Gaul, which was his province, was the only person who possessed the right of appointing a dictator, and that as the state, terrified by the disasters which had just befallen it, could not abide the delay, it had recourse to the determination that the people should create a prodictator, that his subsequent achievements, his singular renown as a general, and his descendants, who exaggerated the inscription of his statue, easily brought it about that he should be called dictator, instead of prodictator.


The consuls, Atilius and Geminus Servilius, having received, the former the army of Fabius, the latter that of Minucius, and fortified their winter quarters in good time, (it was the close of the autumn,) carried on the war with the most perfect unanimity, according to the plans of Fabius. In many places they fell upon the troops of Hannibal when out on foraging excursions, availing themselves of the opportunity, and both harassing their march and intercepting the stragglers. They did not come to the chance of a general battle, which the enemy tried by every artifice to bring about. And Hannibal was so straitened by the want of provisions, that had he not feared in retiring the appearance of flight, he would have returned to Gaul, no hope being left of being able to subsist an army in those quarters, if the ensuing consuls should carry on the war upon the same plan. The war having been arrested in its progress at Geronium, the winter interrupting it, ambassadors from Naples came to Rome. They carried into the senate-house forty golden goblets, of great weight, and spoke to this effect. "That they knew the treasury of the Romans was exhausted by the war, and since the war was carried on alike in defence of the cities and the lands of the allies, and of the empire and city of Rome, the capital and citadel of Italy, that the Neapolitans thought it but fair that they should assist the Roman people with whatever gold had been left them by their ancestors as well for the decoration of their temples as for the relief of misfortune. If they had thought that there was any resource in themselves, that they would have offered it with the same zeal. That the Roman fathers and people would render an acceptable service to them, if they would consider all the goods of the Neapolitans as their own, and if they would think them deserving, that they should accept a present at their hands, rendered valuable and of consequence rather by the spirit and affection of those who gave it with cheerfulness, than by its intrinsic worth." Thanks were given to the ambassadors for their munificence and attention, and the goblet of least weight was accepted.


During the same days a Carthaginian spy, who had escaped for two years, was apprehended at Rome, and his hands having been cut off, was let go: and twenty-five slaves were crucified for forming a conspiracy in the Campus Martius; his liberty was given to the informer, and twenty thousand asses of the heavy standard. Ambassadors were also sent to Philip, king of the Macedonians, to demand Demetrius of Pharia, who, having been vanquished in war had fled to him. Others were sent to the Ligurians, to expostulate with them for having assisted the Carthaginians with their substance and with auxiliaries; and, at the same time, to take a near view of what was going on amongst the Boii and Insubrians. Ambassadors were also sent to the Illyrians to king Pineus, to demand the tribute, the day of payment of which had passed; or if he wished to postpone the day, to receive hostages. Thus, though an arduous war was on their shoulders, no attention to any one concern in any part of the world, however remote, escapes the Romans. It was made a matter of superstitious fear also, that the temple of Concord, which Lucius Manlius, the praetor, had vowed in Gaul two years ago, on occasion of a mutiny, had not been contracted for to that day. Accordingly, Cneius Pupius and Caeso Quinctius Flaminius, created duumviri by Marcus Aemilius, the city praetor, for that purpose, contract for the building a temple in the citadel. By the same praetor a letter was sent to the consuls, agreeably to a decree of the senate, to the effect that, if they thought proper, one of them should come to Rome to elect consuls; and that he would proclaim the election for whatever day they might name. To this it was replied by the consuls, that they could not leave the enemy without detriment to the public; that it would be better, therefore, that the election should be held by an interrex, than that one of the consuls should be called away from the war. It appeared more proper to the fathers, that a dictator should be nominated by a consul, for the purpose of holding the election Lucius Veturius Philo was nominated, who chose Manius Pomponius Matho master of the horse. These having been created with some defect, they were ordered to give up their appointment on the fourteenth day; and the state came to an interregnum.


To the consuls the authority was continued for a year longer. Caius Claudius Centho, son of Appius, and then Publius Cornelius Asina, were appointed interreges by the fathers. During the interregnum of the latter the election was held with a violent contest between the patricians and the people, Caius Terentius Varro, whom, as a man of their own order, commended to their favour by inveighing against the patricians and by other popular arts; who had acquired celebrity by maligning others, by undermining the influence of Fabius, and bringing into contempt the dictatorial authority, the commons strove to raise to the consulship. The patricians opposed him with all their might, lest men, by inveighing against them, should come to be placed on an equality with them. Quintus Boebius Herennius, a plebeian tribune, and kinsman of Caius Terentius, by criminating not only the senate, but the augurs also, for having prevented the dictator from completing the election, by the odium cast upon them, conciliated favour to his own candidate. He asserted, "that Hannibal had been brought into Italy by the nobility, who had for many years been desirous of a war. That by the fraudulent machinations of the same persons the war had been protracted, whereas it might have been brought to a conclusion. That it had appeared that the war could be maintained with an army consisting of four legions in all, from Marcus Minucius's having fought with success in the absence of Fabius. That two legions had been exposed to be slain by the enemy, and were afterwards rescued from absolute destruction, in order that that man might be saluted as father and patron, who had deprived them of victory before he delivered them from defeat. That subsequently the consuls, pursuing the plans of Fabius, had protracted the war, whereas it was in their power to have put a period to it. That this was an agreement made by the nobility in general; nor would they ever have the war concluded till they had created a consul really plebeian; that is, a new man: for that plebeians who had attained nobility were now initiated into the mysteries, and had begun to look down with contempt upon plebeians, from the moment they ceased to be despised by the patricians. Who was not fully aware that their end and object was, that an interregnum should be formed, in order that the elections might be under the influence of the patricians? That both the consuls had that in view in tarrying with the army: and that afterwards a dictator having been nominated to hold the election contrary to their wishes, they had carried it, as it were, by storm, that the augurs should declare the dictator informally elected. That they therefore had gotten an interregnum; but one consulate was surely in the hands of the Roman people. Thus the people would have that at their own unbiassed disposal, and that they would confer it on that man who would rather conquer in reality than lengthen the term of his command."


When the people had been inflamed by these harangues, though there were three patrician candidates for the consulship, Publius Cornelius Merenda, Lucius Manlius Vulso, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, two of plebeian families, who had been ennobled, Caius Atilius Serranus and Quintus Aelius Paetus, one of whom was pontiff, the other an augur, Terentius alone was created consul, that the comitia for choosing his colleague might be in his own management. Then the nobles, finding that the competitors whom they had set up were not strong enough, though he strenuously refused for a long time, prevail upon Aemilius Paulus, who was strongly opposed to the people, to become a candidate. He had been consul before with Marcus Livius, and from the condemnation of his colleague, and almost of himself, had come off scathed. On the next day of the election, all who had opposed Varro withdrawing, he is given to the consul rather as a match to oppose him than as a colleague. Afterwards the assembly for the election of praetors was held, and Manius Pomponius Matho and Publius Furius Philus were chosen. The city lot for the administration of justice at Rome fell to the lot of Pomponius; between Roman citizens and foreigners, to Philus. Two praetors were added, Marcus Claudius Marcellus for Sicily, and Lucius Postumius for Gaul. These were all appointed in their absence; nor was an honour which he had not previously borne committed to any one of them, except the consul Terentius, several brave and able men having been passed over, because, at such a juncture, it did not appear advisable that a new office should be committed to any one.


The forces also were augmented. But how great was the augmentation of infantry and cavalry authors vary so much, that I scarcely dare positively assert. Some state, that ten thousand soldiers were levied as a reinforcement; others, four fresh legions, that there might be eight legions in service. It is said also, that the complement of the legion was increased in respect both to foot and horse, one thousand foot and one hundred horse being added to each, so that each might contain five thousand foot and three hundred horse; and that the allies furnished twice as many cavalry, and an equal number of infantry. Some authorities affirm that there were eighty-seven thousand two hundred soldiers in the Roman camp when the battle of Cannae was fought. There is no dispute, that the war was prosecuted with greater energy and spirit than during former years, because the dictator had given them a hope that the enemy might be subdued. Before, however, the new-raised legions marched from the city, the decemviri were ordered to have recourse to and inspect the sacred volumes, on account of persons having been generally alarmed by extraordinary prodigies; for intelligence was brought, that it had rained stones on the Aventine at Rome and at Aricia at the same time. That among the Sabines, statues had sweated blood copiously, and at Caere the waters had flowed warm, from a fountain. The latter prodigy excited a greater degree of alarm, because it had frequently occurred. In a street called the Arched Way, near the Campus Martius, several men were struck by lightning and killed. These prodigies were expiated according to the books. Ambassadors from Paestum brought some golden goblets to Rome; they were thanked, as the Neapolitans were, but the gold was not accepted.


During the same time a fleet from Hiero arrived at Ostia with a large cargo of supplies. The Syracusan ambassadors, on being introduced into the senate, delivered this message: "That king Hiero was so much affected at the slaughter announced to him of Caius Flaminius the consul and his troops, that he could not have been more distressed at any disasters which could have befallen himself or his own kingdom; and accordingly, though he was well aware that the greatness of the Roman people was almost more admirable in adversity than prosperity, he had nevertheless sent every thing which good and faithful allies are wont to contribute to assist the operations of war, which he earnestly implored the conscript fathers not to refuse to accept. First of all, for the sake of the omen, they had brought a golden statue of Victory, of three hundred pounds' weight, which they begged them to accept, keep by them, and hold as their own peculiar and lasting possession. That they had also brought three hundred thousand pecks of wheat, and two hundred thousand of barley, that there might be no want of provisions, and that as much more as might be necessary they would convey, as a supply, to whatever place they might appoint. He knew that the Roman people employed no legionary troops or cavalry who were not Romans, or of the Latin confederacy, that he had seen foreign auxiliary as well as native light-armed troops in the Roman camps, he had, therefore, sent one thousand archers and slingers, a suitable force against the Bahares and Moors, and other nations which fought with missile weapons" To these presents they added also advice "That the praetor to whose lot the province of Sicily had fallen, should pass a fleet over to Africa, that the enemy also might have a war in their own country, and that less liberty should be afforded them of sending reinforcements to Hannibal" The senate thus replied to the king. "That Hiero was a good man and an admirable ally, and that from the time he first formed a friendship with the Roman people he had uniformly cultivated a spirit of fidelity, and had munificently assisted the Roman cause at all times and in every place. That this was, as it ought to be, a cause of gratitude to the Roman people. That the Roman people had not accepted gold which had been brought them also from certain states, though they felt gratitude for the act. The Victory and the omen," they said, "they would accept, and would assign and dedicate to that goddess, as her abode, the Capitol, the temple of Jupiter, the best and greatest of gods, hoping that, consecrated in that fortress of the city of Rome, she would continue there firm and immoveable, kind and propitious to the Roman people." The slingers, archers, and corn were handed over to the consuls. To the fleet which Titus Otacilius the proprietor had in Sicily, twenty-five quinqueremes were added, and permission was given him, if he thought it for the interest of the state to pass over into Africa.


The levy completed, the consuls waited a few days, till the allies of the Latin confederacy arrived. At this time the soldiers were bound by an oath, which had never before been the case, dictated by the military tribunes, that they would assemble at the command of the consuls, and not depart without orders; for up to that time the military oath only had been employed; and further, when the soldiers met to divide into decuries or centuries, the cavalry being formed into decuries and the infantry into centuries, all swore together, amongst themselves, of their own accord, that they would not depart or quit their ranks for flight or fear, except for the purpose of taking up or fetching a weapon, and either striking an enemy or saving a countryman. This, from being a voluntary compact among the soldiers themselves, was converted into the legal compulsion of an oath by the tribunes. Before the standards were moved from the city, the harangues of Varro were frequent and furious, protesting that the war had been invited into Italy by the nobles, and that it would continue fixed in the bowels of the state if it employed any more such generals as Fabius; that he would bring the war to conclusion on the very day he got sight of the enemy. His colleague Paulus made but one speech, on the day before they set out from the city, which was more true than gratifying to the people, in which nothing was said severely against Varro, except this only. "That he wondered how any general, before he knew any thing of his own army, or that of the enemy, the situation of the places, or the nature of the country, even now while in the city, and with the gown on, could tell what he must do when in arms, and could even foretell the day on which he would fight standard to standard with the enemy. That, for his own part, he would not, before the time arrived, prematurely anticipate those measures which circumstances imposed on men, rather than men on circumstances. He could only wish that those measures which were taken with due caution and deliberation might turn out prosperously. That temerity, setting aside its folly, had hitherto been also unsuccessful." This obviously appeared, that he would prefer safe to precipitate counsels; but that he might persevere the more constantly in this, Quintus Fabius Maximus is reported to have thus addressed him on his departure.


"If you either had a colleague like yourself, Lucius Aemilius, which is what I should prefer, or you were like your colleague, an address from me would be superfluous. For were you both good consuls, you would do every thing for the good of the state from your own sense of honour, even without my saying a word: and were you both bad consuls, you would neither receive my words into your ears, nor my counsels into your minds. As the case now is, looking at your colleague and yourself, a man of such character, my address will be solely to you; who, I feel convinced, will prove yourself a good man and a worthy citizen in vain, if the state on the other hand should halt. Pernicious counsels will have the same authority and influence as those which are sound. For you are mistaken, Lucius Paulus, if you imagine that you will have a less violent contest with Caius Terentius than with Hannibal. I know not whether the former, your opponent, or the latter, your open enemy, be the more hostile. With the latter you will have to contend in the field only; with the former, at every place and time. Hannibal, moreover, you have to oppose with your own horse and foot; while Varro will head your own soldiers against you. Let Caius Flaminius be absent from your thoughts, even for the omen's sake. Yet he only began to play the madman's consul, in his province, and at the head of the army. This man is raving before he put up for the consulship, afterwards while canvassing for it, and now having obtained it, before he has seen the camp or the enemy. And he who by talking largely of battles and marshalled armies, even now excites such storms among the citizens with their gowns on, what do you think he will effect among the youth in arms, where words are followed forthwith by acts? But be assured, if this man, as he protests he will, shall immediately engage the enemy either I am unacquainted with military affairs, with this kind of war, and the character of the enemy, or another place will become more celebrated than the Trasimenus by our disaster. Neither is this the season for boasting while I am addressing one man; and besides, I have exceeded the bounds of moderation in despising rather than in courting fame. But the case is really this. The only way of conducting the war against Hannibal is that which I adopted: nor does the event only, that instructor of fools, demonstrate it, but that same reasoning which has continued hitherto, and will continue unchangeable so long as circumstances shall remain the same. We are carrying on war in Italy, in our own country, and our own soil. All around us are countrymen and allies in abundance. With arms, men, horses, and provisions, they do and will assist us. Such proofs of their fidelity have they given in our adversity. Time, nay, everyday makes us better, wiser, and firmer. Hannibal, on the contrary, is in a foreign, a hostile land, amidst all hostile and disadvantageous circumstances, far from his home, far from his country; he has peace neither by land nor sea: no cities, no walls receive him: he sees nothing any where which he can call his own: he daily lives by plunder. He has now scarcely a third part of that army which he conveyed across the Iberus. Famine has destroyed more than the sword; nor have the few remaining a sufficient supply of provisions. Do you doubt, therefore, whether by remaining quiet we shall not conquer him who is daily sinking into decrepitude? who has neither provisions nor money? How long before the walls of Geronium, a miserable fortress of Apulia, as if before the walls of Carthage--? But not even in your presence will I boast. See how Cneius Servilius and Atilius, the last consuls, fooled him. This is the only path of safety, Lucius Paulus, which your countrymen will render more difficult and dangerous to you than their enemies will. For your own soldiers will desire the same thing as those of the enemy: Varro, a Roman consul, and Hannibal, a Carthaginian general, will wish the same thing. You alone must resist two generals: and you will resist them sufficiently if you stand firm against the report and the rumours of men; if neither the empty glory of your colleague, and the unfounded calumnies against yourself, shall move you. They say that truth too often suffers, but is never destroyed. He who despises fame will have it genuine. Let them call you coward instead of cautious, dilatory instead of considerate, unwarlike instead of an expert general. I would rather that a sagacious enemy should fear you, than that foolish countrymen should commend you. A man who hazards all things Hannibal will despise, him who does nothing rashly he will fear. And neither do I advise that nothing should be done; but that in what you do, reason should guide you, and not fortune. All things will be within your own power, and your own. Be always ready armed and on the watch, and neither be wanting when a favourable opportunity presents itself, nor give any favourable opportunity to the enemy. All things are clear and sure to the deliberate man. Precipitation is improvident and blind."


The address of the consul in reply was by no means cheerful, admitting that what he said was true, rather than easy to put in practice. He said, "That to him, as dictator, his master of the horse was unbearable: what power or influence could a consul have against a factious and intemperate colleague? That he had in his former consulate escaped a popular conflagration not without being singed: his prayer was, that every thing might happen prosperously; but if, on the contrary, any misfortune should occur, that he would rather expose his life to the weapons of the enemy, than to the votes of his incensed countrymen." Directly after this discourse, it is related that Paulus set out, escorted by the principal senators. The plebeian consul attended his own plebeian party, more distinguished by their numbers than respectability. When they had arrived at the camp, the old and new troops being united, they formed two distinct camps, so that the new and smaller one might be the nearer to Hannibal, and the old one might contain the greater part, and all the choicest of the troops. They then sent to Rome Marcus Atilius, the consul of the former year, who alleged his age in excuse. They appoint Geminus Servilius to the command of a Roman legion, and two thousand of the allied infantry and cavalry in the lesser camp. Hannibal, although he perceived that the forces of the enemy were augmented by one-half, was yet wonderfully rejoiced at the arrival of the consuls; for he had not only nothing remaining of the provisions which he daily acquired by plunder, but there was not even any thing left which he could seize, the corn in all the surrounding country having been collected into fortified cities, when the country was too unsafe; so that, as was afterwards discovered, there scarcely remained corn enough for ten days, and the Spaniards would have passed over to the enemy, through want of food, if the completion of that time had been awaited.


But fortune afforded materials also to the headstrong and precipitate disposition of the consul, for in checking the plundering parties a battle having taken place, of a tumultuary kind, and occasioned rather by a disorderly advance of the soldiers, than by a preconcerted plan, or by the command of the general, the contest was by no means equal with the Carthaginians. As many as one thousand seven hundred of them were slain, but not more than one hundred of the Romans and allies. The consul Paulus, however, who was in command on that day, (for they held the command on alternate days,) apprehending an ambuscade, restrained the victorious troops in their headstrong pursuit; while Varro indignantly vociferated, that the enemy had been allowed to slip out of their hands, and that the war might have been terminated had not the pursuit been stopped. Hannibal was not much grieved at that loss; nay, rather he felt convinced, that the temerity of the more presumptuous consul, and of the soldiers, particularly the fresh ones, would be lured by the bait; and besides, all the circumstances of the enemy were as well known to him as his own: that dissimilar and discordant men were in command; that nearly two-thirds of the army consisted of raw recruits. Accordingly, concluding that he now had both a time and place adapted for an ambuscade, on the following night he led his troops away with nothing but their arms, leaving the camp filled with all their effects, both public and private. His infantry drawn up he conceals on the left, on the opposite side of the adjoining hills; his cavalry on the right; his baggage in an intermediate line he leads over the mountains through a valley, in order that he might surprise the enemy when busy in plundering the camp, deserted, as they would imagine, by its owners, and when encumbered with booty. Numerous fires were left in the camp, to produce a belief that his intention was to keep the consuls in their places by the appearance of a camp, until he could himself escape to a greater distance, in the same manner as he had deceived Fabius the year before.


When it was day, the outpost withdrawn first occasioned surprise, then, on a nearer approach, the unusual stillness. At length, the desertion being manifest, there is a general rush to the pavilions of the consuls, of those who announced the flight of the enemy so precipitate, that they left their camp, with their tents standing; and, that their flight might be the more secret, that numerous fires were left. Then a clamour arose that they should order the standards to be advanced, and lead them in pursuit of the enemy, and to the immediate plunder of the camp. The other consul too was as one of the common soldiers. Paulus again and again urged, that they should see their way before them, and use every precaution. Lastly, when he could no longer withstand the sedition and the leader of the sedition, he sends Marius Statilius, a prefect, with a Lucanian troop, to reconnoitre, who, when he had ridden up to the gates, ordered the rest to stay without the works, and entered the camp himself, attended by two horsemen. Having carefully examined every thing, he brings back word that it was manifestly a snare: that fires were left in that part of the camp which faced the enemy: that the tents were open, and that all their valuables were left exposed: that in some places he had seen silver carelessly thrown about the passages, as if laid there for plunder. This intelligence, which it was hoped would deter their minds from greediness, inflamed them; and the soldiers clamorously declaring, that unless the signal was given they would advance without their leaders, they by no means wanted one, for Varro instantly gave the signal for marching. Paulus, whom, unwilling from his own suggestions to move, the chickens had not encouraged by their auspices, ordered the unlucky omen to be reported to his colleague, when he was now leading the troops out of the gate. And though Varro bore it impatiently, yet the recent fate of Flaminius, and the recorded naval defeat of Claudius, the consul in the first Punic war, struck religious scruples into his mind. The gods themselves (it might almost be said) rather postponed than averted the calamity which hung over the Romans; for it fell out by mere accident, that when the soldiers did not obey the consul who ordered them to return to the camp, two slaves, one belonging to a horseman of Formiae, the other to one of Sidicinum, who had been cut off by the Numidians among a party of foragers, when Servilius and Atilius were consuls, had escaped on that day to their masters: and being brought into the presence of the consuls, inform them that the whole army of Hannibal was lying in ambush on the other side of the adjoining mountains. The seasonable arrival of these men restored the consuls to their authority, when the ambition of one of them had relaxed his influence with the soldiers, by an undignified compliance.


Hannibal, perceiving that the Romans had been indiscreetly prompted rather than rashly carried to a conclusion, returned to his camp without effecting any thing, as his stratagem was discovered. He could not remain there many days, in consequence of the scarcity of corn; and, moreover, not only among the soldiers, who were mixed up of the off-scouring of various nations, but even with the general himself, day by day new designs arose: for, first, when there had been murmuring of the soldiers, and then an open and clamorous demand of their arrears of pay, and a complaint first of the scarcity of provisions, and lastly of famine; and there being a report that the mercenaries, particularly the Spanish, had formed a plan of passing over to the enemy, it is affirmed that Hannibal himself too sometimes entertained thoughts of flying into Gaul, so that, having left all his infantry, he might hurry away with his cavalry. Such being the plans in agitation, and such the state of feeling in the camp, he resolved to depart thence into the regions of Apulia, which were warmer, and therefore earlier in the harvest. Thinking also, that the farther he retired from the enemy, the more difficult would desertion be to the wavering. He set out by night, having, as before, kindled fires, and leaving a few tents to produce an appearance; that a fear of an ambuscade, similar to the former, might keep the Romans in their places. But when intelligence was brought by the same Lucanian Statilius, who had reconnoitred every place on the other side the mountains, and beyond the camp, that the enemy was seen marching at a distance, then plans began to be deliberated on about pursuing him. The consuls persisted in the same opinions they ever entertained; but nearly all acquiesced with Varro, and none with Paulus except Servilius, the consul of the former year. In compliance with the opinion of the majority, they set out, under the impulse of destiny, to render Cannae celebrated by a Roman disaster. Hannibal had pitched his camp near that village, with his back to the wind Vulturnus, which, in those plains which are parched with drought, carries with it clouds of dust. This circumstance was not only very advantageous to the camp, but would be a great protection to them when they formed their line; as they, with the wind blowing only on their backs, would combat with an enemy blinded with the thickly blown dust.


When the consuls, employing sufficient diligence in exploring the road in pursuit of the Carthaginian, had arrived at Cannae, where they had the enemy in the sight of them, having divided their forces, they fortify two camps with nearly the same interval as before, at Geronium. The river Aufidus, which flowed by both the camps, afforded approach to the watering parties of each, as opportunity served, though not without contest. The Romans in the lesser camp, however, which was on the other side the Aufidus, were more freely furnished with water, because the further bank had no guard of the enemy. Hannibal, entertaining a hope that the consuls would not decline a battle in this tract, which was naturally adapted to a cavalry engagement, in which portion of his forces he was invincible, formed his line, and provoked the enemy by a skirmishing attack with his Numidians. Upon this the Roman camp began again to be embroiled by a mutiny among the soldiers, and the disagreement of the consuls: since Paulus instanced to Varro the temerity of Sempronius and Flaminius; while Varro pointed to Fabius, as a specious example to timid and inactive generals. The latter called both gods and men to witness, "that no part of the blame attached to him that Hannibal had now made Italy his own, as it were, by right of possession; that he was held bound by his colleague; that the swords and arms were taken out of the hands of the indignant soldiers who were eager to fight." The former declared, "that if any disaster should befall the legions thus exposed and betrayed into an ill-advised and imprudent battle, he should be exempt from any blame, though the sharer of all the consequences. That he must take care that their hands were equally energetic in the battle whose tongues were so forward and impetuous."


While time is thus consumed in altercation rather than deliberating, Hannibal, who had kept his troops drawn up in order of battle till late in the day, when he had led the rest of them back into the camp, sends Numidians across the river to attack a watering party of the Romans from the lesser camp. Having routed this disorderly band by shouting and tumult, before they had well reached the opposite bank, they advanced even to an outpost which was before the rampart, and near the, very gates of the camp. It seemed so great an indignity, that now even the camp of the Romans should be terrified by a tumultuary band of auxiliaries, that this cause alone kept back the Romans from crossing the river forthwith, and forming their line, that the chief command was on that day held by Paulus. Accordingly Varro, on the following day, on which it was his turn to hold the command, without consulting his colleague, displayed the signal for battle, and forming his troops, led them across the river. Paulus followed, because he could better disapprove of the proceeding, than withhold his assistance. Having crossed the river, they add to their forces those which they had in the lesser camp; and thus forming their line, place the Roman cavalry in the right wing, which was next the river; and next them the infantry: at the extremity of the left wing the allied cavalry; within them the allied infantry, extending to the centre, and contiguous to the Roman legions. The darters, and the rest of the light-armed auxiliaries, formed the van. The consuls commanded the wings; Terentius the left, Aemilius the right. To Geminus Sevilius was committed the charge of maintaining the battle in the centre.


Hannibal, at break of day, having sent before him the Baliares and other light-armed troops, crossed the river, and placed his troops in line of battle, as he had conveyed them across the river. The Gallic and Spanish cavalry he placed in the left wing, opposite the Roman cavalry: the right wing was assigned to the Numidian cavalry, the centre of the line being strongly formed by the infantry, so that both extremities of it were composed of Africans, between which Gauls and Spaniards were placed. One would suppose the Africans were for the most part Romans, they were so equipped with arms captured at the Trebia, and for the greater part at the Trasimenus. The shields of the Gauls and Spaniards were of the same shape; their swords unequal and dissimilar. The Gauls had very long ones, without points. The Spaniards, who were accustomed to stab more than to cut their enemy, had swords convenient from their shortness, and with points. The aspect of these nations in other respects was terrific, both as to the appearance they exhibited and the size of their persons. The Gauls were naked above the navel: the Spaniards stood arrayed in linen vests resplendent with surprising whiteness, and bordered with purple. The whole amount of infantry standing in battle-array was forty thousand, of cavalry ten. The generals who commanded the wings were on the left Hasdrubal, on the right Maharbal: Hannibal himself, with his brother Mago, commanded the centre. The sun very conveniently shone obliquely upon both parties; the Romans facing the south, and the Carthaginians the north; either placed so designedly, or having stood thus by chance. The wind, which the inhabitants of the district call the Vulturnus, blowing violently in front of the Romans, prevented their seeing far by rolling clouds of dust into their faces.


The shout being raised, the auxiliaries charged, and the battle commenced in the first place with the light-armed troops: then the left wing, consisting of the Gallic and Spanish cavalry, engages with the Roman right wing, by no means in the manner of a cavalry battle; for they were obliged to engage front to front; for as on one side the river, on the other the line of infantry hemmed them in, there was no space left at their flanks for evolution, but both parties were compelled to press directly forward. At length the horses standing still, and being crowded together, man grappling with man, dragged him from his horse. The contest now came to be carried on principally on foot. The battle, however, was more violent than lasting; and the Roman cavalry being repulsed, turn their backs. About the conclusion of the contest between the cavalry, the battle between the infantry commenced. At first the Gauls and Spaniards preserved their ranks unbroken, not inferior in strength or courage: but at length the Romans, after long and repeated efforts, drove in with their even front and closely compacted line, that part of the enemy's line in the form of a wedge, which projected beyond the rest, which was too thin, and therefore deficient in strength. These men, thus driven back and hastily retreating, they closely pursued; and as they urged their course without interruption through this terrified band, as it fled with precipitation, were borne first upon the centre line of the enemy; and lastly, no one opposing them, they reached the African reserved troops. These were posted at the two extremities of the line, where it was depressed; while the centre, where the Gauls and Spaniards were placed, projected a little. When the wedge thus formed being driven in, at first rendered the line level, but afterwards, by the pressure, made a curvature in the centre, the Africans, who had now formed wings on each side of them, surrounded the Romans on both sides, who incautiously rushed into the intermediate space; and presently extending their wings, enclosed the enemy on the rear also. After this the Romans, who had in vain finished one battle, leaving the Gauls and Spaniards, whose rear they had slaughtered, in addition commence a fresh encounter with the Africans, not only disadvantageous, because being hemmed in they had to fight against troops who surrounded them, but also because, fatigued, they fought with those who were fresh and vigorous.


Now also in the left wing of the Romans, in which the allied cavalry were opposed to the Numidians, the battle was joined, which was at first languid, commencing with a stratagem on the part of the Carthaginians. About five hundred Numidians, who, besides their usual arms, had swords concealed beneath their coats of mail, quitting their own party, and riding up to the enemy under the semblance of deserters, with their bucklers behind them, suddenly leap down from their horses; and, throwing down their bucklers and javelins at the feet of their enemies, are received into their centre, and being conducted to the rear, ordered to remain there; and there they continued until the battle became general. But afterwards, when the thoughts and attention of all were occupied with the contest, snatching up the shields which lay scattered on all hands among the heaps of slain, they fell upon the rear of the Roman line, and striking their backs and wounding their hams, occasioned vast havoc, and still greater panic and confusion. While in one part terror and flight prevailed, in another the battle was obstinately persisted in, though with little hope. Hasdrubal, who was then commanding in that quarter, withdrawing the Numidians from the centre of the army, as the conflict with their opponents was slight, sends them in pursuit of the scattered fugitives, and joining the Africans, now almost weary with slaying rather than fighting the Spanish and Gallic infantry.


On the other side of the field, Paulus, though severely wounded from a sling in the very commencement of the battle, with a compact body of troops, frequently opposed himself to Hannibal, and in several quarters restored the battle, the Roman cavalry protecting him; who, at length, when the consul had not strength enough even to manage his horse, dismounted from their horses. And when some one brought intelligence that the consul had ordered the cavalry to dismount, it is said that Hannibal observed, "How much rather would I that he delivered them to me in chains." The fight maintained by the dismounted cavalry was such as might be expected, when the victory was undoubtedly on the side of the enemy, the vanquished preferring death in their places to flight; and the conquerors, who were enraged at them for delaying the victory, butchering those whom they could not put to flight. They at length, however, drove the few who remained away, worn out with exertion and wounds. After that they were all dispersed, and such as could, sought to regain their horses for flight. Cneius Lentulus, a military tribune, seeing, as he rode by, the consul sitting upon a stone and covered with blood, said to him: "Lucius Aemilius! the only man whom the gods ought to regard as being guiltless of this day's disaster, take this horse, while you have any strength remaining, and I am with you to raise you up and protect you. Make not this battle more calamitous by the death of a consul. There is sufficient matter for tears and grief without this addition." In reply the consul said: "Do thou indeed go on and prosper, Cneius Servilius, in your career of virtue! But beware lest you waste in bootless commiseration the brief opportunity of escaping from the hands of the enemy. Go and tell the fathers publicly, to fortify the city of Rome, and garrison it strongly before the victorious enemy arrive: and tell Quintus Fabius individually, that Lucius Aemilius lived, and now dies, mindful of his injunctions. Allow me to expire amid these heaps of my slaughtered troops, that I may not a second time be accused after my consulate, or stand forth as the accuser of my colleague, in order to defend my own innocence by criminating another." While finishing these words, first a crowd of their flying countrymen, after that the enemy, came upon them; they overwhelm the consul with their weapons, not knowing who he was: in the confusion his horse rescued Lentulus. After that they fly precipitately. Seven thousand escaped to the lesser camp, ten to the greater, about two thousand to the village itself of Cannae who were immediately surrounded by Carthalo and the cavalry, no fortifications protecting the village. The other consul, whether by design or by chance, made good his escape to Venusia with about seventy horse, without mingling with any party of the flying troops. Forty thousand foot, two thousand seven hundred horse, there being an equal number of citizens and allies, are said to have been slain. Among both the quaestors of the consuls, Lucius Atilius and Lucius Furius Bibaculus; twenty-one military tribunes; several who had passed the offices of consul, praetor, and aedile; among these they reckon Cneius Servilius Germinus, and Marcus Minucius, who had been master of the horse on a former year, and consul some years before: moreover eighty, either senators, or who had borne those offices by which they might be elected into the senate, and who had voluntarily enrolled themselves in the legions. Three thousand infantry and three hundred cavalry are said to have been captured in that battle.


Such is the battle of Cannae, equal in celebrity to the defeat at the Allia: but as it was less important in respect to those things which happened after it, because the enemy did not follow up the blow, so was it more important and more horrible with respect to the slaughter of the army; for with respect to the flight at the Allia, as it betrayed the city, so it preserved the army. At Cannae, scarcely seventy accompanied the flying consul: almost the whole army shared the fate of the other who died. The troops collected in the two camps being a half-armed multitude without leaders, those in the larger send a message to the others, that they should come over to them at night, when the enemy was oppressed with sleep, and wearied with the battle, and then, out of joy, overpowered with feasting: that they would go in one body to Canusium. Some entirely disapproved of that advice. "For why," said they, "did not those who sent for them come themselves, since there would be equal facility of forming a junction? Because, evidently, all the intermediate space was crowded with the enemy, and they would rather expose the persons of others to so great a danger than their own." Others did not so much disapprove, as want courage to fulfil the advice. Publius Sempronius Tuditanus, a military tribune, exclaims, "Would you rather, then, be captured by the most rapacious and cruel enemy, and have a price set upon your heads, and have your value ascertained by men who will ask whether you are Roman citizens or Latin confederates, in order that from your miseries and indignities honour may be sought for another? Not you, at least, if you are the fellow-citizens of Lucius Aemilius, the consul who preferred an honourable death to a life of infamy, and of so many brave men who lie heaped around him. But, before the light overtakes us and more numerous bodies of the enemy beset the way, let us break through those disorderly and irregular troops who are making a noise at our gates. By the sword and courage, a road may be made through enemies, however dense. In a wedge we shall make our way through this loose and disjointed band, as if nothing opposed us. Come along with me therefore, ye who wish the safety of yourselves and the state." Having thus said, he draws his sword, and forming a wedge, goes through the midst of the enemy; and as the Numidians discharged their javelins on their right side, which was exposed, they transferred their shields to the right hand, and thus escaped, to the number of six hundred, to the greater camp; and setting out thence forthwith, another large body having joined them, arrived safe at Canusium. These measures were taken by the vanquished, according to the impulse of their tempers, which his own disposition or which accident gave to each, rather than in consequence of any deliberate plan of their own, or in obedience to the command of any one.


When all others, surrounding the victorious Hannibal, congratulated him, and advised that, having completed so great a battle, he should himself take the remainder of the day and the ensuing night for rest, and grant it to his exhausted troops; Maharbal, prefect of the cavalry, who was of opinion that no time should be lost, said to him, "Nay, rather, that you may know what has been achieved by this battle, five days hence you shall feast in triumph in the Capitol. Follow me: I will go first with the cavalry, that they may know that I am arrived before they know of me as approaching." To Hannibal this project appeared too full of joy, and too great for his mind to embrace it and determine upon it at the instant. Accordingly, he replied to Maharbal, that "he applauded his zeal, but that time was necessary to ponder the proposal." Upon this Maharbal observed, "Of a truth the gods have not bestowed all things upon the same person. You know how to conquer, Hannibal; but you do not know how to make use of your victory." That day's delay is firmly believed to have been the preservation of the city and the empire. On the following day, as soon as it dawned, they set about gathering the spoils and viewing the carnage, which was shocking, even to enemies. So many thousands of Romans were lying, foot and horse promiscuously, according as accident had brought them together, either in the battle or in the flight. Some, whom their wounds, pinched by the morning cold, had roused, as they were rising up, covered with blood, from the midst of the heaps of slain, were overpowered by the enemy. Some too they found lying alive with their thighs and hams cut who, laying bare their necks and throats, bid them drain the blood that remained in them. Some were found with their heads plunged into the earth, which they had excavated; having thus, as it appeared, made pits for themselves, and having suffocated themselves by overwhelming their faces with the earth which they threw over them. A living Numidian, with lacerated nose and ears, stretched beneath a lifeless Roman who lay upon him, principally attracted the attention of all; for when his hands were powerless to grasp his weapon, turning from rage to madness, he had died in the act of tearing his antagonist with his teeth.


The spoils having been gathered for a great part of the day, Hannibal leads his troops to storm the lesser camp, and, first of all, interposing a trench, cuts it off from the river. But as the men were fatigued with toil, watching, and wounds, a surrender was made sooner than he expected. Having agreed to deliver up their arms and horses, on condition that the ransom of every Roman should be three hundred denarii, for an ally two hundred, for a slave one hundred, and that on payment of that ransom they should be allowed to depart with single garments, they received the enemy into the camp, and were all delivered into custody, the citizens and allies being kept separate. While the time is being spent there, all who had strength or spirit enough, to the number of four thousand foot and two hundred horse, quitted the greater camp and arrived at Canusium; some in a body, others widely dispersed through the country, which was no less secure a course: the camp itself was surrendered to the enemy by the wounded and timid troops, on the same terms as the other was. A very great booty was obtained; and with the exception of the men and horses, and what silver there was which was for the most part on the trappings of the horses; for they had but very little in use for eating from, particularly in campaign; all the rest of the booty was given up to be plundered. Then he ordered the bodies of his own troops to be collected for burial. They are said to have been as many as eight thousand of his bravest men. Some authors relate, that the Roman consul also was carefully searched for and buried. Those who escaped to Canusium, being received by the people of that place within their walls and houses only, were assisted with corn, clothes, and provisions for their journey, by an Apulian lady, named Busa, distinguished for her family and riches; in return for which munificence, the senate afterwards, when the war was concluded, conferred honours upon her.


But, though there were four military tribunes there, Fabius Maximus of the first legion, whose father had been dictator the former year; and of the second legion, Lucius Publicius Bibulus and Publius Cornelius Scipio; and of the third legion, Appius Claudius Pulcher, who had been aedile the last year; by the consent of all, the supreme command was vested in Publius Scipio, then a very young man, and Appius Claudius. To these, while deliberating with a few others on the crisis of their affairs, Publius Furius Philus, the son of a man of consular dignity, brings intelligence, "That it was in vain that they cherished hopes which could never be realized: that the state was despaired of, and lamented as lost. That certain noble youths, the chief of whom was Lucius Caecilius Metellus, turned their attention to the sea and ships, in order that, abandoning Italy, they might escape to some king." When this calamity, which was not only dreadful in itself, but new, and in addition to the numerous disasters they had sustained, had struck them motionless with astonishment and stupor; and while those who were present gave it as their opinion that a council should be called to deliberate upon it, young Scipio, the destined general of this war, asserts, "That it is not a proper subject for deliberation: that courage and action, and not deliberation, were necessary in so great a calamity. That those who wished the safety of the state would attend him forthwith in arms; that in no place was the camp of the enemy more truly, than where such designs were meditated." He immediately proceeds, attended by a few, to the lodging of Metellus; and finding there the council of youths of which he had been apprized, he drew his sword over the heads of them, deliberating, and said, "With sincerity of soul I swear that neither will I myself desert the cause of the Roman republic, nor will I suffer any other citizen of Rome to desert it. If knowingly I violate my oath, then, O Jupiter, supremely great and good, mayest thou visit my house, my family, and my fortune with perdition the most horrible! I require you, Lucius Caecilius, and the rest of you who are present, to take this oath; and let the man who shall not take it be assured, that this sword is drawn against him." Terrified, as though they were beholding the victorious Hannibal, they all take the oath, and deliver themselves to Scipio to be kept in custody.


During the time in which these things were going on at Canusium, as many as four thousand foot and horse, who had been dispersed through the country in the flight, came to Venusia, to the consul. These the Venusini distributed throughout their families, to be kindly entertained and taken care of; and also gave to each horseman a gown, a tunic, and twenty-five denarii; and to each foot soldier ten denarii, and such arms as they wanted; and every other kind of hospitality showed them, both publicly and privately: emulously striving that the people of Venusia might not be surpassed by a woman of Canusium in kind offices. But the great number of her guests rendered the burden more oppressive to Busa, for they amounted now to ten thousand men. Appius and Scipio, having heard that the other consul was safe, immediately send a messenger to inquire how great a force of infantry and cavalry he had with him, and at the same time to ask, whether it was his pleasure that the army should be brought to Venusia, or remain at Canusium. Varro himself led over his forces to Canusium. And now there was some appearance of a consular army, and they seemed able to defend themselves from the enemy by walls, if not by arms. At Rome intelligence had been received, that not even these relics of their citizens and allies had survived, but that the two consuls, with their armies, were cut to pieces, and all their forces annihilated. Never when the city was in safety was there so great a panic and confusion within the walls of Rome. I shall therefore shrink from the task, and not attempt to relate what in describing I must make less than the reality. The consul and his army having been lost at the Trasimenus the year before, it was not one wound upon another which was announced, but a multiplied disaster, the loss of two consular armies, together with the two consuls: and that now there was neither any Roman camp, nor general nor soldiery: that Apulia and Samnium, and now almost the whole of Italy, were in the possession of Hannibal. No other nation surely would not have been overwhelmed by such an accumulation of misfortune. Shall I compare with it the disaster of the Carthaginians, sustained in a naval battle at the islands Aegates, dispirited by which they gave up Sicily and Sardinia, and thenceforth submitted to become tributary and stipendiary? Or shall I compare with it the defeat in Africa under which this same Hannibal afterwards sunk? In no respect are they comparable, except that they were endured with less fortitude.


Publius Furius Philus and Manius Pomponius, the praetors, assembled the senate in the curia hostilia, that they might deliberate about the guarding of the city; for they doubted not but that the enemy, now their armies were annihilated, would come to assault Rome, the only operation of the war which remained. Unable to form any plan in misfortunes, not only very great, but unknown and undefined, and while the loud lamentations of the women were resounding, and nothing was as yet made known, the living and the dead alike being lamented in almost every house; such being the state of things, Quintus Fabius gave it as his opinion, "That light horsemen should be sent out on the Latin and Appian ways, who, questioning those they met, as some would certainly be dispersed in all directions from the flight, might bring back word what was the fate of the consuls and their armies; and if the gods, pitying the empire, had left any remnant of the Roman name where these forces were; whither Hannibal had repaired after the battle, what he was meditating; what he was doing, or about to do. That these points should be searched out and ascertained by active youths. That it should be the business of the fathers, since there was a deficiency of magistrates, to do away with the tumult and trepidation in the city; to keep the women from coming into public, and compel each to abide within her own threshold; to put a stop to the lamentations of families; to obtain silence in the city; to take care that the bearers of every kind of intelligence should be brought before the praetors; that each person should await at home the bearer of tidings respecting his own fortune: moreover, that they should post guards at the gates, to prevent any person from quitting the city; and oblige men to place their sole hopes of safety in the preservation of the walls and the city. That when the tumult had subsided the fathers should be called again to the senate-house, and deliberate on the defence of the city."


When all had signified their approbation of this opinion, and after the crowd had been removed by the magistrates from the forum, and the senators had proceeded in different directions to allay the tumult; then at length a letter is brought from the consul Terentius, stating, "That Lucius Aemilius, the consul, and his army were slain; that he himself was at Canusium, collecting, as it were after a shipwreck, the remains of this great disaster; that he had nearly ten thousand irregular and unorganized troops. That the Carthaginian was sitting still at Cannae, bargaining about the price of the captives and the other booty, neither with the spirit of a conqueror nor in the style of a great general." Then also the losses of private families were made known throughout the several houses; and so completely was the whole city filled with grief, that the anniversary sacred rite of Ceres was intermitted, because it was neither allowable to perform it while in mourning, nor was there at that juncture a single matron who was not in mourning. Accordingly, lest the same cause should occasion the neglect of other public and private sacred rites, the mourning was limited to thirty days, by a decree of the senate. Now when the tumult in the city was allayed, an additional letter was brought from Sicily, from Titus Otacilius, the propraetor, stating, "that the kingdom of Hiero was being devastated by the Carthaginian fleet: and that, being desirous of affording him the assistance he implored, he received intelligence that another Carthaginian fleet was stationed at the Aegates, equipped and prepared; in order that when the Carthaginians had perceived that he was gone away to protect the coast of Syracuse, they might immediately attack Lilybaeum and other parts of the Roman province; that he therefore needed a fleet, if they wished him to protect the king their ally, and Sicily."


The letters of the consul and the propraetor having been read, they resolved that Marcus Claudius, who commanded the fleet stationed at Ostia, should be sent to the army to Canusium; and a letter be written to the consul, to the effect that, having delivered the army to the praetor, he should return to Rome the first moment he could, consistently with the interest of the republic. They were terrified also, in addition to these disasters, both with other prodigies, and also because two vestal virgins, Opimia and Floronia, were that year convicted of incontinence; one of whom was, according to custom, buried alive at the Colline gate; the other destroyed herself. Lucius Cantilius, secretary of the pontiff, whom they now call the lesser pontiffs, who had debauched Floronia, was beaten by rods in the comitium, by order of the chief pontiff, so that he expired under the stripes. This impiety being converted into a prodigy, as is usually the case when happening in the midst of so many calamities, the decemviri were desired to consult the sacred books. Quintus Fabius Pictor was also sent to Delphi, to inquire of the oracle by what prayers and offerings they might appease the gods, and what termination there would be to such great distresses. Meanwhile certain extraordinary sacrifices were performed, according to the directions of the books of the fates; among which a Gallic man and woman, and a Greek man and woman, were let down alive in the cattle market, into a place fenced round with stone, which had been already polluted with human victims, a rite by no means Roman. The gods being, as they supposed, sufficiently appeased, Marcus Claudius Marcellus sends from Ostia to Rome, as a garrison for the city, one thousand five hundred soldiers, which he had with him, levied for the fleet. He himself sending before him a marine legion, (it was the third legion,) under the command of the military tribunes, to Teanum Sidicinum, and delivering the fleet to Publius Furius Philus, his colleague, after a few days, proceeded by long marches to Cannsium. Marcus Junius, created dictator on the authority of the senate, and Titus Sempronius, master of the horse, proclaiming a levy, enrol the younger men from the age of seventeen, and some who wore the toga praetexta: of these, four legions and a thousand horse were formed. They send also to the allies and the Latin confederacy, to receive the soldiers according to the terms of the treaty. They order that arms, weapons, and other things should be prepared; and they take down from the temples and porticoes the old spoils taken from the enemy. They adopted also another and a new form of levy, from the scarcity of free persons, and from necessity: they armed eight thousand stout youths from the slaves, purchased at the public expense, first inquiring of each whether he was willing to serve. They preferred this description of troops, though they had the power of redeeming the captives at a less expense.


For Hannibal, after so great a victory at Cannae, being occupied with the cares of a conqueror, rather than one who had a war to prosecute, the captives having been brought forward and separated, addressed the allies in terms of kindness, as he had done before at the Trebia and the lake Trasimenus, and dismissed them without a ransom; then he addressed the Romans too, who were called to him, in very gentle terms: "That he was not carrying on a war of extermination with the Romans, but was contending for honour and empire. That his ancestors had yielded to the Roman valour; and that he was endeavouring that others might be obliged to yield, in their turn, to his good fortune and valour together. Accordingly, he allowed the captives the liberty of ransoming themselves, and that the price per head should be five hundred denarii for a horseman, three hundred for a foot soldier, and one hundred for a slave." Although some addition was made to that sum for the cavalry, which they stipulated for themselves when they surrendered, yet they joyfully accepted any terms of entering into the compact. They determined that ten persons should be selected, by their own votes, who might go to Rome to the senate; nor was any other guarantee of their fidelity taken than that they should swear that they would return. With these was sent Carthalo, a noble Carthaginian, who might propose terms, if perchance their minds were inclined towards peace. When they had gone out of the camp, one of their body, a man who had very little of the Roman character, under pretence of having forgotten something, returned to the camp, for the purpose of freeing himself from the obligation of his oath, and overtook his companions before night. When it was announced that they had arrived at Rome, a lictor was despatched to meet Carthalo, to tell him, in the words of the dictator, to depart from the Roman territories before night.


An audience of the senate was granted by the dictator to the delegates of the prisoners. The chief of them, Marcus Junius, thus spoke: "There is not one of us, conscript fathers, who is not aware that there never was a nation which held prisoners in greater contempt than our own. But unless our own cause is dearer to us than it should be, never did men fall into the hands of the enemy who less deserved to be disregarded than we do; for we did not surrender our arms in the battle through fear; but having prolonged the battle almost till night-fall, while standing upon heaps of our slaughtered countrymen, we betook ourselves to our camp. For the remainder of the day and during the following night, although exhausted with exertion and wounds, we protected our rampart. On the following day, when, beset by the enemy, we were deprived of water, and there was no hope of breaking through the dense bands of the enemy; and, moreover, not considering it an impiety that any Roman soldier should survive the battle of Cannae, after fifty thousand of our army had been butchered; then at length we agreed upon terms on which we might be ransomed and let off; and our arms, in which there was no longer any protection, we delivered to the enemy. We had been informed that our ancestors also had redeemed themselves from the Gauls with gold, and that though so rigid as to the terms of peace, had sent ambassadors to Tarentum for the purpose of ransoming the captives. And yet both the fight at the Allia with the Gauls, and at Heraclea with Pyrrhus, was disgraceful, not so much on account of the loss as the panic and flight. Heaps of Roman carcasses cover the plains of Cannae; nor would any of us have survived the battle, had not the enemy wanted the strength and the sword to slay us. There are, too, some of us, who did not even retreat in the field; but being left to guard the camp, came into the hands of the enemy when it was surrendered. For my part, I envy not the good fortune or condition of any citizen or fellow-soldier, nor would I endeavour to raise myself by depressing another: but not even those men who, for the most part, leaving their arms, fled from the field, and stopped not till they arrived at Venusia or Canusium; not even those men, unless some reward is due to them on account of their swiftness of foot and running, would justly set themselves before us, or boast that there is more protection to the state in them than in us. But you will both find them to be good and brave soldiers, and us still more zealous, because, by your kindness, we have been ransomed and restored to our country. You are levying from every age and condition: I hear that eight thousand slaves are being armed. We are no fewer in number; nor will the expense of redeeming us be greater than that of purchasing these. Should I compare ourselves with them, I should injure the name of Roman. I should think also, conscript fathers, that in deliberating on such a measure, it ought also to be considered, (if you are disposed to be over severe, which you cannot do from any demerit of ours,) to what sort of enemy you would abandon us. Is it to Pyrrhus, for instance, who treated us, when his prisoners, like guests; or to a barbarian and Carthaginian, of whom it is difficult to determine whether his rapacity or cruelty be the greater? If you were to see the chains, the squalid appearance, the loathsomeness of your countrymen, that spectacle would not, I am confident, less affect you, than if, on the other hand, you beheld your legions prostrate on the plains of Cannae. You may behold the solicitude and the tears of our kinsmen, as they stand in the lobby of your senate-house, and await your answer. When they are in so much suspense and anxiety in behalf of us, and those who are absent, what think you must be our own feelings, whose lives and liberty are at stake? By Hercules! should Hannibal himself, contrary to his nature, be disposed to be lenient towards us, yet we should not consider our lives worth possessing, since we have seemed unworthy of being ransomed by you. Formerly, prisoners dismissed by Pyrrhus, without ransom, returned to Rome; but they returned in company with ambassadors, the chief men of the state, who were sent to ransom them. Would I return to my country, a citizen, and not considered worth three hundred denarii? Every man has his own way of thinking, conscript fathers. I know that my life and person are at stake. But the danger which threatens my reputation affects me most, if we should go away rejected and condemned by you; for men will never suppose that you grudged the price of our redemption."


When he had finished his address, the crowd of persons in the comitium immediately set up a loud lamentation, and stretched out their hands to the senate, imploring them to restore to them their children, their brothers, and their kinsmen. Their fears and affection for their kindred had brought the women also with the crowd of men in the forum. Witnesses being excluded, the matter began to be discussed in the senate. There being a difference of opinion, and some advising that they should be ransomed at the public charge, others, that the state should be put to no expense, but that they should not be prevented redeeming themselves at their own cost; and that those who had not the money at present should receive a loan from the public coffer, and security given to the people by their sureties and properties; Titus Manlius Torquatus, a man of primitive, and, as some considered, over-rigorous severity, being asked his opinion, is reported thus to have spoken: "Had the deputies confined themselves to making a request, in behalf of those who are in the hands of the enemy, that they might be ransomed, I should have briefly given my opinion, without inveighing against any one. For what else would have been necessary but to admonish you, that you ought to adhere to the custom handed down from your ancestors, a precedent indispensable to military discipline. But now, since they have almost boasted of having surrendered themselves to the enemy, and have claimed to be preferred, not only to those who were captured by the enemy in the field, but to those also who came to Venusia and Canusium, and even to the consul Terentius himself; I will not suffer you to remain in ignorance of things which were done there. And I could wish that what I am about to bring before you, were stated at Canusium, before the army itself, the best witness of every man's cowardice or valour; or at least that one person, Publius Sempronius, were here, whom had they followed as their leader, they would this day have been soldiers in the Roman camp, and not prisoners in the power of the enemy. But though the enemy was fatigued with fighting, and engaged in rejoicing for their victory, and had, the greater part of them, retired into their camp, and they had the night at their disposal for making a sally, and as they were seven thousand armed troops, might have forced their way through the troops of the enemy, however closely arrayed; yet they neither of themselves attempted to do this, nor were willing to follow another. Throughout nearly the whole night Sempronius ceased not to admonish and exhort them, while but few of the enemy were about the camp, while there was stillness and quiet, while the night would conceal their design, that they would follow him; that before daybreak they might reach places of security, the cities of their allies. If as Publius Decius, the military tribune in Samnium, said, within the memory of our grandfathers; if he had said, as Calpurnius Flamma, in the first Punic war, when we were youths, said to the three hundred volunteers, when he was leading them to seize upon an eminence situated in the midst of the enemy: LET US DIE, SOLDIERS, AND BY OUR DEATHS RESCUE THE SURROUNDED LEGIONS FROM AMBUSCADE;--if Publius Sempronius had said thus, he would neither have considered you as Romans nor men, had no one stood forward as his companion in so valorous an attempt. He points out to you the road that leads not to glory more than to safety; he restores you to your country, your parents, your wives and children. Do you want courage to effect your preservation? What would you do if you had to die for your country? Fifty thousand of your countrymen and allies on that very day lay around you slain. If so many examples of courage did not move you, nothing ever will. If so great a carnage did not make life less dear, none ever will. While in freedom and safety, show your affection for your country; nay, rather do so while it is your country, and you its citizens. Too late you now endeavour to evince your regard for her when degraded, disfranchised from the rights of citizens, and become the slaves of the Carthaginians. Shall you return by purchase to that degree which you have forfeited by cowardice and neglect? You did not listen to Sempronius, your countryman, when he bid you take arms and follow him; but a little after you listened to Hannibal, when he ordered your arms to be surrendered, and your camp betrayed. But why do I charge those men with cowardice, when I might tax them with villany? They not only refused to follow him who gave them good advice, but endeavoured to oppose and hold him back, had not some men of the greatest bravery, drawing their swords, removed the cowards. Publius Sempronius, I say, was obliged to force his way through a band of his countrymen, before he burst through the enemy's troops. Can our country regret such citizens as these, whom if all the rest resembled, she would not have one citizen of all those who fought at Cannae? Out of seven thousand armed men, there were six hundred who had courage to force their way, who returned to their country free, and in arms; nor did forty thousand of the enemy successfully oppose them. How safe, think you, would a passage have been for nearly two legions? Then you would have had this day at Canusium, conscript fathers, twenty thousand bold and faithful. But now how can these men be called faithful and good citizens, (for they do not even call themselves brave,) except any man suppose that they showed themselves such when they opposed those who were desirous of forcing their way through the enemy? or, unless any man can suppose, that they do not envy those men their safety and glory acquired by valour, when the must know that their timidity and cowardice were the cause of their ignominious servitude? Skulking in their tents they preferred to wait for the light and the enemy together, when they had an opportunity of sallying forth during the silence of the night. But though they had not courage to sally forth from the camp, had they courage to defend it strenuously? Having endured a siege for several days and nights, did they protect their rampart by their arms, and themselves by their rampart? At length, having dared and suffered every extremity, every support of life being gone, their strength exhausted with famine, and unable to hold their arms, were they subdued by the necessities of nature rather than by arms? At sunrise, the enemy approached the rampart: before the second hour, without hazarding any contest, they delivered up their arms and themselves. Here is their military service for you during two days. When they ought to have stood firm in array and fight on, then they fled back into their camp; when they ought to have fought before their rampart, they delivered up their camp: good for nothing, either in the field or the camp. I redeem you. When you ought to sally from the camp, you linger and hesitate; and when you ought to stay and protect your camp in arms, you surrender the camp, your arms, and yourselves to the enemy. I am of opinion, conscript fathers, that these men should no more be ransomed, than that those should be surrendered to Hannibal, who sallied from the camp through the midst of the enemy, and, with the most distinguished courage, restored themselves to their country."


After Manlius had thus spoken, notwithstanding the captives were related to many even of the senators, besides the practice of the state, which had never shown favour to captives, even from the remotest times, the sum of money also influenced them: for they were neither willing to drain the treasury, a large sum of money having been already issued for buying and arming slaves to serve in the war, nor to enrich Hannibal, who, according to report, was particularly in want of this very thing. The sad reply, that the captives would not be ransomed, being delivered, and fresh grief being added to the former on account of the loss of so many citizens, the people accompanied the deputies to the gate with copious tears and lamentations. One of them went home, because he had evaded his oath by artfully returning to the camp. But when this was known and laid before the senate, they all resolved that he should be apprehended and conveyed to Hannibal by guards, furnished by the state. There is another account respecting the prisoners, that ten came first, and that, the senate hesitating whether they should be admitted into the city or not, they were admitted, on the understanding that they should not have an audience of the senate. That when these staid longer than the expectation of all, three more came, Scribonius, Calpurnius, and Manlius. That then at length a tribune of the people, a relation of Scribonius, laid before the senate the redemption of the captives, and that they resolved that they should not be ransomed. That the three last deputies returned to Hannibal, and the ten former remained, because they had evaded their oath, having returned to Hannibal after having set out, under pretence of learning afresh the names of the captives. That a violent contest took place in the senate, on the question of surrendering them, and that those who thought they ought to be surrendered were beaten by a few votes, but that they were so branded by every kind of stigma and ignominy by the ensuing censors, that some of them immediately put themselves to death, and the rest, for all their life afterwards, not only shunned the forum, but almost the light and publicity. You can more easily wonder that authors differ so much than determine what is the truth. How much greater this disaster was than any preceding, even this is a proof, that such of the allies as had stood firm till that day then began to waver, for no other cause certainly but that they despaired of the empire. The people who revolted to the Carthaginians were these: the Atellani, Calatini, the Hirpini, some of the Apulians, the Samnites, except the Pentrians, all the Bruttians, and the Lucanians. Besides these the Surrentinians, and almost the whole coast possessed by the Greeks, the people of Tarentum, Metapontum, Croton, the Locrians, and all Cisalpine Gaul. Yet not even these losses and defections of their allies so shook the firmness of the Romans, that any mention of peace was made among them, either before the arrival of the consul at Rome, or after he came thither, and renewed the memory of the calamity they had suffered. At which very juncture, such was the magnanimity of the state, that the consul, as he returned after so severe a defeat, of which he himself was the principal cause, was met in crowds of all ranks of citizens, and thanks bestowed because he had not despaired of the republic, in whose case, had he been a Carthaginian commander, no species of punishment would have been spared.


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