The Campanians revolt to Hannibal. Hanno moves in the senate of Carthage to propose terms of peace to the Romans; his proposition strenuously opposed, and over-ruled by the Barcine faction. Marcellus defeats Hannibal, in a battle at Nola. Hannibal’s army encrvated by luxurious living at Capua. Cassilinum besieged by the Carthaginians, is reduced to such extremity by famine, that the people eat the leathern covers of their shields, and even mice. One hundred and ninety-seven new members, from the equestrian order, added to the senate. Lucius Postumius, prætor, with his army, defeated by the Gauls, and slain. Cneius Scipio, and Publius, overcome Hasdrubal in Spain, and conquer that country. The remaining troops of the army vanquished at Cannæ, sent to Sicily, there to remain during the continuance of the war. An alliance formed between Philip, king of Macedonia, and Hannibal. Sempronius Gracchus, consul, defeats the Campanians. Successes of Titus Manlius in Sardinia; he takes prisoners, Hasdrubal, the general, Mago, and Hanno. Claudius Marcellus gives Hannibal’s army a second defeat at Nola; and, at length, gives the Romans hopes of a favourable termination of the war.
Y.R. 536. 216.I. AFTER the battle of Cannæ, Hannibal, as soon as he had taken and sacked the Roman camps, removed hastily from Apulia into Samnium, being invited into the territory of Arpi by Statius Trebius, who promised to deliver the city of Compsa into his hands. Trebius was a native of Compsa, of considerable note among his countrymen, but thwarted in his ambitious views by a faction of the Mopsian family, which, through the favour of the Romans, had acquired the principal direction of affairs. When an account was received of the battle of Cannæ, and Trebius openly announced the approach of Hannibal, the Mopsian party withdrew from the city; on which it was, without a contest, surrendered to the Carthaginian, and a garrison of his troops received into it. Hannibal, leaving here all the booty, together with his baggage, and dividing his army into two parts, ordered Mago, with one division, to receive such cities of that country as were willing to revolt from the Romans, and if any should refuse, to compel them by force; while he himself, at the head of the other, marched through the country of Campania, towards the lower sea, intending to lay siege to Neapolis, in order to gain possession of a seaport town. On entering the frontiers of the Neapolitans, he placed one half of his Numidians in ambush, in places suited to the purpose; and, in general, the roads run through deep vallies, and form windings commodious for concealment: the rest he ordered to drive before them, in open view of the enemy, the prey collected in the country; and to ride up, in a menacing manner, to the gates. Against this party, which appeared to be neither regular nor numerous, a sally was made by a squadron of horse, which, by the others retreating on purpose, was drawn into the ambuscade, surrounded, and cut to pieces. Nor would one of them have escaped, had not the sea been so near, and some vessels, mostly fishing smacks, which were in view at a small distance from shore, afforded shelter to such as were able to swim. Several young men of distinction, however, were slain and taken in this action, among whom fell Hegeas, the general of the cavalry, too eagerly pursuing the enemy in their retreat. The Carthaginian was deterred from undertaking the siege of the city, by the sight of the fortifications, which showed that the enterprise would be attended with considerable difficulty.
II. From hence he marched to Capua; where, in consequence of a long course of prosperity, and the kind indulgence of fortune, the manners of the people were become extremely dissolute and licentious; and amidst the universal corruption, the commons particularly distinguished themselves, by the extravagancy of their conduct, carrying their notions of liberty to the most unbounded excess. A person, named Pacuvius Calavius, of noble birth, and, at the same time, a great favourite of the plebeians, but indebted for his popularity to intrigues of no very honourable kind, had rendered the senate dependent on his will, and that of the commons. He happened to be invested with the chief magistracy during that year, wherein the Romans were defeated at the Trasimenus; and suspected that, on an opportunity so favourable, for effecting a revolution, the commons, who had so long harboured a bitter animosity against the senate, would attempt some important enterprise; and that, if Hannibal should come into those parts with his victorious army, they would even go so far as to murder the senate, and deliver Capua into the hands of the Carthaginians. Though a man of profligate manners, yet, not being utterly abandoned, he preferred ruling the commonwealth in its present settled state to any power which he could hope for, in case of its subversion; and knowing the impossibility of any state remaining settled, if destitute of counsel to direct its affairs, he set about the execution of a plan whereby he might preserve the senate, and, at the same time, keep it in awe of himself and his party. Having convened that body, he began, by telling them, “that the design of revolting from the Romans, unless such a measure should be found absolutely necessary, could not by any means be agreeable to him, who had children by the daughter of Appius Claudius, and had disposed of a daughter of his own in marriage, at Rome, to Livius; but that, however, an affair of much greater moment, and more alarming tendency, required their attention: for, the purpose of the commons was not, by changing sides, to abolish the authority of the senate; but, by massacreing the members to leave the commonwealth without a head, and in that state to deliver it up to Hannibal and the Carthaginians. From this imminent danger, it was in his power, (he said,) to deliver them, if they would entrust themselves to his management, and, forgetting party animosities, place entire confidence in him.” Overcome by the violence of their fears, they all consented to be directed by him; on which he said, “I will shut you up in the senate house, appearing as an accomplice in their wicked plot, and while I seem to approve of designs which I should in vain oppose, I will find out a way for your safety. For the performance of this I am willing to give you any security which you may demand.” Having solemnly pledged his faith, he went out, and ordered the senate-house to be shut, leaving a guard in the porch, with orders; that no one should go in or out without his directions.
III. He then convened the people, to whom, he said, “Campanians, the opportunity for which you have so often prayed, of taking vengeance on a wicked and detestable senate, now presents itself in such a manner, that you may accomplish your wishes, without any hazard of danger to yourselves, in storming, by force of arms, their several houses which they keep secured by garrisons of their dependents and slaves. I am ready to deliver into your hands, the whole body of them shut up together in the senate-house, unattended, unarmed. Nor need you do any thing in a hurry, or without consideration. I will take care that you shall have full power of passing sentence of life or death on every one of them: so that each may suffer the punishment which he has deserved. Above all things, however, it behoves you, while you indulge the gratification of your resentment, to make even that give place to the care of your own interest and welfare. For, the object of your hatred is, as I apprehend, the present body of senators; you do not wish that the commonwealth should be entirely without a senate: for you must have either a king, an office universally detested; or a senate, the only kind of government compatible with freedom in a state. You must therefore do two things at the same time, remove the old senate, and elect a new one. I will order each of the senators to be summoned before you; concerning whose life or death I will require your judgment: whatever your sentence is, it shall be executed. But first, before punishment is inflicted on the guilty, you will elect, into his place, as a new senator, some porson of ability and spirit.” He then took his seat; and the names of the senators being thrown together into an urn, he ordered the first that happened to come out, on shaking the lots, to be proclaimed, and the person himself to be brought out from the senate-house. On hearing the name, every one eagerly cried out, that he was a worthless character, and a wicked man; and that he deserved punishment. Pacuvius then said, “I perceive what judgment has been passed on this man. He is expelled. In the room of this worthless and wicked senator, elect one endowed with probity and justice.” A general silence at first took place, from the difficulty of finding a better substitute in his room; and afterwards, some one breaking through reserve, and proposing a certain person, a clamour was instantly raised louder than against the other; some declaring, that they did not know him; others exclaiming, at one time, against his scandalous behaviour, at another, against his meanness, his sordid poverty, and the disreputable trade or occupation which he followed. The same consequences ensued, and the difficulty still increased, on the second and third senator being summoned; all which clearly proved that the people disliked the men in question, but were totally at a loss for one whom they could set in his place; for it would answer no purpose to propose the same persons a second time, whose nomination had produced nothing but a recital of their disgraces, and the rest were still more mean and obscure than those who first occurred to people’s thoughts. The consequence was, that the people withdrew from the assembly, affirming, that the evil with which men were best acquainted was the most tolerable, and ordering the senate to be discharged from custody.
IV. Pacuvius, by this obligation conferred on the senate, in thus preserving their lives, so effectually gained their affections, that they were much more earnestly disposed to support his interest, than that of the commons; and now, all ranks yielding a ready compliance with his designs, without having recourse to force of arms, he ruled with unlimited authority. Henceforward the senators, casting off all regard to their independence and their dignity, paid court to the commons, and saluted them in courteous terms; invited them, with every expression of kindness, to their houses, and then entertained them sumptuously; always undertook that side of a controversy, supported that cause, and appointed judges agreeable to that party, which was most popular, and seemed best calculated to conciliate the favour of the populace. No business was transacted in the senate in any other manner, than just as if it had consisted of a set of plebeians. The people had ever been prone to luxurious extravagance; not only from an evil propensity in their nature, but likewise through the profusion of voluptuous enjoyments that lay within their reach, and the temptations to which they were exposed in the midst of every means of gratification which land or sea could afford. But now, in consequence of the condescension and indulgence shown by persons of the first consequence, they ran into such exorbitant excess as set no limits either to their desires or expenses. They had long cast off all respect for their own magistrates, senate, and laws; and now, since the unfortunate battle of Cannæ, they began to look with contempt on the government of Rome also, which alone they had, until then, regarded with some degree of awe. The only considerations that withheld them from an immediate revolt, were, that by means of intermarriages contracted in a long course of time, many of their most illustrious and powerful families were connected with the Romans; and, besides that many of their countrymen served in the Roman armies, their strongest motive for restraining their inclination, was, concern for three hundred horsemen of the noblest families in Campania, who had been selected by the Romans, and sent into several garrisons in the cities of Sicily.
V. The parents and relations of these, with great difficulty, prevailed on the people to send ambassadors to the Roman consul. They found him at Venusia, attended by a very small number of half-armed troops, and in such a condition as could not fail to excite compassion in good and faithful allies, and contempt in the faithless and proud, such as were the Campanians. And this contempt of himself, and of his situation, the consul also increased by too unguardedly exposing and displaying the disastrous state of his affairs. For, on the ambassador’s telling him that the senate and people of Campania were much grieved that any misfortune should have happened to the Romans, and promising supplies of every kind, towards carrying on the war, he answered, “Campanians, in desiring us to call on you for supplies towards maintaining the war, you have observed the usual manner of speaking practised between allies, rather than accommodated your discourse to the present state of our fortune. For what has been left us at Cannæ, that, as if we had something of our own, we should wish to have its deficiencies made up by our allies? Should we call on you for infantry, as if we had cavalry? Should we tell you that we want money, as if that were the only thing wanted? Fortune has left us nothing; not so much as a remnant to which additions might be made. Our legions, our cavalry, arms, standards, men and horses, money, provisions, have all perished, either in the field, or in the loss of the two camps, on the following day. Wherefore, Campanians, your part is, not to aid us in the war, but, in a manner, to undertake the war in our stead. Call to mind how, formerly, when your forefathers were driven, in dismay, within the walls, terrified at the approach of the armies of their enemies, both Samnites and Sidicinians, we took them under our protection, stood up in their defence at Saticula; and this war against the Samnites, undertaken on your account, we maintained, through various vicissitudes of fortune, during a space of near one hundred years. Add to this that, though we possessed the right of sovereignty over you, we granted you an alliance on terms of equality; allowed you your own laws, and, in fine, what was to be considered (at least before the defeat at Cannæ) as the highest honour in our power to confer, we admitted a great number among you to the freedom of our city, and shared its privileges with you. For these reasons, Campanians, you ought to consider our late defeat as a common misfortune, and to deem it your duty to defend our common country. The dispute is not with the Etrurian, or the Samnite; in which case the sovereignty, though taken from us, would still remain in Italy; a Carthaginian foe draws after him, from the remotest limits of the world, from the streights of the ocean and the pillars of Hercules, an host of men who are not even natives of Africa, and who are utter strangers to all laws, to all the rules and rights of society, and almost to the language of men. This horde, cruel and savage from nature and habit, their leader has taken pains to render still more savage; making them form bridges and ramparts of human bodies heaped together, and, what is shocking even to mention, teaching them to feed on human flesh. Who, that was but born in any part of Italy, could think, without horror and detestation, of seeing, and acknowledging as sovereigns, such creatures as these, who live on such abominable food, whose very touch would convey pollution; of receiving laws from Africa and Carthage, and of suffering Italy to become a province to Moors and Numidians? It will be highly honourable to you, Campanians, that the Roman empire, tottering under so severe a blow, should be upheld and restored by your faithful zeal and strength. I suppose that there may be raised in Campania thirty thousand foot, and four thousand horse. Of money and corn you already have abundance. If your zeal in our favour be but equal to your abilities, neither shall Hannibal perceive that he has been victorious, nor the Romans that they have been defeated.”
VI. After the consul had spoken thus, the ambassadors were dismissed; and, as they were returning home, one of them, whose name was Vibius Virius, observed to the rest, that “the time had now arrived when the Campanians might not only recover from the Romans the lands of which they had been unjustly deprived, but also gain possession of the sovereignty of Italy. For they might form an alliance with Hannibal, on whatever terms they themselves should choose; and when Hannibal, after completing his success, and putting an end to the war, should depart into Africa, and withdraw his army, the sovereign power over Italy, without any dispute, would be left in the possession of the Campanians.” In these sentiments of Vibius all the rest concurred, and they accordingly made such a report of the issue of their embassy, as persuaded every one that the Roman power was utterly annihilated. The plebeians, and the greater part of the senate, began instantly to take measures for a revolt. However, by the earnest persuasions of the elder citizens, their proceedings were deferred for a few days; but, at last, the opinion of the majority prevailed, that the same ambassadors, who had gone to the Roman consul, should be sent to Hannibal. In some histories, I have read, that, before this embassy was despatched, or the design of revolting finally determined upon, ambassadors were sent by the Campanians to Rome, requiring that, if the Roman people expected succours from them, they should elect one of the consuls out of Campania; that this excited so great indignation, that they were ordered to be turned out of the senate-house; and that a lictor was sent to conduct them out of the city, and to warn them to retire, before night, out of the Roman territory. But this, bearing too great a similarity to the demand formerly made by the Latines, and Cœlius and other writers having, not without reason, omitted the mention of it, I cannot take upon me to affirm the truth of the account.
VII. The ambassadors came to Hannibal, and concluded with him an alliance, on conditions, that “no general, or magistrate of the Carthaginians, should have any authority over a citizen of Campania; nor should any native of Campania be compelled to serve in the army, or to act in any other employment. That Capua should retain its own laws and magistrates. That the Carthaginian should deliver into the hands of the Campanians, three hundred of the Roman prisoners, whom they should pitch on, in order that they might make an exchange of these for the Campanian horsemen serving in Sicily.” Such were the articles stipulated; but, to the performances to which they were bound by treaty, the Campanians added deeds of a heinous nature: for the præfects of the allies,* and other Roman citizens, part engaged in some military employment, others busied in their private concerns, the plebeians suddenly seized, and ordered them to be shut up in the baths, as if with intent to keep them there in custody; instead of which, suffocated with heat and vapour, they died in a shocking manner. These proceedings, and likewise the sending of an embassy to the Carthaginian, had been most strenuously opposed by Decius Magius; a man who wanted no qualifications that could entitle him to the chief direction of affairs, which, had not his countrymen wanted sound judgment, would certainly have been placed in his hands. When he heard that a body of troops was sent by Hannibal to garrison the city, he, at first, openly and loudly protested against giving them admittance, urging as a caution, the haughty tyranny of Pyrrhus, and the wretched slavery of the Tarentines; and afterwards, when they had been admitted, laboured to persuade the people either to expel them; or, if they wished to atone, by a brave and memorable act, for the baseness of their behaviour, in revolting from their oldest confederates and near relations, to put to death the Carthaginian garrison, and re-unite themselves to the Romans. These his proceedings being reported to Hannibal, (for all passed in public,) he first sent to summon Magius to attend him in his camp; then, on his positively refusing to come, and insisting that Hannibal had no authority over a citizen of Campania, the Carthaginian, provoked to a high degree of passion, ordered his person to be seized and dragged to him into the camp in chains; but afterwards, apprehending lest, in case of force being used, some tumult, and then, people’s minds being irritated, some imprudent scuffle might ensue, he sent forward a message to Marius Blosius, prætor of Capua, that he would come himself to that city on the next day; and accordingly, he set out, with a small body of troops. Marius, calling the people together, published orders that they should all, in a body, with their wives and children, go out to meet Hannibal: these orders were universally obeyed, not only without reluctance, but with cheerful readiness; being agreeable to the inclinations of the populace, who were impatient to behold a general who was now renowned for so many victories. Decius Magius neither went out to meet him, nor did he confine himself within doors, lest he should betray some apprehension from consciousness of misbehaviour; but, while the whole city was in hurry and confusion, through an eagerness to see and to compliment the Carthaginian, he walked carelessly in the Forum with his son, and a few of his attendants. Hannibal, immediately on entering the city, demanded an audience of the senate; but the principal Campanians then besought him not, at that time, to attend to any serious business, but, with chearfulness and freedom, to celebrate a day which his arrival had consecrated to festivity. Although furiously passionate, yet, unwilling to refuse them any thing on the commencement of their connexion, he spent a great part of that day in taking a view of the city. He was lodged at the house of the two Minii Celeres, Stenius and Pacuvius, men highly distinguished by the nobility of their birth, and the greatness of their wealth. Hither Pacuvius Calavius, whom we mentioned before, the leader of that faction, whose violence had effected the present union, brought his son, a young man, after having, with difficulty, drawn him away from the side of Decius Magius; for the youth had joined him, with the warmest zeal, in supporting the Roman alliance, and opposing the treaty with the Carthaginians; nor had the public determination, on the other side, or his respect for his father, been able to produce a change in his sentiments. Calavius, by entreaties rather than excuses, procured a pardon for him, from Hannibal, who, overcome by the father’s prayers and tears, even desired that he should be invited, together with his father, to supper, though he had intended to admit no Campanian to the entertainment, except his hosts, and Jubellius Taurea, a man celebrated for his abilities in war. The entertainment began early in the day, and the feast, as might be expected in a city remarkable for luxury, and in a house particularly so, was not conformable to the Carthaginian customs, or to military discipline, but furnished with every incentive to convivial enjoyment. Calavius’s son, Perolla, alone maintained a degree of reserve, which neither the attentions of the masters of the house, nor those sometimes added by Hannibal himself could overcome. For this he apologized by imputing it to indisposition, and his father alleged also the disturbed state of his mind, which could not then be wondered at. About sun-set, the elder Calavius, going out of the room, was followed by his son, who, when they came into a private place (a garden at the rear of the house), said to him; “Father, I have a plan to mention to you, by which we may not only procure from the Romans pardon of our misconduct, in going over to Hannibal, but also acquire to the people of Campania a much larger share of their esteem and favour than we have ever yet enjoyed.” The father, with surprise, inquiring what sort of a plan this was, he threw back his gown from his shoulder, and showed him a sword girt to his side; then said, “I will presently, with Hannibal’s blood, ratify our alliance with Rome. Of this I thought it proper to apprize you, because you may, perhaps, wish to be absent, when the deed is performed.”
IX. On this sight, and hearing these words, the old man, distracted with apprehension, as if he were then present at the perpetrating of the act which had been mentioned, exclaimed; “By all the ties, my son, which unite children to their parents, I entreat, I beseech you, do not, before the eyes of your father, commit a deed of such transcendant horror, and draw on yourself extremity of ruin. But few hours have elapsed, since, swearing by all the gods existing, and joining our right hands to his, we bound ourselves to be faithful to him; was it that immediately, on quitting the conference, we should arm against him those very hands, which we had given as sacred pledges of our faith? You are just risen from a hospitable table, to which, of only three Campanians favoured with an invitation by Hannibal, you were one; was it that you should stain that very table with the blood of your host? My entreaties, as a father, have prevailed over Hannibal’s resentment in favour of my son; shall they have less power with my son in favour of Hannibal? But suppose there were no sacred obligations in the case, no faith, no religion, no filial duty, let the most abominable deeds be perpetrated, if they do not, along with the guilt, bring ruin on ourselves. Do you mean to assault Hannibal with your single arm? What will that numerous crowd, both of freemen and slaves, be doing? What the eyes of all, intent on him alone? What so many right hands? Will they all be benumbed, during such a mad attempt? How will you be able to support the looks of Hannibal himself, which armed hosts are unable to withstand; which the Roman people behold with horror? Besides, will you be hardy enough to strike me, when, should other assistance be wanting, I shall oppose my person to the danger in defence of Hannibal’s? Now, be assured, that, if you strike and pierce his body, it must be through my breast. Suffer yourself, then, to be dissuaded here, rather than overpowered there. Let my prayers have as much weight with you, as they had to-day with him in your behalf.” Observing the youth now softened into tears, he threw his arms round him, and, embracing him, with kisses, persevered in his entreaties, until he prevailed on him to lay aside the sword, and give him his honour that he would make no such attempt. The son then said, “I, for my part, will pay to my father the debt of duty which I owe to my country. But I am grieved at the circumstances in which you stand, who have to answer for the crime of having thrice betrayed your country; once, when you advised the revolt from the Romans; a second time, when you promoted an alliance with Hannibal; and a third time, this day, when you obstruct and prevent the reunion of Capua with Rome. Do thou, my country, receive this weapon, which I wished to use with effect, in defence of this thy capital; and which I resign, not through any tenderness to the enemy, but because my father extorts it from me.” So saying, he threw the sword over the garden-wall into the street, and, to avoid suspicion, returned to the company.
X. Next day, Hannibal had audience in a full meeting of the senate, where the first part of his discourse contained nothing but expressions of affection and kindness; thanking the Campanians for having preferred his friendship to their former alliance; and, among other magnificent promises, assuring them, that Capua should, in a short time, be the metropolis of Italy; and that the Romans, as well as the other nations, should receive laws from it. He then took notice, that “there was one person who had no title to a share in the friendship of the Carthaginians, and in the terms of the treaty now concluded; who ought not to be considered, or even named, as a Campanian: this was Decius Magius. Him he demanded to be delivered into his custody, and required that the senate should, in his presence, take Magius’s conduct into consideration, and determine concerning him.” This proposition was unanimously assented to, notwithstanding that a great part of the senate thought that he had not deserved such severe treatment; and, likewise, that this first step was no small encroachment on their independence. He then, leaving the senate-house, placed himself on the judgment-seat of the chief magistrate, and gave orders that Decius Magius should be seized, brought to his feet, and there, unsupported, stand his trial. The other, retaining his undaunted spirit, insisted that, according to the terms of the treaty, he was not liable to such compulsion; on which he was loaded with chains, and ordered to be led by a lictor into the camp. As long as he was conducted with his head uncovered, he continually harangued the multitude, which every where gathered round him, calling out to them —“You have now, Campanians, the independence that you aimed at. In the middle of your Forum, in the light of day, before your eyes, I, who am inferior to no one of the Campanians, am chained and dragged to execution. What more violent outrage could have happened, were Capua taken by storm? Go out, then, to meet Hannibal, decorate the city, consecrate the day of his arrival, that you may behold such a triumph as this, over one of your own countrymen.” While he was exclaiming in this manner, the populace appearing to be moved by his remonstrances, his head was covered, and an order given, that he should be dragged more speedily out of the gate. Being brought in this manner to the camp, he was instantly put on board a ship, and sent away for Carthage: for Hannibal was apprehensive lest, in consequence of the harsh treatment shown him, some commotion might arise in the city, that even the senate might repent of having given up one of their principal members, and that, should an embassy be sent to reclaim him, he must either, by refusing their first request, give offence to his new allies, or, if he complied, must expect to find him a constant fomenter of sedition and disturbance in Capua. A storm drove the ship to Cyrene, which was at that time under the dominion of the Egyptian kings. Here Magius, having fled to the statue of King Ptolemy as a sanctuary, was carried under a guard to Alexandria, to Ptolemy; and having represented to him, that he had been put in chains by Hannibal, contrary to the terms of the treaty, he was set at liberty, and received permission to return either to Rome or Capua, whichever he pleased. Magius answered, that “at Capua he could not expect safety; that his residence at Rome, at that time, when war subsisted between the Romans and Campanians, would give him the appearance of a deserter, rather than of a guest; and that there was no place where he so much wished to live, as in the territory of the king, in whom he had found a protector, and deliverer from bondage.
XI. During these transactions, Quintus Fabius Pictor, who had been sent ambassador to Delphi, returned to Rome, and read, from a written copy, the answer which he had received. This contained instructions to what deities, and in what manner, supplications should be made; and then proceeded thus: “Romans, if you follow these directions, your affairs will improve and prosper; the business of your state will advance more agreeably to your wishes, and the Roman people will be finally victorious in the war: when your commonwealth shall be settled in safety and prosperity, then, out of the acquisitions made by your arms, send an offering to the Pythian Apollo, and dedicate to his honour a part of the booty, of the captives, and of the spoils. Banish licentiousness from among you.” After repeating these words, translated from the Greek verses, he added, that “when he retired from the oracle, he immediately performed worship to all these divinities, with offerings of wine and incense; and was ordered by the chief priest of the temple, that as he had approached the oracle, and had performed worship with a crown of laurel on his head, so he should go on board his ship, wearing the same crown, and not lay it aside until he should arrive at Rome. That he had, with the utmost diligence and reverence, executed all the commands given him, and had deposited the crown on the altar of Apollo at Rome.” The senate then decreed that those supplications, and other acts of worship, should be performed as soon as possible.
XII. While these things were passing in Rome and Italy, Mago, son of Hamilcar, had arrived at Carthage with the news of the victory at Cannæ. He had not been despatched by his brother immediately after the battle, but delayed for several days, in receiving the submissions of the cities of Bruttium which revolted. Being introduced to an audience of the senate, he gave a full account of his brother’s exploits in Italy; that “he had fought pitched battles with six consular armies, and six several commanders; of whom four were consuls, one dictator, and the other master of the horse; had slain above two hundred thousand of the enemy, and had taken above fifty thousand. Of the four consuls, he had slain two; one had escaped wounded; and the other, with scarce fifty of his men, after having lost the rest of his army. The master of the horse, an officer of equal power with a consul, had been defeated and driven off the field; and the dictator, because he always cautiously avoided an engagement, was esteemed as a commander of singular abilities. The Bruttians and Apulians, with part of the Samnites and Lucanians, had come over to the Carthaginians. Capua, which was the metropolis not only of Campania, but since the ruin of the Roman power in the battle of Cannæ, of Italy, had been surrendered to him. For these so great and so numerous successes, it was proper that the public should be grateful, and should offer thanksgivings to the immortal gods.” He then, in confirmation of this joyful intelligence, ordered the gold rings taken from the Romans to be poured down in the porch of the senate-house; and of these there was so great a heap, that, according to some writers, on being measured, they filled three pecks and a half; but the more general account, and likewise the more probable is, that they amounted to no more than one peck. He also explained to them, in order to show the greater extent of the slaughter, that none but those of equestrian rank, and of these only the principal, wore this ornament. The main purport of his discourse was, that “the nearer their prospect was of finishing the war, the more vigorous support, of every kind, ought to be afforded to Hannibal; for that it was carried on at a great distance from home, in the heart of the enemy’s country. The consumption of money and corn was great; and so many engagements, while they ruined the Roman armies, had diminished, in some degree, those of the conqueror. It was therefore necessary to send a reinforcement, and likewise to send money for the pay, and corn for the maintenance of the troops, who had merited so highly of the Carthaginian nation.”
XIII. At the conclusion of Mago’s discourse, while all were filled with joy, Himilco, one of the Barcine faction, thinking this a favourable opportunity for sarcastic reflections on Hanno, said to him, “Hanno, what is your opinion now? Are you still sorry for our entering into the war against the Romans? Advise now the delivering up Hannibal, oppose the offering thanks to the immortal gods, on occasion of these happy events. Let us hear a Roman senator in the senate-house of the Carthaginians.” To this Hanno replied; “Conscript Fathers, I should have remained silent this day, lest, in a time of general joy, I might utter some expression tending to damp it. But now, called upon, as I am, by a member of this body, to declare whether I am still sorry for our having entered into the war against the Romans, if I refuse to answer, I may incur the imputation either of superciliousness or servility; the former indicating a want of due regard to the independent rights of others, the latter to a man’s own. Let me, therefore, answer Himilco, that I have not ceased to lament the war; nor will I cease to censure that invincible commander of yours, until I shall see the war concluded on some tolerable terms; nor will any thing, except a new treaty of peace, put an end to my regret for the loss of the old. Those matters, then, which Mago just now so pompously blazoned out, afford present joy to Himilco, and the other partisans of Hannibal. To me, too, they may eventually prove matter of joy; because successes in war, if we are willing to make the proper use of fortune’s favours, will gain us a peace on the more honourable terms. For should we neglect to improve the present season, when we can possibly dictate, instead of receiving propositions for the same, even now our exultation may lead us into delusive expectations, and prove, in the end, destitute of solid advantage. For, let us see on what footing it stands at this moment. I have cut off the armies of the enemy: send me soldiers. What else would you ask, if you had been defeated? I have taken two camps, full, doubtless, of booty and provisions: give me money and corn. What other demand could you make, if your stores had been plundered, if you were beaten out of your camp? But that I may not be the only person to perceive the unaccountableness of those proceedings, I wish that either Himilco or Mago would inform me (for since I have answered Himilco, it is but reasonable and fair that I likewise, in turn, should ask a question), as the fight at Cannæ has completed the ruin of the Roman empire, and all Italy is evidently coming over to our side; in the first place, has any state of the Latine nation revolted to us? And next, has any one man, out of the thirty-five tribes, deserted?” To both these questions, Mago answering in the negative; “We have still, then,” said he, “more than enough of enemies remaining. But, be their number what it may, I should be glad to know what degree of spirit or of hope they possess?” The other declaring that he knew not that: “Nothing,” said he, “is easier to be known. Have the Romans sent any ambassadors to Hannibal to treat of peace? Have you even received any intelligence of any mention of it being made at Rome?” Both being denied, he proceeded: “Since that is the case, we have not brought the war any nearer to a conclusion than it was on the day when Hannibal first entered Italy. Most of us are old enough to remember how often victory changed sides in the former Punic war. At no time did our affairs wear a more prosperous aspect, both by land and sea, than just before the consulship of Caius Lutatius and Aulus Postumius. In the consulship of Lutatius and Postumius, we suffered a total overthrow at the Ægatian islands. Now, if, in the course of fortune, our affairs should undergo any such alteration, (may the gods avert the omen!) do you hope, that, after we shall be vanquished, we may obtain peace; whereas now, when we are victorious, there is no one disposed to offer it? For my part, were it proposed, either to offer terms of peace to the enemy, or to receive overtures from them, I know what vote I should give. But if the question before you be concerning the supplies demanded by Mago, I do not see any necessity of sending them to troops already victorious: much less can I vote for their being sent to men who delude us with false and groundless hopes.” But few were affected by this discourse of Hanno; for his known enmity to the Barcine family detracted from the weight of his arguments: and besides, men’s minds were so fully occupied by joy for the present success, that they were unwilling to listen to any thing which tended to invalidate the grounds of their triumph; and firmly believed, that, by a little farther exertion, the war would be speedily terminated. A decree of the senate was therefore passed, by a very great majority, that a reinforcement should be sent to Hannibal of four thousand Numidians, and forty elephants, with many talents of silver. At the same time the dictator was sent with Mago into Spain, to hire twenty thousand foot and four thousand horse, which were to complete the numbers of the armies both in Spain and Italy. However, this business, as is often the case in a time of prosperity, was not executed either with spirit or despatch.
XIV. The Romans, prompted by their natural activity of spirit, and also by the present situation of their affairs, omitted no kind of exertion. The consul applied, with diligence, to every business which lay within his department; and the dictator, Marcus Junius Pera, after finishing all matters respecting religion, demanded, as usual, the leave of the people to mount his horse; and then, in addition to the two city legions, levied by the consuls in the beginning of the year, and a body of slaves whom he had enlisted, and the cohorts collected out of the Picenian and Gallic territories, he had recourse to an expedient used only in times of extreme danger, when propriety gives place to utility: he published a proclamation, that “such persons as had been guilty of capital crimes, or had been ordered into confinement on account of debt, should be discharged from prosecution, and from their debts provided they enlisted with him as soldiers:” these, amounting to six thousand men, he armed with the spoils of the Gauls, which had been carried in triumph by Caius Flaminius. By these means he was enabled to set out from the city at the head of twenty-five thousand effective men. Hannibal, after gaining possession of Capua, made a second trial of the temper of the Neapolitans, by applications both to their hopes and fears; but, being disappointed therein, he removed his army into the territory of Nola: where, though he did not immediately commence hostilities, because he did not despair of the people’s voluntary submission, yet he showed a determination, in case of their delaying compliance with his expectations, to make them feel every kind of evil. The senate, and especially the leading members of it, faithfully adhered to the alliance with Rome; while the commons were, as usual, universally inclined to the party of Hannibal; so great were their fears of the devastation of their lands, and on the heavy sufferings and indignities to be endured in a siege; nor were leaders wanting to urge them to a revolt. The senate, dreading lest, if they made open profession of their intentions, they should find it impossible to withstand the violent temper of the populace, concealed them under a counterfeit appearance, and thereby found means to defer the evil. They pretended that they approved the design of revolting to Hannibal; but that they could not immediately determine on the conditions, on which it might be proper to contract this new alliance. Having thus gained time, they hastily despatched ambassadors to Claudius Marcellus, the Roman prætor, then at Casilinum with his army, informing him of the precarious situation of the state of Nola; that the country was already possessed by Hannibal, as the city would shortly be, unless it received succour: that the senate, by pretending, in compliance with the humour of the commons, that they were ready to change sides whenever the latter chose, had hitherto allayed their violent haste to revolt. Marcellus, after applauding the conduct of the Nolans, charged them to protract the business under the same pretexts, until he should arrive; and to conceal in the mean time what had passed between him and them, and every expectation of an assistance from the Romans. He himself advanced from Casilinum to Calatia; and from thence, after crossing the river Vulturnus, he proceeded through the territories of Saticula and Trebia, and passing above Suessula, came through the mountains to Nola.
XV. On the approach of the Roman prætor, the Carthaginian retired out of the territory of Nola, and marched down to the sea-coast adjacent to Neapolis, being earnestly desirous to get possession of a sea-port town to which ships might come over with safety from Africa. But having learned that Neapolis was held by a Roman general, Marcus Junius Silanus, who had been invited thither by the Neapolitans, he gave up all hopes of Neapolis, as well as of Nola, and directed his route to Nuceria. After carrying on the siege of this town for a considerable time, and making frequent attempts to reduce it by force, and also endeavouring in vain to gain over, sometimes the commons, at others the nobility, he at length starved it into a surrender; when he allowed the garrison no other terms than to retire without arms, and with single garments. Afterwards, as he had, from the beginning, wished to appear inclined to act with clemency towards all the Italians, except the Romans, he offered rewards and honours to such of the garrison as should stay and enlist with him: but he did not by these prospects prevail on one man to join him. They all departed, by different roads, to the several cities of Campania, wherever each man’s connexions, or casual impulse of inclination, directed him; but most of them to Nola and Neapolis. About thirty of the principal senators, having directed their course to Capua, and being refused admittence there, on account of their having shut their gates against Hannibal, retired to Cumæ. The plunder of Nuceria was given to the soldiers, and the city, after being sacked, was burned. Marcellus held possession of Nola; for the continuance of which he relied, not more on his own troops, than on the favourable disposition of the principal inhabitants. But strong apprehensions were entertained of the commons, and above all of Lucius [Editor: illegible word] being conscious of having fomented the design of a revolt, and dreading the resentment of the Roman prætor, he was stimulated, first, to betray his native city, and then, should that attempt miscarry, to go over to the enemy. He was a young man of an active spirit, and distinguished among the cavalry of the allies almost beyond every other: he had been found at Cannæ, half dead, among a heap of lifeless bodies, and Hannibal had, with much kindness, taken care of him, until he recovered, and even sent him home, loaded with presents. Out of gratitude for these favours, he now wished to bring the state of Nola under the power and dominion of the Carthaginians. It did not escape the observation of the prætor, that he was perplexed in mind, and anxiously employed in devising the means of effecting a revolution. However, as it was necessary to check him by punishment, or to conciliate his good will by kind treatment, he judged it more prudent to attach to himself a brave and vigorous associate, than merely to deprive the enemy of him: sending, therefore, for him, he observed, in a kind manner, that, he “must certainly be envied by many of his countrymen, as was easily known from this circumstance, that no citizen of Nola ever informed him of his many extraordinary exploits in war; but when any man served in a Roman camp, his merit could not continue in obscurity. That many of those, who had acted with him, however, had reported well of his conduct; how often, and to what great dangers, he had exposed himself, in defence of the welfare and dignity of the Roman people; particularly that, in the battle of Cannæ, he had not ceased fighting, until, being almost entirely exhausted, he was buried under a heap of men, horses, and arms. Proceed, therefore,” said he, “in your meritorious course; from me you shall meet with every distinction, every reward; in fine, and that you may give me your company the oftener, you shall find that such conduct, as it will redound to your honour, so shall it to your emolument too.” While the young man was overjoyed at such promises, he presented him with a horse of uncommon beauty, ordered the quæstor to give him five hundred silver denarii*, and commanded his lictors to admit him to his presence, whenever he chose to come. By this courteous behaviour of Marcellus, the violent temper of the youth was soothed to such a degree, that, from that time forward, no one among the allies exerted more bravery and zeal in support of the Roman cause.
XVI. As Hannibal was now at the gates, (for he had led his forces back from Nuceria to Nola,) and as the commons of the latter began anew to meditate a revolt, Marcellus retired within the walls; not that he was under any apprehension for the safety of his camp, but that he might not allow an opportunity of betraying the city, for which too many impatiently wished. From this time, it was the practice to draw up the forces on both sides in order of battle; the Romans, under the walls of Nola, the Carthaginians, before their own camp; in consequence of which, many skirmishes happened between the camp and the city, with various success; the generals being unwilling either to restrain the small parties, who, inconsiderately challenged the foe, or to give the signal for a general engagement. While the two armies continued to post themselves in this manner, the men of the first rank in Nola gave information daily to Marcellus, that “conferences were held by night between the commons and the Carthaginians; wherein it had been determined, that, when the Roman army went out of the gates on its march, the populace should make plunder of their baggage and packages; then shut the gates, and possess themselves of the walls; with intent, that, having thus taken into their own hands the disposal of their own affairs, and of the city, they should give admittance to the Carthaginians instead of the Romans.” On receiving this intelligence, Marcellus, highly commending the Nolan senators, resolved to try the fortune of a battle before any commotion should arise within. He then formed his forces in three divisions, at the three gates which faced the enemy, ordering the baggage to follow in the rear, and the invalids, servants, and sutler’s boys to carry palisades. At the gate in the centre, he placed the chief strength of the legions and the Roman cavalry; at the other two gates, on the right and left, the new-raised soldiers, light infantry, and the cavalry of the allies. The Nolans were forbidden to come near the walls or gates; and the troops, intended as a reserve, were appointed to guard the baggage, lest any attack might be made on it, while the legions should be engaged. Marshalled in this manner, they stood within the gates. Hannibal, after standing as he had done for several days past, with his troops under arms and in order of battle, until the day was far advanced, began to wonder, that neither the Roman army came out of the gates, nor one of their soldiers was to be seen on the walls. Concluding that the conferences had been discovered, and that fear had rendered the Romans unwilling to stir, he sent back part of his soldiers to the camp, with orders to bring up to the front with haste, every thing requisite for assaulting the city; for he was persuaded, that if he pressed them vigorously, while they declined action, the populace would rise in his favour. While his men in the van ran up and down, each intent upon the business assigned him, and the line drew nigh to the walls, Marcellus, on a sudden, throwing open the gate, ordered the charge to be sounded, the shout to be raised, and the infantry first, then the cavalry, to rush forth with all possible fury. These had now spread abundance of terror and confusion through the centre of the enemy’s line, when from the two gates, on the right and left, the lieutenant-general Publius Valerius Flaccus, and Caius Aurelius, burst out against the wings. The servants, sutler’s boys, and the whole of those who were left to guard the baggage, joined to increase the shout; so that to the Carthaginians, who had been led to despise them, chiefly by an opinion of the smallness of their numbers, they suddenly exhibited an appearance of a very considerable army. I can scarcely indeed take upon me to assert, as some writers have done, that two thousand three hundred of the enemy were slain, and that the loss of the Romans was no more than five hundred: but, whether the advantage was so great or not, the success of that day was highly important; I know not, whether it was not the most so of any obtained during that war: for, to avoid being conquered by Hannibal was, to the troops who were victorious on that day, a matter of greater difficulty than to conquer him afterwards.
XVII. Hannibal, thus precluded from all hope of getting possession of Nola, marched away to Acerræ; and then Marcellus, immediately shutting the gates, and posting guards to prevent any person from going out of the city, held a judicial inquiry in the Forum concerning those who had entered into a private correspondence with the enemy. Above seventy were convicted of treasonable practices. These he beheaded, and adjudged their effects to be confiscated to the use of the Roman people; and then, having lodged the government in the hands of the senate, he marched thence with all his forces, and taking post above Suessula, pitched his camp there. The Carthaginian first endeavoured to entice the people of Acerræ to a voluntary surrender, and afterwards, on finding them obstinate, prepared to invest and assault the town. However, the Acerrans possessed more courage than strength. When, therefore, they perceived the enemy drawing lines of circumvallation round their walls, despairing of being able to defend the city, they seized the opportunity, before the works were drawn completely round, and stealing away in the dead of night, through the space unoccupied by the lines, which was negligently guarded, effected their escape, some through the roads, others through pathless ways, as each was led by design or mistake, into those cities of Campania, which they knew had not deserted the alliance with Rome. Hannibal, having sacked and burned Acerræ, and hearing that the Roman dictator, with his legions, were seen from Casilinum at some distance, began to apprehend, lest, in consequence of the enemy being encamped in the neighbourhood, some disturbance might arise even at Capua, and therefore led his forces to Casilinum. That town was held at this time by five hundred Prænestines, with a small number of Romans and Latines, whom the news of the disaster at Cannæ had brought thither. The former, because the levies at Præneste were not completed at the appointed day, had set out from home too late; and, having arrived at Casilinum before the account of the defeat, and being there joined by several others, both Romans and allies, were marching forwards in a very considerable body, when the news of the fight at Cannæ induced them to turn back. Here being feared by, and fearing the Campanians, they spent several days in guarding against plots, and forming them in turn; when, receiving certain information of the revolt intended at Capua, and of Hannibal’s being received into the town, they put to death the obnoxious inhabitants by night, and seized on that part of the city which stands on this side of the Vulturnus, for it is divided by that river. And this was all the garrison the Romans had at Casilinum. To these was added a cohort of Perusians, consisting of four hundred and sixty men, driven hither by the same bad news which had brought the Prænestincs a few days before. The number of soldiers was now nearly sufficient for the defence of a place of such small extent, and which had one side inclosed by the river. A scarcity of corn made them even think the number of men too great.
XVIII. When Hannibal came within a small distance of the place, he sent forward a body of Gætulians, under an officer named Isalca, with orders, that if an opportunity could be found of conferring with the garrison, he should first endeavour to allure them, by expressions of kindness, to open the gates and receive his troops; but, if they persisted in obstinate opposition, that he should then put his forces in action, and try if he could on any side break into the city. When they came near the walls, all being silent, it was believed that the town was evacuated, and the barbarian, supposing that the garrison had retired through fear, was preparing to break down the gates; but these flying suddenly open, two cohorts, drawn up within for the purpose, rushed out with great impetuosity, and made a considerable slaughter. The first body of assailants being thus repulsed, Maharbal was sent up with a more powerful force; but neither could he withstand the sally of the cohorts. At last, Hannibal, pitching his camp close under the walls, prepared to assault this small town and garrison with the whole of his troops; completely encompassing it, and while urging on the attack with briskness in every part at once, he lost a great number of his soldiers, particularly of those who were most forward in action, by weapons thrown from the walls and towers. At one time, the besieged having had the courage to sally out, Hannibal, by placing a line of elephants in their way, was very near cutting off their retreat. He drove them, however, in confusion into the town, after they had lost a great many men in proportion to the smallness of their number; and more would have fallen, had not night put an end to the engagement. On the following day, the besiegers were animated with extraordinary ardour to carry on the assault, especially as a mural crown of gold was proposed as a prize, and as the general himself upbraided the conquerors of Saguntum with their tardy advances in the siege of a trifling fortress, situate on a level ground; reminding each in particular, as well as the whole army in general, of Trebia, Trasimenus, and Cannæ. They then began to work their machines, and to sink mines; nor were those allies of the Romans deficient either in vigour or skill, to counteract the attempts of the enemy. Against the machines they erected bulwarks, by countermines intercepted the mines, baffling all the efforts of the Carthaginian both open and concealed, until even shame compelled him to abandon the enterprise: but, lest he should appear to have entirely given up the design, he fortified a camp, where he posted a small body of troops, and then, withdrew into winter-quarters at Capua. Here, during the greater part of the winter, he kept his forces lodged in houses, men who had frequently and long endured with firmness every hardship to which human nature is liable; and had never been accustomed to, nor ever had experienced the comforts of prosperity. These men, therefore, whom no power of adversity had been able to subdue, were ruined by an excess of good fortune and by immoderate pleasures. These produced effects the more pernicious; because, being hitherto unaccustomed, as I have said, to such indulgences, they plunged into them with the greater avidity. Sleep, and wine, and feasting, and harlots, and baths, and idleness, with which, through habit, they became daily more and more delighted, enervated both their minds and bodies to such a degree, that they owed their preservation, rather to the name they had acquired by their past victories, than to their present strength. In the opinion of persons skilled in the art of war, the general was guilty of a greater fault in this instance, than in not leading forward his army directly to the city of Rome, after the battle of Cannæ: for that dilatory conduct might be supposed only to have deferred the conquest for a time, whereas this latter error left him destitute of the strength to effect it. Accordingly he marched out of Capua as if with a different army, for it retained not, in any particular, the least remains of the former discipline. Most of the men returned to the field encumbered with harlots; and, as soon as they began to live in tents, and were obliged to undergo the fatigue of marches, and other military labours; like raw recruits, their strength both of body and mind failed them: and from that time, during the whole course of the summer campaign, great numbers used to steal away from their standards, without leave, and the only lurking place of all these deserters was Capua.
XIX. However, when the rigour of the season began to abate, he drew his troops out of their winter-quarters, and returned to Casilinum; where, notwithstanding there had been a cessation from attacks, yet the continued blockade had reduced the townsmen and garrison to the extremity of want. The Roman camp was commanded by Titus Sempronius, the dictator having gone to Rome to take the auspices anew. Marcellus, who, on his part, earnestly wished to bring relief to the besieged, was prevented by the overflowing of the river Vulturnus, and by the earnest entreaties of the people of Nola and Acerræ, who dreaded the Campanians, in case of the departure of the Roman troops. Gracchus, having received injunctions from the dictator not to engage in any enterprize during his absence, but to maintain his post near Casilinum, did not venture to stir, although he received such accounts from that town, as were sufficient to overcome every degree of patience. It appeared that several, unable longer to endure hunger, had thrown themselves down precipices, and that others stood unarmed on the walls, exposing their naked bodies to the blows of the missive weapons. Gracchus felt great concern for their distresses; but he neither dared to engage in fight, contrary to the dictator’s order, (and fight he plainly must, if he attempted openly to throw in provisions,) nor had he any hope of getting them conveyed in clandestinely by his men. He therefore collected corn from all parts of the country round; and having filled therewith a great number of casks, sent a messenger to Casilinum to the magistrate, desiring that the people should catch the casks which the river would bring down. The following night was passed in attentively watching for the completion of the hopes raised by the Roman messenger, when the casks, being sent along the middle of the stream, floated down to the town, and the corn was divided equally among them all. The same stratagem was practised with success on the following night, and on the third. The casks were put into the river, and conveyed to the place of their destination in the course of the same night, by which means they escaped the notice of the enemy’s guards: but the river being afterwards rendered more rapid by continued rains, a whirling eddy drove them across to the side where the enemy’s guards were posted, and there they were discovered sticking among osiers which grew on the banks. This being reported to Hannibal, care was taken for the future to guard the Vulturnus with greater vigilance, so that no supply, sent down by it to the city, should pass without discovery. Notwithstanding which, quantities of nuts being poured into the river at the Roman camp, and floating down in the middle of the stream to Casilinum, were stopped there with hurdles. The scarcity, however, at last became so excessive, that tearing off the straps and the leathern covers of their shields, and softening them in boiling water, they endeavoured to chew them, nor did they abstain from mice or any other kind of animal. They even dug up every sort of herb and root that grew at the foot of the ramparts of the town, and when the enemy had ploughed up all the ground round the wall, that produced any herbs, they sowed it with turnip seed, which made Hannibal exclaim, “Am I to sit here before Casilinum until these grow?” Although he had hitherto refused to listen to any terms of capitulation, yet he now allowed overtures to be made to him, respecting the redeeming of the men of free condition. An agreement was made, that for each of these a ransom should be paid of seven ounces of gold; and then, having received the ratification of the same, the garrison surrendered. They were detained in custody until all the gold was paid, and afterwards honourably escorted to Cumæ. This is a more probable account than that which relates that they were slain by a body of cavalry, ordered to attack them on their departure. The greatest part of them were Prænestines; out of five hundred and seventy of these, (the number who were in the garrison,) almost one half perished by the sword or by famine, the rest returned in safety to Præneste with their commander Manicius, who had formerly been a notary there. The truth of this relation is attested by a statue of him erected in the Forum at Præneste, clad in a coat of mail, and dressed in a gown, with the head covered; and by three images, with an inscription engraved on a plate of brass, importing that “Manicius vowed these in behalf of the soldiers, who were in the garrison at Casilinum.” The same inscription was placed under the three images in the temple of Fortune.
XX. The town of Casilinum was restored to the Companians, and strengthened by a reinforcement of seven hundred men from Hannibal’s army, lest, on the departure of the Carthaginian, the Romans should attack it. To the Prænestine soldiers, the Roman senate decreed two years’ pay, and immunity from military service for five years. Being offered the rights of Roman citizens, in consideration of their bravery, they chose to remain in their own community. With regard to the fate of the Perusians, our information is not so clear; for we receive no light either from any monument of their own, or any decree of the Romans. About the same time, the Petellians, who alone of all the Bruttians had persevered in maintaining friendship with Rome, were attacked not only by the Carthaginians, who were in possession of the adjacent country, but also by the other Bruttians, who resented their following separate counsels. Unable to withstand such a multitude of foes, the Petellians sent ambassadors to Rome to solicit succour. The utmost compassion was excited in the breasts both of the senate and people by these men’s prayers and tears; for on being told that they must depend on themselves for safety, they burst out into piteous lamentations in the porch of the senate-house. The affair being proposed a second time to the consideration of the senators, by Manius Pomponius the prætor, after examining into the resources of the commonwealth in every quarter, they were obliged to acknowledge that they were not now in a capacity of assisting their distant allies; they therefore desired the ambassadors to return home, and after doing their utmost to fulfil the duty of faithful confederates, to provide for their own safety in the best manner the present circumstances would permit. When the result of this embassy was reported to the Petellians, their senate was suddenly seized with such grief and terror, that many of them advised to abandon the city, and seek refuge wherever each could find it; others, that since they were forsaken by their old connexions, they should unite with the rest of the Bruttians, and through their mediation surrender themselves to Hannibal. However, the majority were of opinion that no step should be taken rashly, or in a hurry; but that the matter should be considered anew. Accordingly it was taken under deliberation on the following day, when their fears had in some measure subsided, the more considerable persons prevailing on them to bring in all their effects from the country, and to fortify the walls and the city.
XXI. About this time letters were brought to Rome from Sicily and Sardinia. Those written from Sicily by Titus Otacilius, pro-prætor, were first read in the senate; the contents were, that “Publius Furius, the prætor, had come from Africa to Lilybæum with his fleet, and that he himself was grievously wounded, so that his life was in imminent danger, that neither pay nor corn was furnished to the soldiers and marines at the regular times, nor were there any funds from which they could be obtained; that he earnestly recommended that supplies of these articles might be sent as soon as possible, and also, that, if it seemed proper, one of the new prætors might be appointed to succeed him in his employment.” The letters of Aulus Cornelius Mammula, pro-prætor, from Sardinia, were nearly of the same purport respecting hay and corn. To both the same answer was given, that there were no means of forwarding supplies, and that they themselves must take measures for providing for their fleets and armies. Titus Otacilius, however, sending ambassadors to Hiero, the only resource of the Roman people in that quarter, received from him as much money as was necessary for the pay of the troops, and corn sufficient for six months. In Sardinia, the allied states gave a liberal contribution to Cornelius. At Rome there was such a scarcity of money, that it was judged requisite, on a proposal made to that purpose, by Marcus Minucius, plebeian tribune, to constitute three public bankers; these were Lucius Æmilius Papus, who had been consul and censor, Marcus Atilius Regulus, who had been twice consul, and Lucius Scribonius Libo, who was then plebeian tribune. Two Atilii, Marcus and Caius, being appointed commissioners for the purpose, dedicated the temple of Concord, which Lucius Manlius had vowed in his prætorship. Three pontiffs were also elected, Quintus Cæcelius Metellus, Quintus Fabius Maximus, and Quintus Fulvius Fiaccus, in the room of Publius Scantinius, deceased, and of Lucius Æmilius Paullus, the consul, and Quintus Ælius Pætus, who had fallen in the battle of Cannæ.
XXII. When the senate had repaired, as far as could be effected by human wisdom, the losses sustained by other parts of the state, through the uninterrupted course of disasters in which fortune had involved them, they at length turned their thoughts on themselves, on the solitude that appeared in the senate house, and the small number of those who assembled in the great council of the nation: for the council had not been filled up since the censorship of Lucius Æmilius, and Caius Flaminius, although, during these five years, the unfortunate battles, besides the casualties to which every man is subject, had swept off such a number of its members. As the dictator was now gone, after the loss of Casilinum, to join the army, this business was, at the earnest request of all, proposed to the consideration of the senate by Manius Pomponius, a prætor. On which Spurius Carvilius, after having, in a long speech, lamented not only the fewness, but even the total want of citizens, who might be chosen into their body, said, that “for the purpose of filling up the senate, and of forming a closer connexion with the Latine nation, he recommended, with all the earnestness which a matter of that importance demanded, that, if the Roman fathers thought proper so to order, two senators out of each of the Latine states should be invested with the rights of citizens, and adopted in the room of the members deceased.” This proposition the senators heard with no less disgust than had been excited by a demand of the same purport, formerly made by the Latines themselves. A murmur of indignation, indeed, spread through every part of the assembly, Titus Manlius in particular, saying, that “there still existed one of the same race with that consul, who formerly declared in the Capitol, that he would with his own hand put to death any Latine whom he should see in the senate-house.” Quintus Fabius Maximus said, that “never was the mention of any business in that house more perfectly unseasonable than was (when the minds of the allies were in suspense, and their fidelity doubtful,) the touching on a subject which might create farther disquiet among them. That all present were bound to bury in universal forgetfulness those inconsiderate words of one individual; for that if ever any matter occurred in that house that demanded secrecy, and induced a solemn obligation to silence, it was this proposition, which, beyond every other, ought to be covered, concealed, and consigned to oblivion, and to pass as if it never had been uttered.” This prevented any farther discussion. They then came to a resolution, that a dictator should be created, to elect members into the senate; and that he should be a person who had formerly been censor, and was the first in seniority living, of those who had held that office. They likewise ordered, that the consul Caius Terentius should be sent for, in order to nominate the dictator. Leaving his troops in Apulia, he came thence by long journies to Rome, and pursuant to the decree of the senate, on the following night, according to the custom, nominated Marcus Fabius Buteo dictator, for six months, without a master of the horse.
XXIII. Buteo mounted the rostrum, attended by his lictors, and declared, that “he did not approve of two dictators at one time, of which there had hitherto been no precedent; neither was he content with his own appointment to the dictatorship, without a master of the horse; nor of the censorial power being entrusted to a single person, and to that person a second time: nor yet of authority being granted to a dictator for six months, unless he were to command in war. But those particulars, in which accident, the exigencies of the times, and necessity, had caused such irregularities, he would reduce into regular order. For, in the first place, he would not displace any of those senators whom Caius Flaminius and Lucius Æmilius had elected, in their censorship; he would only order the list of them to be transcribed, and read over; for no single person ought to have authority to judge and determine on the character and morals of a senator; and that, in substituting others in the room of those deceased, he would regulate his choice in such a manner, that the preference should be seen to lie between one rank and another, not between one man and another.” When the list of the old senate had been read, he then elected, first, in room of the deceased members, those who, since the censorship of Lucius Æmilius and Caius Flaminius, had obtained any curule magistracy, and had not yet been elected senators, and these in order, according to the priority of their appointments to office. Next, he made choice of those who had been ædiles, plebeian tribunes, or quæstors. Then, out of such as had never held a public office, he selected those who had spoils taken from an enemy hanging in their houses, or had received the prize of a civic crown. Having, in this manner, and with the entire approbation of all ranks of men, elected into the senate one hundred and seventy-seven members, he instantly abdicated his office, ordered the lictors to depart, and came down from the rostrum a private citizen. He then mixed with the crowd employed in their private concerns, or who were loitering in the Forum, and this he did to prevent them from quitting the place to escort him. However, the warmth of their zeal was not cooled by that delay, and they conducted him [Editor: illegible word] in vast numbers.
XXIV. On the following night, the consul set out on his return to the army, without acquainting the senate, lest he should be detained in the city on account of the elections: who next day, on the business being proposed by the prætor Manius Pomponius, decreed that a letter should be written to the dictator, with directions that, if he judged it consistent with the public good, he should come home to hold the election of consuls and should bring the master of the horse, and the prætor Marcus Marcellus, in order that government might learn from them in person, the state of the public affairs, and adopt such measures as circumstances required. All those came whose presence was desired, leaving lieutenant-generals to command the legions. The dictator, speaking briefly and modestly of his own services, attributed a great share of the honour acquired to the master of the horse, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. He then published a proclamation for an assembly of election, in which were created consuls, Lucius Postumius, the third time, being absent, employed in the government of the province of Gaul; and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, then master of the horse, and curule ædile. Then followed the choosing of prætors: these were Marcus Valerius Lævinus, Appius Claudius Pulcher, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, and Quintus Mucius Scævola. As soon as the appointment of magistrates was finished, the dictator returned to Teanum, the winter-quarters of his army, leaving the master of the horse at Rome; in order that, as he was to enter into office in a few days, he might take the judgment of the senate concerning the levying and procuring troops for the service of the year. While the public attention was employed principally on this business, an account was brought of a new disaster, fortune crowding into this year events of that nature in constant succession; this was, that Lucius Postumius, consul elect, together with his army, had been cut off in Gaul. On the road through which he was to lead his army, there was a wood of vast extent, the Gauls called it Latina: the trees of this wood, adjoining the road on the right and left, the Gauls had cut in such a manner, that as long as they were untouched they stood, but on being pushed, even with the slightest force, they fell. Postumius had with him two Roman legions, and had enlisted such numbers from among the allies on the coast of the upper sea, that he led an army of twenty-five thousand men into the enemy’s country. The Gauls posted themselves round the outer skirts of the wood, and, when the army on its march entered the pass, they then pushed the outermost trees of those which they had cut; these fell against the next, and those likewise against others unsteady before, until, overwhelming the Romans on all sides, they crushed in one universal ruin, men, horses, and arms; so that scarcely ten of them made their escape; the greater part were bruised to death by the trunks of the trees, or entangled in the fragments of branches, while the remainder, dismayed by this sudden and strange disaster, were slain by the Gauls, who, in arms, enclosed every part of the wood. Out of so great a number, a very few were taken prisoners; these pushing for a bridge which lay over a river, were intercepted by the enemy, who had taken possession of it before. Here Postumius fell, fighting with the utmost bravery to avoid being taken. This general’s head the Boians cut off, and, together with the spoils taken from his body, carried it in triumph into a temple, which they held in the highest reverence. Afterwards emptying the head, as their custom is, they enchased the skull with gold, and this they used as a consecrated vessel, out of which they made libations on high festivals; and as a cup to be drank out of by the officiating priest, and the other priests of the place. The booty also, which fell into the hands of the Gauls, was as abundant, as their victory was complete: for although hardly any escaped destruction from the falling of the wood, yet every thing else was found spread regularly along the line of the lifeless troops; because there had been no flight, and consequently no removal of any thing.
XXV. On the news of this calamity, such dismay possessed the public during several days, that the shops were shut, and solitude, like that of midnight, prevailed through the whole city, until the government charged the ædiles to go round through all the streets, to order the shops to be opened, and this appearance of public mourning to be laid aside. Then Tiberius Sempronius, assembling the senate, endeavoured to console them by saying, that “they who had not sunk under the ruinous disaster at Cannæ, should not let their courage be depressed by misfortunes of less moment.” He observed, that “provided their operations against Hannibal, and their Carthaginian enemies, were attended with success, (as he hoped they would,) the prosecution of the war against the Gauls might, without danger, be suspended; and that it would be always in the power of the gods and of the Roman people to take ample vengeance for their treachery. It was their business, therefore, to consult and deliberate on the measures to be taken against the Carthaginian, and on the strength with which that war was to be conducted.” He gave them a detail of the numbers of infantry and cavalry, of Romans, and of allies, in the dictator’s army: then Marcellus laid before them the amount of his own troops, while inquiry was made as to the force in Apulia, with the consul Caius Terentius. But no plan could be devised, of forming consular armies sufficiently powerful to cope with such formidable enemies. Wherefore, though strongly stimulated by just resentment, they determined to suspend all proceedings against Gaul for that year. The dictator’s army was decreed to the consul. It was resolved that those soldiers in Marcellus’s army, who had fled from Cannæ, should be transported into Sicily, and serve there as long as the war should continue in Italy; and that to the same place should be sent the least able in the dictator’s legions, but there was no order that these should be detained during any particular term, but only for the number of campaigns directed by law. The two city legions were assigned to the other consul, who should be substituted in the room of Lucius Postumius; who, it was determined, should be elected as soon as it could be done with permission of the auspices: that two legions should be brought home, with all expedition, from Sicily; out of which, the consul appointed to the charge of those of the city, should take as many soldiers as should be necessary; that the consul Caius Terentius should be continued in command for a year, and that no diminution should be made in the force employed under him for the defence of Apulia.
XXVI. During the period in which those events took place, and these preparations were making in Italy, the war was prosecuted with no less vigour in Spain, but success had hitherto inclined to the Romans. The two Scipios, Publius and Cneius, divided the forces between them, that Cneius might conduct the operations on land, and Publius those at sea; while Hasdrubal, who commanded the Carthaginians, having little confidence in any strength that he could muster against either, kept aloof, relying for safety on the distance and on the nature of the ground, until, after long and frequent solicitations, a reinforcement was sent him from Africa, of four thousand foot and five hundred horse. At length resuming hopes, he removed his camp nearer to the enemy, and gave orders, in person, for preparing and fitting out a fleet, for the protection of the islands, and the sea-coast. In the midst of the hurry of his preparations for recommencing the war anew, he was greatly alarmed by the desertion of the commanders of his ships, who, having been severely reprimanded for abandoning the fleet at the Iberus, in a cowardly manner, had never since been very faithfully disposed, either to the general, or the interest of the Carthaginians. These deserters had excited an insurrection in the country of the Tartessians, where, at their instigation, several cities had revolted, and one they had even taken by storm. Instead, therefore, of directing his operations against the Romans, he turned them against his own nation; and, having entered their territory in an hostile manner, resolved to attack Galbus, a general of high reputation, commander of that people, who, with a powerful force, kept close within his camp, under the walls of the city, which had been taken a few days before. Accordingly, sending forward his light-armed troops to draw out the revolters to battle, he despatced part of his infantry to ravage the lands, on all sides, and pick up stragglers: thus, at the same time, the camp was alarmed, and the country filled with flight and slaughter. At length, when by different roads, the fugitives had escaped within their works, they so entirely got rid of their panic, that they had courage sufficient, not only to defend them, but even to challenge Hasdrubal to battle. They sallied out therefore in a body from the camp, dancing according to their custom; and their unexpected boldness struck terror into those who, a little before, took pains to provoke them. Hasdrubal, therefore, drew back his forces to an eminence of considerable height, and farther secured by a river running at the foot of it, ordering the advanced party of light troops, and the scattered horsemen, to retreat to the same place; but still not thinking himself sufficiently secured by the hill or the river, he fortified his camp completely with a rampart. While they thus terrified each other alternately, several skirmishes took place, in which the Numidian cavalry proved not a match for the Spanish, nor the Mauritanian javelin bearer for the targeteer; the latter possessing, together with equal activity, much greater strength and much more courage.
XXVII. The Tartessians, finding, that they could not, by advancing to his camp, entice the Carthaginian to an engagement; and that, on the other hand, an assault on it would be attended with much difficulty, stormed the city of Asena, where Hasdrubal, on entering their territory, had stored up his corn and other provisions: and this gave them the command of all the adjacent country. And now they could no longer, either on a march, or in a camp, be kept in order by any command. As soon, therefore, as Hasdrubal perceived that success had, as usual, begotten such disorder, he exhorted his men to attack them while they straggled without their standards; and descending from the hill, proceeded, in order of battle, towards their camp. His approach being announced by messengers, flying back in consternation from the watch posts and advanced guards, the general alarm was given; on which, as fast as each could take up his arms, without command, without signal, without regard to any regular disposition, or even to ranks, they rushed out to battle. The foremost had already engaged in fight, while some ran up, in small parties, and others had not yet come out of the camp. However, at the beginning, merely through their daring boldness, they struck terror into the Carthaginians; but afterwards, as their thin ranks closed with the compact bands of these, the danger, from the smallness of their numbers, becoming apparent, each began to look about for support, and, being repulsed in all parts, they collected themselves in a circle. Here, crowding together, they were driven into such a narrow compass, that they had scarcely room to move their arms, and, in this situation, were entirely surrounded, so that the slaughter of them continued through the greater part of the day. A small number, having forced a passage, made off to the woods and mountains; with like consternation, the camp was abandoned, and the whole nation, the day following, submitted to the conqueror. But it did not continue long in a state of peace: for orders were brought at several times from Carthage that Hasdrubal should, with all speed, lead his army into Italy. The report of this intended procedure, spreading through Spain, wrought a change in the disposition of almost every state, in favour of the Romans. Hasdrubal, therefore, immediately despatched a letter to Carthage, representing what mischief the said report of his departure had occasioned. That “if he were really to remove thence, the Romans would be masters of Spain, before he should cross the Iberus. For, besides that he had neither forces, nor commander, whom he could leave in his place, the Roman generals were such, that, with strength equal to theirs, it was scarcely possible to withstand them; wherefore, if they had any regard for the country in question, they ought to send a successor in his room, with a powerful army; who, though all events should prove prosperous, would find in the province but little time for repose.”
XXVIII. Although this letter made a considerable impression on the senate, yet deeming Italy of superior importance, and entitled to the first attention, they made no change in the orders respecting Hasdrubal and his forces. Himilco was sent with a complete army and an extraordinary number of ships, in order to maintain a superiority in Spain, both by land and sea, and to defend it from all attacks. After transporting his land and sea forces, he fortified a camp, drew up the ships on land, and surrounded them with a rampart; and then, attended by a body of chosen horsemen, with all possible expedition, and with the same precautions in passing through nations whose attachment was doubtful, as through those who were professed enemies, he came to Hasdrubal. As soon as he had communicated to him the decrees and orders of the senate, and learned from him, in turn, the method in which the war in Spain was to be conducted, he returned without delay to his own camp, being indebted for safety to the celerity of his motions; for, before a plot could be concerted, any where, against him, he had always left the place. Hasdrubal, previously to his march, imposed contributions on all the states under his authority; for he well knew that Hannibal had, on several occasions, purchased a passage; that no consideration, but that of pay, made his Gallic auxiliaries remain with him; and that, if he had undertaken such an expedition, unprovided with money, he could scarcely have penetrated so far as to the Alps. Having therefore, with violent haste, exacted the same, he marched down to the Iberus. When the Romans were informed of the decrees of the Carthaginians, and of Hasdrubal’s movement, the two commanders, renouncing every other business, determined with their united forces to obstruct and put a stop to his enterprise. For they considered, that, if Hannibal, whose single force Italy could hardly withstand, should be joined by the Spanish army with Hasdrubal at its head, there would be an end of the Roman empire. Anxiously intent on effecting this purpose, they made a junction of their forces on the bank of the Iberus, and, crossing the river, held a long consultation whether they should directly face the enemy, or be content with detaining him, by attacking his allies. The result was, that they determined to lay siege to the city called Ibera, from the river near which it stood, at that time the most opulent in all that part of the country. When Hasdrubal understood this, instead of bringing succour to his allies, he likewise proceeded to besiege a town, lately put under the protection of the Romans: in consequence of which, the siege already formed by the latter was raised, and their force directed against Hasdrubal himself.
XXIX. For a few days, they remained encamped at the distance, from each other, of five miles, not without skirmishes, but neither party offering battle. At length, on one and the same day, both, as if by concert, displayed the signal for fighting, and brought their whole force into the field. The Romans were formed in three lines; one half of the light troops were posted among the battalions in the front, the other half were sent back to the rear; the cavalry covered the wings. Hasdrubal composed the centre of his line of Spaniards; on the right wing, he posted his Carthaginians; on the left, the Africans and hired auxiliaries; his cavalry he placed on the wings, annexing the Numidians to the Carthaginian infantry, the others to the Africans. However, all the Numidians were not placed on the right wing, but those only, whose practice it was, to bring two horses each into the field, and often in the very hottest of the fight to spring, notwithstanding the weight of their armour, from the wearied horse upon the fresh one, like those who exhibit feats of activity as a show; so great is the agility of the men, and so docile their breed of horses. While they stood, ranged in this manner, the hopes entertained by the commanders were pretty nearly equal on both sides: for neither one party nor the other had any very great advantage, either in the number, or qualifications of their men. But the sentiments of the soldiery were widely different: for the Romans had been easily brought by their commanders to believe, that though they fought at a great distance from their country, yet their efforts were to decide the fate of Italy, and of the city of Rome. Therefore, as their return to their native soil depended on the issue of that battle, they had come to a determined resolution, either to conquer or die. The men who composed the opposite army were not possessed of such inflexible firmness; for the greatest part of them were Spaniards, who wished rather to be defeated in Spain, than, after gaining the victory, to be dragged into Italy. No sooner therefore was the first onset made, than almost, before the javelins were thrown, the centre of their line began to give way; and, on being vigorously pressed by the Romans, turned their backs. On the wings, however, the fight was maintained with spirit; the Carthaginians on the one, and the Africans on the other, charging with briskness, and, as they had their enemy in a manner inclosed between them, attacking them on both sides. But as soon as the whole of the Roman troops had once come together into the centre, its strength was sufficient to compel the wings to retire in opposite directions. Thus there were two distinct battles; and, in both, the Romans, who, after the defeat of the enemy’s centre, had the superiority both in the number and strength of their men, were completely victorious. In this engagement, vast numbers of the enemy were slain; and, had not the Spaniards fled so precipitately before the battle was well begun, very few of their whole army would have survived. The cavalry had no share in the engagement: for, as soon as the Moors and Numidians saw the centre giving way, they instantly betook themselves to a precipitate flight, leaving the wings uncovered, and driving the elephants before them. Hasdrubal, after staying until the fortune of the day was finally decided, made his escape from the midst of the carnage, accompanied by a few. His camp was taken and plundered by the Romans. If the inclinations of any people in Spain were hitherto doubtful, this battle fixed them in the interest of the Romans, and deprived Hasdrubal of every hope, not only of leading an army into Italy, but even of remaining in Spain with any degree of safety. These events being made known at Rome, by letters from the Scipios, caused universal rejoicing, not so much in consideration of the victory itself, as of Hasdrubal’s being thereby prevented from bringing his army into Italy.
XXX. While affairs in Spain proceeded in this manner, the city of Petellia in Bruttium was, after a siege of several months, taken by Himilco, an officer of Hannibal’s. This conquest cost the Carthaginians abundance of blood; but it was not force, so much as famine. that overcame the besieged: for, after having consumed all kinds of eatable fruits, and the flesh of every kind of four-footed beast, they lived at last on the leather of their shields, on herbs and roots, and the tender bark of trees, with berries gathered from the brambles. Nor were they prevailed on to surrender, until their strength was so entirely exhausted, that they were unable to stand on the walls, or to carry their arms. After getting possession of Petellia, the Carthaginian led his forces against Consentia, which was not defended with equal obstinacy, but capitulated in a few days. About the same time, an army of Bruttians invested Croton, a Greek city, formerly powerful in men and arms, but now reduced so low, by many and heavy misfortunes, that the number of its citizens of every age amounted to not quite twenty thousand. The place, therefore, being destitute of men for its defence, was easily mastered. The citadel alone held out, into which, during the confusion consequent to the storming of the city, and while the other inhabitants were put to the sword, some had made their escape. The Locrians too revolted to the Bruttians and Carthaginians, through the treachery of the nobles, who betrayed the populace. The Rhegians alone, in all that tract, maintained to the last their alliance with Rome, and their own independence. The same disposition to change spread also into Sicily, and even the family of Hiero was not entirely uninfected with the spirit of revolt: for Gelo, his eldest son, having conceived a contempt of his father’s declining age, and also, since the defeat at Cannæ, of the Roman connexion, joined the Carthaginians, and would have caused much disturbance in Sicily, had not a death so seasonable, that it threw some stain of suspicion even on his father, carried him off, while he was busy in arming the populace, and courting alliances. Such were the transactions of this year, prosperous and otherwise in Italy, Africa, Sicily, and Spain. Towards the close of the year, Quintus Fabius Maximus demanded of the senate, that he might be allowed to dedicate the temple of Venus Erycina, which he had vowed in his dictatorship; and the senate decreed, that Tiberius Sempronius, consul elect, should, as soon as he entered into office, propose to the people the creation of Quintus Fabius, duumvir, for performing the dedication of that temple. In honour of Marcus Æmilius Lepidus, who had been twice consul, and an augur, his three sons, Lucius, Marcus, and Quintus, celebrated funeral games, which lasted three days; in the course of which, they exhibited, in the Forum, twenty-two pairs of gladiators. The curule ædiles, Caius Lætorius and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, consul elect, who, during his ædileship, had likewise been master of the horse, performed the Roman games, which were also repeated during three days. The plebeian games of the ædiles, Marcus Aurelius Cotta and Marcus Claudius Marcellus, were thrice repeated.Y.R. 537. 215. At the conclusion of this third year of the Punic war, Tiberius Sempronius, consul, assumed the administration of his office on the ides of March. Of the prætors, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, who had formerly been twice consul, and likewise censor, held the city jurisdiction, and Marcus Valerius Lævinus that respecting foreigners. The lots gave to Appius Claudius Pulcher the province of Sicily; to Quintus Mucius Scævola that of Sardinia. The people ordained, that Marcus Marcellus should have authority as proconsul, in consideration of his being the only one of the Roman commanders, who, since the disaster at Cannæ, had fought with success.
XXXI. The senate, on the first day of their meeting upon business in the Capitol, passed a decree, that double taxes should be imposed for that year, of which, one half should be levied without delay, for the purpose of giving immediate pay to all the troops, excepting those who had been at Cannæ. With respect to the several armies they ordered, that the consul Tiberius Sempronius should appoint a day for the two city legions to repair to Cale, from whence these legions should be conducted to the Claudian camp, above Suessula. As to the legions which were there, consisting mostly of the troops who had been at Cannæ, it was ordered, that Appius Claudius Pulcher, the prætor, should transport them into Sicily, and that those then in Sicily should be brought home to Rome. To the army appointed to assemble at Cale, Marcus Claudius Marcellus was sent with orders, to lead off those city legions to the Claudian camp. Appius Claudius sent Titus Metellius Croto, lieutenant general, to take the command of the old army, and transport it into Sicily. People had at first expected in silence, that the consul would call an assembly for the election of a colleague in his office: afterwards, when they saw that Marcus Marcellus, whom above all others they wished to be appointed consul for that year, on account of his extraordinary successful conduct in his prætorship, was, as it were purposely, sent out of the way, a murmur arose in the senate-house; on observing which, the consul said, “Conscript Fathers, the public service required, that Marcus Claudius should go into Campania, to make the exchange of the armies; and that a day of election should not be proclaimed until his return, after finishing the business given him in charge, that you may have the consul whom the exigencies of the state require, and who is most agreeable to your wishes.” After this, there was no mention of an election until Marcellus returned. In the mean time, Quintus Fabius Maximus, and Titus Otacilius Crassus, were created duumvirs for the dedication of temples, the latter to dedicate one to Mens, the former, that to Venus Erycina. Both stand in the Capitol, separated by a channel running between them. A proposition was then offered to the people respecting the three hundred Campanian horsemen, who, after faithfully serving out their legal term in Sicily, had returned to Rome, that they should be admitted Roman citizens; and moreover, that they should be deemed to have been citizens of Cumæ, from the day preceding that on which the people of Campania revolted from the Romans. The passing of this law was expedited by the representation of the men themselves, that they knew not to what people they belonged, having renounced their original country, and being not yet adopted into that to which they had returned from abroad. As soon as Marcellus came home from the army, an assembly was summoned for the choice of a consul, in the room of Lucius Postumius. Marcellus was unanimously elected, and ordered to enter immediately into office; but just as he was about to assume the administration, thunder was heard, and the augurs being called, pronounced, that there must have been a defect in the election; whereupon the patricians openly asserted that the appointment of two plebeians to the consulship, of which there had never before been an instance, was what gave displeasure to the gods. On this, Marcellus abdicated the office, in the place of whom was substituted Fabius Maximus, who had twice before been honoured with it. This year the sea appeared on fire; a cow at Sinuessa brought forth a foal; the statues in the temple of Juno Sospita at Lanuvium sweated blood; and a shower of stones fell round the same temple. On account of this shower the nine days’ worship, usual on like occasions, was performed, and the prodigies were carefully expiated.
XXXII. The consuls then made division of the forces assigned them. The army which had been with Marcus Junius, the dictator, fell to the share of Fabius; and that which had been composed of volunteer* slaves, together with twenty-five thousand of the allies, was given to Sempronius. The legions, to be brought home from Sicily, were decreed to Marcus Valerius, the prætor; and Marcus Claudius, proconsul, was sent to command the army, encamped above Suessula, for the protection of Nola. The prætors set out for Sicily and Sardinia. The consuls gave public orders, that whenever they should summon a meeting of the senate, the senators and persons entitled to the privilege of speaking in council,† should assemble at the Capuan gate. The prætors, presiding in the courts of justice, fixed their tribunals in the public fish-market; where they ordered all parties concerned to attend, and there justice was administered during that year. In the mean time, when Mago, Hannibal’s brother, was just ready at Carthage to carry over into Italy twelve thousand foot, and one thousand five hundred horse, twenty elephants, and one thousand talents of silver*, under the convoy of sixty ships of war, news arrived, that the army in Spain had been defeated, and that almost every state of that province had gone over to the Romans. Several were now of opinion that they ought, for the present, to lay aside all concern for Italy, and send Mago, with the fleet and army under his command, into Spain. And at this very juncture, a flattering prospect suddenly presented itself, of recovering the possession of Sardinia: for they were told, that “the Roman army there was small, and that Aulus Cornelius, the present prætor, who was well acquainted with the province, was preparing to leave it, and that a new one was expected. They were informed also that the minds of the Sardinians were become dissatisfied, under the burden of a foreign government of so long continuance; which had, during the last year, been marked with cruelty and avarice; that the people were oppressed with grievous taxes, and an unreasonable contribution of corn, and that nothing was wanting, but a head to whom they might transfer their allegiance.” This intelligence was conveyed by a secret embassy from the principal inhabitants, at the instigation chiefly of Hampsicora, who at that time possessed a share of interest and influence, far exceeding that of any other man in the island. These accounts arriving together almost at the same moment, stunned and revived them. They sent Mago with his fleet and army into Spain, and appointed Hasdrubal, surnamed the Bald, their general for Sardinia, assigning him a number of forces, nearly equal to what they had given Mago. At Rome, the consuls, after finishing every business that was to be performed in the city, were now actively employed in preparations for the campaign. Tiberius Sempronius published a proclamation, that his soldiers should assemble at Sinuessa on an appointed day; and Quintus Fabius, with the approbation of the senate, issued another, that all persons should carry in their corn, of all kinds, from the fields to the fortified towns, before the calends of June next ensuing; and that if any disobeyed this order, his farm should be laid waste, his slaves sold by auction, and his farm-houses burnt. Even the prætors appointed to preside in the courts of justice were not allowed an exemption from military employments: it was determined that the prætor Valerius should go into Apulia, to receive the command of the army from Terentius, and that when the legions from Sicily should arrive, he should employ them principally in the defence of the country, and send in their stead Terentius’s army under some lieutenant-general. Twenty-five ships were also put under the command of Publius Valerius, the city prætor, that with them he might protect the sea-coast between Brundusium and Tarentum. An equal number were assigned to Quintus Fulvius, for securing the coasts nearest to the city. Caius Terentius, proconsul, was ordered to press soldiers in the territory of Picenum, and to provide for the security of that part of the country; and Titus Otacilius Crassus, when he had dedicated the temple of Mens, was sent into Sicily, and invested with the command of the fleet.
XXXIII. On this contest, between the two most powerful nations in the world, all kings and nations kept their attention earnestly fixed; but more particularly, Philip, king of Macedonia, because he was nearer to Italy than any other, being separated from it only by the Ionian sea. When he first received information of Hannibal having passed the Alps, as he was overjoyed at the breaking out of war between the Romans and Carthaginians, so, as long as there was no important trial of their strength, his judgment remained equally balanced between the parties, uncertain to which he should wish success. But, when he saw that the Carthaginians had fought three battles, and in each of the three had proved victorious, the scale turned to the side favoured by fortune, and he despatched ambassadors to Hannibal. These, shunning the harbours of Brundusium and Tarentum, because they were guarded by the Roman squadrons, landed at the temple of Juno Lacinia; taking their way thence through Apulia, towards Capua, they fell in with the Roman posts, and were by them conducted to the prætor, Marcus Valerius Lævinus, then encamped near Luceria. Here Xenophanes, who was at the head of the embassy, with perfect composure declared, that he had been sent by king Philip to conclude a treaty of alliance and friendship with the Roman people, and was charged with despatches for the consuls, and for the senate and people of Rome. Valerius, highly delighted with the prospect of a new alliance with a king of such distinguished reputation, at a time when the defection of the old allies had become so general, received these enemies with every degree of courtesy as guests, and gave them an escort, who were ordered to point out carefully the roads, and what places, and what passes, were held by the Romans, or by the enemy. Xenophanes, after passing through the Roman posts into Campania, came thence, by the shortest road, into the camp of Hannibal, and concluded a treaty of alliance and friendship with him on these terms: that “king Philip, with the largest fleet that he could fit out, (and it was supposed that he would be able to make up the number of two hundred ships,) should come over into Italy, lay waste the sea-coast, and annoy the enemy by sea and land, as far as lay in his power. On the conclusion of the war, all Italy, with the city of Rome itself, should be the property of Hannibal and the Carthaginians, and all the booty should be at the disposal of Hannibal. As soon as the conquest of Italy should be completed, the Carthaginians should sail into Greece, and wage war against such nations as the king should direct, and all conquests to be made on the continent, and all the islands on the coast of Macedonia, should be the property of Philip, and united to his dominions.”
XXXIV. On these conditions, principally, was a treaty concluded between the Carthaginian general and the Macedonian ambassadors; and with the latter were sent Gisco, Bostar, and Mago, in quality of ambassadors to receive the ratification of it from the king in person. They arrived at the same spot near the temple of Juno Lacinia, where a ship lay waiting for them in a secret creek. Having set sail from thence, and got into the open sea, they were descried by the Roman fleet which guarded the coasts of Calabria: and Publius Valerius Flaccus despatched some Corcyran fly-boats to pursue and bring back the ship. On which the king’s party endeavoured, at first, to escape; but, afterwards, finding that they were inferior in swiftness of sail, they surrendered themselves to the Romans, and were brought to the commander of the fleet. When he inquired who they were, whence, and whither they were bound, Xenophanes, at first, repeated the feigned story, which had once already succeeded very well, “that he had been sent by Philip to the Romans, and had proceeded as far as the quarters of Marcus Valerius, but could go no farther with safety, as it was not in his power to make his way through Campania, every pass there being guarded by the enemy.” Afterwards, the Carthaginian dress and manners raised some suspicion of Hannibal’s ambassadors; and, some questions being put to them, their language betrayed them; on which, their attendants were removed into separate places, and terrified with menaces, by which means Hannibal’s letter to Philip was discovered, and also the articles of the convention between the Macedonian king and the Carthaginian general. Their designs being thus fully detected, it was judged most adviseable, that the prisoners, and their accompaniers, should with all speed be conveyed to the senate at Rome, or to the consuls, wherever they were. For this service five of the quickest sailing vessels were chosen, and the command of them given to Lucius Valerius Antias, who received orders to distribute the ambassadors through all the ships, to be kept separate under guards, and to take care that there should be no conversation or communication between them. About this time, Aulus Cornelius Mammula, returning from the province of Sardinia to Rome, gave a representation of the state of affairs in that island; that all the people were inclined to revolt; that Quintus Mucius, his successor in the government, had on his coming been so affected by the grossness and moisture of the air, that he fell into a disorder, not so dangerous, as tedious, and consequently would, for a long time, be incapable of military service; and that the army there, though strong enough for the maintenance of order in the province, during a time of peace, was yet very unequal to the support of the war, which appeared ready to break out. On this the senate decreed, that Quintus Fulvius Flaccus should enlist five thousand foot, and four hundred horse; that he should take care to have this legion conveyed to Sardinia without any delay; and that he should send some proper person, commissioned to conduct the business of the war, until Mucius’s health should be re-established. In this employment was sent Titus Manlius Torquatus, who had been twice consul, and likewise consor, and who had, in one of his consulates, subdued Sardinia. About the same time the fleet from Carthage for Sardinia, under Hasdrubal, surnamed the Bald, after suffering severely in a violent storm, was driven out of its course to the Balearick isles, where a great deal of time was lost in docking and repairing the ships, for not only their rigging, but even their hulls, had been damaged.
XXXV. On the side of Italy, the prosecution of the war, since the battle of Cannæ, had been less vigorous than usual, the strength of one party being broken, and the courage of the other enervated. The Campanians, therefore, undertook to bring the state of Cumæ into subjection to themselves. At first, they tried to prevail on that people to renounce the alliance of Rome; but not succeeding in that method, contrived a stratagem to circumvent them. There was a stated festival at Hamæ, at which all the Campanians used to attend. They told the Cumans, that the Campanian senate would come thither, and requested that the senate of Cumæ might likewise come, in order that they might consult together, and, with common consent, adopt such measures as that both states might have the same friends and the same foes; they themsleves, they said, would bring an armed force for their protection, so that there would be no danger either from the Romans or Carthaginians. The Cumans, though they suspected treachery, yet offered no objection, thinking this the best way to cover the deception, which they meditated. In the mean-time Tiberius Sempronius, the Roman consul, after performing the purification of his army at Sinuessa, where he had appointed them to assemble, crossed the river Vulturnus, and encamped at Liternum. As he had in this post no employment for his arms, he obliged the soldiers frequently to go through their exercise, that the recruits, of whom the greatest part were volunteer-slaves, might learn from practice to follow the standards, and to know their own centuries in the field. In the midst of these employments, the general’s principal care was, and he accordingly gave charges to the lieutenants-general and tribunes, that “no reproach, cast on any one on account of his former condition, should sow discord among the troops; that the veteran soldier should be satisfied at being put on a level with the recruit, the freeman with the volunteer-slave; that they should account every one sufficiently honourable and well-born, to whom the Roman people entrusted their arms and standards; observing that, whatever measures fortune made it necessary to adopt, it was equally necessary to support these when adopted.” These directions were not more carefully inculcated by the officers than observed by the soldiers; insomuch that, in a short time, they all became united in such a perfect harmony of sentiment, that it was almost forgotten what each man had been before he became a soldier. While Gracchus was thus employed, ambassadors from Cumæ brought him information of the embassy which had come to them, a few days before, from the Campanians, and the answer which they had returned, and told him, that the festival would begin on the third day following, and that not only the whole senate, but the camp and army of the Campanians would be present. Having ordered the Cumans to convey all their effects out of the fields into the city, and to keep close within the walls, Gracchus himself removed to Cumæ, on the day previous to that which the Campanians had fixed for the commencement of their sacrifices. From hence Hamæ was three miles distant. The Campanians, as had been concerted, had assembled here in great numbers, and at a small distance, Marius Alfius, who was Medixtuticus, that is, the chief magistrate of the Campanians, with fourteen thousand soldiers, was secretly encamped, and was much more busily employed in preparations for the festival, and in the measures requisite for the execution of the treacherous project, than in fortifying his camp, or any other military work. The festival at Hamæ was to last three days, and the rites began after night-fall, so as to be finished at midnight. This hour Gracchus judged the most proper for a surprise, and accordingly, posting guards at the gates to prevent any one carrying intelligence of his design, he obliged the soldiers to spend the time from the tenth hour in taking refreshment and getting some sleep, that they might assemble on a signal as soon as it grew dark; then, about the first watch, he ordered the standards to be raised, and marching out in silence arrived at Hamæ at midnight. Here, finding the Campanian camp in a neglected state, as might be expected from the soldiers having spent the night without sleep, he assaulted it through all the gates at once, and put the men to the sword, some as they lay stretched on the ground, others as they returned unarmed after finishing the sacrifices. In the tumultuous action of this night, there were more than two thousand men slain, together with their general Marius Alfius, and thirty-four military standards taken.
XXXVI. Gracchus, after making himself master of the enemy’s camp with the loss of less than one hundred men, returned quickly to Cumæ, being afraid of Hannibal, who had his camp on the Tifata over Capua. Nor was his judgment mistaken in dictating this provident step; for no sooner had the news of the overthrow reached Hannibal, than he marched by Capua with the utmost rapidity, expecting to find at Hamæ an army, which consisted for the most part of raw recruits and slaves, indulging extravagant joy in consequence of success, and employed in gathering the spoils of the vanquished, and driving off their booty. He ordered such of the Campanians as he met in their flight, to be conducted to Capua, under an escort, and the wounded to be conveyed in carriages. At Hamæ he found nothing but the traces of the recent carnage, and the ground covered with the bodies of his allies. Several now advised him to proceed directly to Cumæ, and attack that city: but, though it accorded with his anxious wishes to have Cumæ at least as a sea port, since he could not get possession of Neapolis, nevertheless, as his soldiers, on their hasty march, had brought nothing but their arms, he retired back to his camp on the Tifata. Being afterwards earnestly urged to the attack by the Campanians, he returned next day to Cumæ with every thing requisite for a siege, and after utterly wasting the country, pitched his camp at the distance of a mile from the city, in which Gracchus had determined to stay, rather through the shame of abandoning, at such a perilous juncture, allies imploring protection from him and the Roman people, than from any great confidence in his troops. Neither could the other consul, Fabius, who had his camp at Cales, venture to cross the river Vulturnus, being engaged at first in taking new auspices, afterwards in attending to prodigies, which were reported one after another; beside, while expiating these, he was told by the aruspices, that it would not be easy to obtain favour of the gods.
XXXVII. While Fabius was prevented from stirring by these causes, Sempronius was held besieged, and now was even exposed to the attacks of machines. Against a huge wooden tower, which was brought up near to the town, the Roman consul raised another tower, much more elevated, by fixing strong piles contiguous to the wall, which in itself was very high. This the besieged formed into a platform, whence, throwing stones, javelins, and other missile weapons, they maintained the defence of their works and city. At last, when the machine had approached close to the wall, and with blazing firebrands, they threw on it all at once an immense quantity of combustibles; while the soldiers within, terrified by the flames, cast themselves down headlong from the same. The garrison, sallying out from two gates at the very time, overthrew the enemy’s advanced guards, and drove them back to their camp; so that the Carthaginian was, on that day, more like a person besieged than besieging. One thousand three hundred of the Carthaginians were slain, and fifty-nine taken prisoners, who, standing careless and negligently near the walls, and on the advanced posts, and fearing nothing less than a sally, were surprised unawares. Gracchus sounded a retreat before the enemy should recover from their sudden fright, and drew back his men within the walls. Next day Hannibal, supposing that the consul, elated with success, would be willing to try the issue of a regular engagement, drew up his forces in order of battle between his camp and the city: but when he saw that not a man stirred, except in the customary guard of the town, and that nothing would be hazarded on inconsiderate hopes, he returned with disappointment to the Tifata. At the very time of the raising the siege of Cumæ, Tiberius Sempronius, surnamed Longus, fought with success against Hanno at Grumentum in Lucania, killed above two thousand of the enemy, and took forty-one military standards, losing two hundred and eighty of his own men. Hanno, expelled from the Lucanian territories, retreated backward into Bruttium. In another quarter, three towns of the Hirpinians, which had revolted from the Roman people, were attacked and retaken by the prætor, Marcus Valerius. Vercellius and Sicilius, the instigators of the revolt, were beheaded, and above one thousand of the prisoners exposed to sale: the rest of the booty was bestowed on the soldiers, and then the troops were led back to Luceria.
XXXVIII. While affairs proceeded thus in Lucania and Hirpinia, the five ships carrying the captive ambassadors of the Macedonians and Carthaginians to Rome, after making a circuit from the upper sea to the lower, round the greater part of the coast of Italy, were sailing by Cumæ, when they were observed by Gracchus, who, not knowing whether they belonged to friends or enemies, sent a part of his fleet to meet them. Here mutual inquiries discovering that the consul was at Cumæ, the ships put into that harbour, the prisoners were conducted to the consul, and the packet they had in charge delivered to him. Having read the letters of Philip and Hannibal, he inclosed, and sent them to the senate by land, ordering the ambassadors to be conveyed thither by sea. These, with the inclosures, arrived at Rome on the same day, or nearly; and the answers of the former on their examination being conformable to the contents of the letters, the senate were at first grievously perplexed at the prospect of such a formidable war impending from Macedonia, when they were scarcely able to support that with the Carthaginians. Yet, so far were they from suffering their courage to be depressed, that they instantly began to deliberate how they might, by offensive operations, divert the enemy from Italy. After ordering the prisoners to be kept in close confinement, and their attendants to be exposed to public sale, they decreed, that, besides the twenty ships, under the command of Publius Valerius Flaccus, twenty-five others should be got ready for sea. These being equipped and launched, and joined by the five which had brought the captive ambassadors, set sail from Ostia for Tarentum, and orders were sent to Publius Valerius to take on board them the soldiers, formerly commanded by Varro, and who were then at Tarentum under Lucius Apustius, lieutenant-general; and, with his fleet, which would then consist of fifty ships, not only to protect the coast of Italy, but to procure intelligence concerning the hostile designs of the Macedonians. If Philip’s intentions were found to correspond with the letters, and the informations of the ambassadors, he was then to forward intelligence of this to the prætor, Marcus Valerius, who, leaving the command of the army to his lieutenant-general, Lucius Apustius, and hastening to Tarentum to the fleet, was to cross over into Macedonia with all expedition, and use his best endeavours to detain Philip in his own dominions. For the maintenance of the fleet, and the support of the war with Macedonia, that money was ordered to be applied, which had been sent into Sicily to Appius Claudius to be returned to King Hiero, and this was conveyed to Tarentum by the lieutenant-general, Lucius Apustius. Together with it, were sent by Hiero two hundred thousand pecks of wheat, and one hundred thousand of barley.
XXXIX. While the Romans were employed in this manner, and making such preparations, the captured ship, which had been sent with the others to Rome, made its escape on the voyage, and returned to Philip; by which means he learned, that his ambassadors, with the letters, had fallen into the hands of the Romans. Wherefore, as he knew not what terms of agreement had been settled between them and Hannibal, nor what accounts they would have brought him, he despatched another embassy with the same instructions. The persons employed in this commission to Hannibal were Heraclitus, surnamed Scotinus, Crito Berræus, and Sositheus Magnes: these effected the business with which they were charged, without meeting any obstruction, either in going or returning. But the summer had passed away before Philip could put himself in motion, or enter on any enterprise: so important were the consequences attending the capture of that single vessel with the ambassadors, as to defer the war with which the Romans were threatened. With regard to the campaign in the neighbourhood of Capua, Fabius, after expiating the prodigies, passed the Vulturnus, and then both the consuls entered on action. Fabius took by assault Combulteria, Trebula, and Saticula, (cities which had revolted to the Carthaginian,) and in them were made prisoners Hannibal’s garrisons, and vast numbers of Campanians. At Nola, as was the case the year before, the senate being inclined to the side of the Romans, and the populace to that of the Carthaginians, the latter held secret cabals, in which schemes were formed for massacreing the nobility and delivering up the city: but to prevent their designs taking effect, Fabius, marching his army across between Capua and Hannibal’s camp on the Tifata, took post over Suessula in the Claudian camp, and thence detached Marcus Marcellus, proconsul, with the troops under his command, to secure the possession of Nola.
XL. In Sardinia the business of the campaign, which had been suspended ever since the prætor Quintus Mucius had been seized with a severe disorder, began to be prosecuted by Titus Manlius, who, drawing the ships of war into dock at Carale, and arming the marines to act on land, made up, with the army which he received from Mucius, the number of twenty-two thousand foot, and twelve hundred horse. With this force he marched into the enemy’s country, and pitched his camp at a small distance from that of Hampsicora. It happened that at this time the latter had gone into the country of those Sardinians, called Pelliti, with design to procure a reinforcement to his army by enlisting their young men: his son, named Hiostus, commanded in the camp, and he, with the presumption of youth, inconsiderately hazarding an engagement, was defeated, and put to flight; three thousand of the Sardinians being slain in the battle, and about eight hundred taken. The rest of the troops, at first, ran struggling through the fields and woods; but, afterwards, all directed their flight to Cornus, the principal city in that country, into which they heard that their commander had fled. This battle would have put an end to the war in Sardinia, had not the Carthaginian fleet under Hasdrubal, which had been driven out of its course to the Balearick isles, arrived just in time to revive the hopes of the revolters. Manlius, on hearing of the arrival of the Carthaginian fleet, marched back to Carale; and this afforded an opportunity to Hampsicora of effecting a junction with the Carthaginian. Hasdrubal, when he had disembarked his troops, sent back the fleet to Carthage; and then, using Hampsicora as a guide, he marched, with fire and sword, into the lands belonging to the allies of the Roman people, and would have proceeded even to Carale, had not Manlius, by throwing his army in the way, checked the violence of his depredations. For some time, they lay encamped opposite to each other, at a small distance; then followed skirmishes and encounters between small parties, in which success was various. At last they marched out to battle, and, meeting in regular array, maintained a general engagement for the space of four hours. That the victory remained so long in suspense was owing to the Carthaginians, for the Sardinians had now been accustomed to yield an easy conquest. At last, when nothing was to be seen on any side of them but the light and slaughter of the Sardinians, they also gave way. But just as they were turning their backs, the Roman general, wheeling round with that wing of his army which had, beaten the Sardinians, inclosed their rear, and then followed a carnage rather than a fight. Of the Sardinians and Carthaginians together, there fell twelve thousand; about three thousand six hundred, with twenty-seven military standards, were taken.
XLI. But what contributed, above all, to render this success brilliant and memorable, was, the taking of the general Hasdrubal, and two other Carthaginians of high distinction, Hanno and Mago; Mago being of the Barcine family, and nearly related to Hannibal, and Hanno the person who instigated the Sardinians to a revolt, and unquestionably the author of the present war. Nor was the fortune of the Sardinian commanders, on this occasion, less remarkable; for Hiostus, son of Hampsicora, fell in the fight; and the father, after having fled with a few horsemen, when, in addition to his other misfortunes, he heard also of his son’s death, put an end to his own life in the night-time, lest some interruption might prevent his design: to the rest, the city of Cornus, as on the former occasion, afforded a refuge; but Manlius attacking it with his victorious troops, made himself master of it in a few days. On this, the rest of those states, which had joined Hampsicora and the Carthaginians, made their submission, and gave hostages. Having imposed on these, in proportion to the power or delinquency of each, contributions of corn, and pay for the troops, he led back his army to Carale; and there, launching the ships of war, and embarking the troops which he had brought to the island, he sailed to Rome, and informed the senate of the total reduction of Sardinia, delivered the money raised by the contributions to the quæstors, the corn to the ædiles, and the prisoners to the prætor Quintus Fulvius. About the same time Titus Otacilius, proprætor, sailing over from Lilybæum to Africa, with a fleet of fifty ships, ravaged the Carthaginian territories. As he was returning to Sardinia, on hearing that Hasdrubal had lately crossed over thither from the Baleares, he met his fleet on its way from Africa; and, after a slight engagement in the open sea, took seven of the ships, with their crews. Their fears dispersed the rest not less effectually than a storm would have done. It happened that, at the same time, Bomilcar, with supplies of men and provisions, and forty elephants sent from Carthage, put into the harbour of Locri. On which Appius Claudius, intending to surprise him, drew all his forces hastily to Messana, under a pretext of making a circuit round the island, and with the favour of the tide crossed over to Locri; but Bomilcar had already left the place, and gone to join Hanno in Bruttium, and the Locrians shut their gates against the Romans. Without effecting any thing by such a powerful effort, Appius returned to Messana.
XLII. During this summer Marcellus made frequent excursions from Nola, where he was stationed in garrison, into the lands of the Hirpinians and Caudine Samnites, and with fire and sword caused such utter devastation through every part of the country, as renewed in Samnium the memory of those calamities which they had suffered of old. Both nations therefore immediately joined in sending ambassadors to Hannibal, who addressed him in this manner: “Hannibal, we, by ourselves, waged war against the Roman people, as long as our own arms, and our own strength, were sufficient for our defence: when we found that we could no longer trust to these, we united ourselves to king Pyrrhus; by whom being deserted, we submitted to a peace, which our circumstances made necessary, and which we continued to observe, through a space of almost sixty years, to the time when you came into Italy. Your kind demeanour and singular generosity to our countrymen, whom, when prisoners in your hands, you restored to us, as well as your bravery and success, inspired us with such esteem and admiration, that having you in health and safety to befriend us, we feared not the resentment of the Roman people, nor (if it is allowable so to speak) even that of the gods. But now, indeed, while you are not only in safety, and possessed of victory, but while you are present, and can, in a manner, hear the lamentations of our wives and children, and see our houses in flames; still, we say, we have experienced, in the course of this summer, such depredations, that it seems as if Marcus Marcellus, not Hannibal, were the conqueror at Cannæ; the Romans boasting, that you had just vigour enough for that one stroke, and having as it were lost your sting, are now become a drone. For near one hundred years, we maintained a war against the Roman people, without the assistance of any foreign leader or army, since in the two years that Pyrrhus was joined with us, he rather augmented his own forces with our strength, than defended us with his. I shall not make a display of our successes, except in sending under the yoke two consuls and two consular armies; though it is certain that other events have contributed to our glory. As to the difficulties and misfortunes which we then underwent, we can recount them with less indignation, than those which fall upon us this day. Renowned dictators, with their masters of horse; two consuls, with two consular armies at a time, were used to enter our territories; and, with every precaution of first exploring the country, and posting rear guards, proceeded in order of battle to commit depredations; at present we are in a manner the prey of one little garrison, which is scarcely sufficient to man the walls of Nola. They scour every quarter of our country; not in companies, but like common robbers, with less precaution than they would use in rambling through the province of Rome. Now the cause of this is, that you do not afford us protection, and that at the same time our youth, who, if at home, would defend us, are all employed under your standards. As we are not unacquainted with you or your forces; as we know that you have defeated and cut off so many armies of Romans; surely we must judge it an easy matter for you to overpower those marauders amongst us, who straggle about without order, and ramble wherever allured by the slightest hope of gain. They may be instantly subdued by a handful of Numidians; and while you send supporters to us, you will, by the same means, strip the Nolans of theirs. In fine, it is hoped that after having taken us under your protection, and deemed us worthy of alliance, you do not now judge us undeserving your interference in our defence.”
XLIII. To this Hannibal answered, that “the Hirpinians and Samnites did too many things at once; they represented their sufferings, petitioned for protection, and at the same time complained of being undefended and neglected. Whereas, they ought first to make the representation; then to request protection; and, in the last place, if their request were not complied with, then, and not before, to complain of having implored aid in vain. That he would lead his army not into the territories of the Hirpinians or Samnites, lest he should prove an additional burthen, but into the nearest places belonging to the allies of the Roman people; by the plunder of which, he would enrich his soldiers, and, at the same time, by the terror of his arms, drive far away the enemy from them. As to what concerned the war between him and Rome, if the fight at the Trasimenus was more honourable than that at the Trebia, and the one at Cannæ than that at the Trasimenus, he was resolved, by a still more complete and more splendid victory, to eclipse the lustre of the battle of Cannæ.” With this answer, and with ample presents, he dismissed the ambassadors; and leaving a small body of troops on the Tifata, began his march with the rest of his army, and proceeded to Nola. Thither also came Hanno from Bruttium, with the supplies and the elephants brought from Carthage. Having encamped at no great distance from the town, he found, on inquiry, every circumstance widely different from the representations made by the ambassadors of his allies. For no part of Marcellus’s conduct was such, as could be said to leave an unguarded opening either to fortune or to an enemy. When going to a plundering expedition, his practice had been to procure a knowledge of the country; to provide strong supports and a safe retreat; and to use every care and caution just as if Hannibal were present. At this time, when he perceived the Carthaginian approaching, he kept his troops within the walls, and ordered the senators of Nola to walk round on the ramparts, and take a view on every side of what passed among the enemy. From the other side, Hanno, coming up to the wall, invited Herennius Bassus and Herius Pettius to a conference; and when, with the permission of Marcellus, they came out, he addressed them by an interpreter, extolled Hannibal’s courage and success, and in the most contemptuous terms vilified the majesty of the Roman people, as mouldering into decay, together with their strength. “But,” said he, “supposing all matters were on the same footing as before, yet as it is found by experience how burthensome the government of Rome is to its confederates, and how great the generosity of Hannibal has been, even to every one of his prisoners, who bore the name of an Italian, an alliance of friendship with the Carthaginians was surely to be wished in preference to one with the Romans. If both the consuls, with their armies, were at Nola, they would no more be able to cope with Hannibal, than they had been at Cannæ; much less would a single prætor, with a handful of men, and these raw recruits, be equal to the defence of Nola. Whether Hannibal was to gain possession of that town by storm, or by capitulation, was a matter which concerned themselves more than him, for gain it he would, as he had gained Capua and Nuceria; and how different the fate of Capua was from that of Nuceria, the Nolans themselves, situated about midway between the two places, could not but know. He refrained from mentioning the consequences which necessarily followed the taking of a city by assault; and with more pleasure took upon him to engage, that, if they would deliver up Nola, together with Marcellus and the garrison, they should themselves dictate the terms on which they were to be received into friendship and alliance with Hannibal.”
XLIV. To this Herennius Bassus replied, that “for many years past, a friendship had subsisted between the states of Rome and Nola, with which neither party had, to that day, seen reason to be dissatisfied; and that though people’s attachments were to follow the changes of fortune, it was now too late for them to change theirs. Men who were afterwards to surrender to Hannibal ought not to have sent for a Roman garrison. Their destiny was now, and would continue to be, to the last, connected, in every particular, with that of the person who came to their support.” This conference took away from Hannibal all hope of gaining Nola by treachery; he therefore invested the city quite round, intending to attack the walls in all parts at once. When Marcellus saw him approach the works, having formed his troops within the gate, he sallied forth with great impetuosity. At the first push, several were beaten down and slain; then others running up to those who were engaged, and their power being brought to an equality, the battle became furious, and would have been memorable among the few which are most celebrated, had not violent rain, attended by a desperate storm, separated the combatants. After this small trial of strength, which served only to irritate their passions, they retired for that day, the Romans into the city, the Carthaginians into their camp. However, on the first irruption, some of the Carthaginians, not above thirty, fell under the shock, and not one of the Romans. The rain continued without intermission through the whole night, and lasted until the third hour of the following day. Wherefore, notwithstanding that both parties eagerly longed for battle, yet they remained during that day within their works. On the third day, Hannibal sent a part of his forces to ravage the lands of the Nolans; which, when Marcellus observed, he instantly drew out his forces and offered battle, nor did Hannibal decline the challenge. The distance between the city and the camp was about a mile: in this space, which was level, as is all the ground about Nola, the armies met. The shout raised, on both sides, called back the nearest of those cohorts which had gone into the country for plunder, to the battle, which had begun when they arrived. The Nolans joined themselves to the Roman forces; and Marcellus, after commending their zeal, ordered them to take post in reserve, and to carry off the wounded from the line; but, by no means to engage in the fight, unless they received a signal from him.
XLV. The battle was long doubtful, every one exerting himself to the utmost, the officers in encouraging the men, and the men in fighting. Marcellus urged his soldiers to press briskly on those whom they had defeated but three days before; who had been put to flight from Cumæ not many days since, and who, in the last year, had been repulsed from Nola by himself, then likewise in command, though with other troops. “All the enemy’s forces,” he told them, “were not in the field; some of them were rambling through the country in search of prey; and those who were in the fight were debilitated by Campanian luxury, having exhausted their vigour in the practice of every kind of intemperance and debauchery, through the whole course of the winter. Their former strength was gone, they were no longer possessed of that firmness, either of body or mind, which had enabled them to surmount the Pyrenean and the Alpine heights. Those they had now to engage with, might be called the shadows of those armies: men scarcely able to support their limbs and armour. Capua to Hannibal had not proved a Cannæ. There, warlike courage; there, military discipline; there, the glory of the past, and the hope of future times, were all extinguished.” While Marcellus raised the courage of his men by such contemptuous representations of the enemy, Hannibal upbraided his in terms of reproach far more bitter: “He knew these,” he said, “to be the same arms and standards, which he had seen and used at the Trebia, at the Trasimenus, and at Cannæ; but as to the men, he had certainly led one army into winter-quarters to Capua, and brought out thence another of a different kind. Do you, whom two consular armies united have never withstood, find it difficult, with all your efforts, to stand against a Roman lieutenant-general, against the exertions of one legion, and a band of auxiliaries? Does Marcellus, with his raw recruits and Nolan auxiliaries, attack us a second time with impunity? Where is that soldier of mine who dragged the consul Caius Flaminius from his horse, and took off his head? Where is he who slew Lucius Paullus at Cannæ? Has the sword lost its edge? Are your right hands benumbed; or what other prodigy is this? You, who used to conquer, when the advantage in number was against you, now, when that advantage is in your favour, scarcely maintain your ground. With great bravery in your tongues, you were used to declare, that you would take Rome if any one would lead you to it; the present is a much less difficult business. I wish to have a trial of your strength and courage here. Take Nola, a town standing in a plain, and not fenced by either sea or river; and then, when you are laden with the plunder and spoils of that opulent city, I will either lead or follow you whithersoever you choose.”
XLVI. Neither soothing nor reproaches wrought any effect towards confirming their courage. They lost ground in every quarter, while the Romans assumed fresh spirits, not only from the exhortations of their commander, but from the animating shouts raised by the Nolans, in testimony of their good wishes. The Carthaginians, at length, gave up the contest, and were driven into their camp; and even this the Roman soldiers were eager to attack; but Marcellus drew them back into Nola, where they were received with great joy, and congratulations, even by the populace, who till then had been more inclined to the Carthaginians. On that day were slain more than five thousand of the enemy; taken, six hundred, with nineteen military standards, and two elephants; four of the latter were killed in the battle. Of the Romans there fell not quite one thousand. Both, as if by a tacit convention, spent the next day in burying their dead, and Marcellus, in pursuance of a vow to Vulcan, burned the spoils. On the third day after, one thousand two hundred and seventy-two horsemen, partly Numidians, and partly Spaniards, through some resentment, I suppose, or hopes of better treatment, deserted to Marcellus; and these, during the remainder of the war, served the Romans, on many occasions, with much bravery and fidelity. After the conclusion of it, ample portions of land were assigned to them in acknowledgment of their valour; to the Spaniards, in Spain, and to the Numidians, in Africa. Hannibal, sending back Hanno from Nola to Bruttium, with the forces which he had brought thence, went himself into winter-quarters in Apulia, and cantoned his troops in the neighbourhood of Arpi. When Quintus Fabius heard that the foe was gone into Apulia, he collected stores of corn from Nola, and Neapolis, in the camp above Suessula, the fortifications of which he strengthened; and, leaving there a garrison, sufficient for the security of the post, during the winter, removed nearer to Capua, laying waste the country of Campania, with fire and sword, to such a degree, that the people were compelled, though with no great confidence in their own strength, to go out of their gates, and fortify a camp near the city in the open plain. Their force amounted to six thousand men. The infantry being very indifferent soldiers, their principal reliance was on the cavalry: these, therefore, they employed in annoying the enemy.
XLVII. Among a great number of Campanian horsemen, of high reputation, was Cerrinus Jubellius, surnamed Taurea. He was a native there, and celebrated for his abilities as a horseman far beyond all the others of that country, insomuch that while he acted in the service of Rome, there was but one Roman, Claudius Asellus, who had an equal reputation in that line. For this man, Taurea long searched as he rode before the squadrons of the enemy. At last, demanding attention, he inquired where was Claudius Asellus, and why, since he had been accustomed to assert himself to be his equal, did he not decide the point with the sword; and either by suffering a defeat give glorious spoils, or by victory acquire them? When this was reported, in the camp, to Asellus, he only waited to ask the consul’s leave to engage, though out of rule, with the challenger. Having obtained permission, he instantly armed himself, and riding out beyond the advanced guards, called on Taurea by name, and dared him to the field. The Romans had now come in crowds to behold the fight; and the Campanians, to gain a view of it, had filled not only the rampart of the camp, but likewise the walls of the city. After a prelude of furious expressions, to give the business an air of the greater consequence, they spurred on their horses, with their spears prepared for action. Having free space, wherein they parried each other’s assaults, the fight lasted for some time without a wound on either side. At length the Campanian said to the Roman, “this will be but a trial of skill between our horses, not between their riders, unless we descend into yon hollow way. There, as there will be no room for wheeling to one side or another, we may meet hand to hand.” Scarcely were the words uttered, when Claudius leaped his horse down into the road, on which Taurea, more daring in words than in action, said, “Never be an ass in a dyke,” which expression became afterwards proverbial among rustics. Claudius, riding up again into the plain, traversed the ground to a considerable distance from the road, without meeting any antagonist; and then, exclaiming against the cowardice of his foe, returned victorious to the camp, amidst general rejoicing and congratulations. To this encounter, some histories add a wonderful circumstance, (how far worthy of belief, the reader may judge for himself,) that Claudius, pursuing Taurea, as he fled back to the city, rode in at one of the enemy’s gates which stood open, and escaped unhurt through another, while the soldiers stood motionless through astonishment.
XLVIII. From this time the troops remained without employment, and the consul even drew back his camp to a distance, that the Campanians might till their grounds; nor did he offer any injury to the lands, until the blades in the corn fields were sufficiently grown to serve as forage. He then conveyed the corn in this state into the Claudian camp over Suessula, where he erected huts against the winter. He gave orders to Marcus Claudius, pro-consul, that, retaining at Nola a garrison sufficient for the defence of the place, he should send the rest of his force to Rome, lest they should be a burden to the allies, and an expense to the state. In another quarter, Tiberius Gracchus having led his legions from Cumæ to Luceria in Apulia, detached thence the prætor, Marcus Valerius, to Brundusium, with the troops which he had commanded at Luceria, ordering him to guard the coast of the Sallentine territory, and carefully pursue all such measures as should be found requisite with respect to Philip, and the Macedonian war. Towards the close of that summer, in which happened those events which we have related, letters arrived from the Scipios, Publius and Cneius, setting forth the great importance and successful issue of their operations in Spain; but that they were in want of every thing, pay, clothing, and corn for the army, and the crews of the ships. With regard to the pay, they observed, that, if the treasury were low, they would themselves devise some method of procuring it from the Spaniards; but that the other articles must, at all events, be sent from Rome, otherwise, neither the army, nor the province, could be preserved. When the letters were read, both the truth of the facts represented, and the reasonableness of the demands, were universally acknowledged; but they were struck by the following considerations: “What numerous forces on land and sea they were obliged to maintain; and, what a large additional fleet must soon be provided, in case of a war with Macedonia breaking out. That Sicily and Sardinia, which, before, had yielded a revenue, now scarcely maintained the troops employed in their own defence. That the public expenses were supplied by a tax; but as the number of those who contributed to this tax, had been diminished by the great slaughter of the troops at Trasimenus, and at Cannæ; so the surviving few, if loaded with multiplied impositions, must perish likewise, only by a different malady. It was therefore concluded, that, if the state did not find support in credit, it could find none in money; and it was judged proper, that the prætor, Fulvius, should go out to the assembly of the commons, and lay before the people the necessitous situation of the country; exhorting them, that such as had increased their estates by farming the public revenues, should now assist that government, to which they owed their prosperity, with indulgence in respect of time; and that they should engage to furnish, by contract, the supplies necessary for the army in Spain, on condition, when money should come into the treasury, of being the first paid.” These matters the prætor explained in the assembly, and gave public notice of the day, on which he would contract for the supplying of clothing, and corn, for the army in Spain, and such other things as were necessary for the men on board the fleet.
XLIX. When the time came, three companies, consisting of nineteen men, attended, in order to engage in the contract. Their demands were twofold: first, that they should be exempted from military service as long as they might be concerned in this business of the state; the other, that when they had sent goods on ship-board, any damage afterwards sustained either through the means of storms, or of the enemy, should be at the public loss. Both being complied with, they concluded the contract, and with the money of private persons: such were the habits of thinking, such the love of their country, which, with uniform influence, pervaded all ranks of men. As all engagements were entered into with great spirit, so were they fulfilled with the most faithful punctuality, and exactly in the same manner, as if the supplies were drawn, as formerly, out of an opulent treasury. At this time, the town of Illiturgi, having revolted to the Romans, was besieged by Hasdrubal, Mago, and Hamilcar son of Bomilcar. Between these three camps, the Scipios, after a difficult struggle, and a great slaughter of their opponents, forced their way into the place, introducing a quantity of corn, of which there had been a scarcity. Then, after exhorting the townsmen to defend their walls, with the same courage with which they had seen the Roman troops fight in their behalf, they marched to attack the largest of the camps, where Hasdrubal had the command. Thither also came up the two other Carthaginian generals, with their two armies, who perceived that on the issue of that attack the fate of all depended: the troops in camp therefore sallied out to the fight. There were in the engagement, of the enemy, sixty thousand; of the Romans about sixteen thousand; yet so far was the victory from being doubtful, that the Romans slew a greater number of the Carthaginians than they themselves had in the field; took above three thousand prisoners; somewhat less than one thousand horses; fifty-nine military standards; killed five elephants in the battle; and took possession of the three camps on one and the same day. When the siege of Illiturgi was thus raised, the Carthaginian armies marched to lay siege to Intibili; recruiting their forces out of that province, which was, above all others, fond of war, provided either plunder or hire was in view, and which, at that time, abounded with young men. A second general engagement took place, attended with the same event on both sides: upwards of thirteen thousand of the enemy were killed, and more than two thousand taken, with forty-two standards and nine elephants. On this, almost every state in Spain joined the party of the Romans; and, during this campaign, the events of the war there were much more important than those in Italy.
* Roman officers appointed to command the troops furnished by the allies, with the same rank and authority which the tribunes held in the Roman legions.
* 16l. 2s. 11d.
* Called volones, from volo, I am willing, the answer given by each when he was asked whether he was willing to enlist.
† All those who had held curule offices had a right to a seat in the senate, and to give their opinions, but they could not vote until they were regularly admitted by the censors, and registered.
* 193, 750l.
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