Hannibal encamps upon the banks of the Anio, within three miles of Rome. Attended by two thousand horsemen, he advances close to the Colline gate, to take a view of the walls and situation of the city. On two successive days the hostile armies are hindered from engaging by the severity of the weather. Capua taken by Quintus Fulvius and Appius Claudius: the chief nobles die, voluntarily, by poison. Quintus Fulvius, having condemned the principal senators to death, at the moment they are actually tied to the stakes, receives dispatches from Rome, commanding him to spare their lives, which he postpones reading, until the sentence is executed. Publius Scipio, offering himself for the service, is sent to command in Spain: takes New Carthage in one day. Successes in Sicily. Treaty of friendship with the Ætolians War with Philip, king of Macedonia, and the Acarnanians.
Y. R. 541 211I.The consuls Cneius Fulvius Centumalus and Publius Sulpicius Galba, as soon as they came into office, on the ides of March, convened the senate in the capitol, and proposed to their consideration the state of the commonwealth, the method of conducting the war, and the disposition of the provinces and armies. Quintus Fulvius and Appius Claudius, the consuls of the preceding year, were continued in command; the legions which they had at present, were decreed to them, and an injunction was added, that they should not quit the siege of Capua, until they had reduced the place. This was a point on which the Romans kept their attention fixed with particular solicitude, not only from resentment, for which no state ever gave juster cause, but from the consideration, that a city so eminent and powerful, as it had, by its revolt, drawn several states into the same measure, would probably, if recovered, dispose their minds to wish for a reconciliation with the government under which they had formerly lived. Two prætors also, of the preceding year, were continued in command, Marcus Junius in Etruria, and Publius Sempronius in Gaul, each with the two legions which he then had. Marcus Marcellus was also continued, that he might, in quality of proconsul, finish the remainder of the war in Sicily, with the army then under his command. Directions were given him, that he should take the complement requisite for completing the numbers of his troops, if that should be necessary, out of the legions which Publius Cornelius, proprætor, commanded in Sicily; conditionally, however, that he should not choose any soldier from among those who had been prohibited by the senate from receiving a discharge, or returning home before the conclusion of the war. To Caius Sulpicius, whose lot was the province of Sicily, were decreed the two legions formerly commanded by Publius Cornelius, and a supply of men from the army of Cneius Fulvius, which had been shamefully defeated and put to flight, the year before, in Apulia. For the soldiers of this description the senate had fixed the same term of service as for those concerned at Cannæ; and, as a farther mark of ignominy to both, it was ordered, that they should not reside during the winter in towns, nor build their winter huts nearer to any town than ten miles. To Lucius Cornelius, in Sardinia, the two legions were given which Quintus Murius had commanded; a supply of men, if requisite, the consuls were ordered to enlist. Titus Otacilius and Marcus Valerius were ordered, with the fleets and legions then under their command, to guard the coasts of Greece and Sicily. On the former station were employed fifty ships and one legion; on the latter, one hundred ships and two legions. Twenty-three Roman legions were, this year, employed in the war on land and sea.
II. In the beginning of the year, on a letter from Lucius Marcius being laid before the senate that assembly declared his services highly meritorious; but his assuming a title of honour (for, unauthorised either by order of the people or direction of the senate, he had, in addressing the senate, styled himself proprætor,) gave general offence. They deemed it “a precedent of pernicious tendency, that commanders should be chosen by the troops; and that the established privileges of assemblies, held under auspices, should be transferred to a giddy soldiery, in camps and provinces remote from the magistrates and laws.” Several were of opinion, that the senate should take the matter into consideration; but it was judged more expedient to defer any notice of it until after the departure of the messengers who brought the letter from Marcius. It was agreed, that an answer should be sent to him, respecting provisions and clothing for the army, saying that the senate would take care of both those matters: but it was resolved that it should not be addressed to Lucius Marcius, proprætor, lest he should consider, as determined, a question which they had reserved for future discussion. After the couriers were dismissed, the first business proposed by the consuls, and which was unanimously agreed upon, was, that application should be made to the plebeian tribunes, to take the sense of the commons with all convenient speed, as to what person they would choose to be sent into Spain with a commission to command the army lately under Cneius Scipio. The tribunes were advised with accordingly, and the question was published for consideration: but people’s thoughts were wholly engrossed by a contest on another subject: Caius Sempronius Blæsus, having instituted a prosecution against Cneius Fulvius, on account of the loss of the army in Apulia, inveighed against him continually in public harangues, affirming that “although many commanders had, through rashness and unskilfulness, brought their armies into situations of extreme danger, yet never had any one, except Cneius Fulvius, corrupted his legions with every kind of vice before he exposed them to destruction: so that it might be said, with truth, that their ruin was effected before they had even seen an enemy; and that they were vanquished, not by Hannibal, but by their own commander. No elector could too carefully scrutinize the character of the person to whom he was entrusting an army. What a difference between this man and Tiberius Sempronius! The latter, though the army committed to him consisted of slaves, yet by proper discipline and wise regulations, had quickly improved them to such a degree, that, in the field of battle, not one of them evinced by his conduct either his condition or his birth; and they became a safeguard to the allies, a terror to the enemy. They snatched, as it were, out of Hannibal’s grasp, and restored to the Roman people, the cities of Cumæ, Beneventum, and several others; whereas Cneius Fulvius, having received an army of Roman citizens, honourably born and liberally educated, had debauched them by all the low vices of slaves, and sunk them into such a state of degeneracy, that they were insolent and turbulent among the allies, spiritless and dastardly among foes; and so far from withstanding the attack of the Carthaginians, they withstood not even their shout. Nor, indeed, was it wonderful that the soldiers did not stand their ground in battle, when their commander was the first who fled. For his part, he rather wondered that any of them had fallen in their posts, and that they did not, one and all, accompany Cneius Fulvius in his panic and flight. Caius Flaminius, Lucius Paullus, Lucius Postumius, Cneius and Publius Scipio, had chosen rather to fall in fight, than to abandon their troops in a desperate situation. But Cneius Fulvius was almost the only messenger who brought to Rome the news of his army being cut off. It was contrary,” he said, “to every rule of honour and equity, that the troops engaged at Cannæ, because they fled out of the field, should be transported into Sicily, and prohibited from returning thence before the termination of the war in Italy, and that a decree, to the same purport, should have been lately passed in the case of the legions under the command of Cneius Fulvius, while Cneius Fulvius himself, after running away from a battle brought on by his own temerity, should escape all punishment; that he should spend his old age where he had spent his youth, in the stews and brothels, while his soldiers, who were no otherwise culpable than in resembling their commander, were cast out, in a manner, into exile, condemned to a service of ignominy. So unequal was the dispensation of liberty at Rome to the rich and to the poor; to the man who had arrived at honours, and to those who still continued in obscurity.”
III. Fulvius endeavoured to transfer the guilt from himself to the soldiers; asserting, that “in consequence of their insisting violently on fighting, they were led out to the field, not on the same day on which they desired it, because it was then evening, but on the day following, when both the time and the ground were favourable to them; but that they were so overawed, either by the reputation or the strength of the enemy, that they did not make a stand. That, in the hurry of the general flight, he was carried away by the crowd, as had been the case of Varro, at the battle of Cannæ, and of many other generals. And how could he, by his single resistance, serve the cause of the commonwealth; unless, indeed, his death were considered as a remedy for the public misfortunes? He had not been brought into any dangerous situation by want of provisions, or by want of caution; neither was he, in consequence of marching unguardedly, surprised by an ambuscade, but defeated by open force, by dint of arms, in a fair engagement, nor had he the power of determining the degree of courage to be exerted either by his own men, or by the enemy: every man’s own disposition supplied either courage or cowardice.” The matter came twice to a hearing, and, at both times, the penalty was laid at a fine. At the third hearing, witnesses were produced; and, besides his being loaded with charges of the most scandalous nature, great numbers deposed on oath, that the prætor was the first who showed any symptoms of fear, and began the flight; and that the soldiers, being abandoned by him, and supposing that the general’s fears were not without grounds, fled likewise; on which, the anger of the people was inflamed to such a pitch, that the whole assembly cried out that the prosecution ought to be capital. On this point a new contest arose; for, as the tribune had, on two former occasions, prosecuted the offence as finable, and at a third, proposed to prosecute it as a capital, an appeal was made to the tribunes of the commons. They declared, that “they could not debar their colleague from prosecuting, as, by the practice of former times, he had a right to do, either on the written laws, or the general practice, until he should obtain judgment, either of capital punishment, or a fine, against the defendant a private person.” Then Sempronius gave notice, that he demanded judgment of treason against Cneius Fulvius; and he made a requisition to the city prætor, Caius Calpurnius, to appoint a day for the assembly. The accused then rested his hopes on another expedient, the procuring at his trial the support of his brother, Quintus Fulvius, who, at this time, stood high in the public esteem, both on account of the merit of his past services, and the expectation of his speedily reducing Capua. But Fulvius having sent a petition to this purpose, couched in terms calculated to excite compassion, as in a case where a brother’s life was concerned, and the senate answering, that his quitting Capua would be injurious to the public interest, Cneius Fulvius, at the approach of the day appointed for the assembly, withdrew into exile to Tarquinii. The commons passed an order confirming his banishment as legal.
IV. In the mean-time the grand operations of the campaign were directed against Capua, where, however, the siege was carried on, rather by a close blockade than by vigorous assaults. This caused so great a famine, that the populace and the slaves could no longer endure it, and yet there was no way of sending messengers to Hannibal, the approaches were all so strictly guarded. At length a Numidian was found, who, taking a letter, engaged to make his way with it; and, going out by night, he passed through the middle of the Roman camp. This encouraged the Campanians to try, while they had any remains of vigour, what might be done by sallies from all sides of the town. In many engagements which followed, their cavalry were generally successful, their infantry worsted: but the besiegers were not nearly so much pleased by the advantages which they had gained, as mortified at being overcome, in any particular, by an enemy besieged, and on the point of being taken. At last the Romans adopted a method of supplying by art their deficiency in strength. Out of all the legions were selected young men, who from the power and lightness of their bodies, possessed the greatest agility: to these were given bucklers, shorter than those of the cavalry, and to each seven javelins four feet long, pointed with iron, in the same manner as the missile javelins now used by the light infantry. The cavalry, each taking one of these behind him on his horse, taught them, by frequent exercise, so to ride, and to dismount quickly, when the signal was given. As soon as, from daily practice, they seemed to perform this with sufficient expertness, they were led out into a plain, between the camp and the walls, against the cavalry of the Campanians, who stood there in order of battle. When they came within a weapon’s cast, these light footmen dismounted, and, forming in a moment, instead of cavalry, a line of infantry ran forward against the enemy’s horse; and, as they advanced, discharged their javelins, one after another, with great fury; by the vast number of which, thrown against men and horses indiscriminately, very many were wounded. But the novelty and unexpectedness of such a proceeding caused still greater fright, and, while they were in this disorder, the cavalry made their charge, and drove them back even to their gates with great slaughter. Henceforward the Romans had the superiority in the field in respect of both horse and foot. It was then made an established regulation, that in all the legions there should be light infantry of this sort, who are called velites. We are told, that the person who had advised the mixing of footmen with the cavalry was Quintus Navius, a centurion; and that he was, on that account, highly honoured by the general.
V. While affairs at Capua were in this state, Hannibal’s judgment was long suspended between his wishes, on one hand, to acquire possession of the citadel of Tarentum, and, on the other, to retain Capua. At length, however, he determined in favour of the latter; because on that object he saw that the attention of all men, both friends and enemies, was fixed; as the fate of that city would demonstrate what kind of consequences were to be expected from revolting from the Romans. Leaving, therefore, in Bruttium, the greatest part of his baggage, and all his heavier armed troops, and selecting such of the infantry and cavalry as were best qualified for an expeditious march, he took the route to Campania. Notwithstanding he went with much speed, yet he was followed by thirty-three elephants. In a retired valley behind Mount Tifata, which overhangs Capua, he halted; and, having, at his coming, taken the fort of Galatia, from which he dislodged the garrison by force, he prepared to act against the besiegers. He sent forward to the besieged information of the time when he intended to assault the Roman camp, in order that they might be in readiness, and pour out at once from all the gates. This gave the besiegers a most violent alarm: for, while he carried on his attack on one side, all the Campanians, both horse and foot, and with them the Carthaginian garrison, commanded by Bostar, and Hanno, sallied out on the other. In this dangerous situation the Romans, lest by running together to one part they should leave any other unguarded, divided their forces in this manner. Appius Claudius was opposed to the Campanians; Fulvius to Hannibal; Caius Nero, proprætor, with the cavalry of the sixth legion, took post on the road leading to Suessula, and Caius Fulvius Flaccus, lieutenant-general, with the cavalry of the confederates, on the side opposite the river Vulturnus. The fight began with the usual shouting and tumult. But, besides the other noises of men, horses, and weapons, the multitude of Campanians, unable to bear arms, being spread along the walls, raised so loud a shout, accompanied with the clangor of brazen instruments, such as is commonly made in the dead of night on occasion of eclipses of the moon, that it drew the attention even of the combatants. Appius easily repulsed the Campanians from the rampart. Hannibal and his Carthaginians, a more powerful force, pressed hard on Fulvius. There the sixth legion gave way to the enemy, and, on its being broken, a cohort of Spaniards, with three elephants pushed through to the very rampart. It had made an effectual breach in the Roman line; but while flattered, on the one hand, with the hope of forcing into the camp, it was threatened on the other with being cut off from the main body of the army. When Fulvius saw the dastardly behaviour of the legion, and the danger of the camp, he exhorted Quintus Navius, and the other principal centurions, to fall on that cohort that was fighting close to the rampart, and to cut it in pieces; he observed to them, that “the juncture was critical in the last degree; that these men must either be allowed a passage — and then they would break into the camp with less labour than they had exerted in forcing their way through a thick line of troops — or they must be despatched at the foot of the rampart. This would not be a matter of much contest; they were few in number, and shut out from their friends, and the very breach, which, while the Romans were dispirited, was seen in their line, would, if they faced about upon the foe, prove the means of inclosing and attacking them on all sides at once.” Navius, on hearing these words of the general, took, from the standard-bearer, the standard of the second company of spearmen, and advanced with it against the enemy, threatening to throw it into the midst of them if the soldiers did not instantly follow him, and take a share in the fight. His person was very large, and the standard, raised aloft, attracted the eyes of all. When he came up to the front of the Spaniards, showers of javelins were poured on him from all sides, almost the whole body directing their attacks against him alone; but neither the multitude of the enemies, nor the force of their weapons, could repel the onset of this single combatant.
VI. At the same time, Marcus Atilius, a lieutenant-general, caused the standard of the first company of principes belonging to the same legion to be brought forward against the enemy. The officers commanding in the camp, Lucius Porcius Licinus and Titus Popilius, lieutenants-general, fought with vigour in defence of their trenches, and killed on the very rampart some elephants in the act of attempting to cross it. The bodies of these filling up the ditch, as by a mound or a bridge, afforded a passage to the assailants, and a desperate slaughter was made here, fighting on the bodies of the dead elephants. On the other side of the camp, the Campanians, and the Carthaginian garrison had been repulsed, and the fight was now maintained close to the gate of Capua, which opens toward the city of Vulturnus. The Romans were hindered from forcing their way in, not so much by the arms of the soldiers, as by the ballistæ and scorpions with which the gate was furnished; and which, by the missile weapons they threw, kept the assailants at a great distance. The ardour of the Romans was, besides, checked by their commander, Appius Claudius, being wounded; for while he was encouraging his men in the van, he received a thrust from a javelin in the upper part of his breast below the left shoulder. Nevertheless a vast number of the enemy was killed before the gate, and the rest were driven in disorder into the city. When Hannibal saw that the Spanish cohort was slain to a man, and that the Romans maintained the defence of their camp with the utmost degree of vigour, he gave over the assault, and began to retreat; making his line of infantry face about, and the cavalry cover their rear against any attack. The legions were ardently intent on pursuing the enemy; but Flaccus ordered a retreat to be sounded, supposing that enough had been done to make the Campanian, and Hannibal himself, sensible, how little able he was to protect them. Some who have written accounts of this battle inform us, that there were slain on that day, of Hannibal’s army, eight thousand men, and three thousand of the Campanians; and that fifteen standards were taken from the Carthaginians, eighteen from the Campanians. In other accounts I find that the importance of the battle was not by any means so great, and that there was more of alarm in the case, than of fighting; that a party of Numidians and Spaniards, with some elephants, having, by surprise, broken into the Roman camp, the elephants going through the middle of it overthrew the tents with great noise, so that the beasts of burden broke their collars and ran about frightened; that to increase the disorder a stratagem was used. Hannibal sending in some persons who could speak the Latin language, of whom he had many, giving orders, in the name of the consuls, that, as the camp was lost, every man should fly, as he was able, to the nearest mountains; but that the imposition was quickly detected; and its progress stopped by a great slaughter of the enemy, and that the elephants were driven out of the camp with firebrands. This battle, in whatsoever manner begun and ended, was the last that was fought, previous to the surrender of Capua. The medixtuticus, or chief magistrate of the Campanians, for this year, was Seppius Lesius, a man of obscure birth and small property. There is a story, that, at a former time, when his mother was, in his behalf (he being under age,) expiating a prodigy which happened in the family, the aruspex answered her, that the supreme power at Capua, would come to that boy: on which knowing no circumstance that could countenance such an expectation, she replied, “What you say supposes the affairs of the Campanians in a truly desperate state, when the supreme magistracy is to come to my son.” This expression, meant in derision of a true prediction, proved itself true in the event; for the people being distressed by the sword and by famine, and destitute of every kind of hope, those who were entitled by birth to expect the posts of honour, declining to accept them, Lesius, who exclaimed that Capua was deserted and betrayed by the nobility, obtained the post of supreme magistrate, and was the last Campanian who held it.
VII. Hannibal, seeing that he could neither bring the enemy to another engagement, nor force a passage through their camp into Capua, and fearing, lest the new consuls might cut off his supplies of provisions, determined to drop a design in which he had no prospect of success, and to remove from the place. To what quarter he should next direct his route was then to be resolved; and, while he was earnestly deliberating on this head, he felt his mind strongly impelled to make an attempt on Rome itself, the grand source of the war: a measure always ardently wished for, and the omission of which, on the favourable occasion after the battle of Cannæ, was generally censured by others, and not defended by himself. He thought that he need not despair of gaining possession of some part of the city during the panic and tumult which his unexpected approach would occasion; and that when Rome should be in danger, either both the commanders or at least one of them, would leave Capua; and that, should they divide their forces, this, by weakening both, would afford either him or the Campanians a chance of acting with success. One consideration made him uneasy, that, on his departure, the Capuans might perhaps immediately surrender. He therefore by rewards, engaged a Numidian, who was of a disposition to undertake any thing for pay, to be the bearer of a letter to the people, and, going into the Roman camp in character of a deserter, to pass out privately on the other side to Capua. This letter was full of encouragements to hold out: “his departure,” he told them, “would prove the means of their safety, as it would draw away the Roman generals and armies from before Capua to the defence of Rome.” He exhorted them “not to let their spirits sink; for by patient resolution, for a few days, they would free themselves entirely from the siege.” He then ordered all the vessels on the river Vulturnus to be siezed, and brought up to a fort which he had before erected for the security of his camp. As soon as he was informed that a sufficient number of these had been procured to carry over his troops, he led them down by night to the river, provided with victuals for ten days, and, before morning they gained the other side.
VIII. That this step was intended, Fulvius Flaccus had discovered, from deserters, before it was put in execution; and had apprised the senate of it by a letter sent to Rome, where men’s minds were variously affected by the intelligence. At a meeting of the senate, which was immediately convened on this alarming emergency, Publius Cornelius, surnamed Asina, recommended, that all concern about Capua, with every other matter, should be laid aside, and all the generals and armies called home, from every part of Italy, for the defence of the capital. Fabius Maximus represented it as utterly disgraceful to retire from Capua, and to let their fears excited, and their motions directed, by every nod and menace of Hannibal. “Was it credible,” he said, “that he who after gaining the victory of Cannæ had not dared to approach the city, should now, after being repulsed from Capua, conceive an expectation of taking Rome? His purpose in coming was not to attack Rome, but to raise the siege of Capua. As to Rome, Jupiter and the rest of the gods, witnesses of the treaties broken by Hannibal, would, with the troops then in the city defend it.” These opposite opinions were both rejected, and that of Publius Valerius Flaccus, which pointed out a middle course, was adopted. He advised, that due attention should be paid to both the affairs in question, and that a letter should be sent to the generals commanding at Capua, informing them of the force then in that city, mentioning that “they themselves knew what number of troops Hannibal brought with him, and how many were necessary for carrying on the siege of Capua;” and directing, that “if one of the generals and a part of the army could be sent to Rome, and, at the same time, the siege be properly carried on by the remaining troops, and the other general; then, that Claudius and Fulvius should settle between themselves which should conduct the siege of Capua, and which should come home to defend their native city in any attack.” A decree of the senate, to this effect having been passed and carried to Capua, Quintus Fulvius, proconsul, whose part it was to go to Rome, his colleague being indisposed in consequence of his wound, having selected out of the three armies fifteen thousand foot and one thousand horse, conveyed them over the Vulturnus. Having learned with certainty that Hannibal intended to go by the Latine road, he despatched couriers before him to the corporate towns on and near the Appian road, Setia, Cora, and Lanuvium, with orders that the people of those places should not only have provisions prepared for their use, but also bring them down to the road from the lands which lay out of the way; and that they should draw together bodies of soldiers into their towns, that every man might stand forth in defence of his own state.
IX. Hannibal, after passing the Vulturnus, encamped for that day at a small distance from the river. On the day following, he passed by Cales, and came into the Sidicinian territory where he halted one day to lay it waste; and then marched along the Latine way through the territories of Suessa, Allifæ and Casinum. Under the walls of Casinum he remained encamped two days, ravaging the country round. Proceeding thence by Interamna and Aquinum, he came into the Fregellan region, to the River Lyris, where he found the bridge broken down by the people with design to check his progress. On the other hand, Fulvius had met a delay at the Vulturnus, for Hannibal had burned the ships, and he found great difficulty, in a place where timber was exceedingly scarce, to procure rafts for transporting his army. But this being at length effected, the rest of his march was easy and expeditious; for not only in the towns, but on both sides of the road, he was accommodated with plenty of provisions; while the soldiers cheerfully exhorted each other to quicken their pace, in the consideration that they were going to defend their native city. At Rome, a messenger from Fregella who had, without stopping, travelled a day and a night caused a most violent alarm; which, being augmented by people running up and down, and adding groundless circumstances to what they had heard, put the whole city into a tumultuous ferment. The lamentations of the women were not only heard from the private houses; but the matrons in all quarters, rushing out into the public streets, ran to all the temples, where they swept the altars with their dishevelled hair, fell on their knees, and with hands raised up towards the heavens and the gods, prayed that they would rescue the city of Rome from the attempts of its enemies and preserve from hostile violence the Roman mothers, and their little children. The senate remained assembled at the Forum, that the magistrates there might, on any occasion consult them readily. Some accepted commands of parties, and repaired to the several posts to execute their duties; others offered their services wherever they might be requisite. Guards were posted in the citadel, in the capitol, on the walls, on the outside of the city, and likewise on the Alban mount, and in the fort of Æsula. In the midst of this confusion, news arrived that Quintus Fulvius, proconsul, had set out with an army from Capua; and lest his authority should be diminished by his coming into the city,* the senate passed a decree that Quintus Fulvius should have equal power with the consuls. Hannibal after ravaging the lands of Fregella with particular severity, in resentment for the breaking down the bridges, came through the territories of Frusino, Ferentinum, and Anagnia, into that of Lavici, thence pursuing his route through Algidum to Tusculum, where, being refused admittance into the town he marched towards the right, to Gabii, and bringing down his army from thence into the lands of the Pupinian tribe pitched his camp eight miles from Rome. In proportion as he came nearer to the city, the greater was the number of its fugitives slain by the Numidians, who advanced before him, and very many prisoners of all ranks and ages were taken.
X. During this general commotion Fulvius Flaccus, with his army, entered Rome through the Capuan gate, and proceeded along the middle of the city, and through the Carinæ, to the Esquiliæ; where, passing out, he pitched his tents between the Esquiline and Colline gates. The plebeian ædiles brought thither provisions for the troops: the consuls and senate came into the camp, and there held their consultations on the measures requisite in the present state of affairs. It was then resolved, that the consuls should encamp before the Colline and Esquiline gates; that Caius Calpurnius, city prætor, should command in the capitol and citadel; and that the senate should be kept assembled, in full numbers, in the Forum, as sudden exigencies might probably require their consideration. Meanwhile, Hannibal moved his camp forward to the river Anio, three miles from the city, and posting there his troops, he himself, with two thousand horsemen, proceeded from the Colline gate as far as the temple of Hercules, riding about, and taking as near a view as he could of the fortifications and situation of the city. Flaccus, ashamed of his being suffered to do this, and so much at his ease, sent out a party of cavalry against him, with orders to make those of the enemy retire into their camp. When the fight began, the consuls ordered a body of Numidian deserters, who were then on the Aventine (to the number of twelve hundred,) to march across the middle of the city to the Esquiliæ, judging that none would be better qualified to act among the hollows, and garden walls, and tombs, and inclosed roads in that quarter. Some persons, seeing from the capitol and citadel these men filing off on horseback, on the brow of the Publician hill, cried out, that the Aventine was taken; and this incident caused such confusion and terror, that, if the Carthaginian camp had not been just at the outside of the walls, the whole multitude would, in their consternation, have rushed out there. As it was, they ran back into the houses, and up to the roofs, from whence they poured down stones and weapons on their own soldiers passing the streets, whom they took for enemies: Nor could the commotion be suppressed, or the mistake rectified, so thronged were the streets with crowds of peasants and cattle, which the sudden alarm had driven into the city. The party of Numidian cavalry were successful against the enemy, and drove them away. As it was necessary to suppress in various different places the many disturbances which were continually arising on every slight occasion, a decree was passed, that all who had been dictators, consuls, or censors, should have the authority of magistrates, until the foe should retire from the walls. By this means a great many tumults, which were raised without foundation, during the remainder of that day, and the following night, were entirely crushed.
XI. Next day, Hannibal, crossing the Anio, drew up his forces in order of battle; nor did Flaccus and the consuls decline the challenge. When the armies on both sides stood nearly marshalied for the decision of a contest of such magnitude, where the city of Rome was to be the prize of the conqueror, a prodigious shower of rain, mixed with hail, so grievously annoyed both parties, that, scarcely able to hold their arms, they retired to their respective camps, not moved in the slightest degree, by any fear of their adversaries. On the next day, likewise, when the armies were formed on the same ground, the same kind of storm separated them; and, as soon as they had retired, the weather became wonderfully serene and calm. This was considered by the Carthaginians as portentous; and, we are told, that Hannibal was heard to say, that “sometimes the will, sometimes the power of taking the city of Rome, was denied him.” His hopes were also damped by two other incidents; one of some weight, the other trivial. The more important was, that, while he lay with his army under the walls of the city of Rome, he understood that a reinforcement of soldiers for Spain had marched out, with standards borne before them. The one of less importance was, and which he learned from a prisoner, that, at this very time, the ground, whereon his camp stood, happened to be sold, and the price was not in the least lowered on that account. It appeared to him so great an insult, that a purchaser should be found at Rome for that ground which he actually held and possessed by right of conquest, that he immediately called a crier, and ordered him to set up to sale the silversmith’s shops, which at that time stood round the Roman Forum. Discouraged by all these circumstances, he moved his camp to the river Tutia, six miles from the city, and proceeded thence to the grove of Feronia, where was a temple at that time, much celebrated for its riches; the Capenatians and other neighbouring states being accustomed to bring hither the first fruits of their lands, and other offerings, according to their abilities, by which means it was decorated with abundance of gold and silver: of all these offerings the temple was then despoiled. After Hannibal’s departure, large heaps of brass were found in it, the soldiers having through remorse for this impious proceeding, thrown in pieces of uncoined metal. That this temple was pillaged, all writers agree. But Cœlius asserts, that Hannibal, in his march towards Rome, turned aside thither from Eretum; and he traces his route through Amiternum, Cutilii, and Reate; alleging, that, from Campania, he came into Samnium, thence into Pelignia; then, passing near the town of Sulmo, proceeded into the territory of the Marrucinians, thence through the lands of Alba into Marsia, and so on to Amiternum, and the village of Foruli. Nor is this diversity of opinion owing to people’s having lost within so short a period, a distinct remembrance of the traces of so great an army: for, that he went in that track, is certain; the only matter in doubt is, whether he took this route in advancing towards Rome, or in his return thence to Campania.
XII. But Hannibal showed not such obstinate perseverance in his endeavours to raise the siege of Capua, as the Romans did in pushing it forward: for, from Lucania, he hastened away into Bruttium, and all the way to the very strait and the city of Rhegium, with such speed, that in consequence of his sudden arrival he was very near taking that place by surprise. Capua, though the vigour of the siege had not in the mean-time been at all relaxed, yet felt the return of Flaccus; and it was matter of great wonder to the besieged, that Hannibal had not come back at the same time. But, in discoursing with some of the besiegers, they soon learned, that they were left to themselves and abandoned; and that the Carthaginians considered the hope of maintaining possession of Capua as desperate. This afflicting intelligence was followed by an edict of the proconsul, published by direction of the senate, and spread among the enemy, that “any native of Campania who should come over before a certain day should be indemnified for all that was past.” But not one embraced the offer, though they were not restrained by fidelity to their associates, so much as by their fears, because at the time of their revolting they had committed crimes too enormous, as they supposed, to be forgiven. However, though none of them were led to desert by a regard to private interest, yet neither was any proper care taken to promote the interest of the public. The nobility had renounced all public business, and could not be compelled to meet in the senate; and he who was in the office of chief magistrate, was a man who had not, from thence, derived any honour on himself, but had, from his own worthlessness, stripped the office of its weight and authority. Not one of the nobles even appeared in the Forum, or in any public place; but kept themselves shut up in their houses, in daily expectation of the downfall of their city, and the ruin of their country, together with their own destruction. The administration of all business had devolved on Bostar and Hanno, the commanders of the Carthaginian garrison, the chief object of whose concern was, their own danger, not that of their allies. These men wrote to Hannibal in terms not only free, but harsh, charging him, that “besides surrendering Capua into the hands of the enemy, he had abandoned them and their garrison to the hazard of all kinds of torture: that he had gone off to Bruttium as if on purpose to be out of the way, lest the city should be taken in his sight. This was not like the conduct of the Romans, whom not even an attack on the city of Rome could draw away from the siege of Capua: so much more steady were Romans in enmity, than Carthaginians in friendship.” They told him, that “if he would return to Capua, and bring his whole force thither, both they and the Campanians would be ready to sally forth to his assistance. They had not crossed the Alps for the purpose of waging war with the people of Rhegium, or of Tarentum: wherever the Roman legions were, there ought likewise to be Carthaginian armies. In this manner success had been obtained at Cannæ; in this manner at the Trasimenus; by uniting, by keeping their camp close to that of the enemy, by making trial of fortune.” Having written a letter to this effect, they gave it to some Numidians, who had before promised their service for a reward agreed on. After these had come into the camp to Flaccus as deserters, intending to watch for an opportunity, of proceeding thence, (the famine which had raged so long in Capua affording any one a colourable pretence for deserting,) a Campanian woman, who had been mistress to one of these, came unexpectedly into the camp, and informed the Roman general that the Numidians had came over with a treacherous design, and were carrying a letter to Hannibal; and that of this she was ready to convict one of them, who had disclosed the matter to her. On being brought to an examination, he at first maintained firmly that he did not know the woman; but afterwards, yielding reluctantly to the force of truth, on seeing that the racks were called for and brought out, he confessed the fact. The letter was produced, and a farther discovery made of a matter not hitherto mentioned, that several other Numidians, under the appearance of deserters, were strolling about in the Roman camp. These, in number about seventy, were apprehended, and, together with the late deserters, beaten with rods; their hands were then cut off, and they were driven back to Capua.
XIII. The sight of a punishment so grievous quite broke the spirits of the Campanians. The populace, crowding about the senate-house, compelled Lesius to call a meeting of the senate, and openly threatened the nobles, who, for a long time past, had absented themselves from public assemblies, that, if they did not attend the meeting, they would go round to each of their houses, and drag them out by force. The fear of this procured the magistrate a full senate. At this meeting, while the rest proposed sending ambassadors to the Roman generals, Vibius Virius, who had been the principal promoter of the revolt from the Romans, on being asked his opinion, said, that “those who spoke of sending ambassadors, and of peace, and a surrender, did not consider either what they themselves would do, if they had the Romans in their power, or what they must expect to suffer from them. What!” said he, “do you imagine that your surrender now will be of the same kind with that, whereby, in order to obtain support against the Samnites, we delivered ourselves and all belonging to us into the hands of the Romans? Have you already forgotten at what season and in what circumstances, we revolted from the Romans? Have you already forgotten how, at the time of this revolt, we put to death, with indignity and torture, their garrison, which might have been dismissed? How often, and with what bitter animosity, we have sallied out against them, since they began the siege; and even attacked their camp? That we invited Hannibal, in hopes of crushing them; and that we lately sent him hence to attack the city of Rome? Recollect, on the other hand, the instances of their animosity against us; that you may, from thence, be able to estimate what room there is for hope. When there was a foreign enemy in Italy, and that enemy was Hannibal; when war blazed in every quarter, they, neglecting every other concern, neglecting Hannibal himself, sent both their consuls with two consular armies to attack Capua. These two years they have kept us shut up, surrounded with trenches, and consuming us by famine; although they themselves, together with us, undergo the extremest dangers, and the severest labours; often losing many at their rampart and trenches, and, at last, being nearly beaten out of their camp. But I will not enlarge upon these matters. To endure toils and hardships in attacking an enemy’s city, is no new thing; it is usual. What I am going to mention, affords a proof of resentment and implacable hatred. Hannibal, with a powerful army of horse and foot, assaulted their camp, and got possession of a part of it. The greatness of their danger did not, in the least, dispose them to drop the siege. Crossing the Vulturnus, he laid waste the territory of Cales with fire: such a severe calamity of their allies called them not away. He ordered his troops to march in hostile array to the city of Rome itself: this storm, ready to burst on their heads, they likewise slighted. Passing the Anio, he encamped within three miles of Rome, and at last advanced to the very walls and gates, showing a determination to deprive them of their city, unless they quitted Capua. They did not quit it. Wild beasts inflamed with blind fury and rage, you may draw away to the assistance of their young, if you go up to their dens and cubs. As to the Romans, not the blockade of Rome, nor their wives and children, whose lamentations might almost be heard even here, not their altars, their houses, the temples of their gods, and the sepulchres of their ancestors profaned and violated, could draw them away from Capua; so keen are their wishes to bring us to punishment, so eager their thirst for our blood. And, perhaps, not without reason: for we, on our parts, would have done the same, had fortune given us the power. Wherefore, since the immortal gods have determined otherwise, and though I ought not to decline death; yet while I am free, while I am master of myself, I can, by a death-both honourable and easy, avoid the tortures and indignities which the enemy hopes to inflict on me. Never will I see Appius Claudius and Quintus Fulvius puffed up with the insolence of victory; nor will I be dragged in chains through the city of Rome, as a spectacle in their triumph, that I may afterwards, either in a dungeon or tied to a stake, have my back mangled with stripes, and submit my neck to a Roman axe; never will I see my native city demolished, and reduced to ashes, nor the Campanian matrons and virgins dragged to violation. Alba, from whence they themselves sprung, they rased from the foundation, that no monument of their extraction or origin might exist. Can I believe that they will spare Capua, against which they are more violently incensed than against Carthage? Whosoever of you, then, are disposed to yield to destiny, before they become spectators of so many scenes of such horrid kinds, for these a banquet is prepared and ready, this day, at my house. When you have indulged plentifully in food and wine, the same cup that will be given to me shall go round. That cup will save our bodies from torture, our minds from insult, our eyes and ears from the sight and hearing of all the cruelties and indignities that await the conquered. There will be persons in readiness to throw our lifeless bodies on a large pile kindled in the court-yard of the house. This way alone conducts us to death with honour and freedom. Our enemies themselves will admire our courage, and Hannibal will be convinced, that the allies, whom he deserted and betrayed, were men of determined valour.”
XIV. More approved of the proposal contained in this speech of Vibius, than had resolution to adopt it. The greater part of the senate, conceiving hopes that the clemency of the Roman people, often experienced in former disputes, might be extended even to their case, after passing a decree for that purpose, sent ambassadors to surrender Capua to the Romans. About twenty-seven senators followed Vibius Virius to his house; where, after feasting with him, and, as far as they could, banishing from their minds, by wine, all feeling of the impending evil, they every one took the poison. They then broke up the meeting, gave their hands, took the last embrace, condoling with one another on their own fall, and that of their country. Some remained there, in order to be burned together on one pile, and the rest retired to their several houses. Their veins were filled by the victuals and wine; which circumstance retarded the efficacy of the poison in hastening death, so that most of them lingered through that whole night, and part of the next day; however, they all expired before the gates were opened to the enemy. On the day following, the gate of Jupiter which was opposite to the Roman camp, was opened by order of the proconsul, and through it marched in one legion, and two confederate squadrons, under the command of Caius Fulvius, lieutenant-general. His first care was, to have all the arms and weapons in the city brought to him; then, placing guards at all the gates, to prevent any one going or being conveyed out, he secured the Carthaginian garrison, and ordered the Campanian senators to go into the camp to the Roman generals. On their arrival there, they were all immediately thrown into chains, and ordered to furnish the quæstors with an account of what gold and silver they possessed. The gold amounted to seventy pounds weight, the silver to three thousand two hundred. Of the senators, twenty-five were sent to Cales, and twenty-eight to Teanum, to be kept in custody. These were the persons who appeared to have been chiefly instrumental in bringing about the revolt from the Romans.
XV. With respect to the punishment of the Campanian senate, Fulvius and Claudius could by no means agree. Claudius was inclined to favour their suit for pardon; the opinion of Fulvius was more severe. Appius, therefore proposed, that the entire determination of that matter, should be removed to Rome; observing, that it was highly reasonable that the senate should have an opportunity of inquiring, whether they had brought any of the Latine confederates, or of the municipal towns, to take part in their designs, and whether they had been assisted by them in the war. Fulvius insisted, that “it would be to the last degree improper, that faithful allies should have their minds disturbed by dubious imputations, and be subjected to informers, who never scruple either what they say or do. Any inquiry of that kind, therefore he was resolved to suppress and stifle.” After this conversation they parted; and Appius made no doubt that his colleague, though he spoke in this determined manner, would yet, in a case of such importance, wait for letters from Rome. But Fulvius, apprehensive that his intention might be frustrated by that very means, dismissed the officers attending at his pavilion, and ordered the military tribunes and præfects of the allies to give notice to two thousand chosen horsemen, to be in readiness at the third trumpet. With this body of horse he set out in the night for Teanum, and entering the gate at the first light, proceeded straight to the Forum. The arrival of the horsemen having caused immediately a concourse of the people, he ordered the Sidicinian magistrate to be summoned, and commanded him to bring forth the Campanians whom he had in his custody. Accordingly they were all brought forth, beaten with rods and beheaded. From thence, he rode away at full speed to Cales; where, when he had taken his seat on the tribunal, and the lictors were binding the Campanians to the stakes, a courier, arriving in haste from Rome, delivered him a letter from Caius Calpurnius, the prætor, and a decree of the senate in their favour. A murmur immediately spread from the tribunal through the whole assembly, that the case of the Campanians was reserved for the cognizance of the senate. Fulvius, suspecting this to be so, when he received the letter, thrust it unopened into his bosom, and commanded the crier to order the lictor to proceed in his duty according to law. Thus those also who were at Cales suffered punishment. He then read the letter and the decree, when it could not obstruct the business already finished, and which had been hurried on lest it might be obstructed. When Fulvius was rising from his seat, Taurea Jubellius, a Campanian, making his way through the middle of the city and of the crowd, called on him by name. Fulvius, wondering what his business with him might be, resumed his seat; on which the other said, “Order me also to be put to death, that you may boast of having killed a braver man than yourself.” Fulvius said, that “the man had certainly lost his reason,’ and observed besides, that “if he were inclined to comply with his desire, he was now restrained by a decree of the senate.” Jubellius on this exclaimed: “Since, after seeing my country reduced to captivity, after losing my friends and relations, after having killed, with my own hand, my wife and children, to prevent their suffering any indignity, I am denied even the means of dying in the same manner with these my countrymen; let me seek from my own resolution a deliverance from this detested life;” and then stabbing himself through the breast, with a sword which he had concealed under his garment, he fell lifeless at the general’s feet.
XVI. Because not only the whole business relative to the punishment of the Campanians, but, also, most of the other transactions, in that quarter, were conducted agreeably to the single judgment of Flaccus, some writers affirm, that Appius Claudius died before the surrender of Capua. They say, too, that this same Taurea neither came voluntarily to Cales, nor died by his own hand; but that, while he was among the rest, tied to a stake, and because the expressions which he loudly vociferated could not be well heard, amidst the noise of the crowd, Flaccus had ordered silence to be made, and that then Taurea uttered the words before-mentioned: that “he, a man of consummate valour, was to be put to death by one his inferior in courage!” that, on his saying this, the crier, by order of the proconsul, pronounced aloud this order, “Lictor, apply the rods to this man of valour, and on him first execute the law.” Some writers assert also, that he read the decree of the senate before he beheaded the prisoners; but because there was an expression annexed, that “if he judged proper, he should refer the business entire to the senate,” he interpreted this as giving him authority to determine what he judged most conducive to the public good. From Cales he returned to Capua, and received the submission of Attella and Calatia. In these towns also, the persons who had been in the managements of affairs, were punished. Upon the whole, eighty of the principal members of the senate were put to death; and about three hundred Campanian nobles were thrown into prison. The rest, being sent into several of the cities of the Latine confederates to be kept in custody, perished by various means. The whole remaining multitude of Campanian citizens were ordered to be sold. How to dispose of the town and its territory remained to be considered: and here, many were of opinion, that a city, so hostile in disposition, so near the Roman borders, and so formidably powerful, ought to be demolished. However, the consideration of immediate utility prevailed; and, on account of the soil, which was well known to be endued with a fertility qualifying it for every kind of cultivation, and beyond any other in Italy, the city was preserved, to be a kind of settlement of husbandmen. For the purpose of peopling the same, all those of its former inhabitants, who had not become citizens, together with the freedmen, dealers and tradesmen, were ordered to remain; the land and public buildings became the property of the Roman people. It was however, determined, that Capua should have no other privilege of a city, than the being inhabited; no system of civil polity, no assembly of a senate or commons, no magistrates. For it was supposed that a multitude, without a public council, without a ruling head, participating in no common rights, would be incapable of forming designs in concert. It was further ordained, that the administration of justice should be conducted by a præfect, to be sent yearly from Rome. In this manner were the affairs of Capua adjusted, with a policy in every particular commendable. Severe and speedy punishment was inflicted on the most guilty; the populace were dispersed beyond all hope of return; but no passionate resentment was vented, in fire and devastation on the unoffending houses and walls. There was impressed on the minds of all the allies, an advantageous opinion of Roman clemency in the sparing of this very celebrated and opulent city, the demolition of which would have deeply afflicted, not only all Campania, but every state in its neighbourhood. This conduct extorted also from the enemy a full acknowledgment of the power of the Romans to punish faithless allies while they were convinced how utterly inadequate the ability of Hannibal was to afford them the protection engaged for.
XVII. The attention of the senate being no longer necessary to the business of Capua, they decreed to Claudius Nero six thousand foot and three hundred horse, to be chosen by himself out of those two legions which he had commanded at that place, with a like number of foot, and eight hundred horse of the confederate Latines. This army he embarked at Puteoli, and carried over to Spain. When the fleet arrived at Tarraco, he disembarked the troops, hauled the ships on shore, and, to augment his numbers, armed the marines; then, marching to the river Iberus, and receiving the forces then with Titus Fonteius and Lucius Marcius he proceeded towards the enemy. Hasdrubal, son of Hamilcar, was at this time encamped in Ausetania, at a place called the Black Stones, between the towns of Illeturge and Metissa — a valley surrounded by hills and woods, the entrances to which were seized by Nero. In order to extricate himself, Hasdrubal sent a messenger with the wand of peace, engaging that, if he were allowed to depart, he would entirely evacuate Spain. This proposal the Roman received with joy. The Carthaginians then requested, that a conference might be held in order to settle, in writing, the rules to be observed respecting the surrender of the citadels of the several towns, and the appointment of a day whereon the garrisons were to be withdrawn, removing, without obstruction, every thing that belonged to them. This request being complied with, Hasdrubal gave orders, that as soon as it should begin to grow dark, the part of his army least calculated for expeditious movements should get out of the defile as they were able: particular care, however, was taken that great numbers should not leave it at once, because a few were more likely both to pass in silence, and unobserved by the enemy, and also to make their way through the narrow and difficult paths. Next day the commanders of it met; but the whole of it was purposely wasted by Hasdrubal in speaking and writing abundance of things perfectly immaterial; and, consequently the conference was postponed to the next. He thus gained the space of the following night also, to send out more of his troops, and even the next day, did not conclude the business. In this manner several days were passed in openly debating on the conditions, and the nights in privately sending off the Carthaginians; so that, when the greater part of his troops had got clear, his sincerity decreasing along with his fears, he refused to abide by what he himself had proposed. And now, almost the whole of the infantry had made their way out of the defile, when, at the dawn of day, a thick fog overspread both that and all the adjacent plains; which Hasdrubal perceiving, sent to Nero to defer the conference until the next morning, alleging, that this was a day on which the Carthaginians were prohibited by their religion from transacting any serious business. Even this raised no suspicion of deceit. Hasdrubal, having obtained the indulgence he had demanded, instantly quitted the camp with his cavalry and elephants; and, without causing any alarm, gained a place of safety. About the fourth hour, the fog being dispersed by the sun, the day cleared up, and showed to the Romans the enemy’s deserted camp. Then, at last, Nero became acquainted with Carthaginian perfidy, and was so provoked at having thus been duped, that he set out directly in pursuit of the retreating enemy, determined to bring him to an engagement; but the other eluded all his endeavours. Some skirmishes however took place between the rear of the Carthaginians and the advanced guard of the Romans.
XVIII. Meanwhile those Spanish states, which, after the late disaster, had abandoned the cause of the Romans, did not return to their alliance, but no others had lately deserted them. At Rome, since the recovery of Capua, the senate and people gave not more earnest attention to the affairs of Italy, than to those of Spain; they therefore determined to augment the army there, and to send a general to command it. But it was not so easy to agree on the person to be sent, as it was to perceive that extraordinary care ought to be employed in the choice of one to be commissioned to such a charge, in which two most eminent commanders had fallen within the space of thirty days, and where he was to supply the place of the two. Some named one, some another, until the resolution was at last adopted, of leaving it to the people in assembly, to elect a proconsul for Spain; and the consuls accordingly proclaimed a day for the election. It had been expected, at first, that those who believed themselves qualified for such an important command, would become candidates; and the failure of this expectation renewed the affliction of the public, for the severe blow which they had sustained, and for the generals whom they had lost. Under this dejection of mind, almost incapable of forming a judgment on the state of things, the people, nevertheless, on the day of election, repaired to the field of Mars, where they fixed their eyes on the magistrates, watching the countenances of the several men of the greatest eminence, who only cast looks of perplexity one on another. And now, every one began with added sorrow to remark, that their affairs were hopeless, and the cause of the public so desperate that no one dared to accept the command in Spain, when on a sudden, Publius Cornelius Scipio, a son of Publius, who was killed in Spain, being then about the age of twenty-four, went up to an eminence, from whence he could be seen, and declared himself a candidate. The eyes of the whole assembly were instantly turned on him, and universal acclamations testified hopes and presages of prosperity and success to his commission. Orders were given, that they should immediately proceed to give their suffrages, when not only every century, without exception, but every individual, voted, that Publius Scipio should have the command in Spain. When the business was finished, and the vehemence and ardour of their emotions had subsided, a sudden silence ensued; and they now began to reflect on the strange manner in which they had acted, governing themselves rather by partial inclination, than by judgment. His early age was the principal cause of their uneasiness: while some at the same time conceived terrible apprehensions from the fortune attending his house, and even from his name. The two families he belonged to were then in mourning; and he was to set out for a province where he must carry on his operations between the tombs of his father and of his uncle.
XIX. When he perceived that, after going through the business with such great alacrity of zeal, the people were yet impressed with solicitude and anxiety, he summoned an assembly; and there enlarged on the subject of his years, on the command entrusted to him, and the war to be carried on; and this he did with such magnanimity and elevation of sentiment, as to rekindle and renew the ardour which had subsided, and to fill the people with greater confidence than either the faith reposed in any human professions, or than reason, judging from the most promising state of affairs, usually supplies. For Scipio was deserving of admiration, not only for real virtues, but also for a certain judicious method of displaying them to advantage, to which he had been trained from his youth. He generally represented any matter, which he wished to carry with the multitude, as recommended either by a vision in the night, or by an admonition impressed on his mind by the gods; whether owing to the influence of some kind of superstition in him, or with the design of bringing men to execute his orders and schemes without hesitation, as if they were directed by the responses of an oracle. To prepare their minds for this, he never transacted any business, public or private (from the very moment of assuming the manly gown,) without first going to the Capitol, walking into the temple, and sitting there for some time; generally alone, and in some retired spot. This custom, which was observed by him through the whole course of his life, made several people give credit to a notion which was then propagated either by his own contrivance or by some unknown author, that he was of divine extraction; like to the fable formerly told of Alexander the Great. The fiction went, that he was begotten by a huge serpent; in which form the prodigy, it was said, had been very often seen in his mother’s chamber, and on people’s coming in, glided away suddenly, and disappeared. These miraculous stories he himself never discouraged, but rather artfully countenanced, neither contradicting any thing of the kind, nor absolutely affirming it. Many other remarkable incidents in respect of this youth (some real and others fictitious,) had procured for him a degree of admiration surpassing what was due to any human being; and these were the motives which then induced the public to intrust him, at so unripe an age, with the conduct of so momentous a business as that to which he had aspired. To the remains of the whole army, still in Spain, and the forces carried thither from Puteoli with Claudius Nero, were added ten thousand foot and one thousand horse; and Marcus Junius Silanus, proprætor, was sent with him, to assist in the management of affairs. Thus setting sail from Ostia, on the Tiber, with a fleet of thirty ships, which were all quinqueremes, and coasting along the shore of the Tuscan sea, the Alps, and the Gallic gulf, and then doubling the promontory of Pyrene, he disembarked his forces at Emporium, a city of Greeks, who came originally from Phocæa. Thence, having ordered the fleet to follow, he marched by land to Tarraco, and there held a convention of all the allies; for, on the news of his arrival, embassies had poured in from every state in the province. Here he ordered the ships to be laid up on shore, after sending back four triremes of the Massilians, which had, out of respect, accompanied him from home. He then applied himself to giving answers to the embassies of the several states, whose minds had been held in suspense by the succession of so many various events; and this he performed with much dignity of spirit, resulting from a thorough confidence in his own abilities; but at the same time, not one presumptuous word fell from him, and in every thing which he said, there appeared at once the greatest elevation of sentiment, and the greatest candour.
XX. Leaving Tarraco, he visited the several states of the allies, and the winter-quarters of the army. Here he bestowed much praise on the soldiers, for having, after all their sufferings, in two such dreadful disasters succeeding one another, still retained possession of the province, not allowing the enemy to derive any advantage from their success, but excluding them entirely from the country on the hither side of the Iberus, and honourably securing the safety of the allies. Marcius he kept near himself, and treated with him upon terms so highly honourable as plainly demonstrated, that he feared nothing less, than that any one might eclipse his own glory. Silanus then succeeded in the room of Nero, and the troops lately arrived went into winter quarters. Scipio having, without loss of time, repaired to the places where his presence was requisite, and finished the business there to to be done, returned to Tarraco. The enemy were, by this time, possessed with an opinion of Scipio not inferior to that entertained by his own countrymen and the allies; and they felt, moreover, a kind of foreboding of what was to come, which (the less able they were to account for apprehensions of which no cause appeared) impressed the greater dread upon their minds. They had gone into winter quarters in different parts of the country: Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, at Gades, on the ocean; Mago in the inland parts, the greatest part of his troops being stationed above the pass of Castulo; and Hasdrubal, son of Hamilcar, in the neighbourhood of Saguntum, on the banks of the Iberus. Towards the end of that summer wherein Capua was taken, and Scipio came into Spain, a Carthaginian fleet, which was called over from Sicily to Tarentum to cut off the supplies of the Roman garrison in the citadel, shut up indeed, every access to it by sea; but, by lying there too long, caused a greater scarcity among their friends than among the enemy: for the quantity of corn that could be brought into the town along the coasts, which were kept in awe, and through the ports, which were kept open by the power of the Carthaginian fleet, was not equal to the consumption of the fleet itself, crowded as it was with a mixed multitude of people of every description; and while the garrison of the citadel, being few in number, could support themselves out of the magazines previously formed without any importation, all that could be brought in was too little to answer the demands of the Tarentines and the fleet. At last the fleet was sent away, which gave greater satisfaction than its coming had done, but produced very little relief to the scarcity; for when the naval force was removed, no more corn could be brought in.
XXI. Towards the close of this summer, Marcus Marcellus having returned to Rome from his province of Sicily the prætor, Caius Calpurnius, assembled the senate in the temple of Bellona, to give him audience. Here, after expatiating on the services which he had performed, and complaining in mild terms, not more on his own account than on that of his soldiers, that though he had completed all the business of the province, he had not been allowed to bring home the army, he requested permission to enter the city in triumph. This occasioned a long debate, wherein it was urged on one side, that after they had in his absence decreed a supplication and a thanksgiving to the immortal gods in his behalf, and for services happily accomplished, the refusing him a triumph when he appeared to demand it, would imply an inconsistency; and, on the other, that, as they had decreed that he should give up the command of the army to a successor (which kind of decree was never passed, unless when war still subsisted in the province,) there would be no less inconsistency in voting him a triumph, as if the war were concluded, and while the troops, who could best testify whether he merited that honour or not, were in a distant country. The matter was at length compromised, with a decree that he should enter the city in ovation. The plebeian tribunes, by direction of the senate, proposed to the people the issuing of an order, that Marcus Marcellus should enjoy the authority of a general during the day on which he should pass through Rome in ovation. On the day preceding that of his entrance, he triumphed on the Alban mount; and, in his ovation had great abundance of spoils borne before him into the city. Together with a model, representing the captured city of Syracuse, were carried in procession the catapultas, balistas, and every other kind of engine used in war. Likewise, the valuable ornaments collected by their kings, at vast expense, during a long continuance of peace; abundance of wrought silver and brass furniture of various kinds, precious garments, and a great number of remarkably fine statues, with which kind of ornaments Syracuse had abounded as much as any of the Grecian cities. Eight elephants were also led in his train, as an emblem of his victory over the Carthaginians; and what formed not the least attractive part of the show, he was preceded by Sosis the Syracusan, and Mericus the Spaniard, with crowns of gold on their heads, the former of whom had guided the Romans into Syracuse by night, the other had delivered the island and its garrison into their hands. To both of these the freedom of the state was granted, and to each five hundred acres of land. The portion intended for Sosis was ordered to be given to him in the territory of Syracuse, out of the estates which had belonged either to the kings or to the enemies of the Roman people, with any house that he should choose of those which had belonged to persons punished according to the laws of war. Mericus, and the Spaniards who came over with him, were to have a city and lands allotted to them, in some of those parts of Sicily which had revolted from the Romans: and Marcus Cornelius was commissioned to assign these to them wherever he should judge proper. Four hundred acres of land in the same country were decreed to Belligenes, by whose persuasions Mericus had been prevailed on to secede from the Carthaginians over to the Romans. After the departure of Marcellus from Sicily, a Carthaginian fleet landed eight thousand foot and three thousand Numidian horse, who were soon joined by the Murgantians, and their revolt was followed by that of Hybla, and several other cities of less note. The Numidians; headed by Mutines, making excursions through every part of the island, wasted with fire and sword the lands of those who were in alliance with Rome. Besides these untoward circumstances, the Roman troops, being incensed partly because they had not been carried home with their commander, and partly because they had been forbidden to winter in towns, became very remiss in their duty, and wanted rather a leader than inclination for a mutiny. In the midst of these difficulties, the prætor, Marcus Cornelius, by sometimes soothing, sometimes reproving the soldiers, brought them to a calmer temper, and also reduced to submission all the states which had revolted; out of which he assigned Murgantia to those Spaniards who were entitled to a city and lands by the senate’s decree.
XXII. Asb oth the consuls were employed in the one province of Apulia, and as the danger to be apprehended from Hannibal and the Carthaginians was not diminished, they were ordered to cast lots for Apulia and Macedonia as their provinces. Macedonia fell to Sulpicius, and he succeeded in the room of Lævinus. Fulvius was called to Rome to preside at the elections; and, holding an assembly, the younger Veturian century, being the first to vote, named Titus Manlius Torquatus, and Titus Otacilius, consuls. Manlius being present, a crowd gathered around him to offer their congratulations, there being no doubt of the concurrence of the people. Surrounded as he was by a vast multitude, he went up to the consul’s tribunal, requesting permission to say a few words, and that the century which had voted might be called back. After the assembly had waited some time with impatience, to know what he intended to require, he excused himself from accepting the office, on account of the weakness of his eyes, observing, that “it would be shameless presumption in a pilot, or a general, who was obliged to transact his own proper business by the help of other people’s eyes, to expect that the lives and fortunes of men should be committed to his charge. Wherefore, he requested the consul to order the younger Veturian century to be called back to vote anew, and to recollect, while they were electing consuls, the war that subsisted in Italy, with the present exigences of the commonwealth; and that people’s ears were scarcely yet relieved from the noise and tumult raised by the enemy, when a few months ago they lay close to the walls of Rome.” Here he was interrupted by the century, who one and all cried out that they would not alter their vote. Torquatus then replied, “should I become consul, neither shall I be able to endure your behaviour, nor you my government; go back, then, and vote again, and consider that there is a Carthaginian war subsisting in Italy, and that the leader of your enemies is Hannibal.” The century then, moved by the authority of the man, and the murmurs of admiration expressed by all around, besought Titus to summon the elder Veturian century, as they wished to confer with persons older than themselves, and to be directed by them in their choice of consuls. The elder Veturian century was accordingly summoned, and time was allowed for the others to confer with them, apart from the crowd, in the inclosure of the voters. The elders said, that there were three proper objects for their consideration, two of whom had already passed through a full course of public honours, Quintus Fabius, and Marcus Marcellus; that if they had a particular wish to elect a consul, yet untried, against the Carthaginians, there was Marcus Valerius Lævinus, who had conducted the war against king Philip, both on land and sea, with extraordina-success. They accordingly consulted together, respecting those three, and the elders being dismissed, the younger century proceeded to vote. They named as consuls Marcus Claudius Marcellus, whose character then shone in full splendour, in consequence of his glorious conquest of Sicily, and Marcus Valerius, both absent; — and were followed by all the rest of the centuries. Men may ridicule the admirers of ancient times, but I shall ever remain persuaded, that even though there should exist a republic of philosophers, such as speculative men are fond of forming in imagination, but which never was known, yet there could not be produced either a nobility of more solid judgment, and of more unambitious tempers, nor a populace guided by sounder moral principles, than were these of whom I speak. That a century of young men should wish to consult their elders on the choice of a person to whom they were to entrust the government by their vote, appears indeed at present scarcely credible; but it is because, in the fashion of this age, even sons slight and disregard the counsel of their parents.
XXIII. They then proceeded to the election of prætors, and Publius Manlius Volso, Lucius Manlius Acidinus, Caius Lætorius, and Lucius Cincius Alimentus, were chosen. It happened that, just as the elections were finished, an account arrived that Titus Otacilius, whom the people would probably have appointed consul, in his absence, together with Titus Manlius, if the course of the election had not been interrupted, had died in Sicily. The games of Apollo had been celebrated the year before, and, on the proposal of the prætor, Calpurnius, that they should be performed this year also, a decree was made by the senate, that they should be celebrated annually for ever. This year several prodigies were seen and reported. At the temple of Concord, a statue of Victory, which stood on the summit of the roof, being struck by lightning, and shaken at its base, fell and stuck among the ensigns of the goddess which were on the pediment. From Anagnia and Fregella reports were brought, that a wall and some gates were by the like means thrown down; that, in the forum of Sudertum, streams of blood ran for a whole day; that a shower of stones fell at Eretum, and that at Reate a mule had produced a foal. These prodigies were expiated with the greater victims; the people were ordered to perform a supplication, of one day’s continuance, to avert the wrath of the gods, and the nine days festival was solemnized. Several of the public priests died this year, and new ones were appointed in their places. In the room of Marcus Æmilius Numida, decemvir of religious affairs, was substituted Marcus Æmilius Lepidus; in the room of Marcus Pomponius Matho, pontiff, Caius Livius; and in the room of Spurius Carvilius Maximus, augur, Marcus Servilius. Because Titus Otacilius Crassus, who was a pontiff, died after the conclusion of the year, there was no nomination of any person to his place. Caius Claudius, flamen of Jupiter, because he had committed some irregularity in the distribution of the entrails, resigned the office.
XXIV. About this time Marcus Valerius Lævinus, after having first sounded the dispositions of the principal men in secret conferences, came with some light ships to a council of the Ætolians, which had been previously summoned for this purpose. Here, to convince them of the flourishing state of the affairs of Italy and Sicily, he expatiated in high terms on the reduction of Capua, and of Syracuse, adding, that “the Romans inherited, even from their earliest ancestors, a constant disposition to study the interest of their allies; some of whom they had admitted into their state to equal privileges with themselves, and others were supported by them in such situations, that they chose rather to be allies, than fellow-citizens. That the Ætolians would be held by them in the higher degree of estimation, on account that they would be the first, of all the nations separated from them by the sea, who united with them in friendship. That Philip and the Macedonians were troublesome neighbours; but that he had already broken their strength and spirits, and was determined to reduce them so low, that they should not only evacuate those cities, of which they had forcibly deprived the Ætolians, but should find Macedonia itself an uneasy residence. As to the Acarnanians, whose dismemberment from their body gave the Ætolians much concern, he engaged to replace them under the former charter of obedience to their authority and jurisdiction.” These assertions and promises of the Roman general, Scopas, who was then prætor of the nation, and Dorimachus, a principal man among the Ætolians, confirmed by their own authority; and therefore, with the less reserve, and greater assurance of gaining belief, extolled the power and exalted reputation of the Roman people. However, that which had the greatest influence was the hope of recovering Acarnania. The particulars were accordingly reduced to writing, on which they were to join in a treaty of alliance and friendship with the Roman people, and a clause was added, that “if it was agreeable to their own wish, the Eleans, and Lacedæmonians should be included on the same terms of friendship, and also Attalus, Pleuratus, and Scerdilædus.” Attalus was king of Asia, the others of Thrace and Illyria. The terms of the treaty were. that “the Ætolians should immediately commence war against Philip on land: that the Romans should assist them with not less than twenty ships of five banks of oars: that, of all the cities that should be taken as far as Corcyra, beginning from Ætolia, the buildings of every description, together with the lands thereunto belonging, should be the property of the Ætolians; all other booty of what kind soever to be given up to the Romans: that the Romans should use their endeavours to secure to the Ætolians the possession of Acarnania: that, if the Ætolians should make peace with Philip, an article should be inserted in the treaty, declaring it valid, only on condition that Philip should refrain from committing hostilities on the Romans, their allies, or any under their dominion: in like manner if the Roman people should form an alliance with the king, that they should take care not to allow him a right of making war on the Ætolians and their allies.” Such was the purport of the negociation entered into by the above-named powers, two copies of which were made two years after, and deposited, one, by the Romans, in the capitol, and the other by the Ætolians, at Olympia, that these consecrated records might bear evidence of its contents. This delay arose from the Ætolian ambassadors having been too long detained at Rome, which however was no impediment to the business of the war; for the Ætolians immediately commenced hostilities against Philip, while Lævinus attacked Zacynthus, a small island near the coast of Ætolia, which has one city of the same name with itself. This, excepting the citadel, he reduced by storm, and taking from the Acarnanians Æniadæ and Nasus, put them into the hands of the Ætolians. Judging that Philip was now sufficiently embroiled in war with his neighbours to prevent his thinking of Italy, the Carthaginians, and his compact with Hannibal, he retired to Corcyra.
XXV. Philip received the account of the defection of the Ætolians at Pella, where he had fixed his residence for the winter. As he was to move his army into Greece in the beginning of the next spring, he determined to strike terror into the Illyrians, and the cities in that quarter, in return for the alarms which they had caused to him, so that they should leave Macedonia unmolested during his absence; accordingly, he undertook a sudden expedition against the territories of Oricum and Apollonia. The Apollonians who came out to meet him he compelled to fly with dismay into their city; then, after ravaging the frontiers of Illyricum, he pursued his route with the same degree of expedition into Pelagonia, where he took Sintia, a town belonging to the Dardanians, and which would have afforded them a passage into Macedonia. Having finished this business with all possible speed, he turned his thoughts to the war which he had to maintain against the Ætolians and the Romans in conjunction, and marched down through Pelagonia, Lyncus, and Bottæa into Thessaly, in hopes that many of these states might be prevailed upon to join him in support of the war with the Ætolians. Leaving therefore at the narrow entrance of Thessaly, one of his generals, named Perseus, with four thousand soldiers, to secure the pass against the Ætolians, he went himself at the head of his army, before he should be engaged by more important business, into Macedonia, and thence into Thrace and Mædica. This nation had been accustomed, whenever they saw the king employed in a foreign war, and the kingdom left unguarded, to make incursions into Macedonia: he therefore set about wasting the country about Phragandæ, and laid siege to the city of Jamphorina, the capital and principal fortress of Mædica. Scopas, when he learned that the king had gone into Thrace, and was employed in carrying on war there, armed all the young men of the Ætolians, and prepared to carry hostilities into Acarnania. This nation, conscious of their inability to oppose him, seeing too that the cities of Æniadæ and Nasus were already lost, and that they were besides threatened with an invasion by the Romans, formed a plan of action dictated by passion rather than by prudence. Their wives, children, and all persons above the age of sixty years, they sent away into the neighbouring states of Epirus: while all from fifteen to sixty bound themselves to each other by an oath, to march against the enemy, and not to return home unless victorious; framing a dreadful execration on such of their countrymen as should receive into their city or house, or admit to their table or fire-side, any one who had given way to the foe, or quitted his post in battle. They addressed also a most solemn obtestation, of the same purport, to the states with whom they had an intercourse; beseeching, at the same time, the Epirotes to inter in one common tomb such of their men as should fall in battle, and to fix this epitaph over their graves: here lie the acarnanians, who died fighting in defence of their country, against the violence and injustice of the ætolians. With minds highly inflamed by these and such like means, they encamped in the extreme border of their country, on the side where they expected the enemy; and, by the despatches which they sent to Philip, representing the great danger that threatened them, obliged him to drop the prosecution of the designs in which he was engaged, although Jamphorina had already capitulated, and all his affairs were in a prosperous train. The enterprise intended by the Ætolians was postponed, first, on their hearing of the association entered into by the Acarnanians; and, afterwards, on the news of Philip’s approach, which made them even draw back into the interior parts of their own country. Philip, however, though he had hastened by long marches to prevent the Acarnanians being overwhelmed, yet did not advance farther than Dios, whence on hearing that the Ætolians had retired from Acarnania, he also removed to Pella.
XXVI. Early in the spring Lævinus set sail from Corcyra, and, doubling the cape of Leucate, came to Naupactum, whence he sent notice, that he was proceeding to Anticyra in order that Scopas and the Ætolians might be there to join him. Antyra stands in Locris, on the left hand on entering the Corinthian Gulf, and the march thither by land is short, as is the passage by sea, from Naupactum. In about three days after this, the siege of that town was commenced by the combined forces; but the attack on the side next the sea was the more difficult to be withstood, because there were on board the fleet engines and machines of every sort; and besides, the assailants were Romans. In a few days, therefore, the city capitulated, and was given up to the Ætolians. The spoil, according to compact, fell to the Romans. Here Lævinus received a letter, acquainting him that he had been declared consul in his absence, and that Publius Sulpicius was coming to succeed him in the command of the fleet. But he was siezed by a tedious sickness, which delayed his return to Rome longer than any one wished.Y. R. 542. 210. Marcus Marcellus, entering on the consulship on the ides of March, held, on the same day, a meeting of the senate, merely for form’s sake, for he declared, that “he would introduce nothing respecting the state of the commonwealth, or the distribution of the provinces, in the absence of his colleague. That he understood that there were great numbers of Sicilians in the neighbourhood of the city, at the country houses of persons who wished to depreciate his character; and so far was he from hindering an open publication of the charges fabricated and circulated by his enemies, that he would have given them instantly an opportunity of laying such charges before the senate; were it not that they pretended some kind of fear to speak of a consul in the absence of his colleague. That, however, when Lævinus arrived, he would certainly suffer no business to be transacted before the Sicilians were introduced to an audience of the senate. That Marcus Cornelius had made a kind of levy through all Sicily, for the purpose of sending to Rome the greater number of complaints against him; and that the same person with a view to injure his reputation, had, by his letters, filled the city with false representations of war still subsisting in Sicily.” The consul’s behaviour on that day made people conceive a good opinion of the moderation of his temper. He then adjourned the senate, and it was expected that there would be almost a total suspension of every kind of business until the return of the other consul. Want of employment, as usual, gave occasion to various murmurs against the populace: they made great complaint of “the length of the war; of the devastation of the country by Hannibal on all sides of the city; of Italy being exhausted by levies of men, and of the loss of armies happening almost every year; of consuls being now elected, who, both of them, had a passion for war; men too enterprising and daring, who, in a time of profound peace, were capable of exciting quarrels, and therefore there was the less reason to expect that, during the actual existence of hostilities, they would allow the public time to breathe.”
XXVII. These discourses were interrupted by a fire which broke out near the Forum, in the night preceding the festival of Minerva. Seven shops, where five were afterwards built, and the banking-houses, which are now called the New Banks, were in flames in several places at once. Next the private buildings were consumed (for the public halls were not then there,) with the prison, called the Quarry, and the fish-market, also the old palace of king Numa. With difficulty the temple of Vesta was saved, principally by the activity of thirteen slaves, who were afterwards purchased for the public, and discharged from servitude. The fire raged during a night and a day. There was no doubt of its being caused by human means, the flames blazing out at the same moment, and at considerable distances. The consul therefore, by direction of the senate, published a proclamation, that whoever discovered the persons that had occasioned the same, such discoverer should receive as a reward, if a freeman, a sum of money, if a slave, his liberty. Induced by this, a slave belonging to the Campanian family of the Calivii, by name Mannus, gave information, that “his masters, and five other young Campanian noblemen, whose parents had been beheaded by Quintus Fulvius, were the perpetrators of the deed, and that they would effect the like destruction in various places, if they were not put into confinement.” On this they were taken into custody, as were also their slaves. At first they spoke with scorn of the informer and his discovery: they said “he had run away from his masters, in consequence of having been chastised the day before with a whipping; and, in a fit of resentment and folly, had forged this charge, on the ground of an event merely accidental.” But, when they were brought face to face with their accuser, and the instruments of their villany began to be examined by torture in the middle of the Forum, they all confessed their guilt; and the masters and their slaves who were privy to the design were punished as they deserved. The informer received his liberty and twenty thousand asses.* The consul Lævinus, as he passed by Capua, was surrounded by a multitude of the Campanians, who besought him, with tears, to give them permission to go to Rome, there to entreat the senate to suffer themselves to be moved, at length, with compassion; and not to carry resentment so far as to their utter ruin, nor to let the whole race of Campanians, be extirpated by Quintus Flaccus. Flaccus declared, that “he had no personal quarrel whatsoever with the Campanians; a public and hostile enmity towards them he certainly had, and should retain as long as he knew them to harbour the same sentiments towards the Roman people. There was not on earth,” he said, “any race, or any state, that bore a more inveterate hatred to the Roman name. The reason of his keeping them confined within the walls was, that when any of them contrived to get out they roamed about the country like wild beasts, tearing and slaying whatever fell in their way. Some had fled to join Hannibal, others had gone to set Rome on fire, and the consul would find, in the half-burnt Forum, the traces of Campanian villany. An attempt had been made even on the temple of Vesta, on the sacred fire, and the fatal pledge* of the Roman empire deposited in her shrine. For his part, he could by no means think it safe to allow the Campanians to enter the walls of Rome.” Lævinus, however, ordered the Campanians to follow him thither; having first made them bind themselves by an oath to Flaccus, to return to Capua on the fifth day after receiving an answer from the senate. Surrounded by this train, and followed also by the Sicilians and Ætolians, who came out to meet him he proceeded to Rome, bringing into the city, as accusers of two men, whose characters had been rendered illustrious by the conquest of two very celebrated cities, the parties whom they had vanquished in war. However both the consuls proposed, first, to the consideration of the senate, the state of the commonwealth, and the disposal of the provinces.
XXVIII. Lævinus then made a report of the state of Macedonia and Greece, of the Ætolians, Acarnanians, and Locrians; and of the services which he himself had performed there, on land and sea; acquainting them, that “Philip, who came with an army against the Ætolians, had been driven back by him into Macedonia, and had retired into the interior parts of his kingdom; and that the legion might be brought home from thence, the fleet being sufficient to prevent any attempt of the king upon Italy.” This part of the business which respected himself, and the province where he had commanded, he went through alone: the questions relative to the distribution of the provinces were put by both consuls jointly. The senate decreed, that “Italy, and the war with Hannibal, should be the province of one of the consuls; that the other should have the command of the fleet lately under that of Titus Otacilius; and, in conjunction with the prætor, Lucius Cincius the government of Sicily.” The two armies decreed to them were those then in Etruria and Gaul, consisting of four legions. The two city legions of the former year were ordered to be sent into Etruria; the two lately under the command of the consul Sulpicius into Gaul; and Gaul, with these legions, to be governed by such person as the consul who had the province of Italy should appoint. Caius Calpurnius, being continued in command for a year after the expiration of his prætorship, was sent into Etruria. Capua was appointed the province of Quintus Fulvius, whose command was also prolonged for a year. An order was made, that the numbers both of the native and allied troops should be reduced, so that out of two legions should be formed one, containing five thousand foot and three hundred horse, and that those men should be discharged who had served the greatest number of campaigns; but that, in each legion of the allies, there should be left seven thousand foot and three hundred horse; and that, in discharging the old soldiers, the same rule should be observed respecting the length of their services. With regard to Cneius Fulvius, consul of the last year, no alteration was made, either in his province Apulia, or in the army under his command; only he was continued another year in authority. Publius Sulpicius his colleague, was ordered to disband his whole force, excepting the marines; as was Marcus Cornelius, as soon as the consul should arrive in the province. To the prætor, Lucius Cincius, for the defence of Sicily, were assigned the troops of Cannæ, equivalent to two legions. To the prætor Publius Manlius Volso, were allotted, for the service of Sardinia, the same number of legions which Lucius Cornelius had commanded in the same province the year before. The consuls were ordered to raise legions for the city, but not to oblige any man to enlist who had served in the armies of Marcus Claudius, Marcus Valerius, or Quintus Fulvius, and the number of Roman legions to be employed during that year was fixed at twenty-one.
XXIX. When the senate had passed these decrees, the consuls cast lots for the provinces. Sicily, and the fleet, fell to Marcellus; Italy, with the war against Hannibal, to Lævinus. This decision, as if Syracuse were now a second time taken, struck the Sicilians, who stood within sight of the consuls, waiting till the lots were drawn, with such dismay, that their bitter lamentations, and mournful expressions of grief attracted the eyes of all present, and afforded afterwards much matter of discourse. For they went round to each of the senators, dressed in mourning, and affirming, that “they were resolved to abandon, not only each his native state, but all Sicily, if Marcellus should come thither again as governor. Formerly, when they had deserved no harsh treatment at his hands, he had been implacable in his resentment towards them; to what lengths, then, might not his anger now carry him, when he knew that they had come to Rome with complaints against him? Better would it be for that island to be buried under the fires of Ætna, or sunk in the sea, than to be delivered over as it were to execution at the will of an enemy.”— These complaints of the Sicilians, after being at first carried about to the houses of the nobility, and canvassed in frequent conversations, which took rise either from compassion to the Sicilians, or ill-will to Marcellus, made their way even into the senate. A requisition was there made to the consuls, that the senate should be consulted on an exchange of provinces. To this Marcellus answered, that “though the Sicilians had been already heard by the senate, his opinion might still be different; but in order that no one should be able to say that these people were curbed by fear, or restrained from uttering their complaints with freedom against a man to whose power they were soon to be subject; in the present state of things, if his colleague had no objection, he was ready to change his province.” He warmly intreated them “not to prejudge the depending cause by the interposition of any decree. For since it would be unjust to give his colleague his choice of a province without putting it to the lot, how much greater would be the injustice, nay, the indignity, if that which he had obtained by lot were transferred to the other?” Accordingly the senate, after declaring what was their wish, without passing a decree, adjourned, and the consuls, between themselves, made an exchange of provinces. Thus did fate, impending over Marcellus, drag him, as it were, within the sphere of Hannibal; that he who had been the first Roman commander who ravished from that general a large portion of his glory, by defeating him in battle, might be the last who contributed, by his fall, to the aggrandizement of the same man’s reputation; and this at a time when the events of the war, in general, were particularly favourable, to the side of the Romans.
XXX. When the provinces were exchanged, the Sicilians were introduced into the senate, where they expatiated, in many words, on the unalterable attachment of king Hiero to the Roman people, assuming merit from thence to themselves and their nation. “As to the tyrants, Hieronymus, and, after him, Hippocrates and Epicydes, they themselves had ever detested them,” they said, “for many reasons, but particularly for taking part with Hannibal against the Romans. For this cause Hieronymus was put to death by the principal young men of the nation, authorised, in a manner, by the public voice. Seventy of their youths, of the highest distinction, had conspired, on the same account, to kill Hippocrates and Epicydes, but were disappointed of the support which they expected from Marcellus, by a delay in the bringing up of his army to Syracuse at the time agreed on; so that, their design being discovered, they were all put to death by the tyrants. Even the tyrannical usurpation of Hippocrates and Epycides owed its beginning to the cruelty practised by Marcellus in the sacking of Leontini. The principal Syracusans, alarmed at this, never ceased afterwards imploring Marcellus, and promising to deliver the city into his ands, at any time that he chose to appoint: but his wish was to take it by assault. Finding, however, after every effort which could be made on land or sea, that this was impracticable, he chose to depend on Sosis, a brazier, and Mericus, a Spaniard, for putting him in possession of Syracuse, rather than on the first men of the city, who had so often, to no purpose, voluntarily made the same offer; in order, no doubt, that he might have the more plausible excuse for plundering and massacring the oldest allies of the Roman people. If the defection to Hannibal had been the act, not of Hieronymus, but of the senate and people of Syracuse; if the body of the Syracusans, and not their tyrants, Hippocrates and Epicydes, who held them in subservience to their will, had shut the gates against Marcellus; if they had waged war against the Roman people with the animosity of Carthaginians, to what greater length could Marcellus have carried hostilities than he did; unless he were to demolish the city? He certainly left nothing at Syracuse except the walls and empty houses, while the temples were broken open and pillaged, and from which the ornaments of the gods, and even the gods themselves, had been carried away. Many were stripped of their whole possessions, so as not to have remaining, from the wreck of their fortunes, even the naked soil, out of which they might support themselves and their families. Wherefore they besought the Conscript Fathers to order restoration to be made to the owners, if not of all their property, at least of such part of it as could be found and claimed on proof.” When they had uttered their complaints in this manner, and were ordered by Lævinus to withdraw from the senate-house, that the members might deliberate on the subject of their demands; “No,” said Marcellus, “let them stay, that I may answer in their hearing, since, Conscript Fathers, such are the terms on which we serve in your wars, that the parties, whom we conquer by our arms, are to become our prosecutors, and two cities, taken this year, are to prosecute their captors, Capua Fulvius, and Syracuse Marcellus.”
XXXI. The deputies being brought back into the senate-house, the consul then said; “Conscript Fathers, I am not so unmindful of the majesty of the Roman people, and of the high office with which I am invested, as that I should, while bearing the dignity of a consul, appear as a defendant to answer charges made by Greeks, if the subject of the present inquiry were merely respecting misconduct on my part. But the question is, not what I have done, but rather what those men deserved at my hands. For, if they were not our enemies, I should be equally blameable for injuring Syracuse now, as when Hiero was alive. But, if they renounced our alliance, attacked our ambassadors with violence and arms, shut the gates of their city and called in an army of Carthaginians to defend it against us; who can think it unreasonable that men who committed hostilities should have suffered them in turn? I rejected the offers of the principal Syracusans to give me possession of the city, it is true; I chose rather to confide, in a case so important, solely in Sosis, and the Spaniard Mericus. You are not the meanest of the Syracusans, since you object meanness to others. Now, is there one among you, who ever promised to open the gates to me, or to admit my armed troops into the city? You execrate and abhor those who did; and do not, even here, abstain from reviling them; so far is it from being fact, that yourselves would have done the same. The low condition of the persons employed, which these men make a matter of reproach, shows, Conscript Fathers, how ready I was to listen to the offers of any man who was willing to exert himself in the service of our state. Before I commenced the siege of Syracuse, I tried to effect a restoration of tranquillity, at one time by sending ambassadors, at another time, by going myself to treat on the subject; and, afterwards, when they neither scrupled to offer violence to my ambassadors, nor would give any answer to myself in a personal interview with their leaders at the gates, I then, after surmounting many difficulties on land and sea, at length took Syracuse by force of arms. Of the consequences which befel them on the capture of their city, they might, with more propriety, complain to Hannibal and the Carthaginians, and to their companions in defeat, than to the senate of the nation which conquered them. Conscript Fathers, if I had intended to deny that Syracuse was plundered, I would never have decorated the city of Rome with its spoils. As to what I, in capacity of a conqueror, either took from individuals, or bestowed on any, I am fully confident that I acted, in those respects, agreeably both to the laws of war and to the deserts of each. That you ratify these proceedings, Conscript Fathers, concerns the interest of the republic more than that of mine. My duty has been discharged with honour; but it is of importance to the commonwealth that you do not, by rescinding my acts, render other commanders in future remiss. And now, Conscript Fathers, as you have heard both the Sicilians and me face to face, we will retire together from your house, that the senators may, in my absence, deliberate with the greater freedom.” The Sicilians were accordingly dismissed, and he went away to the Capitol to enlist soldiers.
XXXII. The other consul then required the determination of the fathers respecting the demands of the Sicilians; on which a long and warm debate ensued. A great part of the senate, adopting an opinion introduced by Titus Manlius Torquatus, declared, that “in their judgment the war ought to have been waged against the tyrants, who were equal enemies to the Syracusans and to the Roman people; that the city ought to have been recovered by treaty, not taken by force; and, when recovered, should have been re-established in freedom under its ancient laws, and not subjected to the calamities of war, after having been long harassed under a wretched slavery. In the contests between the tyrants and the Roman general, the prize proposed to the conqueror had been utterly destroyed, a city of the greatest beauty and fame, formerly the granary and treasury of the Roman people; one by whose generosity and munificence the republic had, on many occasions of difficulty, and lately, in the present Carthaginian war, been assisted, honoured, and adorned. If King Hiero, that most faithful friend to the interests of the Roman empire, were to rise from the shades, with what face, could either Syracuse or Rome be shown to him? When, after beholding his native city in its plundered and half-demolished state, he should, on coming into Rome, see, at the entrance of it, almost in the very gates, the spoils of his own country?” Although these, and many such warm expressions, tending to disparage the character of Marcellus, and excite compassion for the Sicilians, were uttered by the members, yet the senate, through their regard for Marcellus, pursued a milder course in forming their decree; the purport of which was, that “all acts done by him in his administration of the war, and after his final success therein, should be deemed valid. In respect of the time to come, the senate would take care of the concerns of Syracuse, and would give a charge to the consul Lævinus, to promote the prosperity of that city, as far as could be done without detriment to the commonwealth.” Two senators were sent to the Capitol to desire the consul to come back to the senate-house; and, the Sicilians also being called in, the decree was read. The deputies, after receiving assurances of kindness, were dismissed; and they then threw themselves at the feet of the consul Marcellus, beseeching him to pardon the expressions which they had used, for the purpose of procuring pity and relief of their misfortunes, and to receive them and the city of Syracuse into his protection and patronage. The consul returned a mild answer, and dismissed them.
XXXIII. The senate next gave audience to the Campanians, who spoke in a more piteous strain, but had a more difficult cause to plead; for neither could they deny that they had deserved the punishments inflicted, nor were there tyrants in the case, on whom they could transfer the guilt. They only alleged, that they had suffered enough of punishment, in so many senators being taken off by poison, and so many by the executioner. That, “of their nobles, only a few remained alive, whom neither consciousness of crime had driven to acts of despair, nor the resentment of their conqueror condemned to death: who, in behalf of themselves and their families, prayed for liberty, and some portion of their property; being citizens of Rome, and most of them closely connected there in affinities and near relationships, in consequence of the frequent intermarriages which took place during a long series of years.” They were then ordered to withdraw, and the senators were for some time in doubt whether Quintus Fulvius should not be called home from Capua, (for the other proconsul, Claudius, had died after the taking of the place,) in order that the matter might be discussed in the presence of the commander, as had been done in the case of Marcellus and the Sicilians. But afterwards, seeing in the house Marcus Atilius, and Flaccus’s brother, Caius Fulvius, who had been lieutenant-generals under him; also Quintus Minucius, and Lucius Veturius Philo, who had held the same commission under Claudius — men who had been present at every transaction; and being unwilling either to recall Fulvius from Capua, or to delay the Campanians by an adjournment, they desired to hear the sentiments of Marcus Atilius Regulus, whom they deemed superior in judgment to any of the rest who had been at Capua; and he spoke to this effect: “I recollect attending the consuls, in council, after the reduction of Capua, when inquiry was made whether any of the Campanians had deserved well of our state; when it was discovered that two women had done so, Vestia Oppia, a native of Atilla, resident in Capua, and Fancula Cluvia, formerly a courtesan; the former having daily offered sacrifice for the safety and success of the Roman people, the latter having secretly conveyed food to the starving prisoners. But it was at the same time found, that the disposition of all the rest of the Campanians towards us was precisely that of the Carthaginians; yet those beheaded by Fulvius were not the most criminal among them, but the most eminent in rank. How the senate can determine on the case of the Campanians, who are Roman citizens, without an order of the people, I do not see. This rule was observed by our ancestors, in respect of the revolted Satricans, and measures were taken that Marcus Antistius, plebeian tribune, should first propose, and the commons pass, an order empowering the senate to decide finally in the affair of that people. My opinion, therefore, is, that application be made to the tribunes of the commons, that one or more of them may propose to the people an order authorising us to determine concerning the Campanians.” By direction of the senate, Lucius Atilius, a plebeian tribune, made the proposition accordingly in these words: “Concerning all the Campanians, Atellans, Calatians, Sabatians, who have surrendered themselves to Fulvius, proconsul, and submitted to the power and dominion of the Roman people; also concerning whatsoever they may have given up, whether land, city, divine, or human property; with respect to all these things, I ask you, Roman citizens, what you choose should be done?” The commons passed this order:—“Whatsoever the senate, being first sworn, or the majority of its members, then present, may determine, that we will and order.”
XXXIV. In pursuance of this order of the people, the senate took the business into consideration; and, in the first place, restored to Oppia and Cluvia their liberty and effects, with directions, that “if they wished to ask any other reward from the senate, they should come to Rome.” Separate decrees were passed respecting the several families of the Campanians, all of which it would be useless to enumerate. The properties of some were ordered to be confiscated; themselves, their wives, and children to be sold, excepting such of their daughters as had been placed in marriage before they came into the power of the Roman people. Others were ordered to be kept in close confinement, and their cases to be considered at a future time. They also made distinct estimates of the possessions of others, in order to determine whether they should be forfeited or not. They voted, that all the cattle seized, except the horses; all the slaves, except grown-up males; and every thing which did not appertain to the soil, should be restored to the owners. They ordered, that all the Campanians, Atellans, Calatians, and Sabatians, exclusive of those who, themselves or their parents, were then among the enemy, should be free; with the restriction, that none of them should be capable of becoming a Roman citizen, or a Latine confederate; and that none of those who had been in Capua while the gates were shut, should remain beyond a certain day in the city or territory thereof. They voted, that a place of habitation should be assigned to those people beyond the Tiber, and not contiguous to it: that such as had neither been in Capua during the war, nor in any Campanian city which had revolted from the Roman people, should be removed to the other side of the river Liris, next to Rome; and those who had come over to the Romans before Hannibal came to Capua, to the hither side of the Vulturnus: that none of them should have land or house nearer to the sea than fifteen miles: that, as to those who should be transplanted to the farther side of the Tiber, neither themselves nor their posterity should purchase or possess property in any other place than in the Veientian, Sutrian, or Nepetian territories; nor should any possess a greater extent of ground than fifty acres: that the property of all the senators, and of those who had held public employments at Capua, Atella, or Calatia, should be sold at Capua; but that the men of free condition, who, according to the order passed, were likewise to be set up for sale, should be sent to Rome. The images and brazen statues, which were said to have been taken from the enemy, whether they were sacred or private property, they left to the disposal of the college of pontiffs. They then dismissed the Campanians, whose distress and affliction were increased by these determinations beyond what they had felt at their coming to Rome, and who exclaimed no longer against Fulvius’s cruelty towards them, but against the rigorous severity of the gods, and their own accursed fortune.
XXXV. After the Sicilians and Campanians were dismissed, a levy of troops was made; and, as soon as that was finished, the business of procuring a supply of rowers for the fleet came under consideration. As there was neither a sufficiency of men for this purpose, nor any money, at that time, in the treasury to purchase or pay them, the consuls published an edict, that private persons should, as on former occasions, in proportion to their fortunes and stations, supply rowers with pay and subsistence for thirty days. This edict caused such loud murmurs and such ill-humour among the people, that a leader, rather than matter, was wanting to produce an open insurrection. It was said, that “the consuls, after they had done with the Sicilians and Campanians, had taken the Roman commons in hand, to harass and ruin them: that, after being exhausted by paying taxes for so many years, they had nothing left but land, and that naked and waste. Their houses the enemy had burned; the slaves, who ought to till the ground, the state had taken away, sometimes purchasing them for soldiers at a trifling price, at others ordering them to serve as rowers. If any one had a little silver or brass, he was obliged to part with it to pay rowers and the yearly duties. As to themselves, no authority, no force, could compel them to give what they had not. The consuls might sell their goods, and vent their cruelty on their persons, which were all that remained: nor had they any thing wherewith they could even redeem or save themselves from such treatment.” These discontented expressions were uttered not in private, but openly in the Forum, and in the presence of the consuls themselves, by immense multitudes that stood around them; nor were the consuls able, either by reproof or consolation, to pacify them. It was at length determined to give them three days, to consider of these matters; and this time they themselves employed in procuring information, and contriving the best mode of proceeding. On the following day, they held a meeting of the senate on the subject of a supply of rowers, and after using many arguments to show that the remonstrances of the commons were but reasonable, they changed the tenor of their discourse so far as to say, that “this burthen, whether reasonable or unreasonable, must be imposed on the private citizens. How could the fleets be otherwise manned, as there was no money in the treasury; and, without fleets, how could Sicily be kept in obedience, Philip be kept out of Italy, or the coasts of Italy protected?”
XXXVI. In circumstances of such extreme perplexity, deliberation was of little avail, and a kind of torpor possessed men’s faculties, until the consul Lævinus addressed them thus: “As the magistrates in point of dignity precede the senate, and the senate the people, so ought they to take the lead in undergoing every thing burthensome and difficult. When you wish to enjoin any task on inferiors; if you impose the same duty on yourself and your connexions, you will find those inferiors the more ready to obey. Nor is an expense deemed heavy, when people see those of the highest ranks take on themselves more than their proportion of it. Do we wish, then, that the Roman people should have a fleet, and the means of equipping it? That private citizens should, without murmuring, supply rowers? Let us enforce the edict first on ourselves. Let us, senators, lodge to-morrow in the public treasury all our gold, silver, and coined brass; each reserving of the gold, rings for himself, his wife, and children, and a bulla for his son; and he who has a wife and daughters, an ounce weight for each, out of the silver; and for those who have sat in a curule chair, let them have the ornaments of a horse, and a pound weight of silver, that they may not be without a salt-cellar and a dish to be used in the worship of the gods. To the other senators, only a pound of silver and five thousand asses* of brass coin should be allowed, that is, for every father of a family. All the rest of our gold, silver, and coined brass, let us at once convey to the receivers of the public money, before we pass any decree, that our voluntary contribution, and the ardour of our zeal in aiding the republic, may excite a spirit of emulation in the equestrian order first, and then in the people in general. This is the only equitable way which my colleague and myself, after much conversation on the subject, have been able to discover; adopt it, then, and may the gods be propitious to you. The safety of the commonwealth effectually ensures the safety of private property; if you abandon the interest of the republic, you will in vain attempt to preserve your own.” This scheme was received with warm and unanimous approbation, insomuch that the thanks of the body were returned to the consuls. The senate was then adjourned, and all the members immediately hastened to bring in their gold, silver, and brass to the treasury, and this with such ardour and emulation, that while each pressed to have his name among the first in the public registers, the commissioners were not able to receive, nor the clerks to enter, the contributions. The zeal and unanimity displayed by the senate were copied by the equestrian order, and, after them, by the commons. Thus, without any edict, without any authoritative act of magistracy, the state was provided with a sufficient supply of rowers, and also with a fund for their support; and every preparation for the campaign being finished, the consuls set out for their respective provinces.
XXXVII. At no period of the war did both the Romans and the Carthaginians feel a greater vicissitude of hopes and fears; such an intermixture of events, of opposite natures, taking place alike on both sides. For on that of the Romans, with regard to the provinces, the misfortunes in Spain on the one hand, and the successes in Sicily on the other, produced a mixture of sorrow and rejoicing; and in Italy, as the loss of Tarentum was injurious and grievous, so the citadel and garrison being preserved, beyond expectation, was matter of joy: while in like manner, the sudden terror and panic, caused by the investiture and attack of the city of Rome, were in a few days converted into triumph by the reduction of Capua. Affairs beyond sea were, also, balanced in a kind of counterpoise. Philip became their enemy at a juncture very far from seasonable; but then they acquired new allies in the Ætolians, and in Attalus, king of Asia; fortune thus early pledging her promise, as it were, to the Romans, for the empire of the east. On the side of the Carthaginians, likewise, the loss of Capua was counterbalanced by the acquisition of Tarentum; and, as they valued themselves highly on the honour of having advanced to the walls of the city of Rome without opposition, so they were grieved at the failure of their design, and felt ashamed at being slighted to such a degree, as that, while they lay under the walls of Rome, a Roman army should have marched out, from another quarter of the city, for Spain. With regard also to Spain itself, as they thought they had good reason to hope, that, in consequence of the destruction of two renowned generals and powerful armies, the war there would be at an end, and the Romans expelled the country, so their mortification was the greater in proportion, on finding that Lucius Marcius, a leader who owed his post to the irregular voice of the multitude, had rendered their victory insignificant and fruitless. Thus, Fortune holding the scales even, every thing on both sides hung in suspense, and the parties retained their hopes unabated, and their fears unallayed, just as if they were now first commencing the war.
XXXVIII. One circumstance, above all, filled Hannibal’s mind with the most painful reflections; it was, that in consequence of the Romans having prosecuted the siege of Capua with so much more determined resolution than he had exerted for its relief, many of the states of Italy had conceived sentiments very unfavourable to his cause. He found it impossible to maintain his authority over all of these by force, unless he were to break down his army into a great number of small detachments, which would very ill suit his condition at the time; nor could he leave the fidelity of allies open to the solicitations of hope, or the threatenings of fear. Wherefore, as his mind had from nature a strong bias to avarice and cruelty, he determined to plunder the places which he could not keep, and so leave them to the enemy in a state of desolation. This scheme, so dishonourable in its purpose, proved equally so in its consequences: for it alienated from him the affections not only of the persons so greatly aggrieved, but likewise of all the rest; this specimen of his character extending its influence far beyond the numbers involved in the calamity. The Roman consul at the same time was not remiss in making trials of the disposition of every city where any prospect of success appeared. In Salapia there were two leading men, Dasius and Blasius: the former was a friend to Hannibal; the latter, as far as he could with safety, favoured the interest of the Romans, and, by means of secret emissaries, had given Marcellus hopes of having the place betrayed to him; but this was a measure, which, without the concurrence of Dasius, could not be effected. After long and anxious deliberation, and then, rather from want of a more promising plan, than hope of succeeding, he opened the proposition to Dasius. But he, being both averse from the design, and glad also of an opportunity of injuring his competitor for power, disclosed the affair to Hannibal, who summoned them both before him; and, while he was employed on his tribunal in despatching some other business, intending presently to attend to that of Blasus, the accuser and accused both standing together in a spot cleared for them by the people, Blasius began to urge Dasius on the subject of surrendering the town. On which the latter, as if the matter now proved itself, exclaimed, that the other was attempting to seduce him to treachery, even in Hannibal’s immediate presence. To Hannibal, and to those who were present, the more audacious the fact charged on Blasius was, the less credible it appeared. They knew that there was an emulation and hatred subsisting between the two, and supposed that an imputation of this kind was alleged, because, as from its nature, it could not be supported by the testimony of witnesses, it was the more likely to be false. The parties were therefore dismissed; but Blasius, notwithstanding what had passed, never desisted from this bold undertaking, until by incessant teasing on the same subject, and proving how advantageous such a measure would be to themselves and their country, he extorted the other’s consent that Salapia, and the Carthaginian garrison, which consisted of five hundred Numidians, should be delivered up to Marcellus. This, however, could not be effected without considerable bloodshed; for these Numidians were much the bravest body of Cavalry in the whole Carthaginian army, and this was an occurrence which it was impossible for them to foresee. But though they could not, in the city, make use of their horses, yet, on the tumult arising, they hastily took arms, and attempted to make their way out; when, finding an escape impracticable, they sold their lives dear, fighting to the last; nor did more than fifty of their whole number fall alive into the hands of the Salapians. The loss of this body of cavalry was a much severer blow to Hannibal than that of the place, for thenceforward the Carthaginians were never superior in cavalry, which they had, hitherto, always been.
XXXIX. At this time the scarcity in the citadel of Tarentum became almost intolerable. Marcus Livius, commander of the Roman garrison there, relied entirely for supplies, on Sicily; and to secure to these a safe passage along the coast of Italy, a fleet of twenty ships had been stationed at Rhegium. The charge of the fleet and provisions was entrusted to Decius Quintius, a man of obscure birth, but who, by many brave actions, had acquired a large share of military fame. At first, he had only five ships, the largest of which were two triremes, given him by Marcellus; afterwards, when he was known to have behaved, on many occasions, with much spirit and bravery, he received a reinforcement of three quinqueremes; at last, he himself, by exacting from the confederate states of Rhegium, Velia, and Pæstum, the ships due by treaty, had made up a fleet of twenty sail, as abovementioned. Having, with this fleet, set sail from Rhegium, he was met at Sacriportus, about fifteen miles from the city, by Democrates, with an equal number of Tarentine ships. The Roman was coming to the relief of the garrison, not supposing it probable that he should meet an enemy; from Croton and Sybaris, however, he had furnished his ships with their full complement of rowers, and besides, considering the size of his vessels, they were exceedingly well equipped and armed. It so happened, that, just when the Tarentine came in sight, the wind entirely died away, a circumstance which gave him full time to adjust the rigging, and put the rowers and soldiers in readiness for the battle that was to follow. They engaged with a degree of ardour seldom shown by complete fleets, because the objects for which they contended were of more importance than the fleets themselves. The Tarentines, having recovered their city from the Romans, at the end of almost one hundred years, struggled now to diliver the city also from subjection; knowing that if, by the exertions of their fleet, they should take from the enemy the dominion of the sea, they would be thereby effectually excluded from even a distant hope of provisions: the Romans, on the other hand, laboured, by retaining possession of the citadel, to show the world, that the loss of the city was owing, not to the strength or valour of the assailants, but to artifice and treachery. The signal, then, being given on both sides, they charged each other with the beaks of their vessels, and none, during the conflict, either drew back his own ship, or suffered his adversary to get clear of him, but held it by throwing in an iron grapple; and thus the engagement became so close, that they fought, not only with missile weapons, but with swords, and almost hand to hand. The prows, being lashed together, remained unmoved, while the sterns were turned round by the force of their adversaries oars. The ships were crowded so close together, and within so narrow a place, that scarcely any weapon fell without effect into the sea. They pressed front against front, like lines of land forces, and the combatants could pass from one ship to another. But there was one conflict remarkable above the rest, between two which engaged in the van: in the Roman ship was Quintius himself; in the Tarentine, Nico, surnamed Perco, who bitterly hated, and was hated, by the Romans, not only in consequence of the public quarrel, but also of personal resentment, for he was one of that faction which had betrayed Tarentum to Hannibal. This man, while Quintius was encouraging his men, and, at the same time, fighting, and off his guard, darted a spear through his body, and he fell headlong, with his armour, into the sea: then the victorious Tarentine boldly leaped into the ship, where the loss of the commander had thrown all into confusion, and they quickly retired before him. The forepart of the ship was now in possession of the Tarentines, while the Romans, in a compact body, with difficulty defended the poop; when another trireme of the enemy suddenly appeared at the stern, and the Roman ship, thus inclosed between the two, was taken. The rest, on seeing this, were struck with dismay, and fled in different directions. Some were sunk in the deep, and others, being run aground by the rowers, soon became a prey to the Thurians and Metapontines. Of the store-ships, which followed with the provisions, a few fell into the enemy’s hands; the remainder stood away into the main, and escaped by shifting their sails with every change of the wind. In the meantime, the fortune of affairs at Tarentum was not at all the same: for a party, amounting to four thousand men, having gone out to forage, spreading themselves up and down the country, Livius, the commander of the Roman garrison, who carefully watched every opportunity of acting to advantage, sent out, from the citadel, Caius Persius, an active and brave officer, with two thousand soldiers. He fell upon the enemy while they were scattered widely, and in small parties; and, after continuing for a long time to cut them off, drove the small remainder of this large detachment to the city, where they were admitted through the gates half opened, lest the Romans should enter along with them, and become masters of it. Thus the affairs of Tarentum were equally balanced, the Romans being victorious on land, the Tarentines by sea. Both were disappointed alike in their hopes of provisions, even after they had actually come within their sight.
XL. About this time, after a great part of the year had elapsed, and he had been long wished for by both the old and new allies, the consul Lævinus arrived in Sicily, where he judged that the first and most material business to be done, was, the regulating the affairs of Syracuse, which had not yet been reduced into order in the short space since the late pacification. He then led his legions to Agrigentum, which was the only place still in arms, and held by a strong garrison of Carthaginians; and here fortune favoured his enterprize. The Carthaginians were commanded by Hanno, but placed their whole dependence on Mutines and the Numidians. The latter, making frequent excursions through every part of Sicily, carried off spoil from the allies of the Romans, and neither force nor art could shut him out from Agrigentum, nor hinder him from sallying forth whenever he thought proper. The high reputation which he thus acquired, as it obscured the fame of the commander in chief, excited his envy; so that even success, because obtained by his means, afforded but little pleasure to Hanno, who at last took from him his commission, and gave it to his own son, thinking that, by divesting him of the command, he should deprive him of his popularity among the Numidians. But the effect was widely different, for, by this discovery of his jealousy, he increased their attachment to Mutines, who did not tamely submit to the indignity of this undeserved ill-treatment, but quickly despatched secret emissaries to Lævinus, to treat about the surrender of the town. Through these, mutual assurances were given, and the method of accomplishing the business concerted; and then the Numidians, dislodging or killing the guards, seized a gate which opened towards the sea, and received a party of Romans sent thither for the purpose. When these were already marching into the heart of the city and the Forum, with much noise and tumult, Hanno, thinking that it was nothing more than such a disturbance and secession of the Numidians as had happened before, came out to quell the mutiny: but observing, at a distance, that the number was greater than that of those forces, and hearing the Roman shout, with which he was not unacquainted, he resolved, before he came within reach of their weapons, to betake himself to flight. Getting out of the town at an opposite gate, he took Epicydes with him, and came with a small number to the sea side. There they luckily found a bark, and abandoning to the enemy the island of Sicily, about which a contest had been maintained through so many years, passed over to Africa. The rest of the Carthaginians and Sicilians attempted to fly with blind precipitation, but the gates being closed, they were cut to pieces. Lævinus, on gaining possession of the town, scourged and beheaded those who had been in the management of the affairs of Agrigentum: the rest he sold, together with the spoil, and remitted all the money to Rome. Accounts of the sufferings of the Agrigentines spreading through all Sicily, produced at once a general revolution in favour of the Romans. In a short time, twenty towns were betrayed to them, six taken by storm, and forty put themselves under their protection by voluntary surrender. To the leading men in these states the consul dispensed rewards and punishments according to the merits and demerits of each; and having compelled the Sicilians at length to lay aside arms, and turn their thoughts to agriculture, that the island might, from its fertile soil, not only afford plenty of subsistence to the inhabitants, but, as it had done on many occasions formerly, contribute supplies of provisions to Rome, and even to all Italy, he left Sicily, carrying with him a large multitude from Agathyrna. This was a motley rabble, four thousand in number, composed of vagabonds of every description, exiles, and bankrupts, the greater part guilty of capital crimes, who, even when they lived in their native countries under the government of laws, and afterwards, when a similarity of condition, arising from various causes, had drawn them together to Agathyrna, always supported themselves by robberies and rapines. Such men as these, so likly to excite new disturbances, the consul thought it unsafe to leave behind, in an island which had but just then obtained rest from intestine wars, and where the people were but beginning to unite on the terms of concord established by the late pacification: besides, they might prove useful to the people of Rhegeum, who wanted a band trained to robberies, for the purpose of ravaging the territories of Bruttium. Thus, so far as concerned Sicily, this year put an end to hostilities.
XLI. In Spain, Publius Scipio, as soon as the spring appeared, launched his ships; summoned to Tarraco, by an edict, the auxiliary troops of the allies, and then directed the fleets and transports to proceed to the mouth of the river Iberus. This place he also appointed for the meeting of the legions whom he ordered out of winter quarters; and he himself, attended by five thousand men of the allied troops, set out from Tarraco to join the army. When he arrived at the camp, thinking it proper to say something encouraging to the soldiers, particularly those who had been longest in the province, and had survived so many and so great disasters, he called them together, and addressed them in this manner: “Never has there been a new commander, except myself, who could, with justice and propriety, give thanks to his soldiers before he had employed them. Fortune laid me under obligations to you ere I saw your camp, or knew my province; first, because you showed such dutiful respect to my father and uncle during their lives, and since their deaths; and next, because, when the possession of the province had been lost by a dreadful calamity, you recovered it by your bravery, and have preserved it entire for the Roman people, and for me who succeed to the command. But as, through the bounty of the gods, the design of our present proceedings is not to maintain our own footing in Spain, but to deprive the Carthaginians of all footing in it; not to stand on the bank of the Iberus, and hinder the enemy from passing it, but to pass over ourselves, and carry the war to the other side, I fear lest, to some of you, the undertaking may seem too great and too bold, considering the remembrance of our late misfortunes, and my early time of life. There is no person living, from whose memory the defeats in Spain can less be obliterated than from mine; for there my father and uncle lost their lives within the space of thirty days; so that funerals in our family followed one another in quick succession. But while the disaster which bereft our house of parents: and left me almost the only surviving member of it, depresses my mind with grief, still the fortunes of our nation, and its courageous spirit, forbid me to despair of the public welfare. It is the lot assigned to us, by some kind of fatality, that, in all important wars, we should pass through defeat to victory. Omitting instances in ancient times, the case of Porsena, the Gauls, and the Samnites, I shall begin with the Punic wars. In the last, how many fleets, how many generals, how many armies, were lost? Need I mention the like events during the present war? At all the defeats I was either present in person, or lamented more deeply than any other, those from which I was absent. The Trebia, the Trasimenus, Cannæ, what are they but monuments of Roman consuls and armies slain? Then the defection of Italy, of the greater part of Sicily, of Sardinia; the extreme terror and affright, when Hannibal’s camp was pitched between the Anio and the walls of Rome, and that victorious commander was seen at our very gates. But amidst this general ruin of affairs, the courage of the Roman people alone stood unshaken and immoveable. This, when all our hopes lay prostrate on the ground, raised and supported them. And first of all, you, soldiers, under the conduct and auspices of my father, withstood Hasdrubal, when, after the defeat at Cannæ, he was on his way to the Alps and to Italy; where, if he had effected a junction with his brother, the Roman name would not now have been in existence: but the successes obtained here have counterbalanced the losses sustained in other places. At present, through the good favour of the gods, affairs in Italy and Sicily are in a prosperous train, daily improving, and wearing a more favourable aspect. In Sicily, Syracuse and Agrigentum have been taken; the enemy entirely expelled the island, and the province restored to the dominion of the Roman people. In Italy, Arpi has been recovered, Capua taken; Hannibal, after a disorderly flight, through his whole route from the city of Rome, has been obliged to retreat into the remotest corner of Bruttium, where he prays to the gods for nothing more than that he may be permitted to withdraw in safety, and quit the land of his enemy. Could there then, soldiers, be a greater inconsistency, than that, when disasters were thus crowded one upon another, and the gods themselves seemed, in a manner, to take part with Hannibal, you, with my parents, (for I will mention both under the same revered name,) supported here the tottering fortune of the Roman people; and that now when, in other quarters, every event is prosperous and joyful, you should let your courage sink? As to the events which have lately happened, I wish they had passed without giving me more cause of mourning than they have given you. Now, however, the immortal gods, the guardians of the Roman empire, who inspired all the centuries with the resolution of offering the command to be given to me, by their auguries and auspices, and by visions in the night, portend all prosperity and joy. My own mind, likewise, which has hitherto been my surest prophet, presages that Spain is to be ours; that the whole Carthaginian race will soon be banished hence, and spread themselves over the lands and seas in their ignominious flight. What my mind prognosticates from its own feelings, the same is suggested by reason, and supported by arguments of no delusive nature. Their allies, disgusted by their ill-treatment, send ambassadors to implore our protection; their three commanders, having quarrelled to such a degree as almost to come to open hostilities, have divided their army into three parts, and drawn these asunder into countries the most remote from each other. The same fortune now impends over them which formerly crushed us; for they are deserted by their confederates, as we were formerly by the Celtiberians; and they have divided their forces, which was the cause of destruction to my father and uncle. Intestine discord will hinder them from acting together again; nor will they, separately, be able to resist us. Only do you, soldiers, preserve your attachment to the name of Scipio, to the offspring of your own commanders; a branch, as it were, shooting forth from the trunks which have been felled. You, veteran soldiers, lead your new commander, and your young associates, over the Iberus; lead us into those lands where you have often marked your route with many deeds of valour. Trust me, you shall soon find, that the resemblance which you suppose you see in me to my father and uncle, is not confined to figure, countenance, and features; but that I inherit no small portion of their capacity, their honour, and their courage; these you shall find so faithfully copied from the original, that every man of you shall say, that his own commander, Scipio, has either returned to life, or has been born again.”
XLII. Having, by this discourse, animated the courage of his men, and leaving three thousand foot and three hundred horse, under Marcus Silanus, for the defence of the province, he marched the rest of his forces, which amounted to twenty-five thousand foot, and two thousand five hundred horse, over the Iberus. Although many now advised, that, as the Carthaginian armies were separated at so great distances, he should attack the one that lay nearest; yet, apprehending that such a step would probably make them all reunite, and that he should not, alone, be able to cope with the three armies, he determined, for the present, to employ his forces in an attack on New Carthage, a city which possessed great wealth of its own, and was besides, at that time, filled with the enemy’s magazines of every kind for the use of the war; there were lodged their arms, their money, and the hostages from all the states of Spain. It was, also, most conveniently situated for a passage into Africa, having a harbour sufficiently capacious for any fleet whatever, and, there is reason to think, the only one in all that tract of the Spanish coast that joins our sea. No one in the whole army knew the destination of its march except Caius Lælius. He was sent round with the fleet, and ordered so to regulate the sailing of it, that the army should come within view, and the ships enter the harbour, at the same point of time. On the seventh day after leaving the Iberus, the fleet and army arrived, as had been concerted, at Carthage; the camp was pitched on the northern side of the city, and a rampart was thrown up on the rear of it, the front being secured by the nature of the ground. The situation of Carthage is this: about the middle of the coast of Spain is a bay, which is open to the south-west wind more than to any other, and stretches inland two thousand five hundred paces, spreading in breadth to an extent somewhat greater. In the mouth of this bay lies a small island, which breaks the force of the sea, and renders the harbour secure from all winds except the south-west: from the bottom of the bay there runs out a peninsula, consisting of high land, on which the city is built, and this is surrounded on the east and south by the sea; on the west it is inclosed by a morass, which spreads a little way towards the north, and whose depth is variable according as the sea overflows or ebbs. The city is connected with the continent by an isthmus, about two hundred and fifty paces broad; on which, though a fortification would have cost but little labour, the Roman general did not raise any, choosing either to mortify the enemy by this display of confidence, or, as he would often have occasion to advance to the walls, to have a retreat open.
XLIII. When he had completed his works in those parts which required defence, he drew up the ships in the harbour in order of battle, with intent to dispirit the enemy with the sight of a marine force also to be employed against the town; then going round the fleet in a boat, he charged the commanders to keep the night-watches with great care, because an enemy, when he is first besieged, is apt to make every effort in every quarter. He then went back to the camp, and wishing to explain to the soldiers his reason for preferring this plan of opening the campaign with the siege of a town, and by exhortations to inspire them with hopes of reducing it, he called them to an assembly, and spoke to this effect: “Soldiers, if any man among you shall suppose that you have been brought hither for the sole purpose of attacking a single city, he will judge merely from the work in which you are employed, without taking into calculation the advantages to accrue from it. For you will, in fact, attack the walls of one city: but, in that one city, you will capture all Spain. Here are the hostages of all her illustrious kings and states; and, as soon as these shall be in your power, they will instantly deliver up to our disposal every thing which is now under subjection to the Carthaginians. Here is deposited the enemy’s treasure, without which they cannot proceed in the war, having mercenary troops to maintain; and which, at the same time, will be most serviceable to us, as the means of conciliating the friendship of the barbarians. Here are their engines, arms, accoutrements, and all their warlike stores, which, while they answer our purposes, will leave the enemy destitute. Besides, we shall gain possession of a city of distinguished beauty and opulence, and highly convenient to us on account of its excellent harbour, by means of which we can have constant supplies, both from sea and land, of every thing requisite for the maintenance of the war. And while we acquire to ourselves these great advantages, we shall at the same time strip the enemy of much greater. This is their grand fortress; this their granary, their treasury, their armory; this is the repository of all their wealth. Hence there is a direct passage into Africa; this is the only station for a fleet between the Pyrenees and Gades, and from hence Africa spreads its terror over all Spain. But as I perceive that you are arrayed and marshalled for action, let us pass on, and assault New Carthage with our whole strength, with confidence and courage.” To this they all replied with a loud voice, “that they would do so;” and he immediately led them to the city, giving orders for the assault both by sea and land.
XLIV. On the other side Mago, the commander of the Carthaginians, when he saw the preparations for an assault going forward both on land and sea, disposed his forces in the following manner: opposite to the Roman camp he drew up two thousand of the townsmen; the citadel he garrisoned with five hundred soldiers, and five hundred others he placed on a high part of the city, towards the east; the rest of the troops he ordered to watch carefully every occurrence, and to hasten to whatever spot the shout, or sudden exigencies, might call them. Then, opening the gate, he sent out those whom he had formed in the street leading towards the Roman camp. The Romans, by direction of the general himself, drew back a little, that by being near their camp they might the more easily receive reinforcements during the engagement. At the beginning, both parties stood their ground, with little advantage on either side; but, after some time, the reinforcements continually sent from the camp not only drove back the enemy, but pressed them so close, while they fled in disorder, that had not a retreat been sounded, they would probably have rushed into the city intermixed with the fugitives. Nor was the consternation greater in the field than in every part of the city; in many places the troops in a panic abandoned their posts and fled, and the walls were left defenceless, those who ought to guard them having leaped down wherever they found a way. Scipio, going up on an eminence called Mercury’s Hill, observed this their state, on which he ordered all his men to be called out from the camp, to bring scaling-ladders, and advance to the assault. He himself, covered by the shields of three able young men, because weapons of all kinds were now cast from the place in vast numbers, came up close to the works, encouraged his men and gave the necessary orders. But what contributed above all to inflame the courage of the soldiers, was his being thus an immediate spectator and witness of the bravery or cowardice of every one of them. They rushed forward, therefore, regardless of the enemy, or of the wounds inflicted by them; nor could the walls, or the armed troops with which they were now lined, deter them from mounting with eager emulation. At the same time an assault commenced from the ships on that quarter of the town which is washed by the sea. But here, though a great alarm was raised, little effectual exertion could be made; because, while the men brought in the boats to the shore, while they hastily landed the soldiers and scaling-ladders, and while every one pressed forward to the land by the speediest way, through their own hurry and impatience they obstructed one another.
XLV. In the mean time the Carthaginian general had again filled the walls with numerous troops, and great abundance of weapons, brought out from their immense magazines, lay in heaps ready for use. But neither men nor weapons, nor any thing else, proved such an effectual defence as the walls themselves: for they were of such a height, that few of the ladders could reach the summit, and the longer any of these were, the weaker they were in proportion: as those, then, who had mounted to the top could not advance, and others nevertheless climbed up after them, the ladders were broken by their weight. In several cases, where the the ladders stood upright, the men, on rising to so great a height, were seized with giddiness, and fell to the ground. While men and ladders were every where falling in this manner, and the enemy, from success, assumed more boldness and alacrity, the signal for retreat was given. This afforded hopes to the besieged, not only of present rest after such a laborious contest, but also of future safety; as it made them imagine that their city was impregnable by scalade and assault, and that their works were so difficult to be surmounted, that they would always give time to their commanders to bring up forces to their relief. Scarcely had the noise of the first tumult subsided, when Scipio ordered other men, who were fresh and unfatigued, to take the ladders from the weary and wounded, and to renew the assault with additional vigour. Being told at this juncture that the tide was ebbing, and having before learned from some fishermen of Tarraco, (who used to pass through the morass in light boats, and, when these ran aground, by wading,) that footmen might easily find a passage to the wall, he in person led five hundred soldiers thither. It was now about mid-day, and, besides the water being naturally drawn off into the sea by the reflux of the tide, a brisk northerly wind arising, carried the water along, in the same direction with the tide, and had rendered it so shallow, that in some places it reached only to the navel, in others scarcely to the knees. This circumstance, discovered in reality by his own diligence and sagacity, Scipio attributed, as a prodigy, to the interposition of the gods, who, to give a passage to the Romans, changed the course of the sea, and removed morasses, opening ways never before trodden by human foot. Impressing this on his men, he bade them follow Neptune, who acted as their guide, and make their way to the wall through the middle of the swamp.
XLVI. On the land part, the assailants had a most laborious task. The height of the walls was not the only obstruction that they met, for, as the enemy had the Romans below them, they could aim their blows against either of their sides as they came up; so that, while they were climbing, these were more endangered than the fronts of their bodies. But, in the other quarter, the five hundred found no difficulty either in crossing the morass, or mounting the rampart: for neither was that side strengthened by any work, being deemed sufficiently secure by the nature of the ground and the marsh, nor was there any party of soldiers or guard stationed at it, because all were intent on bringing succour to the place where the danger appeared. Entering the city, therefore, without opposition, they proceeded with the utmost speed to the gate; at which the whole contest was maintained; and so intent on this dispute were, not only the minds of all, but likewise the eyes and ears of the combatants, and of the people who looked on and encouraged them, that no one perceived that the enemy had entered the place, until their weapons came pouring on their backs, and they found themselves between the two forces. The garrison were so affrighted and confounded, that they were no longer capable of making a defence. The walls were seized by the Romans, who, both within and without, applied themselves to the breaking open the gate, and this being soon cut to pieces, so as to leave a clear passage, the troops marched in to the attack. By this time, great numbers had got in by scaling the walls, and these employed themselves every where in killing the townsmen. Those who had entered by the opening, composing a regular body, under their officers, and maintaining their ranks, proceeded through the heart of the city into the Forum. Scipio, perceiving that the enemy fled hence by two different ways; some towards the hill, which lay eastward, and was defended by a garrison of five hundred men, others to the citadel, into which Mago himself had retired, with almost all the soldiers who had been beaten off from the walls, sent one half of his forces to storm the hill, and led himself the other half against the citadel. The hill was taken at the first attack. Mago attempted at first to defend the citadel, but soon seeing every place filled with the enemy, and that no hope remained, surrendered himself, the citadel, and garrison. Until the citadel was surrendered, the soldiers had continued to put the townsmen to the sword in every quarter, nor did they spare any adult who fell in their way; but then, on a signal given, they desisted from shedding blood, and, being now completely victorious, they turned themselves to the collecting of the plunder, the quantity of which, of all sorts, was immense.
XLVII. The males of free condition taken prisoners amounted to ten thousand; of these, such as were citizens of New Carthage he discharged, and restored to them the city, and all their effects, which the war had not consumed. There were two thousand artisans, whom he adjudged to be the public property of the Roman people, giving them hopes of speedily regaining their liberty, provided they worked industriously in the service of the army. Of the rest of the multitude, all the younger inhabitants, and the able-bodied slaves, he sent to fill up the numbers of rowers in his fleet, which he augmented with eight ships captured here. Besides all these, were found the hostages of the Spanish states, who were treated with as much care and attention, as if they had been the children of allies. The quantity of military stores taken was exceedingly great; catapultas, of the larger size, one hundred and twenty, of the smaller, two hundred and eighty-one; ballistas, large, twenty-three, small, fifty-two; of scorpions, large and small, and of arms and missive weapons, a vast number; military standards, seventy-four. Of gold and silver also, a prodigious mass was brought in to the general; there were two hundred and seventy-six golden bowls, every one of them almost of a pound weight; of silver, wrought and coined, eighteen thousand three hundred pounds weight, and of silver utensils a prodigious number. All these articles were weighed and reckoned to the quæstor Caius Flaminius; besides forty thousand pecks of wheat, and two hundred and seventy thousand of barley. One hundred and thirteen storeships were boarded and taken in the harbour, several of them with their cargoes, consisting of corn and arms: likewise brass, iron, canvass, hemp, and other materials proper for equipping a fleet: so that, among such vast stores of every thing useful in war, Carthage itself was the least valuable acquisition.
XLVIII. Scipio, ordering Caius Lælius, with the marines, to guard the city, led back the legions into their camp. As the soldiers were much fatigued by having gone through, in one day, every different kind of fight; for they had engaged the enemy in the field, had undergone great labour and danger in storming the city, and, after it was taken, had fought on disadvantageous ground with those who had taken refuge in the citadel; he directed them to employ the remainder of that day in taking refreshment and rest. On the day following, having called together both the land and the naval forces, he began with returning praise and thanks to the immortal gods, who had “not only, in the space of one day, given him possession of the most opulent city in all Spain, but had previously amassed in it the greatest part of the wealth of that country, and of Africa also, so that no resources were now left to the enemy, while he and his army had a superfluity of all things.” He then highly commended the courageous behaviour of the soldiers, observing, that “neither the force sent out against them, nor the height of the walls, nor the unexplored fords of the morass, nor a fort seated on a steep hill, nor the citadel, though most strongly fortified, had deterred them from surmounting and breaking through every obstacle. Wherefore, though he owed every acknowledgment to them all, nevertheless the person who first mounted the wall was entitled to the peculiar honour of a mural crown;” and he desired that he who thought himself deserving of that present should claim it. Two claimants appeared, Quintus Trebellius, a centurion of the fourth legion, and Sextus Digitius, one of the marines: but the warmth with which they themselves supported their pretensions was far inferior to the eager zeal which each excited in his favour among the corps to which he belonged. Caius Lælius, commander of the fleet, favoured the marines, Marcus Sempronius Tuditanus the legionaries. This contention threatening at length to end in a mutiny, Scipio published notice, that he appoint three delegates, who, after examining the merits of the case, and hearing witnesses, should determine which had made his way first into the town. Accordingly, he named Caius Lælius and Marcus Sempronius advocates for the contending parties, with Publius Cornelius Caudinus, a person uninterested in the cause, as umpire: and ordered these three delegates to sit and determine in it. But the dispute was now maintained with greater violence than ever, in consequence of those men of high rank, who had acted, not as advocates, but as moderators in the case, being thus excluded. Wherefore Caius Lælius, quitting the court, went up to the tribunal to Scipio, and told him, that “the proceedings of parties surpassed all bounds of temperance and moderation, insomuch that they hardly refrained from blows. But, though no violence should ensue, nevertheless such conduct afforded an ill example; as, in this case, the honour due to merit was sought by one or other through the means of fraud and falsehood. On this side stood the legionary soldiers, on that the marines, both ready to swear, by all the gods, rather what they wished, than what they knew to be true; and to involve in the crime of perjury not only themselves in their own persons, but the military standards and eagles, and the sacred word of a soldier:” he added, that “he brought him this information at the desire of Publius Cornelius and Marcus Sempronius.” Scipio, highly approving of Lælius’s conduct, summoned a general assembly, and there pronounced judgment, that “having received sufficient proof that Quintus Trebellius and Sextus Digitius gained the top of the wall at the same time, in acknowledgment of their bravery he bestowed mural crowns on both.” He then bestowed gifts on the rest, in proportion to their courage and merit: above all, he honoured Caius Lælius, commander of the fleet, with every encomium of the highest kind that could have been paid to himself, and presented him besides, with a golden crown and thirty oxen.
XLIX. He then ordered the hostages of the Spanish states to be called. What the number of these was, I will not presume to affirm; for I find, in some writers, that they were about three hundred, in others, seven hundred and twenty-five. Authors differ as much in respect of other particulars; the Carthaginian garrison, one writer says, amounted to ten thousand men; another to seven, another to no more than two thousand. In some accounts ten thousand prisoners are said to have been taken, in others above twenty-five thousand. I should set down the scorpions, great and small, that were taken at sixty, if I were to follow the Greek historian Silenus; if Valerius Antias, at six thousand greater, and thirteen thousand smaller; so contradictory are the several accounts. Nay, they do not even agree as to the commanding officer. The greater number affirm that Caius Lælius had charge of the fleet, while there are some who assign it to Marcus Junius Silanus. Valerius Antias tells us, that it was Armes who commanded the Carthaginian garrison, and who surrendered to the Romans; other writers assert that it was Mago. They vary in the number of the ships taken, in the weight of the gold and silver, and of the money brought into the public treasury. If we are not to remain in a state of doubt, but must believe some or other of their accounts, those which hold the mean, between the highest and the lowest, are most likely to be true. Scipio, however, when the hostages were called before him, first desired them not to be dispirited; for “they had come into the power of the Roman people, whose wish it always was to bind all to them by kindness, rather than by fear; and to have foreign nations united to them in good faith and amicable alliance, and not in a state of oppression and gloomy servitude.” He then took an account of the prisoners, distinguishing the number belonging to the several states, to each of which he sent expresses, desiring them to come and receive their respective hostages: some of whom, however, as their ambassadors happened to be present, he restored on the spot; ordering the quæstor, Caius Flaminius, to take care that the rest should be kindly treated. There now came forward from among the crowd of hostages, a woman far advanced in years, the wife of Mandonius, brother to Indibilis, the chieftain of the Illergetians: she threw herself at the general’s feet, and with tears besought him to give the guards more strict injunctions respecting the care and treatment to be shown to the women. Scipio assuring her that they should not want any kind of accommodation, she replied, “Those are not matters about which we are much solicitous: for what accommodation can be considered as insufficient for persons in our situation? Anxiety of a very different kind rends my heart, when I consider the age of these young persons; for as to myself, I am now beyond any danger of those injuries to which our sex is liable.” On each side of her stood the daughters of Indibilis, in the bloom of youth and beauty, and several others of equal distinction, by all of whom she was revered as a parent. Scipio answered, “Out of regard to myself, and out of regard to the Roman discipline, I should take care that no right, any where deemed sacred, should suffer violation from us. In the present case, the virtue and merit of women of such distinction as you are, who, in the midst of misfortunes, forget not the delicacy of character becoming the most respectable of your sex, demand from me an extraordinary degree of attention.” He then gave them in charge to a person on whose strict regularity of conduct he could entirely rely, and gave him a particular charge that they should be treated with all the respect and decency due to the wives and mothers of guests.
L. The soldiers afterwards brought to him, as a prisoner, a damsel of such exquisite beauty, that she attracted the eyes of all. Scipio, on making inquiries concerning her country and parents, discovered, among other particulars, that she was betrothed to a young prince of the Celtiberians, named Allucius. He therefore immediately summoned from home her parents, and affianced husband; and when the latter arrived, having, in the mean time, heard that he was most passionately enamoured of his intended bride, he addressed his discourse to him more particularly than to the lady’s parents: “A young man myself,” said he, “I address myself to a young man, that there may be the less reserve in our conversation on this occasion. When your mistress, being taken by our soldiers, was brought to me, and I was told of the very great affection you have for her, which indeed her beauty made me readily believe, I considered that, in my own case, if my thoughts were not totally engrossed by the affairs of the public, and I were at liberty to indulge the pleasurable pursuits adapted to my time of life, especially in a lawful and honourable love, I should wish that my affection for my intended bride, though warm even to a degree of extravagance, should yet be viewed with an indulgent eye; and I therefore resolved, in your case, where no tie of duty confines me, to do all in my power in favour of your passion. Your beloved, while in my care, has been treated with as respectful an attention as she could have met with, had she been in the house of your father and mother-in-law, her own parents. She has been preserved in perfect safety, that I might be able to present her to you, her purity unspotted, a gift worthy of me to bestow, and of you to receive. The only return I require for a present of such value, is, that you be a friend to the Roman people; and that, if you believe me to be a man of worth, such as these nations have heretofore known my father and my uncle, you be assured that there are, in the Roman state, great numbers of men like themselves; and that no nation at this day on earth can be named, which you ought less to choose as an enemy to you and yours, or whose friendship you ought more ardently to desire.” The youth, overwhelmed at once with joy and diffidence, and holding Scipio’s right hand, invoked all the gods to recompense on his behalf, such exalted goodness; since his own ability was utterly disproportioned, either to his own wishes, or his benefactor’s generosity. Scipio then accosted, in friendly terms, the parents and relations of the young woman, who, having brought with them a very large weight of gold to purchase her liberty, on her being restored to them without ransom, earnestly besought him to accept it from them, assuring him, that they should deem themselves as much obliged by his compliance, as by the restoration of their child in safety. Unwilling to reject such pressing solicitations, he ordered it to be laid at his feet; then, calling, Allucius to him, he said, “Besides the dowry which you are to receive from your father-in-law, you must take also this marriage-present from me,” bidding him carry away the gold, and keep it to himself. Overjoyed by these honours and presents, the young man was dismissed to his home, where he filled the ears of his countrymen with the well-merited praises of Scipio. “A god-like youth,” he said, “had come among them; subduing all, not by the power of his arms only, but by his goodness and magnanimity.” Full of such sentiments, he made a levy among his dependents, and, within a few days, returned to Scipio with one thousand four hundred chosen horsemen.
LI. Scipio kept Lælius with him to assist with his advice in disposing of the prisoners, hostages, and booty; and when all these matters were properly adjusted, he gave him a quinquereme, and, ordering him to take on board Mago and fifteen senators of Old Carthage, who had been made prisoners at the same time, sent him to Rome with the news of his success. The few days which he had resolved to pass at Carthage he employed in exercising both his land and naval forces. On the first day, the legions made excursions, and evolutions under arms, through a space of four miles; on the second, he ordered them to review and scour their arms before their respective tents; on the third, forming opposite parties, they engaged each other, in a manner representing a regular battle, but with blunted weapons, and throwing the like kind of darts. On the fourth they were allowed to rest, and, on the fifth, the rovings commenced again. This regular succession of labour and rest, they kept up as long as they remained at Carthage. In calm weather, the rowers and marines pushing out to sea, made trial, in mock sea-fights, of the activity of their ships. Such was their employment on the outside of the walls, and these exercises on land and sea qualified both their minds and bodies for real action. Within, all parts of the city resounded with warlike preparations, workmen of every kind being collected together in a public arsenal. The general attended to every particular with equal care: at one time he was busy in the fleet and dock-yard; at another, he headed the legions in their excursions; again, he employed his time in overseeing the works, which were carried on, with great diligence and emulation, by a multitude of workmen in the arsenals, armory, and dock-yards, and great numbers of necessary articles finished every day. Having thus set on foot these preparations, repaired the breaches in the walls, and established posts for the guard of the city, he set out for Tarraco, and, on his way thither, received as he went along a great number of embassies. Some of these he answered on the road, and dismissed; others he adjourned to Tarraco, where he had appointed a general meeting of all the allies both new and old. Accordingly, this meeting was attended by almost every state on the hither-side of the Iberus, and also by many from the farther Spain. The Carthaginian generals, at first, carefully suppressed the intelligence of Carthage being taken; afterwards, when that event became too notorious to be any longer concealed or dissembled, they affected to speak of it with little concern. They said, that “by an unexpected attack, and the efforts of one day, one city in Spain had been surprized and taken in a manner by stealth: that an inexperienced youth, elated by the acquisition of a prize of but little consequence, had, by his immoderate joy, imposed on it the appearance of an important victory; but as soon as he should hear that three generals, and three armies of his enemies, all flushed with victory, were marching towards him, he would quickly be struck with the recollection of the deaths which had happened in his family.” Such was their language in public, while they themselves were fully sensible how great a diminution their strength had suffered in every particular by the loss of Carthage.
* He would have lost all authority on coming into the city: for within the walls, a proconsul had no jurisdiction. Whenever, therefore, a proconsul obtained a triumph or an ovation it was necessary to procure an order of the people, investing him with the authority of a magistrate during that day.
* 61l. 11s. 8d.
* This was the famous Palladium, said to have been brought by Æneas from Troy, and preserved, with most religious care, in the temple of Vesta. What it was, (so sacredly was it kept from the public eye,) no one ever certainly knew: supposing it however, to have resembled the one stolen by Diomede and Ulysses, as mentioned by Sinon in the Ænead, then it must have been an image of Minerva, armed.
* 16l. 2s. 12d.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:57