Cneius Fulvius, proconsul, defeated by Hannibal, and slain: the consul Claudius Marcellus, engages him, with better success. Hannibal, raising his camp, retires; Marcellus pursues, and forces him to an engagement. They fight twice: in the first battle Hannibal gains the advantage; in the second, Marcellus. Tarentum betrayed to Fabius Maximus, the consul. Scipio engages with Hasdrubal, the son of Hamilcar, at Bætula, in Spain, and defeats him. Among other prisoners, a youth of royal race, and exquisite beauty, is taken; Scipio sets him free, and sends him, enriched with magnificent presents, to his uncle Masinissa. Marcellus and Quintus Crispinus, consuls, drawn into an ambuscade by Hannibal: Marcellus is slain; Crispinus escapes. Operations by Publius Sulpicius, prætor, against Philip and the Achæans. A census held: the number of citizens found to amount to one hundred and thirty-seven thousand one hundred and eight: from which it appears how great a loss they had sustained by the number of unsuccessful battles they had of late been engaged in. Hasdrubal, who had crossed the Alps with a reinforcement for Hannibal, defeated by the consuls Marcus Livius and Claudius Nero, and slain; with him fell fifty-six thousand men.
Y.R. 542. 210.I. SUCH was the state of affairs in Spain. In Italy, the consul Marcellus, after regaining possession of Salapia, which was betrayed into his hands, took, by storm, Maronea and Meles, cities belonging to the Samnites. He made prisoners three thousand of Hannibal’s soldiers, left in garrison; the booty, which was considerable, was given up to the soldiers. Here were found, also, two hundred and forty thousand pecks of wheat, and one hundred and ten thousand of barley. But the joy occasioned hereby was much less than the grief felt for an overthrow a few days after, near the city of Herdonea. Cneius Fulvius, proconsul, lay there encamped, in hopes of recovering that city, which, after the defeat at Cannæ, had revolted from the Romans; but his post was neither strong by nature, nor secured by proper guards. The negligence natural to that commander’s disposition was increased by perceiving that the inhabitants, as soon as they heard that Hannibal, after the loss of Salapia, had withdrawn from that part of the country into Bruttium, began to waver in their attachment to the Carthaginians. Intelligence of all these particulars was conveyed to Hannibal by private messengers from Herdonea; and, while it made him anxious to preserve an allied city, at the same time inspired hopes of attacking the enemy unprepared. With his troops, therefore, lightly equipped for expedition, he hastened to Herdonea by such long marches, that he almost anticipated the report of his approach; and, to strike the greater terror, he advanced in order of battle. The Roman commander, fully equal to him in boldness, but inferior in judgment and strength, hastily led out his forces, and engaged him. The fifth legion, and the left wing of allied infantry, commenced the fight with vigour. But Hannibal gave directions to his cavalry, that, as soon as the lines of infantry should have their thoughts and eyes entirely occupied on the contest between themselves, they should ride round; that one half of them should fall on the enemy’s camp, and the other on the rear of their troops that were engaged. With a sneer on the name of Fulvius, he assured them, that, as he had utterly defeated him in the same country two years before, the present battle would have a similar issue. Nor was this expectation ill-grounded: for, after many of the Romans had fallen, in the close conflict between the lines of infantry (the companies and battalions nevertheless still maintaining their ground), the tumult raised by the cavalry in the rear, and the enemy’s shout from the camp, which was heard at the same time, put to flight the sixth legion, which, being posted in the second line, was thrown into disorder by the Numidians; as were afterwards the fifth, and those in the van. Some fled in hurry and confusion, the rest were surrounded and slain; among whom fell Cneius Fulvius himself, with eleven military tribunes. How many thousands of the Romans and allies were slain in that battle, who can positively affirm, when I find in some historians thirteen thousand? The conqueror possessed himself of the camp and the spoil. Having discovered that Herdonea was disposed to revolt to the Romans, and would not continue faithful to him after his departure, he removed the inhabitants to Metapontum and Thurium, and burned the city to the ground. The leaders of the party, who were found to have held secret conference with Fulvius, he put to death. The Romans who escaped the slaughter of this disastrous day, fled, half-armed, by different roads into Samnium, to the consul Marcellus.
II. Marcellus, not too much dismayed by so great a disaster, wrote to Rome to the senate an account of the general and army being lost at Herdonea; adding, that, notwithstanding this misfortune, “he, who had quelled the haughty spirit of Hannibal, when his confidence was at the highest, in consequence of his victory at Cannæ, was now going against him, with the same degree of resolution, and would take effectual care that his present joy and exultation should be short.” At Rome, as people’s grief for the past was great, so were their fears of the future. The consul, passing over from Samnium into Lucania, pitched his camp at Numistro, on level ground, within view of Hannibal, who was posted on a hill. He gave, besides, another proof of confidence in his own strength, for he was the first to offer battle. Nor did Hannibal, on seeing the standards advance through the gates, decline the challenge. However, they drew up their forces in such a manner, that the right wing of the Carthaginians stretched up the hill, and the left wing of the Romans was brought close to the town. From the third hour, the action had lasted until night, and the fatigue of fighting for such a length of time had overpowered the foremost lines, consisting, on the side of the Romans, of the first legion and the right wing of allies; on Hannibal’s side, of the Spanish infantry, Balearick slingers, and the elephants, which, at the beginning of the engagement, had been brought into the field. And now the fight flagged for a considerable time, neither party having gained any advantage, when the third legion advanced into the place of the first, and the left wing of the allies into that of the right; on the side of the enemy, likewise, the wearied were relieved by fresh troops. On this, both parties being in full spirits and vigour, instead of the former languid efforts, a furious conflict at once arose; but night separated the combatants before the victory could be decided. Next morning, the Romans stood, in order of battle, from sunrise, during a great part of the day, and none of the enemy coming out to face them, gathered the spoils at their leisure, and collecting the bodies of the slain into one spot, burned them on a funeral pile. In the following night, Hannibal decamped in silence, and marched off towards Apulia; but, as soon as day-light discovered the enemy’s flight, Marcellus, leaving his wounded at Numistro, with a small garrison, the command of which he gave to Lucius Furius Purpureo, a military tribune, set out immediately in close pursuit, and overtook him at Venusia. Here, during several days, many skirmishes happened between parties sallying from the outposts, in which infantry and cavalry were intermixed, and which produced more noise and tumult than real advantage to either side; but which, in general, terminated in favour of the Romans. From thence the two armies marched through Apulia without any engagement of consequence; for Hannibal seeking opportunities for stratagems, removed always by night, Marcellus never following but in clear day-light, and after having carefully examined the country through which he was to pass.
III. Meanwhile, as Flaccus was spending much time at Capua, in selling the property of the nobility, and setting to farm the forfeited estates, all of which he let for a rent of corn, he was furnished with a fresh occasion for practising severity on the Campanians; for he received certain information of a wicked scheme, of an extraordinary nature, which had for some time been hatching in secret. Having removed the soldiers out of the houses, for two reasons, first, because he chose that the houses of the city should be held along with the lands; and, next, because he feared lest excessive luxury might enervate his army, as it had that of Hannibal, he had made them build huts for themselves, in the military manner, near the gates and walls. Now most of these were formed of hurdles, or boards, some of reeds interwoven, and all of them covered with straw, as if purposely intended for combustion. One hundred and seventy Campanians, at the head of whom were two brothers, of the name of Blosius had conspired to set fire to all these, at one hour of the night. But the design was discovered by some slaves belonging to the Blosii, whereupon, the gates being instantly shut by order of the proconsul, and the soldiers having, on the signal being given, assembled under arms, all who were concerned in the conspiracy were seized, and after undergoing a severe examination by torture, condemned and put to death. The informers were rewarded with their freedom, and ten thousand asses* each. The Nucerians and Acerrans, having complained that they had no place of habitation, as Acerra was partly burned, Nuceria demolished, Fulvius sent them to Rome to the senate. Permission was granted to the Acerrans to rebuild what had been thus destroyed; and the Nucerians, agreeably to their own choice, were transplanted to Atella, the inhabitants of the latter being ordered to remove to Calatia. Among the multiplicity of important affairs, (some prosperous, others adverse,) which occupied the thoughts of the public, even the citadel of Tarentum was not forgotten: Marcus Ogulnius and Publius Aquilius, being commissioned for the purpose, went into Etruria to purchase corn, which was to be conveyed to Tarentum; and, together with the corn, were sent thither, as a reinforcement to the garrison, one thousand men out of the city troops, consisting of equal numbers of Romans and allies.
IV. The summer was now nearly elapsed, and the time of the consular election drew nigh: but a letter received from Marcellus, affirming that it would be injurious to the public interest, if he were to depart a step from Hannibal, who was retreating before him, while he, by a close pursuit, distressed him materially, threw the senate into some perplexity, as they were unwilling either to call home the consul, at a time when he was most actively employed against the enemy, or to let the year pass without consuls. It was judged most advisable, though the other consul Valerius was abroad, that he should rather be recalled, and even from Sicily. Accordingly, in pursuance of an order of the senate, a letter was sent to him by Lucius Manlius, prætor of the city, and, together with it, that of the consul Marcellus, that from them he might perceive the reason, which induced the senate to recall him from his province, rather than his colleague. About this time ambassadors came to Rome from King Syphax, with a recital of all the successful battles which he had fought against the Carthaginians, and assurances that “their King entertained not a more inveterate enmity to any nation than to the Carthaginian, nor a more warm friendship for any than for the Roman;” adding, that “he had before sent embassies into Spain, to the Roman generals, Cneius and Publius Cornelius; and that he now wished to seek, as it were at the fountain head, the friendship of the Romans.” The senate not only answered his ambassadors with kindness, but sent others in return, charged with presents to the King; these were Lucius Genucius, Publius Pœtelius, and Publius Popilius. The presents which they carried were, a purple gown and vest, an ivory chair, and a golden bowl of five pounds weight. They received orders also to proceed to visit other chieftains of Africa, carying with them donatives of gowns with purple borders, and golden bowls weighing three pounds each. To Alexandria, also, were sent Marcus Atilius and Manius Acilius, in embassy to Kind Ptolemy Philopater and Queen Cleopatra, to revive and renew the former treaty of friendship; bearing with them a purple gown and vest, with an ivory chair, for the King; an embroidered gown and a purple robe for the Queen. During this summer, many prodigies were reported from the neighbouring cities and country; that at Tusculum, a lamb was yeaned with its udder full of milk; and that the temple of Jupiter was struck on the roof by lightning, and almost entirely stripped of its covering: that at Anagnia, about the same time, the ground before one of the gates was fired, and without the aid of any combustible matter continued burning a day and a night; that at Compitum, in the district of Anagnia, the birds forsook their nests on the trees in the grove of Diana; that near the mouth of the harbour of Tarracini, snakes of wonderful size were seen in the sea, and sporting like fishes; that at Tarquinii, a pig was littered which had a human face; and that, in the district of Capena, at the grove of Feronia, four statues sweated blood profusely for a day and a night. These evil omens were expiated with victims of the greater kind, in conformity to the order of the pontiffs; and a supplication was ordered to be performed at all the shrines, one day at Rome, and another in the district of Capena, at the grove of Feronia.
V. The consul Marcus Valerius, on receipt of the letters by which he was summoned home, gave up the command of the province and the army to the prætor Cincius; sent Marcus Valerius Messala, commander of the fleet, with half of the ships to Africa, to plunder the country, and, at the same time, to gain intelligence of the motions and intentions of the Carthaginians: then he set out himself with ten ships, and arriving at Rome, after a prosperous voyage, immediately convened the senate. Here he recited the services which he had performed; that “after hostilities had been carried on in Sicily, and many severe losses sustained on land and sea during almost sixty years, he had brought the war to a final termination. That there was not one Carthaginian in Sicily, nor one Sicilian, of those who had been compelled by fear to fly and live abroad, who was not then at home; that all had been reinstated in the possession of their own cities and estates, and were employed in ploughing and sowing; that the land, after having been long deserted, was at length filled again with inhabitants, and in a condition both to afford plenty to its occupiers, and the most certain supplies of provisions to the Roman people either in peace or war.” After this, Mutines, and such others as had deserved well of of the Roman people, were introduced to the senate; who, to fulfil the engagements of the consul, bestowed rewards on them all. Mutines was even made a Roman citizen, an order for that purpose being proposed to the commons by a plebeian tribune, in pusuance of directions from the senate. While these matters passed at Rome, Marcus Valerius Messala, with fifty ships, arriving on the coast of Africa before day, made an unexpected descent on the lands of Utica, which he ravaged to a great extent; and, after taking many prisoners, and other booty of every kind, reimbarked, set sail for Sicily, and returned to Lilybæum, on the thirteenth day after he had left it. On examining the prisoners, the following particulars were discovered, and all, in order, communicated by letter to the consul Lævinus, that he might know the real state of affairs in Africa. That “there were at Carthage five thousand Numidians, commanded by Masinissa, son of Gala, a young man of a very enterprizing spirit; and that people were employed in all parts of Africa, in hiring other troops, which were to be sent to Spain, to Hasdrubal, in order that, with the most numerous army which he could muster, and with all possible expedition, he might pass over into Italy and join Hannibal. That on this measure the Carthaginians placed all their hopes of success. That, besides this, they were fitting out a very great fleet for the recovery of Sicily, and that the prisoners believed it would sail thither in a very short time.” When the letter containing this information was read, it made so great an impression on the senate, that they all concurred in opinion, that the consul ought not to wait for the elections, but to nominate a dictator to hold them, and return without delay to his province. This plan was obstructed by a dispute which arose; for the consul declared that he would nominate dictator Marcus Valerius Messala, who was then in Sicily, commanding the fleet; but the senate insisted, that a dictator could not be nominated who was in any place out of the Roman territory, which extended not beyond the limits of Italy. Marcus Lucretius, plebeian tribune, proposing the question hereupon, the senate decreed thus; “that the consul, before he left the city, should consult the people as to who they wished to be appointed dictator, and should nominate to that office whomsoever they should order. That, if he refused this, the prætor should hold the meeting, and if he also were unwilling to do it, that then the tribunes should propose the question.” Valerius declared, that he would not ask the judgment of the people on a matter properly belonging to his own jurisdiction, and he forbade it in the prætor; on which the plebeian tribunes proposed the question, and the commons ordered, that Quintus Fulvius, then at Capua, should be created dictator. But in the night preceding the day on which the assembly of the people was to be held, the consul went off privately to Sicily; and the senate, left thus unsupported, took the resolution of ordering a letter to be sent to Marcus Claudius, desiring him to give assistance to the commonwealth, which his colleague had deserted, and to nominate the dictator fixed on by the people. Accordingly, Quintus Fulvius was nominated dictator by the consul Claudius; and, in compliance with the same order of the people, the dictator, Quintus Fulvius, named Publius Licinius Crassus, then chief pontiff, master of the horse.
VI. The dictator, on coming to Rome, sent Cneius Sempronius Blæsus, who had been a lieutenant-general under him at Capua, into the province of Etruria, to take the command of the army there, in the room of the prætor, Caius Calpurnius, whom he called away by letter, to command his own army at Capua. He appointed for the elections the earliest day on which they could be held; but a dispute arising between the dictator and the tribunes, they could not be finished on that day. The younger Galerian century having obtained by lot the privilege of voting first, named as consuls, Quintus Fulvius and Quintus Fabius; and the centuries, voting in their course, would have followed them, had not two plebeian tribunes, Caius and Lucius Arennius, interposed. They asserted that “the re-electing of the same person to the supreme magistracy was not easily reconcileable to the principles of a republic; and much more pernicious would the precedent be, if the very person who presided at the election were himself to be chosen. If therefore the dictator admitted his own name in the list of candidates, they would protest against the election; but, if he received on the list any other except himself, they would give no obstruction to the business.” The dictator maintained the propriety of the proceedings of the assembly, on the grounds of a vote of the senate, an order of the people, and several precedents. For “in the consulate of Cneius Servilius, when the other consul Caius Flaminius had fallen at the Trasimenus, the question was, by direction of the senate, proposed to the people, and the people ordered that, so long as the war continued in Italy, it should be lawful for them to re-elect to the consulship, and that as often as they should see proper, any of those who had already held that office. As to precedents in point, he had one of ancient date, in the case of Lucius Postumius Megellus, who, while he was interrex, was, in the assembly where he himself presided, created consul, with Caius Junius Bubulcus; and a recent one, in the case of Quintus Fabius, who certainly would never have suffered himself to be re-elected, if it were inconsistent with the public good.” After long dispute, maintained by these and such arguments, an agreement at last took place between the dictator and the tribunes to abide by the determination of the senate. The senators were of opinion, that the present state of the commonwealth was such as required that the administration of its affairs should be in the hands of experienced commanders, skilled in all the arts of war; and they therefore disapproved of any opposition to the proceedings of the assembly of election. The tribunes then acquiesced, and the election proceeded. Quintus Fabius Maximus a fifth time, and Quintus Fulvius Flaccus a fourth, were declared consuls. The following persons were then elected prætors: Lucius Veturius Philo, Titus Quintus Crispinus, Caius Hostilius Tubulus, Caius Arunculeius. As soon as the appointment of magistrates for the year was finished, Quintus Fulvius resigned the dictatorship. Towards the end of this summer, a Carthaginian fleet of forty ships, under the command of Hamilcar, sailed over to Sardinia, and committed great depredations in the district of Olbia. Afterwards, on the prætor, Publius Manlius Vulso, appearing there with an army, they proceeded to the other side of the island, and ravaged the lands of Caralita, from whence they returned with booty of all kinds to Africa. Several Roman priests died this year, and others were substituted in their places. Caius Servilius was made a pontiff, in the room of Titus Otacilius Crassus; Tiberius Sempronius Longus, son of Tiberius, an augur, in the room of Otacilius Crassus; and the same Tiberius Sempronius, a decemvir for directing religious rites, in the room of Tiberius Sempronius Longus, son of Caius. Marcus Marcius, king in religious matters, and Marcus Æmilius Papus, chief curio, died, but their places were not filled up during this year. Lucius Veturius Philo, and Publius Licinius Crassus, chief pontiff, were created censors for the year. Licinius Crassus had not, before this appointment, been either consul or prætor, but was advanced at one step, from the ædileship to the censorship. However, these censors neither chose a senate, nor transacted any public business, being prevented by the death of Lucius Veturius, on which Licinius abdicated the office. The curule ædiles, Lucius Veturius and Publius Licinius Varus, repeated the exhibition of the Roman games once. The plebeian ædiles, Quintus Catius and Lucius Porcius Licinius, out of the money accruing from fines, erected brazen statues in the temple of Ceres, and exhibited games with much magnificence and splendour, considering the circumstances of those times.
VII. At the end of the year, Caius Lælius, Scipio’s lieutenant-general, on the thirty-fourth day after he set sail from Tarraco, arrived at Rome, and passing through the streets, with the train of prisoners whom he brought, attracted a vast concourse of people. Next day, being introduced to the senate, he delivered the advices with which he was charged, that Carthage, the metropolis of Spain, had been reduced in one day, several revolted cities brought back to obedience, and new alliances formed with others. From the prisoners, information was gained, corresponding, in general, with that contained in the letter of Marcus Valerius Messala. What gave the greatest uneasiness to the senate, was Hasdrubal’s intended march into Italy, which was scarcely able to withstand Hannibal, and the force which he had already with him Lælius also, coming out into the general assembly, gave a similar account. The senate, in consideration of the services performed by Publius Scipio, decreed a supplication for one day; and then ordered Caius Lælius to return with all expedition to Spain, with the ships which he had brought thence. On the authority of a great many historians, I have fixed the taking of Carthage in this year, although I am not ignorant that several have placed it in the year following; but it appeared to me very improbable, that Scipio should have passed a whole year in Spain without doing any thing.Y.R. 543. 209. The consulate of Quintus Fabius Maximus, a fifth time, and Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, a fourth, commencing on the ides of March, a decree was passed on the same day, appointing Italy the province of both, but they were to command separately in different quarters; Fabius to conduct the operations of the war at Tarentum, Fulvius in Lucania and Bruttium. Marcus Claudius was continued in command for a year. The prætors then cast lots for their provinces: Caius Hostilius Tibullus obtained the city jurisdiction; Lucius Veturius Philo, the foreign, with Gaul; Titus Quintus Crispinus, Capua; and Caius Arunculeius, Sardinia. The troops were distributed among the provinces in this manner: to Fulvius, were decreed the two legions which Marcus Valerius Lævinus had in Sicily; to Quintus Fabius, those which Caius Calpurnius had commanded in Etruria; the city troops were to replace those in Etruria, and Caius Calpurnius was to command the same province, with the army; Titus Quintius was to have the government of Capua, with the army which had served there under Quintus Fulvius; Lucius Veturius was to receive, from Caius Lætorius proprætor, the province of Ariminum, with the army then on the spot; to Marcus Marcellus were assigned the legions, with which he had in his consulate acted successfully; to Marcus Valerius, in conjunction with Lucius Cincius, (for they also were continued in command in Sicily,) the troops of Cannæ were given, with orders to complete their full complement out of the surviving soldiers of Cneius Fulvius’s legions. These were collected together, and sent by the consuls into Sicily, being stigmatized by the same ignominious order under which the troops of Cannæ served, and those of the army of the prætor Cneius Fulvius, whom the senate, through resentment at the like cowardice, had formerly ordered thither. To Caius Arunculeius were assigned, for Sardinia, the same legions which had served in that province under Publius Manlius Vulso. Publius Sulpicius was continued in command for a year, to hold the province of Macedonia, and with the same legion and the same fleet which he then had. Thirty quinqueremes were ordered to be sent from Sicily to Tarentum, to Quintus Fabius the consul; and, with the rest of the fleet, Marcus Valerius Lævinus was either to sail over to Africa himself, to ravage the country, or to send thither Lucius Cincius, or Marcus Valerius Messala. With respect to Spain no change was made, only that Scipio and Silanus were continued in command, not for a year, but until they should be recalled by the senate. Such was the distribution made of the provinces, and of the commands of the armies for that year.
VIII. Among other business of more serious importance, the assembly, convened for the purpose of electing to the priesthood a chief curio, in the room of Marcus Æmilius, revived an old dispute; for the patricians insisted, that Caius Mamilius Vitulus, the only plebeian candidate, ought not to be allowed to stand, because none but a patrician had ever held that office of the priesthood. The tribunes, being appealed to, referred the business to the senate. The senate voted, that the people might act therein as they should think proper. Thus Caius Mamilius Vitulus was elected chief curio, being the first plebeian admitted into that office. Publius Licinius, chief pontiff, compelled Caius Valerius Flaccus, against his will, to be inaugurated flamen of Jupiter. Caius Lætorius was created decemvir for the performance of religious rites, in the room of Quintus Mucius Scævola deceased. I should willingly pass over in silence the reason of the flamen being forced into the office, labouring, as he then did, under a bad character, had he not afterwards acquired a very good one. Caius Flaccus had spent his youth in idleness and debauchery, and his vicious courses had drawn on him the displeasure of his own brother Lucius Flaccus, and of his other relations: and Publius Lucius was in hope of reclaiming him. Indeed, when his thoughts became engaged in the care of the sacrifices and religious performances, he quickly made such a complete alteration in his conduct, from what it had hitherto been, that, among all the young men of the time, no one was held in higher esteem, or more entirely approved by the principal patricians, by his own family, and by all. This universal good character inspiring him with a proper sense of his own worth, he asserted a privilege which had for many years been laid aside, on account of the unworthiness of former flamens, that of having a seat in the senate. On his coming into the senate-house, the prætor, Lucius Licinius, led him out; on which he appealed to the tribunes of the commons, alleging that he only claimed an ancient privilege of his priesthood, which was conferred on the office of flamen, together with the purple-bordered robe and the curule chair. The prætor argued that such a right depended not on the copies of annals, rendered obsolete by their antiquity, but on the customary practice of more recent times; and that in the memory of their fathers and even grandfathers no flamen of Jupiter had been allowed it. The tribunes thought it reasonable, that, as the right had been suffered to fall into disuse through the inattention of former flamens, the injury ensuing should affect only themselves, and not the office; and accordingly, without any opposition from the prætor himself, and with the universal approbation of the senate and commons, they introduced the flamen to a seat in the senate, though all men were of opinion that his having attained his object, was owing to the strict integrity of his conduct rather than to any privilege of the priesthood. The consuls, before they departed for their provinces, raised two city legions, and such a number of soldiers as was necessary to make up the complement of the other armies. The force which hitherto had served in the city, the consul Fulvius gave to his brother Caius Fulvius Flaccus, lieutenant-general, with orders to march it into Etruria, and to bring home to Rome the legions then in that province. The other consul, Fabius, having collected the relics of Fulvius’s army, which amounted to three thousand three hundred and thirty-six men, ordered his son Quintus Maximus to conduct them into Sicily, to the proconsul Marcus Valerius, and to receive from him the two legions and thirty quinqueremes. The removal of these legions out of the island made no diminution, in respect either of strength or appearance, in the force stationed in that province. For, besides two veteran legions, completely recruited to their full complement, the proconsul had a great multitude of Numidian deserters, both horse and foot, and he also enlisted in his service those Sicilians who had served in the army of Epicydes, and that of the Carthaginians, men well experienced in war. By annexing a part of these foreign auxiliaries to each of the Roman legions, he preserved the appearance of two armies; with one of which he ordered Lucius Cincius to guard that part of the island which was formerly the kingdom of Hiero; and, with the other, he himself took charge of the rest of it, separated formerly by the boundaries of the Roman and Carthaginian dominions. He likewise made division of the fleet, which consisted of seventy sail, in order that they might extend their protection of the coasts round the whole circumference of the island. Attended by the cavalry of Mutines, he went in person through every part of the province, to view the lands, observe what parts were cultivated, and what were not, commending or reproving the owners accordingly. In consequence of his care in this particular, such an abundance of corn was produced, that, besides sending a quantity to Rome, he conveyed to Catana a sufficient supply for the army, which was to be employed during the summer at Tarentum.
IX. But the transportation of those soldiers into Sicily, the greater part of whom were Latines and allies, was very near proving the cause of formidable disturbances; so true it is, that the issues of great affairs often depend on trival circumstances. For the Latines and allies, in their meetings, began to murmer, that “they had now for ten years been drained by levies and contributions. That, generally every year, they suffered great losses in the war. Many were slain in the field, many were cut off by sickness; and that every one of their countrymen, enlisted as a soldier by the Romans, was more effectually lost to them, than if he were taken prisoner by the Carthaginians; because the latter was sent back, without ransom, to his country, whereas the other was ordered by the Romans out of Italy, into banishment indeed, rather than to military service. The troops of Cannæ were now growing old in that situation, having been in it nearly eight years, and would end their lives before the enemy, whose strength was at the present in a state particularly flourishing, would retire out of Italy. If veteran soldiers were not to return home, and still new ones to be enlisted, there would not, in a short time, be one of that description remaining. Wherefore it was become necessary, before they should be reduced to the last degree of desolation and want, to deny to the Romans that which particular circumstances alone would shortly render it impossible to grant. If that people saw the allies cordially uniting in such a measure, they certainly would think of making peace with the Carthaginians: otherwise, as long as Hannibal lived, Italy would never be free from war.” Thus did they argue in their assemblies. The Roman colonies were, at this time, thirty in number; all of whom had ambassadors at Rome; and twelve of them presented a remonstrance to the consuls, stating that they had not the means of furnishing the supplies of men and money. These were Ardea, Nepete, Sutrium, Alba, Carseoli, Cora, Suessa, Circeii, Setia, Cales, Narnia, and Interamna. The consuls, surprised at such an extraordinary declaration, and wishing to deter them from the meditated secession, to which end they supposed that censure and reproof would be more effectual than gentle measures, answered, that “the expressions which they had dared to use were such as the consuls could not prevail on themselves to repeat in the senate. For they contained not a refusal of military duty, but an open defection from the Roman people. They advised them, therefore, to return home instantly to consult with their respective countrymen, as if no step had yet been taken; since their infamous design, though disclosed in words, had not proceeded to action; and to remind them that they were not natives of Campania, or of Tarentum, but of Rome. That from thence they derived their origin, and from thence were sent out into colonies, into lands taken from enemies, for the purpose of increasing population; and that, consequently, whatever duties children owe to parents, these they owed to the Romans, if they had any remains of natural affection, or any regard for their mother country. They desired them, therefore, to confer on the matter anew; for that, as to the measures which they had inconsiderately mentioned, their tendency was to betray the Roman empire, and to give up the conquest of it to Hannibal.” Though the consuls, one after the other, reasoned with them in this manner for a long time, yet the ambassadors were not in the least moved, but replied, that “they had nothing new to represent to the senate at home, neither had that assembly grounds for new deliberation, when they neither had men to be enlisted, nor money to pay them.” The consuls, finding them inflexible, laid the affair before the senate: and here it excited such serious apprehensions in every mind, that great numbers cried out, that “the ruin of the empire was at hand; that the other colonies would act in the same manner; so would the allies; that all had conspired to betray the city of Rome to Hannibal.”
X. The consuls endeavoured to console and encourage the the senate, telling them, that “the other colonies would maintain their allegiance and duty as heretofore; and that even these which had swerved from their duty, if ambassadors were sent round among them, instructed to apply reproofs, and not intreaties, would be impressed with respect for the sovereign authority.” Having received power from the senate to act and manage as they should see most conducive to the public good, they began by sounding the dispositions of the other colonies; and then, summoning their ambassadors, demanded of them in public, whether they had their contingents of soldiers ready according to the regulation? To this Marcus Sextilius, of Fregellæ, in behalf of the eighteen colonies, made answer, that “the soldiers were ready according to the regulation; that if a greater number should be required, they would bring them; and, that whatever else the Roman people should command or wish, they would perform with zeal and diligence. That they wanted not sufficiency of means, and had more than a sufficiency of inclination.” On this the consuls, after premising that all the praises which themselves could bestow would be inadequate to their merits, unless they were joined by the thanks of the whole body of the senate in full assembly, desired them to accompany them into the senate-house. The senate complimented them by a decree conceived in the most honourable terms possible, and then charged the consuls to conduct them into an assembly of the people also, and there, among the many other important services which those colonies had performed to them and their ancestors, to make proper mention of this recent instance of their meritorious conduct towards the commonwealth. Even now, after so many ages, their names should not be lost in silence, nor should they be defrauded of their due praise: they were these — Signia, Norba, Saticulum, Brundusium, Fregellæ, Luceria, Venusia, Adria, Firma, Ariminum; on the coast of the other sea, Pontia, Pæstum, and Cosa; and in the inland parts, Beneventum, Æsernia, Spoletum, Placentia, and Cremona. Supported by these, the Roman empire was enabled to stand; and they received every mark of gratitude both in the senate, and in the assembly of the people. The former ordered, that no mention should be made of the other twelve dependencies, which had refused to furnish their quota for the war, and that the consuls should neither dismiss nor detain their ambassadors, nor hold any communication with them: such a tacit proof of displeasure was judged the most suitable to the dignity of the Roman people. While the consuls were busy in expediting the other necessary preparations for the campaign, it was resolved to draw out of the treasury the vicesimary gold, (that is to say, a fund formed of the twentieth part of the value of slaves enfranchised,) which was reserved for exigencies of the utmost necessity. There was drawn out accordingly to the amount of four thousand pounds weight of gold. Of this were given to the consuls, to Marcus Marcellus and Publius Sulpicius, proconsuls, and to Lucius Veturius, the prætor, to whom the lots had given the province of Gaul, five hundred pounds each: and besides this, there were given, in particular charge, to the consul Fabius, one hundred pounds of gold to be carried into the citadel of Tarentum. The remainder they employed in making contracts, with ready money, for clothing the army, who were then serving in Spain, with so much honour to themselves and to their commander.
XI. It was also resolved, that, before the consuls set out from the city, they should expiate several prodigies which had happened. On the Alban mount, a statue of Jupiter, and a tree, standing near the temple; at Ostia, a grove; at Capua, a wall, and the temple of Fortune; and, at Sinuessa, a wall and gate, were struck by lightning. Farther it was reported, that the Alban water flowed in a bloody stream; that, at Rome, in the cell of the temple of Fors Fortuna, an image, which was in the crown of the goddess, fell from her head into her hands: that an ox spoke at Privernum; that a vulture, while the Forum was crowded, flew down into one of the shops; and that, at Sinuessa, an infant was born whose sex was doubtful, such as are commonly called in Greek (a language more manageable than ours, particularly in the compounding of words), Androgynes; that a shower of milk fell, and that a boy was born with the head of an elephant. These prodigies were expiated with the larger kinds of victims. Orders were given for a supplication to be performed at all the shrines, and prayers to be offered during one day, for the averting of misfortunes; and a decree passed, that the prætor Caius Hostilius should vow and celebrate the games of Apollo, in like manner as they had, of late years, been vowed and celebrated. At the same time, the consul Quintus Fulvius held an assembly for the election of censors. The censors chosen were men who had never yet been consuls, Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, and Publius Sempronius Tuditanus. By direction of the senate the question was proposed to the people, and the people ordered, that these, by their censorial authority, should let to farm the lands of Campania. The choosing of the senate was delayed by a dispute between the censors about the nomination of the prince of it: the making the choice had fallen, by lot, to Sempronius; but Cornelius alleged that he ought to observe the practice handed down from their ancestors, which was to appoint as prince, the person who, in the list of censors stood the first of any then living, and this was Titus Manlius Torquatus. Sempronius maintained, that when the gods gave a person the lot of appointing, they gave him at the same time full freedom of choice: that he would act in this case agreeably to his own judgment, and would name to the honour contended for, Quintus Fabius Maximus, whom he could prove to be the first of the whole Roman state, even in Hannibal’s opinion. After a long dispute, his colleague gave up the point, and Sempronius chose the consul, Quintus Fabius Maximus, prince of the senate. Then the list of the new senate was read, in which eight were left out, among whom was Lucius Cæcilius Metellus, infamous for having, after the defeat at Cannæ, advised the abandonment of Italy. In their review of the equestrian order also, they censured every one concerned with him; but the number disgraced on that account was very small. From all the cavalry of the legions of Cannæ then in Sicily, and their number was great, their horses were taken away. To this they added another punishment in point of time, ordering that the campaigns which those men had served on horses given by the public, should not entitle them to release, but that they should serve during ten others on horses of their own. They also searched for, and discovered, a great number, who ought to be ranked in the cavalry, and all of these who had been seventeen years old at the beginning of the war, and had not served, they disfranchised. They then contracted for the repairs of the buildings round the Forum, which had been destroyed by the fire — seven shops, the shambles, and the royal palace.
XII. Having finished the necessary business at Rome, the consuls set out for the campaign. Fulvius, first, went forward to Capua; in a few days after, Fabius followed, and he earnestly entreated his colleague in person, and Marcellus by letter, to make the most vigorous efforts to keep Hannibal employed, while he should carry on the siege of Tarentum; observing that, when that city should be taken from the enemy, who was already repulsed in every quarter, and would then have no place where he could rest, or to which he could retreat for safety, he would not have even a pretence for staying longer in Italy. He likewise sent an express to Rhegium, to the commander of the body of troops, which the consul Lævinus had placed there, to act against the Bruttians, and which consisted of eight thousand men, all accustomed to live by plunder, the greater part of whom had been brought out of Sicily from Agathyrna, as was mentioned above. To these were joined many natives of the country, who deserted from the Bruttians, equally daring, and under equal necessity to dare every thing. He ordered this band to be led, first, to ravage the lands of Bruttium, and afterwards to besiege the city of Caulon. These orders they executed, not only with diligence, but with avidity; and after plundering the country, and dispersing the inhabitants, attacked the city with their utmost vigour. Marcellus, incited by his colleague’s letter, and also by an opinion which he had himself conceived, that he was the only Roman general able to cope with Hannibal, quitted his winter-quarters as soon as forage could be found, and met him at Canusium. The Carthaginian was, at this time, employed in endeavouring to entice the Canusians to a revolt, but, on hearing of Marcellus’s approach, he decamped and retired. The country was open, affording no cover for an ambuscade, for which reason he resolved to draw back into more woody tracts. Marcellus pressed close on his steps, encamped within view of him, and, as soon as the trenches were finished, drew out his legions and offered battle. Hannibal sent out single troops of cavalry, and the light spearmen from his infantry, to skirmish with the enemy, but did not think it adviseable to risk the issue of a general engagement. He was, however, drawn into a contest of that sort which he wished to avoid: for although, by marching away in the night, he gained some ground of the enemy, yet Marcellus overtook him in an open country, and, as he was forming his camp, put a stop to his works, by attacking the workmen on all sides. In consequence of this, a pitched battle ensued, in which all the forces, on both sides, were engaged; but night coming on, they separated, without any advantage being gained on either side. They then hastily, before it grew dark, fortified their camps, at a very little distance from each other. Next day, as soon as light appeared, Marcellus led out his forces to the field; nor did Hannibal decline the contest, but in a long speech exhorted his men to “remember Trasimenus and Cannæ, and to crush the presumption of the foe, who pressed so closely on their steps; not suffering them either to march or encamp in quiet, or even to breathe, or look about them. Every day, the rising sun, and the Roman army, appeared together on the plains. But if the enemy should once be compelled to quit the field, especially with some loss of blood, they would afterwards conduct their operations with less turbulence and violence.” Irritated by such expressions, and at the same time vexed at being continually harrassed on quitting their camp, they began the fight with great fury. The battle was maintained for more than two hours; then, on the Roman side, the right wing and the chosen band, called extraordinaries, began to give ground; on observing which, Marcellus brought up the eighteenth legion to the front. But, while the others were retiring in confusion, and these advancing, with but little alacrity, into their place, the whole line was disordered and in a little time totally broken: at last, fear getting the better of their shame, they fairly turned their backs. In this battle, and the flight which followed, there fell no less than two thousand seven hundred of the Romans and allies; among these four Roman centurions, and two military tribunes, Marcus Licinius and Marcus Fulvius. Four military standards were lost by the wing which first fled, and two by the legions which advanced in the place of the flying allies.
XIII. After the army had retired into the camp, Marcellus reprimanded them in terms so harsh and bitter, that they felt more from the discourse of their incensed commander, than from all they had suffered, in the unsuccessful fight, through the whole day. He said to them; “as matters have turned out, I praise and thank the immortal gods, that the victorious enemy did not assault our camp itself, while you were hurrying into the gates, and over the rampart, in such utter dismay. You would certainly have abandoned that, through the same panic that made you give up the battle. What fright is this? What terror, what forgetfulness both of your own character and that of your adversaries, has at once seized your minds? Surely they are the same enemies, in defeating and pursuing of whom you spent the whole of the last summer; who, for some days past, have fled before you night and day, while you pressed on their rear; whom, yesterday, you did not allow either to continue their march, or to form their camp. I say nothing of the advantages on which you ought to pride yourselves; but will mention what, of itself, ought to fill you with shame and remorse: yesterday you fought it out to the end on equal terms. What alteration has last night, what has this day made? Have your forces been diminished; have theirs been augmented? I cannot persuade myself that I am speaking to my own army, or to Roman soldiers. The arms and appearances of the men are such as usual. But, if you had possessed the usual spirit, would the enemy have seen your backs? Would he have carried off a standard from any one company or cohort? Hitherto, he has boasted of putting our legions to the sword; you, this day, have been the first who have conferred on him the glory of putting a Roman army to flight.” On this the troops, universally, besought him to pardon their behaviour of that day; and entreated him, whenever he pleased, to make another trial of the courage of his soldiers. “I will try you, soldiers,” said he, “and to-morrow will lead you into the field; that in the character of conquerors, not of vanquished men, you may obtain the pardon which you desire.” He then ordered, that the cohorts which had lost their standards should receive barley for their allowance, and the centurions of the companies whose standards had been lost, he deprived of their swords; commanding that all, both infantry and cavalry, should be ready under arms on the following day. The assembly was now dismissed, all acknowledging that the reproofs which they had received were not more severe than they deserved; for that no person in the Roman army had, that day, behaved like a man, except the general alone, to whom they ought to make atonement, either by their death or by a glorious victory. On the day following they attended according to orders, armed and accountred. The general then commended them, and said, that “he would bring forward, into the first line, those who had fled first the day before, and the cohorts which had lost their standards; that he now gave notice, that it was incumbent on them to fight and to conquer, and to exert themselves vigorously, one and all, to prevent the news of yesterday’s flight reaching Rome, before that of the present day’s triumph.” They were then ordered to refresh themselves with food, that, in case the fight should last longer than usual, they might have strength to go through it. After every thing had been said and done to rouse the courage of the soldiers, they marched out to the field.
XIV. When this was told to Hannibal, he said, “we have to deal with an enemy who can neither bear good fortune nor bad: if he gets the better, he pursues the vanquished with presumption and vehemence; if he is worsted, he renews the contest with the victors.” He then ordered the signal to be sounded, and led out his forces. Both parties fought now with much more vigour than the day before; the Carthaginians struggling to maintain the glory acquired yesterday, the Romans to remove their disgrace. On the side of the Romans, the left wing, and the cohorts which had lost their standards, fought in the front line; while the twentieth legion was drawn up on the right wing. Lucius Cornelius Lentulus, and Caius Claudius Nero, lieutenant-generals, commanded the wings; Marcellus himself took the charge of the centre, that he might animate the men by his presence, and be an immediate witness of their behaviour. On Hannibal’s side, the front line was composed of the Spanish troops, who were the main strength of his army. When the fight had long continued doubtful, Hannibal ordered the elephants to be brought up to the van, hoping by their means, to occasion fear and disorder. At first, they broke the ranks, and by treading down some, and terrifying others, on either side, so as to put them to flight, made an opening in the line in one part: and the alarm would probably have spread farther, had not Caius Decimius Flavus, a military tribune, snatching the standard of the first band of spearmen, ordered that company to follow him. He then led them to the spot where the elephants were throwing all into confusion, with directions to discharge their javelins at them. Every weapon took place, for there was no difficulty in hitting, at a small distance, bodies of such huge bulk, especially as they were crowded close together. But though they were not all of them wounded, yet those, in whose flesh the javelins stuck, as they are creatures whose motions cannot be depended on, betaking themselves to flight, drove back even those that were unhurt. And now, not any particular company alone, but every soldier who could come up with the retreating elephants, with all his might hurled javelins at them. Thus attacked, the more violently did the animals rush upon their owners, and made so much the greater carnage of them, than they had made of the enemy, as one of them, when frightened or hurt, is hurried on more forcibly than he could be driven by the manager sitting on his back. While the enemy’s line was in this great disorder, in consequence of those beasts breaking through it, the Romans made a brisk onset, and without much opposition from troops so scattered and confused, drove them off the ground. Marcellus ordered his cavalry to charge them as they fled, and the pursuit did not cease, until they were driven, in consternation, into their camp: for, besides other circumstances which caused terror and tumult, two elephants had fallen in the very entrance of the gate, so that the men were obliged to make their way over the trench and rampart. Here the slaughter of the enemy was the greatest. There were killed no less than eight thousand men, and five elephants. Nor did the Romans gain the victory without loss of blood: of the two legions, about one thousand seven hundred were killed, and of the allies above one thousand three hundred. Great numbers, both of Romans and allies, were wounded. In the following night Hannibal decamped, and though Marcellus wished to pursue him, he was prevented by his wounded, which were in great number. Scouts, who were sent to observe his march, brought intelligence, next day, that Hannibal had taken the road towards Bruttium.
XV. About the same time, the Hirpinians, Lucanians, and Volscians surrendered themselves to the consul Quintus Fulvius, delivering up Hannibal’s garrisons which they had in their cities, and were mildly received by the consul, with only a verbal reproof for their past errors. Hopes of similar gentle treatment were held out to the Bruttians also, through two brothers, Vibius and Pactius, of the most illustrious family of any in that nation, who came to request the same terms of capitulation which were granted to the Lucanians. The other consul, Quintus Fabius, took by assault, Manduria, a town in the territory of Sallentum. Here he made four thousand prisoners, and gained much booty of other kinds. Proceeding thence to Tarentum, he pitched his camp at the very mouth of the harbour. Of the ships, which Livius had kept here for the purpose of protecting convoys, he loaded part with machines and implements fit for assailing walls, the rest he furnished with engines, stones, and missile weapons of every kind; the store-ships also, not confining himself to such only as were moved by oars, he fitted out in the same manner, in order that some might bring out the machines and ladders to the walls, while the others, from their ships at some distance, should annoy, with missile weapons, the men employed in defending them. These ships were thus fitted up and prepared, for the purpose of an attack on that side of the city which is washed by the open sea, which was now clear of the enemy; for the Carthaginian fleet had sailed over to Corcyra, at the time when Philip was preparing to attack the Ætolians. Meanwhile, the party which carried on the siege of Caulon in Bruttium, hearing of Hannibal’s approach, and fearful of being overpowered, retired to an eminence, which, though it secured them from an immediate attack, was destitute of every other convenience. In the prosecution of the siege of Tarentum, Fabius received very great assistance towards the accomplishment of that important business, from an incident, trivial in appearance: the Tarentines had in the city a party of Bruttians, given to them by Hannibal, and the commander of this party was desperately in love with a young woman, whose brother was in the army of the consul Fabius. This man, being informed, by a letter from his sister, of her new acquaintance with a stranger of so great wealth, and so highly honoured among his countrymen, conceived hopes that by means of his sister, her lover might be wrought into any scheme; and this project he communicated to the consul: his reasoning appeared not ill-founded, and he was ordered to go as a deserter into Tarentum. Here being introduced by his sister to the notice of the commander, he began by artfully sounding his disposition, and having satisfied himself that his temper was as fickle as he could wish, by the aid of female blandishments he prevailed on him to betray the post, of which he commanded the guard. When both the method and the time for the execution of this design were settled, the soldier was let out of the town privately, through the intervals between the guards, and related to the consul what had been done, and what was further intended. At the first watch, Fabius, after giving proper directions to the troops in the citadel, and to those who had the guard of the harbour, went himself quite round the harbour, and sat down, in concealment, on the side of the city facing the east. The trumpets then began to sound, at once, from the citadel, from the port, and from the ships which had been brought to the shore, on the side next to the open sea. At the same time a shout was raised, and a prodigious tumult purposely made, on every side where there was very little danger. Meanwhile the consul kept his men quiet and silent. Democrates, therefore, who had formerly commanded the fleet, and who happened now to command there, perceiving every thing near him quiet, while other parts resounded with tumult and shouting like that of a city stormed, fearful lest, while he hesitated, the consul might force a passage, and march in his troops, carried off his party to the citadel, because the most alarming noise proceeded from that quarter. Fabius, from the length of time, and likewise from the silence which prevailed, (for, where, a little before, there was an uproar among the men rousing each other, and calling to arms, now not a word was heard,) imagined that the guard was withdrawn; he therefore ordered the ladders to be brought up to that part of the wall, where, according to the information of the contriver of the plot, the cohort of Bruttians held the guard. In this place, favoured and assisted by the Bruttians, the Romans first gained possession of the wall, over which they climbed into the city; and then the nearest gate was broken open, that the troops might march through in a body. These entering the town a little before day, raised a shout, and, without meeting any one in arms, proceeded to the Forum, having drawn on themselves the attention of the combatants in every quarter, whether at the citadel or the harbour.
XVI. At the entrance of the Forum, a vigorous opposition was made, but it was not persevered in. A Tarentine was no match for a Roman, either in spirit, in arms, in warlike skill, nor yet in vigour or bodily strength. They only discharged their javelins, and then scarcely waiting till the fight began, turned their backs; and, as they were acquainted with the streets of the city, ran different ways to their own houses, or those of their friends. Two of their commanders, Nico and Democrates, fell, fighting courageously. Philonus, who had been the author of the plot for betraying the city to Hannibal, rode away from the fight at full speed; his horse was not long after seen, straying through the city without a rider, but his body was never found, and the general opinion was, that he fell from his horse into an open well. Carthalo, as he was coming to the consul unarmed, to remind him of their fathers being connected by an intercourse of hospitality, was slain by a soldier who met him in the way. The rest were put to the sword without distinction, armed and unarmed, Carthaginians and Tarentines alike. Many even of the Bruttians were killed, either through mistake, or through the inveterate hatred borne towards them by the Romans, or with design to discountenance the report of the place being betrayed, and that it might rather appear to have been taken by force of arms. After this carnage, the victors proceeded, in several parties, to plunder the city. We are told that there were taken here thirty thousand persons in a state of servitude, a vast quantity of silver wrought and coined, eighty-seven thousand pounds weight of gold, together with statues and pictures in such numbers, as almost to rival the decorations of Syracuse. But Fabius, with more greatness of mind than was shown by Marcellus, refrained from meddling with booty of that sort; and when his secretary asked him what he would have done with the statues of their gods, which were of gigantic size, and habited like warriors, he ordered him to “let the Tarentines keep their angry gods to themselves.” Then the wall, which separated the citadel from the town, was demolished and rased. Amid these transactions, Hannibal, having made prisoners the party employed in the siege of Caulon, who capitulated, hearing of the siege of Tarentum, marched night and day with all expedition to relieve it: but while he was hastening thither, he received the news of its being taken. On this he observed, “the Romans, too, have their Hannibal; we have lost Tarentum through the same arts by which we acquired it.” That he might not, however, seem to have turned back as in flight, he encamped on the spot where he had halted, about five miles from the city; and, after staying there a few days, retreated to Metapontum. From hence he sent to Tarentum two Metapontines, with letters from the principal men in that state to Fabius, to receive his promise of impunity for what was past, on condition of their delivering Metapontum and the Carthaginian garrison into his hands. Fabius, supposing the offer to be made with sincerity, appointed a day on which he would come to Metapontum, and gave letters in answer, which were delivered to Hannibal, who, overjoyed at the success of his stratagem, and at finding that even Fabius was not proof against artifice, formed an ambuscade at a small distance from Metapontum. As Fabius was taking the auspices, previous to his departure for Tarentum, the birds repeatedly refused the favourable signs; also, when he consulted the gods by sacrifice, the aruspex warned him to beware of treachery and plots. As he did not come on the appointed day, the two Metapontines were sent back, to remove any scruple that retarded him, but being suddenly seized, and dreading an examination by torture, they disclosed the whole plot.
XVII. In Spain, in the beginning of the summer, there came over to Scipio, who had spent all the preceding winter in conciliating the affections of the barbarians, partly by presents, and partly by sending home their hostages and prisoners, a person named Edesco, a distinguished commander among the Spaniards. This man’s wife and children were in the hands of the Romans; but, besides this motive, he was also actuated by that almost unaccountable propension which had brought over all Spain from the Carthaginian interest to that of the Romans. Led by the same motive, Indibilis and Mandonius; unquestionably the two first men in Spain, with the whole body of their countrymen, deserted Hasdrubal, and withdrew to an eminence overlooking his camp, from whence, along a continued ridge of hills, they could retire with safety to the Romans. When Hasdrubal saw the enemy’s strength increasing by such large accessions, while his own was daily diminished, and would probably, unless by a bold effort he effected something, continue to decay, in the same manner as it had begun, he resolved to bring on a battle as soon as possible. Scipio was even more desirous of an engagement; as well because his hopes were strong, in consequence of the success which had hitherto attended his affairs, as because he wished to engage with a single general and his forces, rather than with all together, which he would perhaps be forced to do, were they to unite. However, should he be under a necessity of fighting more than one army at once, he had taken a judicious method to augment his strength: for, perceiving that there would be no employment for his marine, as the coast of Spain was entirely clear of any Carthaginian fleet, he hauled up the ships on land at Tarraco, and joined the marines to his land forces. As to arms for them, he had abundance, between those taken in Carthage, and those which had been afterwards made by the great number of workmen whom he employed. With this force, Scipio, in the beginning of spring, by which time he was rejoined by Lælius, who had returned from Rome, and without whom he undertook no enterprize of any extraordinary moment, set out from Terraco, and advanced towards the enemy. On his march, during which he found every place well affected, the allies showing him all respect, and escorting him as he passed through each of their states, he was met by Indibilis and Mandonius, with their armies. Indibilis spoke for both, not with the ignorance and temerity of a barbarian, but with a modest gravity, appearing rather to apologise for their changing sides, as a measure of necessity, than to boast of it, as if it had been greedily embraced on the first opportunity; for “he knew,” he said, “that the term deserter was deemed dishonourable by a man’s old associates, and held in suspicion by the new. Nor did he blame men for this manner of thinking; provided only, that the merits of the case, and not the mere name, were made the grounds of this double aversion.” He then enumerated his services to the Carthaginian generals; and, on the other hand, their avarice, tyranny, and ill-treatment of every kind heaped on him and his countrymen. “For these reasons,” he said, “his body only had, hitherto, been on their side; his mind had long been on that side where, he believed, that respect was paid to laws divine and human. To the gods themselves, people have recourse with supplications for redress, when they can no longer endure the violence and injustice of men. He entreated Scipio not to consider their conduct as deserving either punishment or reward; but to form his judgment on a trial of them from that day forward, and by that standard to estimate the recompense which they might hereafter be thought to deserve.” The Roman answered, that he would comply with their desire in every particular; and would not consider them in the light of deserters, because they had not thought themselves bound to adhere to such an alliance, when the other party scrupled not to violate every obligation divine and human. Then their wives and children, being brought into the assembly, were restored to them, and received with tears of joy. That day they were entertained in lodgings prepared for them; and, on the next, the terms of association were ratified, and they were dismissed to bring up their forces; afterwards they encamped in conjunction with the Romans, until they conducted them to the spot where the enemy lay.
XVIII. The nearest army of Carthaginians was that commanded by Hasdrubal, which lay near the city of Bæcula. In the front of this camp he had posted advanced guards of cavalry. On these, the Roman light infantry, the front rank, and those who composed the van guard, instantly, as they arrived, and without waiting to choose ground for a camp, made an attack, and with such apparent contempt, as plainly demonstrated what degree of spirit each party possessed. The cavalry were driven within their works, whither they fled in confusion, pressed almost to the very gates. The action of that day having only whetted their ardour for a contest, the Romans pitched their camp. Hasdrubal, during the night, drew back his army to a hill, the summit of which was spread out into a level plain; on the rear of the hill was a river, and on the front and on either side it was encircled by a kind of steep bank: at some distance below this, lay another plain, sloping downwards, the circumference of which was likewise bounded by another bank of equally difficult ascent. Into this lower plain, Hasdrubal, next day, on seeing the enemy’s line formed in front of their camp, sent down his Numidian cavalry, and the light-armed Balearians and Africans. Scipio, riding round the companies and battalions, desired them to observe, that “the enemy, renouncing at once all hope of being able to oppose them on plain ground, endeavoured to secure themselves on hills; waiting within sight, and confiding in the strength of their posts, not in their valour and their arms. But Roman soldiers had mounted the higher defences of Carthage. Neither hills, nor a citadel, nor the sea itself had stopped the progress of their arms. Those heights, which the enemy had seized, would answer no other purpose than that of compelling them, in their flight, to leap down craggs and precipices: but he would prevent their escaping, even in that way.” Accordingly, he gave orders to two cohorts, that one of them should secure the entrance of the valley, through which the river ran; and that the other should block up the road, which led from the city into the country, across the declivity of the hill. He then put himself at the head of the light troops, which had, the day before, beaten the enemy’s advanced guards, and led them against the light-armed forces posted on the brink of the lower descent. For some time they proceeded over rough ground, without meeting any other obstacle than the difficulty of the way; afterwards, when they came within reach, vast quantities of weapons of every sort were poured down upon them; while, on their side, not only the soldiers, but a multitude of servants mixed among the troops, assailed the enemy with stones, which they found every where scattered, and which, in general, were of such a size as that they could be thrown by the hand. But, though the ascent was difficult, and they were almost overwhelmed with darts and stones, yet, through the skill which they had acquired by practice in climbing walls, and the obstinacy of their courage, the foremost gained the summit. When they got upon ground that was any way level, and where they could stand with firm footing, they soon beat back the enemy; who, though light and fit for skirmishing, and able enough to defend themselves at a distance, while an uncertain kind of fight was waged with missive weapons, yet, when the matter came to close fighting, were quite deficient in steadiness; so that they were driven with great slaughter into the line of troops posted on the higher eminence. On this, Scipio, ordering the conquerors to press forward against their centre, divided the rest of the forces with Lælius, whom he ordered to go round the hill to the right, until he should find a gentler ascent, while he himself, making a small circuit to the left, charged the enemy in flank. This, at once, threw their line into disorder, though they attempted to change the position of their wings, and face about their ranks towards the several shouts, which assailed their ears from every quarter. During this confusion, Lælius also came up, and the enemy, by retreating, through fear of being wounded from behind, broke their front line, and left an opening for the Roman centre, who never could have made their way up against ground so disadvantageous, had the ranks remained entire, and the elephants kept their posts in the front of the battalions. While numbers were slain in every quarter, Scipio, who with his left wing had charged the right of the enemy, continued the attack with the greatest fury against their naked flank. And now the Carthaginians had not even a passage open for flight; for the Roman detachments had taken possession of the roads both on the right and left; add to this, that their commander and principal officers, in endeavouring to make their escape, filled up the gate of the camp, while the disorderly route of the frightened elephants were as terrible to them as were the enemy. There were slain therefore not less than eight thousand men.
XIX. Hasdrubal had, before the battle, hastily sent off his treasure; and now, forwarding the elephants, he collected the flying troops, directing his course along the river Tagus, toward the Pyrenees. Scipio took possession of the Carthaginian camp, and having bestowed on the soldiers all the booty, except the persons of free condition, he found, on taking an account of the prisoners, ten thousand foot, and two thousand horse. Of these, he sent home all the Spaniards without ransom, the Africans he ordered the quæstor to sell. On this, the multitude of Spaniards who stood around, both those who had formerly surrendered, and those taken the day before, unanimously saluted him by the title of king. But Scipio, ordering the crier to command silence, told them, that “to him the highest title was that of general, which his soldiers had conferred upon him. That the title of king, in other places highly respected, was, at Rome, deemed odious. They might, indeed, within their own breasts, judge of him as possessing the spirit of a king, if they deemed that the most honourable perfection in a human mind, but they must refrain from the application of the name.” Even these barbarians were sensibly effected by the greatness of his mind, that could look down contemptuously on a title, which from the rest of mankind attracts wonder and admiration. He then distributed presents among the petty princes and chieftains of the Spaniards, desiring Indibilis to choose, out of the great number of horses taken, three hundred, such as he liked. While the quæstor, in pursuance of the general’s order, was selling off the Africans, he observed among them a boy of extraordinary beauty; and, hearing that he was of royal blood, he sent him to Scipio. Scipio, asking him, “who, and of what country he was; and why, at that early age, he had been found in a camp?” He told him, that “he was a Numidian, called by his countrymen Massiva; that being left an orphan by the death of his father, he was educated in the family of his maternal grandfather, Gala, King of Numidia. That he had come over into Spain with his uncle Masinissa, who had lately brought a body of cavalry to the assistance of the Carthaginians. That he had never before been in a battle, having been prohibited by Masinissa on account of his youth; but that, on the day of the engagement with the Romans, he had privately taken a horse and arms, and, unknown to his uncle, gone out into the field, where, by his horse falling, he was thrown to the ground, and made a prisoner by the Romans.” Scipio, ordering the boy to be taken care of, finished what business was to be done at the tribunal; then, retiring into his pavilion, he called the youth, and asked him, whether he wished to return to Masinissa? To which the other, his eyes suffused with tears of joy, replied, that above all things it was what he wished. He then gave as presents to him, a gold ring, a vest with a broad purple border, a Spanish cloak with a golden clasp, likewise a horse fully accoutred; and, ordering a party of horsemen to escort him as far as he chose, sent him away.
XX. He then held a council, to settle a plan of operations; when many advised him, without delay, to go in pursuit of Hasdrubal: but such a step he thought too hazardous, lest Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, and Mago should unite their forces with those of that commander. Contenting himself, therefore, with sending some troops to occupy the passes of the Pyrenees, he passed the remainder of the summer in receiving the submissions of the Spanish states. Not many days after the battle fought at Bæcula, when Scipio, on his return to Tarraco, had just got clear of the pass of Castulo, the two generals, from the Farther Spain, Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, and Mago, joined Hasdruba — a reinforcement too late, the battle being lost: but their coming was very seasonable in another respect, as it gave him the assistance of their counsel, respecting the measures to be taken for the farther prosecution of the war. On this occasion, when they compared accounts of the dispositions of the Spaniards in each of their several provinces, Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, alone, made a favourable report; giving his opinion, that the remote tract of Spain, which lies on the ocean and about Gades, was, as yet, unacquainted with the Romans, and therefore sufficiently well affected to the Carthaginians. The other Hasdrubal and Mago agreed in pronouncing, that “the affections of all, both in their public and private capacities, were attached to Scipio by the kind treatment which he gave them; and that there would be no end of desertions, until all the Spanish soldiers were either removed into the remotest parts of Spain, or carried away into Gaul. Therefore, though the Carthaginian senate had passed no order for the purpose, yet it was necessary that Hasdrubal should go into Italy, where the principal stress of the war lay, and where the final decision of it must be expected; in order, at the same time, to carry away all the Spanish soldiers out of Spain, and out of the way of hearing the name of Scipio: that the Carthaginian army, being greatly reduced, as well by desertions as by the late unfortunate battle, should be filled up with Spanish recruits: that Mago, giving up his forces to Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, should go over in person to the Balearick islands, with a large sum of money, to hire auxiliaries: that Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, should, with the remainder, retire into Lusitania, and by no means come to an engagement with the Romans: that out of all their effective horsemen, a body of three thousand cavalry should be made up for Masinissa, to make excursions through what they called Hither Spain, succour their allies, and carry depredations through the towns and lands of the enemy.” Having determined on these measures, the commanders separated, to put their resolves in execution. Such were the transactions of this year in Spain. At Rome, the reputation of Scipio rose higher every day. The taking of Tarentum, though effected by artifice rather than by courage, yet gave some degree of glory to Fabius. The lustre of Fulvius’s character began to fade. Marcellus was even spoken of with displeasure, because, besides the failure in his first battle, he had in the middle of summer, while Hannibal was carrying his excursion through various parts of Italy, drawn off his army to Venusia, to lodge them in houses. He had a bitter enemy in Caius Publius Bibulus, a plebeian tribune: this man, ever since the battle which proved unfortunate, had, in frequent harangues, represented Claudius in a dishonourable light, endeavouring to render him odius to the commons; and he now proposed to deprive him of the command. The friends of Claudius nevertheless procured an order, that Marcellus, leaving at Venusia a lieutenant-general, should come home to Rome, to clear himself of those charges, on which his enemies founded the resolutions which they proposed; and that, during his absence, no step should be taken towards divesting him of the command. It so happened that Marcellus came to Rome, to rescue his character from disgrace, and the consul Quintus Fulvius to hold the elections, at the same time.
XXI. The business respecting Marcellus’s commission was debated in the Flaminian circus, amidst a vast concourse of plebeians, and people of all ranks. The tribune of the commons brought forward heavy charges, not only against Marcellus, but against the whole body of the nobles. “To their treacherous and dilatory conduct,” he said, it was owing, that Hannibal now held possession of Italy, as his province, for the tenth year, and passed more of his life there than in Carthage. The Roman people now enjoyed the fruits of continuing Marcellus in command: his army, after being twice routed, was spending the summer at Venusia, and dwelling in houses instead of the camp.” These, and such like invectives of the tribune, Marcellus so thoroughly refuted, by a recital of the services which he had performed, that not only the question concerning the annulling of his commission was negatived, but, on the day following, every one of the centuries, with the greatest unanimity, concurred in electing him consul. The colleague joined with him, was Titus Quintius Crispinus, then a prætor. Next day were elected prætors, Publius Licinius Crassus Dives, then chief pontiff, Publius Licinius Varus, Sextus Julius Cæsar, Quintus Claudius, flamen. During the very time of the elections, the public were much disturbed with apprehensions of a revolt in Etruria. That some scheme of that kind had been set on foot by the Arretians was asserted in a letter of Caius Calpurnius, who, in the character of proprætor, held the government of that province. Wherefore Marcellus, consul elect, was immediately despatched thither, with orders to inquire into the affair, and, if he should see occasion, to send for his army, and remove the war from Apulia to Etruria. The fear of this gave the Etrurians such a check, as kept them quiet. Ambassadors from the Tarentines came to solicit a treaty of peace, requesting that they might be allowed to live in freedom under their own laws; but the senate desired them to come again, when the consul Fabius would have returned to Rome. Both the Roman and plebeian games were this year repeated for one day. The curule ædiles were Lucius Cornelius Caudinus, and Servius Sulpicius Galba; the plebeian, Caius Servilius and Quintus Cæcilius Metellus. Many people insisted that Servilius could not legally have held the office of tribune, nor could now hold that of ædile, because it was well known that his father, who, for ten years, was supposed to have been killed by the Boians near Mutina, when Triumvir for the distribution of lands, was still living, and in the hands of the enemy.
Y.R. 544. 208.XXII. In the eleventh year of the Punic war commenced the consulate of Marcus Marcellus, a fifth time, (reckoning the consulship, which, because of an irregularity in the election, he did not hold,) and Titus Quintus Crispinus. It was decreed, that both the consuls should be employed in Italy, as their province; and that out of the two consular armies of the preceding year, with a third, which was at Venusia, and had been under the command of Marcellus, the consuls were to choose whatever two they liked; and the third was to be assigned to the commander, to whose lot the province of Tarentum and Sallentum should fall. The other provinces were distributed in this manner: with regard to the prætors, the city jurisdiction was assigned to Publius Licinius Varus; the foreign, with such other employment as the senate should direct, to Publius Licinius Crassus, chief pontiff; Sicily to Sextus Julius Cæsar, and Tarentum to Quintus Claudius, flamen. Quintus Fulvius Flaccus was continued in command for the year, and ordered, with one legion, to hold the government of the province of Capua, which had been held by Titus Quintus when prætor. Caius Hostilius Tubulus was likewise continued, that, as proprætor, he might succeed Caius Calpurnius in the command of the two legions in Etruria; and Lucius Veturius Philo was continued, that he might, in quality of proprætor, retain the government of his present province of Gaul, with the same two legions which he had there when prætor. With regard to Caius Aurunculeius, who, in his prætorship, had, with two legions, held the government of the province of Sardinia, the senate passed a decree in the same terms with that respecting Lucius Veturius, but, for the defence of that province, an additional force was assigned him of fifty ships of war, which Scipio was to send from Spain. The business of continuing all these officers in command was laid before an assembly of the people. To Publius Scipio and Marcus Silanus, their present province of Spain, and the armies at present with them, were decreed for the year. An order was sent to Scipio, that, out of eighty ships which he then had — some brought with him from Italy, some taken at Carthage — he should send fifty over to Sardinia; because a report prevailed that great naval preparations were going on at Carthage, where the intention was to overspread the whole coasts of Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia with a fleet of two hundred sail. The business of Sicily was divided thus: the troops of Cannæ were given to Sextus Cæsar: Marcus Valerius Lævinus (for he also was continued in authority) was to have the fleet of seventy ships, which lay on the coast of that island. To these were joined the thirty ships which had been at Tarentum the year before; and with this fleet of one hundred sail, if he thought proper, he was to pass over and make depredations on Africa. Publius Sulpicius, also, was continued in command for the year, that he might hold the province of Macedonia and Greece, with the same fleet which he had before. With respect to the two legions which remained in the city of Rome, no alteration was made. Leave was given for the consuls to raise recruits, to complete the troops wherein there was any deficiency of numbers. Twenty-one legions were employed this year in the service of the Roman empire. A charge was given to Publius Licinius Varus, city prætor, to repair thirty old ships of war, which lay at Ostia, and to furnish twenty new ones, with their full complement of men, that he might have a fleet of fifty sail to guard the sea coasts in the neighbourhood of Rome. Caius Calpurnius was forbidden to remove his army from Arretium, before the arrival of his successor. Both he and Tubero were ordered to be particularly watchful on that side, lest any new schemes might be formed.
XXIII. The prætors went to the provinces, but the consuls were detained by business respecting religion; for they could not readily effect the expiation of several prodigies which had been reported. From Campania, accounts were brought, that two temples at Capua, those of Fortune and Mars, and several tombs, were struck by lightning; and at Cumæ, mice gnawed some gold in the temple of Jupiter, so apt is superstitious weakness to introduce the deities into the most trivial occurrences; that at Casinum, a very large swarm of bees settled in the Forum; at Ostia, a wall and gate were struck by lightning; at Cære, a vulture flew into the temple of Jupiter; and that at Vulsinii blood flowed from a lake. On account of these portents, there was a supplication performed of one day’s continuance. During many successive ones, sacrifices were offered of victims of the larger kinds, and yet no favourable omens appeared, nor, for a long time, was there any indication of the gods becoming propitious. The baneful events, thus forboded, affected not immediately the safety of the state, but fell on the persons of the consuls. The Apollinarian games had been first celebrated by the city prætor, Cornelius Sulla, in the consulate of Quintus Fulvius, and Appius Claudius; and, thenceforward, all the city prætors, in succession, had performed them; but they vowed them only for one year, and fixed no particularly day for their observance. This year, a grievous epidemic disorder fell both on the city and country; however, the sickness was rather tedious than mortal. On account of this malady, a supplication was performed in all the streets of Rome, the city prætor, Publius Licinius Varus, being at the same time ordered to propose to the people to enact a law, that a vow should be made for the perpetual celebration of those games on a stated day. Accordingly he himself first engaged for it, holding the games on the third day of the nones of July, which day has ever since been observed as an anniversary festival.
XXIV. The rumours concerning the Arretians grew every day more and more alarming, and greatly increased the anxiety of the senate; wherefore orders were despatched to Caius Hostilius, not to defer taking hostages from that people; and Caius Terentius Varro was sent with a commission to receive them from him, and conduct them to Rome. On his arrival, Hostilius immediately ordered one legion, which was encamped before the gates, to march into the city; and then, having posted guards in proper places, he summoned the senate to attend him in the Forum, and made a demand of hostages. The senate requested two days time to consider of the matter; but he insisted that they should, give them instantly, or he would, next day, take all the children of the senators. He then directed all the military tribunes, præfects of the allies, and centurions, to guard the gates carefully, that no one might go out of the city in the night. This was not performed with proper care and diligence; for, before the guards were posted at the gates, or night came on, seven principal senators made their escape with their children. At the first light, on the day following, the senate being summoned into the Forum, they were missed, and their property was sold. From the rest of the senators, one hundred and twenty hostages were received, who were their own children, and they were delivered to Caius Terentius to be conducted to Rome. He represented every thing to the senate, in such a light as greatly increased their suspicions: wherefore, as if the hostile intentions of the Etrurians were no longer to be doubted, an order was given to Caius Terentius himself, to lead one of the city legions to Aretium, and keep it there, as a garrison to the city. It was at the same time determined that Caius Hostilius, with the rest of the troops, should make a circuit through the whole province; that those who wished to excite disturbances might have no opportunity of putting their designs in execution. When Caius Terentius, with the legion, arrived at Arretium, and demanded from the magistrates the keys of the gates, they told him that they were not to be found; but he, believing rather that they had been put out of the way through some evil design, than lost through negligence, put on new locks, making use of every precaution to keep all things fully under his own power. He earnestly cautioned Hostilius not to expect to retain the Etrurians in quiet by any other means than by putting it out of their power to stir.
XXV. About this time, the business of the Tarentines occasioned a warm debate in the senate, where Fabius was present, exerting himself in favour of those whom he had subdued by arms, while others spoke of them with much asperity, charging them as equal in guilt and deserving equal punishment with the Campanians. The senate resolved, conformably to the opinion of Manius Acilius, that the town should be secured by a garrison, and all the Tarentines confined within the walls, and that the business should be taken under consideration at a future time, and when Italy should be in a state of greater tranquility. The case of Marcus Livius, governor of the citadel of Tarentum, was also debated with no less warmth: some advised to pass a vote of censure on him, because that, in consequence of his indolence, Tarentum had been betrayed to the enemy; while others thought him deserving of reward, for having defended the citadel for five years, and for having, singly, been the principal cause of the recovery of Tarentum. Moderate people affirmed, that the cognizance of his conduct belonged to the censors, not to the senate; and of this opinion was Fabius; nevertheless adding —“Livius was, no doubt, the cause of Tarentum being recovered, as his friends have so often boasted in the senate; but it should be borne in mind that it could not have been recovered, if it had not been lost.” The consul, Titus Quintus Crispinus, marched with a reinforcement into Lucania, to join the army formerly commanded by Quintus Fulvius Flaccus. Marcellus was detained by several obstacles respecting religion, which occurred, in quick succession, to disturb his mind: one of which was, that, having in the battle with the Gauls at Clastidium vowed a temple to Honour and Virtue, he had been hindered, by the pontiffs, from dedicating it; for they insisted, that one shrine could not, with propriety, be consecrated to more than one deity: because, if it should be struck with lightning, or any kind of prodigy happen in it, the expiation would be difficult, as it could not be determined to which of the deities sacrifice ought to be made; for one victim could not, properly, be offered to two divinities, unless they were known to be two to whom such victim must be acceptable. Wherefore a separate temple was erected to Virtue, and the work pushed forward with haste; nevertheless these temples were not dedicated by him. At length he set out, with a number of recruits, to join the army, which he had left the year before at Venusia. Crispinus, observing the great degree of fame which the taking of Tarentum had procured to Marcellus, prepared to lay siege to Locri in Bruttium, sending to Sicily for engines and machines of all sorts, and calling over a fleet from thence, to attack that quarter of the city which stretched down to the sea. But he laid aside his design of the siege, because Hannibal had advanced to Licinium; he heard, too, that his colleague had led out his army from Venusia, which made him wish to unite their forces. Crispinus therefore withdrew from Bruttium into Apulia, and the two consuls sat down in separate camps, distant from each other less than three miles, between Venusia and Bantia. Hannibal also returned into the same country, as soon as he had saved Locri from a siege. And now the consuls, being both impatient for action, offered battle almost every day; not doubting but that, if the enemy would hazard an engagement with the two consular armies united, they might effectually put an end to the war.
XXVI. As Hannibal, of the two battles which he had fought with Marcellus the year before, had gained one and lost the other, he might now, in case of an engagement with the same antagonist, find reasonable grounds both of hope and fear; but he could, by no means, believe himself equal to a contest with the two consuls together. Applying himself, therefore, wholly to his old artifices, he watched an opportunity for an ambuscade. However, several skirmishes were fought between the camps with various success, and the consuls began to think that the summer might be spun out in this manner. They were of opinion, however, that the siege of Locri might, nevertheless, be prosecuted; and they wrote to Lucius Cincius to come over, with the fleet, from Sicily to that place; and, to carry on the siege on the land side, they ordered half the troops in garrison at Tarentum to march thither. Hannibal, having received previous intimation from some Thurians of these intended measures, sent a party to lie in ambush on the road from Tarentum. There under the hill of Petellia, three thousand horsemen and two thousand foot were placed in concealment; and the Romans, marching carelessly, without having examined the road, fell into the snare, where no less than two thousand soldiers were killed, and about twelve hundred taken prisoners: the rest flying different ways, through the fields and woods, returned to Tarentum. Between the Roman and Carthaginian camps, stood a hill, interspersed with trees, which neither party at first had occupied, because the Romans knew not the nature of the ground on the side which faced the camp of the enemy, and Hannibal had judged it to be better fitted for an ambush than for a camp: accordingly he sent thither, for the purpose, a strong detachment of Numidians, whom he concealed in the middle of a thicket; not one of whom stirred from his post in the day, lest either their arms or themselves might be observed from a distance. There ran a general murmer through the Roman camp, that this hill ought to be seized, and secured by a fort, lest, if Hannibal should get possession of it, they should have the enemy, as it were, over their heads. The observation struck Marcellus, and he said to his colleague, “Why not go ourselves with a few horsemen, and take a view of the place? After examining the matter with our own eyes, we shall be able to judge with more certainty.” Crispinus assenting, they proceeded to the spot, attended by two hundred and twenty horsemen, of whom forty were Fregellans, the rest Etrurians: they were accompanied by two military tribunes, Marcus Marcellus, the consul’s son, and Aulus Manlius, and by two præfects of the allies, Lucius Arennius and Marcus Aulius. Some writers have recorded, that the consul Marcellus offered sacrifice on that day, and that, on the first victim being slain, the liver was found without its head: in the second, all the usual parts appeared, but there was a swelling observed on the head of the liver; the aruspex also observing, that, in the second case, the entrails, being imperfect and foul, afforded no very happy presages.
XXVII. But the consel Marcellus was possessed with such a passionate desire for a trial of strength with Hannibal, that he never thought his own camp close enough to his; and on this occasion, as he was passing the rampart, he left directions that every soldier should be ready in his place, in order that, if the hill which they were going to examine, should be approved of, the whole might strike their tents, and follow them thither. In front of the camp was a small plain, and the road, leading thence to the hill, was open on all sides, and exposed to view. A watchman whom the Numidians had posted, not in expectation of an opportunity so important as this, but with the hope of cutting off any party that might straggle too far in search of wood or forage, gave them the signal to rise at once from their concealments. Those who were to come forth from the summit and meet the enemy in front did not show themselves, until the others, who were to enclose them on the rear, had got round. Then all sprung forward from every side, and, raising a shout, made a furious onset. Though the consuls were so situated in the valley that they could neither force their way up the hill, which was occupied by the enemy, nor, surrounded as they were, effect a retreat, the dispute might nevertheless have been protracted for a longer time, had not the Etrurians begun to fly, and thereby filled the rest with dismay. However, the Fregellans, though abandoned by the Etrurians, did not give up the contest, as long as the consuls remained unhurt; who, by their exhortations, and their own personal exertions, supported the spirit of the fight: but, afterwards, seeing both the consuls wounded, and Marcellus pierced through with a lance, and falling lifeless from his horse, then the few betook themselves to flight, carrying with them Crispinus, who had received two wounds from javelins, and young Marcellus, who was also hurt. One of the military tribunes, Aulus Manlius, was slain: of the two præfects of the allies, Marcus Aulius was killed, and Lucius Arennius taken: of the lictors of the consuls, five fell alive into the enemy’s hands; of the rest, some were slain, the others fled with the consul. Forty-three horsemen fell in the fight and pursuit, and eighteen were made prisoners. The troops in camp had taken the alarm, and were going to succour the consuls, when they saw one consul, and the other consul’s son, both wounded, and the small remains of the unfortunate party on their return. The death of Marcellus, unhappy in other respects, was no less so in this, that by a conduct, ill-becoming either his age (for he was now above sixty years old), or the prudence of a veteran commander, he had so improvidently precipitated himself, his colleague, and, in some measure, the whole commonwealth into such desperate hazard. I should engage in too many and too long discussions on a single event, if I were to recite all the various relations given by different writers of the death of Marcellus. To omit other authors, Lucius Cælius presents us with three different narratives of that occurrence: one received by tradition; another written, and contained in the funeral panegyric, delivered by his son, who was present in the action; and a third, which he produces as the real state of the fact, discovered by his own inquiries. But how much soever reports vary, most of them, notwithstanding, concur in stating, that he went out of his camp to view the ground, and all, that he was slain in an ambuscade.
XXVIII. Hannibal, supposing that the enemy must be greatly dismayed by the death of one of their consuls, and the wounds of the other, and wishing not to lose any advantage which a juncture so favourable might afford, removed his camp immediately to the hill on which the battle had been fought. Here he found the body of Marcellus, and interred it. Crispinus, disheartened by his colleague’s death and his own wounds, decamped in the silence of the following night, and, on the nearest mountains that he could reach, pitched his camp in an elevated spot, secure on all sides. On this occasion, the two commanders displayed great sagacity in their proceedings, while one endeavoured to effect, the other to guard against deception. Hannibal had, with Marcellus’s body, gotten possession of his ring, and Crispinus, fearing lest mistakes occasioned by means of this signet might give room to the Carthaginian for practising some of his wiles, sent expresses round to all the neighbouring states to inform them, that “his colleague had been slain, that the enemy was in possession of his ring, and that they should, therefore, give no credit to any letters written in the name of Marcellus.” This message from the consul had but just arrived at Salapia, when a letter was brought thither from Hannibal, written in the name of Marcellus, intimating, that “he would come to Salapia on the night which was to follow that day; and directing that the soldiers of the garrison should be ready in case he should have occasion to employ them.” The Salapians were aware of the fraud; and judging that Hannibal, whom they had incensed, not only by their defection from his party, but by killing his horsemen, was seeking an opportunity for revenge, sent back his messenger, who was a Roman deserter, in order that the soldiers might act, as should be thought proper, without being watched by him; they then placed parties of the townsmen on guard along the walls, and in the convenient parts of the city, forming the guards and watches for that night with more than ordinary care. On each side of the gate, through which they expected the enemy to come, they placed the main strength of the garrison. About the fourth watch Hannibal approached the city: his van-guard was composed of Roman deserters, armed also in the Roman fashion. These, when they came to the gate, as they all spoke the Latin language, called up the watchmen, and ordered them to open the gate, for the consul was at hand. The watchmen, as if awakened by their call, were all in a hurry and bustle, striving to open the gate, which had been shut by letting down the portcullice: some raised this with levers, others pulled it up with ropes to such an height, that men might come in without stooping. Scarcely was the passage sufficiently opened, when the deserters rushed in eagerly through the gate; and, when about six hundred had entered, the rope, by which it was kept suspended, being loosened, the portcullice fell down with a great noise. Part of the Salapians now attacked the deserters, who, as if among friends carried their arms carelessly on their shoulders, as on a march; while the rest, from the tower adjoining the gate and from the walls, beat off the enemy with stones, and pikes, and javelins. Thus Hannibal, ensnared by an artifice worthy of himself, was obliged to retire, and went thence to raise the siege of Locri, which Cincius was pushing forward with the utmost vigour, having constructed various works, and being supplied with engines of every kind from Sicily. Mago, who almost despaired of being able to hold out and maintain the defence of the city, received the first gleam of returning hope from the news of Marcellus’s death. This was soon followed by an express, acquainting him that Hannibal, having sent forward the Numidian cavalry, was hastening after, at the head of the main body of infantry, with all the speed he could make. As soon, therefore, as he understood, by signals made from the watch-towers, that the Numidians were drawing nigh, he, with his own forces, suddenly throwing open a gate, rushed out furiously on the besiegers. The suddenness of his attack, rather than inequality of strength, at first made the dispute doubtful; but afterwards, when the Numidians came up, the Romans were struck with such dismay, that they fled in confusion towards the sea and their ships, leaving behind their works and machines which they used in battering the walls. In this manner did the approach of Hannibal raise the siege of Locri.
XXIX. When Crispinus learned that Hannibal had gone into Bruttium, he ordered Marcus Marcellus, military tribune, to lead away to Venusia the army which had been under the command of his colleage; and he himself, with his own legions, set out for Capua, being scarcely able to endure the motion of a litter, his wounds were so very painful. But he first despatched a letter to Rome, with an account of Marcellus’s death, and of his own dangerous situation. “It was not in his power,” he said, “to go to Rome to attend the elections, because he was sure he should not be able to bear the fatigue of the journey; and besides, that he was uneasy about Tarentum, lest Hannibal might march thither from Bruttium. It was therefore necessary that some persons should be commissioned to come to him in his quarters, men of prudence, to whom he could with freedom speak his thoughts on the present state of affairs.” The reading of this letter caused great sorrow for the death of one consul, and apprehensions for the safety of the other. The senate, therefore, sent Quintus Fabius the younger to Venusia, to take the command of the army there; and deputed three persons to wait on the consul, Sextus Julius Cæsar, Lucius Licinius Pollio, and Lucius Cincius Alimentus, who had a few days before come home from Sicily. These were ordered to deliver a message to the consul, that if he could not come himself to Rome, to hold the elections, he would, within the Roman territories, nominate a dictator for that purpose; and directions were given, that in case the consul should have gone to Tarentum, then Quintus Claudius, the prætor, should lead the army from its present quarters into that part of the country where he could afford protection to the greatest number of the cities of the allies. In the course of this summer Marcus Valerius passed from Sicily to Africa with a fleet of one hundred sail, and making a descent near the city of Clupea, ravaged the country to a great extent, meeting scarcely any one in arms. After which, the troops employed in these depredations made a hasty retreat to their ships, in consequence of a sudden report that the Carthaginian fleet was approaching. This fleet consisted of eighty-three ships, with which the Roman commander came to an engagement not far from Clupea, and gained a complete victory. After taking eighteen ships, and dispersing the rest, he returned to Lilybæum with abundance of booty, acquired both on land and sea.
XXX. Philip, during this summer, brought assistance to the Achæans, in compliance with their earnest entreaties; for, on one side, Machanidas, tyrant of the Lacedæmonians, harassed them continually by irruptions from his territories, which lay contiguous to theirs; and on another, the Ætolians, transporting an army, in ships, through the streight which runs between Naupactus and Patræ, called by the neighbouring inhabitants Rhios, had spread devastations through the country. A report also prevailed, that Attalus, king of Asia, intended to come over into Europe, because the Ætolians, in their last general council, had constituted him chief magistrate of their state. While Philip was, for all these reasons, marching down into Greece, he was met at the city of Lamia by the Ætolians, under the command of Pyrrhias, who had been created prætor for that year, conjointly with Attalus, on account of the latter’s absence. Besides their own forces, they had a body of auxiliaries sent by Attalus, and about one thousand men from the Roman fleet of Publius Sulpicius. Against this commander, and these forces, Philip fought twice with success; and, in each battle, slew at least one thousand. The Ætolians, being so greatly dismayed, as to keep themselves close under the walls of Lamia, Philip led back his army to Phalara. This place, being situated on the Malian bay, was formerly thickly inhabited, on account of its excellent harbour, the safe anchorage on either side, with other commodious circumstances, to which both the sea and the land contributed. Hither came ambassadors from Ptolemy king of Egypt, the Rhodians, Athenians, and Chians, with intent to compose the differences between Philip and the Ætolians. The Ætolians also invited a mediator from among their neighbours, Amynander, king of Athamania. But the concern of all was engaged, not so much by their regard for the Ætolians, who were remarkable for an arrogance unbecoming a Grecian state, as by their wishes to prevent Philip from interfering in any of the affairs of Greece; an interference which would be highly dangerous to the general liberty. The deliberations concerning a pacification were adjourned to the meeting of the council of the Achæans, and a certain time and place were fixed for that assembly. In the mean time, a truce for thirty days was obtained. The king, proceeding thence through Thessaly and Bœotia, came to Chalcis in Eubœa, with design to exclude Attalus from the harbours and coasts, for intelligence had been received that he intended to come to Eubœa with a fleet. Afterwards, leaving there a body of troops to oppose Attalus, in case he should happen to arrive in the mean time; and setting out himself with a few horsemen and light infantry, he came to Argos. Here the superintendance of the games of Hærean Juno and Nemæan Hercules being conferred on him by the suffrages of the people, because the kings of the Macedonians affect to derive the origin of their family from that city, he performed those in honour of Juno; and, as soon as they were finished, went off instantly to Ægium, to the council summoned some time before. In this assembly several schemes were proposed for putting an end to the Ætolian war, that neither the Romans nor Attalus might have any pretence for entering Greece. But every measure of the kind was defeated at once by the Ætolians, when the time of the truce had scarcely expired, on their hearing that Attalus was arrived at Ægina, and that the Roman fleet lay at Naupactus. For being called into the council of the Achæans, where were likewise present the same ambassadors who had treated of a pacification at Phalara, they at first complained of some trifling acts committed during the truce, contrary to the faith of the convention, at last declaring that the war could not be terminated on any other terms than by the Achæans giving back Pylus to the Messenians, Atintania to the Romans, and Ardyæa to Scerdilædus and Pleuratus. Philip, conceiving the utmost indignation at the vanquished party presuming to prescribe terms to their conqueror, said, that “in listening before to proposals of peace, or in agreeing to a truce, he had not been led by any expectation that the Ætolians would remain quiet, but by his wish to have all the confederates witnesses that the object of his pursuits was peace; of theirs, war.” Thus, without any thing being effected towards an accommodation, he dismissed the assembly, left five thousand soldiers to protect the Achæans, receiving from them five ships of war, with which, added to a fleet lately sent to him from Carthage, and some vessels then on their way from Bithynia, sent by king Prusias, he had resolved, if he could effect the junction, to try his strength in a naval engagement with the Romans, who had long been masters of the sea in that part of the world. After dissolving the council, he went back to Argos, because the time of the Nemæan games was approaching, and he wished to give them, by his presence, an additional degree of splendour.
XXXI. While the king was employed in the celebration of the games, and, during that season of festivity, indulging his mind in relaxation from military operations, Publius Sulpicius setting sail from Naupactus, arrived on the coast between Sicyon and Corinth, making violent depredations on that fine and fertile country. The news of this event called away Philip from the exhibition. He marched off with rapidity at the head of his cavalry, leaving orders for the infantry to follow; and, while the Romans were straggling at random, and heavily laden with booty, not apprehending any danger of the kind, he attacked and drove them to their ships. Thus the Roman fleet returned to Naupactus with little cause of triumph for the booty which they had taken. On the other side, Philip, by the fame of a victory, whatever might be its real importance, gained however over Romans, added greatly to the lustre of the remaining part of the games; and the festival was celebrated with extraordinary rejoicings, to which he contributed also by his popular behaviour: for, laying aside his diadem, purple robe, and other royal apparel, he set himself, with respect to appearance, on a level with the rest; than which nothing can be more grateful to the people of free states. This conduct would have afforded very strong hopes of general liberty, had he not debased and dishonoured all by intolerable debauchery: for, night and day, with one or two attendants, he ranged through the houses of married people. He had lowered his dignity to the common level, consequently the less conspicuous he appeared, the less restraint he was under; and thus the liberty of which he had given others an empty prospect, he stretched to the utmost in the gratification of his own libidinous desires. Money and seductive discourses were not always sufficient for his purposes; he even employed violence in aid of them, and dangerous was it for husbands and parents to show inflexible strictness in obstructing the lustful passions of the king. He took from Aratus (a man of distinction among the Achæans) his wife, named Polycratia, and deluding her with the hope of being married to a sovereign prince, carried her into Macedonia. After spending the time of the celebration of the games, and several days after they were finished, in this scandalous manner, he marched to Dymæ, with design to dislodge a garrison of the Ætolians, who had been invited by the Eleans, and received into that city. At Dymæ he was joined by the Achæans, under Cycliades their chief magistrate, who were inflamed with hatred against the Eleans, because they refused to unite with the other states of Achaia, and highly incensed against the Ætolians, whom they believed to be the authors of the war carried on against them by the Romans. Leaving Dymæ, and uniting their forces, they passed the river Larissus, which separates the territory of Elis from that of Dymæ.
XXXII. The first day on which they entered the enemy’s borders, they spent in plundering. On the next, they advanced to the city in order of battle, having sent forward the cavalry, to ride up to the gates, and provoke the Ætolians, who were ever well inclined to embrace an opportunity of sallying out from their works. They did not know that Sulpicius, with fifteen ships, had come over from Naupactus to Cyllene, and landing four thousand soldiers, had, in the dead of night, lest his march should be observed, thrown himself into Elis. When therefore they perceived, among the Ætolians and Eleans, the Roman standards and arms, an appearance so unexpected filled them with the greatest terror. At first, the king had a mind to order a retreat, but the Ætolians being already engaged with the Trallians, a tribe of Illyrians so called, and his party appearing to have the worst of the contest, he himself, at the head of his cavalry, made a charge on a Roman cohort. Here the horse of Philip, being pierced through with a spear, threw him forward, over his head, to the ground, which gave rise to a furious conflict between the contending parties; the Romans pressing hard on the king, and his own men protecting him. His own behaviour on the occasion was remarkably brave, although he was obliged to fight on foot, among squadrons of cavalry. In a short time, the dispute becoming unequal, great numbers being killed and wounded near him, he was forced away by his soldiers, and, mounting another horse, fled from the field. He pitched his camp that day at the distance of five miles from the city of Elis; and, on the next, led all his forces to a fort called Pyrgus, where, as he had heard, a multitude of the country people, with their cattle, had run together through fear of being plundered. This irregular and unarmed crowd were so utterly dismayed at his approach, that he at once made himself master of the whole, and by this seizure gained compensation for whatever disgrace he had sustained at Elis. While he was distributing the spoil and prisoners, the latter amounting to four thousand men, and the cattle of all kinds to twenty thousand, news arrived from Macedonia, that a person called Eropus, had, by bribing the commander of the garrison and citadel, gained possession of Lychnidus; that he had also got into his hands some towns of the Dassaretians, and was, besides, endeavouring to persuade the Dardanians to take arms. In consequence of this intelligence, dropping the prosecution of the war between the Achæans and Ætolians, but leaving, however, two thousand five hundred soldiers, of one sort or other, under the command of Menippus and Polyphantas, to assist his allies, he marched away from Dymæ, through Achaia, Bœotia, and Ebœa, and on the tenth day arrived at Demetrias in Thessaly. Here he was met by other couriers, with accounts of still more dangerous commotions; that the Dardanians, pouring into Macedonia, had already seized on Orestis, and marched down into the plain of Argestæ, and that a report prevailed among the barbarians, that Philip had been slain. This rumour was occasioned by the following circumstance. In his expedition against the plundering parties near Sicyon, being carried by the impetuosity of his horse against a tree, a projecting branch broke off one of the side ornaments of his helmet, which being found by an Ætolian, and carried into Ætolia to Scerdilædus, who knew it to be the cognizance of the king, it was supposed that he was killed. After Philip’s departure from Achæa, Sulpicius, sailing to Ægina, joined his fleet to that of Attalus. The Achæans gained the victory in a battle with the Ætolians and Eleans, fought near Messene. King Attalus and Publius Sulpicius wintered at Ægina.
XXXIII. Towards the close of this year, the consul Titus Quintius Crispinus, after having nominated Titus Manlius Torquatus dictator, to preside at the elections, and solemnize the games, died of his wounds, according to some writers, at Tarentum; according to others, in Campania. Thus was there a concurrence of events, such as had never been experienced in any former war, while the two consuls being slain, without having fought any memorable battle, left the commonwealth, as it were, fatherless. The dictator Manlius appointed Caius Servilius, then curule ædile, his master of the horse. The senate, on the first day of its meeting, ordered the dictator to celebrate the great games, which Marcus Æmilius, city prætor, had exhibited in the consulate of Caius Flaminius and Cneius Servilius, and had vowed to be repeated at the end of five years. Accordingly, he not only performed them now, but vowed them for the next lustrum. But as the two consular armies, without commanders, were so near the enemy, both the senate and people, laying aside all other concerns, made it their chief and only care to have consuls elected as soon as possible, and especially that they should be men whose courage was so tempered by prudence as to guard them sufficiently against Carthaginian wiles: for it was considered, that, as through the whole course of the present war, the too warm and precipitate tempers of their generals had been productive of great losses, so, in that very year, the consuls, through excessive eagerness to engage the enemy, had fallen unguardedly into their snares; that the gods, however, compassionating the Roman nation, had spared the troops, who were guiltless of the fault, and had decreed that the penalty incurred by the rashness of the commanders should fall on their own heads. When the senate looked round for proper persons to be appointed to the consulship, Caius Claudius Nero at once met their view as eminently qualified beyond all others. They then sought a colleague for him. They well knew him to be a man of extraordinary abilities, but, at the same time, of a temper more sanguine and enterprising than was expedient in the present exigencies of the war, or against such an opponent as Hannibal; and, therefore, they thought it necessary to qualify his disposition by joining with him a man of moderation and prudence.
XXXIV. Many years before this, Marcus Livius, on the expiration of his consulship, had been judged guilty of misconduct by the sentence of the people; and he was so deeply affected by this disgrace, that he retired into the country, and, for a long time, avoided not only the city, but all intercourse with mankind. About eight years afterwards, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, and Marcus Valerius Lævinus, then consuls, brought him back into Rome; but still he appeared in a squalid dress, and suffered his hair and beard to grow, displaying in his countenance and garb a more than ordinary sensibility of the censure passed on him. When Lucius Veturius and Publius Licinius were censors, they compelled him to be shaved, to lay aside his sordid apparel, to attend the meetings of the senate, and perform other public duties. But, after all this, he used to give his vote either by a single word, or by going to the side of the house which he approved, until a trial came on in the cause of Marcus Livius Macatus, a man to whom he was related, and whose character was at stake; and this obliged him to deliver his sentiments at large in the senate. The speech which he made, after so long an interval of silence, drew on him all eyes, and became the subject of much conversation: it was asserted, that “the people had treated him with great injustice, and that the consequences of this undeserved ill-treatment had been highly injurious to that very people; as, during a war of such importance and danger, the state had been deprived both of the services and counsels of so great a man. With Caius Nero, neither Quintus Fabius, nor Marcus Valerius Lævinus could be joined in office; because the law did not allow the election of two patricians. The same objection lay against Titus Manlius, besides that he had before refused the offer of the consulship, and would again refuse it. But if the election of Marcus Livius, in conjunction with Caius Nero, could be effected, then they would have such consuls as could scarcely be equalled.” Nor where the commons disinclined to the proposal, although it took its rise from the patricians. One only person in the state, the person to whom the honour was offered, objected to the measure; charging the people with levity and inconstancy, he said, that “when he appeared before them in the situation of a defendant, in a mourning habit, they refused him their compassion; yet now they forced upon him the white gown against his will, heaping punishments and honours on the same object. If they deemed him an honest man, why had they condemned him as wicked and guilty? If they had discovered proofs of his guilt, after seeing such reason to repent of having trusted him with the consulship once, why entrust him with it a second time?” While he uttered these, and such like reproaches and complaints, he was checked by the senators, who bade him recollect, that “Camillus, though exiled by his country, yet returned at its call, and re-established it, when shaken from the very foundations; that it was the duty of a man to mollify by patience, and to bear with resignation, the severity of his country, like that of a parent.” By the united exertions of all, Marcus Livius was elected consul with Caius Claudius Nero.
XXXV. Three days after, the election of prætors was held, and there were chosen into that office, Lucius Porcius Licinus, Caius Mamilius Aulus, and Caius Hostilius Cato. As soon as the elections were concluded, and the games celebrated, the dictator and master of the horse resigned their offices. Caius Tarentius Varro was sent, as proprætor, into Etruria, in order that Caius Hostilius might go from that province to Tarentum, to take the command of the army which had acted under the late consul, Titus Quintius; and that Titus Manlius might go beyond sea, in the character of ambassador, to observe what business was going on abroad; and also, as, during that summer, the Olympic games were to be exhibited, which were always attended by the greatest concourse of the people of Greece, that he might go to that assembly, if not prevented by the enemy, and inform any Sicilians whom he should find driven there, and any citizens of Tarentum, banished by Hannibal, that they might return to their homes, and might be assured that the Roman people meant to restore to them the whole of the property which they possessed before the war began. As the approaching year seemed to threaten the greatest dangers, and there were, as yet, no magistrates for the administration of public affairs, all men directed their attention to the consuls elect, and wished them, as speedily as possible, to cast lots for their provinces, that each of them might know beforehand what province and what antagonist he was to have. Measures were also taken in the senate, on a motion made by Quintus Fabius Maximus, to reconcile them to each other; for there subsisted between them an avowed enmity, which on the side of Livius, was the more inveterate, as, during his misfortunes, he had felt himself treated with contempt by the other. He was therefore the more obstinately implacable, and insisted, that “there was no need of any reconciliation: for they would conduct all business with the greater diligence and activity, while each should be afraid, lest a colleague, who was his enemy, might find means of exalting his own character at the other’s expence.” Nevertheless the influence of the senate prevailed on them to lay aside their animosity, and to act with harmony and unanimity in the administration of the government. The provinces allotted to them were not, as in former years, a joint command in the same districts, but quite separate, in the remotest extremities of Italy: to one, Bruttium and Lucania, where he was to act against Hannibal; to the other, Gaul, where he was to oppose Hasdrubal, who was now said to be approaching to the Alps. It was ordered that the consul to whose lot Gaul fell, should, of the two armies, (one of which was in Gaul, and the other in Etruria,) choose whichever he thought proper, and join to it the city legions; and that he to whom the province of Bruttium fell, should, after enlisting new legions for the city, take his choice of the armies commanded by the consuls of the preceding year; and that the army left by the consul should be given to Quintus Fulvius, proconsul, and that he should continue in command for a year. To Caius Hostilius, to whom they had assigned the province of Tarentum, in exchange for Etruria, they now gave Capua instead. One legion was ordered for him — that which Fulvius had commanded the year before.
XXXVI. The public anxiety respecting Hasdrubal’s march into Italy increased daily. At first, envoys from the Massilians brought information, that he had passed into Gaul, and that the inhabitants of that country were in high spirits on the occasion; because it was reported, that he had brought a vast quantity of gold for the purpose of hiring auxiliaries. In company with these envoys, on their return, were sent from Rome, Sextus Antistius and Marcus Retius, to inquire into the matter; who brought back an account, that they had sent persons with Massilian guides, who, by means of some Gallic chieftains, connected in friendship with the Massilians, might procure exact intelligence of every particular; and that they had discovered, with certainty, that Hasdrubal, having already collected a very numerous army, intended to pass the Alps in the following spring, and that nothing prevented his doing it immediately, but the passes of those mountains being shut up by the winter. Publius Ælius Pætus was elected and inaugurated into the office of augur, in the room of Marcus Marcellus; and Cneius Cornelius Dolabella into that of king in religious matters, in the room of Marcus Marcius, who had died two years before. In this year, the first time since Hannibal’s coming into Italy, the lustrum was closed by the censors, Publius Sempronius Tuditanus and Marcus Cornelius Cethegus. The number of citizens rated was one hundred and thirty-seven thousand one hundred and eight, a number much smaller than it had been before the war. It is recorded that, in this same year, the Comitium was covered, and the Roman games once repeated by the curule ædiles, Quintus Metellus and Caius Servilius; and the plebeian games twice, by the plebeian ædiles, Quintus Mamilius and Marcus Cæcilius Metellus. These also erected three statues in the temple of Ceres, and there was a feast of Jupiter on occasion of the games.Y.R. 545. 207. Then entered on the consulship Caius Claudius Nero and Marcus Livius, a second time; and as they had already, when consuls elect, cast lots for their provinces, they now ordered the prætors to do the same. To Caius Hostilius fell the city jurisdiction, to which the foreign was added, in order that three prætors might go abroad to the provinces. To Aulus Hostilius fell Sardinia; to Caius Mamilius, Sicily; and and to Lucius Porcius, Gaul. The whole of the legions, amounting to twenty-three, were distributed in such manner, that each of the consuls should have two, Spain four, the three prætors, in Sicily, Sardinia, and Gaul, two each; Caius Terentius, in Etruria, two; Quintus Fulvius, in Bruttium, two; Quintus Claudius, about Tarentum and Sallentum, two; Caius Hostilius Tubulus, at Capua, one; and two were ordered to be raised for the city. For the first four legions, the people elected tribunes; for the rest, they were appointed by the consuls.
XXXVII. Before the consuls left home, the nine days solemnity was performed, on account of a shower of stones having fallen from the sky at Veii. The mention of one prodigy was, as usual, followed by reports of others: that the temple of Jupiter at Minturnæ, a grove at Marica, a wall and a gate of Atella, had been struck by lightning. The people of Minturnæ added, what was still more terrifying, that a stream of blood had flowed in at one of their gates: at Capua, too, a wolf came into one of the gates, and tore the centinel. These prodigies were expiated with victims of the greater kinds; and a supplication, of one day’s continuance, was ordered by the pontiffs. The nine days solemnity was afterwards performed a second time, on account of a shower of stones seen to fall during the armilustrum. The people’s minds were no sooner freed from religious apprehensions, than they were again disturbed by an account, that, at Frusino, an infant was born of a size equal to that of a child four years old, and wonderful, not only for its bulk, but for its sex being doubtful; as had been the case of the one born, two years before, at Sinuessa. Aruspices, sent for from Etruria, denounced this to be a portent particularly horrid, that ought to be exterminated from the Roman territories, and without being suffered to touch the earth, drowned in the sea. Accordingly, they shut it up alive in a chest, and threw it into the deep. The pontiffs likewise issued a mandate, that thrice nine virgins should go in procession through the city, singing a hymn. While they were employed, in the temple of Jupiter Stator, learning this hymn, which was composed by the poet Livius, the temple of Imperial Juno, on the Aventine, was struck by lightning. The aruspices, having delivered their judgment that this prodigy had respect to the matrons, and that the goddess ought to be appeased by an offering, the curule ædiles, by an edict, summoned together into the Capitol all those matrons who had houses in the city of Rome, or within ten miles of it; and from this number they chose twenty-five, to whom they paid in a contribution out of their own effects. With this money a golden bason was made, and carried to the Aventine, where the matrons, with every demonstration of purity and sanctity, immolated to the goddess. Immediately after, the decemvirs, by proclamation, appointed a day for another sacrifice to the same divinity, which was conducted in the following order:— From the temple of Apollo, two white heifers were led into the city, through the Carmental gate; after them were carried two cypress images of Imperial Juno; then followed the twenty-seven virgins, clad in long robes, singing the hymn in honour of that deity. This hymn might perhaps, to the uninformed judgments of those times, appear to have merit, but, if repeated at present, it would seem barbarous and uncouth. The train of virgins was followed by the decemvirs, crowned with laurel, and dressed in purple-bordered robes. From the gate they proceeded through the Jugarian street into the Forum: here the procession halted, and a cord was given to the virgins, of which they all took hold, and then advanced, beating time with their feet to the music of their voices. Thus they proceeded through the Tuscan street, the Velabrum, the cattle-market, and up the Publician hill, until they arrived at the temple of Imperial Juno. There, two victims were offered in sacrifice by the decemvirs, and the cypress images were placed in the temple.
XXXVIII. After due expiations were offered to the gods, the consuls began to enlist soldiers; and this business they enforced with more strictness and severity than had been formerly practised within the memory of any then living; for the new enemy, advancing towards Italy, made the war doubly formidable. As the number of young men capable of serving, was considerably diminished, they resolved to compel even the maritime colonies to furnish soldiers, although they were said to enjoy, under a solemn grant, an immunity from service. At first, they refused compliance; on which the consuls published orders, that each state should, on a certain day, produce before the senate the title on which it claimed such exemption. On the day appointed, the following states appeared before the senate; Ostia, Alsia, Antium, Anxur, Minturnæ, Sinuessa; and, from the coast of the upper sea, Sena. These recited their several claims; but none of them were allowed, except those of Antium and Ostia; and even in these two colonies the young men were obliged to swear, that, while the enemy remained in Italy, they would not lodge out of the walls of their colonies longer than thirty days. Although it was the opinion of all, that the consuls ought to open the campaign as early as possible, as it would be necessary to oppose Hasdrubal immediately on his decent from the Alps, lest he might seduce the Cisalpine Gauls and Etruria, which latter already entertained sanguine hopes of effecting a revolt; also, that it would be necessary to give Hannibal full employ in his own quarters, lest he might extricate himself from Bruttium, and advance to meet his brother: yet Livius delayed, not being satisfied with the forces destined for his provinces, while his colleague had a choice of two excellent consular armies, and a third which Quintus Claudius commanded at Tarentum; he therefore introduced a proposal of recalling the volunteer slaves to the standards. The senate gave the consuls unlimited power to fill up their companies with any men whom they approved; to choose out of all the armies such ss they liked, and to exchange them, and remove them from one province to another, as they should judge best for the public service. In the management of all these matters, the greatest harmony prevailed between the consuls; and the volunteer slaves were enrolled in the nineteenth and twentieth legions. Some writers say, that on this occasion powerful reinforcements were also sent from Spain by Publius Scipio to Marcus Livius; eight thousand Spaniards and Gauls, two thousand legionary soldiers, and a body of cavalry composed of Numidians and Spaniards, in number one thousand eight hundred; that Marcus Lucretius brought these forces by sea, and that Caius Mamilius sent from Sicily four thousand archers and slingers.
XXXIX. The disquietude at Rome was increased by a letter brought out of Gaul from the prætor Lucius Porcius; the contents of which were, that Hasdrubal had moved out of winter-quarters, and was now on his passage over the Alps; that eight thousand of the Ligurians were embodied and armed, and would join him as soon as he arrived in Italy, unless an army were sent into Liguria to attack them beforehand: as to himself, he would advance as far as he should think it safe with his small force.” This letter obliged the consuls to finish the levies with haste, and to set out for their respective provinces earlier than they had intended; for their purpose was, that each should keep his antagonist employed in his own province, so as not to suffer the two to combine their forces into one body. An opinion, formed by Hannibal, helped to further their design: for though he believed that his brother would make good his way into Italy during the course of that summer, yet, when he reflected on the difficulties with which he had himself struggled, first in the passage of the Rhone, then in that of the Alps, fighting against men, and against the nature of the places, for five successive months, he had not the least expectation that the other would be able to effect his purpose with so much more ease and expedition; and, for this reason, he was the later in quitting his winter-quarters. But Hasdrubal found every thing to proceed more easily and expeditiously than either himself or others had even ventured to hope: for the Arvernians, and afterwards the other Gallic and Alpine tribes, not only gave him a friendly reception, but even accompanied him to the war. Then, in most parts of the country through which he marched, roads had been made by his brother in places until then impassable; besides which, as the Alps had, for twelve years, been a constant route for divers people, he found the disposition of the inhabitants much improved. For in former times, being never visited by foreigners, or accustomed to see a stranger in their country, they were unsociable towards all the human race. Being ignorant at first of the destination of the Carthaginian, they had imagined that his object was their rocks and forts, and to make prey of their men and cattle: but the accounts which they heard of the Punic war, and by which Italy had so long been harassed, by this time fully convinced them, that the Alps were only used as a passage, and that two overgrown states, separated by vast tracts of sea and land, were contending for power and empire. These causes opened the Alps to Hasdrubal. But whatever advantage he gained from the celerity of his march, he lost it all by delaying at Placentia, where he carried on a fruitless blockade, rather than an attack. He had supposed that the reduction of a town, standing in a plain, would be easily accomplished; and being a colony of great note, he was persuaded that, by destroying this city, he should fill the rest with terror. That siege, however, not only impeded his own progress, but also stopped Hannibal when he was just setting out from his winter-quarters, in consequence of hearing that his brother had reached Italy so much more quickly than he had expected. For he considered not only how tedious the siege of a city is, but also how ineffectually he himself, going back victorious from the Trebia, had attempted that same colony.
XL. The consuls, taking different routes, when setting out to open the campaign, drew the anxiety of the public in opposite directions, as if to two distinct wars at once: for, besides their recollection of the heavy calamities which Hannibal’s first coming had brought upon Italy, people were farther distressed by doubts of the issue. “What gods,” said they to themselves, “would be so propitious to the city, and to the empire, as to grant success to their arms in both quarters at the same time? Hitherto, the business had been protracted by a counterpoise of successes and misfortunes. When in Italy, at the Trasimenus and Cannæ, the Roman power had been crushed to the earth, a number of successful efforts in Spain had raised it up from its fallen state: when afterwards, in Spain, a succession of defeats, in which two excellent commanders were lost, had, in a great measure, ruined the two armies, the many advantages gained by the Roman arms in Italy and Sicily, had afforded shelter to the shattered vessel of the state. Besides, even the distance of place, one war being then carried on in the remotest extremity of the world, allowed room to breathe: but now, two wars had penetrated into the very heart of Italy; two commanders, of the most distinguished reputation, stood on the opposite sides of the city of Rome; and the whole mass of danger, the entire burthen, pressed upon one spot. Whichever of these commanders should first gain a battle, he would, in a few days after, join his camp with the other.” The preceding year, also, having been saddened by the deaths of the two consuls, served to augment the general apprehensions. Such were the melancholy forebodings which perplexed the minds of the people, as they escorted the commanders on their departure to their provinces. Historians have mentioned, that Marcus Livius, when setting out for the campaign, being still full of resentment against his countrymen, and warned by Quintus Fabius “not to come to a battle hastily, or before he was well acquainted with the kind of enemy whom he had to encounter;” answered that “the first moment that he should get a sight of that enemy, he would fight him;” being asked the reason of such eagerness, he replied, “I will acquire either extraordinary glory from the defeat of the foe, or joy from that of my countrymen; and though the latter might not perhaps redound to my honour, yet it is certainly what they have deserved at my hands.” Before the consul Claudius arrived in his province, as Hannibal was leading his army towards Sallentum, through the very borders of the Larinatian frontiers, Caius Hostilius Tubulus, with some lightly accoutred cohorts, attacked him, and caused dreadful confusion among his unmarshalled troops, killing four thousand men, and taking nine military standards. Quintus Claudius, who had his forces cantoned through the towns in the territory of Sallentum, on being apprised of the enemy’s motions, marched out of his winter quarters: wherefore, Hannibal, Iest he should be obliged to encounter the two armies at once, decamped in the night, and withdrew from the Tarentine territory into Bruttium. Claudius fell back to the country adjoining Sallentum. Hostilius, on his march towards Capua, met the consul Claudius at Venusia; and here were selected, out of both armies, forty thousand foot, and two thousand five hundred horse, with which the consul was to act against Hannibal. The rest of the forces, Hostilius was ordered to lead to Capua, that he might deliver them up to Quintus Fulvius, proconsul.
XLI. Hannibal, having drawn together his forces from all quarters, both those which he had hitherto kept in winter quarters, and those which were in garrison in the Bruttian territory, came into Lucania, to Grumentum, in hope of regaining the towns, which through fear, had joined the Romans. To the same place came the Roman consul, from Venusia, carefully examining the roads as he went, and pitched his camp at the distance of about fifteen hundred paces from the enemy. From hence the rampart of the Carthaginians seemed to be almost close to the wall of Grumentum; the actual distance, however, was five hundred paces. Between the Carthaginian and Roman camps the ground was level: and on the left-hand side of the Carthaginians, and right of the Romans, stood some naked hills, from which neither party apprehended any mischief, because there were no woods, nor any covering for an ambuscade. Parties, sallying from the advanced posts, fought several skirmishes of little consequence. It appeared plainly that the Roman general had no other object in view than to hinder the enemy from quitting the place; while, Hannibal, wishing to get away, frequently drew out his whole strength, and offered battle. On this occasion, the consul adopted the crafty genius of his adversary; and, as there could be little apprehension of a surprize, the hills being open, and having been examined by his scouts, he ordered five cohorts, with five additional companies, to pass over their summit in the night, and conceal themselves in the valleys on the other side. The time when they were to rise from their ambush he settled with Tiberius Claudius Asellus, military tribune, and Publius Claudius, præfect of the allies, whom he sent at their head. He himself, at the dawn of day, drew out all his forces, both foot and horse, into the field. In a short time after, Hannibal also, on his side, displayed the signal for battle, and a great noise ensued in his camp, while the men ran hastily to arms. Then all, both horse and foot, rushed eagerly out of the gates, and scattering themselves over the plain, advanced hastily to attack the enemy. The consul, observing them in this disorder, commanded Caius Aurunculeius, tribune of the third legion, to make his cavalry charge them with all possible fury, remarking, that “they had spread themselves like cattle over the plain, and in such confusion that, before they could be formed, they might be rode down, and trodden under foot.”
XLII. Hannibal had not yet come out of his camp, when he heard the shouts of the troops engaged: alarmed at this, he led his forces with all speed towards the enemy. The charge of the Roman cavalry had already distressed his van, and, of their infantry, the first legion and the right wing were coming into action, while the Carthaginians, without any regular order, began the fight just as chance threw each in the way of either horseman or footman. The combatants, on both sides, were sustained by reinforcements; and Hannibal, in the midst of the terror and tumult, would have formed his line while fighting, which is no easy matter, unless to a veteran commander, and in the case of veteran troops, but that the shout of the cohorts and companies, running down from the hills, and which was heard on their rear, struck them with the fear of being cut off from their camp: and had it not been near, (seized as they were with a panic, and flying in every part,) very great numbers would have been slain: for the cavalry stuck close to their rear, and the cohorts, running down the declivity of the hills, over clear and level ground, assailed them in flank. However, upwards of eight thousand men were killed, more than seven hundred men made prisoners, and nine military standards were taken. Even of the elephants, which in such a sudden and irregular action had been of no use, four were killed, and two taken. Of the Romans, and their allies, there fell about five hundred. Next day the Carthaginian kept himself quiet. The Roman brought his army into the field, and when he saw that none came out to meet him, he ordered the spoils of the slain to be collected, and the bodies of his own men to be brought together, and buried. After this, for several successive days, he pushed up so close to the enemy’s gates, that he seemed to intend an assault; but, at length, Hannibal decamped, at the third watch of the night, and made towards Apulia, leaving a great number of fires and tents on the side of the camp which faced the enemy, and a few Numidians, who were to show themselves on the ramparts and at the gates. As soon as day appeared, the Roman army came up to the trenches, the Numidians, as directed, showing themselves for some time on the ramparts; having imposed on the enemy as long as possible, they rode off at full speed, until they overtook the body of their army. The consul, perceiving the camp perfectly silent, and no longer seeing any where even the small number who had paraded in view, at the dawn of day despatched two horsemen to examine the state of the works; and when he learned, with certainty, that all was safe, he ordered his army to march in. Here he delayed no longer than while his men collected the plunder; then, sounding a retreat, long before night, he brought back his forces into their tents. Next day, at the first light, he set out, and following by long marches the tracks of the Carthaginians, by such intelligence as he could procure, overtook them not far from Venusia. Here likewise an irregular kind of battle was fought, in which above two thousand of the fugitives fell. From thence, Hannibal, marching in the night, and taking his way through mountains, that he might not be forced to an engagement, proceeded towards Metapontum: from which place Hanno, who commanded the garrison of the town, was sent, with a small party, into Bruttium, to raise fresh forces; while Hannibal, with the addition of the garrison to his own troops, went back to Venusia by the same roads through which he had come, and thence to Canusium. Nero had never quitted the enemy’s steps, and when he was going himself to Metapontum, had sent orders to Quintus Fulvius to come into Lucania, lest that country should be left without defence.
XLIII. In the mean time, Hasdrubal, having raised the siege of Placentia, sent four Gallic horsemen, and two Numidians, with a letter for Hannibal; these, after traversing almost the whole length of Italy, through the midst of enemies, in order to follow him on his retreat to Metapontum, mistook the road, and went towards Tarentum, where they were seized by some Roman foragers, roving through the country, and conducted to the proprætor Quintus Claudius. At first they eluded his inquiries by evasive answers; but, on being threatened with torture, fear compelled them to own the truth, and they confessed that they were charged with a letter from Hasdrubal to Hannibal. With this letter, sealed as it was, the prisoners were given in charge to Lucius Virginius, military tribune, to be conducted to the consul Claudius, and two troops of Samnite horse were sent to escort them. Claudius caused the letter to be read to him by an interpreter, and having examined the prisoners, he concluded that the present conjuncture of affairs was not of such a nature as to require that the consuls should carry on the war according to regular plans, each within the limits of his own province, by means of his own troops, and against an antagonist pointed out by the senate; but that some extraordinary and daring stroke should be struck, such as could not be foreseen or thought of, which, at its commencement, might cause no less dread among their countrymen than among the enemy; but, when accomplished, would convert their great fears into as great exultation. Wherefore, sending Hasdrubal’s letter to Rome, to the senate, he at the same time acquainted the Conscript Fathers with his intentions, advising that, as Hasdrubal had written to his brother that he would meet him in Umbria, they should immediately call home the legion then at Capua, raise new levies, and post the city army at Narnia, to intercept the enemy. Such were the contents of his letter to the senate: for himself, he sent on messengers, through the districts of Larina, Marrucia, Frentana, and Prætutia, along the road which he intended to take with his army; giving directions, that all the inhabitants should bring down from their towns and farms, victuals ready-dressed for the soldiers, and that they should furnish horses and other beasts of burthen, so that the weary might be accommodated with easy transports. He then selected from the Romans and allies the flower of their armies, consisting of six thousand foot and one thousand horse; and giving out that he meant to seize on the nearest town in Lucania and the Carthaginian garrison therein, he ordered them all to be ready for a remove. Having set out in the night, he turned off towards Picenum, and, making the longest possible marches, proceeded directly towards his colleague, having left the command of the camp to Quintus Catius, lieutenant-general.
XLIV. At Rome there was no less fright and consternation than had been felt two years before, when the Carthaginian camp was brought close to the walls and gates of the city: nor could people well determine whether they should commend or blame the consul for his boldness in undertaking such an adventurous march. It was evident that his reputation would depend upon the issue, though there is not perhaps a more unfair method of judging. People considered, with alarming apprehensions, that “the camp, in the neighbourhood of such a foe as Hannibal, had been left without a general, and under the guard of an army, the strength of which had been carried away; that the consul, pretending an expedition into Lucania, when in fact he was going to Picenum and Gaul, had left his camp destitute of any other means of safety than merely the enemy’s want of information, as to the general and a part of his army having quitted it. What would be the consequence if this should be discovered, and if Hannibal should resolve, either with his whole army to pursue Nero, whose entire force was but six thousand men, or to assault the camp, which was left as a prey, without strength, without command, without auspices?” The past disasters of this war, and the deaths of the two consuls in the last year, served also to increase these terrible fears. Besides, they reflected, that “all those misfortunes had happened while there was but one general and one army of the enemy in Italy; whereas, at present, there were two Punic wars there, two numerous armies, and, in a manner, two Hannibals. For Hasdrubal was a son of the same father; Hamilcar was a commander equally enterprizing, trained to making war against the Romans during many campaigns in Spain, and rendered famous by a double victory over them, by the destruction of two of their armies, and two of their ablest commanders. With respect to the speedy accomplishment of his march from Spain, and his address in rousing the Gallic clans to arms, he had much more reason to boast than Hannibal himself; because he had collected a body of auxiliaries in those very places where the other had lost the greater part of his soldiers by hunger and cold, the two most miserable ways in which men can perish.” To all this, people, acquainted with the transactions in Spain, added, that “in Nero he would meet an antagonist with whom he was not unacquainted, one whom, formerly, when caught accidentally in a dangerous defile, he had baffled, just as he would a child, by fallacious terms of peace.” Seeing every thing through the medium of fear, which always represents objects in the worst light, they judged all the resources of the enemy greater, and their own less, than they were in reality.
XLV. When Nero had attained to such a distance from the enemy that his design might be disclosed with safety, he addressed his soldiers in a few words, telling them, that “no general had ever formed a design more daring in appearance, and yet more safe in the execution than his. That he was leading them to certain victory. For as his colleague had not marched against that enemy until the senate had given him such a force, both of infantry and cavalry, as fully satisfied his utmost wishes, and those troops more numerous and better provided than if he were to go against Hannibal himself, the addition thus made to it, whatever might be its intrinsic weight, would certainly turn the scale in their favour. As soon as the foe should hear, in the field of battle, (and he would take care that they should not hear sooner,) that another consul, and another army, had arrived, this single circumstance would insure success. A war was, sometimes, happily concluded by the spreading of a report; and incidents, of light moment, frequently impelled men’s minds to hope or fear. That themselves would reap almost the whole fruits of the glory acquired by success: for, in all cases, the last addition made to the acting force, is supposed to be most decisive of the business. That they saw by the concourse of people attending, with what admiration, and with what warm attachment of all ranks, their march was honoured.” And, in fact, all the roads through which they passed were lined with men and women, who crowded thither from all parts of the country, uttering vows and prayers for their success; intermixing praises of their glorious enterprize, calling them the safeguard of the commonwealth, the champions of the city, and of the empire of Rome; on whose arms, and on whose valour, were reposed the safety and liberty of themselves and of their children. They prayed to all the gods and goddesses to grant them a prosperous march, a successful battle, and speedy victory: that they themselves might be bound, by the event, to pay the vows they offered in their behalf, and that, as they now, with minds full of solicitude, accompanied them on their way, so they might, in a few days, go out with hearts overflowing with joy, to meet them in triumph. Every one gave them warm invitations, offered them every accommodation, and pressed them, with the most earnest entreaties, to take from him rather than from another, whatever was requisite for themselves, or their cattle; in a word, every thing that was wanted, they with cheerfulness supplied in abundance. Their kindness was equalled by the moderation of the soldiers, who would not accept of any matter whatever beyond their necessary occasions. They never halted on any account, nor quitted their ranks to take their victuals, but marched day and night, scarcely allowing themselves rest enough to answer the calls of nature. Couriers were sent forward to the other consul, to give notice of their coming; and to know from him, whether he chose that they should approach secretly, or openly, by night, or by day; whether they should lodge in the same camp with him, or in another. It was judged best, that they should join him secretly in the night.
XLVI. Orders were previously given by the consul Livius, that, on their arrival, each tribune should be accommodated with lodging by a tribune, each centurion by a centurion, each horseman by a horseman, and each footman by a footman. He considered that it would not be prudent to enlarge the camp, lest the enemy might discover the coming of the second consul, while the crowding together of additional numbers, into lodgings in a narrow space, would be attended with the less inconvenience, as the troops of Claudius had brought with them, hardly any thing, except their arms. Claudius had augmented his army with a number of volunteers: for many, both veteran soldiers discharged from service, and young men, offered themselves on his march; and, as they eagerly pressed to be employed, he enlisted such of them as, from their personal appearance, seemed fit for the service. The camp of Livius was near Sena, and Hasdrubal lay about five hundred paces beyond it. Wherefore, Nero, to avoid entering it before night, halted when he came nigh, and where he was concealed behind mountains. As darkness came on, his men, marching silently, were conducted into tents, each by a person of his own rank, where they were hospitably entertained, amid mutual congratulations, and unbounded joy. Next day a council was held, at which was also present, the prætor, Lucius Porcius Licinus. At this time, his camp was joined to that of the consuls. It should, however, be noticed, that before their coming, he had often baffled and perplexed the enemy, leading his troops along the high grounds; sometimes seizing narrow defiles to arrest his march, sometimes harassing him by attacks on his rear or flanks; and putting in practice, indeed, every art of war. He now assisted at the council. Many were of opinion, that an engagement should be deferred until Nero might refresh his men, who were fatigued by their long march, and want of sleep; and also, that he should take a few days to himself, to gain some knowledge of the enemy. Nero, with the utmost earnestness, entreated them not, “by delays, to render his enterprize rash in effect, when despatch would ensure its success. In consequence of a deception, which could not last long, Hannibal lay yet, in a manner, motionless; he neither assailed his camp, left, as it was, without its commander, nor moved a step in pursuit of him. Before he should stir, Hasdrubal’s army might be cut off, and he himself might return into Apulia. Whoever, by procrastination, allowed time to the enemy, would thereby betray the other camp to Hannibal, and open for him a road into Gaul, so as to enable him, at his leisure, to effect a junction with Hasdrubal, and whenever he pleased. They ought to give the signal, instantly; march out to battle, and take every advantage of the delusion under which the enemy lay; both the party in their neighbourhood, and the other at a distance, while the latter knew not that their opponents were decreased in number, nor the former, that their’s were become more numerous and powerful.” Accordingly the council was dismissed, the signal of battle was displayed, and the troops immediately marched out to the field.
XLVII. The Carthaginians were already drawn up in order of battle before their camp. The only thing that prevented an immediate engagement was, that Hasdrubal having, with a few horsemen, advanced before the line, remarked among the enemy some old shields, which he had not seen before, and horses leaner than any he had hitherto observed: their number also seemed greater than usual. On which, suspecting what was the case, he hastily sounded a retreat; sent a party to the watering-place at the river, with orders to pick up, if possible, some prisoners, also to observe attentively, whether there were any whose complexions were more sun-burned than usual, as from a journey lately made; at the same time, ordering another party to ride round the camp, at a distance, to mark whether the rampart had been extended on any side, and to watch whether the signal was sounded a second time. Though he received accounts of all these particulars, yet the circumstance of the camps not being enlarged, led to a false conclusion: they were two, as before the arrival of the second consul; one belonging to Marcus Livius, the other to Lucius Porcius, and no addition had been made to the trenches of either, to make more room for tents within. One thing particularly struck that veteran commander, long accustomed to act against Roman armies, which was, that according to the information of his scouts, the signal was sounded once in the prætor’s camp, and twice in the consul’s. Hence he concluded, that the two consuls must be there; but how to account for Nero’s having left Hannibal behind, perplexed him extremely. Of all things he could the least suspect what had really happened, that Hannibal could be so blinded, and in a business of such magnitude, as not to know where the general was, and where the army, whose camp stood facing his own. He supposed that some disaster, of no ordinary kind, must have hindered him from following; and he began to fear greatly, that he himself had come too late with succour, that his affairs were too desperate to be retrieved, and that the same fortune which the Romans had met in Spain, awaited them now in Italy. He even conjectured, that his letter had not reached his brother, and that, in consequence of its being intercepted, the consul had hastened thither to overpower him. Distracted by these doubts and fears, he extinguished all his fires, and, at the first watch, ordered his troops to strike their tents in silence, and to march. In the hurry and confusion of a movement by night, the guides were not watched with the necessary care and attention, one of them, therefore, stopped in a place of concealment, which he had before fixed upon in his mind, and the other swam across the river Metaurus, at a pass with which he was acquainted. The troops, thus left destitute of conductors, strayed for some time through the country; and many, overcome by drowsiness and fatigue, stretched themselves on the ground in various places, leaving the standards thinly attended. Hasdrubal, until day-light should discover a road, ordered the army to proceed along the bank of the river; and, as he wandered along the turnings and windings, with which that river remarkably abounds, he made but little progress, still intending, however, to cross it, as soon as the day enabled him to find a convenient passage. But the farther he removed from the sea, the higher did he find the banks, so that not meeting with a ford, and wasting the day in the search, he gave the enemy time to overtake him.
XLVIII. First, Nero, with all the cavalry, came up; then Porcius, with the light infantry. While they harassed his wearied army by frequent assaults on every side, and while the Carthaginian, now stopping his march, or rather flight, had a mind to encamp on a high spot of ground, on the bank of the river, Livius arrived with the main body of infantry, armed and marshalled for immediate action. When the Romans had united all their forces, and the line was drawn out in array, Claudius took the command of the right wing, Livius of the left; that of the centre was given to the prætor. Hasdrubal, laying aside the design of fortifying a camp, when he saw the necessity of fighting, placed his elephants in front, before the battalions, and, beside them, on the left wing, he opposed the Gauls to Claudius; not that he had much confidence in them, but thinking that they were much dreaded by the enemy. The right wing, which was to oppose Livius, he took to himself, together with the Spaniards, on whom, as being veteran troops, he placed his principal reliance. The Ligurians were posted in the centre, behind the elephants; but the line was too long in proportion to its depth. A rising ground, in their front, protected the Gauls; and while that part of the line, which was composed of the Spaniards, engaged the left wing of the Romans, their right wing, stretching out beyond the extent of the fight, stood idle, for the eminence between them and the enemy prevented their making an attack, either on their front or flank. Between Livius and Hasdrubal, a furious conflict began, and dreadful slaughter was made on both sides: for here were both the generals, here the greater part of the Roman infantry and cavalry, here the Spaniards, veteran troops, and acquainted with the Roman manner of fighting, and the Ligurians, a race of hardy warriors. To the same part the elephants were driven, which, at the first onset, disordered the van, and made even the battalions give ground; but afterwards, the contest growing hotter, and the shouts louder, they soon became disobedient to the directions of their riders, rambling up and down, between the two lines, without distinguishing their own party, and ranging to and fro, not unlike ships without rudders. Claudius in vain attempted to advance up the hill, often calling out thus to his men — “To what purpose, then, have we, with so much speed, marched over such a length of way?” However, seeing it impracticable to reach the enemy’s line in that quarter, he drew away some cohorts from his right wing, where the troops would not be able to act, and led them round behind the line. Then, to the surprise, not only of the enemy, but of his friends also, he made a brisk attack on their right flank; and, so quick were his motions, that almost at the same instant when his men appeared on the flank, they likewise attacked the rear. Thus the Spaniards and Ligurians were cut to pieces on all sides, in front, and flank, and rear, and the havoc in a short time reached the Gauls. These made very little opposition: for great numbers of them were absent from their posts, having slipped away in the night, and lain down in the fields; while those who were present, being exhausted by fatigue and want of sleep, and being naturally ill qualified to endure toil, had scarcely strength remaining sufficient to support their armour. By this time it was mid-day; and while they were panting with heat and thirst, they were slain or taken at the will of the Romans.
XLIX. Of the elephants, more were killed by their guides, than by the enemy. These carried a knife, like that used by shoemakers, with a mallet: and when the animals began to grow furious, and to rush on their own party, the manager of each, fixing this instrument between its ears, on the joint which connects the head with the neck, drove it in with the strongest blow that he could give. This had been found the speediest method of killing animals of that great size, when they become so unruly as to leave no hope of managing them; and it had been first brought into practice by Hasdrubal, whose conduct in the command of an army, as on many other occasions, so particularly in this battle, merited very high encomiums. By his exhortations, and by taking an equal share in the dangers, he supported the spirits of his men; and at one time, by entreaties, at another by reproofs, he reanimated the wearied, when from the length and labour of the action, they were disposed to lay down their arms. He called back the flying, and restored the battle in many places, where it had been given up. At last, when fortune evidently declared for the Romans, unwilling to survive so great an army, which had followed his standard on the credit of his reputation, he set spurs to his horse, and plunged himself into the midst of a Roman cohort; where, as became the son of Hamilcar, and the brother of Hannibal, he fell fighting. In no one action, during that war, were so great numbers of the enemy slain; so much so, indeed, that the damage retorted on him, was deemed equivalent to that sustained at Cannæ. Fifty-six thousand of them were killed, five thousand four hundred taken. The other booty was great of every kind, as well as of gold and silver. Besides which, there were recovered above four thousand Roman citizens, prisoners, which was some consolation for the soldiers lost in the battle; for the victory was far from a bloodless one, nearly eight thousand of the Romans and allies being killed. And so far were even the victors satiated with blood and slaughter, that next day, when the consul Livius was told, that the Cisalpine Gauls and Ligurians, who had either not been present in the battle, or had made their escape from the general carnage, were marching off in a body, without any certain leader, without standards, without order or subordination, and that they might all be cut off, if one squadron of horse were sent against them, he answered, “let some be left alive, to carry home accounts of the enemy’s losses, and of our valour.”
L. On the night which followed the battle, Nero set out on his return, and, by marches even speedier than he had made in coming, on the sixth day after, reached his former post, opposite the enemy. The crowds of people attending him were less than before, because no messenger had preceded him; but these exhibited such demonstrations of joy, as to seem transported almost beyond their reason. It is impossible to express or describe the emotions that agitated the minds of all persons at Rome, either while waiting in doubtful expectation of the event, or when they received the news of the victory. The senators never quitted the senate-house, nor the magistrates, nor the people, the Forum, from the rising to the setting sun, during the whole of Claudius’s march; so eager were they to greet him. The matrons, incapable themselves of contributing aid, had recourse to prayers and supplications; and going about from one temple to another, wearied the gods with their entreaties and their vows. While the public were in this painful suspense, first an unauthenticated rumour spread, that two Narnian horsemen had come from the field of battle to the camp, which stood on the frontiers of Umbria, with intelligence, that the enemy were utterly defeated. For some time, this news, though listened to, was but little credited, as being too great, and too joyful, for people’s minds to admit, or readily believe; and even the quickness of the conveyance was urged as an objection to the truth of it: as the account said, that the battle was fought only two days before. Soon after this a letter was brought from the camp by Lucius Manlius Acidinus, confirming the arrival of the Narnian horsemen. This letter being carried through the Forum to the prætor’s tribunal, brought out the senate from their house, and the people thronged together with such impatience and tumult to the door, that the messenger could not approach, but was dragged about amid a multitude of questions, and all demanding, with much vociferation, that the letter should be read from the rostrum even before it was submitted to the senate. At length they were reduced to order by the magistrates and obliged to make room, that the joyful tidings might be regularly imparted to the public, who were unable to govern their transports. The despatch was accordingly read, first in the senate, then in the assembly of the people; some embracing the joyful news as certain, while others refused to credit any thing until they should hear it from the deputies, or the letters of the consuls.
LI. After some time an account was brought, that deputies were really coming, and not far off. On this, people of all ages ran out eagerly to meet them, each coveting to receive, from his own eyes and ears, convincing proofs of the reality of such a happy event. One continued train reached all the way to the Mulvian bridge: the deputies were, Lucius Veturius Philo, Publius Licinius Varus, and Quintus Cæcilius Metellus. Surrounded by a vast multitude of every sort they went on to the Forum, while some inquired of them, others of their attendants, concerning what had been done; and as soon as any one heard that the enemy’s general and army had been cut off, that the Roman legions were safe, and the consuls unhurt, he immediately communicated his own joy to others. When the deputies had with much difficulty, reached the senate-house, and the crowd was with much greater difficulty, obliged to retire, that they might not mix with the senators, the letters were read in the senate; and then the deputies were brought out into the general assembly. Lucius Veturius, after reading the despatches, gave in his own words, a fuller detail of all that had passed, which was heard with the greatest delight, and was at last followed by an universal shout from the whole assembly, who were unable to restrain the effusions of their joy. They then separated; some hastening to the temples of the gods to return thanks, some to their own houses, to impart the happy news to their wives and children. The senate, in consideration of the consuls, Marcus Livius and Caius Claudius, having cut off the general and the legions of the enemy, decreed a supplication for three days; which supplication the prætor, Caius Hostilius, proclaimed in the assembly, and it was performed with great devotion by all, both men and women. During the whole three days, all the temples were equally filled with crowds, whose numbers never diminished; whilst the matrons, dressed in the most splendid manner, and accompanied by their children, being now delivered from every apprehension, just as if the war were at an end, offered thanksgivings to the immortal gods. This victory produced also a powerful effect on the internal business of the state, insomuch that people immediately took courage to hold commerce with each other as in time of peace, buying, selling, lending, and paying money due. The consul Claudius, on returning to his camp, ordered the head of Hasdrubal, which he had carefully kept and brought with him, to be thrown before the advanced guards of the enemy: and the African prisoners, chained as they were, to be exposed to their view. Two of these he also unbound, and sent to Hannibal, with orders to inform him of what had happened. We are told that Hannibal, deeply struck by a disaster so fatal to his country, and his house, said that he felt now the fortune of Carthage. He then decamped, and retired thence, designing to draw together, into Bruttium, the remotest corner of Italy, all those confederates, whom, while scattered at wide distances, he could not protect; and he removed from their own habitations, and carried away into Bruttium, all the Metapontines, and such of the Lucanians as acknowledged his authority.
* 32l. 5s. 10d.
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