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The History of Rome; Books Nine to Twenty-Six by Titus Livius

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means like Flaminius and Sempronius; and because the Romans, then at
length schooled by their misfortunes, had sought a general a match for
Hannibal; and that now he had no longer to fear the headlong violence,
but the deliberate prudence of the dictator. Having not yet
experienced his constancy, he began to provoke and try his temper, by
frequently shifting his camp and laying waste the territories of the
allies before his eyes: and one while he withdrew out of sight at
quick march, another while he halted suddenly, and concealed himself
in some winding of the road, if possible to entrap him on his
descending into the plain. Fabius kept marching his troops along the
high grounds, at a moderate distance from the enemy, so as neither to
let him go altogether nor yet to encounter him. The troops were kept
within the camp, except so far as necessary wants compelled them to
quit it; and fetched in food and wood not by small nor rambling
parties. An outpost of cavalry and light-armed troops, prepared and
equipped for acting in cases of sudden alarm, rendered every thing
safe to their own soldiers, and dangerous to the scattered plunderers
of the enemy. Nor was his whole cause committed to general hazard;
while slight contests, of small importance in themselves, commenced on
safe ground, with a retreat at hand, accustomed the soldiery,
terrified by their former disasters, now at length to think less
meanly either of their prowess or good fortune. But he did not find
Hannibal a greater enemy to such sound measures than his master of the
horse, who was only prevented from plunging the state into ruin by his
inferiority in command. Presumptuous and precipitate in his measures,
and unbridled in his tongue, first among a few, then openly and
publicly, he taunted him with being sluggish instead of patient,
spiritless instead of cautious; falsely imputing to him those vices
which bordered on his virtues; and raised himself by means of
depressing his superiors, which, though a most iniquitous practice,
has become more general from the too great successes of many.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

42. When it was day, the outpost withdrawn first occasioned surprise,
then, on a nearer approach, the unusual stillness. At length, the
desertion being manifest, there is a general rush to the pavilions of
the consuls, of those who announced the flight of the enemy so
precipitate, that they left their camp, with their tents standing;
and, that their flight might be the more secret, that numerous fires
were left. Then a clamour arose that they should order the standards
to be advanced, and lead them in pursuit of the enemy, and to the
immediate plunder of the camp. The other consul too was as one of the
common soldiers. Paulus again and again urged, that they should see
their way before them, and use every precaution. Lastly, when he could
no longer withstand the sedition and the leader of the sedition, he
sends Marius Statilius, a prefect, with a Lucanian troop, to
reconnoitre, who, when he had ridden up to the gates, ordered the rest
to stay without the works, and entered the camp himself, attended by
two horsemen. Having carefully examined every thing, he brings back
word that it was manifestly a snare: that fires were left in that part
of the camp which faced the enemy: that the tents were open, and that
all their valuables were left exposed: that in some places he had seen
silver carelessly thrown about the passages, as if laid there for
plunder. This intelligence, which it was hoped would deter their minds
from greediness, inflamed them; and the soldiers clamorously
declaring, that unless the signal was given they would advance without
their leaders, they by no means wanted one, for Varro instantly gave
the signal for marching. Paulus, whom, unwilling from his own
suggestions to move, the chickens had not encouraged by their
auspices, ordered the unlucky omen to be reported to his colleague,
when he was now leading the troops out of the gate. And though Varro
bore it impatiently, yet the recent fate of Flaminius, and the
recorded naval defeat of Claudius, the consul in the first Punic war,
struck religious scruples into his mind. The gods themselves (it might
almost be said) rather postponed than averted the calamity which hung
over the Romans; for it fell out by mere accident, that when the
soldiers did not obey the consul who ordered them to return to the
camp, two slaves, one belonging to a horseman of Formiae, the other to
one of Sidicinum, who had been cut off by the Numidians among a party
of foragers, when Servilius and Atilius were consuls, had escaped on
that day to their masters: and being brought into the presence of the
consuls, inform them that the whole army of Hannibal was lying in
ambush on the other side of the adjoining mountains. The seasonable
arrival of these men restored the consuls to their authority, when the
ambition of one of them had relaxed his influence with the soldiers,
by an undignified compliance.43. Hannibal, perceiving that the Romans
had been indiscreetly prompted rather than rashly carried to a
conclusion, returned to his camp without effecting any thing, as his
stratagem was discovered. He could not remain there many days, in
consequence of the scarcity of corn; and, moreover, not only among the
soldiers, who were mixed up of the off-scouring of various nations,
but even with the general himself, day by day new designs arose: for,
first, when there had been murmuring of the soldiers, and then an open
and clamorous demand of their arrears of pay, and a complaint first of
the scarcity of provisions, and lastly of famine; and there being a
report that the mercenaries, particularly the Spanish, had formed a
plan of passing over to the enemy, it is affirmed that Hannibal
himself too sometimes entertained thoughts of flying into Gaul, so
that, having left all his infantry, he might hurry away with his
cavalry. Such being the plans in agitation, and such the state of
feeling in the camp, he resolved to depart thence into the regions of
Apulia, which were warmer, and therefore earlier in the harvest.
Thinking also, that the farther he retired from the enemy, the more
difficult would desertion be to the wavering. He set out by night,
having, as before, kindled fires, and leaving a few tents to produce
an appearance; that a fear of an ambuscade, similar to the former,
might keep the Romans in their places. But when intelligence was
brought by the same Lucanian Statilius, who had reconnoitred every
place on the other side the mountains, and beyond the camp, that the
enemy was seen marching at a distance, then plans began to be
deliberated on about pursuing him. The consuls persisted in the same
opinions they ever entertained; but nearly all acquiesced with Varro,
and none with Paulus except Servilius, the consul of the former year.
In compliance with the opinion of the majority, they set out, under
the impulse of destiny, to render Cannae celebrated by a Roman
disaster. Hannibal had pitched his camp near that village, with his
back to the wind Vulturnus, which, in those plains which are parched
with drought, carries with it clouds of dust. This circumstance was
not only very advantageous to the camp, but would be a great
protection to them when they formed their line; as they, with the wind
blowing only on their backs, would combat with an enemy blinded with
the thickly blown dust.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

61. After Manlius had thus spoken, notwithstanding the captives were
related to many even of the senators, besides the practice of the
state, which had never shown favour to captives, even from the
remotest times, the sum of money also influenced them: for they were
neither willing to drain the treasury, a large sum of money having
been already issued for buying and arming slaves to serve in the war,
nor to enrich Hannibal, who, according to report, was particularly in
want of this very thing. The sad reply, that the captives would not be

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