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HISTORY OF ROME.
CHAP. 1. At the first approach of spring Hannibal quitted his winter station. [A. U. C. 535. B. C. 217.] He had been foiled before in his attempt to pass over the Apennines by the intolerable severity of the cold ; for he would gladly have effected it, exposed as he was, during his stay in quarters, to the utmost degree of apprehension and danger: for when the Gauls, whom the hopes of spoil and pillage had allured to his standard, perceived that instead of carrying off booty from the lands of others, their own had become the seat of war, and that they were burdened with the winter residence of both the contending armies, they turned on Hannibal the enmity which they had harbored against the Romans. Many plots were formed against him by their chiefs, from the effects of which be was preserved by their treacherously betraying one another, and discovering their designs, through the same inconstancy which led them to conspire against him. But still he was careful to guard himself against their plots by frequent disguises, changing sometimes his dress, sometimes the covering of his head. However, his fears on this account were his principal motives for leaving his winter quarters earlier than usual. In the mean time at Rome Cneius Servilius entered on the office of consul on the ides of March. He proposed to the senate to take under consideration the
state of the commonwealth ; whereon the clamor against Caius Flaminius was renewed. They created,' they said, 'two consuls, yet had but one: for what legal authority, what auspices did the other possess?
These the magistrates carried with them from home, from their own tutelar gods; and also those of the public, the Latine festival being celebrated, the sacrifices on the Alban Mount performed, and vows duly offered in the capitol. Setting out in a private capacity, he could not carry the auspices with him, neither could he take them new, and for the first time in a foreign soil.' Their apprehensions were increased by reports of prodigies, brought from various places at once. In Sicily a number of arrows, and in Sardinia the truncheon of a horseman, as he was going the rounds of the watch on the walls of Sulci, took fire, as was said ; many fires were seen blazing on the shore ; two shields sweated blood; several soldiers were struck by lightning ; and the sun's orb appeared to be contracted. At Præneste red-hot stones fell from the sky. At Arpi bucklers were seen in the air, and the sun fighting with the moon. At Capena two moons appeared in the day-time. At Cære the streams of water were mixed with blood, and even the fountain of Hercules was tinged with bloody spots. In the district of Antium, while people were reaping, bloody ears of corn fell into a basket. At Falerii the sky seemed to be rent asunder with a very wide cleft, and through the opening a strong light burst forth ; the divining tickets, without any apparent cause, were diminished in size, and one fell out which had this inscription, “Mars brandishes bis' spear.' About the same time, at Rome, the statue of Mars, on the Appian road, and the images of the wolves sweated. At Capua the sky appeared as if on fire, and the moon as falling amongst rain. Afterwards prodigies of lesser note were heard of: some asserted that goats were converted into sheep ; that a hen was turned into a male, and a cock into a female. The consul, laying before the senate all these matters, as reported, and
bringing the authors of the reports into the senate-house, proposed to their consideration the affairs of religion. They decreed that those prodigies should be expiated, some with the greater, some with the lesser victims; and that a supplication for three days should be performed at all the shrines; that when the decemvirs should have inspected the books, all other particulars should be conducted in such manner as the gods should declare in their oracles to be agreeable to them. By the direction of the decemvirs, it was decreed that, first a golden thunderbolt of fifty pounds' weight should be made as an offering to Jupiter, and that offerings of silver should be presented to Juno and Minerva ; that sacrifices of the greater victims should be offered to Juno Regina, on the Aventine, and to Juno Sospita, at Lanuvium ; that the matrons contributing such sums of money as might be convenient to each, should carry an offering to Juno Regina, to the Aventine, and celebrate a lectisternium to her; and that even the descendants of freed women should make a contribution, in proportion to their abilities, out of which an offering should be made to Feronia. When these orders were fulfilled, the decemvirs sacrificed, with the greater victims, in the forum at Ardea : and, lastly, so late as the month of December, sacrifices were offered at the temple of Saturn in Rome, and a lectisternium was ordered : on which occasion the couches were laid out by senators, and also a public banquet., Proclamation was likewise made through the city of a feast of Saturn, to be celebrated during a day and a night, and the people were commanded to keep that day as a festival, and to observe it for ever.
2. Wh the consul was employed at Rome in endeavoring to procure the favor of the gods, and in levying troops, Hannibal set out from bis winter quarters, and hearing that the consul Flaminius bad already arrived at Arretium, he chosemnotwithstanding that another road less difficult, but longer, was pointed out to him,-the shorter one through marshes, wbich, at that time, were overflowed by the river Arnus to an
unusual height. He ordered the Spaniards and Africans, the main strength of his veteran troops, to march in the van, with their baggage between their divisions, that in case they should be obliged to halt, they night not be at a loss for a supply of necessaries ; then the Gauls to follow, so that they should compose the centre of the line, the cavalry in the rear; and after them Mago, with the light-armed Numidians, as a rearguard, to prevent the troops from straggling; particularly to hinder the Gauls, if weary of the labor, or of the length of the journey, from attempting either to slip away, or to stay behind : for that people, it had been found, want firmness to support fatigue. The troops in the van, though almost swallowed in mud, and frequently plunging intirely under water, yet followed the standards wherever their guides led the way; but the Gauls could neither keep their feet, nor when they fell raise themselves out of the gulfs which were formed by the river from the steepness of its banks. They were destitute of spirits and almost hope ; and while some with difficulty dragged on their enfeebled limbs, others, exhausted by the length of way, having once fallen, lay there, and died among the cattle, of which great numbers also perished. But what utterly overpowered them was the want of sleep, which they had now endured for four days and three nights ; for no dry spot could be found on which they might stretch their wearied limbs, so that they could only throw their baggage into the water in heaps, on the top of which they laid themselves down. Even the cattle, which lay dead in abundance along the whole course of their march, afforded them a temporary bed, as they looked for no farther accommodation for sleeping than something raised above the water. Hannibal himself, having a complaint in his eyes, occasioned at first by the unwholesome air of the spring, when changes are frequent from heat to cold, rode on the only elephant which he had remainivg, in order to keep himself as high as possible above the water; but at length, the want of sleep, the damps of the
night, with those of the marshes, so disordered his head, that as he had neither place nor time to make use of remedies, he lost one of his eyes.
3. At length, after great numbers of men and cattle bad perished miserably, he got clear of the marshes ; and on the first dry ground at which he arrived pitched his camp. Here from scouts whom he had sent forward he learned with certainty that the Roman army lay round the walls of Arretium. He then employed the utmost diligence in inquiring into the disposition and designs of the consul, the nature of the several parts of the country, the roads, and the sources from which provisions might be procured, with every other circumstance requisite to be known. As to the country, it was one of the most fertile in Italy : the Etrurian plains, which lie between Fæsulæ and Arretium, abounding with corn and cattle, and plenty of every thing useful. The consul was inflated with presumption since his former consulate, and too regardless, not only of the laws and the dignity of the senate, but even of the gods. This headstrong selfsufficiency, natural to his disposition, Fortune bad cherished by the prosperous course of success which she bad granted him in his administration of affairs, both civil and military. There was therefore sufficient reason to suppose, that without regarding the sentiments of gods or men, he would act on all occasions with presumption and precipitancy; and the Carthaginian, in order the more effectually to dispose him to follow the bias of his natural imperfections, resolved to irritate and exasperate him. With this view, leaving the enemy on his left, and pointing his route towards Fæsulæ, he marched through the heart of Etruria, ravaging the country, and exbibiting to the consul, at a distance, a view of the greatest devastations that could be effected by fire and sword. Flaminius, even had the enemy lain quiet, would not have been content to remain inactive; but now, seeing the property of the allies plundered and destroyed before his eyes, he thought that on him must fall the disgrace of Hannibal's overrunning the middle of Italy, and even