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whom were horsemen, escaped with their commander; all the rest were either slain or made prisoners; thirty-eight standards were taken. Of the victorious party, there fell about two thousand. All the booty was given up to the soldiers, except the prisoners, and such cattle as should be claimed by the owners within thirty days. When they returned into the camp, laden with spoil, about four thousand of the volunteer soldiers, who had fought with less spirit than the rest, and had not broken into the Carthaginian camp along with them, dreading punishment, withdrew to an eminence at a small distance. Next day they were brought down from thence by a military tribune, and arrived just as Gracchus was holding an assembly, which he had summoned. Here the proconsul, having, in the first place, honoured with military presents the veteran soldiers, according to the degree of courage and activity shown by each in the fight, said, that “ as to what concerned the volunteers, he rather wished that all in general, worthy and unworthy, should receive commendations from him, than that any should be reprimanded on such a day as that;" and then, praying that." it might prove advantageous, happy, and fortunate to the commonwealth and to them. selves;" he pronounced them all free. On which declaration, in transports of joy, they raised a general shout, and while they now embraced and congratulated each other, raising their hands towards heaven, and praying for every blessing on the Roman people, and on Gracchus in particular, the proconsul addressed them thus: “Before I had set all on an equal footing of freedom, I was unwilling to distinguish any by a mark, either of bravery or of cowardice. But now, since I have acquitted the honour of government, lest every distinction between them be lost, I will order the names of those who, conscious of being remiss in the action, have lately made a secession, to be laid before me; and, summoning each, will bind them by an oath, that, as long as they shall serve me in the army, they will never, except obliged by sick
ness, take food or drink in any other posture than standing. This penalty you will undergo with patience, if you consider, that your cowardice could not be more slightly branded.” He then gave the signal of preparation for a march, and the soldiers, carrying and driving on their booty, returned to Beneventum so cheerful and so gay, that they seemed to have come home from a feast, given on some remarkable occasion, rather than from a field of battle. All the Beneventans poured out in crowds to meet them at the gates, embraced the soldiers, congratulated them, and pressed them to come to their houses. They had already prepared entertainments in their inner courts, and entreated Gracchus to permit his soldiers to partake of the same. Gracchus gave them leave, on condition that they should all dine in the public street: every thing was accordingly brought out before each person's door, where the volunteers dined with the caps of liberty, or white woollen fillets in their hands, some reclining, others standing, who, at the same time, attended the rest. This afforded a sight so pleasing, that Gracchus, on his return to Rome, ordered a representation of that day's festival to be painted in the Temple of Liberty, which his father caused to be built on the Aventine, out of money accruing from fines, and which he afterwards dedicated.
XVII. While these transactions passed at Beneventum, Hannibal, after ravaging the lands of Neapolis, marched his army to Nola. The consul, as soon as he was apprised of his approach, sent for the proprætor Pomponius, and the army which lay in the camp over Suessula; being determined to go out, and not to decline an engagement with him. He sent Caius Claudius Nero with the main strength of the cavalry, in the dead of the night, through the gate which was most distant from the enemy, ordering him to ride round so as not to be observed, until he came behind their army, to follow them leisurely as they moved, and as soon as he should per. ceive that the battle was begun, to advance on their rear.
What prevented Nero from executing these orders, whether mistake of the road, or the shortness of the time, is uncertain. Although the battle was fought while he was absent, yet the Romans had evidently the advantage; but by the cavalry not coming up in time, the plan of operations was disconcerted. Marcellus, not daring to follow the retiring foe, gave the signal for retreat, while his men were pursuing their success. However, more than two thousand of the enemy are said to have fallen that day; of the Romans less than four hundred. About sunset, Nero returned, after having to no purpose fatigued the men and horses through the whole day and night, without even getting a sight of the Carthaginian; he was very severely reprimanded by the consul, who went so far as to affirm, that he was the cause of their not having retorted on the enemy the disaster suffered at Cannæ. Next day the Roman army marched out to the field, but Hannibal, tacitly acknowledging his defeat, kept within his trenches. In the dead of the night of the third day, giving up all hope of getting possession of Nola, a project never attempted without loss, he marched away towards Tarentum, where he had a greater prospect of success.
XVIII. Nor did less spirit appear in the administration of the Roman affairs at home, than in the field. The censors being, by the emptiness of the treasury, discharged from the care of erecting public works, turned their attention to the regulating of men's morals, and checking the growth of vices, which, like distempered bodies, ever apt to generate other maladies, had sprung up during the war. First, they summoned before them those, who, after the battle of Cannæ, were said to have formed the design of deserting the commonwealth, and abandoning Italy. At the head of these was Lucius Cæcilius Metellus, who happened to be quæstor at the time. They then ordered him, and the others accused of the same criminal conduct, to plead to the charge; and as these could not clear themselves, they pronounced judgment,
that those persons had made use of words and discourses, tending to the detriment of the commonwealth, inasmuch as they purported the forming of a conspiracy for the purpose of abandoning Italy. Next to these were summoned the over ingenious casuists, with respect to the means of dissolving the obligation of an oath, who supposed, that by returning privately into Hannibal's camp, after having begun their journey with the rest of the prisoners, they should fulfil the oath which they had taken. Of these, and the others abovementioned, such as had horses at the public expense, were deprived of them, and they were all degraded from their tribes and disfranchised. Nor was the care of the censors confined merely to the regulating of the senate and the equestrian order. They erased from the lists of the younger centuries, the names of all those who had not served as soldiers during the last four years, not having been regularly exempted from service, or prevented by sickness. These, in number above two thousand, were disfranchised, and all were degraded from their tribes. To this simple censorial sentence was added a severe decree of the senate, that all those whom the censors had degraded should serve as foot soldiers, and be sent into Sicily, to join the remains of the army
of Cannæ; the time limited for the service of soldiers of this description being, until the enemy should be driven out of Italy. While the censors now, on account of the impoverished treasury, declined contracting for the repairs of the sacred edifices, the furnishing of horses to the curule magistrates, and other matters of like nature, a great number of those, who had been accustomed to engage in contracts of the kind, waited on them, and recommended that they “transact every kind of business, and engage in contracts, in the same manner as if there were money in the coffers; assuring them, that no one would call on the treasury for payment, until the conclusion of the war.” Afterwards came the former owners of those whom Tiberius Sempronius had made free at Bene
ventum; who said, that they had been sent for by the public bankers, in order that they might receive the price of their slaves; but that they did not desire it until the war should be at an end. When this disposition to support the credit of the treasury appeared among the plebeian class, the property belonging to minors, and of widows, began to be brought in; the people believing that they could not deposit it any where in greater security, or with more religious regard to their trust, than under the public faith: and when any thing was bought, or laid in for the use of the said minors or widows, a bill was given for it on the quæstor. This generous zeal of the private ranks spread from the city into the camp, where no horseman, no centurion, would take his pay; and should any have received it, the others would have censured them as mercenary.
XIX. The consul, Quintus Fabius, lay encamped, before Casilinum, which was defended by a garrison of two thousand Campanians, and seven hundred of Hannibal's soldiers. The commander was Statius Metius, sent thither by Cneius Magius Atellanus, who was chief magistrate that year, and was now employed in arming the populace and the slaves promiscuously, intending to attack the Roman camp while the consul was laying siege to the place. None of his designs escaped the knowledge of Fabius, who therefore sent a message to his colleague at Nola, that, “ while the siege of Casilinum was carried on, there was a necessity for another
ny to oppose the Campanians; that either he himself should come, leaving a moderate garrison at Nola, or, if affairs there required his stay, from not yet being in a state of security against the attempts of Hannibal, he should in that case send for the proconsul, Tiberius Gracchus, from Beneventum.” On receiving this message, Marcellus, leaving two thousand men to garrison Nola, came with the rest of his army to Casilinum, and, by his arrival, the Campanians, who were on the point of breaking out into action, were kept