Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

so!” And the oath he made was at his command repeated by every one of those who were just before prepared to swear to faithlessness rather than fidelity. 86

The feeling of devotion to the Commonwealth was strengthened, instead of being enfeebled, by its disasters. Varro, the Consul, who did every thing he could to save his army after he had once drawn it into peril, and who fled from the fatal field only when all was lost, joined the survivors at Canusium with some followers he had preserved or led away. He then wrote to inform the Senate that he was there with about ten thousand men who had escaped destruction, like scattered planks, as he expressed it, from a shipwreck, and at the same time to assure the people that Hannibal could not yet march against them. 87 The Senate, under the counsels of Fabius,® were already engaged in repairing the devastations of the thunderbolt that had fallen upon them, not entirely unawares. Disorders arising within the city were instantly allayed; and even the period of mourning for the dead was limited to thirty days, in order that the sacrifices and the festivals of the year might not be too long interrupted.89 One citizen, Claudius Marcellus, was sent to take command of the broken forces at Canusium; another, Junius Pera, was named

es.

86 Liv., XXII. 53. Val. Max., Plutarch, “ the remaining hopes of V. 6. 7. Dion Cass., Fragm. Rome were all reposed, and to his XLIX. 1.

prudence recourse was had, as to a 87 Liv., XXII. 54. Dion Cass., sanctuary or altar, for protection." Fragm. XLIX. 2.

Fab., 17. 88 « On him straightway,” says 89 Liv., XXII. 56.

Dictator in order to hold the enlistments which were now urgently required. Eight thousand slaves were bought at the public expense, to be emancipated and armed ;.90 six thousand debtors and criminals were liberated or discharged, in order that their services, likewise, might not be lost;91 while to the common recruits from the city itself, the colonies, the municipalities, and all the allies, were added boys younger than seventeen, in order to complete the numbers of the legions. At the same time that these troops were thus raised and then armed from the trophies of former wars, the Senate refused to ransom the captives whom Hannibal had taken,92 and went so far, soon after, as to order the remainder of Varro's army to be led into Sicily, where it was directed to serve while the war continued.93 When Varro himself returned to Rome, he received the thanks of the Senate for not having despaired of the Commonwealth ; 44 as if the defeat had been forgotten and his courage alone had been remembered. It appears that the spirits of the people were revived to such a point, that the possibility of future losses like those which had been sustained was disbelieved; yet, to make the victory sure, Fabius Pictor, the earliest Roman historian, was sent to seek inspiration at Delphi,9 and the

n rem

90 Liv., XXII. 57.

the survivors from Cannæ generally 91 Ibid., XXIII. 14.

may be traced in Liv., XXIII. 31, 92 Ibid., XXII. 60, 61. It was XXV. 6, XXVI. 1. not the first time that the Senate 93 Liv., XXIII. 25. denied concern for the fate of those 91 Ibid., XXII. 61. who had been taken captive. See the 95 A ppian., De Bell. Ann., 27. case of the prisoners with Pyrrhus, Liv., XXII. 57. Val. Max., II. 7. 5. The story of

burial of Gauls and Greeks alive beneath the Forum was again performed.96 Where perils could thus be anticipated and griefs be thus rejected, the victory and the sting were plainly fated to remain.

The character of the contest was changed after the battle at Cannæ, and a period of nine years, which may be marked as the second part of the war, fol. lowed, — with alternations, indeed, of defensive and offensive operations, but with very decided proofs of greater security on the part of the Romans and of greater restraint on that of the foe, whose first impetuous victories had promised immediate and universal triumph. The conflict that had hitherto seemed staked upon the talents of the generals in command of the armies on either side, and that had apparently brought the Romans low because there was none amongst them to match their marvellous antagonist, now became a conflict between an army and a people, each with its allies; and no true Roman could have doubted beforehand, that an army, though commanded by such a general as Hannibal,97 must finally retreat before a people of fortitude and freedom.

Every day made it more evident to the people and to their foes, that, though a field might be strown with Roman corpses, as at Cannæ, or though the gates of a city, like Capua, might be opened wide before the Carthaginians, the way to Rome was none

am

ar

no

96 Liv., XXII. 57.

“Quamdiu in Italia fuit, nemo ei in 97 The tribute of his Roman acie restitit, nemo adversus eum biographer confesses to his con- post Cannensem pugnam in camtinued superiority even after the po castra posuit." Corn. Nepos, fortune of the war was turned. Hann., 5.

the clearer, none the shorter to pursue. The seat of war still lay in the South of Italy, where Claudius Marcellus, who was sent to take command of the wreck at Canusium, gained the first advantages, 93 and where the best generals of Rome were successively employed to cope with Hannibal, whose resources were more amazing in proportion to the difficulties by which he was encompassed. Such aid as he could gain from his Italian allies was both feeble and variable, compared with the support he actually needed; and the loss of Capua,99 followed by that of the great city of Tarentum, which he had also taken,100 was the prelude of the requiem to his hopes. Before either city was recovered by his steadfast enemies, Hannibal marched upon Rome itself, and rode up with two thousand horsemen to the Capuan gate ; 101 but he knew 102 that it was not for him to lay low the towers which frowned upon him from the seven hills.

There were other enemies besides Hannibal for the Romans to meet, and other armies to support besides those their defence required to be maintained in Italy. The movements or the intrigues of the invader brought on one war in Sardinia, another in Sicily, and a third in Macedonia ; each of which was in itself a drain upon the existing resources of the Com

lan

98 Near Nola in Campania. Mar- 102 The story, that the ground on cellus was then Consul. Plut., which Hannibal lay encamped near Marc., 11. Liv., XXIII. 46. Rome was sold at the very time for 99 Liv., XXVI. 14.

its full value, may have reached his 100 Ibid., XXV. 9, XXVII. 15. ears. Florus, II. 6. 101 Ibid., XXVI. 10. A. C. 211.

monwealth, until Sardinia was subdued, Syracuse taken, and Macedonia induced to conclude a peace. 103 Nor is the list of conflicts yet complete. At the time when Hannibal was on his way to Italy, an army was sent from Rome towards Spain, where its commanders, the brothers Publius and Cneius Scipio, were charged with the protection of the Roman allies and with the expulsion of the Carthaginian forces from the peninsula. Both the Scipios perished : 104 but their command was passed to other hands ;105 and though the successes of the Romans might sometimes have appeared to be unimportant, in comparison with the risks that were run in keeping a force on foot in Spain when there were so many nearer enemies, the enterprise was sustained by the conviction that Hannibal could never be driven from Italy before he and his countrymen were cut off from their Spanish supplies. Cornelius Scipio, son of the Publius lately slain, the same who was the hero of Canusium, and still a stripling, compared with the famous generals of the day, offered himself as commander in the war which most men avoided, as affording but little opportunity of renown to counterbalance the certainty of peril it involved; and though he had borne only the office of Ædile, and that at an unprecedent

le

earer

103 Liv., XXIII. 32, 33, 40, 41, accession of Hieronymus to the XXIV. 28 et seq., XXV. 31, throne of his grandfather Hiero. XXIX. 11, 12. Polyb., VII, 2, 9. 104 Liv., XXV. 34, 36. The capture of Syracuse by Mar- 105 Lucius Marcius (see Val. cellus was the great event of the Max., II. 7. 15, VIII. 15. 11) and times. Liv., XXV. 24 et seq., 31. Claudius Nero ; Liv., XXVI. 17. The war there had ensued upon the

« НазадПродовжити »