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Gauls, fifteen hundred Spaniards and Africans, and two hundred horse.
Maharbal, one of the Carthaginian generals, advised Hannibal to march directly to Rome, promising him, that within five days they should sup in the capitol. Hannibal answering that it was an affair which required mature examination; “I see,” replies Maharbal, “ that the gods have not endowed the same man with all talents. You, Hannibal, know how to conquer, but not to make the best use of a victory."
It is pretended that this delay saved Rome and the empire. Many authors, and among the rest Livy, charge Hannibal on this occasion as guilty of a capital error. But others, more reserved, are not for con. demning without evident proofs, so renowned a general, who, in the rest of his conduct, was never wanting, either in prudence to make his choice of the best expedients, or in readiness to put his designs in execution. They besides are inclined to judge favourably of him from the authority, or at least, the silence of Polybius, who, speaking of the memorable consequences of this celebrated battle, says, that the Carthaginians were firmly persuaded that they should possess themselves of Rome at the first assault : but then he does not mention how this could possibly have been effected, as that city was very populous, warlike, strongly fortified, and defended with a garrison of two legions; nor does he any where give the least hint that such a project was feasible, or that Hannibal did wrong in not attempting to put it in execution.
B Tum Maharbal : Non omnia nimirum eidem Düi dedere. Vincero scis, Annibal, victoria uti nescis. Liy. l. xxii. n. 51.
And indeed, if we examine matters more narrowly, we shall find, that, according to the common maxims of war, it could not be undertaken. It is certain that Hannibal's whole infantry before the battle amounted but to forty thousand men; and as six thousand of these had been slain in the action, and, doubtless, many more either wounded or disabled, there could remain but twenty six or twenty seven thousand foot fit for service. Now this number was not sufficient to invest so large a city as Rome, which had a river running through it, nor to attack it in form, because they had neither engines, ammunition, nor any other things necessary for carrying on a siege;' for want of these, Hannibal, even after his victory at Thrasymenè, miscarried in his attempt upon Spoletum ; and soon after the battle of Cannae, was forced to raise the siege of a little nameless city. It cannot be denied, but that, had he miscarried on the present occasion, nothing less could have been expected, but that he must have been irrecoverably lost. However, to form a just judgment of this matter, a man ought to be a soldier, and should perhaps have been upon the spot. This is an old dispute, on which none but those who are perfectly well skilled in the art of war should pretend to give their opinion.
Soon after the battle of Cannae, Hannibal dispatched his brother Mago to Carthage, with the news of his victory; and at the same time to demand succours, in order that he might be enabled to put an end to the war. Mago being arrived, made, in full senate, a lofty speech, in which he extolled his brother's exploits, and displayed the great advantages he had gained over the Romans : and to give a more lively idea of the greatness of the victory, by speaking in some measure to the eye,
Liv. l. xxi. n. 9. Ibid. 1. xxiii. n. 18.
• Liv. I. xxii. n. 11-14.
he poured out in the middle of the senate, a bushel' of gold rings, which had been taken from the fingers of such of the Roman nobility as had fallen in the battle of Cannae. He concluded with demanding money, provisions, and fresh troops. All the spectators were struck with an extraordinary joy; upon which Imilcon, a great stickler for Hannibal, fancying he now had a fair opportunity to insult Hanno, the chief of the country faction, asked him whether he was still dissatisfied with the war they were carrying on against the Romans, and was for having Hannibal delivered up to them ? Hanno, without discovering the least emotion, replied, that he was still of the same mind; and that the victories they so much boasted, supposing them real, could not give him joy, but only in proportion as they should be made subservient to an advantageous peace; he then undertook to prove, that the mighty exploits on which they insisted so much, were wholly chimerical and imaginary. “I have cut to pieces,” says he, continuing Mago's speech,“ the Roman armies : Send me some troops : What more could you ask had you been conquered ? I have twice seized upon the enemy's camp, full, no doubt, of provisions of every kind. Send me provisions and money. Could you have talked otherwise had you lost your camp ?” He then asked Mago, whether any of the Latin nations were come over to Hannibal, and whether the Romans had made
f Pliny l. xxxiii. c. 1, says, that there were three bushels sent to Carthage. Livy observes that some authors make them amount to three bush. cls and a half ; but he thinks it most probable that there was But one, 1. xxxiii. n. 12. Florus, I. ii.c. 16, makes it two busheis.
him any proposals of peace ? To this Mago answering in the negative, “ I then perceive," replied Hanno, " that we are no farther advanced than when Hannibal first landed in Italy.” The inference he drew from hence was, that neither men nor money ought to be sent. But Hannibal's faction prevailing at that time, no regard was paid to Hanno's remonstrances, which were considered merely as the effect of prejudice and jeal. ousy ; and accordingly orders were given for levying the supplies of men and money which Hannibal required. Mago set out immediately for Spain, to raise twenty four thousand foot, and four thousand horse in that country; but these levies were afterwards stopped, and sent another way ; so eager was the contrary face tion to oppose the designs of a general whom they utterly abhorred.
8 Whereas, in Rome, a consul, who had fled, was thanked because he had not despaired of the commonwealth ; at Carthage, people were almost angry with Hannibal for being victorious. But Hanno could never forgive him the advantages he had gained in this war, because he had undertaken it in opposition to his counsel. Thus, being more jealous for the honour of his own opinions than for the good of his country, and a greater enemy to the Carthaginian general than to the Romans, he did all that lay in his power to prevent future, and to ruin past successes.
Hannibal takes up his winter quarters in Capua. The battle of Cannae subjected the most powerful nations of Italy to Hannibal, drew over to his interest Grecia Magna,' with the city of Tarentum ; and so
& De St. Evrem.
b Liv. l. xxiii. n. 4-18. i Cæterum quum Græci omnem fere oram maritimam Coloniis suis, e Græcia deductis, obsiderent, &c. But after the Greeks had, by their col. VOL. 1.
wrested from the Romans their most ancient allies, among whom the Capuans held the first rank. This city, by the fertility of its soil, its advantageous situation, and the blessings of a long peace, had rose to great wealth and power. Luxury, and a flow of pleasures, the usual attendants on wealth, had corrupted the minds of all its citizens, who, from their natural inclination, were but too muh inclined to voluptuousness and all excesses.
Hannibalk made choice of this city for his winter quarters. Here it was that his soldiers, who had sustained the most grievous toils, and braved the most formidable dangers, were overthrown by delights and a profusion of all things, into which they plunged with the greater eagerness, as they till then had been strangers to them. Their courage was so greatly enervated in this bewitching retirement, that all their after efforts were owing rather to the fame and splendor of their former victories than to their present strength. When Hannibal marched his forces out of the city, one would have taken them for other men, and the reverse of those who had so lately marched into it. Accustomed, during the winter season, to commodious lodgings, to ease and plenty, they were no longer able to bear hun. ger, thirst, long marches, watchings, and the other toils of war ; not to mention that all obedience, all discipline were entirely laid aside.
onies, possessed themselves of almost all the maritime coasts, this very country, together with Sicily, was called Grecia Magna, &c. Cluver, Geograph. 1. iii. c. 30.
k Ibi partem majorem hiemis exercitum in tectis habuit ; adversus omnia humana mala sæpe ac diu durantem, bonis inexpertum atque insue. tum. Itaque quos nulla mali vicerat vis, perdidere nimia bona ac voluptates immodicæ, et eo impensius, quo avidius ex insolentia in eas se mer serant. Liv. I. xxiii, n. 18.