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in his march, plundered the rich temple of the goddess Feronia.w
Capua, thus left to itself, held out but very little longer. After that such of its senators as had the chief hand in the revolt, and consequently could not expect any quarter from the Romans, had put themselves to a truly tragical death,* the city surrendered at discretion. The success of this siege, which, by the happy consequences wherewith it was attended, proved decisive, and gave the Romans a visible superiority over the Carthaginians; displayed, at the same time, how formidable the power of the Romans was,' when they undertook to punish their perfidious allies; and the feeble protection which Hannibal could afford his friends, at a time when they most wanted it.
The defeat and death of the two Scipio's in Spain. * The face of affairs was very much changed in Spain. The Carthaginians had three armies in that country; one commanded by Asdrubal, the son of Gisgo; the
w Feronia was the goddess of groves; and there was one, with a temple in it, dedicated to her, at the foot of the mountain Soracte. Strabo, speaking of the grove where this goddess was worshipped, says, that a sacrifice was offered annually to her in it: and that her votaries, inspired by this goddess, walked unhurt over burning coals. There are still extant some medals of Augustus, in which this goddess is represented with a crown on her head.
* Vilius Virius, the chief of this conspiracy, after having represented to the Capuan senate, the severe treatment which his country might expect from the Romans, prevailed with twenty seven senators to go with him to his house, where, after eating a plentiful dinner, and heating themselves with wine, they all drank poison. Then, taking their last farewell, some withdrew to their own houses, others staid with Virius ; and all expired before the gates were opened to the Romans. Liv. I arri. n. 13, 14.
y Confessio expressa hosti quanta vis in Romanis ad expetendas panas ab infidelibus sociis, et quam nihil in Annibale ausilii ad receptos in fidem tuendos esset. Liv. I. xxvi. n. 16.
2 A. M. 3793. A. Rom. 537. Liv. I. Xxy. n. 32-39.
second by Asdrubal, son of Hamilcar ; and a third under Mago, who had joined the first Asdrubal. The two Scipio's Cneus and Publius, were for dividing their forces, and attacking the enemy separately, which was the cause of their ruin. It accordingly was agreed that Cneus, with a small number of Romans, and thirty thousand Celtiberians, should march against Asdrubal, the son of Hamilcar; whilst Publius, with the remainder of the forces, composed of Romans and the allies of Italy, should advance against the other two generals, Publius was vanquished first. To the two leaders whom he had to oppose, Masinissa, elated with the victories he had lately gained over Syphax, joined himself ; and was to be soon followed by Indibilis, a powerful Spanish prince. The armies came to an engagement. The Romans, being thus attacked on all sides at once, made a brave resistance as long as they had their general at their head; but the moment he fell, the few troops which had escaped the slaughter, secured themselves by flight.
The three victorious armies marched immediately in quest of Cneus, in order to put an end to the war by his defeat. He was already more than half vanquished, by the desertion of his allies, who all forsook him, and left to the Roman generals this important instruction," viz. never to let their own forces be exceeded in number by those of foreigners. He guessed that his brother was slain, and his army defeated, upon seeing such great bodies of the enemy arrive. He survived him but a short time, being killed in the engagement.
Id quidem cavendum semper Romanis ducibus erit, exemplaque hæc vere pro documentis habenda. Ne ita externis credant auxiliis, ut non plus sui roboris suarumque proprie virium in castris habeant. Liv. n. 33. VOL. I.
These two great men were equally lamented by their citizens and allies; and the Spaniards bewailed their memory, because of the justice and moderation of their conduct.
These vast countries seemed now inevitably lost ; but the valor of L. Marcius, a private officer of the equestrian order, preserved them to the Romans. Shortly after this, the younger Scipio was sent thither, who greatly revenged the death of his father and uncle, and restored the affairs of the Romans in Spain to their former flourishing condition.
The defeat and death of Asdrubal. One unfore- . seen defeat ruined all the measures, and blasted all the hopes of Hannibal with regard to Italy. The consuls of this year, which was the eleventh of the second Punic war, (for I pass over several events for brevity's sake) were C. Claudius Nero, and M. Livius. The latter had for his province the Cisalpine Gaul, where he was to oppose Asdrubal, who, it was reported, was preparing to pass the Alps. The former commanded in the country of the Brutians, and in Lucania, that is, in the opposite extremity of Italy, and was there making head against Hannibal. The passage of the Alps gave Asdrubal very
little trouble, because his brother had cleared the way for him, and all the nations were disposed to receive him. Some time after this, he dispatched couriers to Hannibal, but they were intercepted. Nero found by their
6 He attacked the Carthaginians, who had divided themselves into two camps, and were secure, as they thought, from any immediate attempt of the Romans ; killed 37,000 of them, took 1800 prisoners, and brought off immense plunder. Liv. I. xxv. n. 39.
¢ A. M. 3798. A. Rom. 542. Polyb. 1. xi. p. 622—625. Liy. 1. xxvii. p. 35-39-51.
letters, that Asdrubal was hastening to join his brother in Umbria. In a conjuncture of so delicate and important a nature as this, when the safety of Rome lay at stake, he thought himself at liberty to dispense with the established rules of his duty, for the welfare of his country. In consequence of this, it was his opinion that such a bold and unexpected blow ought to be struck, as might be capable of striking terror into the enemy; by marching to the relief of his colleague, in order for them to charge Asdrubal unexpectedly with their united forces. This design, if the several circumstances of it were thoroughly examined, will appear exceeding remote from imprudence. To prevent the two brothers from joining their armies, was to save the state. Very little would be hazarded, even though Hannibal should be informed of the absence of the consul. From his army, which consisted of forty two thousand men, he drew out but seven thousand for his own detachment, which indeed were the flower of his troops, but, at the same time, a very inconsiderable part of them. The rest remained in the camp, which was advantageously situated, and strongly fortified. Now could it be supposed that Hannibal would attack, and force a camp, defended by thirty five thousand men ?
Nero set out without giving his soldiers the least notice of his design. When he advanced so far, that it might be communicated without any danger, he told them, that he was leading them to certain victory : that, in war, all things depended upon reputation; that the bare rumour of their arrival would disconcert all
d No general was allowed to leave his own province to go into that of another.
the measures of the Carthaginians; and that the whole honour of this battle would fall to them.
They marched with extraordinary diligence, and joined the other consul in the night, but did not pitch separate camps, the better to impose upon the enemy. . The troops which were newly arrived joined those of Livius. The army of Porcius, the praetor, was encamped near that of the consul, and in the morning a council of war was held. Livius was of opinion that it might be proper to allow the troops some days to refresh themselves ; but Nero besought him not to ruin, by delay, an enterprise to which dispatch only could give success; and to take advantage of the error of the enemy, as well absent as present. This advice was complied with, and accordingly the signal for battle was given. Asdrubal, advancing to his foremost ranks, discovered, by several circumstances, that fresh troops were arrived ; and he did not doubt but that they belonged to the other consul. This made him conjecture, that his brother had sustained a considerable loss, and, at the same time, fear that he was come too late to his assistance.
After making these reflections, he caused a retreat to be sounded, and his army began to march in great disorder. Night overtaking him, and his guides deserting, he was uncertain what way to go. He marched at random, along the banks of the river Metaurus, and was preparing to cross it, when the three armies of the enemy came up with him. In this extremity, he saw it would be impossible for him to avoid coming to an engagement, and therefore did all things which could be expected from the presence of
Now called Metaro.