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I only transcribe on this occasion from Livy, who, if he may be credited, thinks Hannibal's stay at Capua a reproach to his conduct, and pretends that he there was guilty of an infinitely greater error than when he ne. glected to march directly to Rome after the battle of Cannae. For this delay,' says Livy,"might seem only to have retarded his victory ; whereas this last mis. conduct rendered him absolutely incapable of ever defeating the enemy. In a word, as Marcellus observed judiciously afterwards, Capua was to the Carthaginians and their general what Cannae had been to the Romans. There their martial genius, their love of discipline were lost : there their former fame, and their almost certain hopes of future glory vanished at once. And indeed, from thenceforth the affairs of Hannibal advanced to their decline by swift steps; fortune declar. ed in favour of prudence, and victory seemed now reconciled to the Romans.
I know not whether Livy has reason to impute all these fatal consequences to the delicious abode of Capua. If we examine carefully all the circumstances of this history, we shall scarce be able to persuade ourselves that the little progress which was afterwards made by the arms of Hannibal, ought to be ascribed to Capua. It might, indeed, have been one cause, but this would be a very inconsiderable one : and the bravery with which the forces of Hannibal afterwards defeated the armies of consuls and praetors; the towns they took even in sight of the Romans ; their main
1 Illa enim cunctatio distulisse modo victoriam videri potuit, hic error vires ademisse ad vincendum. Liv. l. xxiii. n. 18.
m Capuam Annibali Cannas fuisse : ibi virtutem bellicam, ibi militarem disciplinam, ibi præteriti temporis famam, ibi spem futuri extinctam. Liv. l. xxiii. n. 45.
taining their conquests so vigorously, and staying fourteen years after this in Italy, in spite of the Romans ; all these circumstances may induce us to believe that Livy lays too great a stress on the delights of Capua.
The real cause of the decay of Hannibal's affairs was owing to his want of necessary recruits and succours from Carthage. “After Mago's speech, the Carthaginian senate had judged it necessary, in order for the carrying on the conquests in Italy, to send thither a considerable reinforcement of Numidian horse, forty elephants, and one thousand talents ; and to hire, in Spain, twenty thousand foot, and four thousand horse, to reinforce their armies in Spain and Italy. Never. theless, Mago could obtain an order but for twelve thousand foot, and two thousand five hundred horse : and even when he was just going to march to Italy with an army so much inferior to that which had been promised him, he was countermanded, and sent to Spain. So that Hannibal, after these mighty promises, had neither infantry, cavalry, elephants, nor money sent him ; but was left to his shifts. His army was now reduced to twenty six thousand foot, and nine thousand horse. How could it be possible for him, with so inconsiderable an army, to seize, in an enemy's country, on all the advantageous posts; to awe his new allies, to preserve his old conquests and form new ones; and to keep the field, with advantage, against two armies of the Romans which were recruited every year ? This was the true cause of the declension of Hannibal's affairs, and of the ruin of those of Carthage. Was the part where Polybius treated this subject extant, we doubtless should find, that he lays a greater stress on this cause, than on the luxurious delights of Capua.
• Liv. l. xxiii. n. 13.
Ibid. n. 32
The transactions relating to Spain and Sardinia. ? The two Scipio's continued in the command of Spain, and their arms were making a considerable progress there, when Asdrubal, who alone seemed able to cope with them, received orders from Carthage, to march into Italy, to the relief of his brother. Before he left Spain, he writ to the senate, to convince them of the absolute necessity of their sending a general in his stead, who had abilities sufficient for opposing the Romans. Imilcon was therefore sent thither with an army; and Asdrubal set out upon his march with his, in order to go and join his brother. The news of his departure was no sooner known, but the greatest part of Spain was subjected by the Scipio's. These two generals, animated by such signal success, resolved to prevent him, if possible, from leaving Spain. They considered the danger to which the Romans would be exposed, if, being scarce able to resist Hannibal only, they should be attacked by the two brothers, at the head of two powerful armies. They therefore pursued Asdrubal, and coming up with that general, forced him to fight, against bis inclination. Asdrubal was overcome; and, so far from being able to continue his march for Italy, he found that it would be impossible for him to continue with any safety in Spain.
The Carthaginians had no better success in Sardinia. Designing to take advantage of some rebellions they had fomented in that country, they lost twelve thousand men in a battle fought against the Romans, who took a still greater number of prisoners, among whom were
; A, M. 3790. A. Rom. 534. Liv. I. xxiii. n. 26-30-32-40, 41.
Asdrubal, surnamed Calvus, Hanno, and Mago, who were distinguished by their birth as well as military exploits.
The ill success of Hannibal. Sieges of Capua and Rome. * From Hannibal's abode in Capua, the Carthaginian affairs in Italy no longer supported their reputation. M. Marcellus, first as praetor, and after. wards as consul, had contributed very much to this revolution. He harrassed Hannibal's army on every occasion, seized upon his quarters, forced him to raise sieges, and even defeated him in several engagements; so that he was called the sword of Rome, as Fabius had before been named its buckler,
• But what most affected the Carthaginian general, was, to see Capua besieged by the Romans. In order therefore to preserve his reputation among his allies, by a vigorous support of those who held the chief rank as such, he flew to the relief of that city, brought forward his forces, attacked the Romans, and fought several battles to oblige them to raise the siege. At last, seeing all his measures defeated, he marched hastily towards Rome, in order to make a powerful diversion. He had some hopes, in case he could have an opportunity, in the first consternation, to storm some part of the city, of drawing the Roman generals, with all their forces, from the siege of Capua, to the relief of their capital ; at least he flattered himself, that if, for the sake of continuing the siege, they should divide their forces, their weakness might then offer an occasion, either to the Capuans or himself, of engaging and de
9 Not Hannibal's brother. * A.M. 3791. A. Rom. 535. Liv. l. xxiii. n. 41-46; 1. xxv. n. 22; 1. xxvi. n. 5–16.
'AM. 3793. A. Rom. 537.
A. M. 3794, A. Rom. 538.
feating them. Rome was struck, but not confounded. A proposal being made by one of the senators, to recall all the armies to succour Rome, Fabius declared, that" it would be shameful in them to be terrified, and forced to change their measures upon every motion of Hannibal. They therefore contented themselves with only recalling part of the army, and one of the generals, Q. Fulvius, the proconsul, from the siege. Hannibal, after making some devastations, drew up his army in order of battle before the city, and the consul did the
Both sides were preparing to signalize themselves in a battle, of which Rome was to be the recompence, when a violent storm obliged them to separate. They were no sooner returned to their respective camps, but the face of the heavens grew calm and
The same happened frequently afterwards ; insomuch that Hannibal, believing that there was something supernatural in the event, said, according to Livy, that sometimes his own will, and sometimes fortune, would not suffer him to take Rome.
But the circumstances which most surprised and intimidated him, was the news, that, whilst he lay encamped at one of the gates of Rome, the Romans had sent out recruits for the army in Spain at another gate; and, at the same time, disposed of the ground whereon his camp was pitched; notwithstanding which, it had been sold for its full value. So barefaced a contempt stung Hannibal to the quick: he therefore, on the other side, exposed to sale the shops of the goldsmith's round the forum. After this bravado, he retired, and,
• Flagitiosum esse terreri ac circumagi ad omnes Annibalis comminationes. Liv. l. xxvi. n. 8.
"Audita vox Annibalis fertur, Potiundæ sibi urbis Romæ, modo mentem non dari, modo fortunam. Liv. 1. xxvi. n. 11.