|Do not fly Iberia
Display Latin text
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 25: Deliberations in the Senate; Action in South-Italy[208 BC]
Return to index
There was an animated debate in the senate as to the treatment to be meted out to the Tarentines. Fabius was present, and stood up for those whom he had subjugated; others took the opposite line, the majority regarded their guilt as equal to that of Capua and deserving equally severe punishment. At last a resolution was adopted embodying the proposal of Manius Acilius, viz. that the town should be garrisoned and the entire population confined within their walls until Italy was in a less disturbed state, when the whole question could be reconsidered. An equally warm discussion arose in connection with Marcus Livius who had commanded the force in the citadel. Some were for passing a formal vote of censure on him for having, through his negligence, allowed the place to be betrayed to the enemy. Others considered that he ought to be rewarded for having successfully defended the citadel for five years, and having done more than any one else to effect the recapture of Tarentum. A third party, taking a middle course, urged that it was for the censors, not the senate, to take cognisance of his action. This view was supported by Fabius, who remarked that he quite admitted what Livius' friends were constantly asserting in that House, that it was owing to his efforts that Tarentum had been retaken, for there would have been no recapture had it not previously been lost. One of the consuls, Titus Quinctius Crispinus, left with reinforcements for the army in Lucania which Quintus Fulvius Flaccus had commanded. Marcellus was detained by religious difficulties which one after another presented themselves. In the war with the Gauls he had vowed during the battle of Clastidium a temple to Honor and Virtus, but he was prevented from dedicating it by the pontiffs. They said that one shrine could not be lawfully dedicated to two deities, because in case it were struck by lightning, or some other portent occurred in it, there would be a difficulty about the expiation, since it could not be known which deity was to be propitiated; one victim could not be sacrificed to two deities except in the case of certain specified deities. A second temple was hastily built to Virtus, but this was not dedicated by Marcellus. At last he started with reinforcements for the army which he had left the previous year at Venusia. Seeing how Tarentum had enhanced Fabius' reputation, Crispinus determined to attempt the capture of Locri in Bruttium. He had sent to Sicily for all kinds of artillery and military engines, and had also collected a number of ships to attack that part of the city which faced the sea. As, however, Hannibal had brought up his army to Lacinium, he abandoned the siege, and hearing that his colleague had moved out by Venusia, he was anxious to join forces with him. With this view he marched back into Apulia, and the two consuls encamped within three miles of each other in a place between Venusia and Bantia. As all was now quiet at Locri Hannibal moved up into their neighbourhood. But the consuls were quite sanguine of success; they drew out their armies for battle almost every day, feeling perfectly certain that if the enemy would try his chance against two consular armies, the war would be brought to a close.
Actions in Italy in 208 BC
Event: Actions in Italy in 208 BC