The aim of Hannibal in his expedition to Italy had been to break up the Italian confederacy: after three campaigns that aim had been attained, so far as it was at all attainable. It was clear that the Greek and Latin or Latinized communities of Italy, since they had not been shaken in their allegiance by the day of Cannae, would not yield to terror, but only to force; and the desperate courage with which even in Southern Italy isolated little country towns, such as the Bruttian Petelia, maintained their forlorn defence against the Phoenicians, showed very plainly what awaited them among the Marsians and Latins. If Hannibal had expected to accomplish more in this way and to be able to lead even the Latins against Rome, these hopes had proved vain. But it appears as if even in other respects the Italian coalition had by no means produced the results which Hannibal hoped for. Capua had at once stipulated that Hannibal should not have the right to call Campanian citizens compulsorily to arms; the citizens had not forgotten how Pyrrhus had acted in Tarentum, and they foolishly imagined that they should be able to withdraw at once from the Roman and from the Phoenician rule. Samnium and Luceria were no longer what they had been, when king Pyrrhus had thought of marching into Rome at the head of the Sabellian youth.
Not only did the chain of Roman fortresses everywhere cut the nerves and sinews of the land, but the Roman rule, continued for many years, had rendered the inhabitants unused to arms—they furnished only a moderate contingent to the Roman armies—had appeased their ancient hatred, and had gained over a number of individuals everywhere to the interest of the ruling community. They joined the conqueror of the Romans, indeed, after the cause of Rome seemed fairly lost, but they felt that the question was no longer one of liberty; it was simply the exchange of an Italian for a Phoenician master, and it was not enthusiasm, but despair that threw the Sabellian communities into the arms of the victor. Under such circumstances the war in Italy flagged. Hannibal, who commanded the southern part of the peninsula as far up as the Volturnus and Garganus, and who could not simply abandon these lands again as he had abandoned that of the Celts, had now likewise a frontier to protect, which could not be left uncovered with impunity; and for the purpose of defending the districts that he had gained against the fortresses which everywhere defied him and the armies advancing from the north, and at the same time of resuming the difficult offensive against central Italy, his forces—an army of about 40,000 men, without reckoning the Italian contingents—were far from sufficient.
Above all, he found that other antagonists were opposed to him. Taught by fearful experience, the Romans adopted a more judicious system of conducting the war, placed none but experienced officers at the head of their armies, and left them, at least where it was necessary, for a longer period in command. These generals neither looked down on the enemy's movements from the mountains, nor did they throw themselves on their adversary wherever they found him; but, keeping the true mean between inaction and precipitation, they took up their positions in entrenched camps under the walls of fortresses, and accepted battle where victory would lead to results and defeat would not be destruction. The soul of this new mode of warfare was Marcus Claudius Marcellus. With true instinct, after the disastrous day of Cannae, the senate and people had turned their eyes to this brave and experienced officer, and entrusted him at once with the actual supreme command. He had received his training in the troublesome warfare against Hamilcar in Sicily, and had given brilliant evidence of his talents as a leader as well as of his personal valour in the last campaigns against the Celts. Although far above fifty, he still glowed with all the ardour of the most youthful soldier, and only a few years before this he had, as general, cut down the mounted general of the enemy(1)—the first and only Roman consul who achieved that feat of arms. His life was consecrated to the two divinities, to whom he erected the splendid double temple at the Capene Gate—to Honour and to Valour; and, while the merit of rescuing Rome from this extremity of danger belonged to no single individual, but pertained to the Roman citizens collectively and pre-eminently to the senate, yet no single man contributed more towards the success of the common enterprise than Marcus Marcellus.
Hannibal Proceeds to Campania
From the field of battle Hannibal had turned his steps to Campania, He knew Rome better than the simpletons, who in ancient and modern times have fancied that he might have terminated the struggle by a march on the enemy's capital. Modern warfare, it is true, decides a war on the field of battle; but in ancient times, when the system of attacking fortresses was far less developed than the system of defence, the most complete success in the field was on numberless occasions neutralized by the resistance of the walls of the capitals. The council and citizens of Carthage were not at all to be compared to the senate and people of Rome; the peril of Carthage after the first campaign of Regulus was infinitely more urgent than that of Rome after the battle of Cannae; yet Carthage had made a stand and been completely victorious. With what colour could it be expected that Rome would now deliver her keys to the victor, or even accept an equitable peace? Instead therefore of sacrificing practicable and important successes for the sake of such empty demonstrations, or losing time in the besieging of the two thousand Roman fugitives enclosed within the walls of Canusium, Hannibal had immediately proceeded to Capua before the Romans could throw in a garrison, and by his advance had induced this second city of Italy after long hesitation to join him. He might hope that, in possession of Capua, he would be able to seize one of the Campanian ports, where he might disembark the reinforcements which his great victories had wrung from the opposition at home.
Renewal of the War in Campania
The War in Apulia
When the Romans learned whither Hannibal had gone, they also left Apulia, where only a weak division was retained, and collected their remaining forces on the right bank of the Volturnus. With the two legions saved from Cannae Marcus Marcellus marched to Teanum Sidicinum, where he was joined by such troops as were at the moment disposable from Rome and Ostia, and advanced—while the dictator Marcus Junius slowly followed with the main army which had been hastily formed—as far as the Volturnus at Casilinum, with a view if possible to save Capua. That city he found already in the power of the enemy; but on the other hand the attempts of the enemy on Neapolis had been thwarted by the courageous resistance of the citizens, and the Romans were still in good time to throw a garrison into that important port. With equal fidelity the two other large coast towns, Cumae and Nuceria, adhered to Rome. In Nola the struggle between the popular and senatorial parties as to whether they should attach themselves to the Carthaginians or to the Romans, was still undecided. Informed that the former were gaining the superiority, Marcellus crossed the river at Caiatia, and marching along the heights of Suessula so as to evade the enemy's army, he reached Nola in sufficient time to hold it against the foes without and within. In a sally he even repulsed Hannibal in person with considerable loss; a success which, as the first defeat sustained by Hannibal, was of far more importance from its moral effect than from its material results. In Campania indeed, Nuceria, Acerrae, and, after an obstinate siege prolonged into the following year (539), Casilinum also, the key of the Volturnus, were conquered by Hannibal, and the severest punishments were inflicted on the senates of these towns which had adhered to Rome. But terror is a bad weapon of proselytism; the Romans succeeded, with comparatively trifling loss, in surmounting the perilous moment of their first weakness. The war in Campania came to a standstill; then winter came on, and Hannibal took up his quarters in Capua, the luxury of which was by no means fraught with benefit to his troops who for three years had not been under a roof. In the next year (539) the war acquired another aspect. The tried general Marcus Marcellus, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus who had distinguished himself in the campaign of the previous year as master of the horse to the dictator, and the veteran Quintus Fabius Maximus, took—Marcellus as proconsul, the two others as consuls—the command of the three Roman armies which were destined to surround Capua and Hannibal; Marcellus resting on Nola and Suessula, Maximus taking a position on the right bank of the Volturnus near Cales, and Gracchus on the coast near Liternum, covering Neapolis and Cumae. The Campanians, who marched to Hamae three miles from Cumae with a view to surprise the Cumaeans, were thoroughly defeated by Gracchus; Hannibal, who had appeared before Cumae to wipe out the stain, was himself worsted in a combat, and when the pitched battle offered by him was declined, retreated in ill humour to Capua. While the Romans in Campania thus not only maintained what they possessed, but also recovered Compulteria and other smaller places, loud complaints were heard from the eastern allies of Hannibal. A Roman army under the praetor Marcus Valerius had taken position at Luceria, partly that it might, in connection with the Roman fleet, watch the east coast and the movements of the Macedonians; partly that it might, in connection with the army of Nola, levy contributions on the revolted Samnites, Lucanians, and Hirpini. To give relief to these, Hannibal turned first against his most active opponent, Marcus Marcellus; but the latter achieved under the walls of Nola no inconsiderable victory over the Phoenician army, and it was obliged to depart, without having cleared off the stain, from Campania for Arpi, in order at length to check the progress of the enemy's army in Apulia. Tiberius Gracchus followed it with his corps, while the two other Roman armies in Campania made arrangements to proceed next spring to the attack of Capua.
Hannibal Reduced to the Defensive
His Prospects as to Reinforcements
The clear vision of Hannibal had not been dazzled by his victories. It became every day more evident that he was not thus gaining his object Those rapid marches, that adventurous shifting of the war to and fro, to which Hannibal was mainly indebted for his successes, were at an end; the enemy had become wiser; further enterprises were rendered almost impossible by the inevitable necessity of defending what had been gained. The offensive was not to be thought of; the defensive was difficult, and threatened every year to become more so. He could not conceal from himself that the second half of his great task, the subjugation of the Latins and the conquest of Rome, could not be accomplished with his own forces and those of his Italian allies alone. Its accomplishment depended on the council at Carthage, on the head-quarters at Cartagena, on the courts of Pella and of Syracuse. If all the energies of Africa, Spain, Sicily, and Macedonia should now be exerted in common against the common enemy; if Lower Italy should become the great rendezvous for the armies and fleets of the west, south, and east; he might hope successfully to finish what the vanguard under his leadership had so brilliantly begun. The most natural and easy course would have been to send to him adequate support from home; and the Carthaginian state, which had remained almost untouched by the war and had been brought from deep decline so near to complete victory by a small band of resolute patriots acting of their own accord and at their own risk, could beyond doubt have done this. That it would have been possible for a Phoenician fleet of any desired strength to effect a landing at Locri or Croton, especially as long as the port of Syracuse remained open to the Carthaginians and the fleet at Brundisium was kept in check by Macedonia, is shown by the unopposed disembarkation at Locri of 4000 Africans, whom Bomilcar about this time brought over from Carthage to Hannibal, and still more by Hannibal's undisturbed embarkation, when all had been already lost. But after the first impression of the victory of Cannae had died away, the peace party in Carthage, which was at all times ready to purchase the downfall of its political opponents at the expense of its country, and which found faithful allies in the shortsightedness and indolence of the citizens, refused the entreaties of the general for more decided support with the half- simple, half-malicious reply, that he in fact needed no help inasmuch as he was really victor; and thus contributed not much less than the Roman senate to save Rome. Hannibal, reared in the camp and a stranger to the machinery of civic factions, found no popular leader on whose support he could rely, such as his father had found in Hasdrubal; and he was obliged to seek abroad the means of saving his native country—means which itself possessed in rich abundance at home.
For this purpose he might, at least with more prospect of success, reckon on the leaders of the Spanish patriot army, on the connections which he had formed in Syracuse, and on the intervention of Philip. Everything depended on bringing new forces into the Italian field of war against Rome from Spain, Syracuse, or Macedonia; and for the attainment or for the prevention of this object wars were carried on in Spain, Sicily, and Greece. All of these were but means to an end, and historians have often erred in accounting them of greater importance. So far as the Romans were concerned, they were essentially defensive wars, the proper objects of which were to hold the passes of the Pyrenees, to detain the Macedonian army in Greece, to defend Messana and to bar the communication between Italy and Sicily. Of course this defensive warfare was, wherever it was possible, waged by offensive methods; and, should circumstances be favourable, it might develop into the dislodging of the Phoenicians from Spain and Sicily, and into the dissolution of Hannibal's alliances with Syracuse and with Philip. The Italian war in itself fell for the time being into the shade, and resolved itself into conflicts about fortresses and razzias, which had no decisive effect on the main issue. Nevertheless, so long as the Phoenicians retained the offensive at all, Italy always remained the central aim of operations; and all efforts were directed towards, as all interest centred in, the doing away, or perpetuating, of Hannibal's isolation in southern Italy.
The Sending of Reinforcements Temporarily Frustrated
Had it been possible, immediately after the battle of Cannae, to bring into play all the resources on which Hannibal thought that he might reckon, he might have been tolerably certain of success. But the position of Hasdrubal at that time in Spain after the battle on the Ebro was so critical, that the supplies of money and men, which the victory of Cannae had roused the Carthaginian citizens to furnish, were for the most part expended on Spain, without producing much improvement in the position of affairs there. The Scipios transferred the theatre of war in the following campaign (539) from the Ebro to the Guadalquivir; and in Andalusia, in the very centre of the proper Carthaginian territory, they achieved at Illiturgi and Intibili two brilliant victories. In Sardinia communications entered into with the natives led the Carthaginians to hope that they should be able to master the island, which would have been of importance as an intermediate station between Spain and Italy. But Titus Manlius Torquatus, who was sent with a Roman army to Sardinia, completely destroyed the Carthaginian landing force, and reassured to the Romans the undisputed possession of the island (539). The legions from Cannae sent to Sicily held their ground in the north and east of the island with courage and success against the Carthaginians and Hieronymus; the latter met his death towards the end of 539 by the hand of an assassin. Even in the case of Macedonia the ratification of the alliance was delayed, principally because the Macedonian envoys sent to Hannibal were captured on their homeward journey by the Roman vessels of war. Thus the dreaded invasion of the east coast was temporarily suspended; and the Romans gained time to secure the very important station of Brundisium first by their fleet and then by the land army which before the arrival of Gracchus was employed for the protection of Apulia, and even to make preparations for an invasion of Macedonia in the event of war being declared. While in Italy the war thus came to a stand, out of Italy nothing was done on the part of Carthage to accelerate the movement of new armies or fleets towards the seat of war. The Romans, again, had everywhere with the greatest energy put themselves in a state of defence, and in that defensive attitude had fought for the most part with good results wherever the genius of Hannibal was absent. Thereupon the short-lived patriotism, which the victory of Cannae had awakened in Carthage, evaporated; the not inconsiderable forces which had been organized there were, either through factious opposition or merely through unskilful attempts to conciliate the different opinions expressed in the council, so frittered away that they were nowhere of any real service, and but a very small portion arrived at the spot where they would have been most useful. At the close of 539 the reflecting Roman statesman might assure himself that the urgency of the danger was past, and that the resistance so heroically begun had but to persevere in its exertions at all points in order to achieve its object.
War in Sicily
Siege of Syracuse
First of all the war in Sicily came to an end. It had formed no part of Hannibal's original plan to excite a war on the island; but partly through accident, chiefly through the boyish vanity of the imprudent Hieronymus, a land war had broken out there, which—doubtless because Hannibal had not planned it—the Carthaginian council look up with especial zeal. After Hieronymus was killed at the close of 539, it seemed more than doubtful whether the citizens would persevere in the policy which he had pursued. If any city had reason to adhere to Rome, that city was Syracuse; for the victory of the Carthaginians over the Romans could not but give to the former, at any rate, the sovereignty of all Sicily, and no one could seriously believe that the promises made by Carthage to the Syracusans would be really kept. Partly induced by this consideration, partly terrified by the threatening preparations of the Romans—who made every effort to bring once more under their complete control that important island, the bridge between Italy and Africa, and now for the campaign of 540 sent their best general, Marcus Marcellus, to Sicily—the Syracusan citizens showed a disposition to obtain oblivion of the past by a timely return to the Roman alliance. But, amidst the dreadful confusion in the city—which after the death of Hieronymus was agitated alternately by endeavours to re-establish the ancient freedom of the people and by the -coups de main- of the numerous pretenders to the vacant throne, while the captains of the foreign mercenary troops were the real masters of the place—Hannibal's dexterous emissaries, Hippocrates and Epicydes, found opportunity to frustrate the projects of peace. They stirred up the multitude in the name of liberty; descriptions, exaggerated beyond measure, of the fearful punishment that the Romans were said to have inflicted on the Leontines, who had just been re-conquered, awakened doubts even among the better portion of the citizens whether it was not too late to restore their old relations with Rome; while the numerous Roman deserters among the mercenaries, mostly runaway rowers from the fleet, were easily persuaded that a peace on the part of the citizens with Rome would be their death-warrant. So the chief magistrates were put to death, the armistice was broken, and Hippocrates and Epicydes undertook the government of the city. No course was left to the consul except to undertake a siege; but the skilful conduct of the defence, in which the Syracusan engineer Archimedes, celebrated as a learned mathematician, especially distinguished himself, compelled the Romans after besieging the city for eight months to convert the siege into a blockade by sea and land.
Carthaginian Expedition to Sicily
The Carthaginian Troops Destroyed
Conquest of Syracuse
In the meanwhile Carthage, which hitherto had only supported the Syracusans with her fleets, on receiving news of their renewed rising in arms against the Romans had despatched a strong land army under Himilco to Sicily, which landed without interruption at Heraclea Minoa and immediately occupied the important town of Agrigentum. To effect a junction with Himilco, the bold and able Hippocrates marched forth from Syracuse with an army: the position of Marcellus between the garrison of Syracuse and the two hostile armies began to be critical. With the help of some reinforcements, however, which arrived from Italy, he maintained his position in the island and continued the blockade of Syracuse. On the other hand, the greater portion of the small inland towns were driven to the armies of the Carthaginians not so much by the armies of the enemy, as by the fearful severity of the Roman proceedings in the island, more especially the slaughter of the citizens of Enna, suspected of a design to revolt, by the Roman garrison which was stationed there. In 542 the besiegers of Syracuse during a festival in the city succeeded in scaling a portion of the extensive outer walls that had been deserted by the guard, and in penetrating into the suburbs which stretched from the "island" and the city proper on the shore (Achradina) towards the interior. The fortress of Euryalus, which, situated at the extreme western end of the suburbs, protected these and the principal road leading from the interior to Syracuse, was thus cut off and fell not long afterwards. When the siege of the city thus began to assume a turn favourable to the Romans, the two armies under Himilco and Hippocrates advanced to its relief, and attempted a simultaneous attack on the Roman positions, combined with an attempt at landing on the part of the Carthaginian fleet and a sally of the Syracusan garrison; but the attack was repulsed on all sides, and the two relieving armies were obliged to content themselves with encamping before the city, in the low marshy grounds along the Anapus, which in the height of summer and autumn engender pestilences fatal to those that tarry in them. These pestilences had often saved the city, oftener even than the valour of its citizens; in the times of the first Dionysius, two Phoenician armies in the act of besieging the city had been in this way destroyed under its very walls. Now fate turned the special defence of the city into the means of its destruction; while the army of Marcellus quartered in the suburbs suffered but little, fevers desolated the Phoenician and Syracusan bivouacs. Hippocrates died; Himilco and most of the Africans died also; the survivors of the two armies, mostly native Siceli, dispersed into the neighbouring cities. The Carthaginians made a further attempt to save the city from the sea side; but the admiral Bomilcar withdrew, when the Roman fleet offered him battle. Epicydes himself, who commanded in the city, now abandoned it as lost, and made his escape to Agrigentum. Syracuse would gladly have surrendered to the Romans; negotiations had already begun. But for the second time they were thwarted by the deserters: in another mutiny of the soldiers the chief magistrates and a number of respectable citizens were slain, and the government and the defence of the city were entrusted by the foreign troops to their captains. Marcellus now entered into a negotiation with one of these, which gave into his hands one of the two portions of the city that were still free, the "island"; upon which the citizens voluntarily opened to him the gates of Achradina also (in the autumn of 542). If mercy was to be shown in any case, it might, even according to the far from laudable principles of Roman public law as to the treatment of perfidious communities, have been extended to this city, which manifestly had not been at liberty to act for itself, and which had repeatedly made the most earnest attempts to get rid of the tyranny of the foreign soldiers. Nevertheless, not only did Marcellus stain his military honour by permitting a general pillage of the wealthy mercantile city, in the course of which Archimedes and many other citizens were put to death, but the Roman senate lent a deaf ear to the complaints which the Syracusans afterwards presented regarding the celebrated general, and neither returned to individuals their pillaged property nor restored to the city its freedom. Syracuse and the towns that had been previously dependent on it were classed among the communities tributary to Rome—Tauromenium and Neetum alone obtained the same privileges as Messana, while the territory of Leontini became Roman domain and its former proprietors Roman lessees—and no Syracusan citizen was henceforth allowed to reside in the "island," the portion of the city that commanded the harbour.
Guerilla War in Sicily
Agrigentum Occupied by the Romans
Sicily thus appeared lost to the Carthaginians; but the genius of Hannibal exercised even from a distance its influence there. He despatched to the Carthaginian army, which remained at. Agrigentum in perplexity and inaction under Hanno and Epicydes, a Libyan cavalry officer Muttines, who took the command of the Numidian cavalry, and with his flying squadrons, fanning into an open flame the bitter hatred which the despotic rule of the Romans had excited over all the island, commenced a guerilla warfare on the most extensive scale and with the happiest results; so that he even, when the Carthaginian and Roman armies met on the river Himera, sustained some conflicts with Marcellus himself successfully. The relations, however, which prevailed between Hannibal and the Carthaginian council, were here repeated on a small scale. The general appointed by the council pursued with jealous envy the officer sent by Hannibal, and insisted upon giving battle to the proconsul without Muttines and the Numidians. The wish of Hanno was carried out, and he was completely beaten. Muttines was not induced to deviate from his course; he maintained himself in the interior of the country, occupied several small towns, and was enabled by the not inconsiderable reinforcements which joined him from Carthage gradually to extend his operations. His successes were so brilliant, that at length the commander-in- chief, who could not otherwise prevent the cavalry officer from eclipsing him, deprived him summarily of the command of the light cavalry, and entrusted it to his own son. The Numidian, who had now for two years preserved the island for his Phoenician masters, had the measure of his patience exhausted by this treatment. He and his horsemen who refused to follow the younger Hanno entered into negotiations with the Roman general Marcus Valerius Laevinus and delivered to him Agrigentum. Hanno escaped in a boat, and went to Carthage to report to his superiors the disgraceful high treason of Hannibal's officer; the Phoenician garrison in the town was put to death by the Romans, and the citizens were sold into slavery (544). To secure the island from such surprises as the landing of 540, the city received a new body of inhabitants selected from Sicilians well disposed towards Rome; the old glorious Akragas was no more. After the whole of Sicily was thus subdued, the Romans exerted themselves to restore some sort of tranquillity and order to the distracted island. The pack of banditti that haunted the interior were driven together en masse and conveyed to Italy, that from their head-quarters at Rhegium they might burn and destroy in the territories of Hannibal's allies. The government did its utmost to promote the restoration of agriculture which had been totally neglected in the island. The Carthaginian council more than once talked of sending a fleet to Sicily and renewing the war there; but the project went no further.
Philip of Macedonia and His Delay
Macedonia might have exercised an influence over the course of events more decisive than that of Syracuse. From the Eastern powers neither furtherance nor hindrance was for the moment to be expected. Antiochus the Great, the natural ally of Philip, had, after the decisive victory of the Egyptians at Raphia in 537, to deem himself fortunate in obtaining peace from the indolent Philopator on the basis of the -status quo ante-. The rivalry of the Lagidae and the constant apprehension of a renewed outbreak of the war on the one hand, and insurrections of pretenders in the interior and enterprises of all sorts in Asia Minor, Bactria, and the eastern satrapies on the other, prevented him from joining that great anti-Roman alliance which Hannibal had in view. The Egyptian court was decidedly on the side of Rome, with which it renewed alliance in 544; but it was not to be expected of Ptolemy Philopator, that he would support otherwise than by corn-ships. Accordingly there was nothing to prevent Greece and Macedonia from throwing a decisive weight into the great Italian struggle except their own discord; they might save the Hellenic name, if they had the self-control to stand by each other for but a few years against the common foe. Such sentiments doubtless were current in Greece. The prophetic saying of Agelaus of Naupactus, that he was afraid that the prize-fights in which the Hellenes now indulged at home might soon be over; his earnest warning to direct their eyes to the west, and not to allow a stronger power to impose on all the parties now contending a peace of equal servitude—such sayings had essentially contributed to bring about the peace between Philip and the Aetolians (537), and it was a significant proof of the tendency of that peace that the Aetolian league immediately nominated Agelaus as its -strategus-.
National patriotism was bestirring itself in Greece as in Carthage: for a moment it seemed possible to kindle a Hellenic national war against Rome. But the general in such a crusade could only be Philip of Macedonia; and he lacked the enthusiasm and the faith in the nation, without which such a war could not be waged. He knew not how to solve the arduous problem of transforming himself from the oppressor into the champion of Greece. His very delay in the conclusion of the alliance with Hannibal damped the first and best zeal of the Greek patriots; and when he did enter into the conflict with Rome, his mode of conducting war was still less fitted to awaken sympathy and confidence. His first attempt, which was made in the very year of the battle of Cannae (538), to obtain possession of the city of Apollonia, failed in a way almost ridiculous, for Philip turned back in all haste on receiving the totally groundless report that a Roman fleet was steering for the Adriatic. This took place before there was a formal breach with Rome; when the breach at length ensued, friend and foe expected a Macedonian landing in Lower Italy. Since 539 a Roman fleet and army had been stationed at Brundisium to meet it; Philip, who was without vessels of war, was constructing a flotilla of light Illyrian barks to convey his army across. But when the endeavour had to be made in earnest, his courage failed to encounter the dreaded quinqueremes at sea; he broke the promise which he had given to his ally Hannibal to attempt a landing, and with the view of still doing something he resolved to make an attack on his own share of the spoil, the Roman possessions in Epirus (540). Nothing would have come of this even at the best; but the Romans, who well knew that offensive was preferable to defensive protection, were by no means content to remain—as Philip may have hoped—spectators of the attack from the opposite shore. The Roman fleet conveyed a division of the army from Brundisium to Epirus; Oricum was recaptured from the king, a garrison was thrown into Apollonia, and the Macedonian camp was stormed. Thereupon Philip passed from partial action to total inaction, and notwithstanding all the complaints of Hannibal, who vainly tried to breathe into such a halting and shortsighted policy his own fire and clearness of decision, he allowed some years to elapse in armed inactivity.
Rome Heads a Greek Coalition against Macedonia
Nor was Philip the first to renew the hostilities. The fall of Tarentum (542), by which Hannibal acquired an excellent port on the coast which was the most convenient for the landing of a Macedonian army, induced the Romans to parry the blow from a distance and to give the Macedonians so much employment at home that they could not think of an attempt on Italy. The national enthusiasm in Greece had of course evaporated long ago. With the help of the old antagonism to Macedonia, and of the fresh acts of imprudence and injustice of which Philip had been guilty, the Roman admiral Laevinus found no difficulty in organizing against Macedonia a coalition of the intermediate and minor powers under the protectorate of Rome. It was headed by the Aetolians, at whose diet Laevinus had personally appeared and had gained its support by a promise of the Acarnanian territory which the Aetolians had long coveted. They concluded with Rome a modest agreement to rob the other Greeks of men and land on the joint account, so that the land should belong to the Aetolians, the men and moveables to the Romans. They were joined by the states of anti- Macedonian, or rather primarily of anti-Achaean, tendencies in Greece proper; in Attica by Athens, in the Peloponnesus by Elis and Messene and especially by Sparta, the antiquated constitution of which had been just about this time overthrown by a daring soldier Machanidas, in order that he might himself exercise despotic power under the name of king Pelops, a minor, and might establish a government of adventurers sustained by bands of mercenaries. The coalition was joined moreover by those constant antagonists of Macedonia, the chieftains of the half-barbarous Thracian and Illyrian tribes, and lastly by Attalus king of Pergamus, who followed out his own interest with sagacity and energy amidst the ruin of the two great Greek states which surrounded him, and had the acuteness even now to attach himself as a client to Rome when his assistance was still of some value.
Peace between Philip and the Greeks
Peace between Philip and Rome
It is neither agreeable nor necessary to follow the vicissitudes of this aimless struggle. Philip, although he was superior to each one of his opponents and repelled their attacks on all sides with energy and personal valour, yet consumed his time and strength in that profitless defensive. Now he had to turn against the Aetolians, who in concert with the Roman fleet annihilated the unfortunate Acarnanians and threatened Locris and Thessaly; now an invasion of barbarians summoned him to the northern provinces; now the Achaeans solicited his help against the predatory expeditions of Aetolians and Spartans; now king Attalus of Pergamus and the Roman admiral Publius Sulpicius with their combined fleets threatened the east coast or landed troops in Euboea. The want of a war fleet paralyzed Philip in all his movements; he even went so far as to beg vessels of war from his ally Prusias of Bithynia, and even from Hannibal. It was only towards the close of the war that he resolved—as he should have done at first—to order the construction of 100 ships of war; of these however no use was made, if the order was executed at all. All who understood the position of Greece and sympathized with it lamented the unhappy war, in which the last energies of Greece preyed upon themselves and the prosperity of the land was destroyed; repeatedly the commercial states, Rhodes, Chios, Mitylene, Byzantium, Athens, and even Egypt itself had attempted a mediation. In fact both parties had an interest in coming to terms. The Aetolians, to whom their Roman allies attached the chief importance, had, like the Macedonians, much to suffer from the war; especially after the petty king of the Athamanes had been gained by Philip, and the interior of Aetolia had thus been laid open to Macedonian incursions. Many Aetolians too had their eyes gradually opened to the dishonourable and pernicious part which the Roman alliance condemned them to play; a cry of horror pervaded the whole Greek nation when the Aetolians in concert with the Romans sold whole bodies of Hellenic citizens, such as those of Anticyra, Oreus, Dyme, and Aegina, into slavery. But the Aetolians were no longer free; they ran a great risk if of their own accord they concluded peace with Philip, and they found the Romans by no means disposed, especially after the favourable turn which matters were taking in Spain and in Italy, to desist from a war, which on their part was carried on with merely a few ships, and the burden and injury of which fell mainly on the Aetolians. At length however the Aetolians resolved to listen to the mediating cities: and, notwithstanding the counter-efforts of the Romans, a peace was arranged in the winter of 548-9 between the Greek powers. Aetolia had converted an over-powerful ally into a dangerous enemy; but the Roman senate, which just at that time was summoning all the resources of the exhausted state for the decisive expedition to Africa, did not deem it a fitting moment to resent the breach of the alliance. The war with Philip could not, after the withdrawal of the Aetolians, have been carried on by the Romans without considerable exertions of their own; and it appeared to them more convenient to terminate it also by a peace, whereby the state of things before the war was substantially restored and Rome in particular retained all her possessions on the coast of Epirus except the worthless territory of the Atintanes. Under the circumstances Philip had to deem himself fortunate in obtaining such terms; but the fact proclaimed—what could not indeed be longer concealed—that all the unspeakable misery which ten years of a warfare waged with revolting inhumanity had brought upon Greece had been endured in vain, and that the grand and just combination, which Hannibal had projected and all Greece had for a moment joined, was shattered irretrievably.
In Spain, where the spirit of Hamilcar and Hannibal was powerful, the struggle was more earnest. Its progress was marked by the singular vicissitudes incidental to the peculiar nature of the country and the habits of the people. The farmers and shepherds, who inhabited the beautiful valley of the Ebro and the luxuriantly fertile Andalusia as well as the rough intervening highland region traversed by numerous wooded mountain ranges, could easily be assembled in arms as a general levy; but it was difficult to lead them against the enemy or even to keep them together at all. The towns could just as little be combined for steady and united action, obstinately as in each case they bade defiance to the oppressor behind their walls. They all appear to have made little distinction between the Romans and the Carthaginians; whether the troublesome guests who had established themselves in the valley of the Ebro, or those who had established themselves on the Guadalquivir, possessed a larger or smaller portion of the peninsula, was probably to the natives very much a matter of indifference; and for that reason the tenacity of partisanship so characteristic of Spain was but little prominent in this war, with isolated exceptions such as Saguntum on the Roman and Astapa on the Carthaginian side. But, as neither the Romans nor the Africans had brought with them sufficient forces of their own, the war necessarily became on both sides a struggle to gain partisans, which was decided rarely by solid attachment, more usually by fear, money, or accident, and which, when it seemed about to end, resolved itself into an endless series of fortress-sieges and guerilla conflicts, whence it soon revived with fresh fury. Armies appeared and disappeared like sandhills on the seashore; on the spot where a hill stood yesterday, not a trace of it remains today. In general the superiority was on the side of the Romans, partly because they at first appeared in Spain as the deliverers of the land from Phoenician despotism, partly because of the fortunate selection of their leaders and of the stronger nucleus of trustworthy troops which these brought along with them. It is hardly possible, however, with the very imperfect and—in point of chronology especially—very confused accounts which have been handed down to us, to give a satisfactory view of a war so conducted.
Successes of the Scipios
Syphax against Carthage
The two lieutenant-governors of the Romans in the peninsula, Gnaeus and Publius Scipio—both of them, but especially Gnaeus, good generals and excellent administrators—accomplished their task with the most brilliant success. Not only was the barrier of the Pyrenees steadfastly maintained, and the attempt to re-establish the interrupted communication by land between the commander-in-chief of the enemy and his head-quarters sternly repulsed; not only had a Spanish New Rome been created, after the model of the Spanish New Carthage, by means of the comprehensive fortifications and harbour works of Tarraco, but the Roman armies had already in 539 fought with success in Andalusia.(2) Their expedition thither was repeated in the following year (540) with still greater success. The Romans carried their arms almost to the Pillars of Hercules, extended their protectorate in South Spain, and lastly by regaining and restoring Saguntum secured for themselves an important station on the line from the Ebro to Cartagena, repaying at the same time as far as possible an old debt which the nation owed. While the Scipios thus almost dislodged the Carthaginians from Spain, they knew how to raise up a dangerous enemy to them in western Africa itself in the person of the powerful west African prince Syphax, ruling in the modern provinces of Oran and Algiers, who entered into connections with the Romans (about 541). Had it been possible to supply him with a Roman army, great results might have been expected; but at that time not a man could be spared from Italy, and the Spanish army was too weak to be divided. Nevertheless the troops belonging to Syphax himself, trained and led by Roman officers, excited so serious a ferment among the Libyan subjects of Carthage that the lieutenant-commander of Spain and Africa, Hasdrubal Barcas, went in person to Africa with the flower of his Spanish troops. His arrival in all likelihood gave another turn to the matter; the king Gala—in what is now the province of Constantine—who had long been the rival of Syphax, declared for Carthage, and his brave son Massinissa defeated Syphax, and compelled him to make peace. Little more is related of this Libyan war than the story of the cruel vengeance which Carthage, according to her wont, inflicted on the rebels after the victory of Massinissa.
The Scipios Defeated and Killed
Spain South of the Ebro Lost to the Romans
Nero Sent to Spain
This turn of affairs in Africa had an important effect on the war in Spain. Hasdrubal was able once more to turn to that country (543), whither he was soon followed by considerable reinforcements and by Massinissa himself. The Scipios, who during the absence of the enemy's general (541, 542) had continued to plunder and to gain partisans in the Carthaginian territory, found themselves unexpectedly assailed by forces so superior that they were under the necessity of either retreating behind the Ebro or calling out the Spaniards. They chose the latter course, and took into their pay 20,000 Celtiberians; and then, in order the better to encounter the three armies of the enemy under Hasdrubal Barcas, Hasdrubal the son of Gisgo, and Mago, they divided their army and did not even keep their Roman troops together. They thus prepared the way for their own destruction. While Gnaeus with his corps, containing a third of the Roman and all the Spanish troops, lay encamped opposite to Hasdrubal Barcas, the latter had no difficulty in inducing the Spaniards in the Roman army by means of a sum of money to withdraw—which perhaps to their free- lance ideas of morals did not even seem a breach of fidelity, seeing that they did not pass over to the enemies of their paymaster. Nothing was left to the Roman general but hastily to begin his retreat, in which the enemy closely followed him. Meanwhile the second Roman corps under Publius found itself vigorously assailed by the two other Phoenician armies under Hasdrubal son of Gisgo and Mago, and the daring squadrons of Massinissa's horse gave to the Carthaginians a decided advantage. The Roman camp was almost surrounded; when the Spanish auxiliaries already on the way should arrive, the Romans would be completely hemmed in. The bold resolve of the proconsul to encounter with his best troops the advancing Spaniards, before their appearance should fill up the gap in the blockade, ended unfortunately. The Romans indeed had at first the advantage; but the Numidian horse, who were rapidly despatched in pursuit, soon overtook them and prevented them both from following up the victory which they had already half gained, and from marching back, until the Phoenician infantry came up and at length the fall of the general converted the lost battle into a defeat. After Publius had thus fallen, Gnaeus, who slowly retreating had with difficulty defended himself against the one Carthaginian army, found himself suddenly assailed at once by three, and all retreat cut off by the Numidian cavalry. Hemmed in upon a bare hill, which did not even afford the possibility of pitching a camp, the whole corps were cut down or taken prisoners. As to the fate of the general himself no certain information was ever obtained. A small division alone was conducted by Gaius Marcius, an excellent officer of the school of Gnaeus, in safety to the other bank of the Ebro; and thither the legate Titus Fonteius also succeeded in bringing safely the portion of the corps of Publius that had been left in the camp; most even of the Roman garrisons scattered in the south of Spain were enabled to flee thither. In all Spain south of the Ebro the Phoenicians ruled undisturbed; and the moment seemed not far distant, when the river would be crossed, the Pyrenees would be open, and the communication with Italy would be restored. But the emergency in the Roman camp called the right man to the command. The choice of the soldiers, passing over older and not incapable officers, summoned that Gaius Marcius to become leader of the army; and his dexterous management and quite as much perhaps, the envy and discord among the three Carthaginian generals, wrested from these the further fruits of their important victory. Such of the Carthaginians as had crossed the river were driven back, and the line of the Ebro was held in the meanwhile, till Rome gained time to send a new army and a new general. Fortunately the turn of the war in Italy, where Capua had just fallen, allowed this to be done. A strong legion—12,000 men—arriving under the propraetor Gaius Claudius Nero, restored the balance of arms. An expedition to Andalusia in the following year (544) was most successful; Hasdrubal Barcas was beset and surrounded, and escaped a capitulation only by ignoble stratagem and open perfidy. But Nero was not the right general for the Spanish war. He was an able officer, but a harsh, irritable, unpopular man, who had little skill in the art of renewing old connections or of forming new ones, or in taking advantage of the injustice and arrogance with which the Carthaginians after the death of the Scipios had treated friend and foe in Further Spain, and had exasperated all against them.
The senate, which formed a correct judgment as to the importance and the peculiar character of the Spanish war, and had learned from the Uticenses brought in as prisoners by the Roman fleet the great exertions which were making in Carthage to send Hasdrubal and Massinissa with a numerous army over the Pyrenees, resolved to despatch to Spain new reinforcements and an extraordinary general of higher rank, the nomination of whom they deemed it expedient to leave to the people. For long—so runs the story—nobody announced himself as ready to take in hand the complicated and perilous business; but at last a young officer of twenty-seven, Publius Scipio (son of the general of the same name that had fallen in Spain), who had held the offices of military tribune and aedile, came forward to solicit it. It is incredible that the Roman senate should have left to accident an election of such importance in this meeting of the Comitia which it had itself suggested, and equally incredible that ambition and patriotism should have so died out in Rome that no tried officer presented himself for the important post. If on the other hand the eyes of the senate turned to the young, talented, and experienced officer, who had brilliantly distinguished himself in the hotly- contested days on the Ticinus and at Cannae, but who still had not the rank requisite for his coming forward as the successor of men who had been praetors and consuls, it was very natural to adopt this course, which compelled the people out of good nature to admit the only candidate notwithstanding his defective qualification, and which could not but bring both him and the Spanish expedition, which was doubtless very unpopular, into favour with the multitude. If the effect of this ostensibly unpremeditated candidature was thus calculated, it was perfectly successful. The son, who went to avenge the death of a father whose life he had saved nine years before on the Ticinus; the young man of manly beauty and long locks, who with modest blushes offered himself in the absence of a better for the post of danger; the mere military tribune, whom the votes of the centuries now raised at once to the roll of the highest magistracies—all this made a wonderful and indelible impression on the citizens and farmers of Rome. And in truth Publius Scipio was one, who was himself enthusiastic, and who inspired enthusiasm. He was not one of the few who by their energy and iron will constrain the world to adopt and to move in new paths for centuries, or who at any rate grasp the reins of destiny for years till its wheels roll over them. Publius Scipio gained battles and conquered countries under the instructions of the senate; with the aid of his military laurels he took also a prominent position in Rome as a statesman; but a wide interval separates such a man from an Alexander or a Caesar. As an officer he rendered at least no greater service to his country than Marcus Marcellus; and as a politician, although not perhaps himself fully conscious of the unpatriotic and personal character of his policy, he injured his country at least as much, as he benefited it by his military skill. Yet a special charm lingers around the form of that graceful hero; it is surrounded, as with a dazzling halo, by the atmosphere of serene and confident inspiration, in which Scipio with mingled credulity and adroitness always moved. With quite enough of enthusiasm to warm men's hearts, and enough of calculation to follow in every case the dictates of intelligence, while not leaving out of account the vulgar; not naive enough to share the belief of the multitude in his divine inspirations, nor straightforward enough to set it aside, and yet in secret thoroughly persuaded that he was a man specially favoured of the gods—in a word, a genuine prophetic nature; raised above the people, and not less aloof from them; a man of steadfast word and kingly spirit, who thought that he would humble himself by adopting the ordinary title of a king, but could never understand how the constitution of the republic should in his case be binding; so confident in his own greatness that he knew nothing of envy or of hatred, courteously acknowledged other men's merits, and compassionately forgave other men's faults; an excellent officer and a refined diplomatist without the repellent special impress of either calling, uniting Hellenic culture with the fullest national feeling of a Roman, an accomplished speaker and of graceful manners—Publius Scipio won the hearts of soldiers and of women, of his countrymen and of the Spaniards, of his rivals in the senate and of his greater Carthaginian antagonist. His name was soon on every one's lips, and his was the star which seemed destined to bring victory and peace to his country.
Scipio Goes to Spain
Capture of New Carthage
Publius Scipio went to Spain in 544-5, accompanied by the propraetor Marcus Silanus, who was to succeed Nero and to serve as assistant and counsellor to the young commander-in-chief, and by his intimate friend Gaius Laelius as admiral, and furnished with a legion exceeding the usual strength and a well-filled chest. His appearance on the scene was at once signalized by one of the boldest and most fortunate -coups de main- that are known in history. Of the three Carthaginian generals Hasdrubal Barcas was stationed at the sources, Hasdrubal son of Gisgo at the mouth, of the Tagus, and Mago at the Pillars of Hercules; the nearest of them was ten days' march from the Phoenician capital New Carthage. Suddenly in the spring of 545, before the enemy's armies began to move, Scipio set out with his whole army of nearly 30,000 men and the fleet for this town, which he could reach from the mouth of the Ebro by the coast route in a few days, and surprised the Phoenician garrison, not above 1000 men strong, by a combined attack by sea and land. The town, situated on a tongue of land projecting into the harbour, found itself threatened at once on three sides by the Roman fleet, and on the fourth by the legions; and all help was far distant. Nevertheless the commandant Mago defended himself with resolution and armed the citizens, as the soldiers did not suffice to man the walls. A sortie was attempted; but the Romans repelled it with ease and, without taking time to open a regular siege, began the assault on the landward side. Eagerly the assailants pushed their advance along the narrow land approach to the town; new columns constantly relieved those that were fatigued; the weak garrison was utterly exhausted; but the Romans had gained no advantage. Scipio had not expected any; the assault was merely designed to draw away the garrison from the side next to the harbour, where, having been informed that part of the latter was left dry at ebb-tide, he meditated a second attack. While the assault was raging on the landward side, Scipio sent a division with ladders over the shallow bank "where Neptune himself showed them the way," and they had actually the good fortune to find the walls at that point undefended. Thus the city was won on the first day; whereupon Mago in the citadel capitulated. With the Carthaginian capital there fell into the hands of the Romans 18 dismantled vessels of war and 63 transports, the whole war-stores, considerable supplies of corn, the war-chest of 600 talents (more than; 40,000 pounds), ten thousand captives, among whom were eighteen Carthaginian gerusiasts or judges, and the hostages of all the Spanish allies of Carthage. Scipio promised the hostages permission to return home so soon as their respective communities should have entered into alliance with Rome, and employed the resources which the city afforded to reinforce and improve the condition of his army. He ordered the artisans of New Carthage, 2000 in number, to work for the Roman army, promising to them liberty at the close of the war, and he selected the able-bodied men among the remaining multitude to serve as rowers in the fleet. But the burgesses of the city were spared, and allowed to retain their liberty and former position. Scipio knew the Phoenicians, and was aware that they would obey; and it was important that a city possessing the only excellent harbour on the east coast and rich silver mines should be secured by something more than a garrison.
Success thus crowned the bold enterprise—bold, because it was not unknown to Scipio that Hasdrubal Barcas had received orders from his government to advance towards Gaul and was engaged in fulfilling them, and because the weak division left behind on the Ebro was not in a position seriously to oppose that movement, should the return of Scipio be delayed. But he was again at Tarraco, before Hasdrubal made his appearance on the Ebro. The hazard of the game which the young general played, when he abandoned his primary task in order to execute a dashing stroke, was concealed by the fabulous success which Neptune and Scipio had gained in concert. The marvellous capture of the Phoenician capital so abundantly justified all the expectations which had been formed at home regarding the wondrous youth, that none could venture to utter any adverse opinion. Scipio's command was indefinitely prolonged; he himself resolved no longer to confine his efforts to the meagre task of guarding the passes of the Pyrenees. Already, in consequence of the fall of New Carthage, not only had the Spaniards on the north of the Ebro completely submitted, but even beyond the Ebro the most powerful princes had exchanged the Carthaginian for the Roman protectorate.
Scipio Goes to Andalusia
Hasdrubal Crosses the Pyrenees
Scipio employed the winter of 545-6 in breaking up his fleet and increasing his land army with the men thus acquired, so that he might at once guard the north and assume the offensive in the south more energetically than before; and he marched in 546 to Andalusia. There he: encountered Hasdrubal Barcas, who, in the execution of his long-cherished plan, was moving northward to the help of his brother. A battle took place at Baecula, in which the Romans claimed the victory and professed to have made 10,000 captives; but Hasdrubal substantially attained his end, although at the sacrifice of a portion of his army. With his chest, his elephants, and the best portion of his troops, he fought his way to the north coast of Spain; marching along the shore, he reached the western passes of the Pyrenees which appear to have been unoccupied, and before the bad season began he was in Gaul, where he took up quarters for the winter. It was evident that the resolve of Scipio to combine offensive operations with the defensive which he had been instructed to maintain was inconsiderate and unwise. The immediate task assigned to the Spanish army, which not only Scipio's father and uncle, but even Gaius Marcius and Gaius Nero had accomplished with much inferior means, was not enough for the arrogance of the victorious general at the head of a numerous army; and he was mainly to blame for the extremely critical position of Rome in the summer of 547, when the plan of Hannibal for a combined attack on the Romans was at length realized. But the gods covered the errors of their favourite with laurels. In Italy the peril fortunately passed over; the Romans were glad to accept the bulletin of the ambiguous victory of Baecula, and, when fresh tidings of victory arrived from Spain, they thought no more of the circumstance that they had had to combat the ablest general and the flower of the Hispano-Phoenician army in Italy.
Mago Goes to Italy
Gades Becomes Roman
After the removal of Hasdrubal Barcas the two generals who were left in Spain determined for the time being to retire, Hasdrubal son of Gisgo to Lusitania, Mago even to the Baleares; and, until new reinforcements should arrive from Africa, they left the light cavalry of Massinissa alone to wage a desultory warfare in Spain, as Muttines had done so successfully in Sicily. The whole east coast thus fell into the power of the Romans. In the following year (547) Hanno actually made his appearance from Africa with a third army, whereupon Mago and Hasdrubal returned to Andalusia. But Marcus Silanus defeated the united armies of Mago and Hanno, and captured the latter in person. Hasdrubal upon this abandoned the idea of keeping the open field, and distributed his troops among the Andalusian cities, of which Scipio was during this year able to storm only one, Oringis. The Phoenicians seemed vanquished; but yet they were able in the following year (548) once more to send into the field a powerful army, 32 elephants, 4000 horse, and 70,000 foot, far the greater part of whom, it is true, were hastily-collected: Spanish militia. Again a battle took place at Baecula. The Roman army numbered little more than half that of the enemy, and was also to a considerable extent composed of Spaniards. Scipio, like Wellington in similar circumstances, disposed his Spaniards so that they should not partake in the fight—the only possible mode of preventing their dispersion —while on the other hand he threw his Roman troops in the first instance on the Spaniards. The day was nevertheless obstinately contested; but at length the Romans were the victors, and, as a matter of course, the defeat of such an army was equivalent to its complete dissolution—Hasdrubal and Mago singly made their escape to Gades. The Romans were now without a rival in the peninsula; the few towns that did not submit with good will were subdued one by one, and some of them were punished with cruel severity. Scipio was even able to visit Syphax on the African coast, and to enter into communications with him and also with Massinissa with reference to an expedition to Africa—a foolhardy venture, which was not warranted by any corresponding advantage, however much the report of it might please the curiosity of the citizens of the capital at home. Gades alone, where Mago held command, was still Phoenician. For a moment it seemed as if, after the Romans had entered upon the Carthaginian heritage and had sufficiently undeceived the expectation cherished here and there among the Spaniards that after the close of the Phoenician rule they would get rid of their Roman guests also and regain their ancient freedom, a general insurrection against the Romans would break forth in Spain, in which the former allies of Rome would take the lead. The sickness of the Roman general and the mutiny of one of his corps, occasioned by their pay being in arrear for many years, favoured the rising. But Scipio recovered sooner than was expected, and dexterously suppressed the tumult among the soldiers; upon which the communities that had taken the lead in the national rising were subdued at once before the insurrection gained ground. Seeing that nothing came of this movement and Gades could not be permanently held, the Carthaginian government ordered Mago to gather together whatever could be got in ships, troops, and money, and with these, if possible, to give another turn to the war in Italy. Scipio could not prevent this—his dismantling of the fleet now avenged itself—and he was a second time obliged to leave in the hands of his gods the defence, with which he had been entrusted, of his country against new invasions. The last of Hamilcar's sons left the peninsula without opposition. After his departure Gades, the oldest and last possession of the Phoenicians on Spanish soil, submitted on favourable conditions to the new masters. Spain was, after a thirteen years' struggle, converted from a Carthaginian into a Roman province, in which the conflict with the Romans was still continued for centuries by means of insurrections always suppressed and yet never subdued, but in which at the moment no enemy stood opposed to Rome. Scipio embraced the first moment of apparent peace to resign his command (in the end of 548), and to report at Rome in person the victories which he had achieved and the provinces which he had won.
Position of the Armies
While the war was thus terminated in Sicily by Marcellus, in Greece by Publius Sulpicius, and in Spain by Scipio, the mighty struggle went on without interruption in the Italian peninsula. There after the battle of Cannae had been fought and its effects in loss or gain could by degrees be discerned, at the commencement of 540, the fifth year of the war, the dispositions of the opposing Romans and Phoenicians were the following. North Italy had been reoccupied by the Romans after the departure of Hannibal, and was protected by three legions, two of which were stationed in the Celtic territory, the third as a reserve in Picenum. Lower Italy, as far as Mount Garganus and the Volturnus, was, with the exception of the fortresses and most of the ports, in the hands of Hannibal. He lay with his main army at Arpi, while Tiberius Gracchus with four legions confronted him in Apulia, resting upon the fortresses of Luceria and Beneventum. In the land of the Bruttians, where the inhabitants had thrown themselves entirely into the arms of Hannibal, and where even the ports—excepting Rhegium, which the Romans protected from Messana—had been occupied by the Phoenicians, there was a second Carthaginian army under Hanno, which in the meanwhile saw no enemy to face it. The Roman main army of four legions under the two consuls, Quintus Fabius and Marcus Marcellus, was on the point of attempting to recover Capua. To these there fell to be added on the Roman side the reserve of two legions in the capital, the garrisons placed in all the seaports—Tarentum and Brundisium having been reinforced by a legion on account of the Macedonian landing apprehended there—and lastly the strong fleet which had undisputed command of the sea. If we add to these the Roman armies in Sicily, Sardinia, and Spain, the whole number of the Roman forces, even apart from the garrison service in the fortresses of Lower Italy which was provided for by the colonists occupying them, may be estimated at not less than 200,000 men, of whom one-third were newly enrolled for this year, and about one-half were Roman citizens. It may be assumed that all the men capable of service from the 17th to the 46th year were under arms, and that the fields, where the war permitted them to be tilled at all, were cultivated by the slaves and the old men, women, and children. As may well be conceived, under such circumstances the finances were in the most grievous embarrassment; the land-tax, the main source of revenue, came in but very irregularly. Yet notwithstanding these difficulties as to men and money the Romans were able—slowly indeed and by exerting all their energies, but still surely—to recover what they had so rapidly lost; to increase their armies yearly, while those of the Phoenicians were diminishing; to gain ground year by year on the Italian allies of Hannibal, the Campanians, Apulians, Samnites, and Bruttians, who neither sufficed, like the Roman fortresses in Lower Italy, for their own protection nor could be adequately protected by the weak army of Hannibal; and finally, by means of the method of warfare instituted by Marcus Marcellus, to develop the talent of their officers and to bring into full play the superiority of the Roman infantry. Hannibal might doubtless still hope for victories, but no longer such victories as those on the Trasimene lake and on the Aufidus; the times of the citizen-generals were gone by. No course was left to him but to wait till either Philip should execute his long-promised descent or his own brothers should join him from Spain, and meanwhile to keep himself, his army, and his clients as far as possible free from harm and in good humour. We hardly recognize in the obstinate defensive system which he now began the same general who had carried on the offensive with almost unequalled impetuosity and boldness; it is marvellous in a psychological as well as in a military point of view, that the same man should have accomplished the two tasks set to him—tasks so diametrically opposite in their character—with equal completeness.
Conflicts in the South of Italy
At first the war turned chiefly towards Campania. Hannibal appeared in good time to protect its capital, which he prevented from being invested; but he was unable either to wrest any of the Campanian towns held by the Romans from their strong Roman garrisons, or to prevent —in addition to a number of less important country towns—Casilinum, which secured his passage over the Volturnus, from being taken by the two consular armies after an obstinate defence. An attempt of Hannibal to gain Tarentum, with the view especially of acquiring a safe landing-place for the Macedonian army, proved unsuccessful. Meanwhile the Bruttian army of the Carthaginians under Hanno had various encounters in Lucania with the Roman army of Apulia; here Tiberius Gracchus sustained the struggle with good results, and after a successful combat not far from Beneventum, in which the slave legions pressed into service had distinguished themselves, he bestowed liberty and burgess-rights on his slave-soldiers in the name of the people.
Arpi Acquired by the Romans
In the following year (541) the Romans recovered the rich and important Arpi, whose citizens, after the Roman soldiers had stolen into the town, made common cause with them against the Carthaginian garrison. In general the bonds of the symmachy formed by Hannibal were relaxing; a number of the leading Capuans and several of the Bruttian towns passed over to Rome; even a Spanish division of the Phoenician army, when informed by Spanish emissaries of the course of events in their native land, passed from the Carthaginian into the Roman service.
Tarentum Taken by Hannibal
The year 542 was more unfavourable for the Romans in consequence of fresh political and military errors, of which Hannibal did not fail to take advantage. The connections which Hannibal maintained in the towns of Magna Graecia had led to no serious result; save that the hostages from Tarentum and Thurii, who were kept at Rome, were induced by his emissaries to make a foolhardy attempt at escape, in which they were speedily recaptured by the Roman posts. But the injudicious spirit of revenge displayed by the Romans was of more service to Hannibal than his intrigues; the execution of all the hostages who had sought to escape deprived them of a valuable pledge, and the exasperated Greeks thenceforth meditated how they might open their gates to Hannibal. Tarentum was actually occupied by the Carthaginians in consequence of an understanding with the citizens and of the negligence of the Roman commandant; with difficulty the Roman garrison maintained itself in the citadel. The example of Tarentum was followed by Heraclea, Thurii, and Metapontum, from which town the garrison had to be withdrawn in order to save the Tarentine Acropolis. These successes so greatly increased the risk of a Macedonian landing, that Rome felt herself compelled to direct renewed attention and renewed exertions to the Greek war, which had been almost totally neglected; and fortunately the capture of Syracuse and the favourable state of the Spanish war enabled her to do so.
Conflicts around Capua
At the chief seat of war, in Campania, the struggle went on with very varying success. The legions posted in the neighbourhood of Capua had not yet strictly invested the city, but had so greatly hindered the cultivation of the soil and the ingathering of the harvest, that the populous city was in urgent need of supplies from without. Hannibal accordingly collected a considerable supply of grain, and directed the Campanians to receive it at Beneventum; but their tardiness gave the consuls Quintus Flaccus and Appius Claudius time to come up, to inflict a severe defeat on Hanno who protected the grain, and to seize his camp and all his stores. The two consuls then invested the town, while Tiberius Gracchus stationed himself on the Appian Way to prevent Hannibal from approaching to relieve it But that brave officer fell in consequence of the shameful stratagem of a perfidious Lucanian; and his death was equivalent to a complete defeat, for his army, consisting mostly of those slaves whom he had manumitted, dispersed after the fall of their beloved leader. So Hannibal found the road to Capua open, and by his unexpected appearance compelled the two consuls to raise the blockade which they had barely begun. Their cavalry had already, before Hannibal's arrival, been thoroughly defeated by the Phoenician cavalry, which lay as a garrison in Capua under Hanno and Bostar, and by the equally excellent Campanian horse. The total destruction of the regular troops and free bands in Lucania led by Marcus Centenius, a man imprudently promoted from a subaltern to be a general, and the not much less complete defeat of the negligent and arrogant praetor Gnaeus Fulvius Flaccus in Apulia, closed the long series of the misfortunes of this year. But the stubborn perseverance of the Romans again neutralized the rapid success of Hannibal, at least at the most decisive point. As soon as Hannibal turned his back on Capua to proceed to Apulia, the Roman armies once more gathered around that city, one at Puteoli and Volturnum under Appius Claudius, another at Casilinum under Quintus Fulvius, and a third on the Nolan road under the praetor Gaius Claudius Nero. The three camps, well entrenched and connected with one another by fortified lines, precluded all access to the place, and the large, inadequately provisioned city could not but find itself compelled by the mere investment to surrender at no distant time, should no relief arrive. As the winter of 542-3 drew to an end, the provisions were almost exhausted, and urgent messengers, who were barely able to steal through the well-guarded Roman lines, requested speedy help from Hannibal, who was at Tarentum, occupied with the siege of the citadel. With 33 elephants and his best troops he departed by forced marches from Tarentum for Campania, captured the Roman post at Caiatia, and took up his camp on Mount Tifata close by Capua, in the confident expectation that the Roman generals would, now raise the siege as they had done the year before. But the Romans, who had had time to entrench their camps and their lines like a fortress, did not stir, and looked on unmoved from their ramparts, while on one side the Campanian horsemen, on the other the Numidian squadrons, dashed against their lines. A serious assault could not be thought of by Hannibal; he could foresee that his advance would soon draw the other Roman armies after him to Campania, if even before their arrival the scarcity of supplies in a region so systematically foraged did not drive him away. Nothing could be done in that quarter.
Hannibal Marches toward Rome
Hannibal tried a further expedient, the last which occurred to his inventive genius, to save the important city. After giving the Campanians information of his intention and exhorting them to hold out, he started with the relieving army from Capua and took the road for Rome. With the same dexterous boldness which he had shown in his first Italian campaigns, he threw himself with a weak army between the armies and fortresses of the enemy, and led his troops through Samnium and along the Valerian Way past Tibur to the bridge over the Anio, which he passed and encamped on the opposite bank, five miles from the city. The children's children of the Romans still shuddered, when they were told of "Hannibal at the gate"; real danger there was none. The country houses and fields in the neighbourhood of the city were laid waste by the enemy; the two legions in the city, who went forth against them, prevented the investment of the walls. Besides, Hannibal had never expected to surprise Rome by a -coup de main-, such as Scipio soon afterwards executed against New Carthage, and still less had he meditated a siege in earnest; his only hope was that in the first alarm part of the besieging army of Capua would march to Rome and thus give him an opportunity of breaking up the blockade. Accordingly after a brief stay he departed. The Romans saw in his withdrawal a miraculous intervention of the gods, who by portents and visions had compelled the wicked man to depart, when in truth the Roman legions were unable to compel him; at the spot where Hannibal had approached nearest to the city, at the second milestone on the Appian Way in front of the Capene gate, with grateful credulity the Romans erected an altar to the god "who turned back and protected" (-Rediculus Tutanus-), Hannibal in reality retreated, because this was part of his plan, and directed his march towards Capua. But the Roman generals had not committed the mistake on which their opponent had reckoned; the legions remained unmoved in the lines round Capua, and only a weak corps had been detached on the news of Hannibal's march towards Rome. When Hannibal learned this, he suddenly turned against the consul Publius Galba, who had imprudently followed him from Rome, and with whom he had hitherto avoided an engagement, vanquished him, and took his camp by storm.
But this was a poor compensation for the now inevitable fall of Capua. Long had its citizens, particularly the better passes, anticipated with sorrowful forebodings what was coming; the senate-house and the administration of the city were left almost exclusively to the leaders of the popular party hostile to Rome. Now despair seized high and low, Campanians and Phoenicians alike. Twenty-eight senators chose a voluntary death; the remainder gave over the city to the discretion of an implacably exasperated foe. Of course a bloody retribution had to follow; the only discussion was as to whether the process should be long or short: whether the wiser and more appropriate course was to probe to the bottom the further ramifications of the treason even beyond Capua, or to terminate the matter by rapid executions. Appius Claudius and the Roman senate wished to take the former course; the latter view, perhaps the less inhuman, prevailed. Fifty-three of the officers and magistrates of Capua were scourged and beheaded in the marketplaces of Cales and Teanum by the orders and before the eyes of the proconsul Quintus Flaccus, the rest of the senators were imprisoned, numbers of the citizens were sold into slavery, and the estates of the more wealthy were confiscated. Similar penalties were inflicted upon Atella and Caiatia. These punishments were severe; but, when regard is had to the importance of the revolt of Capua from Rome, and to what was the ordinary if not warrantable usage of war in those times, they were not unnatural. And had not the citizens themselves pronounced their own sentence, when immediately after their defection they put to death all the Roman citizens present in Capua at the time of the revolt? But it was unjustifiable in Rome to embrace this opportunity of gratifying the secret rivalry that had long subsisted between the two largest cities of Italy, and of wholly annihilating, in a political point of view, her hated and envied competitor by abolishing the constitution of the Campanian city.
Superiority of the Romans
Immense was the impression produced by the fall of Capua, and all the more that it had not been brought about by surprise, but by a two years' siege carried on in spite of all the exertions of Hannibal. It was quite as much a token that the Romans had recovered their ascendency in Italy, as its defection some years before to Hannibal had been a token that that ascendency was lost. In vain Hannibal had tried to counteract the impression of this news on his allies by the capture of Rhegium or of the citadel of Tarentum. His forced march to surprise Rhegium had yielded no result. The citadel of Tarentum suffered greatly from famine, after the Tarentino-Carthaginian squadron closed the harbour; but, as the Romans with their much more powerful fleet were able to cut off the supplies from that squadron itself, and the territory, which Hannibal commanded, scarce sufficed to maintain his army, the besiegers on the side next the sea suffered not much less than did the besieged in the citadel, and at length they left the harbour. No enterprise was now successful; Fortune herself seemed to have deserted the Carthaginians. These consequences of the fall of Capua—the deep shock given to the respect and confidence which Hannibal had hitherto enjoyed among the Italian allies, and the endeavours made by every community that was not too deeply compromised to gain readmission on tolerable terms into the Roman symmachy —affected Hannibal much more keenly than the immediate loss. He had to choose one of two courses; either to throw garrisons into the wavering towns, in which case he would weaken still more his army already too weak and would expose his trusty troops to destruction in small divisions or to treachery—500 of his select Numidian horsemen were put to death in this way in 544 on the defection of the town of Salapia; or to pull down and burn the towns which could not be depended on, so as to keep them out of the enemy's hands—a course, which could not raise the spirits of his Italian clients. On the fall of Capua the Romans felt themselves once more confident as to the final issue of the war in Italy; they despatched considerable reinforcements to Spain, where the existence of the Roman army was placed in jeopardy by the fall of the two Scipios; and for the first time since the beginning of the war they ventured on a diminution in the total number of their troops, which had hitherto been annually augmented notwithstanding the annually-increasing difficulty of levying them, and had risen at last to 23 legions. Accordingly in the next year (544) the Italian war was prosecuted more remissly than hitherto by the Romans, although Marcus Marcellus had after the close of the Sicilian war resumed the command of the main army; he applied himself to the besieging of fortresses in the interior, and had indecisive conflicts with the Carthaginians. The struggle for the Acropolis of Tarentum also continued without decisive result. In Apulia Hannibal succeeded in defeating the proconsul Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus at Herdoneae. In the following year (545) the Romans took steps to regain possession of the second large city, which had passed over to Hannibal, the city of Tarentum. While Marcus Marcellus continued the struggle against Hannibal in person with his wonted obstinacy and energy, and in a two days' battle, beaten on the first day, achieved on the second a costly and bloody victory; while the consul Quintus Fulvius induced the already wavering Lucanians and Hirpinians to change sides and to deliver up their Phoenician garrisons; while well-conducted razzias from Rhegium compelled Hannibal to hasten to the aid of the hard-pressed Bruttians; the veteran Quintus Fabius, who had once more—for the fifth time—accepted the consulship and along with it the commission to reconquer Tarentum, established himself firmly in the neighbouring Messapian territory, and the treachery of a Bruttian division of the garrison surrendered to him the city. Fearful excesses were committed by the exasperated victors. They put to death all of the garrison or of the citizens whom they could find, and pillaged the houses. 30,000 Tarentines are said to have been sold as slaves, and 3000 talents (730,000 pounds) are stated to have been sent to the state treasury. It was the last feat in arms of the general of eighty years; Hannibal arrived to the relief of the city when all was over, and withdrew to Metapontum.
Hannibal Driven Back
Death of Marcellus
After Hannibal had thus lost his most important acquisitions and found himself hemmed in by degrees to the south-western point of the peninsula, Marcus Marcellus, who had been chosen consul for the next year (546), hoped that, in connection with his capable colleague Titus Quintius Crispinus, he should be able to terminate the war by a decisive attack. The old soldier was not disturbed by the burden of his sixty years; sleeping and waking he was haunted by the one thought of defeating Hannibal and of liberating Italy. But fate reserved that wreath of victory for a younger brow. While engaged in an unimportant reconnaissance in the district of Venusia, both consuls were suddenly attacked by a division of African cavalry. Marcellus maintained the unequal struggle—as he had fought forty years before against Hamilcar and fourteen years before at Clastidium—till he sank dying from his horse; Crispinus escaped, but died of his wounds received in the conflict (546).
Pressure of the War
It was now the eleventh year of the war. The danger which some years before had threatened the very existence of the state seemed to have vanished; but all the more the Romans felt the heavy burden—a burden pressing more severely year after year—of the endless war. The finances of the state suffered beyond measure. After the battle of Cannae (538) a special bank-commission (-tres viri mensarii-) had been appointed, composed of men held in the highest esteem, to form a permanent and circumspect board of superintendence for the public finances in these difficult times. It may have done what it could; but the state of things was such as to baffle all financial sagacity. At the very beginning of the war the Romans had debased the silver and copper coin, raised the legal value of the silver piece more than a third, and issued a gold coin far above the value of the metal. This very soon proved insufficient; they were obliged to take supplies from the contractors on credit, and connived at their conduct because they needed them, till the scandalous malversation at last induced the aediles to make an example of some of the worst by impeaching them before the people. Appeals were often made, and not in vain, to the patriotism of the wealthy, who were in fact the very persons that suffered comparatively the most. The soldiers of the better classes and the subaltern officers and equites in a body, either voluntarily or constrained by the -esprit de corps-, declined to receive pay. The owners of the slaves armed by the state and manumitted after the engagement at Beneventum(3) replied to the bank-commission, which offered them payment, that they would allow it to stand over to the end of the war (540). When there was no longer money in the exchequer for the celebration of the national festivals and the repairs of the public buildings, the companies which had hitherto contracted for these matters declared themselves ready to continue their services for a time without remuneration (540). A fleet was even fitted out and manned, just as in the first Punic war, by means of a voluntary loan among the rich (544). They spent the moneys belonging to minors; and at length, in the year of the conquest of Tarentum, they laid hands on the last long-spared reserve fund (164,000 pounds). The state nevertheless was unable to meet its most necessary payments; the pay of the soldiers fell dangerously into arrear, particularly in the more remote districts. But the embarrassment of the state was not the worst part of the material distress. Everywhere the fields lay fallow: even where the war did not make havoc, there was a want of hands for the hoe and the sickle. The price of the -medimnus- (a bushel and a half) had risen to 15 -denarii- (10s.), at least three times the average price in the capital; and many would have died of absolute want, if supplies had not arrived from Egypt, and if, above all, the revival of agriculture in Sicily(4) had not prevented the distress from coming to the worst. The effect which such a state of things must have had in ruining the small farmers, in eating away the savings which had been so laboriously acquired, and in converting flourishing villages into nests of beggars and brigands, is illustrated by similar wars of which fuller details have been preserved.
Still more ominous than this material distress was the increasing aversion of the allies to the Roman war, which consumed their substance and their blood. In regard to the non-Latin communities, indeed, this was of less consequence. The war itself showed that they could do nothing, so long as the Latin nation stood by Rome; their greater or less measure of dislike was not of much moment. Now, however, Latium also began to waver. Most of the Latin communes in Etruria, Latium, the territory of the Marsians, and northern Campania —and so in those very districts of Italy which directly had suffered least from the war—announced to the Roman senate in 545 that thenceforth they would send neither contingents nor contributions, and would leave it to the Romans themselves to defray the costs of a war waged in their interest. The consternation in Rome was great; but for the moment there were no means of compelling the refractory. Fortunately all the Latin communities did not act in this way. The colonies in the land of the Gauls, in Picenum, and in southern Italy, headed by the powerful and patriotic Fregellae, declared on the contrary that they adhered the more closely and faithfully to Rome; in fact, it was very clearly evident to all of these that in the present war their existence was, if possible, still more at stake than that of the capital, and that this war was really waged not for Rome merely, but for the Latin hegemony in Italy, and in truth for the independence of the Italian nation. That partial defection itself was certainly not high treason, but merely the result of shortsightedness and exhaustion; beyond doubt these same towns would have rejected with horror an alliance with the Phoenicians. But still there was a variance between Romans and Latins, which did not fail injuriously to react on the subject population of these districts. A dangerous ferment immediately showed itself in Arretium; a conspiracy organized in the interest of Hannibal among the Etruscans was discovered, and appeared so perilous that Roman troops were ordered to march thither. The military and police suppressed this movement without difficulty; but it was a significant token of what might happen in those districts, if once the Latin strongholds ceased to inspire terror.
Amidst these difficulties and strained relations, news suddenly arrived that Hasdrubal had crossed the Pyrenees in the autumn of 546, and that the Romans must be prepared to carry on the war next year with both the sons of Hamilcar in Italy. Not in vain had Hannibal persevered at his post throughout the long anxious years; the aid, which the factious opposition at home and the shortsighted Philip had refused to him, was at length in the course of being brought to him by his brother, who, like himself, largely inherited the spirit of Hamilcar. Already 8000 Ligurians, enlisted by Phoenician gold, were ready to unite with Hasdrubal; if he gained the first battle, he might hope that like his brother he should be able to bring the Gauls and perhaps the Etruscans into arms against Rome. Italy, moreover, was no longer what it had been eleven years before; the state and the individual citizens were exhausted, the Latin league was shaken, their best general had just fallen in the field of battle, and Hannibal was not subdued. In reality Scipio might bless the star of his genius, if it averted the consequences of his unpardonable blunder from himself and from his country.
Hasdrubal and Hannibal on the March
As in the times of the utmost danger, Rome once more called out twenty-three legions. Volunteers were summoned to arm, and those legally exempt from military service were included in the levy. Nevertheless, they were taken by surprise. Far earlier than either friends or foes expected, Hasdrubal was on the Italian side of the Alps (547); the Gauls, now accustomed to such transits, were readily bribed to open their passes, and furnished what the army required. If the Romans had any intention of occupying the outlets of the Alpine passes, they were again too late; already they heard that Hasdrubal was on the Po, that he was calling the Gauls to arms as successfully as his brother had formerly done, that Placentia was invested. With all haste the consul Marcus Livius proceeded to the northern army; and it was high time that he should appear. Etruria and Umbria were in sullen ferment; volunteers from them reinforced the Phoenician army. His colleague Gaius Nero summoned the praetor Gaius Hostilius Tubulus from Venusia to join him, and hastened with an army of 40,000 men to intercept the march of Hannibal to the north. The latter collected all his forces in the Bruttian territory, and, advancing along the great road leading from Rhegium to Apulia, encountered the consul at Grumentum. An obstinate engagement took place in which Nero claimed the victory; but Hannibal was able at all events, although with some loss, to evade the enemy by one of his usual adroit flank-marches, and to reach Apulia without hindrance. There he halted, and encamped at first at Venusia, then at Canusium: Nero, who had followed closely in his steps, encamped opposite to him at both places. That Hannibal voluntarily halted and was not prevented from advancing by the Roman army, appears to admit of no doubt; the reason for his taking up his position exactly at this point and not farther to the north, must have depended on arrangements concerted between himself and Hasdrubal, or on conjectures as to the route of the latter's march, with which we are not acquainted. While the two armies thus lay inactive, face to face, the despatch from Hasdrubal which was anxiously expected in Hannibal's camp was intercepted by the outposts of Nero. It stated that Hasdrubal intended to take the Flaminian road, in other words, to keep in the first instance along the coast and then at Fanum to turn across the Apennines towards Narnia, at which place he hoped to meet Hannibal. Nero immediately ordered the reserve in the capital to proceed to Narnia as the point selected for the junction of the two Phoenician armies, while the division stationed at Capua went to the capital, and a new reserve was formed there. Convinced that Hannibal was not acquainted with the purpose of his brother and would continue to await him in Apulia, Nero resolved on the bold experiment of hastening northward by forced marches with a small but select corps of 7000 men and, if possible, in connection with his colleague, compelling Hasdrubal to fight. He was able to do so, for the Roman army which he left behind still continued strong enough either to hold its ground against Hannibal if he should attack it, or to accompany him and to arrive simultaneously with him at the decisive scene of action, should he depart.
Battle of Sena
Death of Hasdrubal
Nero found his colleague Marcus Livius at Sena Gallica awaiting the enemy. Both consuls at once marched against Hasdrubal, whom they found occupied in crossing the Metaurus. Hasdrubal wished to avoid a battle and to escape from the Romans by a flank movement, but his guides left him in the lurch; he lost his way on the ground strange to him, and was at length attacked on the march by the Roman cavalry and detained until the Roman infantry arrived and a battle became inevitable. Hasdrubal stationed the Spaniards on the right wing, with his ten elephants in front of it, and the Gauls on the left, which he kept back. Long the fortune of battle wavered on the right wing, and the consul Livius who commanded there was hard pressed, till Nero, repeating his strategical operation as a tactical manoeuvre, allowed the motionless enemy opposite to him to remain as they stood, and marching round his own army fell upon the flank of the Spaniards. This decided the day. The severely bought and very bloody victory was complete; the army, which had no retreat, was destroyed, and the camp was taken by assault. Hasdrubal, when he: saw the admirably-conducted battle lost, sought and found like his father an honourable soldier's death. As an officer and a man, he was worthy to be the brother of Hannibal.
Hannibal Retires to the Bruttian Territory
On the day after the battle Nero started, and after scarcely fourteen days' absence once more confronted Hannibal in Apulia, whom no message had reached, and who had not stirred. The consul brought the message with him; it was the head of Hannibal's brother, which the Roman ordered to be thrown into the enemy's outposts, repaying in this way his great antagonist, who scorned to war with the dead, for the honourable burial which he had given to Paullus, Gracchus, and Marcellus. Hannibal saw that his hopes had been in vain, and that all was over. He abandoned Apulia and Lucania, even Metapontum, and retired with his troops to the land of the Bruttians, whose ports formed his only means of withdrawal from Italy. By the energy of the Roman generals, and still more by a conjuncture of unexampled good fortune, a peril was averted from Rome, the greatness of which justified Hannibal's tenacious perseverance in Italy, and which fully bears comparison with the magnitude of the peril of Cannae. The joy in Rome was boundless; business was resumed as in time of peace; every one felt that the danger of the war was surmounted.
Stagnation of the War in Italy
Nevertheless the Romans were in no hurry to terminate the war. The state and the citizens were exhausted by the excessive moral and material strain on their energies; men gladly abandoned themselves to carelessness and repose.
The army and fleet were reduced; the Roman and Latin farmers were brought back to their desolate homesteads the exchequer was filled by the sale of a portion of the Campanian domains. The administration of the state was regulated anew and the disorders which had prevailed were done away; the repayment of the voluntary war-loan was begun, and the Latin communities that remained in arrears were compelled to fulfil their neglected obligations with heavy interest.
The war in Italy made no progress. It forms a brilliant proof of the strategic talent of Hannibal as well as of the incapacity of the Roman generals now opposed to him, that after this he was still able for four years to keep the field in the Bruttian country, and that all the superiority of his opponents could not compel him either to shut himself up in fortresses or to embark. It is true that he was obliged to retire farther and farther, not so much in consequence of the indecisive engagements which took place with the Romans, as because his Bruttian allies were always becoming more troublesome, and at last he could only reckon on the towns which his army garrisoned. Thus he voluntarily abandoned Thurii; Locri was, on the suggestion of Publius Scipio, recaptured by an expedition from Rhegium (549). As if at last his projects were to receive a brilliant justification at the hands of the very Carthaginian authorities who had thwarted him in them, these now, in their apprehension as to the anticipated landing of the Romans, revived of their own accord those plans (548, 549), and sent reinforcements and subsidies to Hannibal in Italy, and to Mago in Spain, with orders to rekindle the war in Italy so as to achieve some further respite for the trembling possessors of the Libyan country houses and the shops of Carthage. An embassy was likewise sent to Macedonia, to induce Philip to renew the alliance and to land in Italy (549). But it was too late. Philip had made peace with Rome some months before; the impending political annihilation of Carthage was far from agreeable to him, but he took no step openly at least against Rome. A small Macedonian corps went to Africa, the expenses of which, according to the assertion of the Romans, were defrayed by Philip from his own pocket; this may have been the case, but the Romans had at any rate no proof of it, as the subsequent course of events showed. No Macedonian landing in Italy was thought of.
Mago in Italy
Mago, the youngest son of Hamilcar, set himself to his task more earnestly. With the remains of the Spanish army, which he had conducted in the first instance to Minorca, he landed in 549 at Genoa, destroyed the city, and summoned the Ligurians and Gauls to arms. Gold and the novelty of the enterprise led them now, as always, to come to him in troops; he had formed connections even throughout Etruria, where political prosecutions never ceased. But the troops which he had brought with him were too few for a serious enterprise against Italy proper; and Hannibal likewise was much too weak, and his influence in Lower Italy had fallen much too low, to permit him to advance with any prospect of success. The rulers of Carthage had not been willing to save their native country, when its salvation was possible; now, when they were willing, it was possible no longer.
The African Expedition of Scipio
Nobody probably in the Roman senate doubted either that the war on the part of Carthage against Rome was at an end, or that the war on the part of Rome against Carthage must now be begun; but unavoidable as was the expedition to Africa, they were afraid to enter on its preparation. They required for it, above all, an able and beloved leader; and they had none. Their best generals had either fallen in the field of battle, or they were, like Quintus Fabius and Quintus Fulvius, too old for such an entirely new and probably tedious war. The victors of Sena, Gaius Nero and Marcus Livius, would perhaps have been equal to the task, but they were both in the highest degree unpopular aristocrats; it was doubtful whether they would succeed in procuring the command—matters had already reached such a pass that ability, as such, determined the popular choice only in times of grave anxiety—and it was more than doubtful whether these were the men to stimulate the exhausted people to fresh exertions. At length Publius Scipio returned from Spain, and the favourite of the multitude, who had so brilliantly fulfilled, or at any rate seemed to have fulfilled, the task with which it had entrusted him, was immediately chosen consul for the next year. He entered on office (549) with the firm determination of now realizing that African expedition which he had projected in Spain. In the senate, however, not only was the party favourable to a methodical conduct of the war unwilling to entertain the project of an African expedition so long as Hannibal remained in Italy, but the majority was by no means favourably disposed towards the young general himself. His Greek refinement and his modern culture and tone of thought were but little agreeable to the austere and somewhat boorish fathers of the city; and serious doubts existed both as to his conduct of the Spanish war and as to his military discipline. How much ground there was for the objection that he showed too great indulgence towards his officers of division, was very soon demonstrated by the disgraceful proceedings of Gaius Pleminius at Locri, the blame of which certainly was indirectly chargeable to the scandalous negligence which marked Scipio's supervision. In the proceedings in the senate regarding the organization of the African expedition and the appointment of a general for it, the new consul, wherever usage or the constitution came into conflict with his private views, showed no great reluctance to set such obstacles aside, and very clearly indicated that in case of need he was disposed to rely for support against the governing board on his fame and his popularity with the people. These things could not but annoy the senate and awaken, moreover, serious apprehension as to whether, in the impending decisive war and the eventual negotiations for peace with Carthage, such a general would hold himself bound by the instructions which he received—an apprehension which his arbitrary management of the Spanish expedition was by no means fitted to allay. Both sides, however, displayed wisdom enough not to push matters too far. The senate itself could not fail to see that the African expedition was necessary, and that it was not wise indefinitely to postpone it; it could not fail to see that Scipio was an extremely able officer and so far well adapted to be the leader in such a war, and that he, if any one, could prevail on the people to protract his command as long as was necessary and to put forth their last energies. The majority came to the resolution not to refuse to Scipio the desired commission, after he had previously observed, at least in form, the respect due to the supreme governing board and had submitted himself beforehand to the decree of the senate. Scipio was to proceed this year to Sicily to superintend the building of the fleet, the preparation of siege materials, and the formation of the expeditionary army, and then in the following year to land in Africa. For this purpose the army of Sicily—still composed of those two legions that were formed from the remnant of the army of Cannae—was placed at his disposal, because a weak garrison and the fleet were quite sufficient for the protection of the island; and he was permitted moreover to raise volunteers in Italy. It was evident that the senate did not appoint the expedition, but merely allowed it: Scipio did not obtain half the resources which had formerly been placed at the command of Regulus, and he got that very corps which for years had been subjected by the senate to intentional degradation. The African army was, in the view of the majority of the senate, a forlorn hope of disrated companies and volunteers, the loss of whom in any event the state had no great occasion to regret.
Any one else than Scipio would perhaps have declared that the African expedition must either be undertaken with other means, or not at all; but Scipio's confidence accepted the terms, whatever they were, solely with the view of attaining the eagerly-coveted command. He carefully avoided, as far as possible, the imposition of direct burdens on the people, that he might not injure the popularity of the expedition. Its expenses, particularly those of building the fleet which were considerable, were partly procured by what was termed a voluntary contribution of the Etruscan cities—that is, by a war tribute imposed as a punishment on the Arretines and other communities disposed to favour the Phoenicians—partly laid upon the cities of Sicily. In forty days the fleet was ready for sea. The crews were reinforced by volunteers, of whom seven thousand from all parts of Italy responded to the call of the beloved officer. So Scipio set sail for Africa in the spring of 550 with two strong legions of veterans (about 30,000 men), 40 vessels of war, and 400 transports, and landed successfully, without meeting the slightest resistance, at the Fair Promontory in the neighbourhood of Utica.
Preparations in Africa
The Carthaginians, who had long expected that the plundering expeditions, which the Roman squadrons had frequently made during the last few years to the African coast, would be followed by a more serious invasion, had not only, in order to ward it off, endeavoured to bring about a revival of the Italo-Macedonian war, but had also made armed preparation at home to receive the Romans. Of the two rival Berber kings, Massinissa of Cirta (Constantine), the ruler of the Massylians, and Syphax of Siga (at the mouth of the Tafna westward from Oran), the ruler of the Massaesylians, they had succeeded in attaching the latter, who was far the more powerful and hitherto had been friendly to the Romans, by treaty and marriage alliance closely to Carthage, while they cast off the other, the old rival of Syphax and ally of the Carthaginians. Massinissa had after desperate resistance succumbed to the united power of the Carthaginians and of Syphax, and had been obliged to leave his territories a prey to the latter; he himself wandered with a few horsemen in the desert. Besides the contingent to be expected from Syphax, a Carthaginian army of 20,000 foot, 6000 cavalry, and 140 elephants—Hanno had been sent out to hunt elephants for the very purpose—was ready to fight for the protection of the capital, under the command of Hasdrubal son of Gisgo, a general who had gained experience in Spain; in the port there lay a strong fleet. A Macedonian corps under Sopater, and a consignment of Celtiberian mercenaries, were immediately expected.
Scipio Driven Back to the Coast
Surprise of the Carthaginian Camp
On the report of Scipio's landing, Massinissa immediately arrived in the camp of the general, whom not long before he had confronted as an enemy in Spain; but the landless prince brought in the first instance nothing beyond his personal ability to the aid of the Romans, and the Libyans, although heartily weary of levies and tribute, had acquired too bitter experience in similar cases to declare at once for the invaders. So Scipio began the campaign. So long as he was only opposed by the weaker Carthaginian army, he had the advantage, and was enabled after some successful cavalry skirmishes to proceed to the siege of Utica; but when Syphax arrived, according to report with 50,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry, the siege had to be raised, and a fortified naval camp had to be constructed for the winter on a promontory, which easily admitted of entrenchment, between Utica and Carthage. Here the Roman general passed the winter of 550-1. From the disagreeable situation in which the spring found him he extricated himself by a fortunate -coup de main-. The Africans, lulled into security by proposals of peace suggested by Scipio with more artifice than honour, allowed themselves to be surprised on one and the same night in their two camps; the reed huts of the Numidians burst into flames, and, when the Carthaginians hastened to their help, their own camp shared the same fate; the fugitives were slain without resistance by the Roman divisions. This nocturnal surprise was more destructive than many a battle; nevertheless the Carthaginians did not suffer their courage to sink, and they rejected even the advice of the timid, or rather of the judicious, to recall Mago and Hannibal. Just at this time the expected Celtiberian and Macedonian auxiliaries arrived; it was resolved once more to try a pitched battle on the "Great Plains," five days' march from Utica. Scipio hastened to accept it; with little difficulty his veterans and volunteers dispersed the hastily- collected host of Carthaginians and Numidians, and the Celtiberians, who could not reckon on any mercy from Scipio, were cut down after obstinate resistance. After this double defeat the Africans could no longer keep the field. An attack on the Roman naval camp attempted by the Carthaginian fleet, while not unsuccessful, was far from decisive, and was greatly outweighed by the capture of Syphax, which Scipio's singular good fortune threw in his way, and by which Massinissa became to the Romans what Syphax had been at first to the Carthaginians.
Negotiations for Peace
Machinations of the Carthaginian Patriots
After such defeats the Carthaginian peace party, which had been reduced to silence for sixteen years, was able once more to raise its head and openly to rebel against the government of the Barcides and the patriots. Hasdrubal son of Gisgo was in his absence condemned by the government to death, and an attempt was made to obtain an armistice and peace from Scipio. He demanded the cession of their Spanish possessions and of the islands of the Mediterranean, the transference of the kingdom of Syphax to Massinissa, the surrender of all their vessels of war except 20, and a war contribution of 4000 talents (nearly 1,000,000 pounds)—terms which seemed so singularly favourable to Carthage, that the question obtrudes itself whether they were offered by Scipio more in his own interest or in that of Rome. The Carthaginian plenipotentiaries accepted them under reservation of their being ratified by the respective authorities, and accordingly a Carthaginian embassy was despatched to Rome. But the patriot party in Carthage were not disposed to give up the struggle so cheaply; faith in the nobleness of their cause, confidence in their great leader, even the example that had been set to them by Rome herself, stimulated them to persevere, apart from the fact that peace of necessity involved the return of the opposite party to the helm of affairs and their own consequent destruction. The patriotic party had the ascendency among the citizens; it was resolved to allow the opposition to negotiate for peace, and meanwhile to prepare for a last and decisive effort. Orders were sent to Mago and Hannibal to return with all speed to Africa. Mago, who for three years (549-551) had been labouring to bring about a coalition in Northern Italy against Rome, had just at this time in the territory of the Insubres (about Milan) been defeated by the far superior double army of the Romans. The Roman cavalry had been brought to give way, and the infantry had been thrown into confusion; victory seemed on the point of declaring for the Carthaginians, when a bold attack by a Roman troop on the enemy's elephants, and above all a serious wound received by their beloved and able commander, turned the fortune of the battle. The Phoenician army was obliged to retreat to the Ligurian coast, where it received and obeyed the order to embark; but Mago died of his wound on the voyage.
Hannibal Recalled to Africa
Hannibal would probably have anticipated the order, had not the last negotiations with Philip presented to him a renewed prospect of rendering better service to his country in Italy than in Libya; when he received it at Croton, where he latterly had his head-quarters, he lost no time in complying with it. He caused his horses to be put to death as well as the Italian soldiers who refused to follow him over the sea, and embarked in the transports that had been long in readiness in the roadstead of Croton. The Roman citizens breathed freely, when the mighty Libyan lion, whose departure no one even now ventured to compel, thus voluntarily turned his back on Italian ground. On this occasion the decoration of a grass wreath was bestowed by the senate and burgesses on the only survivor of the Roman generals who had traversed that troubled time with honour, the veteran of nearly ninety years, Quintus Fabius. To receive this wreath—which by the custom of the Romans the army that a general had saved presented to its deliverer—at the hands of the whole community was the highest distinction which had ever been bestowed upon a Roman citizen, and the last honorary decoration accorded to the old general, who died in the course of that same year (551). Hannibal, doubtless not under the protection of the armistice, but solely through his rapidity of movement and good fortune, arrived at Leptis without hindrance, and the last of the "lion's brood" of Hamilcar trode once more, after an absence of thirty-six years, his native soil. He had left it, when still almost a boy, to enter on that noble and yet so thoroughly fruitless career of heroism, in which he had set out towards the west to return homewards from the east, having described a wide circle of victory around the Carthaginian sea. Now, when what he had wished to prevent, and what he would have prevented had he been allowed, was done, he was summoned to help and if possible, to save; and he obeyed without complaint or reproach.
Recommencement of Hostilities
On his arrival the patriot party came forward openly; the disgraceful sentence against Hasdrubal was cancelled; new connections were formed with the Numidian sheiks through the dexterity of Hannibal; and not only did the assembly of the people refuse to ratify the peace practically concluded, but the armistice was broken by the plundering of a Roman transport fleet driven ashore on the African coast, and by the seizure even of a Roman vessel of war carrying Roman envoys. In just indignation Scipio started from his camp at Tunes (552) and traversed the rich valley of the Bagradas (Mejerdah), no longer allowing the townships to capitulate, but causing the inhabitants of the villages and towns to be seized en masse and sold. He had already penetrated far into the interior, and was at Naraggara (to the west of Sicca, now El Kef, on the frontier between Tunis and Algiers), when Hannibal, who had marched out from Hadrumetum, fell in with him. The Carthaginian general attempted to obtain better conditions from the Roman in a personal conference; but Scipio, who had already gone to the extreme verge of concession, could not possibly after the breach of the armistice agree to yield further, and it is not credible that Hannibal had any other object in this step than to show to the multitude that the patriots were not absolutely opposed to peace. The conference led to no result.
Battle of Zama
The two armies accordingly came to a decisive battle at Zama (presumably not far from Sicca).(5) Hannibal arranged his infantry in three lines; in the first rank the Carthaginian hired troops, in the second the African militia and the Phoenician civic force along with the Macedonian corps, in the third the veterans who had followed him from Italy. In front of the line were placed the 80 elephants; the cavalry were stationed on the wings. Scipio likewise disposed his legions in three ranks, as was the wont of the Romans, and so arranged them that the elephants could pass through and alongside of the line without breaking it. Not only was this disposition completely successful, but the elephants making their way to the side disordered also the Carthaginian cavalry on the wings, so that Scipio's cavalry —which moreover was by the arrival of Massinissa's troops rendered far superior to the enemy—had little trouble in dispersing them, and were soon engaged in full pursuit. The struggle of the infantry was more severe. The conflict lasted long between the first ranks on either side; at length in the extremely bloody hand-to-hand encounter both parties fell into confusion, and were obliged to seek a support in the second ranks. The Romans found that support; but the Carthaginian militia showed itself so unsteady and wavering, that the mercenaries believed themselves betrayed and a hand-to-hand combat arose between them and the Carthaginian civic force. But Hannibal now hastily withdrew what remained of the first two lines to the flanks, and pushed forward his choice Italian troops along the whole line. Scipio, on the other hand, gathered together in the centre as many of the first line as still were able to fight, and made the second and third ranks close up on the right and left of the first. Once more on the same spot began a still more fearful conflict; Hannibal's old soldiers never wavered in spite of the superior numbers of the enemy, till the cavalry of the Romans and of Massinissa, returning from the pursuit of the beaten cavalry of the enemy, surrounded them on all sides. This not only terminated the struggle, but annihilated the Phoenician army; the same soldiers, who fourteen years before had given way at Cannae, had retaliated on their conquerors at Zama. With a handful of men Hannibal arrived, a fugitive, at Hadrumetum.
After this day folly alone could counsel a continuance of the war on the part of Carthage. On the other hand it was in the power of the Roman general immediately to begin the siege of the capital, which was neither protected nor provisioned, and, unless unforeseen accidents should intervene, now to subject Carthage to the fate which Hannibal had wished to bring upon Rome. Scipio did not do so; he granted peace (553), but no longer upon the former terms. Besides the concessions which had already in the last negotiations been demanded in favour of Rome and of Massinissa, an annual contribution of 200 talents (48,000 pounds) was imposed for fifty years on the Carthaginians; and they had to bind themselves that they would not wage war against Rome or its allies or indeed beyond the bounds of Africa at all, and that in Africa they would not wage war beyond their own territory without having sought the permission of Rome—the practical effect of which was that Carthage became tributary and lost her political independence. It even appears that the Carthaginians were bound in certain cases to furnish ships of war to the Roman fleet.
Scipio has been accused of granting too favourable conditions to the enemy, lest he might be obliged to hand over the glory of terminating the most severe war which Rome had waged, along with his command, to a successor. The charge might have had some foundation, had the first proposals been carried out; it seems to have no warrant in reference to the second. His position in Rome was not such as to make the favourite of the people, after the victory of Zama, seriously apprehensive of recall—already before the victory an attempt to supersede him had been referred by the senate to the burgesses, and by them decidedly rejected. Nor do the conditions themselves warrant such a charge. The Carthaginian city never, after its hands were thus tied and a powerful neighbour was placed by its side, made even an attempt to withdraw from Roman supremacy, still less to enter into rivalry with Rome; besides, every one who cared to know knew that the war just terminated had been undertaken much more by Hannibal than by Carthage, and that it was absolutely impossible to revive the gigantic plan of the patriot party. It might seem little in the eyes of the vengeful Italians, that only the five hundred surrendered ships of war perished in the flames, and not the hated city itself; spite and pedantry might contend for the view that an opponent is only really vanquished when he is annihilated, and might censure the man who had disdained to punish more thoroughly the crime of having made Romans tremble. Scipio thought otherwise; and we have no reason and therefore no right to assume that the Roman was in this instance influenced by vulgar motives rather than by the noble and magnanimous impulses which formed part of his character. It was not the consideration of his own possible recall or of the mutability of fortune, nor was it any apprehension of the outbreak of a Macedonian war at certainly no distant date, that prevented the self-reliant and confident hero, with whom everything had hitherto succeeded beyond belief, from accomplishing the destruction of the unhappy city, which fifty years afterwards his adopted grandson was commissioned to execute, and which might indeed have been equally well accomplished now. It is much more probable that the two great generals, on whom the decision of the political question now devolved, offered and accepted peace on such terms in order to set just and reasonable limits on the one hand to the furious vengeance of the victors, on the other to the obstinacy and imprudence of the vanquished. The noble-mindedness and statesmanlike gifts of the great antagonists are no less apparent in the magnanimous submission of Hannibal to what was inevitable, than in the wise abstinence of Scipio from an extravagant and insulting use of victory. Is it to be supposed that one so generous, unprejudiced, and intelligent should not have asked himself of what benefit it could be to his country, now that the political power of the Carthaginian city was annihilated, utterly to destroy that ancient seat of commerce and of agriculture, and wickedly to overthrow one of the main pillars of the then existing civilization? The time had not yet come when the first men of Rome lent themselves to destroy the civilization of their neighbours, and frivolously fancied that they could wash away from themselves the eternal infamy of the nation by shedding an idle tear.
Results of the War
Thus ended the second Punic or, as the Romans more correctly called it, the Hannibalic war, after it had devastated the lands and islands from the Hellespont to the Pillars of Hercules for seventeen years. Before this war the policy of the Romans had no higher aim than to acquire command of the mainland of the Italian peninsula within its natural boundaries, and of the Italian islands and seas; it is clearly proved by their treatment of Africa on the conclusion of peace that they also terminated the war with the impression, not that they had laid the foundation of sovereignty over the states of the Mediterranean or of the so-called universal empire, but that they had rendered a dangerous rival innocuous and had given to Italy agreeable neighbours. It is true doubtless that other results of the war, the conquest of Spain in particular, little accorded with such an idea; but their very successes led them beyond their proper design, and it may in fact be affirmed that the Romans came into possession of Spain accidentally. The Romans achieved the sovereignty of Italy, because they strove for it; the hegemony—and the sovereignty which grew out of it—over the territories of the Mediterranean was to a certain extent thrown into the hands of the Romans by the force of circumstances without intention on their part to acquire it.
Out of Italy
The immediate results of the war out of Italy were, the conversion of Spain into two Roman provinces—which, however, were in perpetual insurrection; the union of the hitherto dependent kingdom of Syracuse with the Roman province of Sicily; the establishment of a Roman instead of a Carthaginian protectorate over the most important Numidian chiefs; and lastly the conversion of Carthage from a powerful commercial state into a defenceless mercantile town. In other words, it established the uncontested hegemony of Rome over the western region of the Mediterranean. Moreover, in its further development, it led to that necessary contact and interaction between the state systems of the east and the west, which the first Punic war had only foreshadowed; and thereby gave rise to the proximate decisive interference of Rome in the conflicts of the Alexandrine monarchies.
As to its results in Italy, first of all the Celts were now certainly, if they had not been already beforehand, destined to destruction; and the execution of the doom was only a question of time. Within the Roman confederacy the effect of the war was to bring into more distinct prominence the ruling Latin nation, whose internal union had been tried and attested by the peril which, notwithstanding isolated instances of wavering, it had surmounted on the whole in faithful fellowship; and to depress still further the non-Latin or non-Latinized Italians, particularly the Etruscans and the Sabellians of Lower Italy. The heaviest punishment or rather vengeance was inflicted partly on the most powerful, partly on those who were at once the earliest and latest, allies of Hannibal—the community of Capua, and the land of the Bruttians. The Capuan constitution was abolished, and Capua was reduced from the second city into the first village of Italy; it was even proposed to raze the city and level it with the ground. The whole soil, with the exception of a few possessions of foreigners or of Campanians well disposed towards Rome, was declared by the senate to be public domain, and was thereafter parcelled out to small occupiers on temporary lease. The Picentes on the Silarus were similarly treated; their capital was razed, and the inhabitants were dispersed among the surrounding villages. The doom of the Bruttians was still more severe; they were converted en masse into a sort of bondsmen to the Romans, and were for ever excluded from the right of bearing arms. The other allies of Hannibal also dearly expiated their offence. The Greek cities suffered severely, with the exception of the few which had steadfastly adhered to Rome, such as the Campanian Greeks and the Rhegines. Punishment not much lighter awaited the Arpanians and a number of other Apulian, Lucanian, and Samnite communities, most of which lost portions of their territory. On a part of the lands thus acquired new colonies were settled. Thus in the year 560 a succession of burgess-colonies was sent to the best ports of Lower Italy, among which Sipontum (near Manfredonia) and Croton may be named, as also Salernum placed in the former territory of the southern Picentes and destined to hold them in check, and above all Puteoli, which soon became the seat of the genteel -villeggiatura- and of the traffic in Asiatic and Egyptian luxuries. Thurii became a Latin fortress under the new name of Copia (560), and the rich Bruttian town of Vibo under the name of Valentia (562). The veterans of the victorious army of Africa were settled singly on various patches of land in Samnium and Apulia; the remainder was retained as public land, and the pasture stations of the grandees of Rome replaced the gardens and arable fields of the farmers. As a matter of course, moreover, in all the communities of the peninsula the persons of note who were not well affected to Rome were got rid of, so far as this could be accomplished by political processes and confiscations of property. Everywhere in Italy the non-Latin allies felt that their name was meaningless, and that they were thenceforth subjects of Rome; the vanquishing of Hannibal was felt as a second subjugation of Italy, and all the exasperation and all the arrogance of the victor vented themselves especially on the Italian allies who were not Latin. Even the colourless Roman comedy of this period, well subjected as it was to police control, bears traces of this. When the subjugated towns of Capua and Atella were abandoned without restraint to the unbridled wit of the Roman farce, so that the latter town became its very stronghold, and when other writers of comedy jested over the fact that the Campanian serfs had already learned to survive amidst the deadly atmosphere in which even the hardiest race of slaves, the Syrians, pined away; such unfeeling mockeries re-echoed the scorn of the victors, but not less the cry of distress from the down-trodden nations. The position in which matters stood is shown by the anxious carefulness, which during the ensuing Macedonian war the senate evinced in the watching of Italy, and by the reinforcements which were despatched from Rome to the most important colonies, to Venusia in 554, Narnia in 555, Cosa in 557, and Cales shortly before 570.
What blanks were produced by war and famine in the ranks of the Italian population, is shown by the example of the burgesses of Rome, whose numbers during the war had fallen almost a fourth. The statement, accordingly, which puts the whole number of Italians who fell in the war under Hannibal at 300,000, seems not at all exaggerated. Of course this loss fell chiefly on the flower of the burgesses, who in fact furnished the -elite- as well as the mass of the combatants. How fearfully the senate in particular was thinned, is shown by the filling up of its complement after the battle of Cannae, when it had been reduced to 123 persons, and was with difficulty restored to its normal state by an extraordinary nomination of 177 senators. That, moreover, the seventeen years' war, which had been carried on simultaneously in all districts of Italy and towards all the four points of the compass abroad, must have shaken to the very heart the national economy, is, as a general position, clear; but our tradition does not suffice to illustrate it in detail. The state no doubt gained by the confiscations, and the Campanian territory in particular thenceforth remained an inexhaustible source of revenue to the state; but by this extension of the domain system the national prosperity of course lost just about as much as at other times it had gained by the breaking up of the state lands. Numbers of flourishing townships—four hundred, it was reckoned—were destroyed and ruined; the capital laboriously accumulated was consumed; the population were demoralized by camp life; the good old traditional habits of the burgesses and farmers were undermined from the capital down to the smallest village. Slaves and desperadoes associated themselves in robber-bands, of the dangers of which an idea may be formed from the fact that in a single year (569) 7000 men had to be condemned for highway robbery in Apulia alone; the extension of the pastures, with their half-savage slave-herdsmen, favoured this mischievous barbarizing of the land. Italian agriculture saw its very existence endangered by the proof, first afforded in this war, that the Roman people could be supported by grain from Sicily and from Egypt instead of that which they reaped themselves.
Nevertheless the Roman, whom the gods had allowed to survive the close of that gigantic struggle, might look with pride to the past and with confidence to the future. Many errors had been committed, but much suffering had also been endured; the people, whose whole youth capable of arms had for ten years hardly laid aside shield or sword, might excuse many faults. The living of different nations side by side in peace and amity upon the whole—although maintaining an attitude of mutual antagonism—which appears to be the aim of modern phases of national life, was a thing foreign to antiquity. In ancient times it was necessary to be either anvil or hammer; and in the final struggle between the victors victory remained with the Romans. Whether they would have the judgment to use it rightly—to attach the Latin nation by still closer bonds to Rome, gradually to Latinize Italy, to rule their dependents in the provinces as subjects and not to abuse them as slaves, to reform the constitution, to reinvigorate and to enlarge the tottering middle class—many a one might ask. If they should know how to use it, Italy might hope to see happy times, in which prosperity based on personal exertion under favourable circumstances, and the most decisive political supremacy over the then civilized world, would impart a just self-reliance to every member of the great whole, furnish a worthy aim for every ambition, and open a career for every talent. It would, no doubt, be otherwise, should they fail to use aright their victory. But for the moment doubtful voices and gloomy apprehensions were silent, when from all quarters the warriors and victors returned to their homes; thanksgivings and amusements, and rewards to the soldiers and burgesses were the order of the day; the released prisoners of war were sent home from Gaul, Africa, and Greece; and at length the youthful conqueror moved in splendid procession through the decorated streets of the capital, to deposit his laurels in the house of the god by whose direct inspiration, as the pious whispered one to another, he had been guided in counsel and in action.
Notes for Chapter VI
1. III. III. The Celts Conquered by Rome
2. III. VI. The Sending of Reinforcements Temporarily Frustrated
3. III. VI. Conflicts in the South of Italy
4. III. VI. Sicily Tranquillized
5. Of the two places bearing this name, the more westerly, situated about 60 miles west of Hadrumetum, was probably the scene of the battle (comp. Hermes, xx. 144, 318). The time was the spring or summer of the year 552; the fixing of the day as the 19th October, on account of the alleged solar eclipse, is of no account.