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Quote of the day: The dark complexion of the Silures, thei
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 40: Hannibal in South-Italy[207 BC]
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The consuls left for the front, each by a separate route, and their departure was watched with feelings of painful anxiety. Men realised that the republic had two wars on its hands simultaneously; they recalled the disasters which followed upon Hannibal's appearance in Italy, and wondered what gods would be so propitious to the City and the empire as to grant victory over two enemies at once in widely distant fields. Up till now heaven had preserved it by balancing victories against defeats. When the cause of Rome had been brought to the ground in Italy at Lake Thrasymenus and at Cannae, the successes in Spain raised it up once more; when reverse after reverse had been sustained in Spain and the State lost its two generals and the greater part of both their armies, the many successes achieved in Italy and Sicily stayed the collapse of the battered republic, whilst the distance at which that unsuccessful war was waged in the remotest corner of the world afforded in itself a breathing space. Now they had two wars on hand, both in Italy; two generals who bore illustrious names were closing round Rome; the whole weight of the peril, the whole burden of the conflict had settled down on one spot. The one who was first victorious would in a few days unite his forces with the other. Such were the gloomy forebodings, and they were deepened by the recollections of the past year made so mournful by the death of both consuls. In this depressed and anxious mood the population escorted the consuls to the gates of the City, as they left for their respective provinces. There is an utterance recorded of Marcus Livius which shows his bitter feeling towards his fellow-citizens. When on his departure Quintus Fabius warned him against giving battle before he knew the sort of enemy he had to meet, Livius is said to have replied that he would fight as soon as he caught sight of the enemy. When asked why he was in such a hurry he said: "Either I shall win special distinction from conquering such an enemy or a well-earned if not very honourable pleasure from the defeat of my fellow-citizens." Before the consul Claudius Nero arrived in his province,Hannibal, who was marching just outside the frontiers of the territory of Larinum on his way to the Sallentini, was attacked by Gaius Hostilius Tubulus. His light infantry created considerable disorder amongst the enemy, who were not prepared for action; 4000 of them were slain, and nine standards captured. Quintus Claudius had quartered his troops in various cities in the Sallentine district, and on hearing of the enemy's approach he quitted his winter quarters and took the field against him. Not wishing to meet both armies at once, Hannibal left the neighbourhood by night, and withdrew into Bruttium. Claudius marched back into the Sallentine territory, and Hostilius while on his way to Capua met the consul Claudius Nero near Venusia. Here a corps d'elite was selected from both armies, consisting of 40,000 and 2500 cavalry, which the consul intended to employ against Hannibal. The rest of the troops Hostilius was ordered to take to Capua and then hand them over to Quintus Fulvius the proconsul.

Hannibal in South-Italy, 207 BC

Event: Hannibal in South-Italy, 207 BC