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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXIII Chapter 10: The fate of Decius Magius.[216 BC]
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|The next day an audience of a full senate was given to Hannibal, when the first part of his address was full of graciousness and benignity, in which he thanked the Campanians for having preferred his friendship to an alliance with the Romans, and held out among his other magnificent promises "that Capua should soon become the capital of all Italy, and that the Romans as well as the other states should receive laws from it. That there was, however, one person who had no share in the Carthaginian friendship and the alliance formed with him, Decius Magius, who neither was nor ought to be called a Campanian. Him he requested to be surrendered to him, and that the sense of the senate should be taken respecting his conduct, and a decree passed in his presence." All concurred in this proposition, though a great many considered him as a man undeserving such severe treatment; and that this proceeding was no small infringement of their liberty to begin with. Leaving the senate-house, the magistrate took his seat on the consecrated bench, ordered Decius Magius to be apprehended, and to be placed by himself before his feet to plead his cause. But he, his proud spirit being unsubdued, denied that such a measure could be enforced agreeably to the conditions of the treaty; upon which he was ironed, and ordered to be brought into the camp before a lictor. As long as he was conducted with his head uncovered, he moved along earnestly haranguing and vociferating to the multitude which poured around him on all sides. "You have gotten that liberty, Campanians, which you seek; in the middle of the forum, in the light of day, before your eyes, I, a man second to none of the Campanians, am dragged in chains to suffer death. What greater outrage could have been committed had Capua been captured? Go out to meet Hannibal, decorate your city to the utmost, consecrate the day of his arrival, that you may behold this triumph over a fellow-citizen." As the populace seemed to be excited by him, vociferating these things, his head was covered, and he was ordered to be dragged away more speedily without the gate. Having been thus brought to the camp, he was immediately put on board a ship and sent to Carthage, lest if any commotion should arise at Capua on account of the injustice of the proceeding, the senate also should repent of having given up a leading citizen; and lest if an embassy were sent to request his restoration, he must either offend his new allies by refusing their first petition, or, by granting it, be compelled to retain at Capua a promoter of sedition and disturbance. A tempest drove the vessel to Cyrenae, which was at that time under the dominion of kings. Here flying for refuge to the statue of king Ptolemy, he was conveyed thence in custody to Alexandria to Ptolemy; and having instructed him that he had been thrown into chains by Hannibal, contrary to the law of treaties, he was liberated and allowed to return to whichever place he pleased, Rome or Capua. But Magius said, that Capua would not be a safe place for him, and that Rome, at a time when there was war between the Romans and Capuans, would be rather the residence of a deserter than a guest. That there was no place that he should rather dwell in, than in the dominions of him whom he esteemed an avenger and the protector of his liberty.||
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Triumph:The highest honour to a general: clad like Jupiter he drove in a chariot drawn by four white horses. Before him walked the prisoners taken in the war, and the spoils of the captured cities, and in later times pictures of the conquered territories were carried before the general's chariot. He was followed by his troops, who sung songs, often extempore effusions, in honour of their commander.