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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVI Chapter 14: Suicide of Virrius; surrender of Capua.[211 BC]
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|More of those who heard this speech of Virrius approved of the proposal contained in it, than had strength of mind to execute what they approved. The greater part of the senate being not without hopes that the Romans, whose clemency they had frequently had proof of in many wars, would be exorable by them also, decreed and sent ambassadors to surrender Capua to the Romans. About twenty-seven senators, following Vibius Virrius to his home, partook of the banquet with him; and after having, as far as they could, withdrawn their minds, by means of wine, from the perception of the impending evil, all took the poison. They then rose from the banquet, after giving each other their right hands, and taking a last embrace, mingling their tears for their own and their country's fate; some of them remained, that they might be burned upon the same pile, and the rest retired to their homes. Their veins being filled in consequence of what they had eaten, and the wine they drank, rendered the poison less efficacious in expediting death; and accordingly, though the greater part of them languished the whole of that night and part of the following day, all of them, however, breathed their last before the gates were opened to the enemy. The following day the gate of Jupiter, which faced the Roman camp, was opened by order of the proconsul, when one legion and two squadrons of allies marched in at it, under the command of Gaius Fulvius, lieutenant-general. When he had taken care that all the arms and weapons to be found in Capua should be brought to him; having placed guards at all the gates to prevent any one's going or being sent out, he seized the Carthaginian garrison, and ordered the Campaniansenators to go into the camp to the Roman generals. On their arrival they were all immediately thrown into chains, and ordered to lay before the quaestor an account of all the gold and silver they had. There were seventy pounds ofgold, and three thousand two hundred of silver. Twenty-five of the senators were sent to Cales, to be kept in custody, and twenty-eight to Teanum; these being the persons by whose advice principally it appeared that the revolt from the Romans had taken place.||
Quaestor:There were two sets of officers bearing this title, the commissioners of the treasure, and the "trackers of murder" -- as their title may be literally translated -- whose duty was to search for and bring up for prosecution those who had been guilty of capital crimes.