y-four years of age), but reputed to be discreet and high-minded, advanced and made an impressive discourse concerning his father and his uncle, and after lamenting their fate said that he was the only member of the family left to be the avenger of them and of his country. He spoke copiously and vehemently, like one possessed, promising to subdue not only Spain, but Africa and Carthage in addition. To many this seemed like youthful boasting, but he revived the spirits of the people (for B.C. 211 those who are cast down are cheered by promises), and was chosen general for Spain in the expectation that he would do something worthy of his high spirit. The older ones said that this was not high spirit, but foolhardiness. When Scipio heard of this he called the assembly together again, and repeated what he had said before, declaring that his youth would be no impediment, but he added that if any of his elders wished to assume the task he would willingly yield it to them. When nobody offer
ile endeavoring to help the Romans in Tarentum, unexpectedly fell into the power of the Carthaginians. The Roman garrison in Thurii escaped secretly by sea to Brundusium.
The Metapontines, whose prefect had taken half of B.C. 211 his force to Tarentum, slew the remainder, who were few in number, and delivered themselves up to Hannibal. Heraclea, which lay midway between Metapontum and Tarentum, followed their example, being moved by fear rather than inclination. Thus Hannieed through the gate into Capua, and galloping through the whole city, ran out at the opposite gate and rejoined the Romans, and was thus marvellously saved.
Hannibal, having failed in the task that called him to B.C. 211 Lucania, turned back to Capua, considering it very important to defend a city so large, and which had been a city of importance under Roman sway. He accordingly at-tacked their enclosing wall, but as he accomplished nothing and could devise no way