About this time a fleet came in to Ostia from King Hiero with a great store of supplies.
His envoys were introduced into the senate, where they told how the news of the destruction of Gaius Flaminius the consul and his army had so grieved the King that no disaster to himself or his own kingdom could have distressed him more.
Accordingly, though well aware that the greatness of the Roman People was almost more astonishing in adversity than in prosperity, he had nevertheless sent [p. 323]
them all those things with which good and faithful1
allies were wont to assist their friends in time of
war, and he earnestly besought the Conscript Fathers not to refuse them.
In the first place, for the omen's sake, they were bringing a golden Victory, weighing two hundred and twenty pounds, which they begged the Romans to accept and keep, and to regard it as their own for ever.
They had also brought three hundred thousand measures2
of wheat and two hundred thousand of barley, that there might be no failure of provision; and whatever additional quantity were needed they stood ready to convey to any place which the senate might designate.
For heavy foot and horse, the King knew that the Roman People employed none but Romans and Latins;
but amongst the light-armed auxiliaries, he had seen in the camps of the Romans even foreigners; he had therefore sent a thousand archers and slingers, a force well adapted to cope with Moors and Baliares and other tribes that fought with missiles.
To these gifts they added a piece of advice, that the praetor, namely, who might be assigned to Sicily should sail over with his fleet to Africa, so that the enemy, too, might have war on their own soil, whereby they would experience less freedom in dispatching aid to Hannibal.
The senate, in replying to the royal emissaries, said that Hiero was a good man and a rare ally, who from the time when he became a friend of the Roman People had maintained an unswerving loyalty, and always and in every place had given generous assistance to the Roman cause. For this the Romans were grateful, as in duty bound.
As for the gold, other states as well had proffered it, but the Roman [p. 325]
People, though thankful for the kind intention, had3
not accepted it;
the Victory and her omen they did accept; and to that goddess they dedicated and assigned the Capitol, the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, to be her seat. Established in that citadel of Rome she would be gracious and propitious, faithful and steadfast, to the Roman People.
The slingers and archers and the corn were turned over to the consuls. Twenty-five quinqueremes were added to the fleet of fifty ships that was under the command of Titus Otacilius in Sicily, and permission was given him, if he deemed it advantageous to the state, to sail across to Africa.