While these things were carrying on, Quintus Fabius Pictor, the ambassador, returned from Delphi to Rome, and read the response of the oracle from a written copy. In it both the gods were mentioned, and in what manner supplication should be made.
It then stated, “If you do thus, Romans, your affairs will be more prosperous and less perplexed; your state will proceed more agreeably to your wishes; and the victory in the war will be on the side of the Roman people.
After that your state shall have been restored to prosperity and safety, send a present to the Pythian Apollo out of the gains you have earned, and pay honours to him out of the plunder, the booty, and the spoils.
Banish licentiousness from among you.” [p. 847]
Having read aloud these words, translated from the Greek verse, he added, that immediately on his departure from the oracle, he had paid divine honours to all these deities with wine and
frankincense; and that he was ordered by the chief priest of the temple, that, as he had approached the oracle land performed the sacred ceremonies decorated with a laurel crown, so he should embark wearing the crown, and not put it off till he had arrived at
Rome. That he had executed all these injunctions with the most scrupulous exactness and diligence, and had deposited the garland on the altar of Apollo at Rome. The senate decreed that the sacred ceremonies and supplications enjoined should be carefully performed with all possible
expedition. During these events at Rome and in Italy, Mago, the son of Hamilcar, had arrived at Carthage with the intelligence of the victory at Cannae. He was not sent direct from the field of battle by his brother, but was detained some days in receiving the submission of such states of the Bruttii as were in
revolt. Having obtained an audience of the senate he gave a full statement of his brother's exploits in Italy: “That he had fought pitched battles with six generals, four of whom were consuls, two a dictator and master of the horse, with six consular armies; that he had slain above two hundred thousand of the enemy, and captured above fifty
thousand. That out of the four consuls he had slain two; of the two remaining, one was wounded, the other, having lost his whole army, had fled from the field with scarcely fifty men; that the master of the horse, an authority equal to that of consul, had been routed and put to
flight; that the dictator, because he had never engaged in a pitched battle, was esteemed a matchless general; that the Bruttii, the Apulians, part of the Samnites and of the Lucanians had revolted to the
Carthaginians. That Capua, which was the capital not only of Campania, but after the ruin of the Roman power by the battle of Cannas, of Italy also, had delivered itself over to
Hannibal. That in return for these so many and so great victories, gratitude ought assuredly to be felt and thanks returned to the immortal gods.”