He lodged at the house of the Ninii Celeres, Stenius and Pacuvius, men distinguished by their noble descent and their wealth.
Thither Pacuvius Calavius, of whom mention has already been made, who was the head of the party which had drawn over the state to the Carthaginian cause, brought his son,
a young man, whom he had forced from the side of Decius Magius, in conjunction with whom he had made a most determined stand for the Roman alliance in opposition to the league with the Carthaginians; nor had the leaning of the state to the other side, or his father's authority, altered his sentiments.
For this youth his father procured pardon from Hannibal, more by prayers than by clearing him. Hannibal, overcome by the entreaties and tears of his father, even gave orders that he should be invited with his father to the banquet;
to which entertainment he intended to admit no Campanian besides his hosts, and Jubellius Taurea, a man distinguished in war.
They began to feast early in the day, and the entertainment was not conformable to the Carthaginian custom, or to military discipline, but as might be expected in a city and in a house both remarkable for luxury, was furnished with all the allurements of voluptuousness.
Perolla, the son of Calavius, was the only person who could not be won either by the solicitations of the masters of the house, or those which Hannibal sometimes employed. The youth himself pleaded ill health as an apology, while his father urged as an excuse the disturbed state of his mind, which was not surprising.
About sunset, Calavius, who had gone out from the banquet, was followed by his son; and when they had arrived at a retired place, (it was a garden at the back part
of the house,) he said, “I have a plan to propose to you, my father, by which we shall not only obtain pardon from the Romans for our crime, in that we revolted from them to the Carthaginian, but shall be held in much higher esteem, [p. 844]
than we Campanians ever have been.”
When the father inquired with surprise what that plan could be, he threw back his gown off his shoulder and exposed to view his side, which was girt with a sword.
“Forthwith will I ratify the alliance with Rome with the blood of Hannibal. I was desirous that you should be informed of it first, in case you might prefer to be absent while the deed is performing.”