These unusually great preparations alarmed the Campanians particularly, lest the Romans should commence the year's campaign with the siege of Capua. They therefore sent ambassadors to Hannibal, to implore him to bring his army to Capua, and tell him that new armies were levying at Rome for the purpose of besieging it;
and that there was not any city the defection of which had excited more hostile feelings.
As they announced this with so much fear, Hannibal concluded he must make haste lest the Romans should get there before him; and setting out from Arpi, took up his position in his old camp at Tifata, above Capua.
Leaving his Numidians and Spaniards for the protection both of the camp and Capua, he went down thence with the rest of his troops to the lake Avernus on the pretence of performing sacrifice, but in reality to make an attempt upon Puteoli and the garrison in it.
Maximus, on receiving intelligence that Hannibal had set out from Arpi, and was returning to Campania, went back to his army, pursuing his journey without intermission by night or by day.
He also ordered Tiberius Gracchus to bring up his troops from Luceria to Beneventum, and Quintus Fabius the praetor, the son of the consul, to go to Luceria in the room of Gracchus.
At the same time the two praetors set out for Sicily, Publius Cornelius to join his army, Otacilius to take the command of the sea-coast and the fleet;
the rest also proceeded to their respective provinces, and those who were continued in command remained in the same countries as in the former year.