Scouts sent to pursue the column reported next day that Hannibal was on his way to the land of the Bruttii.1
About the same time the Hirpini and Lucanians and the men of Volceii2
surrendered to Quintus Fulvius, the consul, handing over Hannibal's garrisons which they had in their cities, and were kindly received by him with nothing more than an oral reprimand for their previous mistake.
3 also were given to expect a like pardon, upon the arrival from that region of the brothers Vibius and Paccius, easily the noblest of that tribe, to ask for the same terms of surrender as had been given to the Lucanians.
Quintus Fabius, the consul, took the town of Manduria,4
in the land of the Sallentini, by storm. There about three thousand persons were captured, and other booty in quantity. Then removing to [p. 269]
Tarentum he pitched camp at the very entrance to5
Of the ships which Laevinus had had to protect his supplies, the consul loaded some with devices and equipment for attacking city walls, while some of them he fitted out with artillery and stones and every kind of missile weapon.
And so also with the merchantmen, not merely those propelled by oars,7
in order that some crews should carry engines and ladders up to the walls, and others from ships at long range should wound the defenders on the walls.
These ships were equipped and made ready to attack the city from the open sea. And the sea was unmolested by the Punic fleet, which had been sent over to Corcyra, since Philip was preparing to attack the Aetolians.
In the country of the Bruttii meanwhile the besiegers of Caulonia,8
to avoid being surprised, just before Hannibal's arrival withdrew to a hill that was safe from immediate attack, but otherwise offered nothing.
While Fabius was besieging Tarentum,9
a circumstance hardly worth mentioning aided him in attaining his great objective. The Tarentines had a guard of Bruttians, furnished by Hannibal. The commander of that guard10
was desperately in love with a young woman whose brother was in the army of Fabius, the consul.
This brother, informed by a letter from his sister of her new acquaintance with a stranger who was rich and held in such honour by his people, conceived the hope that through his sister her [p. 271]
lover could be swayed in any desired direction, and11
informed the consul what he hoped for.
Since that seemed no empty idea, he was bidden to go over to Tarentum, as if he were a deserter. And having won the friendship of the commander through his sister, he first guardedly sounded him, then, his lack of character being demonstrated, he used a woman's blandishments to lead him on to betray the defence of a place of which he had been put in command.
When the method of carrying out the plan and the time also had been settled, a soldier, sent out of the city secretly by night through intervals between outposts, reported to the consul the steps which had been taken and those which it had been agreed should be taken.
Fabius at the first watch gave the signal to the men in the citadel and to those who were guarding the harbour12
; and thereupon, making the circuit of the harbour, he established himself in hiding on the eastern side of the city.
Then trumpets sounded at the same time from the citadel and from the harbour, and from the ships which had approached from the open sea, and from all sides shouting and great uproar were purposely raised where there was the least danger. The consul meantime kept his men quiet.
Accordingly Democrates, who had previously been admiral of the fleet,13
and chanced to be in command at that point, on seeing everything near him quiet, while other quarters resounded with such an uproar that from time to time shouts arose as in a captured city, feared that, while he himself delayed, the consul might make an assault and bring in his troops.
He thereupon led his forces over to [p. 273]
the citadel, from which came the most terrifying14
Fabius, both from the time elapsed and from the mere silence —since no voice came from the direction where a little while before there was shouting to waken men and call them to arms —was aware that the guards had been removed. Accordingly he ordered ladders to be carried to that part of the wall where the go-between in the betrayal had reported that the cohort of Bruttians was on guard duty.
There first the wall was taken, the men being aided and welcomed by the Bruttians, and they climbed over the wall into the city. Then also the nearest gate15
was broken open, so that a dense column might march in.
Thereupon raising a shout they made their way into the market-place at about daybreak, while no armed men encountered them, and they drew against themselves an attack on every side from all the men who were fighting at the citadel and by the harbour.