Scipio was heard less favourably, because a report had been spread that, if he did not prevail with the senate to have [p. 1227]
Africa decreed to him as his province, he would immediately lay the matter before the people.
Therefore, Quintus Fulvius, who had been consul four times, and censor, requested of the consul that he would openly declare in the senate whether “he submitted to the fathers to decide respecting the provinces; and whether he intended to abide by their determination, or to put it to the people.”
Scipio having replied that he would act as he thought for the interest of the state, Fulvius then rejoined:
“When I asked you the question I was not ignorant of what answer you would give, or how you would act; for you plainly show that you are rather sounding than consulting the senate;
and, unless we immediately decree to you the province you wish, have a bill ready (to lay before the people). Therefore,” said he, “I require of you, tribunes of the people, to support me in refusing to give my opinion, because, though my recommendation should be adopted, the consul is not disposed to abide by it.”
An altercation then arose, the consul asserting that it was unfair for the tribunes to interpose so as to prevent any senator from giving his opinion in his place on being asked it.
The tribunes came to the determination, “that if the consul submit to the senate the question relating to the provinces, whatever the senate decree we shall consider as final, nor will we allow a bill to be proposed to the people on the subject. If he does not submit it to them, we will support any one who shall refuse to deliver his sentiments upon the matter.” The consul requested the delay of a day to confer with his colleague.
The next day the decision was submitted to the senate. The provinces were assigned in this manner: to one of the consuls Sicily and thirty ships of war, which Caius Servilius had commanded the former year; he was also permitted to cross over into Africa if he conceived it to be for the advantage of the state.
To the other consul Bruttium and the war with Hannibal were assigned; with either that army which Lucius Veturius or that which Quintus Caecilius commanded.
The two latter were to draw lots, and settle between themselves which should act in Bruttium with the two legions which the consul gave up; and he to whose lot that province fell, was to be continued in command for a year. The other persons also, besides the consuls and praetors, who were to take the command of armies and provinces, were continued in command.
It fell to the lot of Quintus Caecilius to carry on the war against Hannibal in Bruttium, together with the consul.
The games of Scipio were then celebrated in the presence of a great number of persons, and with the approbation of the spectators. The deputies, Marcus Pomponius Matho and Quintus Catius, sent to Delphi to convey a present out of the spoils taken from Hasdrubal, carried with them a golden crown of two hundred pounds' weight, and representations of the spoils made out of a thousand pounds' weight of silver.
Scipio, though he could not obtain leave to levy troops, a point which he did not urge with great eagerness, obtained leave to take with him such as volunteered their services;
and also, as he declared that the fleet would not be the occasion of expense to the state, to receive what was furnished by the allies for building fresh ships.
First, the states of Etruria engaged to assist the consuls to the utmost of their respective abilities. The people of Caere furnished corn, and provisions of every description, for the crews; the people of Populoni furnished iron; of Tarquinii, cloth for sails;
those of Volaterrae, planks for ships, and corn; those of Arretium, thirty thousand shields, as many helmets;
and of javelins, Gallic darts, and long spears, they undertook to make up to the amount of fifty thousand, an equal number of each description, together with as many axes, mattocks, bills, buckets, and mills, as should be sufficient for fifty men of war, with a hundred and twenty thousand pecks of wheat;
and to contribute to the support of the decurios and rowers on the voyage. The people of Perusia, Clusium, and Rusella furnished firs for building ships, and a great quantity of corn.
Scipio had firs out of the public woods. The states of Umbria, and, besides them, the people of Nursia, Reate, and Amiternum, and all those of the Sabine territory, promised soldiers.
Many of the Marsians, Pelignians, and Marrucinians volunteered to serve in the fleet. The Cameritans, as they were joined with the Romans in a league on equal terms, sent an armed cohort of six hundred men.
Having laid the keels of thirty ships, twenty of which were quinqueremes, and ten quadriremes, he prosecuted the work with such diligence, that, on the forty-fifth day after the materials were taken from the woods, the ships, being fully equipped and armed, were launched.