Besides the corn collected from all parts of the surrounding country by plunder, and the provisions imported from Italy and Sicily, Cneius Octavius, propraetor, brought a vast quantity out of Sardinia from Tiberius Claudius the praetor, whose province Sardinia was; and not only were the granaries already built filled, but new ones were erected.
The army wanted clothing, and Octavius was instructed to consult with the praetor in order to ascertain if any could be procured and sent out of that province. This business was also diligently attended to. One thousand two hundred gowns and twelve thousand tunics were in a short time sent.
During the summer in which these operations were carried on in Africa, Publius Sempronius, the consul, who had the province of Bruttium, fought an irregular kind of battle with Hannibal in the Crotonian territory while actually on march;
they fought with their troops drawn more in order of march than of battle. The Romans were driven back, and as many as twelve hundred of the army of the consul were slain in this affair, which was more a tumult than a battle.
They returned in confusion to their camp. The enemy, however, dared not assault it.
But, during the silence of the following night, the consul marched away, and having sent a messenger before him to Publius Licinius, the proconsul, to bring up his legions, united his forces with his. Thus two generals and two armies returned to Hannibal.
Nor did either party delay to fight, as the forces of the consul were [p. 1280]
doubled, and the Carthaginian was inspirited by recent victory. Sempronius led his legions into the front line; those of Licinius were placed in reserve.
The consul, in the beginning of the battle, vowed a temple to Fortuna Primigenia if he routed the enemy that day, and he obtained the object of that vow. The Carthaginians were routed and put to flight; above four thousand armed men were slain, a little under three hundred taken alive, with forty horses and eleven military standards.
Hannibal, dispirited by this adverse battle, led his troops away to Croton. At the same time, in another part of Italy, Etruria, almost the whole of which had espoused the interest of Mago, and had
conceived hopes of effecting a revolution through his means, was kept in subjection by the consul Marcus Cornelius, not so much by the force of his arms as the terror of his judicial proceedings.
In the trials he had instituted there, in conformity with the decree of the senate, he had shown the utmost impartiality; and many of the Tuscan nobles, who had either themselves gone, or had sent others to Mago respecting the revolt of their states, at first standing their trials, were condemned;
but afterwards others, who, from a consciousness of guilt, had gone into voluntary exile, were condemned in their absence, and by thus withdrawing left their effects only, which were liable to confiscation, as a pledge for their punishment.