first the consuls, little better than half —naked, were sent under the yoke, then their subordinates were humbled, each in the order of his rank; and then, one after another, the several legions.
The enemy under arms stood on either side, reviling them and mocking them; many they actually threatened with the sword, and some, whose [p. 183]
resentment of the outrage showing too plainly in their1
faces gave their conquerors offence, they wounded or slew outright.
thus they were sent under the yoke, and, what was almost harder to bear, while their enemies looked on. on emerging from the pass, although they seemed like men raised from the dead, who beheld for the first time the light of day, yet the very light itself, which allowed them to see that dismal throng, was gloomier than any death.
and so, although it was in their power to have made Capua before nightfall, yet, questioning the loyalty of their allies, and withheld also by shame, they threw themselves upon the ground along the roadside, not far from the city, with nothing to supply their wants.
when tidings of this were brought to Capua, a feeling of pity, natural to allies, overcame the ingrained arrogance of the Campanians.
ungrudgingly, without an instant's hesitation, they dispatched the insignia of their office to the consuls, together with arms, horses, clothing, and provisions, for the men;
and as they drew near Capua, the whole senate and people going forth to meet them used towards them all the rites of hospitality and every public and private courtesy.
yet the kindness of their allies and their friendly looks and words were so far from drawing the Romans into talk that they could not even be got to raise their eyes or look their friends and comforters in the face;
so constrained were they by a kind of humiliation —over and above their grief —to
avoid the speech and assemblages of men.
on the following day, when the young nobles sent from Capua to attend them to the borders of Campania had returned, and were called into the [p. 185]
senatehouse and questioned by the elders, they reported2
that they had seemed to be much more sorrowful and dejected than before: their column had marched on in silence and almost as though dumb;
the old Roman spirit was quite dashed; they had lost their courage with their arms; being saluted, they returned not the salutation; they responded to no questions; not a man of them had been able to open his mouth for shame, as if they still bore on their necks the yoke under which they had been sent;
the Samnites had won not only a famous but a lasting victory, for they had conquered, not Rome —as the Gauls had done before —but a thing which demanded far greater prowess —the Roman valour and independence.