A treaty was concluded between the Carthaginian general and the ambassadors, upon nearly these terms; and Gisgo, Bostar, and Mago were sent as ambassadors with them to receive the ratification of the king in person.
They arrived at the same place, near the temple of Juno Lacinia, where the vessel lay concealed in a creek.
Setting out thence, when they had got into the open sea, they were descried by [p. 877]
the Roman fleet, which was guarding the coasts of Calabria.
Publius Valerius Flaccus having sent fly-boats to pursue and bring back the ship, the king's party at first attempted to fly; but afterwards, finding that they were overmatched in swiftness, they delivered themselves up to the Romans, and were brought to the commander of the fleet.
Upon being asked by him who they were, whence they came, and whither they were going, Xenophanes, having once been pretty successful, made up a fictitious story and said, “that he was sent from Philip to the Romans; that he had succeeded in reaching Marcus Valerius, to whom alone he had safe access; that he was unable to make his way through Campania, which was beset with the troops of the enemy.”
But afterwards the Carthaginian dress and manners excited suspicions of the messengers of Hannibal, and when interrogated, their speech betrayed them;
then on their companions being removed to separate places, and intimidated by threats, even a letter from Hannibal to Philip was discovered, and the agreement made between the king of the Macedonians and the Carthaginian.
These points having been ascertained, the best course appeared to be, to convey the prisoners and their companions as soon as possible to the senate at Rome, or to the consuls, wheresoever they might be;
for this service five of the fastest sailing vessels were selected, and Lucius Valerius Antias sent in command of them, with orders to distribute the ambassadors through all the ships separately, and take particular care that they should hold no conversation or consultation with each other.
About the same time Aulus Cornelius Mammula, on his return from the province of Sardinia, made a report of the state of affairs in the island; that every body contemplated war and revolt;
that Quintus Mucius who succeeded him, being on his arrival affected by the unwholesomeness of the air and water, had fallen into a disorder rather lingering than dangerous, and would for a long time be incapable of sustaining the violent exertion of the war;
that the army there, though strong enough for the protection of a province in a state of tranquillity, was, nevertheless, not adequate to the maintenance of the war which seemed to be about to break out.
Upon which the fathers decreed, that Quintus Fulvius Flaccus should enlist five thousand foot and four hundred horse, and take care that the legion thus formed should be trans- [p. 878]
ported as soon
as possible into Sardinia, and send invested with command whomsoever he thought fit to conduct the business of the war until Mucius had recovered.
For this service Titus Manlius Torquatus was sent; he had been twice consul and censor, and had subdued the Sardinians during his consulate.
Nearly about the same time a fleet sent from Carthage to Sardinia under the conduct of Hasdrubal, surnamed the Bald, having suffered from a violent tempest, was driven upon the Balearian islands, where a good deal of time was lost in refitting
the ships, which were hauled on shore, so much were they damaged, not only in their rigging but also in their hulls.