Not until then were the enemy aroused, as the noise of the rain was now lessening and daylight approaching.
In the city there was a garrison of Hannibal's, about five thousand armed men, and the citizens of Arpi also had armed three thousand men. These were the first troops with which the Carthaginians, to prevent any treachery in the rear, confronted the enemy.
They fought at first in darkness and in narrow streets. The Romans gained possession not only of the streets but also of the houses nearest to the gate, that they might not be attacked and wounded from above.
Thereupon some Arpini and Romans recognized each other and then began conversations.
The Romans asked what the Arpini meant, for what offence on the part of the Romans, or for what service on the part of the Carthaginians they, although Italians, were waging war for foreigners and barbarians against their old allies the Romans, and making Italy a tributary and a taxpayer to Africa.
The Arpini pleaded as excuse that in complete ignorance they had been sold by their leading citizens to the Carthaginian and captured and overpowered by a few men.
With that beginning larger groups conversed with larger. Finally the magistrate of Arpi was escorted by fellowcitizens to the consul, and after promises had been given in the midst of standards and battle-lines, the [p. 327]
Arpini suddenly fought for the Romans, turning their1
weapons against the Carthaginians.
The Spanish troops also, hardly fewer than a thousand men, after making no other terms with the consul than that the Punic garrison be allowed
to go without injury, brought their standards over to the consul.
The gates were opened for the Carthaginians, they were allowed to leave, as promised, and came unharmed to Hannibal at Salapia.
Arpi, with the loss of no man but a single veteran traitor and recent deserter, was restored to the Romans. To the Spaniards double rations were ordered to be issued, and the state repeatedly availed itself of their brave and faithful service.
While one consul was in Apulia, the other2
in Lucania, a hundred and twelve noble Campanian horsemen, setting out from Capua, with permission of the magistrates, under pretext of plundering the enemy's country, came to the Roman camp above Suessula.
They told the guards outside who they were; that they wished to speak with the praetor.
Gnaeus Fulvius was in command of the camp, and on being informed, he ordered that ten of their number be disarmed and brought to him. After he had heard their demands —and they made no other request than that upon the recovery of Capua their property should be restored to them, they were all taken under his protection.
And the other praetor, Sempronius Tuditanus, took the town of Atrinum3
by storm. More than seven thousand men were captured and a considerable amount of coined copper and silver.
At Rome a terrible fire lasted two nights and a day. Everything between the Salinae and Porta Carmentalis was levelled to the ground, [p. 329]
including the Aequimaelium and Vicus Iugarius,4 5
also the Temples of Fortune and Mater
Matuta. Outside the gate also the fire spread to a distance and destroyed many buildings sacred6