The Consequences of the Battle of Cannae
The result of this battle, such as I have described it,
The results of the battle. Defection of the allies.
had the consequences which both sides expected. For the Carthaginians by their victory
were thenceforth masters of nearly the whole
of the Italian coast which is called Magna Graecia.
Tarentines immediately submitted; and the Arpani and some
of the Campanian states invited Hannibal to come to them;
and the rest were with one consent turning their eyes to the
Carthaginians: who, accordingly, began now to have high
hopes of being able to carry even Rome
itself by assault.
On their side the Romans, after this disaster, despaired of retaining their supremacy over the Italians, and were in the
greatest alarm, believing their own lives and the existence of
their city to be in danger, and every moment expecting that
Hannibal would be upon them.
For, as though Fortune were
in league with the disasters that had already
befallen them to fill up the measure of their ruin,
it happened that only a few days afterwards,
while the city was still in this panic, the Praetor
who had been sent to Gaul
fell unexpectedly into an ambush
and perished, and his army was utterly annihilated by the Celts.
In spite of all, however, the Senate left no means untried to
save the State. It exhorted the people to fresh exertions,
strengthened the city with guards, and deliberated on the
crisis in a brave and manly spirit. And subsequent events
made this manifest. For though the Romans were on that
occasion indisputably beaten in the field, and had lost reputation for military prowess; by the peculiar excellence of their
political constitution, and the prudence of their counsels, they
not only recovered their supremacy over Italy
, by eventually
conquering the Carthaginians, but before very long became
masters of the whole world.
I shall, therefore, end this book at this point, having now
recounted the events in Iberia
, embraced by the 140th Olympiad. When I have
arrived at the same period in my history of Greece
Olympiad, I shall then fulfil my promise of devoting a book
to a formal account of the Roman constitution itself; for I
think that a description of it will not only be germane to the
matter of my history, but will also be of great help to practical
statesmen, as well as students, either in reforming or establishing other constitutions.