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The signal was given and the word passed to collect the baggage; they then proceeded in marching order to the Dictator's camp much to his surprise and to the surprise of all who were round him.  When the standards had been stationed in front of his tribunal, the Master of the Horse stepped forward and addressed him as "Father," and the whole of his troops saluted those who were crowding round them as "Patrons."  He then proceeded, "I have put you on a level, Dictator, with my parents as far as I can do so in words, but to them I only owe my life, to you I owe my preservation and the safety of all these men.  The decree of the plebs, which I feel to be onerous rather than an honour, I am the first to repeal and annul, and with a prayer that it may turn out well for you, for me, and for these armies of yours, for preserved and preserver alike, I place myself again under your auspicious authority and restore to you these legions with their standards.  I ask you, as an act of grace, to order me to retain my office and these, each man of them, his place in the ranks."  Then each man grasped his neighbour's hand, and the soldiers were dismissed to quarters where they were generously and hospitably entertained by acquaintances and strangers alike, and the day which had a short time ago been dark and gloomy and almost marked by disaster and ruin became a day of joy and gladness.  When the report of this action reached Rome and was confirmed by despatches from both commanders, and by letters from the rank and file of both armies, every man did his best to extol Maximus to the skies.  His reputation was quite as great with Hannibal and the Carthaginians; now at last they felt that the were warring with Romans and on Italian soil.  For the last two years they had felt such contempt for Roman generals and Roman troops that they could hardly believe that they were at war with that nation of whom they had heard such a terrible report from their fathers.  Hannibal on his return from the field is reported to have said, "The cloud which has so long settled on the mountain heights has at last burst upon us in rain and storm."
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