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During these occurrences Q. Fabius Pictor returned home from his mission to Delphi. He read the response of the oracle from a manuscript, in which were contained the names of the gods and goddesses to whom supplications were to be made, and the forms to be observed in making them.  This was the closing paragraph: "If ye act thus, Romans, your estate will be better and less troubled, your republic will go forward as ye would have it, and the victory in the war will belong to the people of Rome.  When your commonwealth is prosperous and safe send to Pythian Apollo a gift from the gains you have earned and honour him with your substance out of the plunder, the booty, and the spoils.  Put away from you all wanton and godless living."  He translated this from the Greek as he read it, and when he had finished reading he said that as soon as he left the oracle he offered sacrifice with wine and incense to all the deities who were named, and further that he was instructed by the priest to go on board wearing the same laurel garland in which he had visited the oracle and not to lay it aside till he got to Rome.  He stated that he had carried out all his instructions most carefully and conscientiously, and had laid the garland on the altar of Apollo. The senate passed a decree that the sacrifices and intercessions which were enjoined should be carefully performed at the earliest opportunity.  During these occurrences in Rome and Italy, Mago, Hamilcar's son, had arrived at Carthage with the news of the victory of Cannae. He had not been sent by his brother immediately after the battle, but had been detained for some days in receiving into alliance Bruttian communities as they successively revolted.  When he appeared before the senate he unfolded the story of his brother's successes in Italy, how he had fought pitched battles with six commanders-in-chief, four of whom were consuls and two a Dictator and his Master of Horse, and how he had killed about 200,000 of the enemy and taken more than 50,000 prisoners.  Out of four consuls two had fallen, of the two survivors one was wounded and the other, after losing the whole of his army, had escaped with fifty men.  The Master of the Horse, whose powers were those of a consul, had been routed and put to flight, and the Dictator, because he had never fought an action, was looked upon as a matchless general. The Bruttians and Apulians, with some of the Samnite and Lucanian communities, had gone over to the Carthaginians.  Capua, which was not only the chief city of Campania, but now that the power of Rome had been shattered at Cannae was the head of Italy, had surrendered to Hannibal.  For all these great victories he felt that they ought to be truly grateful and public thanksgivings ought to be offered to the immortal gods.
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