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From there he directed his march towards Capua. This city had become demoralised by a long course of prosperity and the indulgence of Fortune, but most of all by the universal corruption produced by the wild excesses of a populace who exercised their liberty without any restraint.  Pacuvius Calavius had got the senate of Capua entirely in his own power and that of the populace.  He was a noble, and at the same time a favourite with the people, but he had gained his influence and power by resorting to base practices. He happened to be chief magistrate in the year in which the defeat at Trasumennus occurred, and knowing the hatred which the populace had long felt towards the senate, he thought it highly probable that they would seize their opportunity, create a violent revolution, and, if Hannibal with his victorious army should visit their neighbourhood, murder the senators and hand over Capua to him.  Bad as the man was, he was not utterly abandoned, since he preferred to play the autocrat in a commonwealth which was constitutionally sound rather than in one that was ruined, and he knew that no political constitution could be sound where there was no council of state. He embarked on a plan by which he could save the senate and at the same time render it completely subservient to himself and to the populace.  He summoned a meeting of the senate and commenced his speech by saying that any idea of a [6??] revolt from Rome would have been quite repugnant to him had it not been a necessity, seeing that he had children by the daughter of Appius Claudius and had given his own daughter in marriage to M. Livius in Rome.  "But," he went on, "there is a much more serious and formidable danger impending, for the populace are not simply contemplating beginning their revolt from Rome by banishing the senate from the city, they mean to murder the senators and then hand over the city to Hannibal and the Carthaginians.  It is in my power to save you from this peril if you will put yourselves in my hands, and, forgetting all our past quarrels, trust me." Overcome by their fears they all placed themselves in his hands.  "I will," he then said, "shut you in your House, and whilst appearing myself to participate in their act by approving of designs which I should in vain attempt to oppose, I will discover a way of safety for you. Take any guarantee in this matter which you please."  When he had given the guarantee he went out and ordered the doors to be fastened, and left a guard in the vestibule to prevent any one from entering or leaving without his orders.
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