This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
The battle was obstinately contested; the generals encouraged the men, and the men fought to the utmost of their strength. Marcellus urged his men to press vigorously on those whom they had vanquished only three days ago, who had been driven in flight from Cumae, and whom he had himself, with another army, defeated the year before.  "All his forces," he said, "are not in the field, some are roving through the land bent on plunder, whilst those who are fighting are enervated by the luxury of Capua and have worn themselves out through a whole winter's indulgence in wine and women and every kind of debauchery.  They have lost their force and vigour, they have dissipated that strength of mind and body in which they surmounted the Alpine peaks. The men who did that are mere wrecks now; they can hardly bear the weight of their armour on their limbs while they fight.  Capua has proved to be Hannibal's Cannae. All soldierly courage; all military discipline, all glory won in the past, all hopes for the future have been extinguished there."  By showing his contempt for the enemy, Marcellus raised the spirits of his men. Hannibal, on the other hand, reproached his own men in much more severe terms.  "I recognise," he said, "the same arms and standards here which I saw and used at the Trebia, at Trasumennus, and finally at Cannae, but not the same soldiers. It is quite certain that I led one army into winter quarters at Capua and marched out with quite a different one.  Are you, whom two consular armies never withstood, hardly able now to hold your own against a subordinate officer, with his one legion and its contingent of allies?  Is Marcellus to challenge us with impunity a second time with his raw recruits and Nolan supports? Where is that soldier of mine who dragged the consul, C. Flaminius, from his horse and struck off his head? Where is the one who slew L. Paulus at Cannae? Has the sword lost its edge; have your right hands lost their power?  Or has any other miracle happened? Though but few yourselves, you have been wont to vanquish an enemy that far outnumbered you; now you can hardly stand up against a force far smaller than your own. You used to boast, tongue-valiant as you are, that you would take Rome by storm if any one would lead you.  Well, I want you to try your courage and your strength in a smaller task. Carry Nola; it is a city in a plain, with no protection from river or from sea. When ye have loaded yourselves with the plunder of such a wealthy city as this, I will lead you or follow you wherever you wish."
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.