Divine things having been thus performed, the dictator then put the question of the war and the state; with what, and how many legions the fathers were of opinion that the victorious enemy should be opposed.
It was decreed that he should receive the army from Cneius Servilius, the consul: that he should levy, moreover, from the citizens and allies as many horse and foot as seemed good; that he should transact and perform every thing else as he considered for the good of the state.
Fabius said he would add two legions to the army of Servilius. These were levied by the master of the horse, and were appointed by Fabius to meet him at Tibur on a certain day.
And then having issued proclamation that those whose towns or castles were unfortified should quit them and assemble in places of security; that all the inhabitants of that [p. 778]
tract through which Hannibal was about to march, should remove from the country, having first burnt their buildings and spoiled their fruits, that there might not be a supply of any thing;
he himself set out on the Flaminian road to meet the consul and his army; and when he saw in the distance the marching body on the Tiber, near Ocriculum, and the consul with the cavalry advancing to him, he sent a beadle to acquaint the consul that he must meet the dictator without the lictors.
When he had obeyed his command, and their meeting had exhibited a striking display of the majesty of the dictatorship before the citizens and allies, who, from its antiquity, had now almost forgotten that authority; a letter arrived from the city, stating that the ships of burden, conveying provisions from Ostia into Spain to the army, had been captured by the Carthaginian fleet off the port of Cossa.
The consul, therefore, was immediately ordered to proceed to Ostia, and, having manned the ships at Rome or Ostia with soldiers and sailors, to pursue the enemy, and protect the coasts of Italy.
Great numbers of men were levied at Rome; sons of freedmen even, who had children, and were of the military age, had taken the oath.
Of these troops levied in the city, such as were under thirty-five were put on board of ships, the rest were left to protect the city.