During the same time a fleet from Hiero arrived at Ostia with a large cargo of supplies.
The Syracusan ambassadors, on being introduced into the senate, delivered this message: “That king Hiero was so much affected at the slaughter announced to him of Caius Flaminius the consul and his troops, that he could not have been more distressed at any disasters which could have befallen himself or his own kingdom;
and accordingly, though he was well aware that [p. 806]
the greatness of the Roman people was almost more admirable in adversity than prosperity, he had nevertheless sent every thing which good and faithful allies are wont to contribute to assist the
operations of war, which he earnestly implored the conscript fathers not to refuse to accept.
First of all, for the sake of the omen, they had brought a golden statue of Victory, of three hundred pounds' weight, which they begged them to accept, keep by them, and hold as their own peculiar and lasting possession.
That they had also brought three hundred thousand pecks of wheat, and two hundred thousand of barley, that there might be no want of provisions; and that as much more as might be necessary they would convey, as a supply, to whatever place they might appoint.
He knew that the Roman people employed no legionary troops or cavalry who were not Romans, or of the Latin confederacy;
that he had seen foreign auxiliary as well as native light-armed troops in the Roman camps;
he had, therefore, sent one thousand archers and slingers, a suitable force against the Baliares and Moors, and other nations which fought with missile weapons,” To these presents they added also advice: “That the praetor to whose lot the province of Sicily had fallen, should pass a fleet over to Africa, that the enemy also might have a war in their own country, and that less liberty should be afforded them of sending reinforcements to Hannibal.”
The senate thus replied to the king: “That Hiero was a good man and an admirable ally; and that from the time he first formed a friendship with the Roman people he had uniformly cultivated a spirit of fidelity, and had munificently assisted the Roman cause at all times and in every place. That this was, as it ought to be, a cause of gratitude to the Roman people.
That the Roman people had not accepted gold which had been brought them also from certain states, though they felt gratitude for the act.
The Victory and the omen,” they said, “they would accept, and would assign and dedicate to that goddess, as her abode, the Capitol, the temple of Jupiter, the best and greatest of gods; hoping that, consecrated in that fortress of the city of Rome, she would continue there firm and immoveable, kind and propitious to the Roman people.”
The slingers, archers, and corn were handed over to the consuls. To the fleet which Titus Otacilius the proprietor had in Sicily, twenty-five quinqueremes were added, and permis- [p. 807]
sion was given him, if he thought it for the interest of the state, to pass over into Africa.