The address of the consul in reply was by no means cheerful, admitting that what he said was true, rather than easy to put in practice.
He said, “That to him, as dictator, his master of the horse was unbearable: what power or influence could a consul have against a factious and intemperate colleague?
That he had in his former consulate escaped a popular conflagration not without being singed: his prayer was, that every thing might happen prosperously; but if, on the contrary, any misfortune should occur, that he would rather expose his life to the weapons of the enemy, than to the votes of his incensed countrymen.” Directly after this discourse, it is related that Paulus set out, escorted by the principal senators.
The plebeian consul attended his own plebeian party, more distinguished by their numbers than respectability.
When they had arrived at the camp, the old and new troops being united, they formed two distinct camps, so that the new and smaller one might be the nearer to Hannibal, and the old one might contain the greater part, and all the choicest of the troops.
They then sent to Rome Marcus Atilius, the consul of the former year, who alleged his age in excuse. They appoint Geminus Servilius to the command of a Roman legion, and two thousand of the allied infantry and cavalry in the lesser camp.
Hannibal, although he perceived that the forces of the enemy were augmented by one-half, was yet wonderfully rejoiced at the arrival of the consuls;
for he had not only nothing remaining of the provisions which he daily acquired by plunder, but there was not even any thing left which he could seize, the corn in all the surrounding country having been collected into fortified cities, when the country was too unsafe;
so that, as was afterwards discovered, there scarcely remained corn enough for ten days, and the Spaniards would have passed over to the enemy, through want of food, if the completion of that time had been awaited.