Publius Furius Philus and Manius Pomponius, the praetors, assembled the senate in the curia hostilia, that they might deliberate about the guarding of the city;
for they doubted not but that the enemy, now their armies were annihilated, would come to assault Rome, the only operation of the war which remained.
Unable to form any plan in misfortunes, not only very great, but unknown and undefined, and while the loud lamentations of the women were resounding, and nothing was as yet made known, the living and the dead alike being lamented in almost every house;
such being the state of things, Quintus Fabius gave it as his opinion, “That light horsemen should be sent out on the Latin and Appian ways, who, questioning those they met, as some would certainly be dispersed in all directions from the flight, might bring back word what was the fate of the consuls and their armies; and if the gods, pitying the empire, had left any remnant of the Roman name where these forces were; whither Hannibal had repaired after the battle, what he was meditating; what he was doing, or about to do.
That these points should be searched out and ascertained by active youths.
That it should be the business of the fathers, since there was a deficiency of magistrates, to do away with the tumult and [p. 825]
trepidation in the city; to keep the women from coming into public, and compel each to abide within her own threshold; to put a stop to the lamentations of families;
to obtain silence in the city; to take care that the bearers of every kind of intelligence should be brought before the praetors; that each person should await at home the bearer of tidings respecting his own fortune:
moreover, that they should post guards at the gates, to prevent any person from quitting the city; and oblige men to place their sole hopes of safety in the preservation of the walls and the city. That when the tumult had subsided the fathers should be called again to the senate-house, and deliberate on the defence of the city.”