After Manlius had thus spoken, notwithstanding the captives were related to many even of the senators, besides the practice of the state, which had never shown favour to captives, even from the remotest times, the sum of money also influenced them:
for they were neither willing to drain the treasury, a large sum of money having been already issued for buying and arming slaves to serve in the war, nor to enrich Hannibal, who, according to report, was particularly in want of this very thing.
The sad reply, that the captives would not be ransomed, being delivered, and fresh grief being added to the former on account of the loss of so many citizens, the people accompanied the deputies to the gate with copious tears and lamentations.
One of them went home, because he had evaded his oath by artfully returning to the camp. But when this was known and laid before the senate, they all resolved that he should be apprehended and conveyed to Hannibal by guards, furnished by the state.
There is another account respecting the prisoners, that ten came first, and that, the senate hesitating whether they should be admitted into the city or not, they were admitted, on the understanding that they should not have an audience of the senate.
That when these staid longer than the expectation of all, three more came, Scribonius, Calpurnius, and Manlius. That then at length a tribune of the people, a relation of Scribonius, laid before the senate the redemption of the captives, and that they resolved that they should not be ransomed.
That the three last deputies returned to Hannibal, and the ten former remained, because they had evaded their oath, having returned to Hannibal after having set out, under pretence of learning afresh the names of the captives.
That a violent contest took place in the senate, on the question of surrendering them, and that those who thought they ought
to be surrendered were beaten by a few votes, but that they were so branded by every kind of stigma and ignominy by the ensuing censors, that some of them immediately put themselves to death, and the rest, for all their life afterwards, not only shunned the forum, [p. 834]
but almost the light and publicity.
You can more easily wonder that authors differ so much than determine what is the truth. How much greater this disaster was than any preceding, even this is a proof, that such of the allies as had stood firm till that day then began to waver, for no other cause certainly but that they despaired of the empire.
The people who revolted to the Carthaginians were these: the Atellani, Calatini, the Hirpini, some of the Apulians, the Samnites, except the Pentrians, all the Bruttians, and the Lucanians.
Besides these the Surrentinians, and almost the whole coast possessed by the Greeks, the people of Tarentum, Metapontum, Croton, the Locrians, and all Cisalpine Gaul.
Yet not even these losses and defections of their allies so shook the firmness of the Romans, that any mention of peace was made among them, either before the arrival of the consul at Rome, or after he came thither, and renewed the memory of the calamity they had suffered.
At which very juncture, such was the magnanimity of the state, that the consul, as he returned after so severe a defeat, of which he himself was the principal cause, was met in crowds of all ranks of citizens, and thanks bestowed because he had not despaired of the republic, in whose case, had he been
a Carthaginian commander, no species of punishment would have been spared.