Nor was there ever any period of the war, when both the Carthaginians and the Romans, plunged alike in vicissitudes, were in a state of more anxious suspense between hope and fear.
For on the side of the Romans, with respect to their provinces, their failure in Spain on the one hand, and their successes in Sicily on the other, had blended joy and sorrow;
and in Italy, the loss of Tarentum was an injury and a source of grief to them, while the unexpected preservation of the citadel with the garrison was matter of joy to them.
The sudden terror and panic occasioned by the siege and attack of Rome, was turned into joy by the capture of Capua, a few days after.
Their affairs beyond sea also were equalized by a kind of compensation. Philip had become their enemy at a juncture somewhat unseasonable; but then the Aetolians, and Attalus, king of Asia, were added to their allies; fortune now, in a manner, promising to the Romans the empire of the east.
The Carthaginians also set the loss of Capua against the capture of Tarentum; and as they consi- [p. 1067]
dered it as glorious to them to have reached the walls of Rome without opposition, so they were chagrined at the failure of their attempt;
and they felt ashamed that they had been held in such contempt, that while they lay under the walls of Rome, a Roman army was marched out for Spain at an opposite gate.
With regard also to Spain itself, the greater the reason was to hope that the war there was terminated, and that the Romans were driven from the country, after the destruction of two such renowned generals and their armies, so much the greater was the indignation felt, that the victory had been rendered void and fruitless by Lucius Marcius, a general irregularly appointed.
Thus fortune balancing events against each other, all was suspense and uncertainty on both sides; their hopes and their fears being as strong as though they were now first commencing the war.