Fulvius Flaccus, who had discovered from deserters that this would happen, before it took place, having written to Rome to the senate to apprize them of it, men's minds were variously affected by it according to the disposition of each.
As might be expected in so alarming an emergency, the senate was immediately assembled, when Publius Cornelius, surnamed Asina, was for recalling all the generals and armies from every part of Italy to protect the city, disregarding Capua and every other concern.
Fabius Maximus thought that it would be highly disgraceful to retire from Capua, and allow themselves to be terrified and driven about at the nod and menaces of Hannibal.
“Was it probable that he, who, though victorious at Cannae, nevertheless dared not approach the city, now, after having been repulsed from Capua, had conceived hopes of making himself master of Rome?
It was not to besiege Rome, but to raise the siege of Capua that he was coming. Jupiter, the witness of treaties violated by Hannibal, and the other deities, would defend the city of Rome with that army which is now at the city.” To these opposite opinions, that of Publius Valerius Flaccus, which recommended a middle course, was preferred.
Regardful of both objects, he thought that a letter should be written to the generals at Capua, informing them of the force they had at the city for its protection, and stating, that as to the number of forces which Hannibal was bringing with him, or how large an army was necessary to carry on the siege of Capua, they themselves knew.
If one of the generals and a part of [p. 1028]
the army could be sent to Rome, and at the same time Capua could be efficiently besieged by the remaining general and army, that then Claudius and Fulvius should settle between themselves
which should continue the siege of Capua, and which should come to Rome to protect their capital from being besieged.
This decree of the senate having been conveyed to Capua, Quintus Fulvius, the proconsul, who was to go to Rome, as his colleague was ill from his wound, crossed the Vulturnus with a body of troops, to the number of fifteen thousand infantry and a thousand horse, selected from the three armies.
Then having ascertained that Hannibal intended to proceed along the Latin road, he sent persons before him to the towns on and near the Appian way, Setia, Cora, and Lanuvium, with directions that they should
not only have provisions ready in their towns, but should bring them down to the road from the fields which lay out of the way, and that they should draw together into their towns troops for their defence, in order that each state might be under its own protection.