On the day he crossed the Vulturnus, Hannibal pitched his camp at a small distance from the river.
The next day, passing by Cales, he reached the Sidicinian territory, and having spent a day there in devastating the country, he led his troops along the Latin way through the territory of Suessa, Allifae, and Casinum.
Under the walls of Casinum he remained encamped for two days, ravaging the country all around; thence passing by Interamna and Aquinum, he came into the Fregellan territory, to the river Liris, where he found the bridge broken down by the Fregellans in order to impede his progress.
Fulvius also was detained at the Vulturnus, in consequence of Hannibal's having burnt the ships, and the difficulty he had in procuring rafts to convey his troops across that river from the great scarcity of materials.
The army having been conveyed across by rafts, the remainder of the march of Fulvius was uninterrupted, a liberal supply of provisions having been prepared for him, not only in all the towns, but also on the sides of the road; while his men, who were all activity, exhorted each other to quicken their pace, remembering that they were going to defend their country.
A messenger from Fregella, who had travelled a day and a night without intermission, arriving at Rome, caused the [p. 1029]
greatest consternation; and the whole city was thrown into a state of alarm by the running up and down of persons who made vague additions to what they heard, and thus increased the confusion which the original intelligence created.
The lamentations of women were not only heard from private houses, but the matrons from every quarter, rushing into the public
streets, ran up and down around the shrines of the gods, sweeping the altars with their dishevelled hair, throwing themselves upon their knees and stretching their uplifted hands to heaven and the gods, imploring them to rescue the city of Rome out of the hands of their enemies, and preserve the Roman mothers and their children from harm.
The senate sat in the forum near the magistrates, in case they should wish to consult them. Some were receiving orders and departing to their own department of duty; others were offering themselves wherever there might be occasion for their aid. Troops were posted in the citadel, in the Capitol, upon the walls around the city, and also on the Alban mount, and the fort of Aesula.
During this confusion, intelligence was brought that Quintus Fulvius, the proconsul, had set out from Capua with an army; when the senate decreed that Quintus Fulvius should have equal authority with the consuls, lest on entering the city his power should cease.
Hannibal, having most destructively ravaged the Fregellan territory, on account of the bridge having been broken down, came into the territory of the Lavici, passing through those of Frusino, Ferentinum, and Anagnia; thence passing through Algidum he directed his course to Tusculum;
but not being received within the walls, he went down to the right below Tusculum to Gabii; and marching his army down thence into the territory of the Pupinian tribe, he pitched his camp eight miles from the city.
The nearer the enemy carve, the greater was the number of fugitives slain by the Numidians who preceded him, and the greater the number of prisoners made of every rank and age.