After this, news came that the ambassadors themselves were on the point of arriving. Then, indeed, people of all ages ran to meet them, each man being eager to be the first to
receive an assurance of such joyful tidings, by the evidence of his eyes and ears.
One continued train extended as far as the Mulvian bridge. The ambassadors, Lucius Veturius Philo, Publius Licinius Varus, and Quintus Caecilius Metellus, made their way into the forum, surrounded by a crowd of persons of every description; when some asked the ambassadors them-selves, others their attendants, what had been done;
and, as [p. 1160]
soon as each had heard that the army and general of the enemy had been cut off, that the Roman legions were safe, and the consuls unhurt, he immediately imparted the joyful intelligence to others, imparting to them the joy he felt himself.
Having with difficulty made their way into the senate-house, and the crowd with still more difficulty being removed, that they might not mix with the fathers, the letter was read in the senate; after which the ambassadors were brought into the general assembly.
Lucius Veturius Philo, after reading the letter himself, gave a more explicit account of all that had occurred, amidst great approbation, and at last of general shouting from the assembly, while their minds could scarcely contain their joy.
They then ran off in various directions, some to the different temples of the gods, to return thanks, others to their homes, to impart the joyful intelligence to their wives and children.
The senate decreed a supplication for three days, because Marcus Livius and Caius Claudius, the consuls, had cut off the general and legions of the enemy, their own army being safe. This supplication Caius Hostilius, the praetor, proclaimed in the assembly, and was celebrated both by men and women.
During the whole three days all the temples were uniformly crowded, whilst the matrons, dressed in their richest robes, and accompanied by their children, just as though the war had been brought to a conclusion, and free from every apprehension, offered thanksgivings to the immortal gods.
This victory produced an alteration also in the condition of the state, so that immediately from this event, just as though it had been a time of peace, men were not afraid to do business with each other, buying, selling, lending, and paying borrowed money.
Caius Claudius, the consul, on his return to his camp, ordered the head of Hasdrubal, which he had carefully kept and brought with him, to be thrown before the advanced guards of the enemy, and the African prisoners to be shown to them bound just as they were.
Two of these also he unbound, and bid them go to Hannibal and tell him what had occurred. Hannibal, smitten by such severe distress, at once public and domestic, is said to have declared that he recognised the destiny of Carthage;
and decamping thence with the intention of drawing together into Bruttium, the remotest corner of Italy, all his [p. 1161]
auxiliaries which he could not protect when widely scattered, removed into Bruttium the whole state of the Metapontines, summoned away from their former habitations, and also such of the Lucanians as were under his authority.