Just at the close of the summer during which these operations were carried on in Greece, when Quintus Fabius, son of Maximus, ambassador from Marcus Livius the consul, brought a message to Rome to the senate, to the effect, that the consul considered that Lucius Portius with his legions formed a sufficient protection for the province, that he
might himself retire thence, and that the consular army might be withdrawn, the fathers directed that not only Livius should return to the city, but also his colleague, Caius Claudius.
The only difference made between them in the decree was, that they ordered the army of Marcus Livius to be led back, and the legions of Nero to remain in their province opposed to Hannibal.
The consuls agreed between themselves by letter, that as they had conducted the affairs of the commonwealth with unanimity, they should arrive at the city at the same time, though they came from different quarters. He who arrived first at Praeneste was enjoined to wait there for his colleague.
It so happened that they both came to Praeneste on the same day, and thence, sending a proclamation before them, directing that there should be a full attendance of the senate at the temple of Bellona, three days after, they came up to the city, when they were met by the whole body of the inhabitants.
Not only did the whole body pour around them and salute them, but each person individually, desiring to touch the victorious right hands of the consuls, some congratulated them, while others thanked them because by their services the state had been preserved.
In the senate, when, [p. 1173]
having made a recital of their services according to the custom observed by all generals, they had requested, that “in consideration of the brave and successful conduct of the affairs of the commonwealth, honours should be paid to the immortal gods, and they themselves enter the city in triumph;”
the fathers replied, that “they most willingly decreed those things which they requested in gratitude to the gods in the first instance, and, next to them, to the consuls.”
A supplication in the name of both, and a triumph to both of them, having been decreed, lest after having carried on the war with entire unanimity they should have a separate triumph, they made the following agreement;
that “since both the service had been performed in the province of Marcus Livius, and he was in possession of the command on the day on which the battle was fought, and further, that as the army of Livius had been withdrawn and had come to Rome, while Nero's could not be withdrawn from the province, Marcus Livius should enter the city in a four-horse chariot and followed by the soldiers; Caius Claudius on horseback without soldiers.”
This plan of associating the generals in the triumph increased the glory of both, but particularly of him who had yielded to his colleague in the honours he received, as much as he surpassed him in merit.
The people said, that “the general on horseback had traversed the whole length of Italy in the space of six days, and had fought a pitched battle with Hasdrubal in Gaul, on the very day on which Hannibal supposed that he was occupying a camp pitched in Apulia to oppose him.
That thus one consul, acting in defence of either extremity of Italy against two leaders, had opposed against one his skill, against the other his person.
That the name of Nero had been sufficient to confine Hannibal within his camp, while with regard to Hasdrubal, by what, but his arrival, had he been overwhelmed and annihilated?
The other consul might move along raised aloft in a chariot, drawn if he pleased by a number of horses, but that the real triumph was his who was conveyed by one horse;
and that Nero, though he should go on foot, would be immortalized, whether on account of the glory he had acquired in the war, or the contempt he had shown for it in the triumph.” Such continual expressions of the spectators attended Nero all the way to the Capitol.
The money they brought into the treasury was three hundred [p. 1174]
thousand sesterces, with eighty thousand asses of brass. Marcus Livius distributed among the soldiers fifty-six asses each.
Caius Claudius promised the same sum to his absent troops when he returned to the army. It was observed that more verses were written by the soldiery upon Caius Claudius in their jocular style, than upon their own consul;
that the horsemen highly extolled Lucius Veturius and Quintus Caecilius, lieutenant-generals, and exhorted the commons to create them consuls for the ensuing year;
that the consuls added their authority to the recommendation of the knights, relating in the public assembly the following day with what courage and fidelity their two lieutenant-generals in particular had served them.