While these things were going on, Quintus Fabius Pictor1
returned to Rome from his embassy to Delphi and read from a manuscript the response of the oracle. In it were indicated the gods and goddesses to whom offerings should be made, and in what manner.
It continued: “If you do thus, Romans, your situation will be better and easier, and your state will go on more in accordance with your desire, and the Roman people will have the victory in the war.
When you have successfully administered and preserved your state, from the gains made you shall send a gift to Pythian Apollo and do honour to him out of the booty, the profits and the spoils.
You shall keep yourselves from exulting.” After reading these words translated from the Greek verses, he went on to say that, on coming out of the oracle, he had at once made offerings to all those divinities with incense and wine;
also that he had been bidden by the high-priest of the temple, just as he had come to the oracle and also conducted the rite while wearing a garland of laurel, so also to wear the garland when he boarded the ship, and not to lay [p. 35]
it aside until he should reach Rome.
he had carried out with the utmost scrupulosity and care all the instructions given him, and had then laid the wreath upon the altar of Apollo at Rome.
The senate decreed that at the first opportunity those rites should be duly observed with prayers.
While these things were happening at Rome and in Italy, Mago, the son of Hamilcar, had come to Carthage to report the victory at Cannae. He had not been sent by his brother directly from the battle, but had been detained for some time in taking over the Bruttian states which were revolting.3
Accorded a hearing in the senate, he set forth the achievements of his brother in Italy: that he had fought pitched battles with six high commanders, of whom four were consuls,4
and two a dictator and a master of the horse,5
in all with six consular armies;
that he had slain over 200,000 of the enemy and captured over 50,000;6
that of the four consuls he had slain two;7
of the other two one had fled wounded,8
the other with barely fifty men, after losing his entire army;9
that the master of the horse, whose power is that of a consul, had been routed and put to flight;
that the dictator was accounted an extraordinary general because he never ventured into battle-line;
that the Bruttians and Apulians and some of the Samnites and Lucanians had revolted to the Carthaginians; that [p. 37]
Capua, which was the capital not only of Campania,10
but, since the blow inflicted upon the Roman state by the battle of Cannae, of Italy also, had surrendered to Hannibal.
For these victories, so many and so great, it was proper, he said, that gratitude be expressed and felt toward the immortal gods.