Gracchus, having captured the camp of1
the enemy with the loss of less than a hundred soldiers, hastily withdrew to Cumae in fear of Hannibal, who had his camp on Mount Tifata above Capua. And he was not mistaken in his forecast.
For as soon as the defeat was reported at Capua, Hannibal, thinking he would find the army of recruits, largely slaves, at Hamae gloating for once over a success, spoiling the defeated and driving off the booty, rushed his column with all speed past Capua, and ordered that those of the fleeing
Campanians whom he met should be furnished with an escort and led to Capua, and the wounded carried on wagons.
As for himself, he found at Hamae a camp deserted by the enemy, and nothing except the traces of recent slaughter and corpses of his allies scattered everywhere. Some advised him to lead his troops away forthwith to Cumae and to attack the city.
Although Hannibal was very eager to do so, in order that he might
have Cumae at least as a seaport, since he had been unable to gain one at Neapolis, nevertheless, as his soldiers in their rapidly moving column had brought out nothing but their arms with them, he withdrew again to his campon Tifata.
Moved by the importunities of the Campanians, he returned thence on the following day to Cumae with all the equipment for besieging the city, and after ravaging the territory of Cumae, pitched his camp a mile from the city.
Meanwhile Gracchus, ashamed to desert allies in such straits and begging for his help and that of the Roman people, rather than because he had full confidence in his army, had remained there.
Nor did the other consul, Fabius, who had his camp at Cales, venture to lead his army across the river Volturnus, being [p. 129]
employed at first in taking new auspices and then2
with the portents which were being reported one after another.
And as he was making expiation, the soothsayers kept repeating their opinion that it was not easy to obtain favourable omens.