The legates came to Hannibal and made an alliance with him on these terms: that no general or magistrate of the Carthaginians should have any authority over a Campanian citizen, and that no Campanian citizen should be a soldier or perform any service against his will;
that Capua should have its own laws, its own magistrates; that the Carthaginian should give the Campanians three hundred of the Roman captives of their own choosing, with whom there should be an exchange of the Campanian [p. 21]
horsemen who were serving in Sicily.
Such were the1
terms. In addition to what was agreed upon the Campanians perpetrated these misdeeds: the populace suddenly seized prefects of the allies and other Roman citizens, some of them employed in a military duty, some engaged in private business, and with the pretence of guarding them ordered them all to be confined in the baths, that there they might die a terrible death, being suffocated by the extreme heat.
Such conduct and the sending of an embassy to the Carthaginian had been opposed to the utmost by Decius Magius, a man who lacked nothing for the attainment of the highest authority except sanity on the part of the citizens.
But when he heard that a garrison was being sent by Hannibal, recalling the haughty rule of Pyrrhus and the wretched servitude of the Tarentines as warning examples, he at first openly protested that the garrison should not be admitted;
then, after it had been admitted, either that it should be driven out, or, if they wished to atone for their evil action in having revolted from their oldest allies and men of the same blood by a brave and notable act, that they should slay the Punic garrison and return to their Roman allegiance.
When this was reported to Hannibal (for it was not done in secret), he first sent men to summon Magius to him at the camp. Then when the latter replied with spirit that he would not go, for Hannibal had no authority over a Campanian citizen, the Carthaginian was enraged and ordered the man to be seized and brought before him in chains.
Later, fearing that in the use of force some commotion, and in view of the excitement some unpremeditated conflict, might occur, he first sent word to Marius Blossius, the [p. 23]
Campanian magistrate, that he would be in Capua the2
next day, and then he set out from the camp with a small escort.
Marius, calling an assembly, ordered them to go out to meet Hannibal en masse
with wives and children. This was done by all not only obediently but also eagerly, owing to the enthusiasm of the crowd as well and the desire to go and see a general already famous for so many victories.
Decius Magius neither went out to meet him nor remained in seclusion, by doing which he might show some fear due to conscience. He strolled idly in the market-place with his son and a few clients, although the whole city was astir to welcome and to see the Carthaginian.
Hannibal entered the city and at once demanded a session of the senate, and then when the leading Campanians begged him not to do any serious business that day, and that he should
himself cheerfully and willingly honour the day gladdened by his coming, though he was naturally hot-tempered, still in order not to deny them anything at the start, he spent a large part of the day in seeing the city.