HAVING returned from Campania to the land of1
the Bruttii, Hanno,2
with the Bruttii as supporters and guides, attacked the Greek cities,3
which were all the more ready to remain in alliance with Rome because they saw that the Bruttii, whom they both hated and feared, had gone over to the side of the Carthaginians.
Regium was the first city to be attacked, and some days were spent there to no purpose. Meantime the Locrians hastily brought grain and wood and the other things needed to supply their wants from the farms into the city, also that no booty might be left for the enemy.
And every day a larger crowd poured out of all the gates. Finally there were left in the city only six hundred men, who were made to repair walls and gates and to carry arms to the battlements.
Against the multitude made up of all ages and classes, wandering about the country, many of the unarmed, Hamilcar the Carthaginian sent out his cavalry. Forbidden to injure anyone, they interposed their squadrons merely to shut off from the city those who had scattered in flight.
The commander himself, after capturing higher ground from which he could see the country and the city, ordered a cohort of Bruttii [p. 177]
to go up to the walls and call out the chief men of4
the Locrians to a conference, and with a promise of Hannibal's friendship to encourage them to surrender the city. In the conference the Bruttians at first were not believed at all.
Then, when the Carthaginians were seen on the hills, and a few returning fugitives repeatedly asserted that all the rest of the multitude were in the power of the enemy, overcome by fear, they answered that they would consult the people.
An assembly being at once called, all the fickle preferred political change and a new alliance; also those whose relations had been shut off outside the city by the enemy had mortgaged their affections, having virtually given hostages.
And the few silently approved of steadfast loyalty, rather than dared to declare and defend it. Hence surrender to the Carthaginians was voted with apparently unquestioned unanimity.
After Lucius Atilius, commander of the garrison, and the Roman soldiers who were with him had been secretly led down to the harbour and put on ships to be carried to Regium, they admitted Hamilcar and the Carthaginians into the city on condition that a treaty be made at once on fair terms.
The promise of such a treaty was almost broken after they surrendered, when the Carthaginian charged that the Roman had been allowed by trickery to go away, while the Locrians pleaded that he had escaped unaided.
Also the cavalry pursued him in the hope that possibly the current in the strait might delay the ships or bring them to shore. They did not indeed overtake the men they were pursuing, but they sighted other ships crossing the strait from Messana to Regium.5
It was the Roman soldiers sent by Claudius, the [p. 179]
praetor, to garrison and hold the city.
And so the6
siege of Regium was at once raised.
Peace was granted the Locrians by Hannibal's order: they were, namely, to live in freedom under their own laws, the city to be open to the Carthaginians, the harbour in the power of the Locrians, the alliance to rest upon this basis: that the Carthaginian should help the Locrian, the Locrian the Carthaginian, in peace and in war.