Already there was such uproar and shouting as is usual in a captured city, but what it was about no one quite knew for certain.
The Tarentines believed the Romans had surprised them, in order to plunder the city; the Romans thought it was some kind of uprising treacherously started by the townspeople.
The commandant, aroused by the first uproar, escaped to the harbour; picked up by a skiff, he was rowed around from there to the citadel.
Confusion was caused also by the sound of a trumpet from the theatre. For it was a Roman trumpet, furnished by the traitors for this very purpose; and in addition, being unskillfully sounded by a Greek, it left it uncertain who was giving the signal and to whom.
When day broke the Punic and Gallic arms, now recognized, relieved the Romans of their uncertainty, and at the same time the Greeks, seeing slain Romans everywhere, were aware that the city had been captured by Hannibal.
When it was no longer twilight and the Romans who survived the slaughter [p. 377]
had fled to the citadel, and the uproar was gradually1
being stilled, Hannibal then gave orders to summon the Tarentines without arms.
They all assembled, except those who had followed the Romans in their retreat to the citadel, to share with them any outcome.
Thereupon Hannibal had kind words for the Tarentines and called to mind what he had done for their fellow-citizens whom he had captured at Lake Trasumennus or at Cannae. At the same time he inveighed against the haughty rule of the Romans and ordered them to go each to his own house and to write his name on the door.2
He would order that at a given signal such houses as were not marked should at once be plundered. If any one should write his name on the quarters of a Roman citizen —now they were occupying vacant houses —he would regard such a man as an enemy.
After the assembly had been dismissed and the marking of doors had distinguished the house of a citizen from that of an enemy, the signal was given and they scattered in all directions to plunder the Roman dwellings; and the booty was considerable.