on the next day Hannibal crossed the Anio and led all his forces out into line, and Flaccus and the consuls did not refuse battle.
after the armies had been drawn up on both sides for the issue of a battle in which the city of Rome was to be the prize for the victor, a great downpour mingled with hail so confused both battle —lines that, holding on to their arms with difficulty, they returned to camp, fearing everything more than the enemy.
and the following day, when the lines were drawn up on the same spot, the same bad weather parted them. on both days, when they had retired to their camps, to their astonishment there came a clear sky with a calm.
for the Carthaginians it became a solemn warning, and it is reported that Hannibal was heard to say that at one time the purpose to take Rome, at another the chance, was denied him.
two other things, small and great, further diminished his hope. the important thing was that he heard that, although he was sitting armed before the walls of the city of Rome, [p. 41]
detachments had set out under their colours1
Spain; and the unimportant circumstance was that he learned from a prisoner that about this time the land on which he had his camp chanced to have been sold, with no reduction in price on that
account. but it seemed to him so arrogant and such an indignity that a purchaser should have been found at Rome for the ground which he had seized in war and was himself its occupier and owner, that he forthwith summoned a herald and ordered the bankers' shops which were round the Roman Forum to be sold.
influenced by these circumstances he moved his camp back to the river Tutia, six miles from the city. thence he proceeded to the grove of Feronia,3
a shrine which at that time was noted for its
wealth. the people of Capena and others who lived near it used to carry thither first —fruits and gifts in addition according to their means, and had kept it richly adorned with gold and silver. of all those gifts the temple was at that time despoiled. Great heaps of bronze were found after the departure of Hannibal, since the soldiers inspired by religious fear deposited crude
lumps. as to the spoiling of this temple there is no uncertainty among the historians. coelius relates that on his way to Rome Hannibal turned aside to it from Eretum, and traces his march from Reate and Cutiliae and
Amiternum. he says that from Campania he came into Samnium, thence into the land of the Paelignians, and passing the town of Sulmo, over into the country of the Marrucini; thence through the territory of Alba4
into that of the Marsians, and then to Amiternum and the village of
Foruli. and the uncertainty is not because the5
traces of so great a commander and so large an army could within the memory of so short a period have become confused, for it is agreed that he passed that
way. the only difference is whether he came to the city by that route, or returned by it from the city into Campania.6