Hannibal was above all else distressed that Capua, besieged with more persistence by the Romans than it was defended by himself, had estranged from him many peoples in
Italy, not all of whom could he hold by garrisons, unless he were willing to parcel out his army in many small detachments, which was not at all to his advantage at that time. nor on the other hand could he by withdrawing his garrisons leave the loyalty of allies free to hope1
or exposed to fear.
naturally inclined to greed and cruelty, his temperament favoured despoiling what [p. 143]
he was unable to protect, in order to leave desolated2
lands to the enemy.
that policy was shameful in the beginning, and especially so in the outcome. for not only were those who suffered undeserved treatment alienated, but all the rest as well; for the lesson reached larger numbers than did the suffering.
nor did the Roman consul fail to work upon the feelings of cities, if any hope had showed itself from any quarter.
Dasius and Blattius were leading citizens.
Dasius was friendly to Hannibal, Blattius promoted the Roman cause so far as he safely could, and through secret messengers had roused in Marcellus a hope of betrayal. but without the aid of Dasius the matter could not be carried out.
after much hesitation for a long time, and even then rather owing to the lack of a better plan than with the hope of success, he addressed himself to Dasius. but Dasius, being not only averse to the project, but also unfriendly to one who was his rival for the highest position, disclosed the matter to Hannibal.
when both had been summoned, and Hannibal on the tribune was occupied with certain business, intending presently to hear the case of Blattius, and accuser and defendant were standing there, while the crowd had been cleared away, Blattius addressed himself to Dasius on the treason.
Dasius, to be sure, as though the evidence was clear, cried out that before Hannibal's eyes he was being urged to tum traitor. to Hannibal and his assessors the matter seemed less credible as being so bold.
it was only their rivalry and hatred surely, they said, and the charge [p. 145]
brought was of a sort in which the fabricator had the4
more freedom because it could not have a witness. so they were discharged.
and Blattius did not desist from so bold an undertaking until by dinning the same story into his ears, and by showing how advantageous for themselves and their native city it was, he prevailed upon Dasius to have the Carthaginian garrison —now it consisted of five hundred Numidians —and Salapia surrendered to Marcellus; and it was not without much bloodshed that it could be surrendered.
they were far the bravest horsemen in the entire Carthaginian army.
accordingly, although the attack was unexpected, and they had no use of their horses in the city, nevertheless catching up their arms in the midst of the uproar, they attempted a sally, and being unable to escape, they fell fighting to the last, and not more than fifty of them came alive into the hands of the enemy. the loss of this regiment of cavalry was considerably more serious for Hannibal than that of Salapia.5
and at no later time was the Carthaginian superior in cavalry, in which had been easily his greatest strength.