before this happened Fulvius Flaccus had learned from deserters that it was to be done, and had so written to the senate at Rome; whereupon men's feelings were differently stirred according to their several natures.
as was natural in so alarming a situation, the senate was at once summoned, and Publius Cornelius, surnamed Asina,1
with no thought of Capua or of anything else, was for recalling all the generals and armies from the whole of Italy for the defence of the city.
but Fabius Maximus thought it a shameful thing to withdraw from Capua, to be frightened and led about at the beck of Hannibal and in response to his threats.
to think, he said, that the man who, though victor at Cannae, had not ventured to go to the city, on being beaten back from Capua should have conceived the hope of capturing the city of [p. 31]
it was not to besiege Rome that he was on2
the march, but to raise the siege of Capua. as for Rome, Jupiter, witness of the treaties broken by Hannibal, and the other gods would defend her with the aid of the army stationed at the city.
these conflicting motions were defeated by the compromise of Publius Valerius Flaccus,3
who, mindful of both situations, proposed that they write to the generals at Capua, informing them what forces there were to defend the city; on the other hand, what forces Hannibal was taking with him or how large an army was needed for the siege of Capua they themselves knew.
if one of the two generals and a part of the army could be sent to Rome, provided Capua should be duly besieged by the general and army remaining, then let Claudius and Fulvius
arrange between them which of the two must besiege Capua, and which must come to Rome to prevent a siege of their native city.
when this decree of the senate was brought to Capua, Quintus Fulvius, the proconsul, who, since his colleague was disabled by a wound, was obliged to return to Rome, after picking soldiers from three armies, led about fifteen thousand infantry and a thousand horsemen across the Volturnus.
thence, on learning definitely that Hannibal would march along the Latin Way, he himself sent word in advance to the towns along the Appian Way and such as are near that
road, Setia, Cora, Lavinium, that they should have supplies on hand in the cities and also bring them down from farms at a distance to the road, and draw in garrisons for the cities, so that each might have the defence of its public interests in hand.