that, with no action now, the case should be brought up later, when the condition of Italy was more peaceful. Also in regard to Marcus Livius, commandant of the citadel of Tarentum, there was no less heated discussion. For some were proposing to brand the commandant by a decree of the senate, because by his lack of spirit Tarentum had been betrayed to the enemy,2
and others proposed to vote him rewards, because he had defended the citadel for five years, and it was thanks to him more than to anyone else that Tarentum had been recovered.
Those who preferred a middle course claimed that a hearing of his case belonged to the censors, not to the senate. Of this mind was Fabius also.
He added, however, [p. 313]
his admission that the recovery of Tarentum was due3
to Livius, as his friends had repeatedly declared in the senate; for it would not have had to be recovered unless it had been lost.4
Of the consuls one, Titus Quinctius Crispinus, set out for Lucania with additional recruits to join the army which Quintus Fulvius Flaccus had held. Marcellus was detained by religious scruples one after another, as they were impressed upon his mind. One of them was that, although he had vowed at Clastidium, in the Gallic War,5
a temple to Honour and Valour, the dedication of the temple was being blocked by the pontiffs.
These said that one cella was not properly dedicated to more than a single divinity, since, if it should be struck by lightning, or some portent should occur in it, expiation would be difficult, because it could not be known to which god sacrifice should be offered; for, with the exception of certain deities,6
sacrifice of a single victim to two gods was not proper.
Accordingly a temple of Valour was added, its construction being hastened. Even so the temples were not dedicated by Marcellus in person.7
Then at last he set out with additional recruits to join the army which he had left at Venusia the previous year.
Crispinus attempted to besiege Locri8
in the land of the Bruttii, because he thought that Tarentum had brought great repute to Fabius; and he had requisitioned artillery and machines of every kind from Sicily. And from the same quarter ships also [p. 315]
had been sent for, to attack the part of the city9
facing the sea.
That siege was given up, because Hannibal had brought up his forces to Lacinium,10
and the consul wished to unite with his colleague, who, it was reported, had already led his army away from Venusia. And so he returned from the land of the Bruttii into Apulia, and the consuls established themselves between Venusia and Bantia in two camps less than three miles apart. Hannibal also, now that the war had been diverted from Locri, returned into the same region.
There both consuls, who were by nature high-spirited, went out into battle-line almost daily, with no uncertain hope that, if the enemy should risk a battle with two united consular armies, the war could be finished.
XXVI. Hannibal, since in his two encounters with Marcellus in the previous year he had been both victor and vanquished, believed indeed that, if he should have to fight with the same general, he would find neither hope nor fear unfounded; nevertheless he believed that he would be by no means a match for the two consuls.
Accordingly, devoting himself exclusively to his own arts, he was in search of a place for an ambush. Slight engagements, however, were taking place in the space between the two camps with varying results. The consuls, believing that the whole summer could be spent in that way, and yet thinking it possible to besiege Locri, wrote to Lucius Cincius to cross over from Sicily with his fleet to Locri. And, to make an attack upon the walls possible from the landward side also, they ordered that a part of the force which was serving as a garrison [p. 317]
should be brought from Tarentum to Locri.11
Hannibal, being informed by some men of Thurii that this was about to be done, sent men to lie in wait along the road from Tarentum. There, beneath the hill of Petelia,12
three thousand horsemen and two thousand foot were posted in hiding. When the Romans, as they advanced without reconnoitring, encountered this force, about two thousand of their armed men were slain, about fifteen hundred taken alive.
The rest, scattering in flight over the farms and through the woods, returned to Tarentum.
Between the Carthaginian and the Roman camps13
there was a wooded hill, at first not occupied by either army, because the Romans did not know what was the character of that side of it which faced the enemy's camp, and Hannibal had believed it better suited to an ambuscade than to a camp.
And so, sending by night a number of squadrons of the Numidians for that purpose, he had concealed them in the middle of the wood. And during the day none of them would stir from his post, for fear lest either their arms or the men themselves should be seen from a distance.
In the Roman camp14
there was a general outcry that the hill must be occupied and defended by a fort, in order that they might not have the enemy, as it were, upon their necks, if the hill should be occupied by Hannibal.
That roused Marcellus, and he said to his colleague, “Why not go ourselves with a few horsemen to reconnoitre? Seeing the situation before our eyes will give us a surer judgment.” As Crispinus assented, they set out with two [p. 319]
hundred and twenty horsemen, of whom forty were15
from Fregellae, the rest Etruscans.16
The tribunes of the soldiers, Marcus Marcellus, son of the consul, and Aulus Manlius, followed them, along with two prefects of the allies, Lucius Arrenius and Manius Aulius.
Some have related that the consul Marcellus offered a sacrifice that day, and that when the first victim was slain, the liver was found headless; that in the second everything usually found was present; that the head seemed even enlarged; also that the soothsayer had not been at all pleased that, after organs defective and deformed, others had appeared which were more than promising.17