Next came word that the emissaries themselves were approaching. Then in truth all ages ran to meet them, everyone eager to be the first to take in a joy so great with eyes and ears.
An unbroken column reached all the way to the Mulvian Bridge.
The emissaries, who were Lucius Veturius Philo, Publius Licinius Varus and Quintus Caecilius Metellus, beset by a crowd of men of every class made their way into the Forum, while some were questioning the emissaries themselves, some their companions, as to what had happened.
And whenever a man heard that the army of the enemy and their general had been slain, that the Roman legions were intact, the consuls safe, forthwith he would share his delight with others.
After they had made their way with difficulty into the Senate House and with much more difficulty the crowd had been pushed aside, so as not to mingle with the senators, the letter was read in the senate.
Then the emissaries were led over into the [p. 411]
Lucius Veturius, after the reading of the2
letter, himself set forth more clearly everything that had been done, with great approval and finally even shouting from the entire assembly, since they were barely able to contain their joy.
Then some hastened to one temple of the gods after another to return thanks, others to their homes, to share news so joyous with wives and children.
The senate decreed that, whereas Marcus Livius and Gaius Claudius, the consuls, with their army safe, had slain the general and legions of the enemy, there should be a thanksgiving for three days. This thanksgiving was proclaimed before an assembly by Gaius Hostilius, the praetor, and observed by men and women.
All the temples were uniformly crowded for all three days, while the matrons in their richest garments, together with their children, being relieved of every fear, just as if the war were already finished,3
returned thanks to the immortal gods.
Even the financial situation of the state was changed by that victory, so that from that time on, just as if in peace, they ventured to carry on business with one another, selling and buying, lending money and repaying loans.
Gaius Claudius, the consul, having returned to his camp, ordered the head of Hasdrubal, which he had kept with care and brought with him, to be thrown in front of the enemy's outposts,4
and that captured Africans should be displayed, as they were, in chains; furthermore that two of them, released from bonds, should go to Hannibal and relate to him what [p. 413]
Hannibal, under the blow of so great6
a sorrow, at once public and intimate, is reported to have said that he recognized the destiny of Carthage.
And moving his camp away, with the intention to concentrate in that most distant part of Italy, the land of the Bruttii, all the forces which he was unable to defend if widely scattered, he removed the whole body of citizens of Metapontum, whom he had summoned to leave their homes,7
and such Lucanians also as were subject to him, into the Bruttian country.