Religious duties being thus acquitted, the [p. 237]
dictator turned to affairs of war and state, and1
called upon the senate to decide with what and how many legions the victorious enemy should be faced.
It was voted that he should take over the army of Gnaeus Servilius, the consul; that he should enroll, besides, from the citizens and the allies, as many horsemen and foot-soldiers as seemed good to him; and with regard to all other questions should act as he deemed conducive to the welfare of the state.
Fabius announced that he should add two legions to the army that Servilius had commanded. These legions he enlisted, through his master of the horse, and commanded them to assemble at Tibur on a given day.
He also issued an edict that those who dwelt in unfortified towns and hamlets should remove to places of safety; and that all the inhabitants of that district where Hannibal was likely to be marching should abandon their farms, first burning the buildings and destroying the crops, that there might be no supplies for him of any kind.
He himself went out by the Flaminian way to meet the consul and his army, and when, close to the Tiber near Ocriculum, he came in sight of the column and saw the consul riding towards him at the head of his cavalry, he dispatched an orderly to bid the consul appear before the dictator without lictors.
The consul obeyed, and their meeting vividly impressed the greatness of the dictatorship on citizens and allies, who had now, with the lapse of years, almost forgotten that supreme authority. Just then a dispatch was delivered from the City, announcing that ships of burden with supplies from Ostia for the army in Spain had been captured by the Punic [p. 239]
fleet off the port of Cosa.
Accordingly, the consul2
was ordered to set out at once for Ostia and, manning such ships as were at Rome or Ostia with soldiers and naval allies,3
to pursue the enemy's fleet and protect the coasts of Italy.
A vast number of men had been enrolled in Rome; even freedmen who had children and were of military age had taken the oath.
Of this urban levy those who were less than thirty-five years old were sent on board the ships; the others were left to garrison the City.