The consuls divided the armies between them. The army which Marcus Junius the dictator had commanded fell to the lot of Fabius. To that of Sempronius fell the volunteer slaves, with twenty-five thousand of the allies.
To Marcus Valerius the praetor were assigned the legions which had returned from Sicily. Marcus Claudius, proconsul, was sent to that army which lay above Suessula for the protection of Nola. The praetors set out for Sicily and Sardinia.
The consuls issued a proclamation, that as often as they summoned a senate, the senators and those who had a right to give their opinion in the senate, should assemble at the Capuan gate.
The praetors who were charged with the administration of justice, fixed their tribunals in the public fish market; there they ordered sureties to be entered into, and here justice was administered this year.
Meanwhile news was brought to Carthage, from which place Mago, Hannibal's brother, was on the point of carrying over into Italy twelve thousand foot, fifteen hundred horse, twenty elephants, and a thousand talents of silver, under a convoy of sixty men of war, that the operations of
the war had not succeeded in Spain, and that almost all the people in that province had gone over to the Romans.
There were some who were for sending Mago with that fleet and those forces into Spain, neglecting Italy, when an unexpected prospect of regaining Sardinia broke upon them.
They were informed, that “the Roman army there was small, that Aulus Cornelius, who had been praetor there, and was well acquainted with the province, was quitting it, and that a new one was expected.
Moreover, that the minds of the Sardinians were now wearied with the long continuance of rule; and that during the last year it had been exercised with severity and rapacity. That the people were weighed down with heavy taxes, and an oppressive contribution of corn; that there was nothing wanting but a leader to whom they [p. 875]
This secret embassy had been sent by the nobles, Hampsicora being the chief contriver of the measure, who at that time was first by far in wealth and influence.
Disconcerted and elated almost at the same time by these accounts, they sent Mago with his fleet
and forces into Spain, and selecting Hasdrubal as general for Sardinia, assigned to him about as large a force as to Mago.
At Rome, the consuls, after transacting what was necessary to be done in the city, now prepared themselves for the war.
Tiberius Sempronius appointed a day for his soldiers to assemble at Sinuessa; and Quintus Fabius also, having first consulted the senate, issued a proclamation, that all persons should convey corn from the fields into fortified towns, before the calends of June next ensuing:
if any neglected to do so he would lay waste his lands, sell his slaves by auction, and burn his farmhouses. Not even the praetors, who were created for the purpose of administering justice, were allowed an exemption from military employments.
It was resolved that Valerius the praetor should go into Apulia, to receive the army from Terentius, and that, when the legions from Sicily had arrived, he should employ them principally for the protection of that quarter. That the army of Terentius should be sent into Sicily, with some one of the lieutenant-generals.
Twenty-five ships were given to Marcus Valerius, to protect the seacoast between Brundusium and Tarentum.
An equal number was given to Quintus Fulvius, the city praetor, to protect the coasts in the neighbourhood of the city.
To Caius Terentius, the proconsul, it was given in charge to press soldiers in the Picenian territory, and to protect that part of the country;
and Titus Otacilius Crassus, after he had dedicated the temple of Mens in the Capitol, was invested with command, and sent into Sicily to take the conduct of the fleet.