The siege of Capua was now resumed by the consuls with the utmost energy. Every thing requisite for the business was conveyed thither and got in readiness.
A store of corn was collected at Casilinum; at the mouth of the Vulturnus, where a town now stands, a strong post was fortified; and a garrison was stationed in Puteoli, which Fabius had formerly fortified, in order to have the command of the neighbouring sea and the river.
Into these two maritime forts, the corn recently sent from Sicily, with that which Marcus Junius, the praetor, had bought up in Etruria, was conveyed from Ostia, to supply the army during the winter.
But, in addition to the disaster sustained in Lucania, the army also of volunteer slaves, who had served during the life of Gracchus with the greatest fidelity, as if discharged from service by the death of their general, left their standards.
Hannibal was not willing that Capua should be neglected, or his allies deserted, at so critical a juncture; but, having obtained such success from the temerity of one Roman general, his attention was fixed on the opportunity which presented itself of crushing the other general and his army.
Ambassadors from Apulia reported that Cneius Fulvius, the praetor, had at first conducted his measures with caution, while engaged in besieging certain towns of Apulia, which had revolted to Hannibal; but that afterwards, in consequence of extraordinary success, both himself and his soldiers, being glutted with booty, had so given themselves up to licentiousness and indolence, that all military discipline was disregarded.
Having frequently on [p. 987]
other occasions, as well as but a few days ago, experienced what an army was good for, when conducted by an unskilful commander, he moved his camp into Apulia.