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The Tarentines Themselves Spared

Presently when Hannibal had marched his forces into
Roman houses sacked, Tarentines spared.
the market-place, and the Romans had retired into the citadel, as having been previously secured by them with a garrison, and it had become broad daylight, the Carthaginian general caused a proclamation to be made to the Tarentines to assemble in full number in the market-place; while the young conspirators went meanwhile round the town talking loudly about liberty, and bidding everybody not to be afraid, for the Carthaginians had come to save them. Such of the Tarentines as held to their loyalty to Rome, upon learning the state of the case, went off to the citadel; but the rest came to the meeting, in obedience to the proclamation, without their arms: and to them Hannibal addressed a cordial speech. The Tarentines heartily cheered everything he said from joy at their unexpected safety; and he dismissed the crowd with an injunction to each man, to go with all speed to his own house, and write over the door, "A Tarentine's"; but if any one wrote the same word on a house where a Roman was living, he declared the penalty to be death. He then personally told off the best men he had for the service, and sent them to plunder the houses of the Romans; giving them as their instructions to consider all houses which had no inscription as belonging to the enemy: the rest of his men he kept drawn up as a reserve.

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