At the end of the summer in which these events took place in Greece, Quintus Fabius Maximus the son, as an emissary of Marcus Livius, the consul, reported to the senate at Rome that the consul considered Lucius Porcius with his legions a sufficient defence for Gaul, his own assignment;1
that he himself could retire from it and his consular army could be withdrawn.
Thereupon the senators ordered that not merely Marcus Livius but also his colleague Gaius Claudius should return to the city.
The only difference in the decree was that they ordered the return of the army of Marcus Livius, but that Nero's legions facing Hannibal should remain in that province. Between the consuls an agreement was made by letter that, just as they had carried on the war with one purpose only, so, although coming from opposite directions, they should approach the city at one and the same time.
Whichever should first reach Praeneste was instructed to wait for his colleague there. It chanced that both reached Praeneste on the same day.
From there they sent in advance an edict that three days later the senate should meet with full attendance in the Temple of Bellona;2
and with the whole populace flocking out to meet them they drew near to the city.
Not only did everyone in the surrounding crowd greet them, [p. 39]
but vying with one another in their desire to grasp3
the victorious right hands of the consuls some were congratulating them, others were offering thanks because by their services the state was safe.
In the senate after the manner of all commanders-in-chief they stated their achievements and demanded that for a brave and successful conduct of the war honour should be paid to the immortal gods; likewise that they themselves should be permitted to enter the city in triumph.
Whereupon the senators replied that they did indeed decree the granting of their demands with due recognition first of the gods, and then next to the gods, of the consuls. After a thanksgiving had been decreed in honour of them both and
a triumph also to each, in order that they should not have separate triumphs after conducting the war with a common purpose, they came to an agreement as follows.
Inasmuch as the battle had been fought in the province of Marcus Livius, and on the day of the battle the auspices also, as it happened, had been his,4
and inasmuch as Livius' army had been brought back to Rome, while Nero's could not be brought back from his province, they agreed between them that Marcus Livius should enter the city in a four-horse chariot with his soldiers following him, and that Gaius Claudius should ride on horseback without his soldiers.
This sharing of the triumph added indeed to the glory of both, but even more so for the one who had yielded to his colleague in honour to the same degree that he surpassed him in his achievement.
That man now on horseback in the space of six days had traversed the whole length of Italy, men kept saying, and had fought, standards against standards, with [p. 41]
Hasdrubal in Gaul on a day on which Hannibal had5
believed the consul had his camp established facing his own in Apulia.
Thus a single consul in defence of both regions of Italy had confronted two armies and two generals, here with his strategy and there in person.
Nero's name had been enough, they said, to keep Hannibal within his camp. As for Hasdrubal, what else than Nero's arrival had overwhelmed and destroyed him?
Thus let the other consul drive standing erect in a chariot drawn, if he wished, by many horses. The truly triumphant progress through the city was on a single horse; and Nero, even if he went on foot, would be memorable, be it for the glory won in that war, or for his contempt of it in that triumph.
Such was the talk of the spectators who accompanied Nero all the way to the Capitol. As for money, the consuls carried into the Treasury three million sesterces and eighty thousand asses.
To his soldiers Marcus Livius apportioned fifty-six asses
apiece. Gaius Claudius promised the same amount to his absent soldiers when he should return to the army.
It has been remarked that in the jesting of the soldiers on that day more of their songs were levelled at Gaius Claudius than at their own consul;
that the knights highly extolled Lucius Veturius and Quintus Caecilius, the lieutenant-generals, and urged the commons to elect them consuls for the following year;
also that to the knights' preliminary choice the consuls on the next day added their authority by an address to the people, stating what brave and faithful service they had had in particular from their two lieutenants. [p. 43]