2. Q. Fulvius
Flaccus, M. F. Q. N., a son of No. 1, was consul in B. C. 237.
He and his colleague, L. Cornelius Lentulus, fought against the Ligurians in Italy, and triumphed over them. In B. C. 224 he was consul a second time.
The war in the north of Italy was still going on, and Flaccus and his colleague were the first Roman generals that led their armies across the river Po. The Gauls and Insubrians were reduced to submission in that campaign. In B. C. 215, after having been twice consul, Q. Fulvius Flaccus obtained the city praetorship, a circumstance which Livy thinks worth being recorded.
The year before his praetorship, 216, he had been elected pontifex in the place of Q. Aelius Paetus, who had fallen in the battle of Cannae.
In his praetorship the senate placed twenty-four ships at his command, to protect the coast in the neighbourhood of the city, and soon after the senate decreed that he should raise 5000 foot and 400 horse, and cause this legion to be carried to Sardinia as soon as possible, and that he should appoint whomsoever he pleased as its commander, until Q. Mucius, who was severely ill, recovered. Flaccus accordingly appointed T. Manlius Torquatus commander of the legion. In B. C. 214 he was the only one among his colleagues that was re-elected to the praetorship, and a senatus consultum ordained, that he, extra ordinem,
should have the city for his province, and that he should have the command there during the absence of the consuls. In B. C. 213 he was appointed magister equitum to the dictator, C. Claudius Centho, and the year after was raised to the consulship for the third time, together with App. Claudius Pulcher.
In this year he was also a candidate for the office of pontifex maximus, which, however, he did not obtain. During his third consulship Campania was his province; and he accordingly went thither with his army, took up his position at Beneventum, and thence made an unexpected attack upon the camp of Hanno in the neighbourhood.
After some very extraordinary but unsuccessful attempts to take the camp, which was pitched upon an almost inaccessible eminence, Flaccus proposed to withdraw until the next day, but the undaunted courage of his soldiers, and their indignation at his proposal, obliged him to continue his attack. Having been joined by his colleague, App. Claudius Pulcher, the enemy's camp was taken by assault.
A great massacre then took place, in which upwards of 6000 Carthaginians are said to have been killed, and more than 7000 were taken prisoners, with all that the camp contained.
The two consuls then returned to Beneventum, where they sold the booty, and distributed the proceeds among those who had distinguished themselves during the attack upon Hanno's camp. Hanno, who had not been in the camp at the time when it was taken, found it necessary to withdraw into the country of the Bruttians.
Hereupon the two consuls marched against Capua, which was now besieged with the greatest vigour.
In the next year, when Cn. Fulvius Centumalus and P. Sulpicius Galba were consuls, the imperium of Fulvius Flaccus and App. Claudius was prolonged : they retained their army, and were ordered not to leave Capua till it was taken.
As, however, Hannibal in the meantime marched against Rome, the senate called Fulvius Flaccus back to protect the city, and for this purpose he received the same power as the actual consuls.
But after Hannibal's sudden retreat, Flaccus returned to Capua, and continued the siege with the utmost exertion.
The inhabitants of Capua were reduced to the last extremity, and resolved to surrender ; but before the gates were opened the most distinguished persons put an end to their lives.
The fearful catastrophe of this once flourishing town, the cruel punishment of the Campanians, the execution of all the surviving senators, and the other arrangements, such as could be dictated only by the most implacable hatred and hostility, must be set down to the account of Q. Fulvius Flaccus. Towards the end of the year he had to return to Rome, where he conducted, as dictator, the consular elections.
He himself received Capua as his province for another year, but his two legions were reduced to one. In 209 he was invested with the consulship for the fourth time, and received Lucania and Bruttium as his province: the Hirpinians, Lucanians, and Volcentians submitted to him, and were mildly treated. For the year following his imperium was again prolonged, with Capua for his province and one legion at his command. In 207 he commanded two legions at Bruttium.
This is the last record we have of him in history.
He was a very fortunate and successful general during the latter period of the second Punic war, but his memory is branded with the cruelty with which he treated Capua after its fall. (Liv. 23.21
, &c., 13, &c., 20, 26.1, &c., 8, &c., 22, 28, 27.6, &c., 11, 15, 22, 36; Eutrop. 3.1
, &c.; Zonar. 8.18
, &c.; Plb. 2.31
; Oros. 4.13
, &c.; Appian, Annib.
37, 40, &c. ; V. Max. 2.3.3
. Ext. § 1, 8.1, 5.2.1; Cic. de Leg. Agr.