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The Consequences of the Battle of Cannae

The result of this battle, such as I have described it,
The results of the battle. Defection of the allies.
had the consequences which both sides expected. For the Carthaginians by their victory were thenceforth masters of nearly the whole of the Italian coast which is called Magna Graecia. Thus the Tarentines immediately submitted; and the Arpani and some of the Campanian states invited Hannibal to come to them; and the rest were with one consent turning their eyes to the Carthaginians: who, accordingly, began now to have high hopes of being able to carry even Rome itself by assault.

On their side the Romans, after this disaster, despaired of retaining their supremacy over the Italians, and were in the greatest alarm, believing their own lives and the existence of their city to be in danger, and every moment expecting that Hannibal would be upon them.

Fall of Lucius Postumius in Gaul. See supra, ch. 106.
For, as though Fortune were in league with the disasters that had already befallen them to fill up the measure of their ruin, it happened that only a few days afterwards, while the city was still in this panic, the Praetor who had been sent to Gaul fell unexpectedly into an ambush and perished, and his army was utterly annihilated by the Celts. In spite of all, however, the Senate left no means untried to save the State. It exhorted the people to fresh exertions, strengthened the city with guards, and deliberated on the crisis in a brave and manly spirit. And subsequent events made this manifest. For though the Romans were on that occasion indisputably beaten in the field, and had lost reputation for military prowess; by the peculiar excellence of their political constitution, and the prudence of their counsels, they not only recovered their supremacy over Italy, by eventually conquering the Carthaginians, but before very long became masters of the whole world.

I shall, therefore, end this book at this point, having now

B.C. 216.
recounted the events in Iberia and Italy, embraced by the 140th Olympiad. When I have arrived at the same period in my history of Greece during this Olympiad, I shall then fulfil my promise of devoting a book to a formal account of the Roman constitution itself; for I think that a description of it will not only be germane to the matter of my history, but will also be of great help to practical statesmen, as well as students, either in reforming or establishing other constitutions.

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