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Hannibal Enters Campania

He, then, during the following months, kept his army continually hovering in the neighbourhood of the enemy, his superior knowledge of the country enabling him to occupy beforehand all the posts of vantage; and having supplies in abundance on his rear, he never allowed his soldiers to go on foraging expeditions, or get separated, on any pretence, from the camp; but keeping them continually massed together and in close union, he watched for favourable opportunities of time and place; and by this method of proceeding captured and killed a large number of the enemy, who in their contempt of him straggled from their camp in search of plunder. His object in these manœuvres was twofold,—to gradually diminish the limited numbers of the enemy: and to strengthen and renew by such successes in detail the spirits of his own men, which had been depressed, to begin with, by the general defeat of their armies. But nothing would induce him to agree to give his enemy a set battle.
Minucius discontented.
This policy however was by no means approved of by his master of the horse, Marcus. He joined in the general verdict, and decried Fabius in every one's hearing, as conducting his command in a cowardly and unenterprising spirit; and was himself eager to venture upon a decisive engagement.

Meanwhile the Carthaginians, after wasting these districts,

Hannibal in Samnium and Apulia.
crossed the Apennines; and descending upon Samnium, which was rich and had been free from war for many years past, found themselves in possession of such an abundance of provisions, that they could get rid of them neither by use nor waste. They overran also the territory of Beneventum, which was a Roman colony; and took the town of Venusia, which was unwalled and richly furnished with every kind of property. All this time the Romans were following on his rear, keeping one or two days' march behind him, but never venturing to approach or engage the enemy. Accordingly, when Hannibal saw that Fabius plainly meant to decline a battle, but yet would not abandon the country altogether, he formed the bold resolution of penetrating to the plains round Capua; and actually did so as far as Falernum, convinced that thereby he should do one of two things,—force the enemy to give him battle, or make it evident to all that the victory was his, and that the Romans had abandoned the country to him. This he hoped would strike terror into the various cities, and cause them to be eager to revolt from Rome. For up to that time, though the Romans had been beaten in two battles, not a single city in Italy had revolted to the Carthaginians; but all maintained their fidelity, although some of them were suffering severely; —a fact which may show us the awe and respect which the Republic had inspired in its allies.

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