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Hannibal Advances Upon Rome

With this purpose in his mind he sent a letter-carrier
Hannibal informs the Capuans of his purpose
into Capua. This he did by persuading one of his Libyans to desert to the Roman camp, and thence to Capua. He took this trouble to secure the safe delivery of his letter, because he was very much afraid that the Capuans, if they saw him departing, would consider that he despaired of them, and would therefore give up hope and surrender to the Romans. He wrote therefore an explanation of his design, and sent the Libyan the day after, in order that the Capuans, being acquainted with the purpose of his departure, might go on courageously sustaining the siege.

When the news had arrived at Rome that Hannibal had

Excitement and activity at Rome
encamped over against their lines, and was actually besieging their forces, there was a universal excitement and terror, from a feeling that the result of the impending battle would decide the whole war. Consequently, with one heart and soul, the citizens had all devoted themselves to sending out reinforcements and making preparations for this struggle. On their part, the Capuans were encouraged by the receipt of Hannibal's letter, and by thus learning the object of the Carthaginian movement, to stand by their determination, and to await the issue of this new hope.
Hannibal starts.
At the end of the fifth day, therefore, after his arrival on the ground, Hannibal ordered his men to take their supper as usual, and leave their watch-fires burning; and started with such secrecy, that none of the enemy knew what was happening. He took the road through Samnium, and marched at a great pace and without stopping, his skirmishers always keeping before him to reconnoitre and occupy all the posts along the route: and while those in Rome had their thoughts still wholly occupied with Capua and the campaign there, he crossed the Anio without being observed; and having arrived at a distance of not more than forty stades from Rome, there pitched his camp.

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