The ambassadors came to Hannibal and concluded a treaty of peace with him on the terms, “That no Carthaginian commander should have any authority over a Campanian citizen, nor any Campanian serve in war or perform any office against his will:
that Capua should have her own laws and her own magistrates: that the Carthaginian should give to the Campanians three hundred captives selected by themselves, who might be exchanged for the Campanian horse who were serving in Sicily.”
Such were the stipulations: but in addition to them, the Campanians perpetrated the following atrocities; for the commons ordered that the prefects of the allies and other citizens of Rome should be suddenly seized, [p. 842]
while some of them were occupied with military duties, others engaged in private business, and be shut up in the baths, as if for the purpose of keeping them in custody; where, suffocated with heat and vapour, they might expire in a horrid manner.
Decius Magius, a man who wanted nothing to complete his influence except a sound mind on the part of his countrymen, had resisted to the uttermost the execution of these measures, and the sending of the embassy to Hannibal;
and when he heard that a body of troops was sent by Hannibal, bringing back to their recollection, as examples, the haughty tyranny of Pyrrhus and the miserable slavery of the Tarentines, he at first openly and loudly protested that the troops should not be admitted;
then he urged either that they should expel them when received, or, if they had a mind to expiate, by a bold and memorable act, the foul crime they had committed in revolting from their most ancient and intimate allies, that having slain the Carthaginian troops they should give themselves back to the Romans.
These proceedings having been reported to Hannibal, for they were not carried on in secret, he at first sent persons to summon Magius into his presence at his camp; then, on his vehemently refusing to come, on the ground that Hannibal had no authority over a Campanian, the Carthaginian, excited with rage, ordered that the man should be seized and dragged to him in chains;
but afterwards, fearing lest while force was employed some disturbance might take place, or lest, from excitement of feeling, some undesigned collision might occur, he set out himself from the camp with a small body of troops, having sent a message before him to Marius Blosius, the praetor of Campania, to the effect, that he would be at Capua the next day.
Marius calling an assembly, issued an order that they should go out and meet Hannibal in a body, accompanied by their wives and children. This was done by all, not only with obedience, but with zeal, with the full agreement of the common people, and with eagerness to see a general rendered illustrious by so many victories.
Decius Magius neither went out to meet him, nor kept himself in private, by which course he might seem to indicate fear from a consciousness of demerit; he promenaded in the forum with perfect composure, attended by his son and a few dependants, while all the citizens were in a bustle to go to see and receive the Carthaginian.
Han- [p. 843]
nibal, on entering the city, immediately demanded an audience of the senate; when the chief men of the Campanians, beseeching him not to transact any serious business on that day, but that he would cheerfully and
willingly celebrate a day devoted to festivity in consequence of his own arrival, though naturally extremely prone to anger, yet, that he might not deny them any thing at first, he spent a great part of the day in inspecting the city.