While the Romans were engaged in these preparations and activities, the one captured ship escaped while under weigh from those which had been sent to Rome,1
and returned to Philip.
Thus it became known that the ambassadors had been captured with the letter. And so the king, not knowing what had been agreed upon between his ambassadors and Hannibal, and what message the latter's ambassadors were to have brought to him, sent another embassy with the same instructions.
As ambassadors to Hannibal there were sent Heraclitus, surnamed Scotinus,2
and Crito, the Boeotian, and Sositheus, of Magnesia.
These succeeded in carrying and in bringing back instructions; but the summer was over before the king could make any active preparations. So effectual was the capture of a single ship and ambassadors in postponing a war which threatened the Romans.
Also in the vicinity of Capua both consuls were carrying on the war, now that Fabius, after finally making atonement for the prodigies,3
had crossed the Volturnus.
The cities of Combulteria and Trebula and Austicula, which had revolted to the Carthaginian, were forcibly taken by Fabius, and in them Hannibal's garrisons and very many Campanians were captured.
And at Nola, just as in the previous year, the senate sided with the Romans, the common people with Hannibal, and secret plans were being formed for the [p. 137]
murder of the leading men and the betrayal of the4
That their undertaking should go no farther, Fabius led his army between Capua and the camp of Hannibal, which was on Tifata, and established himself above Suessula in the Claudian Camp.5
From there he sent Marcus Marcellus, the propraetor,6
with the forces which he had to Nola, to serve as a garrison.