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he might ferve on horfeback. which by an ancient
law amongft the Romans was forbid to their Generals;
whether it were, that placing their greateft ftrength in
their foot, they would have their commanders in chief
polled amongft them , or whether they defigned to mow-
that the Dictator, though he was uncontrouled in all
other refpefts, yet in this was dependent on the people.
Fabius to make the authority of his charge more awful,
and to render the people more fubrniflive and obedient
to him, can fed himfelf to be accompanied with four
and twenty lifters ; and when the confui came to vifit
him, he fent him word, that he mould difmifs his lie-
tors with their fafces, and, laying afide all enfigns of
authority, appear before him only as a private perfon.

He began his didatorfhip in the bed manner poffible,
by publick acts of devotion to the Gods, and allured the
people, that their late overthrow was not owing to want
of courage in the foldiers, but to the neglect of religious
ceremonies in the general. He therefore exhorted them
not to fear the enemy, but by extraordinary honours
to appeafe the Gods. This he did, not to fill their
minds with fuperftition, but only to raife their courage
and abate their fear of the enemy, by making them be-
lieve, that heaven was on their fide. For this purpofe
they confulted thofe myfterious and valuable writings
called the Sibylline books and it is faid there were found
fome prophecies in them which perfectly agreed with
the circumftances of that time ; but whoever looked
into them, was obliged to keep fecret what he di


array, and his collegue Flaminius fcencknts obtained the privilege
ilain, the people named Fabius of putting Di&ator inftead of Pro-
Prodiflator ; and we are told by dictator in the lift of his titles.
Livy, that in confideration of the (3) Polybius and Livy call him
merits of this great man, his de- Marcus Minucius.

(4) This

o Zbc LIFE -of

covered there. After this he alTembled the people, and
made a (4) vow before them to offer in facrifice the
whole produce of rii2 next feafon through all Italy, of
the cows, goats, fwine, fheep, both in the mountains
and the plains : and the more to folemnize this great
vow, he commanded the fum of 333000 Sefterces, and
333 Denarii, and one third of a Denarius, to be expended
upon feftival games in honour of the Gods : (which in
our Greek money amounts to 83,583 Drachmas, and
two Oboli.) What his reafbn might be for fixing upon
that precife number is not eafy to determine, unlefs it
were (5) on account of the perfection of the number
Three, as being the firft of odd numbers, the firft of
plurals, and containing in itfelf the firft differences, and
the elements of all numbers.

By thefe acts of religion, Fabius infpired the people
with better hopes. But he placed his whole confidence
in himfelf, believing that the Gods beftowed viftory
and good fortune only upon the valiant and the pru-
dent. Thus prepared, he marched againft Hannibal,
not with intention to come to an engagement, but by
length of time to exhauft the fpirit and vigour of the
enemy, and gradually to diftrefs and weaken them, by
properly improving his fuperiority over them in num-
ber of men and plenty of money. With this defign he
always encamped on the higheft grounds, where their
horfe could have no accefs. He carefully obferved the
motions of Hannibal's army ; when they marched he
followed them j when they encamped he did the fame,


(4) This vow was called '* Ver up, they drove them out of their
Sacrum," and whoever made itob- country and obliged them to feek
Hged himfelf to confecrate to the a habitation elfewhere.
Gods all the cattle which ftould (-) The Pythagoreans and Pla-
be produced between the firft of tonics held the number three to be
Match and ttie firft of May. A- perfect for feveral reafons which
mong fome nations of Italy, the it would be tedious here to men-
children who were born during tion. One not being a number,
that period were likewife included three is therefore the firft of odd
in the vow not that they facri- numbers. It is the firft of plurals,
ficed them like other animals; for the Greeks did not call two a
but as foon as they were grown plural number but a dual. What



always keeping upon the hills, and at fuch a diftance as
not to be compelled to an engagement (6), by which
means he gave them no reft, but kept them in a con-
tinual alarm.

But this dilatory method gave occafion both at Rome,
and even in his own camp, to fufpect his want of cou-
rage ; and this opinion prevailed alfo in Hannibal's
army, who was himielf the only man who was not de-
ceived,, and who clearly fa w the defign of the enemy.
He determined therefore to try all means to bring Fabius
to an engagement, without which the ruin of the Car-
thaginians was inevitable ; for they were now prevented
from making any advantage of their iuperiority in
arms, and with regard to money and number of men,
in both which they were already inferior to the Romans,
they were growing weaker every day. For this pur-
pofe he pradifed every art and flratagem to oblige Fa-
bius to change his meafures; like a fkilful wreftler who
watches every opportunity to lay hold of his adverfary.
Sometimes he advanced, and alarmed him with the ap-
prehenfion of an attack ; fometimes retiring to a di-
tance, and marching from place to place, he led him
up and down the country. But all this artifice had no
effed upon the firmnefs and conftancy of the Dictator,
who was fully perfuaded of the goodnefs of his plan..
He was however made very uneafy by the impatience
and unfeafonable courage of [Viinucius his General of
the horfe, who by continually haranguing the foldiers,
infpired them with a furious eagerneis for battle, ard

a vain

Plutarch further adds concerning ing well improved would necefia-

t'he properties of this number rily procure them the victory,

feems lefs eafy to explain. They railed recruits with great

(6) The chief advantage which eafe, and were plentifully fupplied

the troops of Hannibal had over with all forts of ammunition and

thofe of Fabius was that vigour provilion, fo that being in want of

and hardinefa with which their nothing, they were not obliged to

frequent victories had infpired go out of their camp, where Fa-

them. Befides, they were fupe- bius kept them clofe, watching all

rior to the Romans in horfe : but opportunities of falling upon the

then the Romans had feveral ad- Carthaginians, who frequently fo-

vantages over Hannibal, which be- raged up to his vety intrench-


62 The L I F E of

a vain confidence of fuccefs ; fo that they derided and
infulted Fabius, calling him the (7) Pedagogue of Han-
nibal, and at the fame time extolled Minuciusasa brave
man and worthy to be a Roman General. This raifed
his vanity and preemption to fuch a pitch, that he in-
folently rallied Fabius's encampments upon the moun-
tains, faying, that he lodged his men there, as on a
theatre, to behold the flames and defolation of their
country. And he would fometimes alk the friends of
Fabius, whether it were not his meaning by leading
them from mountain to mountain, to carry them
at laft (having no hopes on earth) up into heaven,
and hide them in the clouds from Hannibal's army ?
When his friends related thefe things to the Dictator,
and perfuaded him to avoid the general obloquy by
engaging the enemy ; his anfwer was, " I mould be more
" timorous than they reprefent me if I mould quit my
" purpofe through the fear of reproach and ridieule. It
" is no inglorious thing to fear for the fafety of our coun-
" try. That man is unworthy of fuch a command as this,
" who is intimidated by calumny, and who makes him-
" felf the (lave of thofe whom he ought to govern, and
" whofe folly and rafhnefs it is his duty to reftrain."

Sometime after this Hannibal committed a great mif-
take. For being defirous to remove to a greater di-
tance from Fabius, and to encamp in a place more con-
venient for forage, he drew off his army, and ordered
his guides to conduct him to (8) Cafmum. They mif-
underftanding him on account of his bad pronunciation
of the Latin tongue, led him and his army to the borders
of Campania, and the town Cafilinum, through the middle
of which the river Vulturnus runs. The adjacent coun-
try is entirely furrounded with hills, except that there
is an opening towards the fea j and on that fide the
valley extends quite to the coafl. Near the lea the
ground is very marfhy,, and in many places covered
with large banks of fand, occafioned by the overflow-

ments, fo that never a day pafled weakened the enemy and heart-
wherein fome of them were not ened his own foldiers,
cut off; by which means he (7) For the office of a Peda-


ing of the river. Thefea is there very rough, and the
coaft dangerous for (hips. As foon as Hannibal was
entered into this valley, Fabius being well acquainted
with the way, led his army round by another road, and
difpatched four thoufand men to ftop up the entrance;
the reft of his army he pofted upon the neighbouring
hills, in the moft advantageous places : but at the
fame time he detached a party of his beft light-armed
troops to fall upon Hannibal's rear ; which they did
with fuch fuccefs, that they cut off eight hundred of
them, and put the whole army into diibrder. Hanni-
bal, rinding his error, and the danger he was fallen into,
immediately crucified the guides ; but his enemies were
fo advantageoufly pofted, that there were no hopes of
breaking through them, and his- foldiers began to de-
fpair of ever coming cut of thofe ftraits.

Thus reduced, Hannibal had recourfe to this ftrata-
gem i he caufed two thoufand oxen, which he had in
his camp, to have torches and dry bavens well faftened
to their horns ; thefe being lighted upon a fignal given
at the beginning of the night, the beafts were driven
up the hills near that narrow pafs which was guarded
by the enemy. While thofe to whom the execution of
the order was committed were thus employed, he with
the reft of his army marched leifurely on. The oxen
at firft kept a How pace, and greatly furprized the
fhepherds and herdfmen on the adjacent hills, as they
appeared like an army marching in order with lighted
torches. But when the fire had burnt down the horns
of the beafts to the quick, they no longer kept their
order, but unruly with their pain, they ran difperfed
about, toiling their heads, fetting each other on fire, and
fcattering the flames around them, which caught the
bufhes through which they ran. This was a furprizing
fpeftacle to the Romans, efpecially to thofe who guarded
the paiTages, who being at fome diftance from the main
body, and feeing the fire on a fudden difperfing itfelf


gogue, as the name implies, was them home again.
to follow the children, to cany (8) It was not only for the fake
them up and down, and conduct of forage that Hannibal defired to


64 Toe L I F E of

on every fide, as if the enemy had defigned to fur round
them, in great terror quitted their pofl, and retired
with precipitation to their- camp on the hills. They
were no (boner gone, but a body of Hannibal's light-
armed men, according to his order, immediately feized
thepaflages ; and foon after the whole army, with all
the baggage, came up, and fafely marched through.
Fabius, before the night was over, difcovered the ftra-
tagem ; for ibme of the beafts fell into the hands of his
men ; but for fear of an ambufh in the dark, he kept
his men all night to their arms in the camp: and as
foon as it was day, he charged the rear of the enemy in
the narrow pafs, and put them into great diforder but
Hannibal fpeedily detached from his van a body of Spa-
niards, who were light and nimble men, and ufed to climb
mountains ; thefe brilkly attacked the Roman troops,
who were in heavy armour, killed many of them and
obliged Fabius to retire. This action brought great
difgrace upon the Dictator : the Romans faid, it was
now manifeft, that he was not only inferior to his ad-
verfary as they always thought) in courage, but even in
what he mofl pretended to, conduct and prudence.

Hannibal to inflame their hatred againil him ftill
more, marched with his army clofe to the lands and
pofleilions of Fabius ; and then giving orders to his
foldiers to burn and deflroy all the country about, he
forbad them to do the leaft damage in the territories of
the Roman General, and placed guards for their fecu-
rity. Thefe things being reported at Rome, had that
effect with the people which Hannibal defired. Their
tribunes inveighed loudly againft him, chiefly at the
inftigation of Metilius, who not fo much out of hatred
to him, as out of friendfhip to Minucius, whofe kinfman
he was, thought by deprefiing Fabius to raife his friend.
The fenate was alfo offended with .him for the bargain
he had made -with Hannibal about the exchange of pri-
foners, of which the conditions were, that after the


"i . *-*

gain the plains of Cafinum ; his would have been the cafe if he
main drift was to prevent Fabius could have fecured that poft.
from fuccouring his allies, which

(9) Others


exchange made of man for man, if any on either fide
remained, they fhould be redeemed at the price of two
hundred and fifty Drachmas each ^ and upon the whole
account there remained two hundred and forty Romans
vmexchanged. The fenate not only refufed to allow
money for the ranfoms, but alfo reproached Fabius as
acting con uary to the honour and intereft of the corn-
monvvealth, in redeeming thofe men at fo dear a rate,
whole cowardice had betrayed them into the hands of
the enemy. Fabius heard and endured all this with in-
vincible patience: but having no money with him, and
on the other fide being refolved to keep his word with
Hannibal, and not to fufTer his fellow-citizens to remain
in captivity, he difpatched his fon to Rome, with orders
to fell his lands, and to bring with him the price, mfficient
to difcharge the ranfoms. This was punctually perform-
ed by his fon, and accordingly the prifoners were deli-
vered to him ; many of whom afterwards offered to re-
pay the money, but Fabius would not accept it.

About this time Fabius was called to Rome by the
priefts, to aflift at fome of the folemn facrifices ; where-
by he was forced to leave the command of the army with
Minucius : but before he parted, he not only command-
ed him as Dictator, but likewife earneflly intreated him
not to come to a battle with Hannibal. His com-
mands, his entreaties, and his advice were loll upon
Minucius ; for he was no fooner gone, but the new
General immediately ibught all occafions to fight the
enemy. Obferving one day, that Hannibal had fent out
a great party of his army to forage, he fell upon thofe
who were left behind, killed a great number, and advanc-
ed to their very trenches, fo that they feared he would
even ftorm their camp ; and when the reft of Hannibal's
men returned, he (9) without any lofs made his retreat.
This fuccefs much increafed the prefumption of Minuci-
us, and the ardour of the foldiers. The news was imme-
diately carried to Rome , and Fabius as foon as he heard
it, laid, "That he dreaded nothing more than the fuccefs


(9) Others fay that lie loft five enemy's lofs did not. exceed his
thouiand of'his men, and that the bv more than a thuufand.
VoL/II. ' (,)He

66 The LIFE of

" of Minucius." But the people mad with joy, ran into
the Forum ; and iVtetilius, their tribune, made an oration
to them, in which he highly extolled Minucius, and accu-
fed Fabius both of cowardice and treachery ; nay he char-
ged not only him, but alfo many others of the moft emi-
nent men in Rome with " having been the occafion of bring-
" ing the war into Italy, and defining thereby' to oppreis
" and enflave the people ; for which end they had put the
" fupreme authority into the hands of a fingle perlbn, who
" by his dilatory proceedings gave leifure to Hannibal
" toeftablifh himfelf in 1 Italy, and the Carthaginians time
" and opportunity to fupply him with freih iuccours in or-
" der to a total conqueft." At this Fabius flept forth, but
difdained to make any reply to his accufations ; he only
bid them "finifh thcfhcrifices and ceremonies as foon as
*' poflible, that fo he might fpeedily return to the army, to
" punifh Minucius, who had prefumed to fight contrary
" to his orders." Thefe words caufed a great tumult a-
mong the people, who imagined that Minucius flood in
danger of his life : for it was in the power of the Dicta-
tor to imprifon, and to put to death without any trial ;
and they feared that Fabius, though naturally of a mild
temper, yet when once provoked would not eafily be ap-
pealed. However no one dared to oppofe the Dictator
except Metilius, whofe office of tribune gave him liber-
ty to fay what he pleafed ; for in the time of a Dictator
that magiflrate only preferves his authority. He there-
fore boldly applied himfelf to the people, and intreated
them not to abandon Minucius, nor fuffer him to be de-
flroyed, like the fon of Manlius Torquatus, who was
beheaded by his father, becaufe he had gained a victory-.
Then he exhorted them to take away from Fabius that-
abfolute power of a Dictator, and entrufl it to one who
was more able and willing to employ it for the general
fafety. This difcourfe made a ftrong impreffion on the
people. They would not however venture wholly to
deprive Fabius of his authority, notwithftanding thedif-
grace he had incurred ; but they decreed, that Minu-
cius fhould have an equal authority with the Dictator in
the army ; which was a thing then without precedent ;



though not long after it was alto praclifed upon the o-
verthrow at Cannae, when the Dictator Marcus Junius
being with the army, they chore at Rome Fabius Buteo
Dictator, that he might create new fenators to fupply
the places of thofe who were killed. But there was
this difference in the two cafes, that Buteo had no foon-
er filled the vacant places in the fenate than he difmiffc
ed his Li dors with their Fafces, and all his attendants,
and mingling himfelf like a common perfon with the
reft of the people, he quietly went about his own affairs.
The enemies of Fabius thought they had fufficiently
affronted and humbled him by raifing Minucius to be
his equal in authority j but they miftook the temper of
the man, who did not look upon their madnefs as any
reproach to him. For as Diogenes when he was told,
that fome perrons derided him, made anfwer, " But I
" am not derided ;" meaning that they only were ridi-
culous who fuffered themfelves to be made uneafy by
derifion ; thus Fabius, with great lenity and unconcern-
ednefs, fubmitted to this mad vote of the people, and
proved the truth of the opinion of thofe philosophers who
maintain that a wile and good man can never be really
affronted and difgraced. However he was extremely
concerned, for the fake of the publick, that fuch a pow-
er mould be lodged in the hands of a man of fo haugh-
ty and impetuous a temper : and left the rafhnefs of
Minucius mould prompt him to run headlong upon (bme
dangerous enterprize, with all privacy and fpeed he re-
turned back to the army ; where he found Minucius
fo elated with his new dignity, that a joint authority not
contenting him, he required by turns to have the com-
mand of the army every other day. This propofal Fabius
rejected, and thought it lefs dangerous that the army
mould be divided, and each General mould command
his part. The firft and fourth legion he took for his
own divifion, the fecond and third he delivered to Minn-
cius; fo alfo of the auxiliary forces each had an equal

Minucius thus exalted, could not contain himfelf
from boafting, that out of regard to him the people

E 2- had

68 The LIFE of

had humbled the pride of the dictatorial power. To this
Fabius replied, " Confider Minucius, it is Hannibal, and
" not Fabius, whom you are to combat; but if you muft
" needs contend with your collegue, let it be by mowing
" that he who has been honoured and favoured by the peo-
" pie is not lefs concerned for their welfare than he who
" has been ill treated and difgraced by them." Minucius
looked upon this as the raillery of an old man ; and imme-
diately removed with his part of the army, and encamp-
ed by himfeif. Hannibal, who watched every advantage,
was not ignorant of what pafTed. It happened, that be-
tween his army, and that of the Romans, there was a
certain eminence which feemed a very advantageous port
to encamp upon ; a large plain was extended round it,
which appeared to be all level and even ; and yet there
were a great many ditches and hollows in it, not difcer-
nible at a di fiance. Hannibal, had he pleafed, could eafi-
lyhave pollefied himfeif of this ground; but he referved
it for a bait, to draw the Romans to an engagement. As
foon as he faw that Minucius and Fabius were divided, he
in the night-time lodged a convenient number of his men
in thofe ditches and hollow places, and early in the morn-
ing hefent a fmall detachment, who in the fight of the e-
nemy were to feize that pofl, hoping by this means to
tempt Minucius to difpute the pofleilion of it with him.
According to his expectation, Minucius firft fent out a
party of light-armed trpops, and after them fome horfe ;
and at lafl, when he faw Hannibal in perfon advancing
to the aliiftance of his men, he marched with his whole
army drawn up, and vigoroufly attacked thofe who were
ftationed upon the rifing ground. The combat for fome
time was equal ; but as foon as Hannibal perceived that
the whole army of the Romans was now fufficiently ad-
vanced within the toils he had fet for them, fo that their
backs were open to his men whom he had polled in thofe
low places, he inftantly gave the fignal ; upon which
they rufhed forth, and furioufly attacked Minucius in the
rear, where they made great flaughter. This occafioned
inexpreifible confufion and terror in the Roman army,
and damped even the fpirit of Minucius. He looked round



upon his officers one after another, and faw that none of
them could maintain their ground, but all betook them-
felves to flight ; yet in this there was no fafety ; for the
victorious Numidians fpread themfelves every way, and
cut to pieces all whom they found fcattered about the plain.
Fabius was not ignorant of this danger of his country-
men : he forefeeing what would happen kept his men to
their arms, in a readinefs to wait the event ; nor would he
trull to the reports of others, but he himfelf from an emi-
nence near his camp viewed all that pafled. When there-
fore he faw the army of Minucius encompaffed by the
enemy, and heard founds not refembhng the fhouts of
foldiers engaged in battle, but like the cries of men over-
powered and put to flight, with a deep groan, ftrikifig his
hand upon his thigh, he faid to thofe about him, u O
" Heavens ! how much fooner than I expetled, and yet
" how much later than he would fain have done, has Mi-
" nucius deftroyed himfelf!" He then commanded the
enfigns to march, and the army to follow him, calling
aloud to them, " Now let every one who remembers
" Minucius make hade to his afliftance. He is a brave
u man, and a lover of his country -, and if he has been too 1
" forward to engage the enemy, we will tell him of it
" hereafter." Thus at the head of his men Fabius march-
ed up to the enemy; and in the firft place he cleared the
plains of thofe Numidians, and next he fell upon thof6
who were charging the Romans in the rear, and cut to
pieces all who made any reiiftance ; the reft faved them-
felves by flight, fearing left they fhould be environed as
the Romans had been. Hannibal feeing fo fudden a
change of affairs, and Fabius with a force beyond his
age opening his way through the ranks thar he might
join Minucius, founded a retreat, and drew off his men
into their camp. The Romans on their part were no
lefs contented to*retire in fafety. It is reported that
upon this occafion Hannibal pleafantly faid to his friends
" Did not I tell you that this cloud which hovered upon
" the mountains, would at fome time or other come
" down with a ftorm upon us?" Fabius, after his men
had ftripped the d.ead bodies of the enemies retired

3 to

70 ng LIP E of

to his own camp, without faying any harfh or reproach-,
fill thing concerning his collegue , who alfo on his part

fathering his army together, in this manner delivered

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