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imfelf to them : " Fellow-foldiers ; never to err in the
'* management of great affairs is above the force of hu-
" man nature ; but to improve by the faults we have
" committed is what becomes a good and a prudent man.
" Some reafons I may have to accufe fortune, but I have
" many more to thank her : for in a few hours (he has
" taught me what I never learned before, that I am not
" fit to command others, but have need of another to
" command me ; and that we are not to contend for a
a victory over thofe to whom it is our advantage to
" yield. Therefore for the future the Dictator muft be
" your commander, j I will however flill be your leader in
"mowing you an example of gratitude, and in being al-
" ways the firft to obey his orders." Having faid this, he
commanded the ftandard-bearers to march forward, anc*
all his men to follow him into the camp of Fabius. As foon
as he entered the camp, he marched directly towards the
Dictator's tent, the whole army in the mean time won-
dering what his defign was. When Fabius came out to
meet him, Minucius fixed his flandards before him, falu-
tinghim with aloud voice by the name of Father ; and his
foldiers called thofe of Fabius their Patrons, an appellation
given by (laves who are made free to thofe to whom they
owe their liberty. As foon as there was filence in the ar-
my, Minucius thus addreifed the Dictator : " You have
" this day, Fabius, obtained a double victory ; one by
" your valour over your enemies, and another over your
<{ collegue by your prudence and humanity ; by the one
" you have preferved us, by the other you have inftructed
" us ; and Hannibal's victory over us is not more difgrace-
" ful than yours is honourable and falutary to us. I call you
" Father, becaufe I know no title more honourable ; but I
" am more obliged to you than to my father j to him I am

" only

(i) He was the fon of a but- of pufhing his fortune, and ap-
crjcr, and had ferved under his plied himfelf to the bar. He
father in that trade; but being knew fo well how to infinuate
become wealthy, he was defirous himfelf into the good opinion of



" only obliged for my own life, to you for my own and the
" lives of all thefe here prefent." After this, he threw him-
felf into the arms of the Dictator -, and in the fame manner
the foldiers of each army embraced one another with
every exprellion of tendernefs, and with tears of joy.

Not long after Fabius laid down the Didatorfhip,
and new confuls were created. Thofe, who immedi-
ately fucceeded, dbferved the fame method in managing
the war, and avoided all occafions of fighting Hannibal
in a pitched battle ; they only fuccoured their allies,
and prevented their towns from revolting to the enemy.
But afterwards, when Terentius Varro (i) (a man of ob-
fcure birth, but very popular and bold) had obtained
the Confulfhip, he focn made it appear, that by his
rafhnefs and ignorance, he would expofe the common-
wealth to the utmofl hazard : for it v/as his cuflom to-
declaim in all aflemblies, that as long as the counfels
of Fabius prevailed in Rome, there would never be an
end of the war ; and he boafted, that whenever he
fhould get fight of the enemy, he would free Italy from
the arms of (Irangers. With thefe promifes he fo pre-
vailed with the credulous multitude, that he raifed a
greater army than had ever yet been fent out of Rome.
There were lifted 88,oo men. But that which gave
confidence to the populace, very much terrified and de-
jefted the wife and experienced, and none more than
Fabius : for if fo great a body, and the flower of the
Roman youth, fhould be cutoff, they could not fee any
refburce for the fafety of Rome. Wherefore they ad-
drefled themfelves to the other Conful, Paulus ^Emilius,
a man of great experience in war, but not agreeable to
the common people, and one that flood in fear of them,
becaufe they had formerly fet a fine upon him. Him
they encouraged to withfland the temerity of his col-
legue, telling him, that if he would ferve his country,
he muft no lefs oppofe Varro than Hannibal, fince both


the populace by flattering them, the greateft honours in the com-
and fupporting themeaneft of the mon-wealth. He was ^dile,
people againft the bed men in Quzftor, Prxtor, and at lad
Rome, that in time he attained to Conful.

E 4 (2) Varro' s


were defirous to come to a battle, 'the one becaufe ha
knew not his own ftrength, the other becaufe lie knew
his own weaknefs. " It is more reafbnable, faid Fabius to
" him, that you fhould believe me than Varro, in matters
" relating to Hannibal ; and I tell you, that if for this year
" you abflain from fighting with him, either he will leave
" Italy, or he will be ruined if he flays. This evidently ap-
" pears, fince notwithstanding his victories, none of the
" countries or towns of Italy join with him, and his army is
" not the third part of what it was at firft." To this Pau'us
" /Emiliusis laid to have replied, Did I only confider my-
" felf, I fhould rather chufeto'be expofed to the weapons
" of Hannibal, than to be tried again by the fuffrages
u of my fellow-citizens ; yet in this hazardous fituation of
" our affairs, 1 will rather in my conduct be directed by
" Fabius, than by ail the world befides." With this refo-
lution he fet forward to join the army. Varro infifled that
they fhould command alternately (2) ; and when his turn
came, (3) he poited his army clofe to Hannibal, at a village
called Cannae, by the river Aufidus. It was no fooner day x
but he fet up the red flag over his tent, which was the fig-
nal of battle. Thisboidnefs oftheConful, and the numer-
oufnefs of his army terrified the Carthaginians, who had
not half the number -, but Hannibal commanded them to
their arms, while he with a few attendants went on
horfeback to a rifing ground not far diftant to take a view
of the enemy who were now drawn up in order of battle.
One of his followers called Gifco, a nobleman of Carthage,
told him that the number of the enemy was very aflonifh-
ing ; Hannibal replied, with a ferious countenance :
" There is fomething yet more aflonifhing, which you
u take no notice of ; Gifco "afking what he meant ?" Han-
nibal anfwered ; " It is that in all that army there is no:
" one man whofename is Gifco." This unexpected jeft made
all the company laugh -, and as they returned to the
camp, they told it to thofe whom they met, which


(?) Varro's demand was not with the Romans that the confuls
an umeafonable one, as Plutarch fhould have the command of the
feems torepiefent it ; for Polybius aimy hy turns,
informs us that it was a fixed rule (j) Plutarch has forgot an en-

F A B I U S M A X I M U S. 73

auCd a general laughter among them all The fight of
this greatly encouraged the Carthaginian army, who
fuppofed that their General would not on fuch an occa-
fion indulge himfeif in jelling and laughter, unlefs he
had a thorough contempt of the enemy.

In this battle Hannibal employed great art. In the
firft place he drew up his men with their backs to the
wind, which was very violent and fcorching, and car-
ried with it from the plain vaft clouds of (and and duft,
which flying over the heads of the Carthaginians very
much incommoded the Romans, and obliged them to
turn away their faces. In the next place, all his beft
men he put into the wings ; and in the main body,
which was confiderably more advanced than the wings,
he placed the worfl and the weakeft of his army. Then
he commanded thofe in the wings, that when the enemy
had made a thorough charge upon that middle advanced
body, which he knew would recoil, as not being able
to (land their mock, and when the Romans, in their
purfuit, mould be far enough engaged within the two
wings, they mould both on the right and the left charge
them in the flank, and endeavour to encompafs them.
This defign had all the fuccefs imaginable ; for the '
Roman's preiling upon Hannibal's front, which gave
ground, reduced the form of his army into a half-
moon ; and they followed on ib far, that they gave
room for the enemy's wings to join behind them, and
fo to enclofe and charge them both in flank and rear
which they did with an incredible (laughter of the Ro-
mans -, to whofe calamity it is alfo faid, that a cafual
miftake did very much contribute : for the horfe of
/Emilius receivingahurt, and throwing his matter, thofe
about him immediately alighted to aid the Conful : the
Roman troops feeing their commanders thus quitting
their horfes, took it for a fign that they mould all dif-
mount and charge the enemy on foot. At the fight of


gagement which happened before the Carthaginians, who loft in the
that which he now fpeaks of, aflion above feventeen hundred of
where the Romans under the corn- their men ; whereas on the Roman
jrand of Paulus /Emilius defeated fide there fell hardly an hundred.

(<t) According

74 ne LIFE /

this Hannibal was heard to fay, " This pleafes me better
" than if they had been delivered to me bound hand and
*' foot." For the particulars of this engagement, we refer
our reader to thofe authors who have written at large
upon this fubjed.

The Conful Varro with a fmall number fled to Venufia;
and Paulns /Emilius, amidfl this confufion and terror,
his body being covered with darts which were flicking
in his wounds, and his mind opprefled with anguifh,
fat down upon a (tone, waiting for fome of the enemy
to put an end to his life. His face was fo disfi-
gured and flained with blood, that his very friends and
domeflicks palling by, knew him not. At lafl Cornelius
Lentulus, a young man of a patrician family, perceiving
who he was, alighted from his horfe, and offering it to
him, defiring him to get up and preferve a life fb ne-
cefiary to the fafety of the commonwealth, which at
this time would dearly want fo good a Conful. But
nothing could prevail upon him to accept of the offer ;
and notwithstanding the tears of Lentulus, he obliged
him to remount his horfe -, then ftanding up, he gave
him his hand, and commanded him to tell Fabius Maxi-
mus, that Paulus /Emilius had followed his directions to
the very lafl, and had not in the leafl deviated from
thofe meafures which were agreed upon between them
but that he had been overpowered firft by Varro, and
then by Harjnibal. Having difpatched Lentulus with this
commiffion, he threw himfelf upon the fwords of the
enemy. In this battle it is reported, that 50,000 Romans
were flain (4), and 4000 prisoners taken in the field, be-
fides 1 0,000 that were taken after the battle in both
the camps.

The friends of Hannibal earneftly perfuaded him to
follow his victory, to purfue the flying Romans, and
enter with them into the gates of Rome ; alluring him,
that in five days time he might fup in the capitol : nor
is it eafy to imagine, what hindered him from it. I
am apt to believe, that his hefitation and delay was ra-

(4) According to Livy there thoufand foot, and two thoufand
were killed of theRomans only forty fevcn hundred horfe,Polybius fays


F A B I U S M A X I M U S. 75

ther owing to the interpofition of fome Deity, than to
any defign of his own. It is reported that on this
occafion Barcas, a Carthaginian, faid to him with indig-
nation; " You know, Hannibal, how to get a victory, but
<c not how to ufe it." However this victory produced a
very favourable alteration in his affairs : for he, who
hitherto had not one town or fea-port in his pofiefTion,
who had nothing for the fubfiftence of his men but
what he pillaged from day 'to day, who had no place
of retreat, nor any Cure means of fupporting the war,
but led his army from place to place like a vaft band of
robbers, now became mailer of the befl provinces and
towns in Italy, and of Capua itfelf (next to Rome, the
moil Hourifhing and opulent city) all which came over
to him, and fubmitted to his authority.

By great misfortunes not only the fidelity of a friend
is proved, as Euripides fays, but likewife the capacity
of a General, For that which before the battle, was
efleemed cowardice and inactivity in Fabius, now feemed
a more than human prudence, a divine wifdom and
penetration, which could at fo great a diftance forefee
liich events as appeared almoft incredible even to thofe
who were vvitnefles of them. In him therefore the
Romans place their only hope, his wifdom is the temple,
the altar to which they fly for refuge in their calamity
and his counfels dlone preferve them from difperfing,
and deferring their city as in the time when the Gauls
took pofleffion of Rome. He, whom they efteemed
fearful and pufillanimous, when they were, as they
thought, in a profperous condition, is now the only
man, in this general dejection, who mows no fear, but
walks about the flreets with a fleady ferene countenance
and mild addrefs, checking their effeminate lamentati-
ons, and preventing them from ailbciating in publiclc
to bewail their common diflrefs. He caufed the fenate
to meet, he heartened the magiflrates, nnd was as the
foul of their body, giving them life and motion. He
placed guards at the gates of the city, to flop the


that feventy thoufancl were killed, did not amount to TJX t' oufand.
The lofs of the Carthaginians (5) Livy

76 Th LIFE of

frighted rabble from flying ; he regulated and confined
their mournings for their (lain friends, both as to time
and place; ordering that all ceremonies of this kind
mould be performed by each family in their own houfes,
and fhould continue no longer than thirty days, after
which the city was to be free from all appearance of
mourning. The feaft of Ceres happening to fall within
this time, it was thought beft (5) that the folemnity
fhould be omitted ; left the fmall number and the for-
rowful countenance of thofe who mould celebrate it,
might too much expofe to the people the greatnefs of
their lofs ; and alfo becaufe the worfhip moft acceptable
to the Gods, is that which comes from chearful hearts :
but as to thofe rites which were thought proper for ap-
peafmg their anger, and averting the effect of any in-
aufpicious omens, they were by the direction of the
augurs carefully performed. Fabius Pictor, a near kinf-
man to Maximus, was alfo fent to confult the Oracle of
Delphi ; and about the fame time, two veftal virgins
having been convicted of a criminal converfation with
the other fex, the one killed herfelf, and the other ac-
cording to cuftom was buried alive.

The moderation and generofity of the Roman people
on this occalion appeared truly admirable. When the
Conful Varro returned home after his defeat full of
fname and confufion for the ruin which h : s mifcon-
duct had brought upon his country, the whole fenate
and people went out to meet him at the gates of the
city, and received him with all the honour and refpect
due to his dignity. And filence being commanded, the
magiftrates and chief of the fenate, and principally Fa-
bius commended him before the people, .for not de-
fpairing of the fafety of the common-wealth after fo
great a lofs, but returning to take the government into


(;) Livy only fays that this matron in the city who was not in

feftival was " intermitted ' or de- mourning. It appears alfo from

f erred ; and this was done not for Valerius Maximus andFeftus, that

a political but a religious reafon, it was celebrated as foon ^as the

becaufe it was unlawful for per- time of mourning was expired,
fons in mourning to celebrate it ; (6) Valerius Maximus adds to

and at that time there was not one what Plutarch fays here, that the



his hands, to execute the laws, and comfort his fellow-
citizens, as if he did not yet judge their affairs to be
defperate (6).

When word was brought to Rome that Hannibal after
the battle had marched with his army into the remoter
parts of Italy, the Romans began to recover their ancient
vigour and refolution, and fent out an army under the
command of Fabius Maximus, and Claudius Marcellus,
both great generals, equal in fame, but very unlike in
their difpofitions. For Marcellus, as we have menti-
oned in his life, was an active, bold, vigorous and en-
terprizing man, and (as Homer defcribes his warriors)
" fierce, and delighting in fights." So that having to do
with Hannibal, a man of his own temper, they never
failed upon all occafions to come to an engagement.
But Fabius adhered to his former principles, ftill per-
fuaded, that by following clofe and not fighting him,
Hannibal and his army would at laft be tired out and
confumed, like an able wreftler, who with too much
exercife and toil grows languid and weak. Wherefore
Poftdonius tells us that the Romans called Marcellus their
" fword," and Fabius their " buckler ;" arid that the vigour
of the one mixed with the fteadinefs of the other, made
a happy compound very falutary to Rome. So that Han-
nibal found by experience, that encountering the one,
he met with a rapid impetuous river, which drove him
back, and ftill made fome breach upon him ; and by
the other, though file-;tly and quietly palling by him,
he was infenfibly wafhed away and confumed. At Jail
he was brought to this extremity, tlut he dreaded
Marcellus when he was in motion, and Fabius when he
fat ftill. During the whole courie of this war, he had

, ^J '

ftill to do with thele generals, either as prsetors, pro-
confuls, or confuls ; for each of them was five times

Con (111

femte and people offered Varro h?s meals reclining on a bed, as

the Diftatorlhip, but that he refu- was the cuftom in thofe days ; and

fed it, effacing by his modefty the when the people were defuous t:>

difgrace of his late mifcarriageand confer new dignities upon him, he

defeat. Frontinus fays that Var- conftantly refu fed them, declaric.^

ro ever after fuffered his beardand the republick wanted the fervice

luirtogrow; that he never eat of more fuccefsful magiftrates

(-) nu.

L I F E of

Conful. But at lad Marcellus fell into the fnare which
Hannibal had laid for him, and was killed in his fifth
Confulfhip. But his craft and fubtilty was unfuccefsful
upon Fabius ; who only once was in fome danger of be-
ing furprized ; for he had fent counterfeit letters to him
from the principal inhabitants of Mctapontum, wherein
they engaged to deliver up their town, if he would
come before it with his army: Accordingly Fabius
relblved to march to thefn with part of his army by
nigrht, but was prevented only by confulting the flight
of the birds, which he found to be inaufpicious : and not
long after he difcovered that thofe letters had been
forged by Hannibal, who lay in ambufh for him near
the city. This perhaps we mud rather attribute to the
favour of the Gods, than to the prudence of Fabius.

He thought that the beft method to keep the allies
firm to his intereft, and to prevent the towns belonging
to the Romans from revolting, was by mild and gentle
treatment, and by not ufmg rigour, or mowing a fuf-
picion upon every light fuggeftion. It is reported of
him, that being informed that a certain Maiiian in his
army, who was one of the moft confiderable men among
the allies both for his courage and nobility, had foli-
cited fome of the foldiers to defert, Fabius was fo far
from ufmg feverity againft him, that he called for him,
and told him he was fenfible of the wrong which had been
done him, and that his merit and fervice had been ne-
glefted, which he faid was agrea*.fault in the command-
ers, who rewarded more by favour than by defert : " There-
" fore, whenever you are aggrieved," faid Fabius, " I fhall
"take it ill at your hands if you do not apply to me."
When he had faid this, he gave him a fine horfe, and
fome other valuable prefents and from that time no
one fhewed more zeal and fidelity than this Marfian.
Fabius thought, that if thofe who harv the care of
horfes and dogs endeavour by gentle ufage to make
them tractable and fit for fervice, rather than by cruelty
and beating ; much more mould thofe who have the
command of men, bring them to their duty by the
mildeft and tendered methods > not treating them worfe



than gardiners do their wild plants, which by care and
good ufage, lofe the favagenefs of their nature, and bear
excellent fruit.

At another time, fome of his officers informed him,
that one of their men very often quitted his poft and
rambled out of the camp ; he afked them what kind of
man he was ; they all anfwered, that the whole army
had not a better man -, that he was a native of Lucania 5
and they related feveral brave actions which they had
feen him perform. Immediately Fabius made a ftricl:
enquiry to find what it was ^that led him fo often out of
the camp : and at laft he difcovered, that he went every
day to a confiderable diftance, and with great danger,
to vifit a young woman with whom he was in love. Fa-
bius gave orders to fome of his men, to find out the
woman, and fecretly to convey her into his own tent - v
he then fent for the Lucanian, and calling him afide,
told him he very well knew how often he had lain at
nights out of the camp, which was a capital tranfgreflion
againfl military difcipline and the Roman laws ; but he
knew alfo how brave he was, and the good fervices he
had done, and therefore in confideration of them he was
willing to forgive him his fault but to keep him in
order t he was refolved to commit him to the care of
one who fheuld be accountable for his good behaviour.
Having faid this, he produced the woman, and told the
foldier who was terrified and amazed at the adventure,
u This is the perfon who muft aniwer for you ; and by
" your future behaviour we mall fee whether your night
u rambles were upon the account of love, or upon any
" other worfe defign.

The city of Tarentum having been betrayed to the
enemy, Fabius recovered it in the following manner ;
A young Tarentine in the army, had a filler in Taren-
tum, who had an extraordinary affection for him. He
being informed, that a certain Brutian, whom Hannibal
had made governor of that garrifon, was deeply in
love with his fifter, conceived hopes that he might
poflibly turn it to the advantage of the Romans. And
having firft communicated his defign to Fabius, he


8o Me LIFE of

went to Tarentum pretending to be a dcfertcr from the'
Roman army. At his firft coming, the Brutian ab-
ftained from vifiting his filter for neither of them
knew that the brother had notice of their amour. Af-
ter fome time the young Tarendne told his fifter that,
he heard, that one of the principal officers of the gar-
rifon had made his addreiles to her ; therefore he de-
fired her to tell him who it was " for (faid he) if he be a
" man of courage and reputation, it matters not what
" countryman he is ; war removes all fuch diftindions.
" There is no difgrace in complying wi th neceflity on the
" contrary, we mould eileem ourfelves very fortunate, if at
" a time when force prevails overjuftice, what we are com-
" pelled to do is agreeable to our own inclinations." Up~
on this the woman fent for the Brutian, and made him
acquainted with her brother ; who by employing his in-
tereft with his Mer in behalf of her lover, and ren-
dering her more favourable to him than fhe had been
before, entirely gained the friendfhip of the Brutian ;
fo that he found it no difficult matter to prevail upon
this lover, who was of a mercenary difpofition, to com-
ply with his propofal of delivering up the. town, by
promifing him great rewards from Fabius. This is the
common tradition, though fome relate the ftory other-
wife, and fay that this woman, by whom the Brutian
was perfuaded to betray the town, was not a native of
Tarentum, but a Brutian ; that fhe had been kept by
Fabius as his Concubine ; and that being a country-wo-
man and an acquaintance of the Brutian governor, Fabius
privately fent her to him to corrupt him.

Whilft thefe things were tranfacting, Fabius, in or-
der to draw off Hannibal to a diftance from the place,
fent orders to thegarrifon in Rhegium, that they mould
ravage the country of the Brutians, lay fiege to Caulo-
iiia, and attack the place with all poflible vigour
Thefe were a body of eight thoufand men, made up


(7) Plutarch is here miilakrn ; (3) The beauty of this cxpref-

thefe men were brought from Si- fion of Fabius will better appear

cily not by Marce'.lus, but by his when we confiderthat thofeGods

$ojleguc Laevinus. of Tarentum were reprefentedeach


partly of deferters, and partly of that infamous band of
robbers which Marcellus (7) brought out of Sicily ; fo

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