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proconsul, and we find him constantly in authority to the very end of the war.
The above facts ought to be sufficient to overbear the testimony against him of writers who were his political enemies.
3. It is difficult to account for the apathy with which the armies of Junius Gracchus and Marcellus witnessed the blockade and surrender of so important a place as Casilinum, which in Roman hands would be a constant thorn in the side to Capua at the distance of only three miles; and was moreover a most important strategical point, covering the road to Rome and commanding the only bridge over the Vulturnus. The proper position for Junius and his army was at Casilinum, not Teanum.
But the whole account of the capture of Casilinum by Hannibal is irreconcilable with what we know to have been its situation. Livy tells us that the town was divided by the Vulturnus into two parts, and that a permanent bridge afforded communication between them. How then could Hannibal blockade the town? To do so he must pass half of his army to the right bank of the river, which would thus be separated from the other half by a deep and rapid stream, not fordable; and these separated halves would be exposed to be attacked on the one side by M. Junius from Teanum, on the other by Marcellus from Nola, to say nothing of the difficulty of effecting the passage of such a river in the face of the army of the dictator, which would naturally approach Casilinum from Teanum, directly such an operation should be threatened.
The possession of Casilinum conferred greatly the advantage of " interior lines" on the party holding that place. When Fabius, in the campaign of 215, wished to effect a junction with Marcellus, he could not do so without undertaking a long and arduous march round jy Allifae, by which he uncovered Rome. If Hannibal had desired to advance on that city, the possession of Casilinum enabled him to cross the Vulturnus at that place, and thereby to gain a long start of his enemies.
So important is the strategical position of Casilinum, that it has now become a strong fortress under the name of Modern Capua.
If Casilinum had been maintained, Hannibal's march to Cumae in the campaign of 215 would have been full of risk. The army of Fabius would have been at Casilinum, and might have followed the Carthaginian march to Cumae, not close enough to be forced to an action by Hannibal suddenly turning upon it, but ready to attack the enemy in rear while Gracchus sallied from the town upon his front.
4. Nearly all the historians of Hannibal have followed the example of Livy in blaming him for exposing his army to the temptations and luxuries of Capua, and in attributing to the consequent demoralisation of his troops, the undoubted fact that from the winter there spent dates the change in the fortunes of the great Carthaginian.
But these reproaches are destitute of all just foundation. Hannibal's troops did not, after that winter, manifest any falling off in discipline or courage; but the Roman armies from this time forth were led by generals who estimated correctly the personal superiority of their great antagonist, who gave him no opportunity to strike any more of his deadly blows, but reduced him to wage a petty warfare of small posts, or of sieges in which the lustre of his genius always appeared to disadvantage, and in which his strongest arm, the cavalry, was comparatively useless.
This was the real reason why so powerful a confederacy of Italian States against Rome, supported by an army of 30,000 veteran and victorious soldiers, and the whole directed by a general who has never been surpassed,—was only formed to be defeated. This was the reason why the revolt of Capua was the term of Hannibal's progress; why from this time forward his genius was shown rather in repelling defeat than in commanding victory; why, instead of besieging Rome, he was soon employed in protecting Capua; and why his protection was finally unavailing.
5. Notwithstanding the success of the Cisalpine Gauls against Postumius, no hostile movement against Rome was made from Gaul; and it appears strange that some experienced Carthaginian officer was not sent to organise and direct the Gaulish insurgents, and to endeavour to induce the Etruscans and Umbriansto join the Southern confederacy against Rome, which was directed by Hannibal.
6. Hannibal's intelligence appears to have been defective. On two different occasions he attempted to take Nola by a coup de main. He would hardly have done so had he known that the town was defended by a consular army of 20,000 men; and he could not hope to carry on a regular siege while the Romans had so strong a force at hand to interrupt it.
7. After his last unsuccessful attempt on Nola, Hannibal quitted Campania to winter in Apulia. This proceeding has the appearance of leaving Capua to the mercy of the Roman armies. But Capua was the second city of Italy, capable it is said of maintaining a force of 34,000 men. Its garrison and its walls were therefore strong enough to defy all enemies save one, viz. famine; and Hannibal's object in quitting Campania was to husband the resources and magazines of Capua, which must otherwise have been expended in feeding his army during the winter. He remained in the neighbourhood long enough to enable the Capuans to gather in the harvest of the year unmolested by the Romans, and that object being effected he was better elsewhere.
Although we are not told that such was the case, Hannibal must have previously formed a large magazine of provisions at Arpi, where he wintered.
During this campaign, Capua was Hannibal's pivot of operations. At one period there were actually around him, including the force of Valerius in Apulia, eight Roman legions. It was in such a situation that this great man displayed all the resources of his genius. His ascendancy was so great that his enemies never dared to take the initiative in attacking him; but, on the contrary, from his watch-tower above Capua he threatened them all, and would infallibly have defeated them had they departed from their defensive system.
The time of the elections having arrived, Fabius repaired to Rome to hold the Comitia.
The consuls chosen were Fabius and Marcellus, and great as were the exertions of the past year, those of the present were greater still. Six new legions were raised, so that the Republic maintained in all twenty legions, which, at the opening of the campaign, were thus disposed:—
Legions. Sicily, Sardinia, Spain, and Cisalpine Gaul, each employed
two legions ......... 8
The consul Fabius took command of a newly raised force at
Calcs, consisting of ........ 2
Marcellus had the late army of Fabius at Suessula. . 2'
Gracchus was with his old army of slaves and allies at Luccria,
watching Hannibal ........ 2
The prajtor Fabius, son of the consul, succeeded M. Valerius
in command of the force in Southern Apulia, consisting of . 2 M. Valerius commanded the fleet and the legion which formed
the garrison of Tarcntum during the preceding year, and
was occupied with preparations for his expedition into
Varro commanded new levies in Picenum .... 1 The garrison of Home 2
Total . . .20