Livy, History of Rome 23

LCL 355: 4-5

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quacumque apte poterat disposuit, alios prae se actam praedam ex agris ostentantes obeqvitare portis iussit. 7in quos, quia nec multi et incompositi videbantur, cum turma equitum erupisset, ab cedentibus consulto tracta in insidias circumventa est; 8nec evasisset quisquam, ni mare propinquum et haud procul litore naves, piscatoriae pleraeque, conspectae peritis nandi dedissent effugium. 9aliquot tamen eo proelio nobiles iuvenes capti caesique, inter quos et Hegeas, praefectus equitum, intemperantius cedentes secutus cecidit. 10ab urbe oppugnanda Poenum absterruere conspecta moenia haudquaquam prompta oppugnanti.

2. Inde Capuam flectit iter, luxuriantem longa felicitate atque indulgentia fortunae, maxime tamen inter corrupta omnia licentia plebis sine modo libertatem exercentis.

2Senatum et sibi et plebi obnoxium Pacuvius Calavius fecerat, nobilis idem ac popularis homo, ceterum malis artibus nanctus opes. 3is cum eo forte anno quo res male gesta ad Trasumennum est in summo magistratu esset, iam diu infestam senatui plebem ratus per occasionem



so—and there are many sunken roads and hidden recesses in the region—and he instructed others to ride up to the town gates conspicuously driving before them animals taken as booty from the countryside. Since they seemed a small and poorly organized group, a cavalry squadron charged out at them, but this was drawn into an ambush by a calculated retreat of the Numidians and surrounded. None would have escaped had not the proximity of the sea and some vessels sighted not far from shore, mostly fishing boats, offered those who could swim a means of escape. Even so, some young noblemen were captured or killed in the engagement, including the cavalry commander Hegeas,5 who fell while pursuing the retreating Numidians with too little caution. The sight of its walls, no easy proposition for an assault force, deterred the Carthaginian from an attack on the city.

2. From there Hannibal veered toward Capua,6 which had long been basking in prosperity and the favor of fortune, but was most conspicuous in its general decadence and the profligacy of its common people, whose license knew no bounds.

Pacuvius Calavius was a nobleman and also a friend of the people, and after gaining power (but by disreputable means) he had made the senate of Capua subservient to himself and the plebeians.7 He happened to be occupying the most senior magistracy in Capua during the year of the defeat at Trasimene,8 and he believed that because of their longstanding hatred of the senate the plebeians would be

  • 5Otherwise unknown.
  • 6The major city of Campania in west central Italy (Barr. 44 F3), which, along with Nola, Velleius Paterculus dates to 830 years before his time (Vell. Pat. 1.7.2). Noted for its luxury, it was in Livy’s eyes responsible for the corruption of Hannibal’s troops.
  • 7It is generally thought that Livy sees Pacuvius Calavius as being primarily responsible for the Capuans abandoning Rome for Hannibal (for differing views, cf. Levene HW, 354–61; M. P. Fronda, Phoenix 61 [2007], 83–108).
  • 8The chief magistrate of an Oscan city was the meddix tuticus (cf. 35.13, below; OCD s.v.).
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.livy-history_rome_23.2020