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Text #1706

Dio Cassius. Roman History. Vol. 2
[DioCass. 15. Translated by Earnest Cary. Harvard University Press. 1914. (9 Vols.) pp. 161--163]


Conditions in Sicily and Sardinia grew unsettled, but did not receive any consideration at the hands of the Romans. The consuls chosen were Gracchus, previously master of the horse, and Postumius Albinus. Now Albinus was ambushed and destroyed with his entire army by the Boii as he was traversing a wooded mountain. The barbarians cut off his head, scooped out the interior, and after gilding it used it for a bowl in their sacred rites. Portents also occurred at this time. a cow gave birth to a horse and fire shone out at sea. The consuls Gracchus and Fabius encamped and kept watch of Hannibal who was at Capua, to see what he did. They also sent out envoys in every direction, defended the allies, endeavoured to win back the revolted, and ravaged the possessions of those who opposed them. Hannibal, as long as his food supply was scanty and was obtained at the cost of encountering dangers, led a temperate life, as did his army; but after taking Capua and wintering there in idleness with ample provisions, they deteriorated in physical strength, as a result of no longer toiling, and in moral vigour, through pleasure, and in changing their ancestral habits they learned an accomplishment that was new to them to be defeated in battle.

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