Then carrying aid to the Neapolitans and Nolans, he confirmed the minds of the former, who, indeed, were of their own accord faithful enough to the Romans; but in Nola he found a state of discord, the senate not being able to rule and keep in the common people, who were generally favorers of Hannibal. There was in the town one Bantius, a man renowned for his high birth and courage.
Bantius owning himself to be that very man, and showing his scars: "Why then," said Marcellus, "did not you, having such proofs to show of your affection to us, come to me at my first arrival here? Do you think that we are unwilling to requite with favor those who have well deserved, and who are honored even by our enemies?"
Apprehensions were entertained of the commons, particularly Lucius Bantius, whose having been privy to an attempt at defection, and dread of the Roman praetor, stimulated sometimes to the betrayal of his country, at others, should fortune fail him in that undertaking, to desertion.
He followed up his courtesies by a present of a war-horse, and five hundred drachmas in money. From that time Bantius became the most faithful assistant and ally of Marcellus, and a most keen discoverer of those that attempted innovation and sedition. These were many, and had entered into a conspiracy to plunder the baggage of the Romans, when they should make an irruption against the enemy.
When Bantius had told who he was, Marcellus, seeming surprised with joy and wonder, replied: "Are you that Bantius, whom the Romans commend above the rest that fought at Cannae, and praise as the one man that not only did not forsake the consul Paulus Aemilius, but received in his own body many darts thrown at him?"
Marcellus could not be induced to put to death a man of such eminence, and who had endured such dangers in fighting on the Roman side; but, knowing himself able, by the general kindliness of his disposition and in particular by the attractiveness of his address, to gain over a character whose passion was for honor, one day when Bantius saluted him, he asked him who he was; not that he knew him not before, but seeking an occasion of further conference.