That this was the practice in Rome we have proof in the speech made by Fabius Maximus to the people during the second Punic war, when in the appointment of consuls public favour leaned towards Titus Ottacilius.
The second section opens with the Punic wars; it embraces the rapid extension of the dominion of Rome up to and beyond the natural boundaries of Italy, the long status quo of the imperial period, and the collapse of the mighty empire. These events will be narrated in the third and following books. The Earliest Migrations into Italy Primitive Races of Italy
Nevertheless, an immense chasm separates the poets and their poems. Naevius was neither freedman, schoolmaster, nor actor, but a citizen of unstained character although not of rank, belonging probably to one of the Latin communities of Campania, and a soldier in the first Punic war.
It was in 514, a year after the close of the first Punic war, that the first play was exhibited on the Roman stage. This creation of an epos, a tragedy, and a comedy in the Roman language, and that by a man who was more Roman than Greek, was historically an event; but we cannot speak of his labours as having any artistic value.
This was an enjoyment forbidden in the Punic armies under pain of death, and they raised their cups in the direction of Carthage in derision of its discipline. Then they returned to the slaves of the exchequer and again began to kill. The word "strike," though different in each language, was understood by all.
Then when he had covered two thirds of the mountain he drew Gisco's head from his breast by the beard, whirled his arm rapidly several times, and the mass, when thrown at last, described a long parabola and disappeared behind the Punic entrenchments. Soon at the edge of the palisades there rose two crossed standards, the customary sign for claiming a corpse.
The question is, Whether you must transport your legions to Macedonia, or admit the enemy into Italy? How important the difference is, if you never experienced it before, you certainly did in the late Punic war.
Whatever historical moral may be drawn from the story of the first Punic war, the fact remains that a nation of landsmen met the greatest maritime power in the world and defeated it on its own element. In every naval battle save one the Romans were victors.
The attempt, however, was checked for the moment; and before it could be renewed, the fall of Capua released twelve thousand veteran Romans, who were sent to Spain under Claudius Nero, a man of exceptional ability, to whom was due later the most decisive military movement made by any Roman general during the Second Punic War.
Upon this disaster Octavius drew off the troops. The news of the first battle had been reported at Rome as a victory, and gave rise to extravagant rejoicings. The second battle was really a victory, but all rejoicing was damped by the news that one consul was dead and the other dying. No such fatal mischance had happened since the Second Punic War, when Marcellus and Crispinus fell in one day.