Quintus Fabius of course
adhered more than ever to his methodical inaction; Marcus Minucius,
compelled to justify in the field of battle his title of dictator,
made a hasty attack with inadequate forces, and would have been
annihilated had not his colleague averted greater misfortune by the
seasonable interposition of a fresh corps.
This last turn of matters
justified in some measure the system of passive resistance. But in
reality Hannibal had completely attained in this campaign all that
arms could attain: not a single material operation had been frustrated
either by his impetuous or by his deliberate opponent; and his
foraging, though not unattended with difficulty, had yet been in the
main so successful that the army passed the winter without complaint
in the camp at Gerunium.
It was not the Cunctator that saved Rome,
but the compact structure of its confederacy and, not less perhaps,
the national hatred with which the Phoenician hero was regarded on
the part of Occidentals.