The Romans saw in his
withdrawal a miraculous intervention of the gods, who by portents and
visions had compelled the wicked man to depart, when in truth the
Roman legions were unable to compel him; at the spot where Hannibal
had approached nearest to the city, at the second milestone on the
Appian Way in front of the Capene gate, with grateful credulity the
Romans erected an altar to the god "who turned back and protected"
(-Rediculus Tutanus-), Hannibal in reality retreated, because this was
part of his plan, and directed his march towards Capua.
But the Roman
generals had not committed the mistake on which their opponent had
reckoned; the legions remained unmoved in the lines round Capua, and
only a weak corps had been detached on the news of Hannibal's march
towards Rome. When Hannibal learned this, he suddenly turned against
the consul Publius Galba, who had imprudently followed him from Rome,
and with whom he had hitherto avoided an engagement, vanquished him,
and took his camp by storm.