While these causes detained Fabius, Sempronius was besieged, and now works were employed in the attack.
Against [p. 881]
a very large wooden tower which was brought up to the town, the Roman consul raised up another considerably higher from the wall itself; for he had made use of the wall, which was pretty high of itself, as a platform, placing strong piles as supports.
From this the besieged at first defended their walls and city, with stones, javelins, and other missiles;
but lastly, when they perceived the tower advanced into contact with the wall, they threw upon it a large quantity of fire, making use of blazing fire-brands;
and while the armed men were throwing themselves down from the tower in great numbers, in consequence of the flames thus occasioned, the troops sallying out of the town at two gates at once, routed the enemy, and drove them back to their camp; so that the Carthaginians that day were more like persons besieged than besiegers.
As many as one thousand three hundred of the Carthaginians were slain, and fifty-nine made prisoners, having been unexpectedly overpowered, while standing careless and unconcerned near the walls and on the outposts, fearing any thing rather than a sally.
Gracchus sounded a retreat, and withdrew his men within the walls, before the enemy could recover themselves from the effects of this sudden terror.
The next day Hannibal, supposing that the consul, elated with his success, would engage him in a regular battle, drew up his troops in battle-array between the camp and the city;
but finding that not a man was removed from the customary guard of the town, and that nothing was hazarded upon rash hopes, he returned to Tifata without accomplishing any thing.
At the same time that Cumae was relieved from siege, Tiberius Sempronius, surnamed Longus, fought successfully with the Carthaginian general, Hanno, at Grumentum in Lucania.
He slew above two thousand of the enemy, losing two hundred and eighty of his own men. He took as many as forty-one military standards. Hanno, driven out of the Lucanian territory, drew back among the Bruttii.
Three towns belonging to the Hirpinians, which had revolted from the Romans, were regained by force by the praetor, Marcus Valerius.
Vercellius and Sicilius, the authors of the revolt, were beheaded; above a thousand prisoners sold by auction; and the rest of the booty having been given up to the soldiery, the army was marched back to Luceria.