But Marcellus, highly indignant that he who had repulsed Hannibal from Nola, when rendered confident by his victory at Cannae, should succumb to enemies whom he had vanquished by sea and land, ordered his soldiers immediately to take arms and raise the standards.
While marshalling his army, ten Numidians rode up rapidly from the enemy's line with information that their countrymen, first induced by the same causes which brought on the mutiny, in which three hundred of their number retired to Heraclea, and secondly, because
they saw their commander, just on the approach of a battle, sent out of the way by generals who wished to detract from his glory, would not take any part in the battle.
This deceitful nation made good their promise in this instance. Accordingly the spirits of the Romans were increased by the intelligence, which was speedily conveyed through the lines, that the enemy were abandoned by the cavalry, which the Romans principally feared;
while at the same time the enemy were dispirited, not only because they were deprived of the principal part of their strength, but further, because they were afraid lest they should themselves be attacked by their own cavalry.
Accordingly, there was no great resistance made: the first shout and onset determined the business.
The Numidians who stood quiet in the wings during the action, when they saw their party turning their backs, accompanied them in their flight only for a short time; but when they perceived that they were all making for Agrigentum with the most violent haste, they turned off to the neighbouring towns round about, through fear of a siege. Many thousand men were slain and captured, together with eight elephants.
This was the last battle which Marcellus fought in Sicily, after which he returned victorious to Syracuse. The year was now about closing;
the senate therefore decreed that Publius Cornelius, the praetor, should send a letter to Capua to the consuls, with directions that while Hannibal was at a distance, and nothing of any great importance was going on at Capua, one of them, if
they thought fit, should come to Rome to elect new magistrates. On the receipt of the letter, the consuls arranged it between themselves, that Claudius should hold the election, and Fulvius remain at Capua.
The consuls created by Claudius were Cneius Fulvius Centumalus, and Publius Sulpicius Galba, the son of Servius, who had never exercised [p. 1017]
any curule magistracy.
After this Lucius Cornelius Lentulus, Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, Caius Sulpicius, and Caius Calpurnius Piso, were created praetors.
Piso had the city jurisdiction; Sulpicius, Sicily; Cethegus, Apulia; Lentulus, Sardinia. The consuls were continued in command for a year longer.