Not yet had Hannibal left the camp when he heard the shouting of the combatants. [p. 377]
Accordingly, being summoned by the uproar, he rapidly1
moved his troops up to the enemy.
Already the foremost had been seized with the panic caused by the cavalry. Of the Roman infantry also the first legion and the right ala2
were coming into battle. In disorder the enemy engaged, just as chance brought a man face to face with either a foot-soldier or a horseman.
The battle was enlarged by the reserves and increased by the numbers of men rushing into the fray.
And while his men were actually fighting, in spite of the uproar and the panic, Hannibal would have drawn them up —a thing not easy except in a veteran army and for a veteran commander —if
from the rear the sound of the shouting cohorts and maniples, as they dashed down the hillsides, had not inspired the fear of being cut off from the camp. Thereupon they were panic-stricken and flight began on all sides.
And the slaughter was less only because the nearness of the camp shortened flight for the routed. For the cavalry clung close to their rear; on the flank the cohorts, charging down the slope of the hills by an open, easy road, had attacked them.
However, more than eight thousand men were slain, more than seven hundred captured; nine military standards were taken. Of the elephants also, of which no use had been made in a battle sudden and disorderly, four were slain, two captured.
About five hundred Romans and allies fell although victorious.
On the next day the Carthaginian remained inactive. The Roman led his forces out into line, and on seeing that no standard-bearer was advancing against him, ordered the spoils of the fallen enemies to be gathered and the bodies of his own men to be [p. 379]
brought together and buried.
Then for several3
days in succession he came up so close to the gates
that he almost seemed to be advancing into the camp, until at the third watch Hannibal set out, leaving numerous fires and tents in that part of the camp which faced the enemy, also a few Numidians to show themselves on the earthwork and at the gates; and he pushed on toward Apulia.
When day dawned, the Roman line came up to the earthwork, and the Numidians showed themselves a while, as arranged, at the gates and on the wall; then after deceiving the enemy for sometime, riding at full speed they overtook their own column.
The consul, perceiving the stillness in the camp and not seeing anywhere even the few men who at daybreak had been strolling about, sent two horsemen in advance into the camp to reconnoitre.
Then, once it had been ascertained that everything was quite safe, he ordered an advance into the camp. And after lingering there only long enough for the soldiers to scatter for plunder, he then sounded the recall, and long before nightfall led his troops back.
Setting out at dawn on the next day, in forced marches he followed reports of the enemy's column and its tracks and overtook them not far from Venusia.
There also there was a disorderly battle; over two thousand Carthaginians were slain. Then, marching by night and in the mountains, to give no opportunity for battle, the Carthaginian made for Metapontum.4
Thereupon Hanno, who had commanded the garrison of that place, was sent with a few men into the land of the Bruttii to muster a fresh army. Hannibal added Hanno's troops to his own, returned to Venusia by the same route by which he [p. 381]
had come, and proceeded thence to Canusium.
had never left the enemy's heels and, when setting out himself for Metapontum, he had summoned Quintus Fulvius into Lucania,6
in order that that region should not be without troops.