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Laelius and Masinissa, who had followed up the defeated cavalry a considerable distance, now returned from the pursuit at the right moment and attacked the enemy in the rear. This at last decided the action.  The enemy were routed, many were surrounded and killed in action, those who dispersed in flight over the open country were killed by the cavalry who were in possession of every part. Above 20,000 of the Carthaginians and their allies perished on that day and almost as many were made prisoners.  132 standards were secured and 11 elephants. The victors lost 1500 men. Hannibal escaped in the melee with a few horsemen and fled to Hadrumetum.  Before quitting the field he had done everything possible in the battle itself and in the preparation for it. Scipio himself acknowledged and all experienced soldiers agreed that Hannibal had shown singular skill in the disposition of his troops.  He placed his elephants in front so that their irregular charge and irresistible force might make it [6??] impossible for the Romans to keep their ranks and maintain the order of their formation, in which their strength and confidence mainly lay.  Then he posted the mercenaries in front of his Carthaginians, in order that this motley force drawn from all nations, held together not by a spirit of loyalty but by their pay, might not find it easy to run away.  Having to sustain the first onset they might wear down the impetuosity of the enemy, and if they did nothing else they might blunt his sword by their wounds. Then came the Carthaginian and African troops, the mainstay of his hopes.  They were equal in all respects to their adversaries and even had the advantage inasmuch as they would come fresh into action against a foe weakened by wounds and fatigue. As to the Italian troops, he had his doubts as to whether they would turn out friends or foes and withdrew them consequently into the rearmost line.  After giving this final proof of his great abilities, Hannibal fled, as has been stated, to Hadrumetum. From here he was summoned to Carthage, to which city he returned thirty-six years after he had left it as a boy.  He told the senate frankly that he had lost not a battle merely but the whole war, and that their only chance of safety lay in obtaining peace.
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