About the time the news from the Ligurians was published, dispatches from Spain were read, bringing sorrow mingled with joy.
Gaius Atinius, who as praetor two years before had set out to that province, had engaged in pitched battle with the Lusitanians in the territory of Hasta: about six thousand of the enemy fell and the rest were repulsed and routed and stripped of their camp.
He then led the legions to assault the town of Hasta: this too he took without much more of a fight than the camp; but while he was too carelessly approaching the walls he was hit and a few days later died from his wound.
When the letter regarding the death of the propraetor was read, the senate decreed that a messenger should be sent to overtake the praetor Gaius Calpurnius at the harbour of Luna and announce to him that the senate deemed it proper that he should hasten his departure, that the province might not be left without a governor.
The messenger who was sent arrived at Luna on the fourth day: Calpurnius had departed a few days before.
And in Nearer Spain Lucius Manlius Acidinus, who had gone to the province at the same time as Gaius Atinius, engaged in a battle with the Celtiberians.
Both sides withdrew with the result indecisive, except that the Celtiberians moved their camp from there the next night and gave the Romans the chance both to bury their dead and collect the spoils from the enemy.
A few days later, having collected a larger army, the Celtiberians spontaneously challenged the Romans to battle near the town of Calagurris. It is not explained what made [p. 281]
them weaker after their numbers were increased.1
They were defeated in the battle: about twelve thousand men were killed and two thousand captured and the Romans gained possession of the camp.
And, if the arrival of his successor had not prevented the victor from exploiting his success, the Celtiberians might have been subdued. Both new praetors led their armies into winter quarters.