previous next

Fall of Agrigentum

He saw that the Romans were reduced by disease
Hanno tempts the Roman cavalry out and defeats them.
and want, owing to an epidemic that had broken out among them, and he believed that his own forces were strong enough to give them battle: he accordingly collected his elephants, of which he had about fifty, and the whole of the rest of his army, and advanced at a rapid pace from Heracleia; having previously issued orders to the Numidian cavalry to precede him, and to endeavour, when they came near the enemies' stockade, to provoke them and draw their cavalry out; and, having done so, to wheel round and retire until they met him. The Numidians did as they were ordered, and advanced up to one of the camps. Immediately the Roman cavalry poured out and boldly charged the Numidians: the Libyans retired, according to their orders, until they reached Hanno's division: then they wheeled round; surrounded, and repeatedly charged the enemy; killed a great number of them, and chased the rest up to their stockade. After this affair Hanno's force encamped over against the Romans, having seized the hill called Torus, at a distance of about a mile and a quarter from their opponents.
After two months, Hanno is forced to try to relieve Agrigentum, but is defeated in a pitched battle, and his army cut to pieces.
For two months they remained in position without any decisive action, though skirmishes took place daily. But as Hannibal all this time kept signalling and sending messages from the town to Hanno,— telling him that his men were impatient of the famine, and that many were even deserting to the enemy owing to the distress for food,—the Carthaginian general determined to risk a battle, the Romans being equally ready, for the reasons I have mentioned. So both parties advanced into the space between the camps and engaged. The battle lasted a long time, but at last the Romans turned the advanced guard of Carthaginian mercenaries. The latter fell back upon the-elephants and the other divisions posted in their rear; and thus the whole Punic army was thrown into confusion. The retreat became general: the larger number of the men were killed, while some effected their escape into Heracleia; and the Romans became masters of most of the elephants and all the baggage. Now night came on, and the victors, partly from joy at their success, partly from fatigue, kept their watches somewhat more carelessly than usual; accordingly Hannibal, having given up hope of holding out, made up his mind that this state of things afforded him a good opportunity of escape.
Hannibal escapes by night; and the Romans enter and plunder Agrigentum.
He started about midnight from the town with his mercenary troops, and having choked up the trenches with baskets stuffed full of chaff, led off his force in safety, without being detected by the enemy. When day dawned the Romans discovered what had happened, and indeed for a short time were engaged with Hannibal's rear; but eventually they all made for the town gates. There they found no one to oppose them: they therefore threw themselves into the town, plundered it, and secured a large number of captives, besides a great booty of every sort and description.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Agrigentum (Italy) (3)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: