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M. Atilius now brought up the leading maniple of the sixth legion against the Spanish cohort; L. Porcius Licinius and T. Popilius, who were in command of the camp, were keeping up a fierce struggle in front of the breastwork, and killed some of the elephants whilst they were actually clambering over it.  Their bodies rolled down into the fosse and filled it up, making a bridge for the passage of the enemy, and a terrible carnage began over the prostrate elephants.  On the other side of the camp the Capuans and their Punic garrison had by this time been repulsed, and the fighting went on right up to the city gate which leads to the Volturnus.  The efforts of the Romans to break in were frustrated not so much by the arms of the defenders as by the ballistae and scorpions which were mounted over the gate and kept the assailants at a distance by the missiles they discharged.  A further check was given them by a wound received by Appius Claudius; he was struck by a heavy javelin in the upper part of the chest under the left shoulder, whilst he was riding along the front encouraging his men.  A great many of the enemy were however killed outside the gate; the rest were driven in hasty flight into the city. When Hannibal saw the destruction of his Spanish cohort and the energy with which the Romans were defending their lines, he gave up the attack and recalled the standards.  The retiring column of infantry was followed by the cavalry who were to protect the rear in case the enemy harassed their retreat. The legions were burning to pursue them, but Fulvius ordered the "retire" to be sounded, as he considered that he had gained quite enough in making both the Capuans and Hannibal himself realise how little he could do in their defence.  Some authors who describe this battle say that 8000 of Hannibal's men were killed that day and 3000 Capuans, and that 15 standards were taken from the Carthaginians and 18 from the Capuans.  In other accounts I find that the affair was nothing like so serious, there was more excitement and confusion than actual fighting.  According to these writers the Numidians and Spaniards broke unexpectedly into the Roman lines with the elephants, and these animals, trotting all over the camp, upset the tents and created terrible uproar and panic during which the baggage animals broke their tethers and bolted.  To add to the confusion Hannibal sent some men got up as Italians, who could speak Latin, to tell the defenders in the name of the consul that as the camp was lost each man must do his best to escape to the nearest mountains.  The trick was, however, soon detected and frustrated with heavy loss to the enemy, and the elephants were driven out of the camp with firebrands.  In any case, however it began or ended, this was the last battle fought before Capua surrendered. The "medix tuticus," the supreme magistrate of Capua, happened for that year to be Seppius Loesius, a man of humble birth and slender fortune.  The story goes that owing to a portent which had occurred in his mother's household she consulted a soothsayer on behalf of her little boy, and he told her that the highest official position in Capua would come to her son.  As she was not aware of anything which would justify such expectations she replied, "You are indeed describing a desperate state of things in Capua when you say that such an honour will come to my son."  Her jesting reply to what was a true prediction turned out itself to be true, for it was only when famine and sword were pressing them sorely and all hope of further resistance was disappearing that Loesius accepted the post.  He was the last Capuan to hold it, and he only did so under protest; Capua, he declared, was abandoned and betrayed by all her foremost citizens.
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