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Such was the position of affairs in Spain. In Italy the consul Marcellus recovered Salapia, which was betrayed to him, and gained forcible possession of two places belonging to the Samnites-Marmoreae and Heles.  3000 of Hannibal's troops who had been left to garrison these towns were destroyed. The plunder, of which there was a considerable quantity, was given to the soldiers; 60,000 bushels of wheat and 28,000 of barley were also found there.  The satisfaction derived from this success was, however, more than counterbalanced by a defeat which was sustained a few days later not far from Herdonea. This city had revolted from Rome after the disaster of Cannae, and Cn. Fulvius, the proconsul, was encamped before it in the hope of recovering it.  He had chosen a position for his camp which was not sufficiently protected, and the camp itself was not in a proper state of defence.  Naturally a careless general, he was still less cautious now that he had reason to hope that the inhabitants were weakening in their allegiance to the Carthaginians, since the news had reached them of Hannibal's withdrawal into Bruttium after losing Salapia.  This was all duly reported to Hannibal by emissaries from Herdonea, and the intelligence made him anxious to save a friendly city and at the same time hopeful of catching his enemy when off his guard.  In order to forestall any rumours of his approach he proceeded to Herdonea by forced marches, and as he approached the place he formed his men in battle order with the view of intimidating the enemy.  The Roman commander-his equal in courage, but far inferior to him in tactical skill and in numbers-hastily formed his line and engaged. The action was begun most vigorously by the fifth legion and the allies on the left wing.  Hannibal, however, had instructed his cavalry to wait until the attention of the infantry was completely taken up with the battle and then to ride round the lines; one division to attack the Roman camp, the other the rear of the Roman line.  He told his staff that he had defeated a Cn. Fulvius, a praetor, on the same ground two years before, and as the names were the same, so the result of the fight would be the same.  His anticipations were realised, for after the lines had closed and many of the Romans had fallen in the hand-to-hand fighting, though the ranks still held their ground with the standards, the tumultuous cavalry charge in the rear threw into disorder first the sixth legion stationed in the second line, and then, as [12??] the Numidians pressed on, the fifth legion and finally the front ranks with their standards. Some were scattered in flight, others were cut down between the two bodies of assailants.  It was here that Cn. Fulvius fell together with eleven military tribunes. As to the number of those killed, who could definitely state it, when I find in one author the number given as 13,000, in another not more than 7000? The victor took possession of the camp and its spoil.  As he learnt that Herdonea was prepared to go over to the Romans and would not remain faithful after his withdrawal, he transported the whole population to Metapontum and Thurii and burnt the place.  Its leading citizens who were discovered to have held secret conferences with Fulvius were put to death. Those Romans who escaped from the fatal field fled by various routes, almost wholly weaponless, to Marcellus in Samnium.
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