This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Marcellus was not particularly disturbed by this serious disaster. He sent a despatch to the senate informing them of the loss of the general and his army at Herdonea and [2??] adding that he himself was the same Marcellus who had beaten Hannibal when flushed with his victory at Cannae, that he intended to meet him and would soon put an end to any pleasure he might feel at his recent success.  In Rome itself there was great mourning for what had happened and great apprehension as to what might happen in the future.  The consul marched out of Samnium and advanced as far as Numistro in Lucania. Here he encamped on level ground in full view of Hannibal, who was occupying a hill.  To show the confidence he felt, he was the first to offer battle, and when Hannibal saw the standards emerging from the gates of the camp, he did not decline the challenge. They formed their lines so that the Carthaginian rested his right on the hill, while the Roman left was protected by the town.  The troops who were first engaged were, on the Roman side, the first legion and the right wing of the allies; those under Hannibal comprised the Spanish infantry and the Balearic slingers. When the action had commenced the elephants were driven on to the field.  The contest was prolonged from the third hour of the day until nightfall, and when the front lines were worn out, the third legion relieved the first and the left wing of the allies took the place of the right.  Fresh troops also came into action on the other side, with the result that instead of a spiritless and exhausted struggle a fierce fight broke out anew between men who were fresh in mind and body.  Night, however, separated the combatants whilst the victory was yet undecided." The following day the Romans remained under arms from sunrise till well on in the day, ready to renew the contest.  But as no enemy showed himself, they began to gather the spoils of the field, and after collecting the bodies of the slain into one heap, they burnt them. Hannibal broke up his camp quietly at night and withdrew into Apulia. When daylight revealed the enemies' flight, Marcellus made up his mind to follow in his track. He left the wounded with a small guard at Numistro under the charge of L. Furius Purpurio, one of his military tribunes, and came up with Hannibal at Venusia.  Here for some days there were skirmishes between the outposts and slight actions in which both cavalry and infantry took part, but no regular battle.  In nearly every case the Romans had the advantage. Both armies traversed Apulia without fighting any important action, Hannibal marching by night always on the look-out for a chance of surprise or ambush, Marcellus never moving but in daylight, and then only after careful reconnoitring.
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.