AFTER the battle of Cannae and the capture and1
plunder of the camps, Hannibal had moved at once out of Apulia into Samnium, being invited into the land of the Hirpini by Statius Trebius, who promised that he would turn over Compsa to him.
Trebius was a Compsan of high rank among his people, but opposed by the party of the Mopsii, a family made powerful by the favour of the Romans.
After the news of the battle of Cannae, and when the coming of Hannibal had been made known by utterances of Trebius, since the Mopsii had left the city, it was handed over to the Carthaginians without resistance and a garrison admitted.
There Hannibal left all his booty and the baggage, divided his army, and ordered Mago either to take over such cities of that region as were deserting the Romans or to compel them to desert in case they refused.
He himself made his way through the Campanian region to the Lower Sea,2
intending to attack Neapolis, that he might have a seaport.
On entering the territory of the [p. 5]
Neapolitans, he stationed some of the Numidians in3
ambush, wherever he conveniently could (and most of the roads are deep-cut and the turnings concealed). Other Numidians he ordered to ride up to the gates, making a display of the booty they were driving along before them from the farms.
Against these men, because they seemed to be few in number and disorganized, a troop of cavalry made a sally, but being drawn into the ambush by the enemy's purposely retreating, it was overpowered.
And not a: man would have escaped if the proximity of the sea and the sight of vessels, chiefly of fishermen, not far from the shore had not given those who could swim a way of escape.
However a number of young nobles were captured or slain in that battle, among them, Hegeas, a cavalry commander, who fell as he rashly pursued the retreating.
From besieging the city the Carthaginian was deterred by the sight of walls such as by no means invited an attacker.