After this Bantius was a most steadfast partisan and ally of Marcellus, and a most formidable denouncer and accuser of those who belonged to the opposite party.1
These were many, and they purposed, when the Romans went out against the enemy, to plunder their baggage.
Marcellus therefore drew up his forces inside the city, stationed his baggage-trains near the gates, and issued an edict forbidding the men of Nola to come near the city walls. Consequently there were no armed men to be seen, and Hannibal was thus induced to lead up his forces in some disorder, supposing the city to be in a tumult. But at this juncture Marcellus ordered the gate where he stood to be thrown open, and marched out, having with him the flower of his horsemen, and charging directly down upon the enemy joined battle with them.
After a little his footmen also, by another gate, advanced to the attack on the run and with shouts. And still again, while Hannibal was dividing his forces to meet these, the third gate was thrown open, and through it the rest rushed forth and fell upon their enemies on every side. These were dismayed by the unexpected onset, and made a poor defence against those with whom they were already engaged because of those who charged upon them later. Here for the first time the soldiers of Hannibal gave way before the Romans, being beaten back to their camp with much slaughter and many wounds.
For it is said that more than five thousand of them were slain, while they killed not more than five hundred of the Romans. Livy, however, will not affirm2
that the victory was so great nor that so many of the enemy were slain, but says that this battle brought great renown to Marcellus and to the Romans a wonderful courage after their disasters. They felt that they were contending, not against a resistless and unconquerable foe, but against one who was liable, like themselves, to defeat.