Nero2. C. CLAUDIUS NERO (Liv. 24.17), in the fourth consulship of Q. Fabius Maximus, and the third of M. Marcellus, B. C. 214, commanded a body of cavalry under the consul Marcellus. He was instructed to attack the rear of Hannibal's army near Nola, but he either lost his way or had not time to come up, and he was not present in the engagement in which the consul defeated Hannibal, for which he was severely rated by Marcellus. He is evidently the C. Claudius Nero who was praetor in the year but one after (Liv. 25.1, 2), and was stationed at Suessula, whence he was summoned by the consuls Q. Fulvius 111. and Appius Claudius (B. C. 212) to assist at the siege of Capua. (Liv. 25.22, 25.5.) Nero was sent in the same year into Spain (Liv. 26.17; Appian, Hispan. 17) with a force to oppose Hasdrubal. He landed at Tarraco (Tarragona), but Hasdrubal eluded his attack, and P. Cornelius Scipio was sent to command in Spain. Nero commanded as legatus (Liv. 27.14) under Marcellus B. C. 209, and the battle in which Hannibal was defeated near Canusium (Canosa). In B. C. 207, Nero was consul with M. Livius II. Nero marched into the south of Italy against Hannibal, whom he defeated and pursued. In the mean time Hasdrubal, who was in the north of Italy, sent messengers to Hannibal, who was retreating to Metapontum, followed by Nero. The messengers were taken by the Romans, and the contents of their despatches being read, Nero determined not to confine himself to the limits of his command, but to march against Hasdrubal, who was intending to effect a junction with Hannibal in Umbria. He communicated his design to the Roman senate, and instructed them how to act. Nero joined his colleague M. Livius in Picenum. A sanguinary battle was fought with Hasdrubal on the river Metaurum, in which Hasdrubal fell: in no one battle in the campaign with Hannibal was the slaughter so great. Nero returned to his camp in the south, taking with him the head of Hasdrubal, which he ordered to be thrown before the posts of Hannibal, and he sent him two of his captives to tell him what had befallen his brother and his army. (Liv. 27.41-51; Appian, Annibal. 52, &c.) Nero shared in the triumph of his colleague, but as the battle was fought in his colleague's province, Livius rode in a chariot drawn by four horses followed by his soldiers; Nero rode on horseback, without a train, but the popular opinion made up for his diminished honours., This great battle, which probably saved Rome, gave a lustre to the name of Nero, and consecrated it among the recollections of the Romans. Quid debeas, o Roma, Neronibus,
Testis Metaurum flumen et Hasdrubal
Devictus. Hor. Carm. 4.4. In B. C. 201, Nero and others were sent on a mission to Ptolemaeus, king of Egypt, to announce the defeat of Hannibal, thank the king for his fidelity to the Romans, and pray for his support if they should be compelled to go to war with Philippus, king of Macedonia. The relationship of Nero to the other Claudii does not appear. He was censor B. C. 204, with M. Livius (Liv. 29.37).