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Successes of Minucius

When Minucius took over the command from
Minucius obtains a slight success. Autumn B. C. 217.
Fabius, he at first kept along the line of hills, feeling certain that he would sooner or later fall in with the Carthaginians; but when he heard that Hannibal had already taken Geronium, and was collecting the corn of the country, and had pitched his camp in front of the town, he changed the direction of his march, and descended from the top of the hills by way of a ridge leading down into the plains. Arriving at the height which lies in the territory of Larinum, and is called Calena, he encamped round its foot, being eager on any terms whatever to engage the enemy. When Hannibal saw the enemy approaching, he sent a third of his army foraging for corn, but took the other two-thirds with him, and, advancing sixteen stades from Geronium towards the enemy, pitched a camp upon a piece of rising ground, with a view at once of overawing his opponents, and affording safety to his foraging parties: and there being another elevation between him and the two armies, which was near, and conveniently placed for an attack upon the enemy's lines, he sent out about two thousand light-armed troops in the night and seized it. At daybreak when Minucius saw these men, he took his own light-armed troops and assaulted the hill. After a gallant skirmish the Romans prevailed; and subsequently their whole camp was transferred to this place. For a certain time Hannibal kept his men for the most part within their lines, because the camps were so close to each other; but, after the lapse of some days, he was obliged to divide them into two parties, one for pasturing the animals, and one for gathering corn: being very anxious to carry out his design of avoiding the destruction of his booty, and of collecting as much corn as possible, that his men might have abundant food during the winter, and his horses and beasts of burden as much so; for the chief hope of his army rested on his cavalry.

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