The Ancient Library

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girtian general, began to draw together their forces for the purpose of besieging Capua. Hanno, who was despatched thither by Hannibal with a large convoy of stores and provisions, was defeated, and the object of his march. frustrated ; and though another officer of the same name, with a body of Carthaginian and Numidian troops, threw himself into the city, the Romans still threatened it with a siege, and Hannibal himself was compelled to advance to its relief. By this movement he for a time checked the operations of the consuls, and compelled them to withdraw; but he was unable to bring either of them to battle. Centenius, a centurion, who had obtained the command of a force of 8000 men, was more confident; he ven­tured an engagement with Hannibal, and paid the penalty of his rashness by the loss of his army and his life, This success was soon followed by a more important victory over the praetor Cn, Ful-vius at Herdonea in Apulia, in which the army of the latter was utterly destroyed, and 20,000 men cut to pieces. But while Hannibal was thus em­ployed elsewhere, he was unable to prevent the consuls from effectually forming the siege of Capua, and surrounding that city with a double line of intrenchments. (Liv. xxv. 13—15, 18—22.)

His power in the south had been increased during this campaign by the important accession of Metapontum and Thurii: but the citadel of Taren-tum still held out, and, with a view to urge the siege of this fortress by his presence, Hannibal spent the winter, and the whole of the ensuing spring (211), in its immediate neighbourhood. But as the season advanced, the pressing danger of Capua once more summoned him to its relief. He accordingly presented himself before the Roman camp, and attacked their lines from without, while the garrison co-operated with him by a vigorous sally from the walls. Both attacks were, however, repulsed, and Hannibal, thus foiled in his attempt to raise the siege by direct means, determined on the bold manoeuvre of marching directly upon Rome itself, in hopes of thus compelling the consuls to abandon their designs upon Capua, in order to provide for the defence of the city. But this daring scheme was again frustrated: the appearance of Hannibal before the gates of Rome for a moment struck terror through the city, but a considerable body of troops was at the time within the walls, and the consul, Fulvius Flaccus, as soon as he heard of Hannibal's march, hastened, with a por­tion of the besieging army, from Capua, while he still left with the other consul a force amply suf­ficient to carry on the siege. Hannibal was thus disappointed in the main object of his advance, and he had no means of effecting any thing against Rome itself, where Fulvius and Fabius confined themselves strictly to the defensive, allowing him to ravage the whole country, up to the very walls of Rome, without opposition. Nothing therefore remained for him but to retreat, and he accordingly recrossed the Anio, and marched slowly and sul­lenly through the land of the Sabines and Samnites, ravaging the country which he traversed, and closely followed by the Roman consul, upon whom he at length turned suddenly, and, by a night attack, very nearly destroyed his whole army. When he had thus reached Apulia, he made from thence a forced march into Bnittiuin, in hopes of surprising Rhegium ; but here he was again foiled, and Capua, which he was now compelled, to abandon


to its fate, soon after surrendered to the Romans* Hannibal once more took up his winter-quarters in Apulia. (Liv. xxvi. 4—14 ; Polyb. ix. 3-—7 ; Appian, Annib. 38—43 ; Zonar. ix. 6.)

The commencement of the next season (210) was marked by the fall of Salapia, which was be­trayed by the inhabitants to Marcellus; but this loss was soon avenged by the total defeat and destruc­tion of the army of the proconsul Cn. Fulvius at Herdonea. Marcellus, on his part, carefully avoided an action for the rest of the campaign, while he harassed his opponent by every possible means. Thus the rest of that summer, too, wore away without any important results. But this state of comparative inactivity was necessarily injurious to the cause of Hannibal: the nations of Italy that had espoused that cause when triumphant, now began to waver in their attachment; and, in the course of the following summer (209), the Samnites and Lucanians submitted to Rome, and were ad­mitted to favourable terms. A still more disastrous blow to the Carthaginian cause was the loss of Tarentum, which was betrayed into the hands of Fabius, as it had been into those of Hannibal* In vain did the latter seek to draw the Roman general into a snare ; the wary Fabius eluded his toils. But Marcellus, after a pretended victory over Hannibal during the earlier part of the cam­paign, had shut himself up within the walls of Venusia, and remained there in utter inactivit}'. Hannibal meanwhile still traversed tne open coun­try unopposed, and laid waste the territories of his enemies. Yet we cannot suppose that he any longer looked for ultimate success from any efforts of his own: his object was, doubtless, now only to main­tain his ground in the south until his brother Has-drubal should appear in the north of Italy, an event to which he had long looked forward with anxious expectation. (Liv. xxvii. 1, 2, 4, 12—16, 20 ; Plut. Fab. 19, 21—-23, Marc. 24—27; Appian, Annib. 45—.50 ; Zonar. ix. 7, 8.)

Yet the following summer (208) was not un­marked by some brilliant achievements. The Romans having formed the siege of Locri, a legion, which was despatched to their support from Taren­tum, was intercepted in its march, and utterly de­stroyed ; and not long afterwards the two consuls, Crispinus and Marcellus, who, with their united armies, were opposed to Hannibal in Lucania, al­lowed themselves to be led into an ambush, in which Marcellus was killed, and Crispinus mortally wounded. After this the Roman armies withdrew, while Hannibal hastened to Locri, and not only raised the siege, but utterly destroyed the besieging army. Thus he again found himself undisputed master of the south of Italy during the remainder of this campaign. (Liv. xxvii. 25—28 ; Polyb. x. 32 ; Plut. Marc. 29 ; Appian, Annib. £0 ; Zonar. ix. 9.)

Of the two consuls of the ensuing year (207), C. Nero was opposed to Hannibal, while M. Livius was appointed ta.jbake the field against Hasdrubal, who had at length crossed the Alps, and descended into Cisalpine Gaul. [hasdrubal, No. 6.] Ac­cording to Livy (xxvii. 39), Hannibal was apprised of his brother's arrival at Placentia before he had himself moved from his winter-quarters ; but it is difficult to believe that, if this had been the case, he would not have made more energetic efforts to join him. If we can trust the narrative transmitted to usa which is certainly in many respects tmsatis-

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