The Ancient Library

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colleague Cn. Cornelius Scipio, both of whom were eager to carry on the war. (Polyb. ii. 36 ; Plut. Marc. 6.) The Gauls hereupon summoned to their assistance 30,000 of their brethren, the Gae-satae, from beyond the Alps ; but notwithstanding this reinforcement, they did not prevent the two consuls from invading the plain of the Po, and laying siege to Acerrae. In order to create a diversion, one division of the Gaulish army, con­sisting of 10,000 men, crossed the Po, and laid siege in their turn to the town of Clastidium. Hereupon Marcellus, with a large body of cavalry and a small force of infantry, hastened to oppose them, and a battle ensued, which ended in the total defeat and destruction of the Gaulish detach­ment. The action was commenced by a combat of cavalry, in which Marcellus slew with his own hand Britomartus or Viridomarus, the king, or at least the leader, of the enemy. After this brilliant exploit he rejoined his colleague before Acerrae, which soon after fell into their hands, and was followed by the conquest of Mediolanum, the most important city of Cisalpine Gaul. The Insubrians now submitted at discretion, and the two consuls had the glory of having put a termination to the Gallic war. Great part of the credit of the cam­paign, according to Polybius, would seem to have belonged to Scipio, but Marcellus alone was ho­noured with a triumph, which was rendered con­spicuous by the spoils of Viridomarus, carried as a trophy by the victor, and afterwards dedicated by him as spolia opima in the temple of Jupiter Feretrius. This was the third and last instance in Roman history in which such an offering was made. (Polyb. ii. 34, 35 ; Plut. Marc. 6—8 ; Zonar. viii. 20, p. 404; Val. Max. iii. 2. § 5 ; Eutrop. iii. 6 ; Flor. ii. 3 ; Aur. Vict. de Vir. III. 45; Oros. iv. 13; Fast. Capit. ap. Gruter, p. 297.)

From this time we hear no more of Marcellus until the alarming progress of Hannibal in Italy, and especially his victory at the lake of Thrasy-mene, compelled the Romans to look out for tried and able soldiers, to whom they could confide the conduct of the war, and Marcellus was appointed one of the praetors for the year 216. He was at first destined to take the command in Sicily, but while he was still occupied at Ostia with the preparation of a fleet for this purpose, he was suddenly recalled to Rome, in consequence of the disastrous defeat of the two consuls at Cannae. By the orders of the senate he threw a body of 1500 men, which he had raised for the expedition to Sicily, into Rome itself, while he hastened with one legion to Canusium, and after collecting there the shattered remains of the consular army, drew them off into Campania, where he encamped near Suessula. Meanwhile, the important city of Capua had opened its gates to Hannibal, and Nola would have followed its ex­ample, had not Marcellus received timely notice of the danger from the aristocratic party in that city, who were favourably disposed towards Rome. He accordingly hastened thither with the forces under his command, threw himself into the town, and on the approach of Hannibal made a sudden sally, by which he repulsed the Carthaginians with some loss. The success thus obtained (though evidently greatly magnified by the Roman annalists), was important from its moral effect, as the first check, however slight, that Hannibal had yet received. Marcellus now secured Nola to the Roman interest.


by the execution of seventy of the leading men of the opposite party, and again withdrew to the hills above Suessula. But neither he nor Gracchus were able to avert the fate of Casilinum, which fell into the hands of Hannibal before the close of the winter. (Liv. xxii. 35, 57, xxiii. 14—17, 19; Plut. Marc. 9—11 ; Appian* Annib. 27 ; Cic. Brut. 3.)

Marcellus was soon after summoned to Rome, to consult with the dictator L. Junius Pera and his master of the horse, Tib. Gracchus, concerning the future conduct of the war: he was then invested with the rank of proconsul, and returned to take the command of the army in Campania. Mean­while, news arrived at Rome that Postumius, who had been chosen one of the consuls for the year 215, had been killed in Cisalpine Gaul; and the people unanimously elected Marcellus to supply his place. But the senate, who were unwilling to admit of two plebeian consuls at the same time, declared that the omens were unfavourable, and Marcellus, in obedience to the augurs, resigned the consulship, and repaired once more to the army in Campania as proconsul. (Liv. xxiii. 24, 25, 30— 32; Plut. Marc. 12.) His principal exploit that we find recorded during this year was the relief of Nola, which he a second time successfully defended against Hannibal; and though the Carthaginian general had been lately joined by Hanno with a powerful reinforcement, Marcellus not only repulsed him from the walls, but (if we may believe the accounts transmitted to us) defeated him with considerable slaughter ; and this success was im­mediately followed by the desertion to the Romans of a large body of Numidian and Spanish horse. (Liv. xxiii. 39, 41—46 ; Plut. Marc. 12.)

At the election of the consuls for the ensuing year (214) Marcellus was appointed for the third time, with Fabius Maximus for his colleague. Such a pair of consuls (says Livy) had not been seen for many years. Yet their operations during the ensuing campaign were not marked by any decisive results: Marcellus returned to his old camp near Nola, and a third time repulsed an attempt of Hannibal upon that city; whereupon the Carthaginian general marched away to Taren-tum, and the two consuls took advantage of his absence to lay siege to the small but important town of Casilinum. The Campanian garrison of this fortress, after an obstinate defence, were ad­mitted to a c?pitulation by Fabius, but Marcellus broke in upon them as they were quitting the city, and put them all to the sword, except about fifty, who escaped under the protection of Fabius. (Liv. xxiv. 9, 13, 19.) After this Marcellus returned to Nola, from whence he was ordered by the senate to proceed to Sicily, apparently before the close of the summer of b.c. 214. (Ib. 20, 21.) On his arrival in that island he found affairs in a very unsettled state. The death of Hieronymus, which had at first appeared favourable to the Roman cause, had eventually led to a contrary result; and Hippocrates and Epicydes, two Carthaginians by birth, had obtained the chief direction of affairs at Syracuse. [epicydes.] Marcellus, however, at first determined to try the effect of negotiation: his ambassadors obtained a favourable hearing, and even induced the Syracusans to pass sentence of banishment against Hippocrates and Epicydes. These two leaders were at the time at Leontini, at the head of a considerable force, but they were

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