1. Hannibal post Cannensem pugnam castraque capta ac direpta confestim ex Apulia in Samnium moverat, accitus in Hirpinos a Statio Trebio pollicente se Compsam traditurum.
2Compsanus erat Trebius nobilis inter suos; sed premebat eum Mopsiorum factio, familiae per gratiam Romanorum potentis. 3post famam Cannensis pugnae volgatumque Trebi sermonibus adventum Hannibalis cum Mopsiani urbe excessissent, sine certamine tradita urbs Poeno praesidiumque acceptum est. 4ibi praeda omni atque impedimentis relictis, exercitu partito Magonem regionis eius urbes aut deficientes ab Romanis accipere aut detractantes cogere ad defectionem iubet, 5ipse per agrum Campanum mare inferum petit, oppugnaturus Neapolim, ut urbem maritimam haberet.
6Ubi fines Neapolitanorum intravit, Numidas partim in insidiis—et pleraeque cavae sunt viae sinusque occulti—
1. After the battle of Cannae and the capture and sacking of the camps Hannibal had immediately moved from Apulia into Samnium, having been invited into the territory of the Hirpini by Statius Trebius, who was promising to deliver Compsa1 to him.
Trebius was a Compsan well known among his people, but he faced opposition from the Mopsii faction, a family powerful through Roman support, but once news of the battle of Cannae and word of Hannibal’s coming was spread abroad by Trebius’ gossip, supporters of the Mopsii left town, the city was surrendered to the Carthaginian without a fight, and a garrison was accepted there. Depositing there all his spoils and baggage, Hannibal divided his army and ordered Mago2 to take charge of the cities in the area that were defecting from Rome or to force into defection those who refused. He himself made for the Tyrrhenian Sea3 through Campanian territory, with the intention of attacking Naples4 in order to have a coastal city in his possession.
After entering Neapolitan territory, he set some of his Numidians in ambush wherever he could opportunely do
- 1A town (now Conza della Campania) in the valley of the Aufidus, about sixty miles southwest of Cannae, (Barr. 45 B3). The Hirpini were a Samnite tribe.
- 2Hannibal’s brother.
- 3Literally, “lower sea,” as opposed to the “upper sea” (mare superum), which was the Adriatic.
- 4Naples (Neapolis) remained a loyal Roman ally throughout the Pyrrhic and Punic wars (cf. OCD s.v. Neapolis).