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Livy, History of Rome 27

LCL 367: 202-203

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a.u.c. 544I. Hic status rerum in Hispania erat. In Italia consul Marcellus Salapia per proditionem recepta 2Marmoreas et Meles de Samnitibus vi cepit. Ad tria milia militum ibi Hannibalis, quae praesidii causa relicta erant, oppressa: praeda—et aliquantum eius fuit—militi concessa. Tritici quoque ducenta quadraginta milia modium et centum 3decem milia hordei inventa. Ceterum nequaquam inde tantum gaudium fuit quanta clades intra paucos 4dies accepta est haud procul Herdonea urbe. Castra ibi Cn. Fulvius proconsul habebat spe recipiendae Herdoneae, quae post Cannensem cladem ab Romanis defecerat, nec loco satis tuto posita nec praesidiis 5firmata. Neglegentiam insitam ingenio ducis augebat spes ea, quod labare iis adversus Poenum fidem senserat, postquam Salapia amissa excessisse 6iis locis in Bruttios Hannibalem auditum est. Ea omnia ab Herdonea per occultos nuntios delata Hannibali simul curam sociae retinendae urbis et spem fecere incautum hostem adgrediendi. Exercitu




I. Such was the state of affairs in Spain. In b.c. 210 Italy the consul Marcellus, having regained possession of Salapia by betrayal, took Marmoreae and Meles1 from the Samnites by force. About three thousand of Hannibal’s soldiers, who had been left as a garrison, were overpowered there. The booty—and there was much of it—was turned over to the soldiers. In addition two hundred and forty thousand pecks of wheat and a hundred and ten thousand pecks of barley were found. But the rejoicing in consequence by no means balanced the great loss suffered within a few days not far from the city of Herdonea.2 There Gnaeus Fulvius, the proconsul, was encamped, in the hope of regaining Herdonea, which had deserted the Romans after the disaster at Cannae; but his camp was pitched in a position neither quite safe nor strongly held. Carelessness, ingrained in the character of the general, was increased by that hope, inasmuch as he had learned that their loyalty was weakening and turning against the Carthaginian, ever since they had heard that, after the loss of Salapia, Hannibal had withdrawn from that region into the land of the Bruttii. The report of all this to Hannibal from Herdonea by secret messengers made him concerned to retain an allied city and at the same time gave him the hope of attacking the enemy unawares. With an army unencumbered

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.livy-history_rome_27.1943