1. Hic status rerum in Hispania erat. in Italia consul Marcellus Salapia per proditionem recepta Marmoreas et Meles de Samnitibus vi cepit. 2ad 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 decem milia hordei inventa.
3Ceterum nequaquam inde tantum gaudium fuit quanta clades intra paucos dies accepta est haud procul Herdonea urbe. 4castra ibi Cn. Fulvius proconsul habebat spe recipiendae Herdoneae, quae post Cannensem cladem ab Romanis defecerat, nec loco satis tuto posita nec praesidiis firmata. 5neglegentiam insitam ingenio ducis augebat spes ea quod labare iis adversus Poenum fidem senserat postquam Salapia amissa excessisse iis locis in Bruttios Hannibalem auditum est. 6ea omnia ab Herdonea per occultos
1. Such was the situation in Spain. In Italy the consul Marcellus gained Salapia through its betrayal, and Marmoreae and Meles1 he took by force from the Samnites. Some three thousand of Hannibal’s men who had been left to garrison the towns were overpowered, and the plunder taken—and its amount was considerable—was left to the soldiers. Two hundred and forty thousand measures of wheat and one hundred and ten thousand measures of barley2 were also found.
Joy over this success, however, in no way balanced the disaster sustained not far from the city of Herdonea3 a few days later. The proconsul Gnaeus Fulvius4 had his camp in the area, hoping to recover Herdonea, which had defected from the Romans after the defeat at Cannae, but the camp was not in a very safe or well secured place. The carelessness ingrained in the general’s nature was being increased by hope after he had become aware that the inhabitants’ loyalty to the Carthaginian had been wavering ever since news arrived that, after losing Salapia, Hannibal had left the area for Bruttium. All this had been duly reported
- 1Salapia is the Apulian town mentioned in the previous book (26.38.6 and note; Barr. 45 C2), but the other two are not mentioned elsewhere (though John Briscoe advises me that Maronea (Σ) is “clearly a corruption of the name of the Thracian town mentioned frequently in Books 31–45”).
- 2On the “measure” (modius), cf. 26.47.8 note.
- 3Called “obscure Herdonea” by Silius Italicus (8.567): Barr. 45 C2 (Herdoneae).
- 4Cn. Fulvius Centumalus Maximus, the previous year’s consul.