At first the war turned chiefly towards Campania. Hannibal appeared
in good time to protect its capital, which he prevented from being
invested; but he was unable either to wrest any of the Campanian towns
held by the Romans from their strong Roman garrisons, or to prevent
--in addition to a number of less important country towns--Casilinum,
which secured his passage over the Volturnus, from being taken by
the two consular armies after an obstinate defence.
An attempt of
Hannibal to gain Tarentum, with the view especially of acquiring a
safe landing-place for the Macedonian army, proved unsuccessful.
Meanwhile the Bruttian army of the Carthaginians under Hanno had
various encounters in Lucania with the Roman army of Apulia; here
Tiberius Gracchus sustained the struggle with good results, and after
a successful combat not far from Beneventum, in which the slave
legions pressed into service had distinguished themselves, he
bestowed liberty and burgess-rights on his slave-soldiers in
the name of the people.