Meanwhile Metellus fought with better fortune. In a sharp
engagement at Italica (not far from Seville), which Hirtuleius had
imprudently risked, and in which both generals fought hand to hand
and Hirtuleius was wounded, Metellus defeated him and compelled him
to evacuate the Roman territory proper, and to throw himself
This victory permitted Metellus to unite with Pompeius.
The two generals took up their winter-quarters in 678-79
at the Pyrenees, and in the next campaign in 679 they resolved
to make a joint attack on the enemy in his position near Valentia.
But while Metellus was advancing, Pompeius offered battle beforehand
to the main army of the enemy, with a view to wipe out the stain
of Lauro and to gain the expected laurels, if possible, alone.
With joy Sertorius embraced the opportunity of fighting with Pompeius
before Metellus arrived.