Second Punic War Battles > Battle of Castulo

Battle of Castulo

Punic Wars - Punic Wars DecorationAs Publius Scipio neared Castulo, he was harassed day and night by the Numidian light cavalry under Masinissa. When informed that Indibilis was moving across his line of retreat with 7,500 Iberians, Publius Scipio decided not to face Mago but to attack the Iberian chieftain, fearing that he would be surrounded by Carthaginian forces. Leaving 2,000 soldiers in his camp under the legate Tiberius Fonteus, he marched out that night to launch an attack on the Iberians and, hopefully, evade Masinissa's cavalry. Scipio marched throughout the night and caught Indibilis and his men by surprise in the early morning; and, with an 18,000 to 7,500 advantage, began to gain the upper hand in the ensuing action. However, the Iberians managed to hold off the Romans in the confused night battle just long enough for Masinissa to arrive. With the Numidian horse attacking from the flank, the Roman assault on the Iberians began to slacken. When Mago and Hasdrubal Gisco arrived with their combined armies, the Romans finally, after a grim struggle, broke and fled, leaving Publius Scipio and most of their comrades dead on the field. Mago gave the Numidians enough time to loot the dead before force marching the army towards Hasdrubal Barca's position. A handful of Roman survivors managed to reach their camp.

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