From Margaret L. King, page 67
Later life: Second Punic War
Marcus Claudius Marcellus re-emerged onto both the political and military scene during the Second Punic War, in which he took part in important battles. In 216 BC, the third year of the Second Punic War, Marcellus was elected as a praetor. A praetor served either as an elected magistrate or as the commander of an army, the latter of which duties Marcellus was selected to fulfil in Sicily. Unfortunately, as Marcellus and his men were preparing to ship to Sicily, his army was recalled to Rome owing to the devastating losses at Cannae, one of the worst defeats in Roman history. By the orders of the Senate, Marcellus was forced to dispatch 1,500 of his men to Rome to protect the city after the terrible defeat by Hannibal of Carthage. With his remaining army, along with remnants of the army from Cannae, (who were considered to have been disgraced by the defeat and by surviving it), Marcellus camped near Suessula, a city in the region of Campania in Southern Italy. At this point, part of the Carthaginian army began to make a move for the city of Nola. Marcellus repelled the attacks and managed to keep the city from the grasp of Hannibal. Although the battle at Nola was rather unimportant in regards to the Second Punic War as a whole, the victory was “important from its moral effect, as the first check, however slight, that Hannibal had yet received.”
Then, in 215 BC, Marcellus was summoned to Rome by the Dictator M. Junius Pera, who wanted to consult with him about the future conduct of the war. After this meeting, Marcellus earned the title of proconsul. In the same year, when the consul L. Postumius Albinus was killed in battle, Marcellus was unanimously chosen by the Roman people to be his successor. Livy and Plutarch tell us a bad omen occurred, allegedly because the other consul was also a plebeian. Marcellus stepped aside and Q. Fabius Maximus Cunctator took his place. Supposedly, the senate (interpreting the gods) disapproved of having two plebeian consuls. Marcellus was appointed proconsul, whereupon, he defended the city of Nola, once again, from the rear guard of Hannibal’s army. The following year, 214 BC, Marcellus was elected consul yet again, this time with Fabius Maximus. For a third time, Marcellus defended Nola from Hannibal and even captured the small but significant town of Casilinum.
Sicily and Syracuse
Main article: Siege of Syracuse (214–212 BC)
Following his victory at Casilinum, Marcellus was sent to Sicily, upon which Hannibal had set his sights. Upon arrival, Marcellus found the island in disarray. Hieronymus, the new ruler of the Roman-ally Kingdom of Syracuse, had recently come to the throne on his grandfather's death and fallen under the influence of the Carthaginian agents Hippocrates and Epicydes. He then declared war against the Romans after the Carthaginian victory at the Battle of Cannae. However, Hieronymus was soon deposed; the new Syracusan leaders attempted a reconciliation with Rome, but could not quell their suspicions and then aligned themselves with the Carthaginians. In 214 BC, the same year that he was sent to Sicily, Marcellus attacked the city of Leontini, where the two Syracusan rulers were residing. After successfully storming the city, Marcellus had 2,000 Roman deserters (who had been hiding in the city) killed, and moved to lay siege to Syracuse itself. At this point, several cities in the province of Sicily rose in rebellion against Roman rule. The siege lasted for two long years, partly because the Roman effort was thwarted by the military machines of the famous inventor Archimedes. Meanwhile, leaving the bulk of the Roman legion in the command of Appius Claudius at Syracuse, Marcellus and a small army roamed Sicily, conquering opponents and taking such rebellious cities as Helorus, Megara, and Herbessus.
After Marcellus returned and continued the siege, the Carthaginians attempted to relieve the city, but were driven back. Overcoming formidable resistance and the ingenious devices of Archimedes, the Romans finally took the city in the summer of 212 BC. Plutarch wrote that Marcellus, when he had previously entered the city for a diplomatic meeting with the Syracusans, had noticed a weak point in its fortifications. He made his attack at this fragile spot, using a night attack by a small group of hand-picked soldiers to storm the walls and open the gates. During the fighting, Archimedes was killed, an act Marcellus regretted. Plutarch writes that the Romans rampaged through the city, taking much of the plunder and artwork they could find. This has significance because Syracuse was a Greek city filled with Greek culture, art and architecture. Much of this Greek art was taken to Rome, where it was one of the first major impacts of Greek influence on Roman culture.
Following his victory at Syracuse, Marcellus remained in Sicily, where he defeated more Carthaginian and rebel foes. The important city of Agrigentum was still under Carthaginian control, though there was now little the Carthaginian leadership could do to support it, as the campaigns against the Romans in Spain and Italy now took precedence. At the end of 211 BC, Marcellus resigned from command of the Sicilian province, thereby putting the praetor of the region, M. Cornelius, in charge. On his return to Rome, Marcellus did not receive the triumphal honours that would be expected for such a feat, as his political enemies objected that he had not fully eradicated the threats in Sicily.
Death in battle
The final period of Marcus Claudius Marcellus’ life began with his fourth election to Roman consul in 210 BC. Marcellus’ election to office sparked much controversy and resentment towards Marcellus because of accusations by political opponents that his actions in Sicily were excessively brutal. Representatives of Sicilian cities presented themselves before the senate to complain about Marcellus' past actions. The complaints prevailed and Marcellus was forced to switch control of provinces with his colleague, so that Marcellus was not the consul in control of Sicily. On switching provinces, Marcellus took command of the Roman army in Apulia, leading it to many decisive victories against the Carthaginians. First, Marcellus took the city of Salapia and then continued along his way by conquering two cities in the region of Samnium. Next, when the army of Cn. Fulvius, another Roman general, was completely dismantled by Hannibal, Marcellus and his army stepped in to check the progress of the Carthaginian leader. Then Marcellus and Hannibal fought a battle at Numistro, where a clear victory could not be decided, although Rome claimed a victory. Following this battle, Marcellus continued to keep Hannibal in check, yet the two armies never met in a decisive battle.
In 209 BC, Marcellus was named as a proconsul and retained control of his army. During that year, the Roman Army under Marcellus faced Hannibal's forces in a series of skirmishes and raids, without being drawn into open battle. Marcellus defended his actions and tactics in front of the senate and he was named a consul for the fifth time for the year 208 BC. After entering his fifth consulship Marcellus, re-entered the field and took command of the army at Venusia. While on a reconnaissance mission with his colleague, T. Quinctius Crispinus, and a small band of 220 horsemen, the group was ambushed and nearly completely slaughtered by a much larger Carthaginian force of Numidian horsemen. Marcellus was impaled by a spear and died on the field. In the following days, Crispinus died of his wounds.
In the year 23 BC, Emperor Augustus recounted that Hannibal had allowed Marcellus a proper funeral and even sent the ashes back to Marcellus’ son. The loss of both consuls was a major blow to Roman morale, as the Republic had lost its two senior military commanders in a single battle, while the formidable Carthaginian army was still at large in Italy.
... this Marcellus indeed had a lot of action against Hannibal (and likely also against Hannibal's elephants).