[Sidenote: B.C. 277 (a.u. 477)] VIII, 6.—The Romans on finding out his absence took courage and turned their attention to requiting those who had invited him. Postponing till another occasion the case of the Tarentini they invaded Samnium with their consuls Rufinus and Junius, devastated the country as they went along, and took several deserted forts. The Samnites had conveyed their dearest and most valuable treasures into the hills called the Cranita, because they bear a large growth of cornel-wood (crania). The Romans in contempt for them dared to begin the ascent of the aforementioned hills. As the region was tangled with shrubbery and difficult of access many were killed and many, too, were taken prisoners.
The consuls now no longer carried on the war together, since each blamed the other for the disaster, but Junius went on ravaging a portion of Samnium, while Rufinus inflicted injury upon Lucanians and Bruttians. He then started against Croton, which had revolted from Rome. His friends had sent for him, but the other party got ahead of them by bringing a garrison from Milo, of which Nicomachus was commander. Ignorant of this fact he approached the walls carelessly, supposing that his friends controlled affairs, and suffered a setback by a sudden sortie made against him. Then, bethinking himself of a trick, he captured the city. He sent two captives as pretended deserters into Croton; one at once, declaring that he had despaired of capturing the place and was about to set out into Locris, which was being betrayed to him; the other later, corroborating the report with the further detail that he was on his way. That the story might gain credence he packed up the baggage and affected to be in haste. Nicomachus trusted this news (for his scouts made the same report), and leaving Croton set off with speed into Locrian territory by a somewhat shorter road. When he had got well into Locris, Rufinus turned back to Croton, and escaping observation because he was not expected and because of a mist that then prevailed he captured the city. Nicomachus learning this went back to Tarentum, and encountering Rufinus on the way lost many men. The Locrians came over to the Roman side.
[Sidenote: B.C. 276 (a.u. 478)] The next year the Romans made expeditions into Samnium and into Lucania and fought with the Bruttians. Pyrrhus, who had been driven out of Sicily and had returned, was now troubling them grievously. He got back the Locrians (by their killing the Roman garrison and changing their rulers), but in a campaign against Rhegium was repulsed, was himself wounded, and lost great numbers. He then retired into Locris and after executing a few who opposed his cause he got food and money from the rest and made his way back to Tarentum. The Samnites, hard pressed by the Romans, caused him to leave the shelter of that town: [Sidenote: B.C. 275 (a.u. 479)] but on coming to their assistance he was put to flight.