Harms Claudius Marcellus, a Roman general, born about 268 13. C, killed near Venu-sia, in Apulia, in 208. The family to which he belonged (a plebeian branch of the great Claudian gem) was of the highest distinction in Rome. Marcellus was early known as a bold and skilful soldier, serving in the first Punic war. His first office was that of curule rcdile, to which he was chosen about 226. Shortly afterward be was elected augur, and in 222 he was made consul. While holding that office he brought the Gallic war to a successful termination, killing the leader of the Gauls with his own hands. Marcellus dedicated the spoils of the Gallic chief asspolia opium in the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, being the third and last instance of such dedication in Roman history, He was one of the praetors in 216 when the second Punic war was at its height' and was about to sail for Sicily when the defeat of the Romans at Canine caused a change in his destination. Employed against Hannibal, he prevented the town of Nola from falling into his hands, and repulsed his forces, which was the first check received by the Carthaginian, He was summoned to Rome to take part in the consultations concerning the conduct of the war, and then sent back to Campania as proconsul.

Elected consul in 215, with another plebeian for colleague, he resigned the office rather than offend the senate, which was averse to the whole consular power being in plebeian hands. Returning to his proconsular position in Campania, he again baffled Hannibal at Nola, and inflicted great loss on his army. He was elected consul in 214, having Fabius Maximus for his colleague, and resumed his Campanian command, repulsing Hannibal at Nola for the third time. Casilinum having capitulated to Fabius, Marcellus massacred all the garrison but 50. He was then sent to Sicily, which he nearly conquered in three years. The siege of Syracuse, which he maintained for two years, and in which he was opposed by the science of Archimedes, who was killed during the sack of the town (212), was one of the most famous sieges of ancient warfare. Returning to Rome in 211, he was refused the honors of a triumph because he had not entirely subdued Sicily. His ovation was very brilliant, but the magnificence of his Sicilian spoils, comprising rich works of art, gave much offence to the old Roman party.

He was a fourth time consul in 210. Prevented from returning to Sicily by the opposition of the Sicilians, whom his cruelty and rapacity had alienated, he was placed at the head of the army which acted against Hannibal that year, and the next year retained the command of it as proconsul. The Romans complained of his want of vigor during the latter part of his proconsulate, but he defended himself successfully, and was elected consul for the fifth time. Having appeased the Arretians, who threatened revolt, he again assumed command of the army in presence of Hannibal, his colleague being with him. While reconnoitring the Carthaginian camp, he fell into an ambuscade, and was slain.