The first Battle of Herdonia was fought in 212 BC during the Second Punic War between Hannibal's Carthaginian army and Roman forces led by Praetor Gnaeus Fulvius Flaccus, brother of the consul. The Roman army was destroyed, leaving Apulia free of Romans for the year.
In the span of a few weeks, Hannibal had killed 31,000 Roman and allied soldiers in two battles in Campania and Apulia. After the Herdonia battle, Hannibal marched south towards Tarentum, where the Romans were besieged in the citadel while the town had fallen to Carthaginian allies earlier in 212 BC. The Roman senate decided to raise four new legions to send to Apulia. The Roman consuls then marched nearer to Capua, intent on blockading the city totally.