Record of a wounded Roman soldier suffocating himself by putting his head in a hole and covering it with dirt or sand during the Battle of Cannae in 216BC.

An invisible darkness could be seen rising somewhere in the distance. It could be felt, a cold miasma. The moon was down but something was climbing.

The battle had begun, the sun shone bright. The trees were sparse around the field of battle, no protection whatsoever. He ran in full battle gear.

Large elephants, hidden in the morning mist, were now emerging. running towards the Romans, destroying entire wings of the Roman army with their trunks. Now and then, deadly darts flew around the soldier from unseen enemies, arrows rang like bells against armour. Romans were dying all around.

He heard the deafening roar of the elephants, the shouts of his dying comrades, arrows, howling, groaning of men dying. It got worse on sight. Something was amiss, the Romans fell back. More elephants poured into the chaos. He continued to run.

They broke his shield and pierced his helmet. They struck him in the neck, but he did not stop. As he ran, he felt himself covered in blood, it was all around him. He took his helmet off and saw that his neck had been cut open. The air was thick. He fell to the ground. He quickly dug a hole with his hands and abandoned weapons. He covered his head with dirt. He could only imagine what was happening around him.

Everything was shaking and quaking as an earthquake seemed to be swallowing everything around him. He could hear screaming, shouting, He buried his head deeper in the hole.

The pitch-black darkness had reached Caius Livius, blocking his view of sun.

“The lines are broken, the Battle is Lost” wrote Livy, describing the Battle of Cannae, fought in 216BC in Italy, the largest defeat, in terms of casualties, suffered by the Roman army until the battle of Teutoburg Forest, in 9AD.