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The Battle of Cannae took place in 1018 between the Byzantines under the Catepan of Italy Basil Boioannes and the Lombards under Melus of Bari. The Lombards had also hired some Norman mercenaries under their leader Gilbert Buatère. The battle was fought on the same spot where Hannibal of Carthagemarker had destroyedmarker the Roman army in 216 BC.

The battle was disastrous for the Lombards, who were routed. Melus of Bari managed to escape to the Papal Statesmarker and eventually to the court of Holy Roman Emperor Henry II at Bambergmarker. The Normans lost their leader, Gilbert Buatère, and most of their group. However, what remained of this group of Normans was the first of many to go to southern Italy. By the end of the century, most of southern Italy was under Norman control.

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