After the defeat of the Romans by Pyrrhus at Heraclea (280), Fabricius was sent to treat for the ransom and exchange of the prisoners.
All attempts to bribe him were unsuccessful, and Pyrrhus is said to have been so impressed that he released the prisoners without ransom (Plutarch, Pyrrhus, 18).
The story that Pyrrhus attempted to frighten Fabricius by the sight of an elephant is probably a fiction.
In 278 Fabricius was elected consul for the second time, and was successful in negotiating terms of peace with Pyrrhus, who sailed away to Sicily.
The Bruttii first came into collision with the Romans during the war with Pyrrhus, to whom they sent auxiliaries; after his defeat, they submitted, and were deprived of half their territory in the Sila forest, which was declared state property.