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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Roman Antiquities

Dionysius of Halicarnassus

published in Vol. V
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1940

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. V) Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Roman Antiquities

 p287  (Book IX, beginning)

1 1 The following year,​1 a dispute having arisen between the populace and the senate concerning the men who were to be elected consuls, the senators demanding that both men promoted to that magistracy should be of the aristocratic party and the populace demanding that they be chosen from among such as were agreeable to them, after an obstinate struggle they finally convinced each other that a consul should be chosen from each party. Thus Caeso Fabius, who had accused Cassius of aiming at a tyranny, was elected consul, for the second time, on the part of the senate, and Spurius Furius on the part of the populace, in the seventy-fifth Olympiad,​2 Calliades being archon at Athens, at the time when Xerxes made his expedition against Greece. 2 They had no sooner taken office than ambassadors of the  p289 Latins came to the senate asking them to send to them one of the consuls with an army to put a check to the insolence of the Aequians, and at the same time word was brought that all Tyrrhenia was aroused and would soon go to war. For that nation had been convened in a general assembly and at the urgent solicitation of the Veientes for aid in their war against the Romans had passed a decree that any of the Tyrrhenians who so desired might take part in the campaign; and it was a sufficiently strong body of men that voluntarily aided the Veientes in the war. Upon learning of this the authorities in Rome resolved to raise armies and also that both consuls should take the field, one to make war on the Aequians and to aid the Latins, and the other to march with his forces against Tyrrhenia. 3 All this was opposed by Spurius Icilius,​3 one of the tribunes, who, assembling the populace every day, demanded of the senate the performance of its promises relating to the allotment of land and said that he would allow none of their decrees, whether they concerned military or civil affairs, to take effect unless they should first appoint the decemvir so fix the boundaries of the public land and divide it among the people as they had promised. 4 When the senate was at a loss and did not know what to do, Appius Claudius suggested that they should consider how the other tribunes might be brought to dissent from Icilius, pointing out that there is no other method of putting an end to the power of a tribune who opposes and obstructs the decrees of the  p291 senate, since his person is sacred and this authority of his legal, than for another of the men of equal rank and possessing the same power to oppose him and to order to be done what the other tries to obstruct. 5 And he advised all succeeding consuls to do this and to consider how they might always have some of the tribunes well disposed and friendly to them, saying that the only method of destroying the power of the college was to sow dissension among its members.

2 1 When Appius had expressed this opinion, both the consuls and the more influential of the others, believing his advice to be sound, courted the other four tribunes so effectually as to make them well disposed toward the senate. 2 These for a time endeavoured by argument to persuade Icilius to desist from his course with respect to the allotment of land till the wars should come to an end. But when he kept opposing them and swore that he would continue to do so, and had the assurance to make a rather insolent remark in the presence of the populace to the effect that he had rather see the Tyrrhenians and their other enemies masters of the city than leave unpunished those who were occupying public land, they thought they had got an excellent opportunity for opposing so great insolence both by their words and by their acts, and since even the populace showed displeasure at his remark, they said they interposed their veto; and they openly pursued such measures as were agreeable to both the senate and the consuls. Thus Icilius being deserted  p293 by his colleagues, no longer had any authority. 3 After this the army was raised and everything that was necessary for the war was supplied, partly from public and partly from private sources, with all possible alacrity; and the consuls, having drawn lots for the armies, set out in haste, Spurius Furius marching against the cities of the Aequians and Caeso Fabius against the Tyrrhenians. 4 In the case of Spurius everything succeeded according to his wish, the enemy not daring to come to an engagement, so that in this expedition he had the opportunity of taking much booty in both money and slaves. For he overran almost all the territory that the enemy possessed, carrying and driving off everything, and he gave all the spoils to the soldiers. 5 Though he had been regarded even before this time as a friend of the people, he gained the favour of the multitude still more by his conduct in this command; and when the season for military operations was over, he brought his army home intact and unscathed, and made the fatherland rich with the money he had taken.

3 1 Caeso Fabius, the other consul, though as a general his performance was second to none, was nevertheless deprived of the praise that his achievements deserved, not through any fault of his own, but because he did not enjoy the goodwill of the plebeians from the time when he had denounced and put to death the consul Cassius for aiming at a tyranny. 2 For they never showed any alacrity either in those matters in which men under authority ought to yield a prompt obedience to the orders of their general, or when they should through eagerness and a sense of duty seize positions by force, or when it was necessary  p295 to occupy advantageous positions without the knowledge of the enemy, or in anything else from which the general would derive any honour and good repute. Most of their conduct, to be sure, by which they were continually insulting their general was neither very troublesome to him nor the occasion of any great harm to the commonwealth; but their final action brought no small danger and great disgrace to both. 3 For when the two armies had arrayed themselves in battle order in the space between the hills on which their camps were placed, using all the forces on either side, and the Romans had performed many gallant deeds and forced the enemy to begin flight, they neither pursued them as they retreated, notwithstanding the repeated exhortations of the general, nor were they willing to remain and take the enemy's camp by siege; on the contrary, they left a glorious action unfinished and returned to their own camp. 4 And when some of the soldiers attempted to salute the consul as imperator, all the rest joined in a loud outcry, reproaching and taunting their commander with the loss of many of their brave comrades through his want of ability to command; and after many other insulting and indignant remarks they demanded that he break camp and lead them back to Rome, pretending that they would be unable, if the enemy attacked them, to sustain a second battle. 5 And they neither gave heed when their commander endeavoured to show them the error of their course, nor were moved by his entreaties when he turned to lamentations and supplications, nor were they alarmed by the violence of his threats when he made  p297 use of these too; but they continued exasperated in the face of all these appeals. Indeed, some of them were possessed with such a spirit of disobedience and such contempt for their general that they rose up about midnight and without orders from anyone proceeded to strike their tents, take up their arms, and carry off their wounded.

4 1 When the general was informed of this, he was forced to give the command for all to depart, so great was his fear of their disobedience and audacity. And the soldiers retired with as great precipitation as if they were saving themselves from a rout, and reached the city about daybreak. The guards upon the walls, not knowing that it was an army of friends, began to arm themselves and call out to one another, while all the rest of the city was full of confusion and turmoil, as if some great disaster had occurred; and the guards did not open the gates to them till it was broad day and they could distinguish their own army. 2 Thus, in addition to the ignominy they incurred in deserting their camp, they also exposed themselves to great danger in returning in the dark through the enemy's country, without observing any order. Certainly, if the Tyrrhenians had learned of it and had followed close on their heels as they departed, nothing could have prevented the army from being utterly destroyed. The motive of this unaccountable withdrawal or flight was, as I have said, the hatred of the populace against the general and the begrudging of any honour to him, lest he should be granted a triumph and so acquire the greatest glory. 3 The next day the Tyrrhenians, having learned of the withdrawal of the Romans, stripped their dead, took  p299 up and carried off their wounded, and plundered all the stores they had left in their camp, which were very abundant as having been prepared for a long war; then, like conquerors, they laid waste the adjacent territory of the enemy, after which they returned home with their army.

5 1 The succeeding consuls,​4 Gnaeus Manlius and Marcus Fabius (the latter chosen for the second time), in pursuance of a decree of the senate ordering them to march against the Veientes with as large an army as they could raise, appointed a day for levying the troops. When Tiberius Pontificius, one of the tribunes, opposed them by forbidding the levy and called upon them to carry out the decree relating to the allotment of land, they courted some of his colleagues, as their predecessors had done, and thus divided the college of tribunes, after which they proceeded to carry out the will of the senate with full liberty. 2 The levy being completed in a few days, the consuls took the field against the enemy, each of them having with him two legions of Romans raised in the city itself and a force no less numerous sent by their colonies and subjects. Indeed, there came to them from the Latin and the Hernican nations double the number of auxiliaries they had called for; they did not, however, make use of this entire force, by stating that they were very grateful for their zeal, they dismissed one half of the army that had been sent. 3 They also drew up before the city a third army,  p301 consisting of two legions of the younger men, to serve as a garrison for the country in case any other hostile force should unexpectedly make its appearance; the men who were above the military age but still had strength sufficient to bear arms they left in the city to guard the citadels and the walls.

4 When the consuls had led their forces close to the city of Veii, they encamped on two hills not far apart. The enemy's army, which was both large and valiant, had also taken the field and lay encamped before the city. For the most influential men from all Tyrrhenia had joined them with their dependents, with the result that the Tyrrhenians' army was not a little larger than that of the Romans. 5 When the consuls saw the numbers of the enemy and the lustre of their arms, great fear came upon them lest, with their own forces rent by faction, they might not be able to prevail when arrayed against the harmonious forces of the enemy; and they determined to fortify their camps and to prolong the war in the hope that the boldness of the enemy, encouraged by an ill-advised contempt for them, might afford them some opportunity of acting with advantage. After this there were continual skirmishes and brief clashes of the light-armed troops, but no important or signal action.

6 1 The Tyrrhenians, being irked by the prolongation of the war, taunted the Romans with cowardice because they would not come out for battle, and believing that their foes had abandoned the field to them, they were greatly elated. They were still further inspired with scorn for the Roman army and contempt for the consuls when they thought that even the gods were fighting on their side. 2 For  p303 a thunderbolt, falling upon the headquarters of Gnaeus Manlius, one of the consuls, tore the tent in pieces, overturned the hearth, and tarnished some of the weapons of war, while scorching or completely destroying others. It killed also the finest of his horses, the one he used in battle, and some of his servants. 3 And when the augurs declared that the gods were foretelling the capture of the camp and the death of the most important persons in it, Manlius roused his forces about midnight and led them to the other camp, where he took up quarters with his colleague. 4 The Tyrrhenians, learning of the general's departure and hearing from some of the prisoners the reasons for his action, grew still more elated in mind, since it seemed that the gods were making war upon the Romans; and they entertained great hopes of conquering them. For their augurs, who are reputed to have investigated with greater accuracy than those anywhere else the signs that appear in the sky, determining where the thunderbolts come from, what quarters receive them when they depart after striking, to which of the gods each kind of bolt is assigned, and what good or evil it portends, advised them to engage the enemy, interpreting the omen which had appeared to the Romans on this wise: 5 Since the bolt had fallen upon the consul's tent, which was the army's headquarters, and had utterly destroyed it even to its hearth, the gods were foretelling to the whole army the wiping out of their camp after it should be taken by storm, and the death of the principal persons in it. 6 "If, now," they said, "the occupants of the place where the bolt fell had remained there instead of removing their standards  p305 to the other army, the divinity who was wroth with them would have satisfied his anger with the capture of a single camp and the destruction of a single army; but since they endeavoured to be wiser than the gods and changed their quarters to the other camp, leaving the place deserted, as if the god has signified that the calamities should fall, not upon the men, but upon the places, the divine wrath will come upon all of them alike, both upon those who departed and upon those who received them. 7 And since, when destiny had foretold that one camp should be taken by storm, they did not wait for their fate, but of their own accord handed their camp over to the enemy, the camp which received the deserted camp​5 shall be taken by storm instead of the one that was abandoned."

7 1 The Tyrrhenians, hearing this from their augurs, sent a part of their army to take possession of the camp deserted by the Romans, with the intention of making it a fort to serve against the other camp. For the place was a very strong one and was conveniently situated for intercepting any who might come from Rome to the enemy's camp. After they had also made the other dispositions calculated to give them an advantage over the enemy, they led out their forces into the plain. 2 Then, when the Romans remained quiet, the boldest of the Tyrrhenians rode up and, halting near the camp, called them all women and taunted their leaders, likening them to the most cowardly of animals; and they challenged them to do one of two things — either to descend into the plain, if they laid claim to any warlike  p307 valour, and decide the contest by a single battle, or, if they owned themselves to be cowards, to deliver up their arms to those who were their betters, and after paying the penalty for their deeds, never again to hold themselves worthy of greatness. 3 This they did every day, and when it had no effect, they resolved to block them off by a wall with the purpose of starving them into surrender. The consuls permitted this to go on for a considerable time, not through any cowardice or weakness — for they were both men of spirit and fond of war — but because they feared the soldiers' wilful shirking of duty and their apathy, which had persisted among the plebeians ever since the sedition over the allotment of land. For they still had ringing in their ears and fresh before their eyes the shameful behaviour, unworthy of the commonwealth, which the soldiers, because of their begrudging the honour that would come to the consul, had been guilty of the year before, when they had yielded up the victory to the vanquished and endured the false reproach of flight in order that their general might not celebrated the triumph awarded for victory.

8 1 Desiring, therefore, to banish sedition from the army once and for all and to restore the whole rank and file to their original harmony, and devoting to this single end all their counsel and all their thought, since it was not in their power by punishing some of them to reform the rest, who were numerous, bold, and had arms in their hands, or to attempt by the persuasion of words to win over those who did not even wish to be persuaded, they assumed that the following two motives would bring about the reconciliation of the seditious: first, for those of a more  p309 reasonable disposition (for there was an admixture of these also among the mass of the troops), the shame of being taunted by the enemy, and second, for those who were not easily led to adopt the honourable course, the thing of which all human nature stands in dread — necessity. 2 In order, however, to accomplish both these results, they allowed the enemy not only to shame them by words, but also by repeated deeds of scorn and contempt​6 to compel those to show themselves brave men who were not disposed to be so of their own accord. For if these insults should be continued, they had great hopes that all the soldiers would come to headquarters, giving vent to their indignation, reproaching the consuls, and demanding that they lead them against the enemy; and that is just what happened. 3 For when the enemy began to block the outlets of the camp with ditches and palisades, the Romans, growing indignant at their action, ran to the tents of the consuls, first in small numbers and then in a body, and crying out, accused them of treachery, and declared that if no one would lead them in a sortie, they themselves would take their arms and without their generals sally out against the enemy. 4 This being the general cry, the consuls thought the opportunity for which they had been waiting had now come, and they ordered the lictors to call the troops to an assembly. Then Fabius, coming forward, spoke as follows:

9 1 "Long delayed is your indignation at the insults you are receiving from the enemy, soldiers and  p311 officers, and the eagerness which you one and all have to come to grips with your opponents, by showing itself much too late, is untimely. For you should have done this still earlier, when you first saw them come down from their entrenchments and eager to begin battle. Then, no doubt, the contest for the supremacy would have been glorious and worthy of the Roman spirit; as things are, it is already becoming a matter of necessity, and however successful its outcome may be, it will not be equally glorious. 2 Yet even now you do well in desiring to atone for your slowness and to retrieve what you have lost by neglect, and great thanks are due to you for your eagerness to follow the best course, whether this springs from valour — for it is better to begin late to do one's duty than never — or whether indeed you have all come to the same logical conclusions as to what is expedient, and the same eagerness for rushing into battle has seized all of you. 3 But as it is, we are afraid that the grievances of the plebeians against the authorities over the allotment of land may be the cause of great mischief to the commonwealth. And the suspicion has come to us that this clamour and indignation about a sortie do not spring from the same motive with all of you, but that while some desire to go out of the camp in order to take revenge on the enemy, others do so in order to run away. 4 As for the reasons which have induced us to entertain these suspicions, they are neither divinations nor conjectures, but overt deeds, and deeds, too, that happened, not long ago, but only last year, as you all know. For when a large and excellent army had taken the field against this very  p313 enemy and the first battle had had the most successful outcome for us, so that your commander at the time, the consul Caeso, my brother here, could not only have taken the enemy's camp, but also have brought back a most glorious victory for the fatherland, some of the soldiers, begrudging him the glory because he was not a friend of the people and did not constantly pursue such a course as was pleasing to the poor, struck their tents the first night after the battle and without orders ran away from the camp, neither taking thought for the danger they would incur in retreating from a hostile country in disorderly fashion and without a general, and that too in the night, nor taking into account all the disgrace that was sure to come upon them for yielding the supremacy to the enemy, as far at least as in them lay, and yielding it, moreover, as victors to the vanquished. 5 Being afraid, therefore, tribunes, centurions, and soldiers, of these men who are neither able to command nor willing to obey, who are numerous and bold and have their weapons in their hands, we have been unwilling hitherto to join battle and dare not even now, with such men to support us, engage in a life-and‑death struggle, lest they prove hindrances and detriments to those who are displaying all the alacrity in their power. 6 If, however, Heaven is turning the minds of even these men to better ways at the present time, and if, laying aside their seditious spirit, from which the commonwealth is suffering very great harm, or at least postponing it till times of peace, they wish to redeem their past disgraces by their present valour, let there be no further hindrance to your advancing  p315 against the foe, setting before your eyes the fair hopes of victory.

7 "We have many resources for winning, but greatest and most decisive are those afforded us by the folly of the enemy. For though they far exceed us in the size of their army, and for that reason alone might have withstood our courage and experience, they have deprived themselves of their only advantage by using up the greater part of their forces in garrisoning the forts. 8 In the next place, when they ought to act with caution and sober reason in everything they do, bearing in mind against what kind of men, actually far superior to them in valour,​7 the hazard will be, they enter the struggle recklessly and incautiously, as if forsooth they were some invincible warriors and as if we stood in terror of them. At any rate, their digging of ditches round our camp, their riding up to our entrenchments, and their many insults both in word and actions indicate this. 9 Bearing these thoughts in mind, then, and remembering the many glorious battles of the past in which you have overcome them, enter with alacrity into this contest also. And let every one of you look upon the spot in which he shall be posted as his house, his lot of land, and his country. Let him who saves the man beside him feel that he is effecting his own safety, and let him who forsakes his comrade feel that he is delivering himself up to the enemy. But, above all, you should remember this, that when men stand their ground and fight their losses are small, but when they give way and flee very few are saved."

 p317  10 While he was yet uttering these encouragements to bravery and accompanying his words with many tears, calling by name each one of the centurions, tribunes, and common soldiers whom he knew to have performed some gallant action in battle, and promising to those who should distinguish themselves in this engagement many great rewards in proportion to the magnitude of their deeds, such as honours, riches, and all the other advantages, shouts arose from all of them as they bade him be of good cheer and demanded that he lead them to battle. 2 As soon as he had done speaking, there came forward from the throng a man named Marcus Flavoleius,​8 a plebeian and a small farmer, though not one of the rabble but one celebrated for his merits and valiant in war and on both these accounts honoured with the most conspicuous command in one of the legions — a command which the sixty centuries are enjoined by the law to follow and obey. These officers the Romans call in their own tongue primipili. 3 This man, who, besides his other recommendations, was tall and fair to look upon, taking his stand where he would be in full view of all, said: "Since this is what you fear, consuls, that our actions will not agree with our words, I will be the first to give you in my own name the greatest pledge I can give. And you too, fellow citizens and sharers of the same fortune, as many of you as are resolved to make your actions match your words, will make no mistake in following my example." 4 Having said this, he held up his sword and  p319 took the oath traditional among the Romans and regarded by them as the mightiest of all, swearing by his own good faith that he would return to Rome victorious over the enemy, or not at all. After Flavoleius had taken this oath there was great applause from all; and immediately both the consuls did the same, as did also the subordinate officers, both tribunes and centurions, and last of all the rank and file. 5 When this had been done, great cheerfulness came upon them all and great affection for one another and also confidence and ardour. And going from the assembly, some bridled their horses, others sharpened their swords and spears, and still others cleaned their defensive arms; and in a short time the whole army was ready for the combat. 6 The consuls, after invoking the gods by vows, sacrifices, and prayers to be their guides as they marched out, led the army out of the camp in regular order and formation. The Tyrrhenians, seeing them come down from their entrenchments, were surprised and marched out with their whole force to meet them.

11 When both armies had come into the plain and the trumpets had sounded the charge, they raised their war-cries and ran to close quarters; and engaging, horse with horse and foot with foot, they fought there, and great was the slaughter on both sides. The troops on the right wing of the Romans, commanded by Manlius, one of the consuls, repulsed the part of the enemy that stood opposite to them, and quitting their horses, fought on foot. But those on the left wing were being surrounded by the enemy's  p321 right wing, 2 since the Tyrrhenians' line at this point outflanked that of the Romans and was considerably deeper. Thus the Roman army was being broken in this sector and was receiving many blows. This wing was commanded by Quintus Fabius, who was a legate and proconsul​9 and had been twice consul. He maintained the fight for a long time, receiving wounds of all kinds till, being struck in the breast by a spear, the point of which pierced his bowels, he fell through loss of blood. 3 When Marcus Fabius, the other consul, who commanded in the centre, was informed of this, he took with him the best of the centuries, and summoning Caeso Fabius, his other brother, he passed beyond his own line, and advancing a long way, till he had got beyond the enemy's right wing, he turned upon those who were encircling his men, and charging them, caused great slaughter among all whom he encountered, and also put to flight those who were at a distance; and finding his brother still breathing, he took him up. 4 The man lived only a short time after that; but his death filled his avengers with still more and greater anger against the foe and, heedless now of their own lives, they rushed with a few followers into the densest ranks of the enemy and made large heaps of their dead bodies. 5 In this part of their line, therefore, the  p323 Tyrrhenians were hard pressed, and those who earlier had forced their enemies to give ground were now repulsed by those they had conquered; but those on the left wing, where Manlius was,​10 though they were already in distress and beginning to flee, put their opponents to flight. For when Manlius had been struck in the knee with a javelin by an opponent who thrust the point through to the hamstrings, and those about him took him up and were carrying him back to the camp, the enemy, believing the Roman commander to be dead, took heart and, the rest coming to their assistance, pressed hard upon the Romans who now had no commander. 6 This obliged the Fabii to quit their left wing once more and rush to the relief of the right; and the Tyrrhenians, learning that they were approaching in a strong body, gave over further pursuit, and closing their ranks, fought in good order, losing a large number of their own men, but also killing many of the Romans.

12 1 In the meantime the Tyrrhenians who had possessed themselves of the camp abandoned by Manlius, as soon as the signal for battle was given at headquarters, ran with great haste and alacrity to the other camp of the Romans, suspecting that it was not guarded by a sufficient force. And their belief was correct. For, apart from the triarii and a few younger troops, the rest of the crowd then in the camp consisted of merchants, servants and artificers; and with many crowded into a small space — for the struggle was for the gates of the camp — a sharp and  p325 severe engagement followed, and there were many dead on both sides. 2 During this action the consul Manlius was coming out with the cavalry to the relief of his men, when his horse fell; and he, falling with him and being unable to rise because of his many wounds, died there, and likewise many brave young men at his side. After this disaster the camp was soon taken, and the Tyrrhenians' prophecies had their fulfilment. 3 Now if they had husbanded the good fortune that was then theirs and had kept the camp under guard, they would have got possession of the Romans' baggage and forced them to a shameful retreat; but as it was, by turning to plundering what had been left behind and from then on refreshing themselves, as most of them did, they allowed a fine booty to escape out of their hands. For as soon as word of the taking of the camp reached the other consul, he hastened thither with the flower of both horse and foot. 4 The Tyrrhenians, informed of this approach, formed a circle round the camp and a sharp battle occurred between them, as the Romans endeavoured to recover what was theirs and the enemy feared being annihilated if their camp should be taken. When considerable time passed and the Tyrrhenians had many advantages, since they fought from higher ground and against men spent with fighting the whole day, 5 Titus Siccius, the legate and proconsul,​11 after communicating his plan to the consul, ordered that a retreat should be sounded and  p327 that all the men should assemble in a single body and assault one side of the camp where it was most easy of attack. He left free from attack the parts next the gates, reasoning plausibly — and in this he was not deceived — that if the Tyrrhenians saw any hope of saving themselves, they would abandon the camp, whereas, if they despaired of this, finding themselves surrounded on all sides and no way of escape left, necessity would make them brave. 6 And when the attack was directed against one point only, the Tyrrhenians no longer resisted, but opening the gates, made their way back in safety to their own camp.

13 1 The consul, after he had averted the danger, returned once more to the assistance of those who were in the plain. This battle is said to have been greater than any the Romans had previously fought as regards not only the numbers of the combatants, but also the time it lasted and its sudden turns of fortune. For of the Romans themselves from the city the flower and choice of their youth consisted of about 20,000 foot and some 1200 horse attached to the four legions, while from their colonies and allies there was another force equally large. 2 As for the duration of the battle, it began a little before noon and lasted till sunset. Its fortunes continued for a long time shifting to and fro with alternating victories and defeats. A consul was slain, as well as a legate who had himself been twice consul, and many other commanders, tribunes and centurions — more indeed than in any previous battle. But the victory in  p329 the struggle seemed to rest with the Romans, for this one reason alone, that the Tyrrhenians left their camp the following night and withdrew. 3 The next day the Romans turned to plundering the camp which had been abandoned by the Tyrrhenians, and having buried the dead, returned to their own camp. There, having called an assembly of the soldiers, they distributed the rewards of valour to those who had distinguished themselves in the battle, as follows: first, to Caeso Fabius, the consul's brother, who had performed great and remarkable exploits; next, to Siccius, who had brought about the recovery of their camp; and third, to Marcus Flavoleius, the commander​12 of the legion, on account of both the oath he had taken and the prowess​13 he had shown in the midst of danger. 4 After attending to these things they remained a few days in the camp; then, when none of the enemy came out to fight against them, they returned home. Though all in the city wished to honour the surviving consul with the victor's reward of a triumph because of a most glorious outcome to a very great battle, the consul declined the favour they offered, saying that it was neither right nor lawful for him to ride in procession and wear a crown of laurel after the death of his brother and the loss of his colleague. But after putting away the standards and dismissing the soldiers to their homes he resigned the consul­ship when two months still remained to complete his year's term, since he was no longer capable of performing the duties of the office. For  p331 he was still suffering from a horrible wound and obliged to keep his bed.

14 1 The senate​14 chose interreges to preside at the election of magistrates, and the second interrex having assembled the centuries in the Field,​15 Caeso Fabius, the one who had been awarded the prize for valour in the battle, and brother to the man who had abdicated his magistracy, was chosen consul for the third time, and with him Titus Verginius. These, having drawn lots for the armies, took the field, Fabius to war against the Aequians, who were plundering the fields of the Latins, and Verginius against the Veientes. 2 The Aequians, when they learned that an army was going to come against them, hastily evacuated the enemy's country and returned to their own cities; and after that they permitted their own territory to be ravaged, so the consul possessed himself at the first blow of large amounts of money, many slaves, and much booty of other sorts. As for the Veientes, they at first remained within their walls; but as soon as they thought they had a favourable opportunity, they fell upon the enemy as they were dispersed over the plains and occupied in seizing booty. 3 And attacking them with a large army in good order, they not only took away their booty, but also killed or put to flight all who engaged them. Indeed, if Titus Siccius, who was legate at the time, had not come to their relief with a body of foot and horse in good order and held the foe in check, nothing could have prevented the army from being utterly destroyed. But when he got in the enemy's way,  p333 the rest of the troops, who had been scattered one here and one there, succeeded in getting together before it was too late; and being now all united, they occupied a hill late in the afternoon and remained there the following night. 4 The Veientes, elated by their success, encamped near the hill and sent for their forces in the city, imagining that they had shut up the Romans in a place where they could not get any provisions, and that they would soon force them to deliver up their arms to them. And when a multitude of their men had arrived, there were now two armies posted on the two sides of the hill that could be assailed, as well as many smaller detachments to guard the less vulnerable positions; and every place was full of armed men.

5 The other consul, Fabius, learning from a letter that came from his colleague that the troops shut up on the hill were in the direst straits and would be in danger of being reduced by famine unless someone came to their relief, broke camp and marched in haste against the Veientes. Indeed, if he had been one day later in completing his march, he would have been of no help, but would have found the army there destroyed. For the men holding the hill, distressed by the lack of provisions, had sallied out, ready to choose the most honourable death; and having engaged the enemy, they were then fighting, though the bodies of most of them were weakened by hunger, thirst, want of sleep, and every other hardship. 6 But after a short time, when the army of Fabius, which was very large and drawn up in order of battle, was seen approaching, it brought confidence to their own men and fear to the enemy; and the Tyrrhenians,  p335 believing themselves no longer to be strong enough to engaged in battle with a valiant and fresh army, abandoned their camps and withdrew. When the two armies of the Romans had come together, they made a large camp in a strong position near the city; then, after remaining there many days and plundering the best part of the territory of the Veientes, the generals led the army home. 7 When the Veientes heard that the forces of the Romans had been discharged from the standards, taking the light-armed youth, not only their own which they had already assembled, but also that of their neighbours which was then present, they made an incursion into the plains bordering upon their own territory, which were full of corn,º cattle and men, and plundered them. For the husbandmen had come down from the strongholds to get feed for their cattle and to till their lands, relying upon the protection of their army, which then lay encamped between them and the enemy; and after this army had retired, they had made no hasten to move back, as they did not expect the Veientes, after having suffered so many defeats, to make a return attack so promptly against the foes. 8 This irruption of the Veientes into the Romans' country, though brief in point of the time it lasted, was very serious with respect to the amount of territory they overran; and it caused the Romans unusual vexation, mingled with shame, since it extended as far as the river Tiber and Mount Janiculum, which is not twenty stades from Rome.​16 For there was no force  p337 then under the standards to stop the enemy's further progress; at any rate, the army of the Veientes had gone before the Romans could assemble and be assigned to centuries.

15 1 When the senate​17 was later called together by the consuls and had deliberated in what manner the war should be carried on against the Veientes, the opinion which prevailed was to maintain a standing army upon the frontiers, which should keep guard over the Roman territory, camping in the open and always remaining under arms. But the expense of maintaining the garrisons, which would be very great, grieved them, since the public treasury was exhausted as a result of the continual campaigns, and their private fortunes had prove unequal to the burden of the war-taxes. And they were grieved still more by the problem of enlisting the garrisons which were to be sent out, how that could be accomplished, there being little probability that a few men would, willingly at least, serve as a bulwark in defence of all and submit to hardships, not in successive shifts, but continuously. 2 While the senate was troubled on both these accounts, the two Fabii assembled all the members of their clan, and having consulted with them, promised the senate that they themselves would voluntarily undertake this risk in defence of all the citizens, taking along with them their clients and friends, and would at their own expense continue in arms as long as the war should last. 3 All admired them for their noble devotion and placed their hopes of victory in this single undertaking; and while they  p339 were being acclaimed and their names were on the lips of all, they took their arms and marched forth, accompanied by vows and sacrifices. Their leader was Marcus Fabius, the man who had been consul the preceding year and had conquered the Tyrrhenians in the late battle; those he took with him were about four thousand in number, the greater part of them being clients and friends, while of the Fabian clan there were three hundred and six men. They were followed a little later by the Roman army under the command of Caeso Fabius, one of the consuls.

4 When they came near the river Cremera, which is not far from the city of the Veientes, they built upon a steep and craggy hill a fortress to command their territory, as large as could be garrisoned by an army of such size, surrounding it with a double ditch and erecting frequent towers; and the fortress was named Cremera, after the river. Since many hands were employed at this work and the consul himself assisted them, it was completed sooner than might have been expected. 5 After that the consul marched out with the army and went past the city to the other side of the territory of the Veientes, the side facing toward the rest of Tyrrhenia, where the Veientes kept their herds, not expecting that a Roman army would ever come there; and having possessed himself of much booty, he returned home to the newly erected fortress. This quarry afforded him great satisfaction for two reasons — first, because he had so promptly retaliated upon the enemy, and again, because it would furnish abundant supplies to the garrison of the stronghold. For he neither turned over any part of  p341 the spoils to the treasury nor distributed any to the soldiers, but presented all the cattle, the beasts of burden, the yokes of oxen, the iron, and the other implements of husbandry to the patrols of the country. 6 After accomplishing this he led the army home. The Veientes found themselves in very dire straits after the erection of the frontier stronghold, since they could no longer either till their land in safety or receive the provisions that were imported from abroad. 7 For the Fabii had divided their army into four bodies, with one of which they guarded the stronghold, while with the other three they continually pillaged the enemy's country; and often, when the Veientes openly attacked them with a considerable force or endeavoured to entice them into places beset with ambuscades, the Fabii had the advantage in both situations, and after killing many of them, would retire safely to their stronghold. Consequently the enemy no longer dared to engage them, but remained shut up within their walls for the most part, and only ventured out by stealth. Thus ended that winter.

16 1 The next year,​18 when Lucius Aemilius and Gaius Servilius had assumed the consul­ship, the Romans were informed that the Volscians and the Aequians had entered into an agreement to lead out armies against them at the same time, and that they would soon make an irruption into their territory. And this information was true. At all events, sooner  p343 than anyone was expecting, both nations with their armies were ravaging the parts of the Roman territory that adjoined their own, in the belief that the Romans would not be able to cope with the Tyrrhenian war and at the same time to withstand their own attack. 2 And again other messengers came reporting that all Tyrrhenia had become hostile to them and was prepared to send joint reinforcements to the Veientes. For the latter, finding themselves unable to destroy the fortress by themselves alone, had turned to them for help, reminding them of their kinship and friendship, and enumerating the many wars they had waged in common. In view of all this, they asked them to assist them in their war against the Romans, since they were now serving as a bulwark for all Tyrrhenia and stemming the torrent of war which was rushing from Rome upon all the peoples of their race. The Tyrrhenians were persuaded, and promised to send them as large a force of auxiliaries as they asked for.

3 The senate, being informed of this, resolved to send three armies into the field; and the levies were speedily raised. Lucius Aemilius was sent against the Tyrrhenians; and taking part in the expedition with him was Caeso Fabius, the man who had recently resigned the consul­ship, having now asked leave of the senate to join his kinsmen on the Cremera whom his brother had led out to garrison that place, and to take part in the same contests as they; and invested with the proconsular power, he set out with his followers. 4 Gaius Servilius, the other consul, marched against the Volscians, and Servius Furius, the proconsul, against the Aequians. Each of them was at the head of two legions of Romans and an equally  p345 strong force of Latins, Hernicans and the other allies. In the case of the proconsul Servius the war went according to his wish and was soon over. For in a single battle he routed the Aequians, and that without any trouble, having terrified the enemy at the first onset; and thereafter he laid waste their country, as the people had taken refuge in their forts. 5 But Servilius, one of the consuls, having rushed into battle in a precipitate and headstrong fashion, found himself greatly disappointed in his expectations, with the result that after losing many brave men he was forced to give up engaging in pitched battles with them any longer, but remaining in his camp, to carry through the war by means of skirmishes and engagements of the light-armed troops.

6 Lucius Aemilius, who had been sent against the Tyrrhenians, finding that the Veientes had taken the field before their city together with a large number of auxiliaries of the same race, set to work without further delay; and letting only a single day pass after making camp, he led out his forces to battle, in which the Veientes joined with great confidence. When the contest continued doubtful, he took the horse and charged the right wing of the enemy; then, after throwing that into confusion, he proceeded to the other wing, fighting on horseback where the ground would permit, and where it would not, dismounting and fighting on foot. When both of the enemy's wings were in distress, those in the centre could no longer hold out either, but were thrust back by the Roman foot; and after that they all fled to their camp. 7 Aemilius followed them in their flight  p347 with his army in good order and killed many of them. When he came near their camp, he attacked it with relays of fresh troops, remaining there all that day and the following night; and the next day, when the enemy were spent with weariness, wounds and want of sleep, he made himself master of the camp. The Tyrrhenians, when they saw the Romans already mounting the palisades, left their camp and fled, some to the city and some to the neighbouring hills. 8 That day the consul remained in the enemy's camp; and on the next day he rewarded with the most magnificent presents those who had distinguished themselves in the battle, and gave to the soldiers all the beasts of burden and slaves that had been left behind in the camp, together with the tents, which were full of many valuables. And the Roman army found itself in greater opulence than after any former battle. For the Tyrrhenians were a people of dainty and expensive tastes, both at home and in the field carrying about with them, besides the necessities, costly and artistic articles of all kinds designed for pleasure and luxury.

17 1 In the course of the following days the Veientes, yielding at last to their misfortunes, sent their oldest citizens to the consul with the tokens of suppliants to treat for peace. These men, resorting to lamentations and entreaties and with many tears rehearsing every argument calculated to arouse compassion, endeavoured to persuade the consul to let  p349 them send ambassadors to Rome to treat with the senate for a termination of the war, and until the ambassadors should return with the senate's answer, to do no injury to their country. In order to obtain these concessions, they promised to supply the Roman army with corn for two months and with money for their pay for six months, as the victor commanded. 2 And the consul, after receiving what they brought and distributing it among his men, made the truce with them. The senate, having heard the ambassadors and received the letter of the consul, in which he earnestly recommended and urged putting an end to the war with the Tyrrhenians as soon as possible, passed a decree to grant peace as the enemy desired; as to the terms on which the peace should be made, they left them for the consul Lucius Aemilius to determine in such manner as he should think best. 3 The consul, having received this answer, concluded a peace with the Veientes that was more equitable than advantageous to the conquerors; for he neither took from them any part of their territory, nor imposed on them any further fine of money, nor compelled them to give hostages as security for the performance of their agreement. 4 This action brought upon him great odium and was the reason for his not receiving from the senate the rewards due for his success; for when he requested the customary triumph, they opposed it, censuring his arbitrary behaviour in the matter of the treaty, in that he had concluded it without their concurrence. But lest he should take this action as an insult and evidence of their anger,  p351 they ordered him to march with his army against the Volscians in order to bear aid to his colleague, on the chance that if he succeeded in the war there — for he was a man of great bravery — he might blot out the resentment for his former errors. But Aemilius, angry at this slight upon his honour, inveighed violently against the senate in the popular assembly, accusing them of being displeased that the war against the Tyrrhenians was ended, He declared that they were doing this with treacherous intent and through contempt of the poor, lest these, when freed from foreign wars, should demand the performance of the promises concerning the allotment of land with which they had been cajoled by them for so many years already. 5 After he had in his ungovernable resentment poured forth these and many similar reproaches against the patricians, he not only dismissed from the standards the army that had served under him, but also sent for the forces that were tarrying in the country of the Aequians under Furius the proconsul and dismissed them to their homes. Thereby he once more gave the tribunes a considerable warrant for accusing the senators in the meetings of the assembly and sowing dissension between the poor and the rich.

18 1 These consuls were succeeded by Gaius Horatius and Titus Menenius​19 in the seventy-sixth Olympiad​20 (the one at which Scamander of Mitylene won the foot-race), when Phaedo was archon at Athens. The new consuls were at first hindered from transacting the public business by the domestic disturbance, the populace being exasperated and not permitting any other public business to be carried on  p353 until they should divide up among themselves the public land; but after a time the seditious and turbulent elements yielded to necessity and came in voluntarily to be enlisted. 2 For the eleven cities of the Tyrrhenians which had had no part in the peace, holding a general assembly, inveighed against the Veientes for having put an end to the war with the Romans without the general consent of the nation, and demanded that they do one of two things — either break the compact they had made with the Romans, or join with the Romans in making war upon the rest of the Tyrrhenians. 3 But the Veientes laid the blame for the peace upon necessity, and proposed that the assembly consider how they might break it with decency. Upon this someone suggested to them that they should make formal complaint of the erection of the frontier stronghold on the Cremera and of the failure of its garrison to withdraw from there, and then should first make an oral demand that they evacuate the place, and, if they refused, should lay siege to the fortress and make this action the beginning of the war. 4 Having agreed on this course, they left the assembly; and not long afterwards the Veientes sent ambassadors to the Fabii to demand from them the fortress, and all Tyrrhenia was in arms. The Romans, learning of these things through letters from the Fabii, resolved that both the consuls should take the field, one to command in the war that was coming upon them from Tyrrhenia and the other to prosecute the war which was still going on with the Volscians. 5 Horatius, accordingly, marched against the Volscians with two legions and an adequate force of the allies, and Menenius was  p355 preparing to set out against the Tyrrhenians with another force of equal size; but while he was making his preparations and losing time, the fortress on the Cremera was destroyed by the enemy and the entire Fabian clan perished. Concerning the disaster that befell these men two accounts are current, one less probable and the other coming nearer to the truth. I shall give them both as I have received them.

19 1 Some say that when the time was at hand for a traditional sacrifice which devolved upon the Fabian clan, the men set out from the fortress, attended by a few clients, to perform the rites, and proceeded without reconnoitring the roads or marching ranged in centuries under their standards, but negligently and unguardedly as in time of peace and as if they were passing through friendly territory. 2 The Tyrrhenians, having learned of their departure in advance, placed one part of their army in ambush at a spot along the road, and followed son after with the rest of their forces in regular formation. When the Fabii drew near the ambuscade, the Tyrrhenians who were lying in wait there rose up and fell upon them, some in front and others in flank, and a little later the rest of the Tyrrhenian force attacked them from the rear; and surrounding them on all sides and shooting at them, some with slings, some with bows, and others hurling javelins and spears, they overwhelmed them all with the multitude of their missiles. 3 Now this account seems to me to be the less credible. For not only is it improbable that so many serving under the standards would have returned from the camp to the city because of a sacrifice without a decree from the senate, when the rites might have  p357 been performed by others of the same clan who were advanced in years; but even if they had all gone from the city and no part of the Fabian clan was left in their homes, it is improbable that all who held the fortress would have abandoned the guarding of it, since even three or four of them would have sufficed to return to Rome and perform the rites for the whole clan. For these reasons, then, this account has not seemed to me to be credible.

20 1 The other account​21 concerning the destruction of the Fabii and the capture of the fortress, which I regard as being nearer to the truth, is somewhat as follows. As the men went out frequently to forage and, encouraged by the continued success of their forays, advanced even farther, the Tyrrhenians got ready a numerous army and encamped in the near neighbourhood unperceived by the enemy. Then, sending out of their strongholds flocks of sheep, herds of cattle, and droves of mares as if to pasture, they lured the garrison to these; and the men, coming out, seized the herdsmen and rounded up the cattle. 2 The Tyrrhenians kept doing this and drawing the enemy ever farther away from their camp; then, when they had destroyed in them all thought for their safety by enticing them with constant booty, they placed ambuscades at night in the most suitable positions, while others occupied the heights that commanded the plains. The next day, sending ahead a few armed men, as if to serve as a guard for the herdsmen, they drove out a large number of herds  p359 from their strongholds. 3 When word was brought to the Fabii that if they went over the neighbouring hills they would in a very short time find the plain covered with cattle of all sorts with a guard insufficient to defend them, they went out of the fortress, leaving an adequate garrison there. And covering the distance speedily in their eagerness, they appeared before the guards of the cattle in battle array. These did not await their attack, but fled, and the Fabii, thinking themselves now quite secure, set about seizing the herdsmen and rounding up the cattle. 4 Thereupon the Tyrrhenians, rising up from ambush in many places, fell upon them from all sides. The greater part of the Romans, being scattered and unable to assist one another, were killed upon the spot; but those who were in a body, being eager to reach a secure position and hastening toward the hills, fell into another ambuscade that lay concealed in the woods and glens. Here a sharp battle took place between them and there was great slaughter on both sides. But nevertheless they repulsed even these foes, and after filling the ravine with dead bodies, they ran up to the top of a hill that was not easy to take, and there passed the following night in want of the necessary provisions.

21 1 The next day those who were holding the fortress, upon being informed of the disaster that had befallen their companions — namely, that the greater part of the army had been destroyed in their pursuit of plunder and the bravest of them were shut up and besieged on a lonely mountain, and that if some aid  p361 did not reach them promptly they would soon be destroyed for want of provisions — set out in haste, leaving very few in the fortress to guard it. These troops, before they could join their companions, were surrounded by the Tyrrhenians, who rushed down upon them from their strongholds; and though they displayed many feats of valour, they were in time all destroyed. 2 Not long afterwards those also who had seized the hill, being oppressed by both hunger and thirst, resolved to charge the enemy; and engaging, a few against many, they continued fighting from morning till night, and made so great a slaughter of the enemy that the heaps of dead bodies piled up in many places were a hindrance to them in fighting. Indeed, the Tyrrhenians had lost above a third part of their army, and fearing for the rest, they now gave the signal for a retreat and stopped fighting for a short time; and sending heralds to the men, they offered them their lives and a safe-conduct if they would lay down their arms and evacuate the fortress. 3 When the others refused their offer and chose the death befitting men of noble birth, the Tyrrhenians renewed the struggle, attacking them in relays, though no longer fighting at close quarters in hand-to‑hand combat, but standing in a body and hurling javelins and stones at them from a distance; and the multitude of missiles was like a snow-storm. The Romans, massing by companies, rushed upon their foes, who did not stand their ground, and though they received many wounds from those surrounding them, they stood firm. 4 But when the swords of many had become useless, some having their edges blunted and others being broken, and the borders of their shields  p363 next the rims were hacked in pieces, and the men themselves were for the most part bled white and overwhelmed by missiles and their limbs paralysed by reason of the multitude of their wounds, the Tyrrhenians scorned them and came to close quarters. Then the Romans, rushing at them like wild beasts, seized their spears and broke them, grasped their swords by the edges and wrenched them out of their hands, and twisting the bodies of their antagonists, fell with them to the ground, locked in close embrace, fighting with greater rage than strength. 5 Hence the enemy, astonished at their endurance and terrified at the madness that had seized them in their despair of life, no longer ventured to come to grips with them, but retiring again, stood in a body and hurled at them sticks, stones, and anything else they could lay their hands on, and at last buried them under the multitude of missiles. After destroying these men they ran to the fortress, carrying with them the heads of the most prominent, expecting to take the men there prisoners at their first onset. 6 However, the attempt did not turn out according to their hopes; for the men who had been left there, emulating the noble death of their comrades and kinsmen, came out of the fortress, though very few in number, and after fighting for a considerable time were all destroyed in the same manner as the others; and the place was empty of men when the Tyrrhenians took it. To me now this account appears much more credible than the former; but both of them are to be found in Roman writings of good authority.

22 1 The addition to this account which has been made by certain writers, though neither true nor  p365 plausible, but invented by the multitude from some false report, does not deserve to be passed over without examination. For some report that after the three hundred and six Fabii had been slain, there was only one boy left out of the whole clan, thereby introducing a detail that is not only improbable, but even impossible; 2 for it is not possible that all the Fabii who went out to the fortress were unmarried and childless. For not only did the ancient law of the Romans oblige all of the proper age to marry, but they were forced also to rear all their children; and surely the Fabii would not have been the only persons to violate a law which had been observed by their ancestors down to their time. 3 But even if one were to admit this assumption, yet he would never make the further assumption that none of them had any brothers still in their childhood. Why, such institutions resemble myths and fictions of the stage! Besides, would not as many of their fathers as were still of an age to beget children, now that so great a desolation had come upon their clan, have begotten other children both willingly and unwillingly, in order that neither the sacrifices of their ancestors might be abandoned nor the great reputation of the clan be extinguished? 4 Unless, indeed, none even of their fathers were left and all the conditions which would render it impossible to perpetuate the clan combined together in the case of those three hundred and six men — namely, that they left behind them no infant children, no wives with child, no brothers still under age, no fathers in the prime of life. 5 Testing the story by such reasoning, I have come to the conclusion that it is not true, but that the following is the true account. Of the three brothers, Caeso, Quintus, and Marcus, who had  p367 been consuls for seven years in succession, I believe that Marcus left one young son, and that this boy was the one who is reported to have been the survivor​22 of the Fabian house. 6 There is no reason why it should not have been because no one else of the clan became famous and illustrious except this one son, when he had grown to manhood,​23 that most people came to hold the belief that he was the only survivor of the Fabian clan — not, indeed, that there was no other, but that there was none like those famous three — judging kinship on the basis of merit, not of birth. But enough on this subject.

23 1 After the Tyrrhenians,​24 then, had destroyed the Fabii and taken the fortress on the Cremera, they led their forces against the other army of the Romans. It chanced that Menenius, one of the consuls, lay encamped not far away in an insecure position; and when the Fabian clan and their clients perished, he was only some thirty stades from the place where the disaster occurred — a circumstance which gave many people reason to believe that, though aware of the dire straits of the Fabii, he had shown no concern for them because of the envy he felt of their valour and reputation. 2 Accordingly, when he was later brought to trial by the tribunes, this was the chief ground for his condemnation. For the people of Rome deeply mourned their having shorn themselves of the valour of so many and so brave men and were severe and inexorable toward all whom they suspected of having been responsible for so great a calamity; and they regard the day on  p369 which the disaster occurred as black and inauspicious and will begin no useful labour on it, looking upon the disaster which then occurred on that day as a bad omen. 3 When the Tyrrhenians came near the Romans and observed the situation of their camp, which lay under a flank of a hill, they felt contempt for the inexperience of the general and gladly grasped the advantage presented to them by Fortune. They at once marched up the opposite side of the hill with their horse and gained the summit without opposition. Then, having possessed themselves of the height above the Romans, they made camp there, brought up the rest of their army in safety, and fortified the camp with a high palisade and a deep ditch. 4 Now if Menenius, when he perceived what an advantage he had given the enemy, had repented of his error and removed his army to a safer position, he would have been wise; but as it was, being ashamed to be thought to have made a mistake, and maintaining an obstinate front toward those who advised him to change his plans, he came to a merited fall which brought disgrace as well. 5 For as the enemy were constantly sending out detachments from places that commanded his camp, they had many advantages, not only seizing the provisions which the merchants were bringing to the Romans, but also attacking his men as they went out for forage or for water; and it had come to the point where the consul did not have it in his power to choose either the time or the place of combat — which seems to be strong evidence of the inexperience of a general — whereas the Tyrrhenians could do both as they wished. 6 And not even then  p371 could Menenius bring himself to move his army away from there; but leading out the troops, he drew them up ready for battle, scorning all who offered salutary advice. The Tyrrhenians, looking upon the folly of the general as a piece of great good fortune, came down from their camp with numbers fully twice those of their foe. 7 When they engaged, there was a great slaughter of the Romans, who were unable to keep their ranks. For they were forced back by the Tyrrhenians, who not only had the terrain as an ally, but were also helped by the vigorous pressure of those who stood behind them, their army being drawn up with deep files. When the most prominent centurions had fallen, the rest of the Roman army gave way and fled to the camp; and the enemy pursued them, took away their standards, seized their wounded, and got possession of their dead. 8 Then they shut them up in their camp and besieged them; and delivering numerous attacks during all the rest of the day, without desisting even at night, they captured the camp, which the Romans had abandoned, and took many prisoners and a great quantity of booty; for those who fled had not been able to pack up their belongings, but were glad to escape with their bare lives, many not keeping even their arms.

24 1 When those at Rome heard that their army was destroyed and their camp taken — the first who had saved themselves from the rout arrived while it was still deep night — they fell into great confusion, as may well be imagined; and expecting the enemy to come against them at any moment, they seized  p373 their arms and some formed a circle about the walls, others stationed themselves before the gates, and still others occupied the heights in the city. 2 There was a disorderly running to and fro throughout the entire city and a confused clamour; on the roofs of the houses were the members of each household, prepared to defend themselves and give battle; and an uninterrupted succession of torches, as it was in the night and dark, blazed through lanterns​25 and from roofs, so many in number that to those seeing them at a distance it seemed to be one continuous blaze and gave the impression of a city on fire. 3 And if the Tyrrhenians at that time had scorned the booty to be got from the camp and had followed on the heels of the fleeing Romans, the whole army which had taken the field against them would have been destroyed; but as it was, by turning to plundering everything which had been left behind in the camp and to resting their bodies, they deprived themselves of a great opportunity for boasting. The next day they led their forces against Rome, and when they were about sixteen stades from the city, they occupied the mount called Janiculum, from which the city is in full view. And using that as a base of operations, they pillaged the territory of the Romans without  p375 hindrance, holding those in the city in great contempt, till the other consul, Horatius, appeared with the army which had been among the Volscians. 4 Then at last the Romans thought themselves safe, and arming the youth that were in the city, they took the field; and having not only in the first battle, which was fought at the distance of eight stades from the city near the temple of Hope, overcome their opponents and driven them back, but also, after that engagement, having fought brilliantly with them again near the gate called the Colline, when the Tyrrhenians had come against them with another and larger army, they recovered from their fear. Thus ended that year.

The Editor's Notes:

1 For chaps. 1‑4 cf. Livy II.43.

2 479 B.C. Dionysius synchronized each Roman consul­ship with the Greek year in the course of which it began (see vol. I pp. xxx f.). Calliades was archon in 480/79, and the arrival of Xerxes in Greece came at about the time he assumed office.

3 The MSS. give this name here and below as Sicilius. Livy calls him Licinius.

4 For chaps. 5‑13 cf. Livy II.43.11‑47.12.

5 i.e., the men from the deserted camp. The word "camp" in this passage refers now to the site, now to the occupants.

6 The text is uncertain here. Reiske wished to read "by deeds full of great scorn and contempt"; Kayser proposed "by deeds of great scorn and contempt."

7 The clause "actually far superior to them in valour" looks suspiciously like a gloss; see the critical note.

8 For chap. 10.2‑4 cf. Livy II.45.13 f.

9 Dionysius employs ἀνθύπατος, the usual Greek word for "proconsul" or the adjective "proconsular," only in connexion with a person possessing the imperium (see chaps. 16.3‑4; 17.5; 63.2; cf.  XI.62.1), but when, as in the present passage and one other (chap. 12.5), he is speaking of a proconsul in a subordinate position, he uses the term ἀντιστράτηγος. The latter term was used by most writers for "propraetor," and the phrase πρεσβευτὴς καὶ ἀντιστράτηγος was the Greek equivalent for legatus pro praetore; but at the period with which we are here concerned the praetor­ship had not been set off as yet from the consul­ship.

10 This awkward explanation may be an interpolation.

11 See note on chap. 11.2.

12 The primipilus; see chap. 10.2.

13 The word here rendered "prowess" is perhaps corrupt; we should expect a word like "intrepidity." See the critical note.

14 Cf. Livy II.48.1‑7.

15 The Campus Martius.

16 In chap. 24.3 the distance is given as 16 stades (2 miles).

Thayer's Note: The equivalence of 8 stades to the Roman mile is only approximate, and the true figure seems to have been more like 8.3; since the Roman mile was a bit less than the English mile, at 1.48 km, that figure works out to roughly 2850 meters. The Janiculum is more of a ridge than a hill; taking as the center of the city the Golden Milestone, set up in Dionysius' time in the northwestern area of the Forum near the comitia and the senate-house, the nearest point on the Janiculum (its southern end, now occupied by the church of S. Pietro in Montorio) was about 2000 m distant in a straight line. The distance to the northern end of the Janiculum was about 2500 m.

17 Cf. Livy II.48.8‑49.8.

18 For chaps. 16‑17.3 cf. Livy II.49.9‑12.

19 Cf. Livy II.51.1.

20 475 B.C.

21 For chaps. 20‑22 cf. Livy II.50.

22 Or, following Kiessling, "the sole survivor."

23 He was consul ten years later; see chap. 59.

24 For chaps. 23 f. cf. Livy II.51.1‑3.

25 "Lantern" is here used in the architectural sense of light open structure set upon a roof to admit light and air to the interior. The only other occurrence of the word ὑπολαμπάς in extant literature is in a quotation from Phylarchus found in Athenaeus (536E). But in an inscription (Inscript. Graec. XI.366A, lines 14‑18 passim) containing an account of the expenditures made on the hypostyle hall at Delos the word occurs several times, as a detailed list is given of the parts of the lantern that were repaired. Remains of the lantern have been found and agree with the references given in the inscription. See Exploration archéologique de Délos: Nouvelles recherches sur la salle hypostyle, Suppl. 2 (R. Vallois and G. Poulsen, Paris, 1914), pp10, 34, 38 f., 51 f.

Page updated: 16 Feb 05