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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 22: War with the Volscians and Aequi[458 BC]
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The consuls elected were Quintus Fabius Vibulanus, for the third time, and Lucius Cornelius Maluginensis. In that year the census was taken, and owing to the seizure of the Capitol and the death of the consul, the lustrum" was closed on religious grounds. |
During their consulship matters became disturbed at the very beginning of the year. The tribunes began to instigate the plebs.
Second War with Aequi and Volscians
The Latins and Hernici reported that war on an immense scale was commenced by the Volscians and Aequi, the Volscian legions were already at Antium, and there were grave fears of the colony itself revolting. With great difficulty the tribunes were induced to allow the war to take precedence of their Law. Then their respective spheres of operation were allotted to the consuls: Fabius was commissioned to take the legions to Antium; Cornelius was to protect Rome and prevent detachments of the enemy from coming on marauding expeditions, as was the custom with the Aequi. The Hernici and Latins were ordered to furnish troops, in accordance with the treaty; two-thirds of the army consisted of allies, the rest of Roman citizens. The allies came in on the appointed day, and the consul encamped outside the Capene gate. When the lustration of the army was completed, he marched to Antium and halted at a short distance from the city and from the enemies' standing camp. As the army of the Aequi had not arrived, the Volscians did not venture on an engagement, and prepared to act on the defensive and protect their camp. The next day Fabius formed his troops round the enemies' lines, not in one mixed army of allies and citizens, but each nation in a separate division, he himself being in the centre with the Roman legions. He gave orders to carefully observe his signals, that all might commence the action and retire -- should the signal for retirement be sounded -- at the same moment. The cavalry were stationed behind their respective divisions. In this triple formation he assaulted three sides of the camp, and the Volscians, unable to meet the simultaneous attack, were dislodged from the breastworks. Getting inside their lines he drove the panic-struck crowd, who were all pressing in one direction, out of their camp. The cavalry, unable to surmount the breastworks, had so far been merely spectators of the fight, now they overtook the enemy and cut them down as they fled in disorder over the plain, and so enjoyed a share of the victory. There was a great slaughter both in the camp and in the pursuit, but a still greater amount of spoil, as the enemy had hardly been able to carry away even their arms. Their army would have been annihilated had not the fugitives found shelter in the forest.
|Consules creati Q. Fabius Vibulanus tertium et L. Cornelius Maluginensis. Census actus eo anno: lustrum propter Capitolium captum, consulem occisum condi religiosum fuit. Q. Fabio L. Cornelio consulibus principio anni statim res turbulentae. Instigabant plebem tribuni: bellum ingens a Volscis et Aequis Latini atque Hernici nuntiabant: iam Antii Volscorum legiones esse. Et ipsam coloniam ingens metus erat defecturam; aegreque impetratum a tribunis ut bellum praeuerti sinerent. Consules inde partiti prouincias: Fabio ut legiones Antium duceret datum, Cornelius ut Romae praesidio esset, ne qua pars hostium, qui Aequis mos erat, ad populandum ueniret. Hernici et Latini iussi milites dare ex foedere, duaeque partes sociorum in exercitu, tertia ciuium fuit. Postquam ad diem praestitutum uenerunt socii, consul extra portam Capenam castra locat. Inde lustrato exercitu Antium profectus haud procul oppido statiuisque hostium consedit. Vbi cum Volsci, quia nondum ab Aequis uenisset exercitus, dimicare non ausi, quemadmodum quieti uallo se tutarentur, pararent, postero die Fabius non permixtam unam sociorum ciuiumque sed trium populorum tres separatim acies circa uallum hostium instruxit; ipse erat medius cum legionibus Romanis. Inde signum obseruari iussit, ut pariter et socii rem inciperent referrentque pedem, si receptui cecinisset. Equites item suae cuique parti post principia conlocat. Ita trifariam adortus castra circumuenit et cum undique instaret non sustinentes impetum Volscos uallo deturbat. Transgressus inde munitiones pauidam turbam inclinatamque in partem unam castris expellit. Inde effuse fugientes eques, cui superare uallum haud facile fuerat, cum ad id spectator pugnae adstitisset, libero campo adeptus parte uictoriae fruitur territos caedendo. Magna et in castris et extra munimenta caedes fugientium fuit sed praeda maior, quia uix arma secum efferre hostis potuit; deletusque exercitus foret ni fugientes siluae texissent.|