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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IV Chapter 34: Capture and Destruction of Fidenae (cont.)[426 BC]
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The latter entered the gates pell-mell with the enemy, and as soon as they had mounted the walls they signalled to their friends that the city was taken. The dictator [Note 1] had now reached the enemies' abandoned camp, and his soldiers were anxious to disperse in quest of booty, but when he saw the signal he reminded them that there was richer spoil in the city, and led them up to the gate. Once within the walls he proceeded to the citadel, toward which he saw the crowd of fugitives rushing. The slaughter in the city was not less than there had been in the battle, until, throwing down their arms, they surrendered to the dictator and begged that at least their lives might be spared. The city and camp were plundered. The following day the cavalry and centurions each received one prisoner, selected by lot, as their slave, those who had shown conspicuous gallantry, two; the rest were sold "under the chaplet." [Note 2]|
The dictator led back in triumph to Rome his victorious army laden with spoil. After ordering the Master of the Horse [Note 3] to resign his office, he resigned office himself on the sixteenth day after his nomination, surrendering amidst peace the sovereign power which he had assumed at a time of war and danger.
Some of the annalists have recorded a naval engagement with the Veientines at Fidenae, an incident as difficult as it is incredible. Even to-day the river is not broad enough for this, and we learn from ancient writers that it was narrower then. Possibly, in their desire for a vain-glorious inscription, as often happens, they magnified a gathering of ships to prevent the passage of the river into a naval victory.
Note 1: dictator = Mamilius Aemilius
Event: War with Veii
|Hi postquam mixti hostibus portam intravere, in muros euadunt, suisque capti oppidi signum ex muro tollunt. Quod ubi dictator conspexit- iam enim et ipse in deserta hostium castra penetrauerat,—cupientem militem discurrere ad praedam, spe iniecta maioris in urbe praedae, ad portam ducit, receptusque intra muros in arcem quo ruere fugientium turbam videbat pergit; nec minor caedes in urbe quam in proelio fuit donec abiectis armis nihil praeter vitam petentes dictatori deduntur. Urbs castraque diripiuntur. Postero die singulis captiuis ab equite ac centurione sorte ductis et, quorum eximia virtus fuerat, binis, aliis sub corona venundatis, exercitum victorem opulentumque praeda triumphans dictator Romam reduxit; iussoque magistro equitum abdicare se magistratu, ipse deinde abdicat, die sexto decimo reddito in pace imperio quod in bello trepidisque rebus acceperat. Classi quoque ad Fidenas pugnatum cum Veientibus quidam in annales rettulere, rem aeque difficilem atque incredibilem, nec nunc lato satis ad hoc amne et tum aliquanto, ut a veteribus accepimus, artiore, nisi in traiectus forte fluminis prohibendo aliquarum nauium concursum in maius, ut fit, celebrantes naualis victoriae uanum titulum appetivere.|