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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 42: War with the Aequi and the Sabines[450 BC]
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The military operations were not any more satisfactory than the domestic administration. The commanders were certainly at fault in having made themselves objects of detestation to the citizens, but otherwise the whole of the blame rested on the soldiers, who, to prevent anything from succeeding under the auspices and leadership of the decemvirs, disgraced both themselves and their generals by allowing themselves to be defeated. Both armies had been routed, the one by the Sabines at Eretum, the other by the Aequi on Algidus. Fleeing from Eretum in the silence of the night, they had entrenched themselves on some high ground near the City between Fidenae and Crustumeria. They refused to meet the pursuing enemy anywhere on equal terms, and trusted for safety to their entrenchments and the nature of the ground, not to arms or courage. On Algidus they behaved more disgracefully, suffered a heavier defeat, and even lost their camp. Deprived of all their stores, the soldiers made their way to Tusculum, looking for subsistence to the good faith and compassion of their hosts, and their confidence was not misplaced. |
Such alarming reports were brought to Rome that the senate, laying aside their feeling against the decemvirs, resolved that guards should be mounted in the City, ordered that all who were of age to bear arms should man the walls and undertake outpost duty before the gates, and decreed a supply of arms to be sent to Tusculum to replace those which had been lost, whilst the decemvirs were to evacuate Tusculum and keep their soldiers encamped. The other camp was to be transferred from Fidenae on to the Sabine territory, and by assuming the offensive deter the enemy from any project of attacking the City.