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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book II Chapter 6: War with Tarquin, Death of Brutus.[509 BC]
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A detailed report of these matters reached Tarquin. He was not only furious at the failure of plans from which he had hoped so much, but he was filled with rage at finding the way blocked against secret intrigues; and consequently determined upon open war. He visited the cities of Etruria and appealed for help; in particular, he implored the people of Veii and Tarquinii not to allow one to perish before their eyes who was of the same blood with them, and from being a powerful monarch was now, with his children, homeless and destitute. Others, he said, had been invited from abroad to reign in Rome; he, the king, whilst extending the rule of Rome by a successful war, had been driven out by the infamous conspiracy of his nearest kinsmen. They had no single person amongst them deemed worthy to reign, so they had distributed the kingly authority amongst themselves, and had given his property as plunder to the people, that all might be involved in the crime. He wanted to recover his country and his throne and punish his ungrateful subjects. The Veientines must help him and furnish him with resources, they must set about avenging their own wrongs also, their legions so often cut to pieces, their territory torn from them. |
This appeal decided the Veientines, they one and all loudly demanded that their former humiliations should be wiped out and their losses made good, now that they had a Roman to lead them. The people of Tarquinii were won over by the name and nationality of the exile; they were proud of having a countryman as king in Rome. So two armies from these cities followed Tarquin to recover his crown and chastise the Romans. When they had entered the Roman territory the consuls advanced against them; Valerius with the infantry in phalanx formation, [(1)] Brutus reconnoitering in advance with the cavalry. Similarly the enemy's cavalry was in front of his main body, Arruns Tarquin, the king's son, in command; the king himself followed with the legionaries. Whilst still at a distance Arruns distinguished the consul by his escort of lictors; as they drew nearer he clearly recognised Brutus by his features, and in a transport of rage exclaimed, "That is the man who drove us from our country; see him proudly advancing, adorned with our insignia! Ye gods, avengers of kings, aid me!"
(1): phalanx formation -- The legion would thus present a front of 500 heavy-armed soldiers six file deep.
Event: War with Tarquin
|His sicut acta erant nuntiatis incensus Tarquinius non dolore solum tantae ad inritum cadentis spei sed etiam odio iraque, postquam dolo uiam obsaeptam uidit, bellum aperte moliendum ratus circumire supplex Etruriae urbes; orare maxime Veientes Tarquiniensesque, ne ex se ortum, eiusdem sanguinis, extorrem, egentem ex tanto modo regno cum liberis adulescentibus ante oculos suos perire sinerent: alios peregre in regnum Romam accitos: se regem, augentem bello Romanum imperium, a proximis scelerata coniuratione pulsum. Eos inter se, quia nemo unus satis dignus regno uisus sit, partes regni rapuisse; bona sua diripienda populo dedisse, ne quis expers sceleris esset. Patriam se regnumque suum repetere et persequi ingratos ciues uelle. Ferrent opem, adiuuarent; suas quoque ueteres iniurias ultum irent, totiens caesas legiones, agrum ademptum. Haec mouerunt Veientes, ac pro se quisque Romano saltem duce ignominias demendas belloque amissa repetenda minaciter fremunt. Tarquinienses nomen ac cognatio mouet: pulchrum uidebatur suos Romae regnare. Ita duo duarum ciuitatium exercitus ad repetendum regnum belloque persequendos Romanos secuti Tarquinium. Postquam in agrum Romanum uentum est, obuiam hosti consules eunt. Valerius quadrato agmine peditem ducit: Brutus ad explorandum cum equitatu antecessit. Eodem modo primus eques hostium agminis fuit; praeerat Arruns Tarquinius filius regis, rex ipse cum legionibus sequebatur. Arruns ubi ex lictoribus procul consulem esse, deinde iam propius ac certius facie quoque Brutum cognouit, inflammatus ira "ille est uir" inquit, "qui nos extorres expulit patria. Ipse en ille nostris decoratus insignibus magnifice incedit. Di regum ultores adeste." Concitat calcaribus equum atque in ipsum infestus consulem derigit. Sensit in se iri Brutus; decorum erat tum ipsis capessere pugnam ducibus; auide itaque se certamini offert; adeoque infestis animis concurrerunt, neuter dum hostem uolneraret sui protegendi corporis memor, ut contrario ictu per parmam uterque transfixus duabus haerentes hastis moribundi ex equis lapsi sint. Simul et cetera equestris pugna coepit, neque ita multo post et pedites superueniunt. Ibi uaria uictoria et uelut aequo Marte pugnatum est; dextera utrimque cornua uicere, laeua superata. Veientes, uinci ab Romano milite adsueti, fusi fugatique: Tarquiniensis, nouus hostis, non stetit solum, sed etiam ab sua parte Romanum pepulit.|