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Quote of the day: When he drank his destruction at Babylon
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IV Chapter 28: War with Aequi and Sabines. (Cont.)[431 BC]
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It was now growing light and everything lay open to view. Fabius had delivered his attack with the cavalry and the consul had made a sortie against the enemy, who were now wavering. The dictator [Note 1] from the other side had attacked the second line of reserves, and whilst the enemy faced about to meet the sudden charges and confused shouts, he had thrown his victorious horse and foot across their front. They were now hemmed in, and would, to a man, have paid the penalty for renewing the war, had not a Volscian, Vettius Messius, a man more distinguished by his exploits than by his pedigree, remonstrated loudly with his comrades, who were being rolled up into a helpless mass. "Are you going," he shouted, "to make yourselves a mark for the enemies' javelins, unresisting, defenceless? Why then have you got arms, why did you begin an unprovoked war; you who are ever turbulent in peace and laggards in war? What do you expect to gain by standing here? Do you suppose that some deity will protect you and snatch you out of danger? A path must be made by the sword. Come on in the way you see me go. You who are hoping to visit your homes and parents and wives and children, come with me. It is not a wall or a stockade which is in your way; arms are met by arms. Their equals in courage, you are their superiors by force of necessity, which is the last and greatest weapon." He then rushed forward and his men followed him, raising again their battle-shout, and flung the weight of their charge where Postumius Albus had interposed his cohorts. They forced the victors back, until the dictator came up to his retreating men, and all the battle rolled to this part of the field. The fortunes of the enemy rested solely on Messius. Many were wounded, many killed in all directions. By this time even the Roman generals were not unhurt. Postumius, whose skull was fractured by a stone, was the only one who left the field. The dictator was wounded in the shoulder, Fabius had his thigh almost pinned to his horse, the consul [Note 1] had his arm cut off, but they refused to retire while the battle was undecided.

Note 1: dictator = Postumius
Note 2: consul = Titus Quinctius

Event: War with Volscians and Aqui

Et iam lucescebat omniaque sub oculis erant. Et Fabius cum equitatu impetum dederat et consul eruptionem e castris in trepidos iam hostes fecerat; dictator autem parte altera subsidia et secundam aciem adortus, circumagenti se ad dissonos clamores ac subitos tumultus hosti undique obiecerat victorem peditem equitemque. Circumventi igitur iam in medio ad unum omnes poenas rebellionis dedissent, ni vettius Messius ex Volscis, nobilior vir factis quam genere, iam orbem voluentes suos increpans clara voce "hic praebituri" inquit, "uos telis hostium estis indefensi, inulti? Quid igitur arma habetis, aut quid ultro bellum intulistis, in otio tumultuosi, in bello segnes? Quid hic stantibus spei est? An deum aliquem protecturum vos rapturumque hinc putatis? Ferro via facienda est. Hac qua me praegressum videritis, agite, qui visuri domos parentes coniuges liberos estis, ite mecum! Non murus nec vallum sed armati armatis obstant. Virtute pares, necessitate, quae ultimum ac maximum telum est, superiores estis". Haec locutum exsequentemque dicta redintegrato clamore secuti dant impressionem qua Postumius Albus cohortes obiecerat; et moverunt victorem, donec dictator pedem iam referentibus suis advenit eoque omne proelium versum est. Uni viro Messio fortuna hostium innititur. Multa utrimque volnera, multa passim caedes est; iam ne duces quidem Romani incruenti pugnant. Unus Postumius ictus saxo, perfracto capite acie excessit; non dictatorem umerus volneratus, non Fabium prope adfixum equo femur, non brachium abscisum consulem ex tam ancipiti proelio submovit.