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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IV Chapter 29: War with Aequi and Sabines. (Cont.)[431 BC]
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Messius with a body of their bravest troops charged through heaps of slain and was carried on to the Volscian camp, which was not yet taken; the entire army followed. The consul [Note 1] followed them up in their disordered flight as far as the stockade and began to attack the camp, whilst the dictator [Note 2] brought up his troops to the other side of it. The storming of the camp was just as furious as the battle had been. It is recorded that the consul actually threw a standard inside the stockade to make the soldiers more eager to assault it, and in endeavouring to recover it the first breach was made. When the stockade was torn down and the dictator had now carried the fighting into the camp, the enemy began everywhere to throw away their arms and surrender. After the capture of this camp, the enemy, with the exception of the senators, were all sold as slaves. A part of the booty comprised the plundered property of the Latins and Hernicans, and after being identified, was restored to them, the rest the dictator sold " Under the spear". After placing the consul in command of the camp, he entered the City in triumph and then laid down his dictatorship. Some writers have cast a gloom over the memory of this glorious dictatorship by handing down a tradition that the dictator's son, who, seeing an opportunity for fighting to advantage, had left his post against orders, was beheaded by his father, though victorious. I prefer to disbelieve the story, and am at liberty to do so, as opinions differ. An argument against it is that such cruel displays of authority are called Manlian" not Postumian," for it is the first man who practiced such severity to whom the stigma would have been affixed. Moreover, Manlius received the soubriquet of "Imperiosus"; Postumius was not distinguished by any invidious epithet.[Note 3]|
The other consul, Gaius Julius, dedicated the temple of Apollo in his colleague's absence, without waiting to draw lots with him as to who should do it. Quinctius was very angry at this, and after he had disbanded his army and returned to the City, he laid a protest before the senate, but nothing came of it.
In this year so memorable for great achievements an incident occurred which at the time seemed to have little to do with Rome. Owing to disturbances amongst the Sicilians, the Carthaginians, who were one day to be such powerful enemies, transported an army into Sicily for the first time to assist one of the contending parties.
Note 1: consul = Quinctius
|Messium impetus per stratos caede hostes cum globo fortissimorum iuvenum extulit ad castra Volscorum, quae nondum capta erant. Eodem omnis acies inclinatur. Consul effusos usque ad vallum persecutus ipsa castra vallumque adgreditur; eodem et dictator alia parte copias admovet. Non segnior oppugnatio est quam pugna fuerat. Consulem signum quoque intra vallum iniecisse ferunt, quo milites acrius subirent, repetendoque signo primam impressionem factam. Et dictator proruto vallo iam in castra proelium intulerat. Tum abici passim arma ac dedi hostes coepti, castrisque et his captis, hostes praeter senatores omnes venum dati sunt. Praedae pars sua cognoscentibus Latinis atque Hernicis reddita, partem sub hasta dictator vendidit; praepositoque consule castris, ipse triumphans inuectus urbem dictatura se abdicavit. Egregiae dictaturae tristem memoriam faciunt, qui filium ab A. Postumio, quod occasione bene pugnandi captus iniussu decesserit praesidio, victorem securi percussum tradunt. Nec libet credere, et licet in variis opinionibus; et argumento est quod imperia Manliana, non Postumiana appellata sunt, cum qui prior auctor tam saevi exempli foret, occupaturus insignem titulum crudelitatis fuerit. Imperioso quoque Manlio cognomen inditum; Postumius nulla tristi nota est insignitus. Cn. Iulius consul aedem Apollinis absente collega sine sorte dedicavit. Aegre id passus Quinctius cum dimisso exercitus in urbem redisset, nequiquam in senatu est conquestus. Insigni magnis rebus anno additur, nihil tum ad rem Romanam pertinere visum, quod Carthaginienses, tanti hostes futuri, tum primum per seditiones Siculorum ad partis alterius auxilium in Siciliam exercitum traiecere.|