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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book X Chapter 5: War in Etruria. The Etruscans defeated.[301-0 BC]
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When the message reached the dictator, he ordered the standards to go forward and the troops to follow. But everything was done almost more rapidly than the orders were given. The standards were instantly snatched up, and the troops were with difficulty prevented from charging the enemy at a run. They were burning to avenge their recent defeat, and the shouts, becoming continually louder in the battle that was already going on, made them still more excited. They kept urging each other on, and telling the standard-bearers to march more quickly, but the more haste the dictator saw them making the more determined was he to check the column and insist upon their marching deliberately. |
The Etruscans had been present in their full strength when the battle began. Message after message was sent to the dictator telling him that all the legions of the Etruscans were taking part in the fight and that his men could no longer hold out against them, whilst he himself from his higher ground saw for himself in what a critical position the outposts were. As however, he felt quite confident that their commander could still sustain the attack, and as he was himself near enough to save him from all danger of defeat, he decided to wait until the enemy became utterly fatigued, and then to attack him with fresh troops. Although his own men were advancing so slowly there was now only a moderate distance over which to charge, at all events for cavalry, between the two lines. The standards of the legions were in front, to prevent the enemy from suspecting any sudden or secret manoeuvre, but the dictator had left intervals in the ranks of infantry through which the cavalry could pass. The legions raised the battle-shout, and at the same moment the cavalry charged down upon the enemy, who were unprepared for such a hurricane, and a sudden panic set in. As the outposts, who had been all but cut off, were now relieved at the last moment, they were all allowed a respite from further exertions. The fresh troops took up the fighting, and the result did not long remain in doubt. The routed enemy sought their camp, and as they retreated before the Romans who were attacking it, they became crowded together in the furthest part. In trying to escape, they became blocked in the narrow gates, and a good many climbed on to the mound and stockade in the hope of defending themselves on higher ground, or possibly of crossing ramparts and fosse and so escaping. In one part the mound had been built up too loosely, and, owing to the weight of those standing on it, crumbled down into the fosse, and many, both soldiers and non-combatants, exclaiming that the gods had cleared the passage for their flight, made their escape that way.
In this battle the power of the Etruscans was broken up for the second time. After undertaking to provide a year's pay for the army and a two months' supply of corn, they obtained permission from the dictator to send envoys to Rome to sue for peace. A regular treaty of peace was refused, but they were granted a two years' truce. The dictator returned in triumphal procession to the City.
Some of my authorities aver that Etruria was pacified without any important battle being fought simply through the settlement of the troubles in Arretium and the restoration of the Cilnii to popular favour.
No sooner had Marcus Valerius laid down the dictatorship than he was elected consul. Some have thought that he was elected without having been a candidate and, therefore, in his absence, and that the election was conducted by an interrex. There is no question, however, that he held the consulship with Apuleius Pansa.
Event: Fourth war with Etruria
|Nuntio allato dictator signa ferri ac sequi iubet armatos; sed celeriora prope omnia imperio erant; rapta extemplo signa armaque, et uix ab impetu et cursu tenebantur. Cum ira ab accepta nuper clade stimulabat, tum concitatior accidens clamor ab increscente certamine. urgent itaque alii alios hortanturque signiferos ut ocius eant. Quo magis festinantes uidet dictator, eo impensius retentat agmen ac sensim incedere iubet. Etrusci contra, principio exciti pugnae, omnibus copiis aderant; et super alios alii nuntiant dictatori omnes legiones Etruscorum capessisse pugnam nec iam ab suis resisti posse, et ipse cernit ex superiore loco in quanto discrimine praesidium esset. Ceterum satis fretus esse etiam nunc tolerando certamini legatum nec se procul abesse periculi uindicem, quam maxime uolt fatigari hostem ut integris adoriatur uiribus fessos. Quamquam lente procedunt, iam tamen ad impetum capiundum, equiti utique, modicum erat spatium. Prima incedebant signa legionum, ne quid occultum aut repentinum hostis timeret; sed reliquerat interualla inter ordines peditum, qua satis laxo spatio equi permitti possent. Pariter sustulit clamorem acies et emissus eques libero cursu in hostem inuehitur incompositisque aduersus equestrem procellam subitum pauorem offundit. Itaque, ut prope serum auxilium iam paene circumuentis, ita uniuersa requies data est. Integri accepere pugnam nec ea ipsa longa aut anceps fuit. Fusi hostes castra repetunt inferentibusque iam signa Romanis cedunt et in ultimam castrorum partem conglobantur. Haerent fugientes in angustiis portarum; pars magna aggerem uallumque conscendit, si aut ex superiore loco tueri se aut superare aliqua et euadere posset. Forte quodam loco male densatus agger pondere superstantium in fossam procubuit atque ea, cum deos pandere uiam fugae conclamassent, plures inermes quam armati euadunt. Hoc proelio fractae iterum Etruscorum uires, et pacto annuo stipendio et duum mensum frumento permissum ab dictatore ut de pace legatos mitterent Romam. Pax negata, indutiae biennii datae. Dictator triumphans in urbem rediit.—habeo auctores sine ullo memorabili proelio pacatam ab dictatore Etruriam esse seditionibus tantum Arretinorum compositis et Cilnio genere cum plebe in gratiam reducto.—consul ex dictatura factus M. Valerius. Non petentem atque adeo etiam absentem creatum tradidere quidam et per interregem ea comitia facta; id unum non ambigitur consulatum cum Apuleio Pansa gessisse.|