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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book II Chapter 47: War of Rome and Veii (Cont.)[480 BC]
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Whilst the battle was restored in one direction, the consul Gnaeus Manlius was showing no less energy on the other wing, where the fortunes of the day took a similar turn.|
For, like Quintus Fabius on the other wing, the consul Manlius was here driving the enemy before him and his soldiers were following up with great vigour, when he was seriously wounded and retired from the front. Thinking that he was killed, they fell back, and would have abandoned their ground had not the other consul ridden up at full gallop with some troops of cavalry, and, crying out that his colleague was alive and that he had himself routed the other wing of the enemy, succeeded in checking the retreat. Manlius also showed himself amongst them, to rally his men. The well-known voices of the two consuls gave the soldiers fresh courage. At the same time the enemies' line was now weakened, for, trusting to their superiority in numbers, they had detached their reserves and sent them to storm the camp. These met with but slight resistance, and whilst they were wasting time by thinking more about plundering than about fighting, the Roman triarii, who had been unable to withstand the first assault, despatched messengers to the consul to tell him the position of affairs, and then, retiring in close order to the head-quarters tent, renewed the fighting without waiting for orders. The consul Manlius had ridden back to the camp and posted troops at all the gates to block the enemies' escape. The desperate situation roused the Tuscans to madness rather than courage; they rushed in every direction where there seemed any hope of escape, and for some time their efforts were fruitless. At last a compact body of young soldiers made an attack on the consul himself, conspicuous from his arms. The first weapons were intercepted by those who stood round him, but the violence of the onset could not long be withstood. The consul fell mortally wounded and all around him were scattered. The Tuscans were encouraged, the Romans fled in panic through the length of the camp, and matters would have come to extremities had not the members of the consul's staff hurriedly taken up his body and opened a way for the enemy through one gate. They burst through it, and in a confused mass fell in with the other consul who had won the battle; here they were again cut to pieces and scattered in all directions.
A glorious victory was won, though saddened by the death of two illustrious men. The senate decreed a triumph, but the consul replied that if the army could celebrate a triumph without its commander, he would gladly allow them to do so in return for their splendid service in the war. But as his family were in mourning for his brother, Marcus Fabius, and the State had suffered partial bereavement through the loss of one of its consuls, he could not accept laurels for himself which were blighted by public and private grief. The triumph he declined was more brilliant than any actually celebrated, so much does glory laid by for the moment return sometimes with added splendour. Afterwards he conducted the obsequies of his colleague and his brother, and pronounced the funeral oration over each. The greatest share of the praise which he conceded to them rested upon himself.
He had not lost sight of the object which he set before him at the beginning of his consulship, the conciliation of the plebs. To further this, he distributed amongst the patricians the care of the wounded. The Fabii took charge of a large number, and nowhere was greater care showed them. From this time they began to be popular; their popularity was won by no methods which were inconsistent with the welfare of the State.
Event: War of Rome with Veii
|Proelio ex parte una restituto, nihilo segnius in cornu altero Cn. Manlius consul pugnam ciebat, ubi prope similis fortuna est uersata. Nam ut altero in cornu Q. Fabium, sic in hoc ipsum consulem Manlium iam uelut fusos agentem hostes et impigre milites secuti sunt et, ut ille graui uolnere ictus ex acie cessit, interfectum rati gradum rettulere; cessissentque loco, ni consul alter cum aliquot turmis equitum in eam partem citato equo aduectus, uiuere clamitans collegam, se uictorem fuso altero cornu adesse, rem inclinatam sustinuisset. Manlius quoque ad restituendam aciem se ipse coram offert. Duorum consulum cognita ora accendunt militum animos. Simul et uanior iam erat hostium acies, dum abundante multitudine freti, subtracta subsidia mittunt ad castra oppugnanda. In quae haud magno certamine impetu facto cum praedae magis quam pugnae memores tererent tempus, triarii Romani qui primam inruptionem sustinere non potuerant, missis ad consules nuntiis quo loco res essent, conglobati ad praetorium redeunt et sua sponte ipsi proelium renouant. Et Manlius consul reuectus in castra, ad omnes portas milite opposito hostibus uiam clauserat. Ea desperatio Tuscis rabiem magis quam audaciam accendit. Nam cum incursantes quacumque exitum ostenderet spes uano aliquotiens impetu issent, globus iuuenum unus in ipsum consulem insignem armis inuadit. Prima excepta a circumstantibus tela; sustineri deinde uis nequit; consul mortifero uolnere ictus cadit, fusique circa omnes. Tuscis crescit audacia; Romanos terror per tota castra trepidos agit, et ad extrema uentum foret ni legati rapto consulis corpore patefecissent una porta hostibus uiam. Ea erumpunt; consternatoque agmine abeuntes in uictorem alterum incidunt consulem; ibi iterum caesi fusique passim. Victoria egregia parta, tristis tamen duobus tam claris funeribus. Itaque consul decernente senatu triumphum, si exercitus sine imperatore triumphare possit, pro eximia eo bello opera facile passurum respondit; se familia funesta Q. Fabi fratris morte, re publica ex parte orba, consule altero amisso, publico priuatoque deformem luctu lauream non accepturum. Omni acto triumpho depositus triumphus clarior fuit; adeo spreta in tempore gloria interdum cumulatior rediit. Funera deinde duo deinceps collegae fratrisque ducit, idem in utroque laudator, cum concedendo illis suas laudes ipse maximam partem earum ferret. Neque immemor eius quod initio consulatus imbiberat, reconciliandi animos plebis, saucios milites curandos diuidit patribus. Fabiis plurimi dati, nec alibi maiore cura habiti. Inde populares iam esse Fabii, nec hoc ulla nisi salubri rei publicae arte.|