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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IV Chapter 38: War with the Volscians. Tempanius.[423 BC]
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Now in all directions they were giving way; in vain did Sempronius the consul remonstrate and encourage, neither his authority nor his dignity was of any avail. They would soon have been completely routed had not Tempanius, a decurio of cavalry, retrieved by his ready courage the desperate position of affairs. He shouted to the cavalry to leap down from their horses if they wished the common-wealth to be safe, and all the troops of cavalry followed his direction as though it were the order of the consul. "Unless," he continued, "this bucklered cohort check the enemies' attack, there is an end of our sovereignty. Follow my spear as your standard! Show Romans and Volscians alike that no cavalry are a match for you as cavalry, no infantry a match for you as infantry!" This stirring appeal was answered by shouts of approval, and he strode on, holding his spear erect. Wherever they went they forced their way; holding their bucklers in front, they made for that part of the field where they saw their comrades in the greatest difficulty; in every direction where their onset carried them, they restored the battle, and undoubtedly, if so small a body could have attacked the entire line at once, the enemy would have been routed. |
Event: War with the Volscians
Decurio:Chief of a decuria, group of 10.
Standard:When an army was in camp, they were fixed in the ground, each marking the station of the cohort to which it belonged; when they were taken up it was the signal for breaking up the camp and commencing the march.