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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VII Chapter 24: War with the Gauls. The end.[350 BC]
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But the victory was not yet decided. When the Romans reached the level ground another mass remained to be dealt with. The number of the Gauls was great enough to prevent them from feeling the loss already sustained, and as though a new army had risen from the earth, fresh troops were brought up against their victorious enemy. The Romans checked their onset and stood still, for not only had they, wearied as they were, to sustain a second fight, but the consul [Note 1], while riding incautiously in the front, had his left shoulder almost run through by a heavy javelin and had retired. The victory was all but forfeited by this delay, when the consul, after his wound was bound up, rode back to the front. "Why are you standing still, soldiers? " he exclaimed. "You have not to do with Latins or Sabines whom, after you have defeated, you can make into allies, it is against wild beasts that we have drawn the sword; we must either drain their blood or give them ours. You have repulsed them from your camp, you have driven them headlong down into the valley, you are standing over the prostrate bodies of your foes. Fill the valley with the same carnage with which you filled the mountain side. Do not look for them to flee while you are standing here; the standards must go forward, you must advance against the enemy." Thus encouraged they made a fresh charge, dislodged the front companies of the Gauls, and closing up their maniples into a wedge penetrated the enemy's centre. Then the barbarians were broken up, and having no leadership or definite orders they turned the attack on to their own reserves. They were scattered over the plain, and their headlong flight carried them past their camp in the direction of the Alban hills. As the hill on which the old Alba stronghold stood appeared to be the highest in the range, they made for it. |
he consul did not continue the pursuit beyond the camp as his wound was troublesome and he did not wish to risk an attack upon hills held by the enemy. All the spoil of the camp was given up to the soldiers, and he led back to Rome an army flushed with victory and enriched by the plunder of the Gauls, but owing to his wound his triumph was delayed.
As both consuls were on the sick list, the senate found it necessary to appoint a dictator to conduct the elections. Lucius Furius Camillus was nominated, and Publius Cornelius Scipio was associated with him as Master of the Horse. He restored to the patricians their old monopoly of the consulship, and for this service he was through their enthusiastic support elected consul, and he procured the election of Appius Claudius Crassus as his colleague.
Note 1: consul = Marcus Popillius Laenas
Event: Third war with the Gauls
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.
Maniple:During the republic 1/30 of infantry of a legion.
Triumph:The highest honour to a general: clad like Jupiter he drove in a chariot drawn by four white horses. Before him walked the prisoners taken in the war, and the spoils of the captured cities, and in later times pictures of the conquered territories were carried before the general's chariot. He was followed by his troops, who sung songs, often extempore effusions, in honour of their commander.