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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
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.
Under the spear:The sale of property captured in war was conducted by the general commanding, with a spear fixed upright beside him, as a sign that it had been won by the spear. The usage was afterwards extended to all sales of government property. The mode of selling corresponded to our sale by auction.
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.