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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IX Chapter 35: War with Etruria. Fabius victorious.[310 BC]
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During these proceedings in Rome the siege of Sutrium was being kept up by the Etruscans. The consul Fabius was marching to assist the allies of Rome and to attempt the enemy's lines wherever it seemed practicable. His route lay along the lowest slopes of the mountain range, when he came upon the hostile forces drawn up in battle formation. The wide plain which stretched below revealed their enormous numbers, and in order to compensate for his own inferiority in that respect by the advantage of position, he deflected his column a little way on to the rising ground, which was rough and covered with stones. He then formed his front against the enemy. The Etruscans, thinking of nothing but their numbers, on which they solely relied, came on with such eager impetuosity that they flung away their javelins in order to come more quickly to a hand-to-hand fight, and rushed upon their foe with drawn swords. The Romans, on the other hand, showered down upon them first their javelins and then the stones with which the ground plentifully supplied them. Shields and helmets alike were struck, and those who were not wounded were confounded and bewildered; it was almost impossible for them to get to close quarters, and they had no missiles with which to keep up the fight from a distance. Whilst they were standing as a mark for the missiles, without any sufficient protection, some even retreating, the whole line wavering and unsteady, the Roman hastati and principes raised their battle-shout again and charged down upon them with drawn swords. The Etruscans did not wait for the charge but faced about and in disorderly flight made for their camp. The Roman cavalry, however, galloping in a slanting direction across the plain, headed off the fugitives, who gave up all idea of reaching their camp and turned off to the mountains. For the most part without arms, and with a large proportion of wounded, the fugitives entered the Ciminian forest. Many thousands of Etruscans were killed, thirty-eight standards were taken, and in the capture of the camp the Romans secured an immense amount of booty. Then the question was discussed whether to pursue the enemy or no. |
Event: War with Etruria.
Hastati:First line of Roman army, young soldiers armed with spears
Principes:Second line in a Roman army, adult soldiers
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.