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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IV Chapter 18: The Revolt of Fidenae (Cont.)[437 BC]
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Amongst the enemy there was diversity of opinion. The men of Falerii, impatient at serving so far from home, and full of self-confidence, demanded battle; those of Veii and Fidenae placed more hope in a prolongation of the war. Although Tolumnius was more inclined to the opinion of his own men, he announced that he would give battle the next day, in case the Faliscans should refuse to serve through a protracted campaign. This hesitation on the part of the enemy gave the dictator [Note 1] and the Romans fresh courage. |
The next day, whilst the soldiers were declaring that unless they had the chance of fighting they would attack the enemy's camp and city, both armies advanced on to the level ground between their respective camps. The Veientine general who was greatly superior in numbers, sent a detachment round the back of the hills to attack the Roman camp during the battle. The armies of the three States were stationed thus: The Veientines were on the right wing, the Faliscans on the left, the Fidenates in the centre. The dictator led his right wing against the Faliscans, Capitolinus Quinctius directed the attack of the left against the Veientines, whilst the Master of the Horse advanced with his cavalry against the enemy's centre. For a few moments all was silent and motionless, as the Etruscans would not commence the fight unless they were compelled, and the dictator was watching the Citadel of Rome (1) and waiting for the agreed signal from the augurs as soon as the omens should prove favourable. No sooner had he caught sight of it than he let loose the cavalry, who, raising a loud battle-cry, charged; the infantry followed with a furious onslaught. In no quarter did the legions of Etruria stand the Roman charge; their cavalry offered the stoutest resistance, and the king, himself by far the bravest of them, charged the Romans whilst they were scattered everywhere in pursuit of the enemy, and so prolonged the contest.
(1): The augurs were on the auguraculum, and their signal could easily be seen from the battle-field, which was between three and four miles distant.
Note 1: dictator = Mamilius Aemilius
Event: The Revolt of Fidenae.