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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VI Chapter 8: War with the Volscians and Etruscans. Cont.[386 BC]
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Then, after sounding the charge, he sprang from his horse and, catching hold of the nearest standard-bearer, he hurried with him against the enemy, exclaiming at the same time: " On, soldier, with the standard! " When they saw Camillus, weakened as he was by age, charging in person against the enemy, they all raised the battle-cry and rushed forward, shouting in all directions, " Follow the General! " It is stated that by Camillus' orders the standard was flung into the enemy's lines in order to incite the men of the front rank to recover it. It was in this quarter that the Antiates were first repulsed, and the panic spread through the front ranks as far as the reserves. This was due not only to the efforts of the troops, stimulated as they were by the presence of Camillus, but also to the terror which his actual appearance inspired in the Volscians, to whom he was a special object of dread. Thus, wherever be advanced he carried certain victory with him. This was especially evident in the Roman left, which was on the point of giving way, when, after flinging himself on his horse and armed with an infantry shield he rode up to it and by simply showing himself and pointing to the rest of the line who were winning the day, restored the battle. The action was now decided, but owing to the crowding together of the enemy their flight was impeded and the victorious soldiers grew weary of the prolonged slaughter of such an enormous number of fugitives. A sudden storm of rain and wind put an end to what had become a decisive victory more than a battle. |
The signal was given to retire, and the night that followed brought the war to a close without any further exertions on the part of the Romans, for the Latins and Hernicans left the Volscians to their fate and started for home, after obtaining a result correspondent to their evil counsels. When the Volscians found themselves deserted by the men whom they had relied upon when they renewed hostilities, they abandoned their camp and shut themselves up in Satricum. At first Camillus invested them with the usual siege-works; but when he found that the sorties were made to impede his operations, he considered that the enemy did not possess sufficient courage to justify him in waiting for a victory of which there was only a distant prospect. After encouraging his soldiers by telling them not to wear themselves by protracted toil, as though they were attacking another Veii, for victory was already within their grasp, he planted scaling ladders all round the walls and took the place by storm. The Volscians flung away their arms and surrendered.