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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book I Chapter 15: War with Veii.
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The contagion of the war-spirit in Fidenae infected the Veientes. This people were connected by ties of blood with the Fidenates, who were also Etruscans, and an additional incentive was supplied by the mere proximity of the place, should the arms of Rome be turned against all her neighbours. They made an incursion into Roman territory, rather for the sake of plunder than as an act of regular war. After securing their booty they returned with it to Veii, without entrenching a camp or waiting for the enemy. The Romans, on the other hand, not finding the enemy on their soil, crossed the Tiber, prepared and determined to fight a decisive battle. On hearing that they had formed an entrenched camp and were preparing to advance on their city, the Veientes went out against them, preferring a combat in the open to being shut up and having to fight from houses and walls. Romulus gained the victory, not through stratagem, but through the prowess of his veteran army He drove the routed enemy up to their walls, but in view of the strong position and fortifications of the city, he abstained from assaulting it. On his march home-wards, he devastated their fields more out of revenge than for the sake of plunder. The loss thus sustained, no less than the previous defeat, broke the spirit of the Veientes, and they sent envoys to Rome to sue for peace. On condition of a cession of territory a truce was granted to them for a hundred years. |
These were the principal events at home and in the field that marked the reign of Romulus. Throughout - whether we consider the courage he showed in recovering his ancestral throne or the wisdom he displayed in founding the City and adding to its strength through war and peace alike - we find nothing incompatible with the belief in his divine origin and his admission to divine immortality after death. It was, in fact, through the strength given by him that the City was powerful enough to enjoy an assured peace for forty years after his departure. He was, however, more acceptable to the populace than to the patricians but most of all was he the idol of his soldiers. He kept a body-guard of three hundred men round him in peace as well as in war. These he called the Celeres."
Event: First war of Rome with Veii
|Belli Fidenatis contagione inritati Veientium animi et consanguinitate—nam Fidenates quoque Etrusci fuerunt—et quod ipsa propinquitas loci, si Romana arma omnibus infesta finitimis essent, stimulabat. In fines Romanos excucurrerunt populabundi magis quam iusti more belli. Itaque non castris positis, non exspectato hostium exercitu, raptam ex agris praedam portantes Veios rediere. Romanus contra postquam hostem in agris non invenit, dimicationi ultimae instructus intentusque Tiberim transit. Quem postquam castra ponere et ad urbem accessurum Veientes audiuere, obuiam egressi ut potius acie decernerent quam inclusi de tectis moenibusque dimicarent. Ibi viribus nulla arte adiutis, tantum veterani robore exercitus rex Romanus vicit; persecutusque fusos ad moenia hostes, urbe ualida muris ac situ ipso munita abstinuit, agros rediens uastat, ulciscendi magis quam praedae studio; eaque clade haud minus quam adversa pugna subacti Veientes pacem petitum oratores Romam mittunt. Agri parte multatis in centum annos indutiae datae. Haec ferme Romulo regnante domi militiaeque gesta, quorum nihil absonum fidei divinae originis divinitatisque post mortem creditae fuit, non animus in regno avito reciperando, non condendae urbis consilium, non bello ac pace firmandae. Ab illo enim profecto viribus datis tantum ualuit ut in quadraginta deinde annos tutam pacem haberet. Multitudini tamen gratior fuit quam patribus, longe ante alios acceptissimus militum animis; trecentosque armatos ad custodiam corporis quos Celeres appellavit non in bello solum sed etiam in pace habuit.|