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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXI Chapter 25: Revolt of the Boii[218 BC]
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|In the mean time no further intelligence had been brought into Italy to Rome by the ambassadors of Marseilles than that Hannibal had passed the Iberus; when the Boii asked if he had already passed the Alps, revolted after instigating the Insubrians; not so much through their ancient resentment towards the Roman people, as on account of their having felt aggrieved that the colonies of Placentia and Cremona had been lately planted in the Gallic territory about the Po. Having therefore, suddenly taken up arms, and made an attack on that very territory, they created so much of terror and tumult, that not only the rustic population, but even the Roman triumvirs, Gaius Lutatius, Gaius Servilius, and Titus Annius, who had come to assign the lands, distrusting the walls of Placentia, fled to Mutina. About the name of Lutatius there is no doubt: in place of Gaius Servilius and Titus Annius, some annals have Quintus Acilius and Gaius Herennius; others, Publius Cornelius Asina and Gaius Papirius Maso. This point is also uncertain, whether the ambassadors went to expostulate to the Boii suffered violence, or whether an attack was made on the triumvirs while measuring out the lands. While they were shut up in Mutina, and a people unskilled in the arts of besieging towns, and, at the same time, most sluggish at military operations, lay inactive before the walls, which they had not touched, pretended proposals for a peace were set on foot; and the ambassadors, being invited out to a conference by the chiefs of the Gauls, are seized, not only contrary to the law of nations, but in violation of the faith which was pledged on that very occasion; the Gauls denying that they would set them free unless their hostages were restored to them. When this intelligence respecting the ambassadors was announced, and that Mutina and its garrison were in danger, Lucius Manlius, the praetor, inflamed with rage, led his army in haste to Mutina. There were then woods on both sides of the road, most of the country being uncultivated. There, having advanced without previously exploring his route, he fell suddenly into an ambuscade; and after much slaughter of his men, with difficulty made his way into the open plains. Here a camp was fortified, and because confidence was wanting to the Gauls to attack it, the spirit of the soldiers revived, although it was sufficiently evident that their strength was much clipped. The journey was then commenced anew; nor while the army was led in march through open tracts did the enemy appear: but, when the woods were again entered, then attacking the rear, amid great confusion and alarm of all, they slew eight hundred soldiers, and took six standards. There was an end to the Gauls of creating, and to the Romans of experiencing terror, when they escaped from the pathless and entangled thicket; then easily defending their march through the open ground, the Romans directed their course to Tanetum, a village near the Po; where, by a temporary fortification, and the supplies conveyed by the river, and also by the aid of the Brixian Gauls, they defended themselves against the daily increasing multitude of their enemies.||
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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.