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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IV Chapter 22: The Revolt of Fidenae. The End.[435 BC]
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The dictator [Note 1] issued an order for all to muster outside the Colline gate by daybreak. Every man strong enough to bear arms was present. The standards were quickly brought to the dictator from the treasury. |
While these arrangements were being made, the enemy withdrew to the foot of the hills. The dictator followed them with an army eager for battle, and engaged them not far from Nomentum. The Etruscan legions were routed and driven into Fidenae; the dictator surrounded the place with lines of circumvallation. But, owing to its elevated position and strong fortifications, the city could not be carried by assault, and a blockade was quite ineffective, for there was not only corn enough for their actual necessities, but even for a lavish supply from what had been stored up beforehand. So all hope of either storming the place or starving it into surrender was abandoned. As it was near Rome, the nature of the ground was well known, and the dictator was aware that the side of the city remote from his camp was weakly fortified owing to its natural strength. He determined to carry a mine through from that side to the citadel. He formed his army into four divisions, to take turns in the fighting, and by keeping up a constant attack upon the walls in all directions, day and night, he prevented the enemy from noticing the work. At last the hill was tunnelled through and the way lay open from the Roman camp up to the citadel. Whilst the attention of the Etruscans was being diverted by feigned attacks from their real danger, the shouts of the enemy above their heads showed them that the city was taken.
(1): Public works were let out to contractors, and it was the duty of the censors, after satisfying themselves that they were constructed according to specifications, to take them over for the State.
Event: The Revolt of Fidenae.