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Quote of the day: For you are mistaken, Lucius Paulus, if
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IV Chapter 39: War with the Volscians. (Cont.)[423 BC]
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As it was impossible to check them in any direction, the Volscian commander gave a signal for a passage to be opened for this novel cohort of targeteers, until by the impetus of their charge they should be cut off from the main body. As soon as this happened, they were unable to force their way back in the same directional they had advanced, as the enemy had massed in the greatest force there. When the consul [Note 1] and the Roman legions no longer saw anywhere the men who had just been the shield of the whole army, they endeavoured at all risks to prevent so many brave fellows from being surrounded and overwhelmed by the enemy. The Volscians formed two fronts, in one direction they met the attack of the consul and the legions, from the opposite front they pressed upon Tempanius and his troopers. As these latter after repeated attempts found themselves unable to break through to their main body, they took possession of some rising ground, and forming a circle defended themselves, not without inflicting losses on the enemy. The battle did not terminate till nightfall. The consul too kept the enemy engaged without any slackening of the fight as long as any light remained.

Night at last put an end to the indecisive action, and through ignorance as to the result such a panic seized each of the camps that both armies, thinking themselves defeated, left their wounded behind and the greater part of their baggage and retired to the nearest hills. The eminence, however, which Tempanius had seized was surrounded till after midnight, when it was announced to the enemy that their camp was abandoned. Looking upon this as a proof that their army was defeated, they fled in all directions wherever their fears carried them in the darkness. Tempanius, fearing a surprise, kept his men together till daylight. Then he came down with a few of his men to reconnoitre, and after ascertaining from the enemies' wounded that the Volscian camp was abandoned, he joyfully called his men down and made his way to the Roman camp. Here he found a dreary solitude; everything presented the same miserable spectacle as in the enemies' camp. Before the discovery of their mistake could bring the Volscians back again, he collected all the wounded he could carry with him, and as he did not know what direction the dictator had taken, proceeded by the most direct road to the City.

Note 1: consul = Sempronius

Event: War with the Volscians