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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book I Chapter 14: Death of Titus Tatius. War with Fidenae.
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Some years subsequently the kinsmen of king Tatius ill treated the ambassadors of the Laurentines. They came to seek redress from him in accordance with international law, but the influence and importunities of his friends had more weight with Tatius than the remonstrances of the Laurentines. The consequence was that he brought upon himself the punishment due to them, for when he had gone to the annual sacrifice at Lavinium, a tumult arose in which he was killed. Romulus is reported to have been less distressed at this incident than his position demanded, either because of the insincerity inherent in all joint sovereignty, or because he thought he had deserved his fate. He refused, therefore, to go to war, but that the wrong done to the ambassadors and the murder of the king might be expiated, the treaty between Rome and Lavinium was renewed. |
War of Rome with Fidenae
Whilst in this direction an unhoped-for peace was secured, war broke out in a much nearer quarter, in fact almost at the very gates of Rome. The people of Fidenae considered that a power was growing up too close to them, so to prevent the anticipations of its future greatness from being realised, they took the initiative in making war. Armed bands invaded and devastated the country lying between the City and Fidenae. Thence they turned to the left - the Tiber barred their advance on the right - and plundered and destroyed, to the great alarm of the country people. A sudden rush from the fields into the City was the first intimation of what was happening. A war so close to their gates admitted of no delay, and Romulus hurriedly led out his army and encamped about a mile from Fidenae. Leaving a small detachment to guard the camp, he went forward with his whole force, and whilst one part were ordered to lie in ambush in a place overgrown with dense brushwood, he advanced with the larger part and the whole of the cavalry towards the city, and by riding up to the very gates in a disorderly and provocative manner he succeeded in drawing the enemy. The cavalry continued these tactics and so made the flight which they were to feign seem less suspicious, and when their apparent hesitation whether to fight or to flee was followed by the retirement of the infantry, the enemy suddenly poured out of the crowded gates, broke the Roman line and pressed on in eager pursuit till they were brought to where the ambush was set. Then the Romans suddenly rose and attacked the enemy in flank; their panic was increased by the troops in the camp bearing down upon them. Terrified by the threatened attacks from all sides, the Fidenates turned and fled almost before Romulus and his men could wheel round from their simulated flight. They made for their town much more quickly than they had just before pursued those who pretended to flee, for their flight was a genuine one. They could not, however, shake off the pursuit; the Romans were on their heels, and before the gates could be closed against them, burst through pell-mell with the enemy.
Event: War of Rome with Fidenae
|Post aliquot annos propinqui regis Tati legatos Laurentium pulsant; cumque Laurentes iure gentium agerent, apud Tatium gratia suorum et preces plus poterant. Igitur illorum poenam in se vertit; nam Lavinii cum ad sollemne sacrificium eo venisset concursu facto interficitur. Eam rem minus aegre quam dignum erat tulisse Romulum ferunt, seu ob infidam societatem regni seu quia haud iniuria caesum credebat. Itaque bello quidem abstinuit; ut tamen expiarentur legatorum iniuriae regisque caedes, foedus inter Romam Laviniumque urbes renovatum est. Et cum his quidem insperata pax erat: aliud multo propius atque in ipsis prope portis bellum ortum. Fidenates nimis vicinas prope se conualescere opes rati, priusquam tantum roboris esset quantum futurum apparebat, occupant bellum facere. Iuventute armata immissa uastatur agri quod inter urbem ac Fidenas est; inde ad laevam versi quia dextra Tiberis arcebat, cum magna trepidatione agrestium populantur, tumultusque repens ex agris in urbem inlatus pro nuntio fuit. Excitus Romulus—neque enim dilationem pati tam vicinum bellum poterat—exercitum educit, castra a Fidenis mille passuum locat. Ibi modico praesidio relicto, egressus omnibus copiis partem militum locis circa densa obsita virgulta obscuris subsidere in insidiis iussit: cum parte maiore atque omni equitatu profectus, id quod quaerebat, tumultuoso et minaci genere pugnae adequitando ipsis prope portis hostem exciuit. Fugae quoque, quae simulanda erat, eadem equestris pugna causam minus mirabilem dedit. Et cum, velut inter pugnae fugaeque consilium trepidante equitatu, pedes quoque referret gradum, plenis repente portis effusi hostes impulsa Romana acie studio instandi sequendique trahuntur ad locum insidiarum. Inde subito exorti Romani transuersam invadunt hostium aciem; addunt pavorem mota e castris signa eorum qui in praesidio relicti fuerant. Ita multiplici terrore perculsi Fidenates prius paene, quam Romulus quique avehi cum eo visi erant circumagerent frenis equos, terga vertunt; multoque effusius, quippe vera fuga, qui simulantes paulo ante secuti erant oppidum repetebant. Non tamen eripuere se hosti: haerens in tergo Romanus, priusquam fores portarum obicerentur, velut agmine uno inrumpit.|