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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book II Chapter 17: War of Rome and Pometia.[502 BC]
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The consuls who succeeded, Opiter Verginius and Spurius Cassius, tried at first to take Pometia by storm, then they had recourse to regular siege-works. Actuated more by a spirit of mortal hatred than by any hope or chance of success, the Auruncans made a sortie. The greater number were armed with blazing torches, and they carried flames and death everywhere. The vineae were burnt, great numbers of the besiegers were killed and wounded, they nearly killed one of the consuls -- the authorities do not give his name -- after he had fallen from his horse severely wounded. |
After this disaster the Romans returned home, with a large number of wounded, amongst them the consul, whose condition was critical. After an interval, long enough for the recovery of the wounded and the filling up of the ranks, operations were resumed at Pometia in stronger force and in a more angry temper. The vineae were repaired and the other vast works were made good, and when everything was ready for the soldiers to mount the walls, the place surrendered. The Auruncans, however, were treated with no less rigour after they had surrendered the city than if it had been taken by assault; the principal men were beheaded, the rest of the townsfolk sold as slaves. The town was razed, the land put up for sale. The consuls celebrated a triumph more because of the terrible vengeance they had inflicted than on account of the importance of the war now terminated.
Event: War with the Auruncans
Vineae:Movable shelters, open at both ends, pushed along on wheels, and made of stout wattling, covered with leather. As the name suggests, the earliest were probably constructed of interlaced vine stems. Under their protection battering-rams could be worked, mines commenced, and other siege operations conducted.
Horse:a. the animal. b. cavalry.
Triumph:The highest honour to a general: clad like Jupiter he drove in a chariot drawn by four white horses. Before him walked the prisoners taken in the war, and the spoils of the captured cities, and in later times pictures of the conquered territories were carried before the general's chariot. He was followed by his troops, who sung songs, often extempore effusions, in honour of their commander.