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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VII Chapter 10: War with the Gauls. Titus Manlius' Exploit.[361 BC]
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A long silence followed. The best and bravest of the Romans made no sign; they felt ashamed of appearing to decline the challenge, and yet they were reluctant to expose themselves to such terrible danger. Thereupon Titus Manlius, the youth who had protected his father [Note 1] from the persecution of the tribune, left his post and went to the dictator. [Note 2] . " Without your orders, General," he said, "I will never leave my post to fight, no, not even if I saw that victory was certain ; but if you give me permission I want to show that monster as he stalks so proudly in front of their lines that I am a scion of that family which hurled the troop of Gauls from the Tarpeian Rock." Then the dictator: "Success to your courage, Titus Manlius, and to your affection for your father and your fatherland. Go, and with the help of the gods show that the name of Rome is invincible." Then his comrades fastened on his armour; he took an infantry shield and a Spanish sword as better adapted for close fighting; thus armed and equipped they led him forward against the Gaul, who was exulting in his brute strength, and even -- the ancients thought this worth recording -- putting his tongue out in derision. They retired to their posts and the two armed champions were left alone in the midst, more after the manner of a scene on the stage than under the conditions of serious war, and to those who judged by appearances, by no means equally matched. The one was a creature of enormous bulk, resplendent in a many-coloured coat and wearing painted and gilded armour; the other a man of average height, and his arms, useful rather than ornamental, gave him quite an ordinary appearance. There was no singing of war-songs [Note 3], no prancing about, no silly brandishing of weapons. With a breast full of courage and silent wrath Manlius reserved all his ferocity for the actual moment of conflict. When they had taken their stand between the two armies, while so many hearts around them were in suspense between hope and fear, the Gaul, like a great overhanging mass, held out his shield on his left arm to meet his adversary's blows and aimed a tremendous cut downwards with his sword. The Roman evaded the blow, and pushing aside the bottom of the Gaul's shield with his own, he slipped under it close up to the Gaul, too near for him to get at him with his sword. Then turning the point of his blade upwards, he gave two rapid thrusts in succession and stabbed the Gaul in the belly and the groin, laying his enemy prostrate over a large extent of ground. He left the body of his fallen foe undespoiled with the exception of his chain, which though smeared with blood he placed round his own neck. Astonishment and fear kept the Gauls motionless; the Romans ran eagerly forward from their lines to meet their warrior, and amidst cheers and congratulations they conducted him to the dictator. In the doggerel verses which they extemporised in his honour they called him Torquatus ("adorned with a chain"), and this soubriquet became for his posterity a proud family name. The dictator gave him a golden crown and before the whole army alluded to his victory in terms of the highest praise.

Note 1: father = Lucius Manlius
Note 2: dictator = Titus Quinctius
Note 3: Compare the action of Taillefer before the Battle of Senlac.

Event: Second war with the Gauls

Diu inter primores iuuenum Romanorum silentium fuit, cum et abnuere certamen uererentur et praecipuam sortem periculi petere nollent; tum T. Manlius L. Filius, qui patrem a uexatione tribunicia uindicauerat, ex statione ad dictatorem pergit; "iniussu tuo" inquit, "imperator, extra ordinem nunquam pugnauerim, non si certam uictoriam uideam: si tu permittis, uolo ego illi beluae ostendere, quando adeo ferox praesultat hostium signis, me ex ea familia ortum quae Gallorum agmen ex rupe Tarpeia deiecit." Tum dictator "macte uirtute" inquit "ac pietate in patrem patriamque, T. Manli, esto. Perge et nomen Romanum inuictum iuuantibus dis praesta." Armant inde iuuenem aequales; pedestre scutum capit, Hispano cingitur gladio ad propiorem habili pugnam. Armatum adornatumque aduersus Gallum stolide laetum et—quoniam id quoque memoria dignum antiquis uisum est—linguam etiam ab inrisu exserentem producunt. Recipiunt inde se ad stationem; et duo in medio armati spectaculi magis more quam lege belli destituuntur, nequaquam uisu ac specie aestimantibus pares. Corpus alteri magnitudine eximium, uersicolori ueste pictisque et auro caelatis refulgens armis; media in altero militaris statura modicaque in armis habilibus magis quam decoris species; non cantus, non exsultatio armorumque agitatio uana sed pectus animorum iraeque tacitae plenum; omnem ferociam in discrimen ipsum certaminis distulerat. Vbi constitere inter duas acies tot circa mortalium animis spe metuque pendentibus, Gallus uelut moles superne imminens proiecto laeua scuto in aduenientis arma hostis uanum caesim cum ingenti sonitu ensem deiecit; Romanus mucrone subrecto, cum scuto scutum imum perculisset totoque corpore interior periculo uolneris factus insinuasset se inter corpus armaque, uno alteroque subinde ictu uentrem atque inguina hausit et in spatium ingens ruentem porrexit hostem. Iacentis inde corpus ab omni alia uexatione intactum uno torque spoliauit, quem respersum cruore collo circumdedit suo. Defixerat pauor cum admiratione Gallos: Romani alacres ab statione obuiam militi suo progressi, gratulantes laudantesque ad dictatorem perducunt. Inter carminum prope in modum incondita quaedam militariter ioculantes Torquati cognomen auditum; celebratum deinde posteris etiam familiae honori fuit. Dictator coronam auream addidit donum mirisque pro contione eam pugnam laudibus tulit.