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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VI Chapter 9: War with the Volscians and Etruscans. Sutrium.[386 BC]
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The general, however, had a more important object in view -- Antium, the capital of the Volscians and the starting point of the last war. Owing to its strength, the capture of that city could only be effected by a considerable quantity of siege apparatus, artillery, and war machines. Camillus therefore left his colleague in command and went to Rome to urge upon the senate the necessity of destroying Antium. In the middle of his speech -- I think it was the will of heaven that Antium should remain some time longer -- envoys arrived from Nepete and Sutrium begging for help against the Etruscans and pointing out that the chance of rendering assistance would soon be lost. |
Fortune diverted Camillus' energies from Antium to that quarter, for those places, fronting Etruria, served as gates and barriers on that side, and the Etruscans were anxious to secure them whenever they were meditating hostilities, whilst the Romans were equally anxious to recover and hold them. The senate accordingly decided to arrange with Camillus that he should let Antium go and undertake the war with Etruria. They assigned to him the legions in the City which Quinctius was commanding, and though he would have preferred the army which was acting against the Volsci, of which he had had experience and which was accustomed to his command, he raised no objection; all he asked for was that Valerius should share the command with him. Quinctius and Horatius were sent against the Volscians in succession to Valerius.
When they reached Sutrium, Furius and Valerius found a part of the city in the hands of the Etruscans; in the rest of the place the inhabitants were with difficulty keeping the enemy at bay behind barricades which they had erected in the streets. The approach of succours from Rome and the name of Camillus, famous amongst allies and enemies alike, relieved the situation for the moment and allowed time to render assistance.
Camillus accordingly formed his army into two divisions and ordered his colleague to take one round to the side which the enemy were holding and commence an attack on the walls. This was done not so much in the hope that the attack would succeed as that the enemy's attention might be distracted so as to afford a respite to the wearied defenders and an opportunity for him to effect an entrance into the town without fighting. The Etruscans, finding themselves attacked on both sides, the walls being assaulted from without and the townsmen fighting within, flung themselves in one panic-stricken mass through the only gate which happened to be clear of the enemy. A great slaughter of the fugitives took place both in the city and in the fields outside. Furious men accounted for many inside the walls, whilst Valerius' troops were more lightly equipped for pursuit, and they did not put an end to the carnage till nightfall prevented their seeing any longer.
|Ceterum animus ducis rei maiori, Antio, imminebat: id caput Volscorum, eam fuisse originem proximi belli. Sed magno apparatu tormentis machinisque tam ualida quia nisi urbs capi non poterat, relicto ad exercitum collega Romam est profectus, ut senatum ad excidendum Antium hortaretur. Inter sermonem eius—credo rem Antiatem diuturniorem manere dis cordi fuisse—legati ab Nepete ac Sutrio auxilium aduersus Etruscos petentes ueniunt, breuem occasionem esse ferendi auxilii memorantes. Eo uim Camilli ab Antio fortuna auertit. Namque cum ea loca opposita Etruriae et uelut claustra inde portaeque essent, et illis occupandi ea cum quid noui molirentur et Romanis reciperandi tuendique cura erat. Igitur senatui cum Camillo agi placuit ut omisso Antio bellum Etruscum susciperet; legiones urbanae quibus Quinctius praefuerat ei decernuntur. Quamquam expertum exercitum adsuetumque imperio qui in Volscis erat mallet, nihil recusauit; Valerium tantummodo imperii socium depoposcit. Quinctius Horatiusque successores Valerio in Volscos missi. Profecti ab urbe Sutrium Furius et Valerius partem oppidi iam captam ab Etruscis inuenere, ex parte altera intersaeptis itineribus aegre oppidanos uim hostium ab se arcentes. Cum Romani auxilii aduentus tum Camilli nomen celeberrimum apud hostes sociosque et in praesentia rem inclinatam sustinuit et spatium ad opem ferendam dedit. Itaque diuiso exercitu Camillus collegam in eam partem circumductis copiis quam hostes tenebant moenia adgredi iubet, non tanta spe scalis capi urbem posse quam ut auersis eo hostibus et oppidanis iam pugnando fessis laxaretur labor et ipse spatium intrandi sine certamine moenia haberet. Quod simul utrimque factum esset ancepsque terror Etruscos circumstaret, et moenia summa ui oppugnari et intra moenia esse hostem [ut] uiderunt, porta se, quae una forte non obsidebatur, trepidi uno agmine eiecere. Magna caedes fugientium et in urbe et per agros est facta: plures a Furianis intra moenia caesi, Valeriani expeditiores ad persequendos fuere, nec ante noctem, quae conspectum ademit, finem caedendi fecere. Sutrio recepto restitutoque sociis Nepete exercitus ductus, quod per deditionem acceptum iam totum Etrusci habebant.|