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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VI Chapter 29: War with Praeneste. Battle along the Alia.[380 BC]
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In these different moods, each side reached the banks of the Alia. When the enemy came into view in battle formation ready for action, the dictator [Note 1] turned to Aulus Sempronius, "Do you see," he said, "how they have taken their station on the Alia relying on the fortune of the place? May heaven have given them nothing more certain to trust to, or stronger to help them! You, however, placing your confidence in arms and valour, will charge their centre at full gallop, while I with the legions will attack them whilst in disorder. Ye deities who watch over treaties, assist us, and exact the penalties due from those who have sinned against you and deceived us by appealing to your divinity!" |
Neither the cavalry charge nor the infantry attack was sustained by the Praenestines. At the first onset and battle shout their ranks were broken, and when no portion of the line any longer kept its formation they turned and fled in confusion. In their panic they were carried past their camp, and did not stop their headlong flight until they were within sight of Praeneste. There the fugitives rallied and seized a position which they hastily fortified; they were afraid of retiring within the walls of their city lest their territory should be wasted with fire and, after everything had been devastated, the city should be invested. The Romans, however, after spoiling the camp at the Alia, came up; this position, therefore, was also abandoned. They shut themselves in Praeneste, feeling hardly safe even behind its walls.
There were eight towns under the jurisdiction of Praeneste. These were successively attacked and reduced without much fighting. Then the army advanced against Velitrae, which was successfully stormed. Finally, they arrived at Praeneste, the origin and centre of the war. It was captured, not by assault, but after surrender.
After being thus victorious in battle and capturing two camps and nine towns belonging to the enemy and receiving the surrender of Praeneste, Titus Quinctius returned to Rome. In his triumphal procession he carried up to the Capitol the image of Jupiter Imperator, which had been brought from Praeneste. It was set up in a recess between the shrines of Jupiter and Minerva, and a tablet was affixed to the pedestal recording the dictator's successes. The inscription ran something like this: "Jupiter and all the gods have granted this boon to Titus Quinctius the dictator, that he should capture nine towns."
Event: War with Praeneste
|His utrimque animis ad Alliam uentum est. dictator Romanus, postquam in conspectu hostes erant instructi intentique, 'uidesne tu' inquit, 'A. Semproni, loci fortuna illos fretos ad Alliam constitisse? nec illis di immortales certioris quicquam fiduciae maiorisue quod sit auxilii dederint. at tu, fretus armis animisque, concitatis equis inuade mediam aciem; ego cum legionibus in turbatos trepidantesque inferam signa. adeste, di testes foederis, et expetite poenas debitas simul uobis uiolatis nobisque per uestrum numen deceptis.' non equitem, non peditem sustinuere Praenestini. primo impetu ac clamore dissipati ordines sunt dein, postquam nullo loco constabat acies, terga uertunt consternatique et praeter castra etiam sua pauore praelati non prius se ab effuso cursu sistunt quam in conspectu Praeneste fuit. ibi ex fuga dissipati locum quem tumultuario opere communirent capiunt, ne, si intra moenia se recepissent, extemplo ureretur ager depopulatisque omnibus obsidio urbi inferretur. sed postquam direptis ad Alliam castris uictor Romanus aderat, id quoque munimentum relictum; et uix moenia tuta rati oppido se Praeneste includunt. octo praeterea oppida erant sub dicione Praenestinorum. ad ea circumlatum bellum deincepsque haud magno certamine captis Velitras exercitus ductus; eae quoque expugnatae. tum ad caput belli Praeneste uentum. id non ui sed per deditionem receptum est. T. Quinctius, semel acie uictor, binis castris hostium, nouem oppidis ui captis, Praeneste in deditionem accepto Romam reuertit triumphansque signum Praeneste deuectum Iouis Imperatoris in Capitolium tulit. dedicatum est inter cellam Iouis ac Mineruae tabulaque sub eo fixa, monumentum rerum gestarum, his ferme incisa litteris fuit: 'Iuppiter atque diui omnes hoc dederunt ut T. Quinctius dictator oppida nouem caperet'. die uicesimo quam creatus erat dictatura se abdicauit.|