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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IX Chapter 44: Battle with the Samnites in Stellae.[305 BC]
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Publius Cornelius Scipio was nominated dictator this year, with Publius Decius Mus as Master of the Horse, for the purpose of holding the elections, as neither of the consuls could leave the seat of war. The consuls elected were Lucius Postumius and Tiberius Minucius. Piso places these consuls immediately after Quintus Fabius and Publius Decius, omitting the two years in which I have inserted the consulships of Claudius and Volumnius and of Cornelius and Marcius. Whether this was due to a slip of memory in drawing up the lists or whether he purposely omitted them, believing them to be wrongly inserted, is uncertain. |
The Samnites made forays this year into the district of Stellae in Campania. Both consuls accordingly were despatched to Samnium. Postumius marched to Tifernum, Minucius made Bovianum his objective. Postumius was the first to come into touch with the enemy and a battle was fought at Tifernum. Some authorities state that the Samnites were thoroughly beaten and 24,000 prisoners taken. According to others the battle was an indecisive one, and Postumius, in order to create an impression that he was afraid of the enemy, withdrew by night into the mountains, whither the enemy followed him and took up an entrenched position two miles away from him. To keep up the appearance of having sought a safe and commodious place for a standing camp -- and such it really was -- the consul strongly entrenched himself and furnished his camp with all necessary stores. Then, leaving a strong detachment to hold it, he started at the third watch and led his legions in light marching order by the shortest possible route to his colleague, who was also encamped in front of another Samnium army. Acting on Postumius' advice Minucius engaged the enemy, and after the battle had gone on for the greater part of the day without either side gaining the advantage, Postumius brought up his fresh legions and made an unsuspected attack upon the enemy's wearied lines. Exhausted by fighting and by wounds they were incapable of flight and were practically annihilated. Twenty-one standards were captured. Both armies marched to the camp which Postumius had formed, and there they routed and dispersed the enemy, who were demoralised by the news of the previous battle. Twenty-six standards were captured, the captain-general of the Samnites, Statius Gellius, and a large number of men were made prisoners, and both camps were taken.
The next day they commenced an attack on Bovianum which was soon taken, and the consuls after their brilliant successes celebrated a joint triumph. Some authorities assert that the consul Minucius was carried back to the camp severely wounded and died there, and that Marcus Fulvius was made consul in his place, and after taking over the command of Minucius' army effected the capture of Bovianum.
|Dictatorem idem annus habuit P. Cornelium Scipionem cum magistro equitum P. Decio Mure. Ab his, propter quae creati erant, comitia consularia habita, quia neuter consulum potuerat bello abesse. Creati consules L. Postumius Ti. Minucius. Hos consules Piso Q. Fabio et P. Decio suggerit biennio exempto, quo Claudium Volumniumque et Cornelium cum Marcio consules factos tradidimus. Memoriane fugerit in annalibus digerendis an consulto binos consules, falsos ratus, transcenderit, incertum est. Eodem anno in campum Stellatem agri Campani Samnitium incursiones factae. Itaque ambo consules in Samnium missi cum diuersas regiones, Tifernum Postumius, Bouianum Minucius petisset, Postumi prius ductu ad Tifernum pugnatum. Alii haud dubie Samnites uictos ac uiginti milia hominum capta tradunt, alii Marte aequo discessum et Postumium metum simulantem nocturno itinere clam in montes copias abduxisse, hostes secutos duo milia inde locis munitis et ipsos consedisse. Consul ut statiua tuta copiosaque—et ita erant—petisse uideretur, postquam et munimentis castra firmauit et omni apparatu rerum utilium instruxit, relicto firmo praesidio de uigilia tertia, qua duci proxime potest, expeditas legiones ad collegam, et ipsum aduersus alios sedentem, ducit. Ibi auctore Postumio Minucius cum hostibus signa confert; et cum anceps proelium in multum diei processisset, tum Postumius integris legionibus defessam iam aciem hostium improuiso inuadit. Itaque cum lassitudo ac uolnera fugam quoque praepedissent, occidione occisi hostes, signa unum et uiginti capta, atque inde ad castra Postumi perrectum. Ibi duo uictores exercitus perculsum iam fama hostem adorti fundunt fugantque; signa militaria sex et uiginti capta et imperator Samnitium Statius Gellius multique alii mortales et castra utraque capta. Et Bouianum urbs postero die coepta oppugnari breui capitur magnaque gloria rerum gestarum consules triumpharunt. Minucium consulem, cum uolnere graui relatum in castra, mortuum quidam auctores sunt, et M. Fuluium in locum eius consulem suffectum et ab eo, cum ad exercitum Minuci missus esset, Bouianum captum. Eo anno Sora Arpinum Cesennia recepta ab Samnitibus; Herculis magnum simulacrum in Capitolio positum dedicatumque.|