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Display Latin text
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VI Chapter 13: War with Volscians. Cont.[385 BC]
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The vast host of the enemy, relying solely on their numbers and measuring the strength of each army merely by their eyes, went recklessly into the battle and as recklessly abandoned it. Courageous enough in the battle shout, in discharging their weapons, in making the first charge, they were unable to stand the foot to foot fighting and the looks of their opponents, glowing with the ardour of battle. Their front was driven in and the demoralisation extended to the supports; the charge of the cavalry produced fresh panic; the ranks were broken in many places, the whole army was in commotion and resembled a retreating wave. When each of them saw that as those in front fell he would be the next to be cut down, they turned and fled. The Romans pressed hard upon them, and as long as the enemy defended themselves whilst retreating, it was the infantry to whom the task of pursuit fell. When they were seen to be throwing away their arms in all directions and dispersing over the field, the signal was given for the squadrons of cavalry to be launched against them, and these were instructed not to lose time by cutting down individual fugitives and to give the main body a chance of escaping. It would be enough to check them by hurling missiles and galloping across their front, and generally terrifying them until the infantry could come up and regularly dispatch the enemy. The flight and pursuit did not end till nightfall. The Volscian camp was taken and plundered on the same day, and all the booty, with the exception of the prisoners, was bestowed on the soldiers. |
The majority of the captives belonged to the Hernici and Latins, not men of the plebeian class, who might have been regarded as only mercenaries, they were found to include some of the principal men of their fighting force, a clear proof that those States had formally assisted the enemy. Some were also recognised as belonging to Circeii and to the colony at Velitrae. They were all sent to Rome and examined by the leaders of the senate; they gave them the same replies which they had made to the dictator [Note 1], and disclosed without any attempt at evasion the defection of their respective nations.
Note 1: dictator = Aulus Cornelius Cossus
Event: War with Volscians
Foot:a. part of the body (3379). b. infantry (6534).