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Camillus, chapter 20: The Battle of the Allia[390 BC]
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Whilst the barbarians were thus hastening with all speed, the military tribunes brought the Romans into the field to be ready to engage them, being not inferior to the Gauls in number (for they were no less than forty thousand foot), but most of them raw soldiers, and such as had never handled a weapon before. Besides, they had wholly neglected all religious usages, had not obtained favorable sacrifices, nor made inquiries of the prophets, natural in danger and before battle. No less did the multitude of commanders distract and confound their proceedings; frequently before, upon less occasions, they had chosen a single leader, with the title of dictator, being sensible of what great importance it is in critical times to have the soldiers united under one general with the entire and absolute control placed in his hands. Add to all, the remembrance of Camillus's treatment, which made it now seem a dangerous thing for officers to command without humoring their soldiers. In this condition they left the city, and encamped by the river Allia, about ten miles from Rome, and not far from the place where it falls into the Tiber; and here the Gauls came upon them, and, after a disgraceful resistance, devoid of order and discipline, they were miserably defeated. The left wing was immediately driven into the river, and there destroyed; the right had less damage by declining the shock, and from the low grounds getting to the tops of the hills, from whence most of them afterwards dropped into the city; the rest, as many as escaped, the enemy being weary of the slaughter, stole by night to Veii, giving up Rome and all that was in it for lost. |
Event: The battle of Allia
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Foot:a. part of the body (3379). b. infantry (6534).