In the Roman army, though the two consuls were invested with equal authority, the supreme command was by the concession of Agrippa resigned to his colleague, a thing which is most salutary in the management of matters of great importance; and he who was preferred politely re- [p. 245]
sponded to the ready condescension of him who lowered himself; by communicating to him all his measures and sharing with him his honours, and by equalizing himself to him no longer his equal.
On the field of battle Quintius commanded the right, Agrippa the left wing; the command of the cent al line is intrusted to Spurius Postumius Albus, as lieutenant-general.
Servius Sulpicius, the other lieutenant-general, they place over the cavalry.
The infantry on the right wing fought with distinguished valour, with stout resistance front the Volscians. Servius Sulpicius broke with his cavalry through the centre of the enemy's line; whence though he might have returned in the same way to his own party, before the enemy could have restored their broken ranks, it seemed more advisable to attack the enemy's rear, and by attacking the rear he would in a moment have dispersed the enemy by the twofold attack, had not the cavalry of the Volscians and Aequans intercepted him and kept him engaged by a mode of fighting similar to his own.
Then indeed Sulpicius asserted that “there was no time for delaying,” crying out that “they were surrounded and cut off from their own friends, unless they united all their efforts and despatched the engagement with the cavalry.
Nor was it enough to rout the enemy without disabling them; that they should slay horses and men, lest any might return to the fight or renew the battle; that they could not resist them, before whom a compact body of infantry had given way.”
His orders were addressed to by no means deaf ears; by one charge they routed the entire cavalry, dismounted great numbers, and killed with their javelins both the men and the horses.
This put a termination to the battle with the cavalry. Then attacking the enemy's line, they send an account to the consuls of what they had done, where the enemy's line was now giving way.
The news both gave new spirits to the Romans who were now conquering, and dismayed the Aequans as they were beginning to give way. They first began to be beaten n the centre, where the charge of the cavalry had broken their ranks.
Then the left wing began to lose ground before the consul Quintius; there was most difficulty on the right. Then Agrippa, buoyed up by youth and vigour, on seeing matters going more favourably in every part of the battle than in his own quarter, took some of the standards from the standard-bearers and carried them on himself, some even he began to [p. 246]
throw into the thick of the enemy.
The soldiers, urged on by the fear of this disgrace, attacked the enemy; thus the victory was equalized in every quarter. News then came from Quintius that he, being now victorious, was about to attack the enemy's camp; that he was unwilling to break into it before he learned that they were beaten in the left wing also.
If he had routed the enemy, that he should now join him, that all the army together might take possession of the booty.
Agrippa being victorious came with mutual congratulations to his victorious colleague and to the enemy's camp. There being but few to defend it, and these being routed in a moment, they break into the fortifications without a struggle; and they march back the army after it obtained a large share of spoil, having recovered also their own effects, which had been lost by the devastation of the lands.
I have not ascertained that either they themselves demanded a triumph, nor that such was conferred on them by the senate; nor is any cause assigned for the honour being either overlooked or not hoped for.
As far as I can conjecture at so great a distance of time, when a triumph had been refused to the consuls Horatius and Valerius, who, in addition to the Aequans and Volscians, had gained the glory of finishing the Sabine war, the consuls were ashamed to demand a triumph for one half of the services done by them; lest if they even should obtain it, regard of persons rather than of merit might appear to have been entertained.