There was then among the cavalry, Aulus Cornelius Cossus, a tribune of the soldiers, distinguished for the beauty of his person, and equally so for courage and great strength of body, and mindful of his rank, which, having received in a state of the highest lustre, he left to his posterity still greater and more distinguished.
He perceiving that the Roman troops gave way at the approach of Tolumnius, wherever he directed his charge, and knowing him as being remarkable by his royal apparel, as
he flew through the entire line, ex- [p. 272]
claims, “Is this the infringer of human treaties and the vio- lator of the law of nations? This victim I shall now slay, (provided the gods wish that there should be any thing sacred on earth,) and shall offer him up to the manes of the ambassadors.”
Having clapped spurs to his horse, he advances against this single foe with spear presented; and after having struck and unhorsed him, he immediately, by help of his lance, sprung on the ground.
And as the king attempted to rise, he throws him back again with the boss of his shield, and with repeated thrusts pins him to the earth. He then stripped off the spoils from the lifeless body; and having cut off his head and carrying it on the point of his spear, he puts the enemy to rout through terror on seeing their king slain.
Thus the line of cavalry, which alone had rendered the combat doubtful, was beaten. The dictator pursues closely the routed legions, and drove them to their camp with slaughter. The greater number of the Fidenatians, through their knowledge of the country, made their escape to the mountains. Cossus, having crossed the Tiber with the cavalry, carried off great plunder from the Veientian territory to the city.
During the battle there was a fight also at the Roman camp against a party of the forces, which, as has been already mentioned, had been sent by Tolumnius to the camp.
Fabius Vibulanus first defends his lines by a ring; then, whilst the enemy were wholly taken up with the entrenchment, sallying out from the principal gate on the right, he suddenly attacks them with the triarii: and a panic being thus struck into them there was less slaughter, because they were fewer, but their flight was no less disorderly than it had been on the field of battle.