Then the dictator, having sent criers
through the streets, [p. 287]
and having summoned the alarmed citizens to an assembly, began to chide them “that they allowed their minds to depend on such slight impulses of fortune, that, on the receipt of a trifling loss, which itself was sustained not by the bravery of the enemy, nor by the cowardice of the Roman army, but by the disagreement of the generals, they now dreaded the Veientian enemy, six times vanquished, and Fidenae, which was almost taken oftener than attacked.
That both the Romans and the enemies were the same as they were for so many ages: that they retained the same spirits, the same bodily strength, the same arms. That he himself, Mamercus Aemilius, was also the same dictator, who formerly defeated the armies of the Veientians and Fidenatians, with the additional support of the Faliscians, at Nomentum.
That his master of the horse, Aulus Cornelius, would be the same in the field, he who, as military tribune in a former war, slew Lar Tolumnius, king of the Veientians, in the sight of both armies, and brought the spolia opima
into the temple of Jupiter Feretrius.
Wherefore that they should take up arms, mindful that with them were triumphs, with them spoils, with them victory; with the enemy the guilt of murdering the ambassadors contrary to the law of nations, the massacre of the Fidenatian colonists in time of peace, the infraction of truces, a seventh unsuccessful revolt.
As soon as they should bring their camp near them, he was fully confident that the joy of these most impious enemies at the disgrace of the Roman army would not be of long continuance,
and that the Roman people would be convinced how much better those persons deserved of the republic, who nominated him dictator for the third time, than those who, in consequence of his abolishing the despotism of the censorship, would cast a slur on his second dictatorship.”
Having offered up his vows and set out on his march, he pitches his camp fifteen hundred paces on this side of Fidenae, covered on his right by mountains, on his left by the river Tiber.
He orders Titus Quintius Pennus to take possession of the mountains, and to post himself secretly on some eminence which night be in the enemy's rear.
On the following day, when the Etrurians had marched out to the field, full of confidence in consequence of their accidental success of the preceding day, rather than of their good fighting, he himself, having delayed a little until the senate brought back word that Quintius ha gained [p. 288]
an eminence nigh to the citadel of Fidenae, puts his troops into motion and led on his line of infantry in order of battle in their quickest pace against the enemy:
the master of the horse he directs not to commence the fight without orders; that, when it would be necessary, he would give the signal for the aid of the cavalry; then that he would conduct the action, mindful of his fight with the king, mindful of the rich oblation, and of Romulus and Jupiter Feretrius.
The legions begin the conflict with impetuosity. The Romans, fired with hatred, gratified that feeling both with deeds and words, calling the Fidenatian impious, the Veientian robbers, truce-breakers, stained with the horrid murder of ambassadors, sprinkled with the blood of their own brother-colonists, treacherous allies, and dastardly enemies.