The right wing of the Gauls attacked fiercely, and it would have been impossible to stop them, if the dictator had not happened to be there. Calling out to Sextus Tullius by name, he chid him and asked if this was the kind of fighting he had promised that the men should do.
Where were those shouts with which they had called for arms? Where were their threats that they would begin the battle without the general's orders? Here was their general himself, who with a loud voice summoned them to fight, and advanced, sword in hand, in the very van!
Of those who but now were ready to lead, was there none to follow? They might swagger in camp; in the field they were arrant cowards. What he said was the truth, and so stung them with shame that they rushed on the weapons of the enemy in utter forgetfulness of danger.
This well-nigh frenzied onset first threw their enemies into disarray, and before they could recover their confusion the cavalry charged and routed them. The dictator himself, as soon as he saw that a part of their line was wavering, turned the infantry attack against their left, where he descried a throng of the enemy gathering, and made the appointed signal to those on the mountain.
And when they too raised a shout and were seen to [p. 407]
be moving obliquely down the mountain in the1
direction of the Gallic camp, the enemy, fearing to be shut out, ceased fighting and rushed pell-mell for their entrenchments.
There however they were met by Marcus Valerius, the master of the horse, who, having scattered the enemy's right wing, was then riding up to their works;
whereupon they turned and fled towards the mountains and the woods, where very many of them were intercepted by the muleteers masquerading as cavalry; and those whose fright had carried them into the woods were pitilessly slaughtered, after the battle had died down.
Not since the time of Marcus Furius has anyone celebrated a Gallic triumph that was better deserved than that of Gaius Sulpicius. He also collected from the spoils a considerable weight of gold, which he walled up with hewn stone in the Capitol, and so dedicated.
In the same year the consuls, too, waged war with varying success. Gaius Plautius defeated the Hernici and reduced them to subjection; his colleague Fabius showed neither prudence nor skill in his battle with the Tarquinienses.
And yet the disaster experienced on the field was overshadowed by the fact that the Tarquinienses slew three hundred and seven captured Roman soldiers as a sacrifice —an act of savage cruelty that greatly emphasized the humiliation of the Roman People.
In addition to this defeat, the Romans suffered the devastation of their fields in sudden incursions made by the Privernates, and afterwards by the Veliterni.
In the same year two tribes were added;2
the Pomptine and the Publilian; the votive games, [p. 409]
which Marcus Furius had vowed as dictator, were3
given; and a statute against bribery was then for the first time laid before the people by Gaius Poetelius, tribune of the plebs, with the approbation of the senate.
By this measure they thought to have suppressed corrupt practices, particularly on the part of men risen from the people, who were wont to haunt the country fairs and gathering-places.