during the progress of this affair in Rome, the Etruscans were already laying siege to Sutrium; and the consul Fabius, leading his army along the foot of the mountains to relieve the allies, and, if in any way practicable, to attack the works of the besiegers, encountered the enemy drawn up in line of battle.
The plain spreading out below him revealed to the consul their exceeding strength; and in order to make up for his own deficiency in numbers by the advantage of position, he altered slightly his line of march, so as to mount the hills —which were rough and covered with stones —and there turned and faced the enemy.
The Etruscans, forgetting everything but their numbers, in which alone they trusted, entered the combat with such haste and eagerness that they cast away their missiles in order to come the sooner to close quarters, and drawing their swords rushed at the enemy.
The Romans, on the contrary, fell to pelting them, now with javelins and now with stones, of which latter the ground itself provided a good supply;
and even such of the Etruscans as were not wounded were confused by the blows that rattled down on their helms and shields.
it was no easy matter to get close enough [p. 301]
for fighting hand to hand, and they had no javelins1
for long —range work. there they stood, exposed to missiles, with no adequate cover of any sort, and as some of them gave ground and the line began to waver and be unsteady, the Roman first and second lines, giving a fresh cheer, charged them, sword in hand.
their onset was too much for the Etruscans, who faced about and fled headlong towards their camp.
but the Roman cavalry, riding obliquely across the plain, presented themselves in front of the fugitives, who then abandoned the attempt to reach their camp and sought the mountains; from which they made their way in a body, unarmed and suffering from their wounds, to the Ciminian Forest. The Romans, having slain many thousand Etruscans and captured eight —and —thirty standards, took possession also of the enemy's camp, with a very large booty. they then began to consider the feasibility of a pursuit.