During these occurrences the cavalry had been despatched onward to Alba to remove the multitude to Rome. The legions were next led thither to demolish the city.
When they entered the gates, there was not indeed that tumult nor panic, such as usually takes place with captured cities when the gates being burst open, or the walls levelled by the ram, or the citadel taken by assault, the shouts of the enemy and rush of armed men through the city throws every thing into confusion by fire and sword:
but gloomy silence and speechless sorrow so absorbed the minds of all, that, through fear, forgetting what they should leave behind, what they should take with them, all concert failing them, and frequently making inquiries of each other, they now stood at their thresholds, now wandering about they strayed through their houses, doomed to see them for that the last time.
But as soon as the shouts of the horsemen commanding them to depart now urged them on, the crashing of the dwellings which were being demolished, was now heard in the remotest parts of the city, and the dust, rising in distant places, had filled every quarter as with a cloud spread over them;
hastily snatching up whatever each of them could, whilst they went forth leaving behind them their guardian deity and household gods, and the homes in which each had been born and brought up, a continued train of emigrants soon filled the ways, and the sight of others through mutual commiseration renewed their tears, and piteous cries too were heard, of the women more especially, when they passed by their revered temples now beset with armed men, and left their gods as it were in captivity.
After the Albans had evacuated the town, the Roman soldiery level all the public and private edifices indiscriminately to the ground, and one short hour consigned to demolition and ruin the work of four hundred years, during which Alba had stood. The temples of the gods, however, for such had been the orders given by the king, were spared.