When day dawned, the Romans, invigorated and refreshed with sleep, on being marched out to battle, at the first onset overpowered the Volscians, wearied from standing and want of rest; though the enemy rather retired than were routed, because in the rear there were hills to which there was a secure retreat, the ranks behind the first line being unbroken.
The consul, when they came to the uneven ground, halts his army; the soldiers were kept back with difficulty; they cried out and demanded to be allowed to pursue the enemy now discomfited. The cavalry, crowding around the general, proceed more violently: they cry out that they would proceed before the first line.
Whilst the consul hesitates, relying on the valour of his men, yet having little confidence in the place, they all cry out that they would proceed; and execution followed the shout. Fixing their spears in the ground, in order that they may be lighter to ascend the steeps, they run upwards.
The Volscians, having discharged their missile weapons at the first onset, fling the stones lying at their feet on them as they advanced upwards, and having thrown them into confusion by incessant blows, they drove them from the higher ground: thus the left wing of the Romans was nearly overborne, had not the consul dispelled their fear by exciting a sense of shame as they were just retreating, chiding at the same time their temerity and their cowardice. At first they stood their ground with determined firmness; then, according as their strength carried them against those in possession of the ground, they venture to advance themselves; and by renewing the shout they encourage the whole body to move on; then again making a new effort, they force their way up and surmount the disadvantage of the ground.
They were on the point of gaining the summit of the eminence, when the enemy turned their backs, and the pursued and pursuers with precipitate speed rushed into the camp almost in a body.
In this consternation the camp is taken; [p. 157]
such of the Volscians as were able to make their escape, take the road to Antium. The Roman army also was led to Antium; after being invested for a few days it surrenders without any additional force of the besiegers,1
but because their spirits had sunk ever since the unsuccessful battle and the loss of their camp.