But both gods and men interfered to prevent the Romans from living on the condition of being ransomed; for by some chance, before the execrable price was completed, all the gold being not yet weighed in consequence of the altercation, the dictator comes up, and orders the gold to be removed, and the Gauls to clear away.
When they, holding out against him, affirmed that they had concluded a bargain, he denied that the agreement was a valid one, which had been entered into with a magistrate of inferior authority without his orders, after he had been nominated dictator; and he gives notice to the Gauls to get ready for battle.
He orders his men to throw their baggage in a heap, and to get ready their arms, and to recover their country with steel, not with gold, having before their eyes the temples of the gods, and their wives and children, and the soil of their country disfigured by the calamities of war, and all those objects which they were solemnly bound [p. 383]
to defend, to recover, and to revenge.
He then draws up his army, as the nature of the place admitted, on the site of the half-demolished city, and which was uneven by nature, and he secured all those advantages for his own men, which could be prepared or selected by military skill.
The Gauls, thrown into confusion by the unexpected event, take up arms, and with rage, rather than good judgment, rushed upon the Romans. Fortune had now changed; now the aid of the gods and human prudence assisted the Roman cause. At the first encounter, therefore, the Gauls were routed with no greater difficulty than they had found in gaining the victory at Allia.
They were afterwards beaten under the conduct and auspices of the same Camillus, in a more regular engagement, at the eighth stone on the Gabine road, whither they had betaken themselves after their defeat.
There the slaughter was universal: their camp was taken, and not even one person was left to carry news of the defeat. The dictator, after having recovered his country from the enemy, returns into the city in triumph; and among the rough military jests which they throw out [on such occasions] he is styled, with praises by no means undeserved, Romulus, and parent of his country, and a second founder of the city.
His country, thus preserved by arms, he unquestionably saved a second time in peace, when he hindered the people from removing to Veii, both the tribunes pressing the matter with greater earnestness after the burning of the city, and the commons of themselves being more inclined to that measure;
and that was the cause of his not resigning his dictatorship after the triumph, the senate entreating him not to leave the commonwealth in so unsettled a state.