Then the contest is carried on between the leading men of the two states. Whatever the common fortune of war carried off from either side, the loss was many times greater than can be estimated by the numbers: the rest, an armed populace, as if they had delegated the fight to the leading men, rest the issue of their own success on the bravery of others.
Many fall on both sides; more are wounded. At length the horsemen, chiding each other, asking, “what now remained,” if neither when mounted they had made an impression on the enemy, nor as infantry did they achieve any thing of moment; what third mode of fighting did they wait for?
Why had they so fiercely rushed forward before the line, and fought in a post not belonging to them? Aroused by these mutual chidings, they raise the shout anew, and press forward; and [p. 456]
first they made the enemy shrink, then made them give way, and at length fairly made them turn their backs.
Nor is it easy to say what circumstance obtained the advantage against strength so well matched; except that the constant fortune of both people might have raised or depressed their spirits.
The Romans pursued the Hernicians in their flight to their camp; they refrained from attacking the camp, because it was late. The fact of not having finished the sacrifices with success detained the dictator, so that he could not give the signal before noon, and hence the contest was protracted till night.
Next day the camp of the Hernicians was deserted, and some wounded men were found left behind, and the main body of the fugitives was routed by the Signians, as their standards were seen passing by their walls but thinly attended, and dispersed over the country in precipitate flight.
Nor was the victory an unbloody one to the Romans; a fourth part of the soldiers perished; and, where there was no less of loss, several Roman horsemen fell.