The body of cavalry, in the most exact order possible, charging the enemy, who were straggling and embarrassed, filled every place with slaughter:
for amid the packages which they hastily threw down, and which lay in the way of their feet, and of the affrighted horses, as they endeavoured to escape, being now unable either to fight or fly, they are slaughtered.
Then Fabius, after he had almost entirely cut off the enemy's horse, led round his squadrons in a small circuit, and attacked the infantry in the rear.
The new shout, raised in that quarter, terrified the Samnites on the one hand; and when, on the other, the dictator saw their troops in the van looking behind them, their battalions in confusion, and their line wavering, he earnestly exhorted and animated his men, calling on the tribunes and chief centurions, by name, to join him in renewing the fight.
Raising the shout anew, they pressed forward, and as they advanced, perceived the enemy more and more confused.
The cavalry now could be seen by those in front, and Cornelius, turning about to the several companies, made them understand, by raising his voice and hands, that he saw the standards and bucklers of his own horsemen.
On hearing which, and at the same time seeing them, they, at once, so far forgot the fatigue which they had endured through almost the whole day, and even their wounds, that they rushed on against the enemy with as much vigour and alacrity as if they were coming fresh out of camp on receiving the signal for battle.
The Samnites could no longer sustain the charge of horse and foot together; part of them, enclosed on both sides, were cut off; the rest were scattered and fled different ways.
The infantry slew those [p. 557]
who were surrounded and made resistance; and the cavalry made great havoc of the fugitives, among whom fell their general.
This battle crushed, at length, the power of the Samnites so effectually, that, in all their meetings, they said, “it was not at all to be wondered at, if in an impious war, commenced in violation of a treaty, when the gods were, with justice, more incensed against them than men, they succeeded in none of their undertakings.
That war must be expiated and atoned for with a heavy penalty. The only alternative they had, was whether the penalty should be the guilty blood of a few, or the innocent blood of all.”
Some now ventured to name the authors of the war; one name in particular, by the united voices of all, was mentioned, that of Brutulus Papius; he was a man of power and noble birth, and undoubtedly the violator of the late truce.
The praetors being compelled to take the opinion of the assembly concerning him, a decree was made, “that Brutulus Papius should be delivered into the hands of the Romans; and that, together with him all the spoil taken from the Romans, and the prisoners, should be sent to Rome, and that the restitution demanded by the heralds, in conformity to treaty, should be made as was agreeable to justice and equity.”
In pursuance of this determination heralds were sent to Rome, and also the dead body of Brutulus; for, by a voluntary death, he avoided the punishment and ignominy intended for him.
It was thought proper that his goods also should be delivered up along with the body. But none of all those things were accepted, except the prisoners, and such articles of the spoil as were recognised by the owners. The dictator obtained a triumph by a decree of the senate.