While such was the state of affairs at Rome, the Etrurians had laid siege to Sutrium, and the consul Fabius, as he was marching along the foot of the mountains, with a design to succour the allies, and attempt the enemy's works, if it were by any means practicable, was met by their army prepared for battle.
As the wide-extended plain below showed the greatness of their force, the consul, in order to remedy his deficiency in point of number, by advantage of the ground, changed the direction of his route a little towards the hills, where the way was rugged and covered with stones, and then formed his troops, facing the enemy.
The Etrurians, thinking of nothing but their numbers, on which alone they depended, commence the fight with such haste and eagerness, that, in order to come the sooner to a close engagement, they threw
away their javelins, drew their swords, rushing against the enemy. On the other side, the Romans poured down on them, sometimes javelins, and sometimes stones, which the place abundantly supplied;
so that whilst the blows on their shields and helmets confused even those whom they did not
wound, (it was neither an easy matter to come to close quarters, nor had they missive weapons with which to fight at a distance,) when there was nothing now to protect them whilst standing and exposed to the blows, some even giving way, and the whole line wavering and unsteady, [p. 609]
the spearmen and the first rank, renewing the shout, rush on them with drawn swords.
This attack the Etrurians could not withstand, but, facing about, fled precipitately towards their camp; when the Roman cavalry, getting before them by galloping obliquely across the plain, threw themselves in the way of their flight, on which they quitted the road, and bent their course to the mountains.
From thence, in a body, almost without arms, and debilitated with wounds, they made their way into the Ciminian forest. The Romans, having slain many thousands of the Etrurians, and taken thirty-eight military standards, took also possession of their camp, together with a vast quantity of spoil. They then began to consider of pursuing the enemy.