Next day the dictator, taking the auspices anew, obtained the order, and, marching out at the head of the legions, lately raised on the alarm occasioned by the army passing the Ciminian forest, came to Longula;
where having received the old troops of the consul Marcius, he led on his forces to battle; nor did the enemy seem to decline the combat. However, they stood drawn up for battle and under arms, until night came on; neither side choosing to begin the fray.
After this, they continued a considerable time encamped near each other, without coming to action; neither diffident of their own strength, nor despising the adversary.
Meanwhile matters went on actively in Etruria; for a decisive battle was fought with the Umbrians, in which the enemy was routed, but lost not many men, for they did not maintain the fight with the vigour with which they began it.
Besides this the Etrurians, having raised an army under the sanctions of the devoting law, each man choosing another, came to an engagement at the Cape of Vadimon, with more numerous forces, and, at the same time, with greater spirit than they had ever shown before.
The battle was fought with such animosity that no javelins were thrown by either party: swords alone were made use [p. 615]
of; and the fury of the combatants was still higher inflamed by the long-continued contest; so that it appeared to the Romans as if they were disputing, not with Etrurians, whom they had so often conquered, but with a new race.
Not the semblance of giving ground appeared in any part; the first lines fell; and lest the standards should be exposed, without defence, the second lines were formed in their place.
At length, even the men forming the last reserves were called into action; and to such an extremity of difficulty and danger had they come, that the Roman cavalry dismounted, and pressed forward, through heaps of arms and bodies, to the front ranks of the infantry.
These starting up a new army, as it were, among men now exhausted, disordered the battalions of the Etrurians; and the rest, weak as their condition was, seconding their assault, broke at last through the enemy's ranks.
Their obstinacy then began to give way: some companies quitted their posts, and, as soon as they once turned their backs, betook themselves to more decided flight.
That day first broke the strength of the Etrurians, now grown exuberant through a long course of prosperity; all the flower of their men were cut off in the field, and in the same assault their camp was seized and sacked.