Early Conflicts between Gauls and Romans
In the early times of their settlement they did not
merely subdue the territory which they occupied, but rendered
also many of the neighbouring peoples subject to them, whom
they overawed by their audacity. Some time afterwards they
conquered the Romans in battle, and pursuing the flying
legions, in three days after the battle occupied Rome
with the exception of the Capitol.
Battle of the Allia, 18th July, B. C. 390.
But a circumstance intervened which recalled them home,
an invasion, that is to say, of their territory by
the Venĕti. Accordingly they made terms with the Romans,
handed back the city, and returned to their own land; and
subsequently were occupied with domestic wars. Some of the
tribes, also, who dwelt on the Alps
, comparing their own barren
districts with the rich territory occupied by the others, were continually making raids upon them, and collecting their force
to attack them.
Latin war, B. C. 349-340.
This gave the Romans time
to recover their strength, and to come to terms
with the people of Latium
. When, thirty
years after the capture of the city, the Celts came again as far
as Alba, the Romans were taken by surprise; and
having had no intelligence of the intended invasion, nor time to collect the forces of the Socii, did not
venture to give them battle.
But when another invasion in
great force took place twelve years later, they
did get previous intelligence of it; and, having
mustered their allies, sallied forth to meet them with great
spirit, being eager to engage them and fight a decisive battle.
But the Gauls were dismayed at their approach; and, being
besides weakened by internal feuds, retreated homewards as
soon as night fell, with all the appearance of a regular flight.
After this alarm they kept quiet for thirteen
years; at the end of which period, seeing
that the power of the Romans was growing formidable, they
made a peace and a definite treaty with them.