Strange to relate, that single combat had such a farreaching influence upon the whole war that the Gauls hastily abandoned their camp and moved off into the neighbourhood of Tibur. They formed an alliance offensive and defensive with that city, and the Tiburtines supplied them generously with provisions. After receiving this assistance they passed on into Campania.
This was the reason why in the following year the consul, C. Poetilius Balbus, led an army, by order of the people, against the Tiburtines, though the conduct of the war against the Hernici had fallen by lot to his colleague, M. Fabius Ambustus.
Though the Gauls had come back from Campania to their assistance, it was undoubtedly by the Tiburtine generals that the cruel depredations in the territories of Labici, Tusculum, and Alba were carried out. To act against the Tiburtines, the republic was content with a consul, but the sudden re-appearance of the Gauls required a Dictator.
Q. Servilius Ahala was nominated, and he selected T. Quinctius as Master of the Horse. On the authority of the senate, he made a vow to celebrate the Great Games, should the issue of the war prove favourable.
After giving orders for the consul's army to remain where it was, in order to confine the Tiburtines to their own war, the Dictator mode all the ‘juniors’ take the military oath, without a single refusal.
The battle, in which the whole strength of the City was engaged, took place not far from the Colline Gate in the sight of the parents and wives and children of the Roman soldiers. Even when absent, the thought of those near and dear to one is a great incentive to courage, but now that they were within view they fired the men with a firm resolve to win their applause and secure their safety.
There was great slaughter on both sides, but the Gauls were in the end repulsed, and fled in the direction of Tibur as though it were a Gaulish stronghold. The straggling fugitives were intercepted by the consul not far from Tibur; the townsmen sallied out to render them assistance, and they and the Gauls were driven within their gates.
So the consul was equally successful with the Dictator.
The other consul, Fabius, crushed the Hernici in successive defeats, at first in comparatively unimportant actions and then finally in one great battle when the enemy attacked him in full strength.
The Dictator passed splendid encomiums on the consuls, both in the senate and before the people, and even transferred to them the credit for his own success.
He then laid down his office. Poetilius celebrated a double triumph —over the Gauls and over the Tiburtines. It was considered a sufficient honour for Fabius to be allowed to enter the City in an ovation.
The Tiburtines laughed at Poetilius' triumph. ‘When,’ they said, ‘had he ever met them in a pitched battle? A few of them had come outside their gates to watch the disordered flight of the Gauls, but when they found that they, too, were being attacked and cut down indiscriminately they retreated into their city.
Did the Romans deem that sort of thing worthy of a triumph? They must not look upon it as too great and wonderful a thing to create disorder in an enemy's gates; they would themselves see greater confusion and panic before their own walls.’