During those days many movements and many attempts were made on either side, because the enemy, having the advantage in numbers, attempted to weaken the Roman strength by dividing it into many parts, as not being likely to suffice for all points of attack.
At the same time the camp was besieged, at the same time a part of the army was sent to devastate the Roman territory, and to attempt the city itself, if fortune should favour.
Lucius Valerius was left to guard the city: the consul Postumius was sent to repel the attacks on the frontiers.
There was no abatement in any part either in vigilance or activity; watches in the city, out-posts before the gates, and guards stationed along the walls: and a justitium was observed for several days (a thing which was necessary in such general confusion). In the mean time the consul Furius, after he had at first passively endured the siege in his camp, burst forth from the Decuman gate on the enemy when off their guard;
and though he might have pursued them, he stopped through fear, lest an attack should be made on the camp from the other side.
The lieutenant-general Furius (he was the consul's brother) was carried away too far by his ardour; nor did he, from his eagerness to pursue, observe his own party returning, nor the attack of the enemy on his rear: thus being shut out, after repeatedly making many unavailing efforts to force his way to the camp, he fell, fighting bravely.
And the consul, turning about to renew the fight, on hearing the account that his brother was surrounded, rushing into the thick of the fight rather rashly than with sufficient caution, received a wound, and was with difficulty rescued by those around him.
This both damped the courage of his own men, [p. 164]
and rendered the enemy more daring; who, being encouraged by the death of the lieutenant-general, and by the consul's wound, could not afterwards be withstood by any force, so as to prevent the Romans from being driven within their camp and again submitting to a siege, as being a match for them neither in hopes nor in strength; and every thing would have been endangered, had not T. Quintius come to their relief with foreign troops from the Latin and Hernician army.
He at- tacked the Aequans on their rear whilst intent on the Roman camp, and insultingly displaying the head of the lieutenant- general, and, a sally being made at the same time from the camp on a signal given at a distance by him, he surrounded a great number of the enemy.
Of the Aequans on the Roman territory the slaughter was less, their dispersion was more complete. On these as they straggled in different directions, and were driving plunder before them, Postumius made an attack in several places, where he had posted convenient de- tachments; these straying about and pursuing their flight in great disorder, fell in with the victorious Quintius as he was returning with the wounded consul.
Then did the consular army by their distinguished bravery take ample vengeance for the consul's wound, and for the death of the lieutenant-general and the cohorts; heavy losses were both inflicted and received on both sides during those days.
In a matter of such anti- quity it is difficult to state with certainty the exact number of those who fought or fell: Antias Valerius, however, ven- tures to sum them up;
that in the Hernician territory there fell five thousand three hundred Romans; that of the preda- tory parties of the Aequans, who strayed through the Roman frontiers for the purpose of plundering, two thousand four hundred were slain by the consul Postumius; that the rest of the body that were driving booty before them, and which fell in with Quintius, by no means got off with so light a loss: that of these four thousand, and by way of stating the num- ber exactly, two hundred and thirty, were slain.
After this they returned to Rome; the order for the justitium was dis- charged. The sky seemed to be all on fire; and other pro- digies either actually presented themselves to their sight, or exhibited imaginary appearances to their affrighted minds. To avert these terrors, a solemn festival of three days was pro- claimed, during which, all the temples were filled with a [p. 165]
crowd of men and women, earnestly imploring the protection of the gods.
After this the Latin and Hernician cohorts were sent back to their respective homes, thanks having been returned to them for their spirited military services. The thousand soldiers from Antium were dismissed almost with disgrace, because they had come after the battle with assistance then too late.