But whether it was that all were not possessed with a desire of destroying the city, or it had been so determined by the leading men of the Gauls, both that some fires should be presented to their view, [to see] if the besieged could be forced into
a surrender through affection for their dwellings, and that all the houses should not be burned down, so that what- [p. 375]
ever portion should remain of the city, they might hold as a pledge to work upon the minds of the enemy; the fire by no means spread either indiscriminately or extensively on the first day, as is usual in a captured city.
The Romans beholding from the citadel the city filled with the enemy, and their running to and fro through all the streets, some new calamity presenting itself in every different quarter, were neither able to preserve their presence of mind, nor even to have perfect command of their ears and eyes.
To whatever direction the shouts of the enemy, the cries of women and children, the crackling of the flames, and the crash of falling houses, had called their attention, thither, terrified at every incident, they turned their thoughts, faces, and eyes, as if placed by fortune to be spectators of their falling country, and as if left as protectors of no other of their effects, except their own persons:
so much more to be commiserated than any others who were ever besieged, because, shut out from their country, they were besieged, beholding all their effects in the power of the enemy.
Nor was the night, which succeeded so shockingly spent a day, more tranquil; daylight then followed a restless night; nor was there any time which failed to produce the sight of some new disaster.
Loaded and overwhelmed by so many evils, they did not at all abate their determination, [resolved,] though they should see every thing in flames and levelled to the dust, to defend by their bravery the hill which they occupied, small and ill provided as it was, being left [as a refuge] for liberty.
And now, as the same events recurred every day, as if habituated to misfortunes, they abstracted their thoughts from all feeling of their circumstances, regarding their arms only, and the swords in their right hands, as the sole remnants of their hopes.