The battle was continued near three hours, and in every quarter with fierceness; around the consul, however, it was still hotter and more determined.
Both the strongest of the troops, and himself too, promptly brought assistance wherever he perceived his men hard pressed and distressed. But, distinguished by his armour, the enemy attacked him with the utmost vigour, while his countrymen defended him; until an Insubrian horseman, named Ducarius, knowing him also by his face, says to his countrymen, “Lo, this is the consul who slew our legions and laid waste our fields and city.
Now will I offer this victim to the shades of my countrymen, miserably slain;” and putting spurs to his horse, he rushes through a very dense body of the enemy; and first slaying his armour-bearer, who had opposed himself to his attack as he approached, ran the consul through with his lance;
the triarii, opposing their shields, kept him off when seeking to despoil him.
Then first the flight of a great number began; and now neither the lake nor the mountains obstructed their hurried retreat; they run through all places, confined and precipitous, as though they were blind; and arms and men are tumbled one upon another.
A great many, when there remained no more space to run, advancing into the water through the first shallows of the lake, plunge in, as far as they could stand above it with their heads and shoulders.
Some there were whom inconsiderate fear induced to try to escape even by swimming; but as that attempt was inordinate and hopeless, they were either overwhelmed in the deep water, their courage failing, or, wearied to no purpose, made their way back, with extreme difficulty, to the shallows; and there were cut up on all hands by the cavalry of the enemy, which had entered the water.
Near upon six thousand of the foremost body having gallantly forced their way through the opposing enemy, entirely unacquainted with what was occurring in their rear, escaped from the defile; and having halted on a certain rising ground, and hearing only the shouting and clashing of arms, they could not know nor discern, by [p. 773]
reason of the mist, what was the fortune of the battle.
At length, the affair being decided, when the mist, dispelled by the increasing heat of the sun, had cleared the atmosphere, then, in the clear light, the mountains and plains showed their ruin, and the Roman army miserably destroyed;
and thus, lest, being descried at a distance, the cavalry should be sent against them, hastily snatching up their standards, they hurried away with all possible expedition.
On the following day, when, in addition to their extreme sufferings in other respects, famine also was at hand, Maharbal, who had followed them during the night with the whole body of cavalry, pledging his honour that he would let them depart with single garments, if they would deliver up their arms, they surrendered themselves;
which promise was kept by Hannibal with Punic fidelity, and he threw them all into chains.