The Boian army had, not very long before, crossed the Po, and joined the Insubrians and Caenomanians;
for, having heard that the consuls intended to act with their forces united, they wished to increase their own strength by this junction.
But when information reached them that one of the consuls was ravaging the country of the Boians, a dispute instantly arose. The Boians demanded, that all, in conjunction, should carry succour to those who were attacked; while the Insubrians positively refused to leave their country defenceless.
In consequence of this dissension, the armies separated; the Boians went to defend their own territory, and the Insubrians, with the Caenomanians, encamped on the banks of the river Mincius.
About five miles below this spot, the consul Cornelius pitched his camp close to the same river. Sending emissaries hence into the villages of the Caenomanians, and to Brixia, the capital of their tribe, he learned with certainty that their young men had taken arms without the approbation of the elders;
and that the Caenomanians had not joined in the revolt of the Insubrians by any public authority.
On which he invited to him the principal of the natives, and endeavoured to contrive and concert with them that the Caenomanians should separate from the Insubrians; and either march away and return home, or come over to the side of the Romans.
This he was not able to effect; but so far, he received solemn assurances that, in case of a battle, they would either stand inactive, or, should any occasion offer, would even assist the Romans. The Insubrians knew not that such an agreement [p. 1430]
had been concluded, but they harboured in their minds some kind of suspicion, that the fidelity of their confederates was wavering.
Wherefore, in forming their troops for battle, not daring to intrust either wing to them, lest, if they should treacherously give ground, they might cause a total defeat, they placed them in reserve behind the line.
At the beginning of the fight, the consul vowed a temple to Juno Sospita, provided the enemy should, on that day, be routed and driven from the field; on which the soldiers raised a shout, declaring, that they would insure to their commander the completion of his vow, and at the same time an attack was made on the enemy. The Insubrians did not stand even the first onset.
Some writers affirm, that the Caenomanians, falling on their rear during the heat of the engagement, caused as much disorder there as prevailed in their front: and that, thus assailed on both sides, thirty-five thousand of them were slain, five thousand seven hundred taken prisoners, among whom was Hamilcar, a Carthaginian general, who had been the cause of the war;
and that a hundred and thirty military standards and above two hundred waggons were taken.
On this, the towns of the Gauls, which had joined in the revolt of the Insubrians, surrendered to the Romans.