The Gauls, (thoroughly satisfied that the ground on their two flanks was impassable,) in order to secure, by arms, the ascent on the side which was situated towards the south, sent about four thousand soldiers to keep possession of a hill which hung over the road, at the distance of near a mile from their camp; hoping that they might stop the enemies' progress by this as by a fortress.
Which when the Romans saw, they prepared for battle. The light infantry marched a little in [p. 1745]
advance of the line, supported by draughts from Attalus's troops, composed of the Cretan archers and slingers, the Trallians and Thracians.
The battalions of infantry, as the ground was steep, marched at a slow pace, holding their shields before them, merely to ward off missile weapons, as they did not seem likely to fight in a close engagement.
The fight commenced with the missile weapons, at the proper interval, and was at first equal, as the situation aided the Gauls, the variety and abundance of weapons, the Romans. But, as the contest advanced, there was no longer any equality: their shields, long, but too narrow for the breadth of their bodies, and besides being flat, ill protected the Gauls.
Nor had they now any other weapons except their swords, which they had no opportunity of using, as the enemy did not come to close action.
They used stones, and these not of a proper size, as they had not previously laid them up, but whatever came to the hand of each in his haste and confusion, as persons unaccustomed generally do, aiding the blow neither by skill nor strength.
Incautiously exposing themselves, they were transfixed on all sides by arrows, leaden balls, and darts; nor did they know what to do, their minds being paralysed by rage and fear; and they were engaged in a kind of fight for which they were least of all qualified.
For, as in a close encounter, where they can receive and give wounds in turn, rage inflames their courage; so when they are wounded at a distance, with light weapons from unknown hands, and have no object on which they can rush in their blind fury, they rush forward at random, like wounded wild beasts, often upon their own party.
Their wounds were more conspicuous because they always fight naked, and their bodies are large and white, since they are never stripped except in battle; thus more blood was poured from their large persons, and the cuts appeared the more shocking, while the whiteness of their skins offered a stronger contrast to the black blood. But they were not much moved by open wounds.
Sometimes they even cut off the skin, when the wound was more broad than deep, thinking that in this condition they fought with the greater glory. But when the point of an arrow or a ball, sinking deep in the flesh, tormented them,
with a wound small in appearance, and the weapon did not come forth although they used every effort to extract it, then they fell into fits of phrensy and shame, at being destroyed by so small a [p. 1746]
hurt; and dashing themselves on the ground, they lay scattered over the place. Some rushing against the enemy were overwhelmed with darts; and when any of them came near, they were slain by the swords of the light infantry.
A soldier of this description carries a shield three feet long, and, in his right hand, javelins, which he throws at a distance.
He is begirt with a Spanish sword, and when he must fight in close encounter, having shifted his spears into his left hand, he draws it.
There were few of the Gauls now left; and these, seeing themselves overpowered by the light infantry, and the battalions of the legions advancing, fled in confusion to the camp, now full of tumult and dismay, as the women, children, and others unfit to bear arms, were all crowded together there.
The hills, thus abandoned by the enemy, were seized by the victorious Romans.