The battle was furious in every part, but the success various. The two legions fought with extraordinary bravery, nor were the two cohorts of the allies remiss; but the foreign auxiliaries were hard pressed, by men armed like themselves, and rather a better description of soldiers;
nor were they able to maintain their ground. The Celtiberians, as soon as they perceived that, in a regular
line, and in fair fighting, they were no match for the legions, made a charge against them, [p. 1897]
in the form of a wedge, in which sort of attack they excel so much, that on whatever part they direct their assault they cannot be withstood.
On this occasion, too, the legions were disordered, and the line was almost broken. When Flaccus observed this disorder, he rode up to the legionary cavalry, asking them, “Have we any support in you? Is the whole army to be lost?” Whereupon they called to him from all sides, to “tell them what he wished to be done; and that it should be instantly attempted.”
“Cavalry of the two legions, double your troops,” he replied, “and charge the wedge, which is attacking our soldiers; you will make a more violent charge, if you spur your horses without bridles against the foe.
This expedient is recorded to have been often employed by the Roman cavalry with great advantage.”
They obeyed his orders, and taking off the bits of the bridle, they spurred in full career through that body twice, forward and backward, breaking their spears to pieces, and making great havoc of the enemy.
The Celtiberians, on this dispersion of their wedge, on which had been their whole reliance, were quite dismayed, and almost giving over the fight, looked about for ways to escape.
And now, when the allied horse saw this brilliant exploit of the Roman cavalry, they were so inflamed by the example of their bravery, that without waiting for orders, they made a charge on the enemy, while they were in confusion.
Then truly all the Celtiberians scatter and fly, and the Roman general, when he saw their backs, vowed a temple to Equestrian Fortune, and games in honour of Jupiter supremely good and great.
The fugitives, dispersing, were pursued with much slaughter, through the whole length of the pass. Seventeen thousand of the enemy are recorded to have been killed on this occasion, and more than four thousand taken, with two hundred and seventy-seven military standards, and near one thousand one hundred horses.
The victorious army pitched no camp on that day.
This victory, however, was not gained without loss; four hundred and seventy-two Roman soldiers, one thousand and nineteen of the allies and Latins, and besides these three thousand of the auxiliaries perished. The victorious army, having thus reasserted their former renown, finished their march to Tarraco.
The praetor, Tiberius Sempronius, who had arrived two days before, came out to meet Fulvius on the road, and congratulated [p. 1898]
him on the important services which he had rendered to the commonwealth. They then, with perfect unanimity, settled what soldiers they should discharge, and what they should retain;
and Fulvius, embarking the disbanded soldiers in the fleet, set sail for Rome, while Sempronius led the legions into Celtiberia.