The cities of that country, one after another, followed the example; their own inclinations being encouraged by the justice and clemency which the Roman praetor showed to all.
The army then advanced to Scodra, which was the chief seat of the war, not merely because Gentius had chosen it for the metropolis of his kingdom, but because it has by far the strongest fortifications of any in the territory of the Labeatians, and is of very difficult access.
Two rivers enclose it; the Clausula flowing past the eastern side of the city, and by the western, the Barbanna, which rises out of the lake Labeatus. These two rivers, uniting their streams, fall into the river Oriuns, which, running down from mount Scodrus, and being augmented by many other waters, empties itself into the Adriatic Sea.
Mount Scordus is much the highest hill in all that country; at its foot, towards the east, lies Dardania; towards the south, Macedonia; and towards the west, Illyria.
Notwithstanding that the town was so strong, from the nature of its situation, and was garrisoned by the whole force of the Illyrian nation, with the king himself at their head,
yet the Roman praetor, encouraged by the happy success of his first enterprises, and hoping that the fortune of the whole undertaking would correspond to its commencement, and thinking also that a sudden alarm might have a powerful effect, advanced to the walls with his troops [p. 2092]
in order of battle.
But, if the garrison had kept their gates shut, and manned the walls and the towers of the gates with soldiers, they might have repulsed the Romans from the walls with their efforts frustrated, instead of which they marched out
from the gate, and, on equal ground, commenced a battle with more courage than they supported it:
for, being forced to give way, and crowded together in their retreat, and above two hundred having fallen in the very entrance of the gate, the rest were so terrified, that Gentius immediately despatched Teuticus and Bellus, two of the first men of the nation, to the praetor, through whom he begged a truce, in order that he might be able to deliberate on the state of his affairs.
He was allowed three days for the purpose, and, as the Roman camp was about five hundred paces from the city, he went on board a ship, and sailed up the river Barbanna, into the lake of Labeatus, as if in search of a retired place for consultation;
but, as afterwards appeared, he was led by a groundless report, that his brother Caravantius was coming, with many thousands of soldiers collected in the country, to which he had been sent.
This rumour dying away, on the third day he sailed down the river in the same ship to Scodra; and, after sending forward messengers, to request permission to call upon the praetor, and leave being given, came into the camp. He began his discourse with reproaches against himself, for the folly of his conduct; then descended to tears and prayers, and, falling at the praetor's knees, gave himself up into his power.
He was at first desired to keep up his spirits, and having been even invited to supper, he went back into the city to his people, and, for that day, was entertained by the praetor with every mark of respect.
On the day following, he was delivered into custody, to Caius Cassius, a military tribune, having, though a king, received ten talents, scarcely the
hire of a party of gladiators, and that from a king, to reduce himself to these circumstances.