Thus the fortune of the day was retrieved in one part of the field. On the other wing Gnaeus Manlius the consul was urging on the fight with no less vigour, when almost the same thing happened.
For as Quintus Fabius had done on the [p. 377]
other flank, so here the consul Manlius was personally1
leading the attack upon the enemy, whom he had almost routed, for his soldiers followed him valiantly, when he was severely wounded and retired from the fighting line.
His men believed him to be dead, and faltered; and they would have yielded the position, had not the other consul ridden up at a gallop, with some few troops of horse, and calling out that his colleague was alive, and that he himself had defeated and routed the other wing and was come to help them, in that way put a stop to their wavering.
Manlius also showed himself among them, helping to restore the line; and the soldiers, recognizing the features of their two consuls, plucked up courage. At the same time the battle-line of the enemy was now less strong, for, relying on their excess of numbers, they had withdrawn their reserves and dispatched them to storm the Roman camp.
There, having forced an entrance without encountering much opposition, they were frittering away their time, their thoughts more taken up with the booty than with the battle, when the Roman reserves, which had been unable to withstand the first onset, sent word to the consuls how things stood, and then closed up their ranks, returned to the praetorium, and of themselves resumed the battle. Meanwhile Manlius the consul had ridden back to the camp, and by posting men at all the gates had cut off the enemy's egress.
In desperation at this turn the Etruscans had been inflamed to the point rather of madness than of recklessness. For when, as they rushed in whatever direction there seemed a prospect of escape, they had made several charges to no purpose, one band of youths made a dash at the consul himself, whose arms made him [p. 379]
conspicuous. Their first discharge of javelins was parried2
by the soldiers who surrounded him, but after that there was no withstanding their violence.
The consul fell, mortally wounded, and all about him fled. The Etruscans grew more reckless than before; the Romans were driven, quaking with terror, right across the camp, and their case would have been desperate, had
not the lieutenants caught up the body of the consul and opened a way for the enemy by one of the gates. By that they burst forth, and escaping in a disordered column, fell in the way of the other, the victorious consul, where they were again cut to pieces, and dispersed in all directions.
A victory of great importance had been won, but it was saddened by the death of two so famous men.
The consul therefore made answer to the senate, when it would have voted him a triumph, that if the army could triumph without its general, its services in that war had been so remarkable that he would readily grant his consent; as for himself, when his family was in mourning for the death of Quintus Fabius his brother, and the state was half orphaned by the loss of the other consul, he would not accept a laurel which was blighted with national and private sorrow.
No triumph ever celebrated was more famous than was his refusal to accept a triumph, so true is it that a seasonable rejection of glory sometimes but increases it. The consul then solemnized, one after the other, the funerals of his colleague and his brother, and pronounced the eulogy of each; but while yielding their meed of praise to them, he gained for himself the very highest praises.
Nor was he unmindful of that policy which he had adopted in the beginning of his consulship, of winning the affections of the plebs, but billeted the [p. 381]
wounded soldiers on the patricians, to be cared for.3
To the Fabii he assigned the largest number, nor did they anywhere receive greater attention. For this the Fabii now began to enjoy the favour of the people, nor was this end achieved by aught but a demeanour wholesome for the state.