They therefore renewed the battle which on their flank had been given up, and advanced again into the position from which they had retreated, and in a trice the fighting was not merely even, but the Sabine wing had begun to yield.
The horsemen, under cover of the ranks of infantry, regained their mounts. Then they galloped across to the other wing, announcing the victory to their friends; and at the same time they made a charge against the [p. 213]
enemy, who were already panic-stricken, as they1
might well be when the stronger of their wings had been defeated. No other troops showed more conspicuous courage in that battle.
The consul looked out for every contingency, commended the brave, and upbraided any who fought listlessly. Being rebuked they would at once begin to acquit themselves like men, —shame proving as powerful an incentive to them as praise to the others.
With a fresh cheer all along the line the Romans made a concerted effort and drove the enemy back, and from that moment there was no resisting the violence of their onset. The Sabines fled in confusion through the fields and left their camp to be plundered by their foes. There the Romans won back not the possessions of their allies, as on Algidus, but their own which had earlier been lost to them through the raids on their lands.
Though a double victory had been gained in two separate battles, the senate was so mean as to decree thanksgivings in the name of the consuls for one day only. The people went unbidden on the second day also in great numbers, to offer up thanks to the gods; and this unorganized and popular supplication was attended with an enthusiasm which almost exceeded that of the other.
The consuls had arranged to approach the City within a day of one another, and summoned the senate out into the Campus Martius.
While they were there holding forth on the subject of their victories, complaints were made by leading senators that the senate was being held in the midst of the army on purpose to inspire fear.
And so the consuls, to allow no room for the accusation, adjourned the senate from that place to the Flaminian Meadows, where the temple of Apollo [p. 215]
is now, and which was called even then Apollo's2
Precinct. When the Fathers, meeting there, refused with great unanimity to grant a triumph, Lucius Icilius the plebeian tribune laid the issue before the people.
Many came forward to dissuade them, and Gaius Claudius was particularly vehement. It was a triumph, he said, over the patricians, not Rome's enemies, which the consuls desired; they were seeking a favour in return for personal services they had done the tribune, not an honour in requital of valour.
Never before had a triumph been voted by the people; the decision whether this honour had been deserved had always rested with the senate; not even the kings had infringed the majesty of the highest order in the state; let not the tribunes so dominate all things as not to suffer the existence of any public council; if each order retained its own rights and its own dignity, then, and only then, would the state be free and the laws equal for all.
After many speeches had been made to the same purpose by the other older members of the senate, all the tribes voted in favour of the motion. Then, for the first time, a triumph which lacked the authorization of the senate was celebrated at the bidding of the people.3