during the same year a Greek fleet commanded1
by Cleonymus the Lacedaemonian put in to the shores of Italy and seized the city of Thuriae in the country of the Sallentini.2
The consul Aemilius was dispatched against this enemy, whom he routed in a single engagement and drove to his ships.
Thuriae was restored to its old inhabitants, and peace was established in the Sallentine territory. i find in some annals that Junius Bubulcus the dictator was sent among the Sallentini, and that Cleonymus withdrew from Italy before it became necessary to fight the Romans.
rounding then the promontory of Brundisium, he was swept on by the winds in the mid gulf of the Adriatic, and dreading the harbourless coasts of Italy on his left and on his right the Illyrians, Liburnians, and Histrians, —savage tribes and [p. 365]
notorious most of them for their piracies —kept3
straight on until he reached the coasts of the Veneti.
having sent a small party ashore to explore the country, and learning that it was a narrow beach that extended in front of them, on crossing which one found behind it lagoons which were flooded by the tides; that not far off level fields could be made out, and that hills were seen rising beyond them, and that a river of great depth —the
Mediacus —debouched there, into which they could bring round their ships to a safe anchorage —having learned all this, I say, he ordered the fleet to sail in and make its way up stream.
but the channel would not admit the heaviest ships, and the multitude of armed men, passing over into the lighter vessels, kept on till they came to thickly inhabited fields; for three maritime villages of the Patavini were situated there along the river —bank.
disembarking there they left a small body of men to defend the boats, burnt the houses, made spoil of men and cattle, and, lured on by the sweets of pillage, advanced to a greater and greater distance from their ships.
when word of these events was brought to the Patavians, whom the vicinity of the Gauls kept always under arms, they divided their young men into two divisions. one of these marched into the region where the scattered marauding was reported; the other, taking a different road, to avoid falling in with any of the marauders, proceeded to the place where the ships were moored, fourteen miles from the town.
The latter party, slaying the guards, who were unaware of their approach, made a rush for the ships, and the terrified sailors were forced to get them over to the other side of the stream. onland, [p. 367]
too, the battle waged against the straggling4
plunderers was equally successful, and when the Greeks would have fled back to their station, the Veneti stood in their way. thus the enemy were caught between two parties and were cut to pieces.
some of them, being taken prisoners, told how the fleet and King Cleonymus were three miles off.
thereupon the captives were consigned to the next village for safe —keeping, and armed men filling the river boats —suitably constructed with flat bottoms, to enable them to cross the shallow lagoons —and others manning the craft they had captured from the invaders, they descended upon the fleet and surrounded the unwieldy ships;
which, being more fearful of the unknown waters than of the enemy, and more bent on escaping to the deep sea than on resisting, they pursued clear to the river's mouth, and having captured some of them and burnt them, after they had been run aground in the confusion, returned victorious.
Cleonymus sailed off with barely a fifth part of his ships intact. in no quarter of the Adriatic had his attempts succeeded. there are many now living in Patavium5
who have seen the beaks of the ships and the spoils of the Laconians which were fastened up in the old temple of Juno.
in commemoration of the naval battle a contest of ships is held regularly, on the anniversary of the engagement, in the river that flows through the town.