from that moment the battle seemed scarce to depend on human efforts. The Romans, after losing their general —an occurrence that is wont to inspire terror —fled no longer, but sought to redeem the field;
the Gauls, and especially the press about the body of the consul, as though deprived of reason, were darting their javelins at random and without effect, while some were in a daze, and could neither fight nor run away.
but in the other army the pontifex Livius, to whom Decius had handed over his lictors, bidding him act as propraetor, cried aloud that the Romans had won the victory, being quit of all danger by the consul's doom.
The Gauls, he said, and the Samnites were made over to Mother Earth and to the Manes; Decius was haling after him their devoted host and calling it to join him, and with the enemy all was madness and despair.
while the [p. 471]
Romans were restoring the battle, up came Lucius1
Cornelius Scipio and Gaius Marcius, whom Quintus Fabius the consul had ordered to take reserves from the rearmost line and go to his colleague's support. there they learned of Decius's death, a great incentive to dare everything for the republic.
and so, though the Gauls stood crowded together with their shields interlocked in front of them, and it looked no easy battle at close quarters, the lieutenants bade their men gather up the javelins that were scattered about on the ground between the hostile lines and cast them against the testudo2
of their enemies; and as many of these missiles stuck fast in the shields and now and then one penetrated a soldier's body, their phalanx was broken up —many falling, though unwounded, as if they had been
stunned. such were the shifts of Fortune upon the Roman left.
on the right, Fabius had begun, as has been said before, by holding back and delaying the decision; later, when neither the shouts of the foe, nor their assaults, nor the missiles they discharged, seemed to have any longer the same force, he ordered the praefects of the cavalry to lead their squadrons
round the wing of the Samnites, that, on the signal being given, they might attack them in the flank with all possible vigour, and commanded his own men to push forward by degrees and dislodge the
enemy. when he saw that they made no resistance and there could be no question of their weariness, he gathered up all the troops which he had hitherto held in reserve, and, sending in his legions, made a signal to the cavalry to
charge. The Samnites could not withstand their onset and fled in confusion past the Gallic line itself, [p. 473]
abandoning their comrades in the midst of the fighting and3
seeking refuge in their camp. The Gauls had formed a testudo
and stood there closely packed
together. then Fabius, who had learned of his colleague's death, commanded the squadron of Campanians, about five hundred lances, to withdraw from the line, and fetching a compass, assail the Gallic infantry in the
rear; these the principes,
or middle line, of the third legion were to follow, and, pushing in where they saw that the cavalry charge had disordered the enemy's formation, make havoc of them in their
panic. he himself, after vowing a temple and the enemy's spoils to Jupiter Victor, kept on to the Samnite camp, whither the whole affrighted throng was being
driven. under the very rampart, since the gates could not receive so great a multitude, those who were shut out by the crowding of their fellows attempted some resistance; there Gellius Egnatius, the commander —in
—chief of the Samnites, fell; in the upshot the Samnites were driven within the rampart and after a short struggle their camp was taken and the Gauls were cut off in the
rear. there were slain that day five —and —twenty thousand of the enemy, and eight thousand were captured; nor was it a bloodless victory; for of the army of Publius Decius seven thousand were slain and seventeen hundred of the army of
Fabius. Fabius sent out men to search for the body of his colleague, and, piling up the spoils of the enemy, burned them in sacrifice to Jupiter the
Victor. The consul's body could not be found that day, having been buried under heaps of Gauls who had been slain above him; on the day after, it was found and brought in, amidst the lamentations of the
soldiers. postponing his concern for everything else,4
Fabius celebrated the funeral of his colleague with every show of honour and well —merited eulogiums.