In Gaul the proconsul Lucius Valerius Flaccus, in the vicinity of Milan, fought a pitched battle with the Insubrian Gauls and the Boi, who, led by Dorulatus had crossed the Po to rouse the Insubres to arms, and defeated them.
Ten thousand of the enemy fell. About the same time his colleague Marcus Porcius Cato triumphed over Spain. He carried in his triumph twenty-five thousand pounds of silver bullion, one hundred and twenty-three thousand silver denarii,
five hundred and forty thousand1
silver coins of Osca, and one thousand four hundred pounds [p. 537]
From the booty, he gave to each of his2
soldiers two hundred and seventy asses,
and thrice that amount to each trooper.
Tiberius Sempronius the consul proceeded to his province and first invaded the country of the Boi.
Boiorix, their chieftain at the time, with his two brothers, had aroused the whole people to revolt and had placed his camp in open country, so that it was clear that they would fight if the enemy entered their territory.
When the consul saw how great was their strength and what confidence filled the enemy, he sent word to his colleague that, if he saw fit, he should make haste to arrive: that he, assuming the defensive, would drag matters out until his arrival.
The same motive which the consul had for delay was also for the Gauls (not to mention the fact that the enemy's hesitation gave them courage), a reason for acting quickly so as to finish the campaign before the armies of the consuls were united.
For two days, however, they did nothing more than stand ready to engage if anyone came out to meet them; on the third day they advanced towards the rampart and attacked the camp on all sides at once. The consul immediately ordered his men to take up arms;
then he kept them under arms for a while, that he might increase the foolish confidence of the enemy and arrange his forces by the gates through which they would severally make their sally. Two legions were ordered to march out by the two main gates.
But at the actual opening of the gates the Gauls met them in such close array that they blocked the road.
For a long time they fought in these confined spaces; it was a matter not so much of hands and swords as of making [p. 539]
their way by pushing against one another with shields3
and bodies, the Romans trying to force a way out for their standards, the Gauls trying either to enter the camp or to prevent the Romans from leaving it.
Nor could the lines be moved in either direction until Quintus Victorius, a senior centurion, and Gaius Atinius, tribune
of the soldiers, the latter of the fourth, the former of the second legion, resorting to a device often tried in desperate encounters, snatched the standards from the hands of their bearers and threw them into the midst of the enemy.4
In their eager struggle to get back their standard, the soldiers of the second legion were the first to force their way through the gate.