They were now fighting outside the rampart, the fourth legion being still inside the gate, when a new uproar was heard on the opposite side of the camp.
The Gauls had broken through the porta quaestoria1
and after stubborn resistance had slain the quaestor Lucius Postumius, whose surname was Tympanus, and Marcus Atinius and Publius Sempronius, commanders of allied detachments, and about two hundred of their men.
They had gained possession of the camp in that quarter, until an attached2
cohort, sent by the consul to defend the porta quaestoria,
killed some of the Gauls who had entered the camp, drove others outside the rampart, and blocked the entrance against those who were attacking the gate.
At almost the same instant the fourth legion with two attached cohorts burst through the gate. So there were three battles at once in different places around the camp, and the confused shouts distracted the minds of the fighters from their own immediate combats to the uncertain fortunes [p. 541]
of their comrades. Until noon the battle went on3
with equal strength and with nearly the same hopes.
When fatigue and heat had compelled the Gauls, with their soft and feeble bodies and their small capacity for enduring thirst, to retire from the fight, the Romans charged the few that were left and drove them, broken, to their camp.
Thereupon the consul ordered the recall sounded; at this the majority turned back, but part, in their eagerness to fight and their hope of capturing the enemy's camp, pushed on to the rampart.
The whole mass of Gauls, in disdain of their small number, rushed out from their camp; the Romans in turn were put to flight and returned to their camp in consequence of their own terror and panic, although they had refused to retire at their commander's order. Thus there were varied fortunes on both sides, now defeat and now victory; yet about eleven thousand of the Gauls fell and five thousand of the Romans.
The Gauls retired into the interior of their country, while the consul led his legions to Placentia.