The Ligurians had two camps on this side of the mountains. Formerly, all alike used to come forth from them at sunrise, formed and arrayed for battle;
but later on they did not take up arms until they had their fill of food and wine, and then they went out scattered and disorganized, like men who were practically certain that the enemy would not bring out their standards before the rampart.
Against an enemy advancing in such disorder, a shout being raised at one time by all who were in the camp, attendants and sutlers alike, the Roman soldiers burst from all the gates at once.
The attack was so complete a surprise to the Ligurians that they were as frightened as if they had fallen into an ambush.
For a brief period there was something resembling a battle: then there was headlong flight and the slaughter of fugitives all around, the signal having been given to the cavalry that they should mount, their horses and permit no one to escape. All were driven in terrified rout into the camps and then stripped of their camps as well.
More than fifteen thousand of the Ligurians were killed that day and two thousand three hundred captured. Three days later the whole people of the Ligurian Ingauni gave hostages and surrendered. The pilots and sailors who had been on their pirate ships were sought out and all put in confinement.
And Gaius Matienus the duumvir captured thirty-two ships of this kind on the Ligurian coast. To take this news and carry dispatches to the senate, Lucius Aurelius Cotta and Gaius Sulpicius Gallus were sent to Rome, [p. 89]
with instructions also
to ask that Lucius Aemilius,1
having accomplished the task assigned him as his province, should be permitted to leave it and to bring his soldiers back with him and discharge them.2
Both requests were granted by the senate, and a three-day period of thanksgiving was decreed at all the banquet-tables of the gods, and the praetor Petilius was instructed to discharge the reserve legions, the praetor Fabius to discontinue the levy among the allies of the Latin confederacy;
and it was ordered that the praetor urbanus
should write to the consuls that the senate deemed it proper that they should discharge the temporary troops, which had been drafted because of the emergency, at the earliest possible moment.