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21. Accordingly, the Romans awaited the enemy's onset, then closed with them and checked their upward rush, and at last, crowding them back little by little, forced them into the plain. Here, while the Barbarians in front were at last forming in line on level ground, there was shouting and commotion in their rear. For Marcellus had watched his opportunity, and when the cries of battle were borne up over the hills he put his men upon the run and fell with loud shouts upon the enemy's rear, where he cut down the hindmost of them. [2] Those in the rear forced along those who were in front of them, and quickly plunged the whole army into confusion, and under this double attack they could riot hold out long, but broke ranks and fled. The Romans pursued them and either slew or took alive over a hundred thousand of them, besides making themselves masters of their tents, waggons, and property, all of which, with the exception of what was pilfered, was given to Marius by vote of the soldiers. And though the gift that he received was so splendid, it was thought to be wholly unworthy of his services in the campaign, where the danger that threatened had been so great.

[3] There are some writers, however, who give a different account of the division of the spoils, and also of the number of the slain. Nevertheless, it is said that the people of Massalia fenced their vineyards round with the bones of the fallen, and that the soil, after the bodies had wasted away in it and the rains had fallen all winter upon it, grew so rich and became so full to its depths of the putrefied matter that sank into it, that it produced an exceeding great harvest in after years, and confirmed the saying of Archilochus 1 that ‘fields are fattened’ by such a process. [4] And it is said that extraordinary rains generally dash down after great battles, whether it is that some divine power drenches and hallows the ground with purifying waters from Heaven, or that the blood and putrefying matter send up a moist and heavy vapour which condenses the air, this being easily moved and readily changed to the highest degree by the slightest cause.

1 Bergk, Poet. Lyr. Graeci , ii. 4 pp. 428 f.

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