Though the schism among the Sabines was thus removed by the emigration of these men, their popular leaders would not suffer them to settle down into quiet, but complained bitterly that Clausus, by becoming an exile and an enemy, should bring to pass what he could not effect by his persuasions at home namely, that Rome pay no penalty for her outrages. Setting out, therefore, within a large army, they encamped near Fidenae, and placed two thousand men-at-arms in ambush just outside of Rome in wooded hollows. Their intention was that a few of their horsemen, as soon as it was day, should boldly ravage the country.
But these had been ordered, whenever they approached the city and were attacked, to retire gradually until they had drawn the enemy into the ambuscade. That very day Publicola learned of this plan from deserters, and took measures accordingly, dividing up his forces. Postumius Balbus, his son-in-law, while it was yet evening went out with three thousand men-at-arms, occupied the hills under which the Sabines were lying in ambush, and kept the enemy under observation;
Lucretius, his colleague, retaining in the city the lightest armed and most impetuous troops, was ordered to attack the enemy's horsemen as they ravaged the country; he himself took the rest of the army and encircled the enemy in their camp. Favoured by a heavy fog, at break of day Postumius, with loud shouts, fell upon the ambuscade from the heights, while Lucretius hurled his troops upon the horsemen when they rode towards the city, and Publicola attacked the camp of the enemy.
At all points, then, the Sabines were worsted and undone. Whenever they were, they made no defence, but fled, and the Romans straightway slew them. The very hopes they placed in one another proved most fatal to them. For each party, supposing that the other was safe, had no thought of in holding their ground and fighting,
but those in the camp ran towards those in the ambuscade, while these, on their part, ran to those in the camp, so that fugitives encountered fugitives, and found those needing succour from whom they expected succour themselves. And all the Sabines would have perished, had not the neighboring city of Fidenae afforded a refuge to some, especially to those who fled from the camp when it was captured. All who did not gain this city were either slain or brought back to Rome as prisoners.