When this disaster befel, Gaius Horatius1
and Titus Menenius had begun their consulship. [p. 393]
Menenius was at once sent out to confront the2
Etruscans, elated by their victory. Again the Roman arms were unsuccessful, and Janiculum was taken by the enemy.
They would also have laid siege to Rome, which was suffering not only from war but from a scarcity of corn —for the Etruscans had crossed the Tiber —had not the consul Horatius been recalled from the Volscian country; and so nearly did that invasion approach the very walls of the City that battles were fought first at the temple of Hope, where the result was indecisive, and again at the Colline Gate.
There, although the advantage to the Roman side was but slight, still the engagement restored their old-time spirit to the troops and made them the better soldiers for the battles that were to come.
Aulus Verginius and Spurius Servilius were made consuls. After the defeat the Veientes had suffered in the last fight, they avoided a battle and took to pillaging. From Janiculum, as from a citadel, they sent out expeditions far and wide into the territory of the Romans; there was no security anywhere for flocks or country-folk.
After a time they were caught by the same trick with which they had caught the Fabii. Having pursued the flocks which had been driven out here and there on purpose to lure them on, they plunged into an ambush, and as their numbers exceeded those of the Fabii so did their losses.
This disaster threw them into a violent rage, which proved the cause and the beginning of a greater reverse. For they crossed the Tiber in the night and assaulted the camp of the consul Servilius. There they were routed with heavy losses and regained Janiculum with difficulty.
Forthwith the [p. 395]
consul himself crossed the Tiber and fortified a camp3
beneath the hill. Next day at dawn, partly because he was emboldened by the successful battle of the day before, but more because the want of corn drove him to the rashest kind of measures, provided only they were speedy, he was
so reckless as to lead his army up Janiculum to the enemy's camp, and after suffering a more disgraceful repulse than he had administered the day before, owed his own rescue and that of his army to the arrival of his colleague.
Caught between two lines, the Etruscans turned their backs first on one and then on the other, and were cut down with great slaughter. Thus the Veientine invasion was defeated by a lucky temerity.