The consul, while all were panic-struck, himself sufficiently undaunted though in so perilous a case, marshals, as well as the time and place permitted, the lines which were thrown into confusion by each man's turning himself towards the various shouts; and wherever he could approach or be heard, exhorts them, and bids them stand and fight:
for that they could not escape thence by vows and prayers to the gods, but by exertion and valour; that a way was sometimes opened by the sword through the midst of marshalled armies, and that generally the less the fear the less the danger.
However, from the noise and tumult, neither his advice nor command could be caught; and so far were the soldiers from knowing their own standards, and ranks, and position, that they had scarce sufficient courage to take up arms and make them ready for battle; and certain of them were surprised before they could prepare them, being burdened rather than protected by them; while in so great darkness there was more use of ears than of eyes.
They turned their faces and eyes in every direction towards the groans of the wounded, the sounds of blows upon the body or arms, and the mingled clamours of the menacing and the affrighted.
Some, as they were making their escape, were stopped, having encountered a body of men engaged in fight; and bands of fugitives returning to the battle, diverted others.
After charges had been attempted unsuccessfully in every direction, and on their flanks the mountains and the lake, on the front and rear the lines of the enemy enclosed them, when it was evident that there was no hope of safety but in the right hand and the sword;
then each man became to himself a leader, and encourager to action; and an entirely new contest arose, not a regular line, with principes, hastati, and triarii; nor of such a sort as that the vanguard should fight before the standards, and the rest of the troops behind them; nor such that each soldier should be in his own legion, cohort, or company: chance collects them into bands;
and each man's own will assigned to him his post, whether to fight in front or rear; and so great was the ardour of the conflict, so intent [p. 772]
were their minds upon the battle, that not one of the combatants felt an earthquake which threw down large portions of many of the cities of Italy, turned rivers from their rapid courses, carried the sea up into rivers, and levelled mountains with a tremendous crash.