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40. After this speech silence ensued, partly because men had changed over to his opinion, partly because they shrank from offending him to no purpose in a matter which was in any case a lost opportunity and could not be brought back. Nor [p. 225]even on that day did either the consul or the king1 care to fight, the king because he would have had to attack men no longer weary from travel as on the previous day, nor in turmoil as they marshalled their line of battle and hardly in formation, the consul because neither wood nor fodder had been collected in the new camp and a large number of soldiers had gone out of camp to seek them from the near-by countryside. Without either general wishing it, Fortune, which is stronger than human planning, brought on the battle. There was a stream of no great size nearer the camp of the enemy, from which both the Macedonians and the Romans were drawing water after posting guards on either bank in order to accomplish this mission safely. There were two cohorts on the Roman side, a Marrucinian and a Paelignian, and two troops of Samnite cavalry under the command of the staff-officer Marcus Sergius Silus; another fixed outpost was stationed before the camp under the staff-officer Gaius Cluvius, composed of three cohorts, from Firmum, the Vestini, and Cremona respectively, and two troops of cavalry from Placentia and Aesernia.2 [2] While there was quiet at the river, since neither side took the offensive, about the ninth hour a baggage-animal shied from the hands of his grooms and escaped toward the other bank.3 While three soldiers were chasing him through the water, which was about knee-deep, two Thracians dragged the animal from mid-stream to their bank; the Romans pursued them, killed one, [p. 227]recaptured the animal, and retired to their post.4 There was a guard of eight hundred Thracians on the Macedonian bank. At first a few of these, angry at the killing of their fellow-countryman before their eyes, crossed the river in pursuit of the killers, then more went, and finally the whole force, and with the guard . .5

1 B.C. 168

2 The Marrucini, Paeligni, Samnites, and Vestini were Italian “allies” of the Romans; Firmum, Cremona, Placentia, and Aesernia were colonies with Latin rights.

3 Plutarch credits Aemilius with ordering a horse to be let loose, in order to bring on the battle.

4 B.C. 168

5 Two leaves of the MS. are missing at this point. Judging from Plutarch, these pages contained a description of the advance of the armies from camp, their battle-order, skirmishing by the light-armed troops in which the Macedonians had the advantage, the charge of the Paelignians against some Macedonian light infantry and their collision with the phalanx (cf. below, sec. 9), and perhaps the impression made on Aemilius by the phalanx, an impression which he was careful not to show at the time.

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load focus Summary (Latin, Alfred C. Schlesinger, Ph.D., 1951)
load focus English (William A. McDevitte, Sen. Class. Mod. Ex. Schol. A.B.T.C.D., 1850)
load focus Latin (W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1911)
load focus Latin (W. Weissenborn, 1880)
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hide References (34 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (4):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.12
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 41-42, commentary, 41.20
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.2
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.25
  • Cross-references to this page (20):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Macedones
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Peligna
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Perseus
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Phalanx
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Placentina
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, M. Sergius Silus
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Sarisae
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Turmas
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Aciei
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Aesernina
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Vestina
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, C. Cluvius
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Cohors
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Cremonensis
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Firmana
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), EXE´RCITUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PELIGNI
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), VESTINI
    • Smith's Bio, Clu'vius
    • Smith's Bio, Silus, Se'rgius
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (10):
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