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Atilius Meets the Gauls

Just at that time the Consul Gaius Atilius had crossed
Atilius landing at Pisa intercepts the march of the Gauls.
from Sardinia, and having landed at Pisae was on his way to Rome; and therefore he and the enemy were advancing to meet each other. When the Celts were at Telamon in Etruria, their advanced guard fell in with that of Gaius, and the men being made prisoners informed the Consul in answer to questions of what had taken place; and told him that both the armies were in the neighbourhood: that of the Celts, namely, and that of Lucius close upon their rear. Though somewhat disturbed at the events which he thus learnt, Gaius regarded the situation as a hopeful one, when he considered that the Celts were on the road between two hostile armies. He therefore ordered the Tribunes to martial the legions and to advance at the ordinary pace, and in line as far as the breadth of the ground permitted; while he himself having surveyed a piece of rising ground which commanded the road, and under which the Celts must march, took his cavalry with him and hurried on to seize the eminence, and so begin the battle in person; convinced that by these means he would get the principal credit of the action for himself. At first the Celts not knowing anything about the presence of Gaius Atilius, but supposing from what was taking place, that the cavalry of Aemilius had outmarched them in the night, and were seizing the points or vantage in the van of their route, immediately detached some cavalry and light armed infantry to dispute the possession of this eminence. But having shortly afterwards learnt the truth about the presence of Gaius from a prisoner who was brought in, they hurriedly got their infantry into position, and drew them up so as to face two opposite ways, some, that is, to the front and others to the rear. For they knew that one army was following on their rear; and they expected from the intelligence which had reached them, and from what they saw actually occurring, that they would have to meet another on their front.

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