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Capture of Mediolanum and End of the War

Next year, upon embassies coming from the Celts,
B. C. 222. Attack on the Insubres.
desiring peace and making unlimited offers of submission, the new Consuls, Marcus Claudius Marcellus and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, were urgent that no peace should be granted them. Thus frustrated, they determined to try a last chance, and once more took active measures to hire thirty thousand Gaesatae,—the Gallic tribe which lives on the Rhone. Having obtained these, they held themselves in readiness, and waited for the attack of their enemies. At the beginning of spring the Consuls assumed command of their forces, and marched them into the territory of the Insubres; and there encamped under the walls of the city of Acerrae, which lies between the Padus and the Alps, and laid siege to it. The Insubres, being unable to render any assistance, because all the positions of vantage had been seized by the enemy first, and being yet very anxious to break up the siege of Acerrae, detached a portion of their forces to affect a diversion by crossing the Padus and laying siege to Clastidium. Intelligence of this movement being brought to the Consuls, Marcus Claudius, taking with him his cavalry and some light infantry, made a forced march to relieve the besieged inhabitants. When the Celts heard of his approach, they raised the siege; and, marching out to meet him, offered him battle. At first they held their ground against a furious charge of cavalry which the Roman Consul launched at them; but when they presently found themselves surrounded by the enemy on their rear and flank, unable to maintain the fight any longer, they fled before the cavalry; and many of them were driven into the river, and were swept away by the stream, though the larger number were cut down by their enemies. Acerrae also, richly stored with corn, fell into the hands of the Romans: the Gauls having evacuated it, and retired to Mediolanum, which is the most commanding position in the territory of the Insubres. Gnaeus followed them closely, and suddenly appeared at Mediolanum. The Gauls at first did not stir; but upon his starting on his return march to Acerrae, they sallied out, and having boldly attacked his rear, killed a good many men, and even drove a part of it into flight; until Gnaeus recalled some of his vanguard, and urged them to stand and engage the enemy. The Roman soldiers obeyed orders, and offered a vigorous resistance to the attacking party. The Celts, encouraged by their success, held their ground for a certain time with some gallantry, but before long turned and fled to the neighbouring mountains. Gnaeus followed them, wasting the country as he went, and took Mediolanum by assault. At this the chiefs of the Insubres, despairing of safety, made a complete and absolute submission to Rome.

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