F Heritage History | Story of Rome by Mary Macgregor
Contents 
Front Matter The Lady Roma The She-Wolf The Twin Boys Numitor's Grandson The Sacred Birds The Founding of Rome The Sabine Maidens The Tarpeian Rock The Mysterious Gate The King Disappears The Peace-Loving King Horatius Slays His Sister Pride of Tullus Hostilius King Who Fought and Prayed The Faithless Friend A Slave Becomes a King Cruel Deed of Tullia Fate of the Town of Gabii Books of the Sibyl Industry of Lucretia Death of Lucretia Sons of Brutus Horatius Cocles Mucius Burns Right Hand The Divine Twins The Tribunes Coriolanus and His Mother The Roman Army in a Trap The Hated Decemvirs The Death of Verginia The Friend of the People Camillus Captures Veii The Statue of the Goddess Schoolmaster Traitor Battle of Allia The Sacred Geese The City Is Rebuilt Volscians on Fire Battle on the Anio The Curtian Lake Dream of the Two Consuls The Caudine Forks Caudine Forks Avenged Fabius among the Hills Battle of Sentinum Son of Fabius Loses Battle Pyrrhus King of the Epirots Elephants at Heraclea Pyrrthus and Fabricius Pyrrhus is Defeated Romans Build a Fleet Battle of Ecnomus Roman Legions in Africa Regulus Taken Prisoner Romans Conquer the Gauls The Boy Hannibal Hannibal Invades Italy Hannibal Crosses the Alps Battle of Trebia Battle of Lake Trasimenus Hannibal Outwits Fabius Fabius Wins Two Victories Battle of Cannae Despair of Rome Defeat of Hasdrubal Claudius Enjoy a Triumph Capture of New Carthage Scipio Sails to Africa Romans Set Fire to Camp Hannibal Leaves Italy The Battle of Zama Scipio Receives a Triumph Flamininus in Garlands Death of Hannibal Hatred of Cato for Carthage The Stern Decree Carthaginians Defend City Destruction of Carthage Cornelia, Mother of Gracchi Tiberius and Octavius Death of Tiberius Gracchus Death of Gaius Gracchus The Gold of Jugurtha Marius Wins Notice of Scipio Marius Becomes Commander Capture of Treasure Towns Capture of Jugurtha Jugurtha Brought to Rome Marius Conquers Teutones Marius Mocks the Ambassadors Metellus Driven from Rome Sulla Enters Rome The Flight of Marius Gaul Dares Not Kill Marius Marius Returns to Rome The Orator Aristion Sulla Besieges Athens Sulla Fights the Samnites The Proscriptions of Sulla The Gladiators' Revolt The Pirates Pompey Defeats Mithridates Cicero Discovers Conspiracy Death of the Conspirators Caesar Captured by Pirates Caesar Gives up Triumph Caesar Praises Tenth Legion Caesar Wins a Great Victory Caesar Invades Britain Caesar Crosses Rubicon Caesar and the Pilot The Flight of Pompey Cato Dies Rather than Yieldr Caesar is Loaded with Honours Nobles Plot against Caesar The Assassination of Caesar Brutus Speaks to Citizens Antony Speaks to Citizens The Second Triumvirate Battle of Philippi Death of Brutus Antony and Cleopatra Battle of Actium Antony and Cleopatra Die Emperor Augustus

Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor




The Battle on the Banks of the Anio

The battle on the banks of the Anio took place when Camillus was no longer young, and when he was attacked with illness.

Yet the Senate, anxious to have his help, would not listen as he pleaded that he was unable for the duties of a tribune.

But when war broke out with the Volscians and the Prænestines, it sent another tribune with Camillus, to lead the army, so that the old man's strength might be spared. Lucius Furius was the name of the tribune who accompanied Camillus.

The two tribunes encamped near the enemy, Camillus hoping to avoid battle until he was stronger.

But Lucius wished to win glory on the field, and was impatient to fight.

The old warrior, too generous to thwart the young tribune, agreed that he should lead the army to the field; yet he feared that the rashness of Lucius might lead to defeat.

Owing to his feeble health, Camillus himself stayed in the camp, with only a small company of soldiers. But he could see all that was happening on the battlefield.

As he had feared, Lucius proved too rash a leader, and the Roman army was soon in dire confusion and flying toward the camp.

Such a sight was more than the brave old warrior could endure. Leaping from his couch, he bade those who were near to follow him.

Then as the fugitives saw their old general, who had so often led them to victory, forcing his way toward the enemy, shame stayed their flight.

Swiftly they rallied, and turning, followed Camillus, so that the Volscians and the Prænestines were in their turn forced to flee.

The next day Camillus led the whole army against the foe, and fought so fiercely that before long the enemy was in full retreat. Many of the fugitives sought refuge in their camp. But the Romans followed, and driving them from the shelter of the tents, put them to death.

Then, having won these three victories, Camillus returned in triumph to Rome, carrying with him much plunder.

But the old warrior was not yet to be allowed to rest.

In 381 B.C. war broke out in Tusculum, which town had long been faithful to Rome, and Camillus was sent to put down the rebellion. He was told to choose one of his five colleagues to help him.

Each tribune longed for the glory of accompanying Camillus, but his choice fell upon Lucius, who had so nearly lost a battle in the last war. Perhaps the great general wished to give the tribune a chance to retrieve his mistake.

When the Tusculans heard that Camillus was approaching their gates with a large army, they speedily repented of their rebellion and laid down their arms.

Ploughmen hastened back to their fields, shepherds to their sheep. Tradesmen, too, were soon again busy in their workshops, children were in their places at school, while the well-to-do citizens walked about the streets in their usual dress, unarmed.

When the tribunes arrived at Tusculum, they were welcomed by the magistrates with every sign of pleasure, and entertained as hospitably as though they were eagerly expected guests.

Camillus was too wise to be deceived by these simple folk, yet seeing their penitence, he was sorry for them.

So, instead of punishing them, he merely bade them send ambassadors to the Senate to beg for forgiveness, promising himself to speak on their behalf.

The Senate proved merciful. For the city was forgiven, and her inhabitants were made Roman citizens.

About five years later, in 376 B.C., the Latins were defeated so severely by the Romans, that they were glad to enter into alliance with their conquerors. Then for nearly ten years Rome enjoyed greater peace than had been her lot for long. It was during these years that Licinius made the laws of which I have told you.

But in 367 B.C., the Gauls, who were still dreaded by the Romans, marched with a large army toward Rome, laying waste the country through which they passed.

Camillus, although now eighty years of age, was again made Dictator.

Before leading his army against the dreaded foe, the Dictator ordered smooth and polished helmets of iron to be made. In other days he had seen that the swords of the Gauls swept down with relentless force on the heads and shoulders of the Romans. Now he hoped that their blows would glance off the smooth surface of the iron helmets, or be broken.

The Roman shields, too, were made of wood, but Camillus ordered their rims to be strengthened with bands of brass.

With his army thus equipped, the Dictator felt that victory was secure.

The Gauls, already laden with the plunder that they had taken on their march, were encamped near the river Anio.

Within sight of the camp was a hill with hollows, behind which it would be easy to hide from the enemy. To this hill Camillus led his men, carefully concealing the larger number of them behind these hollows so that from the Gallic camp the Roman soldiers seemed but a small company.

The Gauls were indeed completely deceived. It seemed to them that the Romans did not mean to attack them; that they had fled for safety to the hills.

Camillus, wishing to lure the Gauls into danger, never stirred, even when the enemy ventured close to his trenches in search of plunder.

Soon, careless of the enemy, the barbarians scattered over the country in search of forage, while those left in the camp spent day and night in song and feast.

Then the Dictator knew that the time for action had come.

He sent a small company of his men to harass the enemy, while early the following morning he marched with his whole army to the foot of the hill.

The barbarians were dismayed when they saw so great a host in battle array, and before they could form into their proper ranks the enemy was upon them.

Shouting their wild battle-cries, the Gauls then drew their swords and fought with fury. But their swords were soon twisted or broken, as they slid off the polished helmets worn by the Roman soldiers. To complete their discomfort, the javelins which Camillus now bade his soldiers throw at the enemy's shields, stuck fast in them, until they grew too heavy to wield.

As their swords were useless, the Gauls sought to pull the javelins out of their shields, that they might use the Romans' weapons against the enemy.

But Camillus saw what they meant to do, and ordered his men to advance swiftly, and cut the Gauls to pieces before they could carry out their plan. The foremost were speedily hewn down, while those who could fled over the plains, for the hills were already held by the Romans.

So sure of victory had the Gauls been, that they had left their camp unguarded, and it too was soon captured.

Thirteen years before, the defeat at Allia and the sack of Rome had filled the Romans with a superstitious fear of the fierce Gallic warriors.

The battle now won by the banks of the river Anio for ever put an end to their dread of the barbarians.

Camillus returned once more in triumph to Rome, to find yet another service he could do for the country he had served so loyally and loved so well.

Civil war was on the point of breaking out, for the people, acting according to one of the Licinian laws, had chosen Sextus, a plebeian, to be Consul.

The Senate and patricians were not at all ready to carry out this law. Indeed, it seemed that they would rather fight than let the people have their will. As the plebeians refused to give up their new-won privilege, the city was in an uproar.

But Camillus had great influence with the Senate, and he persuaded it to yield to the just demand of the people. So the angry passions of the patricians and the plebeians were allayed, and Sextus became the first plebeian Consul.

In the following year, 366 B.C., a pestilence swept over Italy, and in Rome, among many who perished was the brave old soldier Camillus.