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 of Sentinum

The peace made with the Samnites in 304 B.C. lasted for six years, after which the third war with these hardy mountaineers began.

One of the Consuls at this time was Cornelius Scipio, the great-grandfather of the famous Scipio who conquered Hannibal.

Now the Samnites had persuaded the Gauls to join them in their new attack upon Rome, and they, it is said, surprised and slew one of Scipio's legions. So dreadful was the slaughter that not a single soldier escaped to tell the Consul, who was some distance off with the main body of his army, what had happened.

Nor did the Romans know what had befallen their comrades, until the Gauls, elated with victory, galloped up to the camp of the enemy shouting their war-cries and carrying on the point of their lances the heads of those whom they had slain.

In 295 B.C. the Romans grew alarmed at the forces that had united against them, for the Samnites had now not only the Gauls, but also the Etruscans and other tribes to strengthen them.

Fabius, whose courage had been tested in many a difficult position, was therefore appointed Consul for the fifth time, and sent with his colleague Decius to the war.

The leader of the Samnites, Egnatius, was at Sentinum in Umbria. He was anxious to fight without delay, for he knew how quickly the Gauls were used to desert their allies.

So he, as well as his men, was pleased when they saw that the Roman legions, with the two Consuls at their head, had reached Sentinum.

Yet for two days no battle took place. But as the armies faced one another, a stag chased by a wolf ran in between the two forces.

The Gauls, in their barbarous way, threw their javelins at the stag and killed it, while the Romans allowed the wolf to run safely through their ranks, for the beast was sacred to Mars, and its presence was to them a sign of victory.

'The Gauls have slain the stag which is sacred to Diana,' cried the Roman soldiers. 'It is certain that her wrath will fall upon them. As for us, the wolf bids us remember Quirinus, our divine founder. With his aid we have naught to fear.'

The Consuls could no longer restrain the eagerness of their legions, and they at once led them against the enemy.

Fabius commanded the right wings, and faced the Samnites; Decius was opposite the Gauls. They, as was their way, rushed with loud war-cries upon the foe, spurring their horses forward with fury and driving their war-chariots upon the Roman cavalry.

Startled by the noise of the heavy chariots and by their strange appearance, the Roman horses turned and fled. In their flight they encountered the infantry, and dashing upon it, caused the legions to give way.

Decius tried in vain to rally his men. Then, in despair, he determined to do as his father had done, and yield himself up to death, that the army might be saved.

So, spurring his steed, he rode headlong into the midst of the Gallic warriors and was slain.

The soldiers, seeing that the Consul had sacrificed himself for their sake, took courage and turned to face the foe. Decius had, by his death, won a victory for his country.

Fabius meanwhile, had routed the Samnites, who now added to the confusion by rushing past the Gauls, in a desperate effort to reach their camp.

As the Samnites fled, the Gauls formed themselves into a dense mass, for they feared that they would now be attacked by Fabius.

The Consul, however, contented himself by sending a detachment of his men to harass the Gauls in their rear, and another to attack them in front.

Then vowing to build a temple to Jupiter and to offer him all the spoil if he was victorious, Fabius himself followed the Samnites and cut them down ruthlessly, until at length Egnatius, their brave commander, fell. Resistance was now at an end, yet those who were still alive refused to surrender. Forming themselves into a compact body, they marched away and struggled back to their own country.

The Gauls too were utterly crushed, and the glory of the battle of Sentinum belonged to Rome.