Text #9227

"Roman-Volscian War", in Wikipedia.

Livy and Plutarch provide parallel narratives for 381. In that year the Volsci and Praenestines are said to have joined forces and, according to Livy, successfully stormed the Roman colony of Satricum. In response the Romans elected M. Furius Camillus as consular tribune for the sixth time. Camillus was assigned the Volscian war by special senatorial decree. His fellow tribune L. Furius Medullinus was chosen by lot to be his colleague in this undertaking. There are some differences between Livy and Plutarch in their accounts of the campaign that followed. According to Livy the tribunes marched out from the Esquiline Gate for Satricum with an army of four legions, each consisting of 4000 men.

At Satricum they met an army considerably superior in number and eager for battle. Camillus, however, refused to engage the enemy, seeking instead to protract the war. This exasperated his colleague, L. Furius, who claimed that Camillus had become too old and slow and soon won over the whole army to his side. While his colleague prepared for battle, Camillus formed a strong reserve and awaited the outcome of the battle. The Volsci started to retire soon after the battle had started, and, as they had planned, the Romans were drawn into follow up the rising ground toward the Volscian camp. Here the Volsci had placed several cohorts in reserve and these joined the battle. Fighting uphill against superior numbers, the Romans started to flee. However Camillus brought up the reserves and rallied the fleeing soldiers to stand their ground. With the infantry wavering, the Roman cavalry, now led by L. Furius, dismounted and attacked the enemy on foot. As a result the Volsci were defeated and fled in panic; their camp was also taken. A large number of Volscis were killed and an even larger number taken prisoners.

According to Plutarch, a sick Camillus was waiting in the camp while his colleague engaged the enemy. When he heard that the Romans had been routed, he sprung from his couch, rallied the soldiers and stopped the enemy pursuit. Then on the second day Camillus led his forces out, defeated the enemy in battle and took their camp. Camillus then learned that Satricum had been taken by Etruscans and all the Roman colonists there slaughtered. He sent the bulk of his forces back to Rome, while he and the youngest men fell upon the Etruscans and expelled them from Satricum. Having described Camillus’ victory at Satricum, Livy and Plutarch move on to narrate the Roman annexation of the Latin town of Tusculum.

Please view our Legal Notice before you make use of this Database.

See also our Credits page for info on data we are building upon.