The conquest of Italy   
438-275 B.C.

405-396 B.C.

The capture of Veii

The Veians had long been the rivals of Rome; they had ever taken the opportunity of its internal distresses, to ravage its territories, and threatened the ambassadors sent to complain of the injuries, with outrage. It was resolved in Rome, that Veii should be subdued.

The strength of this place may be inferred from the length of the siege, which continued for ten years; during which time the army encamped around it, lying in winter under tents made of the skins of beasts, and in summer carrying on the operations of the attack. The success varied, and many were the commanders that directed the siege; sometimes all the besiegers works were destroyed, and many of their men cut off by sallies from the town; sometimes they were annoyed by an army of Veians, who attempted to bring assistance from without.

A siege so bloody seemed to threaten depopulation to Rome, by draining its forces continually; so that a law was made for all the bachelors to marry the widows of the soldiers who were slain. In order to carry it on with greater vigor, Furius Camillus was created Dictator, and to him was entrusted the sole power of managing the long protracted war. Camillus, who, without intrigue or any solicitation, had raised himself to the first eminence in the state, had been made one of the censors, and was considered as the head of that office; he was afterwards made a military tribune, and had in his post, gained several advantages over the enemy.

It was his great courage and abilities in the above offices that made him thought most worthy to serve his country on this pressing occasion. Upon his appointment, numbers of people flocked to his standard, confident of success under so experienced a commander. Conscious that he was unable to take the city by storm, he secretly wrought a mine into it with vast labor, which opened into the midst of the citadel.

Certain of success, and finding the city incapable of relief, he sent to the senate, desiring that all those who desired to share in the plunder of Veii, should immediately repair to the army. Then giving his men directions how to enter in at the breach, the city was instantly filled with his legions, to the amazement and consternation of the besieged, who a moment before had imagined themselves in perfect security.

Thus, like a second Troy, was the city of Veii taken after a ten years siege, and with its spoils enriched its conquerors. Camillus, transported with the honor of having subdued the rival of his native city, triumphed after the manner of the kings of Rome, having his chariot drawn by four milk-white horses; a distinction which did not fail to disgust the majority of his spectators, as they considered those sacred, and more proper for doing honor to the gods than their generals.

396-390 B.C.


la révolte du mont Sacré
delivers the schoolmaster of Faleries
Nicolas Poussin 1637

His usual good fortune attended Camillus in another expedition against the Falisci; he routed their army, and besieged their capital city, Falerii, which threatened a long and vigorous resistance. But Camillus was afterwards exiled from Rome.

The reduction of this little place would have been scarcely worth mentioning, were it not for an action of the Roman general that has done him more credit than all his triumphs.

A schoolmaster who had the care of the children belonging to the principal men of the city, having found means to decoy them into the Roman camp, offered to put them into the hands of Camillus, as the surest means of compelling the citizens to a speedy surrender.

The general was struck with horror at such treachery; and for some time regarded the traitor with a stern air : but at last finding words, "Execrable villain," cried the noble Roman, "offer thy abominable proposals to creatures like thyself, and not to me; what though we be enemies of your city, yet there are natural ties that bind all mankind, which should never be broken : there are duties required of us in war as well as in peace; we fight not against an age of innocence, but against men; men who have used us ill indeed; but yet whose crimes are virtues when compared to thine. Against such base arts, let it be my duty to use only Roman arts, the arts of valor and of arms". So saying he ordered him to be stripped, his hands tied behind him, and in that ignominious manners to be whipped into the town by his own scholars. This generous behaviour in Camillus effected more than his arms could do; the magistrates of the town immediately submitted to the senate, leaving to Camillus the conditions of their surrender, who only fined them a sum of money to satisfy the army, and received them under the protection, and into the alliance of Rome.

Notwithstanding the veneration which the virtues of Camillus had excited abroad, they seemed but little adapted to bring over the turbulent tribunes at home, as they raised some fresh accusations against him every day. To the charge of being an opposer of their intended migration from Rome to Veii, they added that of his having concealed a part of the plunder of that city, particularly two brazen gates for his own use; and appointed him a day on which to appear before the people.

Camillus, finding the multitude exasperated against him upon many accounts, and detesting their ingratitude, embraced his wife and children, and prepared to depart from Rome. He had already passed as far as one of the gates, unattended and unlamented. Then he could suppress his indignation no longer, but turning his face to the capitol and lifting up his hands to heaven, entreated all the gods, that his country might one day be sensible of their injustice and ingratitude; so saying he passed forward to take refuge at Ardea, a town at a little distance from Rome.

390 B.C.

The Celtic (Gallic) invasion

The Gauls had, about two centuries before, made an irruption from beyond the Alps, and settled in the northern parts of Italy. A body of them, wild from their original habitations, were now besieging Clusium a city of Etruria, under the conduct of Brennus their king.

The tribunes, were not a little pleased with their triumph over Camillus; but they soon had reason to repent their injustice, and to wish for the assistance of one who alone was able to protect their country from ruin. For a more terrible enemy appeared than the Romans had ever before encountered.

They had been invited over by the deliciousness of the wines, and the fineness of the climate. Wherever they came they dispossessed the original inhabitants, as they were men of superior courage, extraordinary stature, fierce in aspect, barbarous in their manners, and prone to emigration.

The inhabitants of Clusium, frightened at their numbers, and still more at their savage appearance, entreated the assistance of the Romans. The senate were willing to send ambassadors to the Gauls to dissuade them from their enterprise, and to show the injustice of the irruption.

Accordingly, three young senators were chosen out of the family of the Fabii, to manage the commission, who seemed more fitted to the field than the cabinet.

Brennus received them with a degree of complaisance that argued little of the barbarian; and desiring to know the business of their embassy, was answered, according to their instructions, that it was not customary in Italy to make war but on just grounds of provocation, and that they desired to know what offence the citizens of Clusium had given to the king of the Gauls.

To this, Brennus sternly replied that the rights of valiant men lay in their swords; that the Romans themselves had no right to the many cities they had conquered; and that he had particular reasons for resentment against the people of Clusium, as they refused to part with those lands which they had neither hands to till, nor inhabitants to occupy.

The Roman ambassadors, who were but little used to the language of a conqueror, for a while concealed their resentment at this haughty reply; but upon entering the besieged city, and forgetful of their sacred characters as ambassadors, headed the citizens in a sally against the besiegers. In this combat Fabius Ambutus killed a Gaul with his own hand, but was discovered while he was despoiling him of his armor. Conduct so unjust and unbecoming excited the resentment of Brennus, who having made his complaint by a herald to the senate, and finding no redress, broke up the siege, and marched directly to Rome.

They went on without doing the least injury in their march, breathing vengeance only against the Romans; and a terrible engagement soon ensued, in which the Romans were defeated with the loss of nearly forty thousand men.

Rome, thus deprived of all succor, prepared for every extremity. The inhabitants endeavored to hide themselves in some of the neighboring towns, or resolved to await the conqueror's fury, and end their lives with the ruin of their native city. But the ancient senators and priests, struck with religious enthusiasm, resolved to devote their lives to atone for the crimes of the people.

The Gauls in the meantime were giving a loose to their triumph, and enjoying the plunder. They continued two days feasting upon the field of battle, and exulting amidst their slaughtered enemies. On the third day after the victory, Brennus appeared with all his forces before the city. He was surprised to find the gate open, and the walls defenceless; and began to impute the unguarded situation of the place to a stratagem of the Romans. After proper precautions he entered the city, and marching into the Forum, there beheld the ancient senators sitting in their order, observing a profound silence, unmoved and undaunted.

The splendid habits, the majestic gravity, and venerable looks of these old men, who had all borne the highest offices of the state, awed the barbarous enemy into reverence; they took them to be the tutelar deities of the place, and began to offer blind adoration, till one more forward than the rest, put forth his hand to stroke the beard of Papirius; an insult which the noble Roman could not endure, but lifting up his ivory sceptre, struck the savage to the ground. This was a signal for general slaughter. Papirius fell first, and all the rest shared his fate, without mercy or distinction. Thus the fierce invaders pursued their slaughter for three days, sparing neither age nor sex, and then setting fire to the city, burned every house to the ground.

390 B.C.

Sack of Rome

Brennus and his share of booty
Brennus and his share of booty
Paul Jamin

After the destruction of the city by the Gauls, all the hopes of Rome were placed in the capitol; every thing without that fortress was a scene of desolation and despair. Brennus summoned the capitol with threats, to surrender, but in vain; he then resolved to besiege it, and hemmed it round with his army. The Romans repelled his attempts with great bravery, and Rome again rose from its ashes.

Brennus carried on this siege with extreme ardor. He hoped to starve the garrison into a capitulation; but they, sensible of his intent, although in actual want, caused several loaves to be thrown into his camp, to convince him of the futility of such expectations. His hopes failing in this, were soon revived, when some of his soldiers came to inform him, that they had discovered some footsteps which led up the rock, and by which they supposed the capitol might be surprised. Accordingly a chosen body of men were ordered by night upon this dangerous service, which they almost effected. They gained the wall, and the Roman sentinel was fast asleep; the dogs within gave no signal, and all promised an easy victory, when the garrison was awaked by the gabbling of some sacred geese that had been kept in the temple of Juno.

The besieged soon perceived their great danger, and each snatched his weapon, and ran to oppose the assailants. Manlius, a patrician of acknowledged bravery, was the first who exerted all his strength, and inspired courage by his example . He mounted the rampart, and threw two Gauls down the precipice; others soon came to his assistance, and the walls were cleared of the enemy.

From this time the hope of the barbarians began to decline. At length the commanders on both sides came to an agreement, that the Gauls should immediately quit the territories of Rome, upon being paid a thousand pounds weight of gold. This agreement being confirmed by oath, the gold was brought forth; but upon weighing it, the Gauls fraudulently kicked the beam, of which the Romans complaining, Brennus insultingly cast his sword and belt into the scale, crying out, that the portion of the vanquished was to suffer. By this reply the Romans saw that they were at the victor's mercy.

But in this juncture, and while they were debating upon the payment, it was told them that Camillus, their old general, was at the head of a large army hastening to their relief. Camillus appeared soon after, and demanded the cause of the contest; being informed he ordered the gold to be taken and carried back to the capitol, "For it has ever been" (cried he) "the manner of us Romans, to ransom our country, not with gold, but with iron; it is I only that am to make peace, as being the Dictator of Rome, and my sword alone shall purchase it." A battle ensued, in which the Gauls were entirely routed; thus was Rome by Camillus, cleared of its foes.

The city being a heap of ruins, except the capitol, and the greater number of its former inhabitants having gone to take refuge in Veii, the tribunes of the people urged for the removal of the remains of Rome to Veii, where they might have shelter, and walls to defend them. Camillus attempted to appease them, with all the arts of persuasion. He prevailed upon the people to go contentedly to work; and Rome began to rise from its ashes. For the bravery of Manlius in defending the capitol and saving Rome, the people were grateful, and built him a house near the place where his valor was so conspicuous, appointing a fund for his support. But he aspired at being not only equal to Camillus but sovereign of Rome.

The senate not ignorant of his designs, created Cornelius Cossus dictator, with a view to curb the ambition of Manlius. The dictator soon finished an expedition against the Volscians by a victory, and upon his return called Manlius to an account for his conduct. Manlius, however, was too much the darling of the population to be affected by the power of Cossus, who was obliged to lay down his office, and Manlius was carried from confinement in triumph through the city. This only served to inflame his ambition. He began to talk of a division of the lands among the people; insinuated that there should be no distinctions in the state; and to give weight to his discourses, appeared at the head of a large body of the dregs of the people.

The city being filled with sedition and clamor, the senate had recourse to another expedient, to oppose the power of Camillus to that of the demagogue. Camillus being made one of the military tribunes, appointed Manlius a day to answer for his life. The place in which he was tried was near the capitol, where, when he was accused of sedition, and of aspiring at sovereignty, he turned his eyes, and pointing thither, put them in mind of what he had there done for his country.

The multitude refused to condemn him, while he pleaded in sight of the capitol; but when he was brought to the Peteline grove, and when the capitol was no longer to be seen, they condemned him to be thrown headlong from the Tarpeian rock. Thus the place which had been the theatre of his glory, became that of his punishment and infamy. His house was ordered to be razed to the ground, and his family were forbidden ever to assume the name of Marcus. In this manner the Romans went gradually forward, with a mixture of turbulence and superstition within their walls, and successful enterprises without. With what an implicit obedience they submitted to their pontiffs, we have seen in many instances, and how far they might be impelled even to encounter death itself, will appear from the behaviour of Curtius, who upon the opening of a gulf in the Forum, which the augurs affirmed would never close up till the most precious things in Rome were thrown into it, this heroic man leaped with his horse and armor boldly in the midst, saying that nothing was more truly valuable, than patriotism and military virtue. - The gulf, say the historians, closed immediately, and Curtius was never seen afterwards.

343-341 B.C.

The Samnites or the first Samnite war

The Romans having triumphed over the Sabines, the Etrurians, the Latins, the Hernici, the AEqui, and the Volscians, began to look for greater conquests. They 343 years B. C. successfully turned their arms against the Samnites, a people about an hundred miles from the city, descended from the Sabines, and inhabiting a large tract of southern Italy, which makes a part of the modern kingdom of Naples.

Valerius Corvus and Cornelius, were the two consuls to whose care it fell to manage this dreadful contention between the rival states.

Valerius was a great commander; he was surnamed Corvus, from being assisted by a crow in a combat, in which he fought, and killed a Gaul of a gigantic stature. To his colleague's care it was consigned to lead an army to Samnium, the enemy's capital, while Corvus was sent to relieve Capua, the capital of the Campanians. Such soldiers as the Romans then were, hardened by their late adversity, were unconquerable.

The Samnites were the bravest men they ever yet encountered; and the contention between the two nations was managed with great resolution. But Rome prevailed; the Samnites at length fled, averring that they were not able to withstand the fierce looks and the fire-darting eyes of the Romans. The other consul having led his army into a defile, was in danger of being cut off, had not Decius, a tribune of the army, possessed himself of a hill which commanded the enemy; so that the Samnites were defeated with great slaughter; no less than thirty thousand of them being left dead upon the field.

340-338 B.C.

War against the Latins

The death of Publius Decius Mus
The death of Publius Decius Mus
Rubens, Fürstlich Lichtensteinische
Gemäldegalerie, Vaduz

After the overthrow of the Samnites, a war broke out between the Romans and the Latins. Titus Manlius, was slain by his father's command, and Decius devoted himself for his country, and the Romans triumphed 340 years B. C.

As the habits, arms, and language of both armies were the same, the most exact discipline was necessary to prevent confusion in the engagement. Orders were issued by Manlius Torquatus, the consul, that no soldier should leave his ranks upon any provocation, on pain of death. With these injunctions both armies were ready to begin, when Metius, the general of the enemy's cavalry, pushed forward from his lines, and challenged any knight in the Roman army to single combat.

There was a pause, no soldier offering to disobey his orders, till Titus Manlius, the consul's own son, burning with shame to see the whole body of the Romans intimidated, boldly sallied out against his adversary. The soldiers on both sides for a while suspended the general engagement, to be spectators of this fierce encounter. The two champions drove their horses against each other with great violence; Metius wounded his adversary's horse in the neck; but Manlius killed that of Metius.

The Latin falling to the ground, attempted to support himself upon his shield, but the Roman followed his blows with such force, that he laid him dead as he endeavored to rise; and then despoiling him of his armor, returned in triumph to his father's tent.

Being as yet doubtful of the reception he should find from his father, he came with hesitation to lay the enemy's spoils at his feet, and with a modest air, insinuated that what he did was entirely from a spirit of hereditary virtue. But he was soon made sensible of his error, when his father turning away, ordered him to he led forth before the army.

There being brought forward, the consul, with a stern countenance, and yet with tears, spoke as follows : "Titus Maulius, as thou hast regarded neither the dignity of the consulship, nor the commands of thy father; as thou hast destroyed military discipline, and set a pattern of disobedience by thy example, thou hast reduced me to that deplorable extremity, of sacrificing my son or my country. But let us not hesitate in this dreadful alternative : a thousand lives were well lost in such a cause; nor do I think thou wilt refuse to die, when thy country is to reap the advantage of thy sufferings. Go, lictor, bind him, and let his death be our future example."

The whole army were struck with horror at this unnatural mandate; fear for a while kept them in suspense : but when they saw their young champion's head struck off, and his blood streaming upon the ground, they could no longer contain their execrations, and their groans. His dead body was carried forth, and being adorned with the spoils of the vanquished, was buried with all the pomp of military distress.

In the mean time the battle joined with mutual fury, and as the two armies had often fought under the same leader, they combatted with all the animosity of a civil war.

The Latins chiefly depended on their bodily strength; the Romans on their invincible courage and conduct. Forces so nearly matched, seemed only to require the protection of their deities to turn the scale of victory, and in fact the augurs had foretold, that whatever part of the Roman army should be distressed, the commander of that part should devote himself for his country, and die as a sacrifice to the immortal Gods. Manlius commanded the right wing, and Decius led on the left.

Both sides fought for some time with doubtful success, but after a time the left wing of the Roman army began to give ground. It was then that Decius resolved to offer his own life as a sacrifice for his army. Thus determined, he called to Manlius, with a loud voice, and demanded his instructions, as he was the chief pontiff, how to devote himself and the form of words he should use. Being clothed in a long robe, his head covered, and his arms stretched forward, standing upon a javelin, he devoted himself to the celestial and infernal gods, for the safety of Rome. Then arming himself, and mounting on horseback, he drove furiously into the midst of his enemies, carrying terror and consternation wherever he came, till he fell covered with wounds.

The Roman army considered his devoting himself in this manner as an assurance of success; nor was the superstition of the Latins less powerfully influenced by his resolution; a total rout followed; the Romans pressed them on every side; and so great was the carnage, that scarce a fourth part of the enemy survived the defeat.

This was the last battle of any consequence that the Latins had with the Romans; they were forced to beg a peace upon hard conditions; and two years after, their strongest city, Paedrum, being taken, they were brought under an entire submission to the Roman power.

327-304 B.C.

The second Samnite war

A signal disgrace which the Romans sustained 332 years B. C. in their contests with the Samnites, made a pause in their usual good fortune and turned the scale for a while in the enemy's favor.

The senate having denied the Samnites peace, Pontius, their general, was resolved to gain by stratagem what he had lost by force. Accordingly, leading his army into a defile, called Claudium, and taking possession of all its outlets, he sent ten of his soldiers habited like shepherds with directions to throw themselves in the way the Romans were to march.

Exactly to his wishes, the Roman consul met them, and taking them for what they appeared, demanded the route the Samnite army had taken; they with seeming indifference replied, that they had gone to Luceria, a town in Apulia, and were there actually besieging it. The Roman general, not suspecting the stratagem that was laid against him, marched directly by the shortest road, to relieve the city, and was not undeceived till he saw his army surrounded on every side.

Pontius thus having the Romans entirely in his power, obliged the army to pass under the yoke, first stripping them of all but their garments; he then stipulated that they should leave the territories of the Samnites, and live on the terms of their former confederacy.

The Romans were constrained to submit to this ignominious treaty, and marched into Capua, disarmed, half naked, and burning with a desire of retrieving their lost honor. When the army arrived at Rome, every one was exceedingly afflicted at their shameful return; nothing but grief and resentment prevailed, and the whole city was put in mourning.

280-275 B.C.

The war against Pyrrhus

Pyrrhus of Epirus

The defeat of the Romans by the stratagem of the Samnites was but a transitory calamity, the state had suffered a diminution of its glory; but not of its power. The war was carried on as usual for many years; the power of the Samnites declining, while that of the Romans gathered confidence.

Under the conduct of Papirius Cursor, repeated triumphs were made. Fabius Maximus also had a share in the glory of conquering the Samnites; and Decius the son of that Decius whom we saw devoting himself for his country about forty years before, followed the example of his noble father, and rushing into the midst of the enemy, saved the lives of his countrymen with the loss of his own.

The Samnites being driven to extreme distress, were obliged to call in the assistance of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, to save them. Pyrrhus a king of great courage, ambition and power, who had always kept the example of Alexander, his predecessor, before his eyes, promised to come to their assistance; and in the mean time despatched over a body of three thousand men under the command of Cineas an experienced soldier, and a scholar of the great orator Demosthenes.

Nor did he remain long behind, but soon put to sea with three thousand horse, twenty thousand foot, and twenty elephants, in which last the commanders of that time placed very great confidence.

Upon his arrival at Tarentum, his first care was to reform the people he came to succor; for observing a total dissolution of manners in this luxurious city, and that the inhabitants were rather occupied with the pleasures of bathing, feasting, and dancing, than the care of preparing for war, he gave orders to have all their places of public entertainment shut up, and that they should be restrained in all such amusements as rendered soldiers unfit for battle.

In the mean time the Romans did all that prudence could suggest, to oppose so formidable an enemy; and the consul Laevinus was sent with a numerous army to interrupt his progress.

Pyrrhus drew out to meet him, but previously sent an ambassador desiring to be permitted to mediate between the Romans and the people of Tarentum. To this Laevinus returned for answer, that he neither esteemed him as a mediator, nor feared him as an enemy; and then leading the ambassador through the Roman camp, desired him to observe diligently what he saw, and to report the result to his master.

Both armies approaching, pitched their tents in sight of each other upon the opposite banks of the river Lyris. Pyrrhus was always extremely careful in directing the situation of his own camp, and in observing that of the enemy. The consul with an impetuosity that marked his inexperience, gave orders for passing the river where it was fordable.

Pyrrhus being apprised of the enemy's attempt, at first hoped to cut off their cavalry before they could be reinforced by the foot that were not as yet got over, and led on in person a chosen body of horse against them. The Roman legions having with much difficulty crossed the river; the engagement became general. The Greeks fought with a consciousness of their former fame, and the Romans with a desire of gaining fresh glory.

The combat was long in suspense; the Romans had seven times repulsed the enemy, and were as often driven back; but at length Pyrrhus sent his elephants into the midst of the engagement, and these turned the scale of victory in his favor. The Romans who had never before seen creatures of such magnitude, were terrified not only with their intrepid fierceness, but with the castles that were built upon their backs filled with armed men. It was then Pyrrhus saw that the day was his own, and sending in his Thessalian cavalry to charge the disordered enemy, the rout became general.

A dreadful slaughter of the Romans ensued, fifteen thousand men being killed on the spot, and eighteen hundred taken prisoners. Nor were the conquerors in much better state than the vanquished, Pyrrhus himself being wounded, and thirteen thousand of his men slain. Night coming on put an end to the slaughter on both sides, and Pyrrhus was heard to cry out, "That one such victory more, would ruin his whole army."

The next day as he walked to the field of battle, he could not help regarding with admiration, the bodies of the Romans who were slain; upon seeing them all with their wounds before, their countenances even in death, marked with noble resolution and sternness that awed him into respect, he was heard to cry out, in the true spirit of a military adventurer, "0 ! with what ease would I conquer the world, had I the Romans for soldiers, or had they me for their king."

Pyrrhus, after this victory, was still unwilling to drive them to extremities, and considered it best to treat with an humbled enemy : he resolved to send his friend Cineas, the orator, to negotiate peace; of whom he often asserted that he had won more towns by his eloquence, than by his own arms. Cineas, with all his art, found the Romans incapable of being reduced, either by bribery, or persuasion.

Being frustrated in his expectations, he returned to his master, extolling the Romans. The senate, he said, appeared a reverend assembly of demigods, and the city a temple for their reception. Of this, Pyrrhus became sensible by an embassy from Rome, concerning the ransom and exchange of prisoners.

At the head of this venerable deputation was Fabricius an ancient senator, who had long been a pattern to his countrymen of extreme poverty, joined to the most cheerful content.

Pyrrhus received him with great kindness; and willing to try how far fame had been just in his favor, offered him rich presents, which the Roman refused. The day after, he was desirous of examining the equality of his temper, and ordered one of his elephants to be placed behind the tapestry; which upon a signal given, raised his trunk above the ambassadors head, at the same time using other arts to intimidate him.

But Fabricius, with a countenance no way changing, smiled upon the king, observing, that he looked with an equal eye on the terrors of this day, as he had upon the allurements of the preceding.

Pyrrhus pleased to find so much virtue in one he had considered as a barbarian, was willing to grant him the only favor which he knew could make him happy. He released the Roman prisoners, entrusting them to Fabricius alone, upon his promise that in case the senate were determined to continue the war, he might reclaim them whenever he thought proper.

About 280 years B. C. when the Roman army had recovered from a recent defeat, and Sulpicius and Decius, the consuls for the following year, were placed at its head, the war was renewed against Pyrrhus.

The panic which had formerly seized it from the elephants, now began to wear off, and both armies met near the city of Asculum, nearly equal in numbers, about forty thousand strong, and here again, after a long and obstinate fight, the Grecian discipline prevailed. The Romans being pressed on every side, particularly by the elephants were obliged to retire, leaving six thousand men dead upon the field. The enemy had four thousand slain. This battle finished the campaign.

After an interval of two years, Pyrrhus having increased his army by new levies, sent one part to oppose the march of Lentulus, the Roman consul, while he himself went to attack Curius Dentatus, the other consul, but being defeated, he left Italy.

The intention of Pyrrhus was to surprise the enemy by night; but passing through the woods, and his light failing him, his men lost their way, so that at the approach of morning he saw himself in sight of the Roman camp, with the enemy drawn out ready to receive him.

The vanguards of both armies soon met; but the Romans had the advantage. A general engagement followed, and Pyrrhus finding the balance of the victory turning still against him, had once more recourse to his elephants. But the Romans were now too well acquainted with them to be terrified; and having found that fire was the most effectual means to repel them, they caused a number of balls to be made composed of flax and rosin, which were thrown against them, as they approached the ranks.

The elephants thus rendered furious by the flame, and as boldly opposed by the soldiers, could no longer be brought on, but ran back upon their own army, bearing down the ranks and filling all places with terror and confusion Then victory declared in favor of Rome. Pyrrhus in vain attempted to stop the flight and slaughter of his troops; he not only lost twenty three thousand of his best soldiers, but his camp was taken also.

Pyrrhus thus finding all hopes fruitless, resolved to leave Italy, where he found only desperate enemies and faithless allies; accordingly calling together the Tarentines, he informed them that he had received assurances from Greece of speedy assistance, and desiring them to wait the event with tranquillity, the night following embarked his troops and returned undisturbed into his native kingdom with the remains of his shattered forces, leaving a garrison in Tarentum merely to save appearances; and in this manner was ended the war with Pyrrhus, after six years continuance.

266 years before Christ, silver money was first coined at Rome; and the year following, the number of inhabitants was found to be 292,224.

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