Immagini della pagina

of a battle, resolved upon engaging, as speedily as possible, with Antonius.

He ordered the signal for battle to be sounded, and led down his troops, in regular order, to the level ground. Having then sent away the horses of all the cavalry, in order to increase the men's courage by making their danger equal, he himself, on foot, drew up his troops suitably to their numbers and the nature of the ground. As a plain stretched between the mountains on the left, with a rugged rock on the right, he placed eight cohorts in front, and stationed the rest of his force, in close order, in the rear. From


these he removed all the ablest centurions, the veterans, and the stoutest of the common soldiers that were regularly armed, into the foremost ranks. He ordered Caius Manlius to take the command of the right, and a certain officer of Fæsulæ on the left; while he himself, with his freedmen and the colonists, took his station by the eagle, which Caius Marius was said to have had in his army in the Cimbrian war.

On the other side, Caius Antonius, who, being lame, was unable to be present in the engagement, gave the command of the army to Marcus Petreius, his lieutenant general. Petreius ranged the cohorts of veterans, which he had raised to meet the present insurrection, in front, and behind them the rest of his force in lines. Then, riding round among his troops, and addressing his men by name, he encouraged them, and bade them remember that they were to fight against unarmed marauders, in defense of their country, their children, their temples, and their homes. Being a military man, and having served with great reputation, for more than thirty years, as tribune, prefect, lieutenant, or pretor, he knew most of the soldiers and their honorable actions, and, by calling these to their remembrance, roused the spirits of the men.

When he had made a complete survey, he gave the signal with the trumpet, and ordered the cohorts to advance slowly. The army of the enemy followed his example; and when they approached so near that the action could be commenced by the light-armed troops, both sides, with a loud shout, rushed together in a furious charge. They threw aside their missiles, and fought only with their swords. The veterans, calling to mind their deeds of old, engaged fiercely in the closest combat. The enemy made an obstinate resistance; and both sides contended with the utmost fury. Catiline, during this time, was exerting himself with his light troops in the front, sustaining such as were pressed, substituting fresh men for the wounded, attending to every exigency, charging in person, wounding many an enemy, and performing at once the duties of a valiant soldier and a skillful general.

When Petreius, contrary to his expectation, found Catiline attacking him with such impetuosity, he led his pretorian cohort against the center of the enemy, among whom, being thus thrown into confusion, and offering but partial resistance, he made great slaughter, and ordered, at the same time, an assault on both flanks. Manlius and the Fæsulan, sword in hand, were among the first that fell; and Catiline, when he saw his army routed, and himself left with but few supporters, remembering his birth and former dignity, rushed into the thickest of the enemy, where he was slain, fighting to the last.

When the battle was over, it was plainly seen what boldness, and what energy of spirit, had prevailed throughout the army of Catiline ; for, almost everywhere, every soldier, after, yielding up his breath, covered with his corpse the spot which he had occupied when alive. A few, indeed, whom the pretorian cohort had dispersed, had fallen somewhat differently, but all with wounds in front. Catiline himself was found, far in advance of his men, among the dead bodies of the enemy; he was not quite breathless, and still expressed in his countenance the fierceness of spirit which he had shown during his life. Of his whole army, neither in the battle nor in flight, was any freeborn citizen made prisoner, for they had spared their own lives no more than those of the enemy.

Nor did the army of the Roman people obtain a joyful or bloodless victory; for all their bravest men were either killed in the battle, or left the field severely wounded.

Of many who went from the camp to view the ground, or plunder the slain, some, in turning over the bodies of the enemy, discovered a friend, others an acquaintance, others a relative; some, too, recognized their enemies. Thus, gladness and sorrow, grief and joy, were variously felt throughout the

whole army


[Marcus Tullius Cicero, the greatest of Roman orators and perhaps the second of all time, was born s.c. 106, of the nobility. Trained for the bar, his first important case obliged him to go into exile for fear of the dictator Sulla. Returning after Sulla's death, he became the leader of the bar and high in political life; rose to be consul, b.c. 63, and gained great credit for suppressing Catiline's conspiracy. Later, he was again exiled for taking sides against the tribune Clodius, and again recalled in a storm of popular enthusiasm. He sided with Pompey against Cæsar, but made peace with the latter after Pharsalia. After the murder of Cæsar, Cicero sided with Octavius, and thundered against Antony, who on his coalition with Octavius demanded Cicero's life as the price of the junction ; Octavius consented, and Cicero was assassinated by an officer whose life he had once saved at the bar. His orations, his letters saved and published by his freedman Tiro, and his varied disquisitions keep his fame unfailingly bright.]


WHEN, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us ? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now? Do not the mighty guards placed on the Palatine Hill - do not the watches posted throughout the city — does not the alarm of the people, and the union of all good men — does not the precaution taken of assembling the senate in this most defensible place — do not the looks and countenances of this venerable body here present, have any effect upon you? Do you not feel that your plans are detected ? Do you not see that your conspiracy is already arrested and rendered powerless by the knowledge which every one here possesses of it? What is there that you did last night, what the night before — where is it that you were — who was there that you summoned to meet you — what design was there which was adopted by you, with which you think that any one of us is unacquainted ?

Shame on the age and on its principles! The senate is aware of these things; the consul sees them; and yet this man lives. Lives! ay, he comes even into the senate. He takes a part in the public deliberations; he is watching and marking down and checking off for slaughter every individual among us.

. And we, gallant men that we are, think that we are doing our duty to the republic if we keep out of the way of his frenzied attacks.

You ought, O Catiline, long ago to have been led to execution by command of the consul. That destruction which you

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]
« IndietroContinua »