The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

1254

VIBULANUS.

resolved to quit Rome altogether, where they were regarded as apostates by their own order. They determined to found a settlement on the banks of the Cremera, a small stream that falls into the Tiber a few miles above Rome. According to the legend, the consul Kaeso went before the senate and said, that the Fabii were willing to carry on the war against the Veientes, alone and at their own cost. Their offer was joyfully accepted, for the patricians were glad to see them expose themselves voluntarily to such dangers. The departure of the Fabii from the city was celebrated in Roman story. On the day after Kaeso had made the proposal to the senate, 306 Fabii, all patricians of one gens, assembled on the Quirinal at the house of Kaeso, and from thence marched with the consul at their head through the Carmental gate. They proceeded straight to the banks of the Cremera, where they erected a fortress. Livy and the writers who follow him speak of the 306 patrician Fabii as departing alone to the Cremera ; but other autho­rities with more probability represent them as accompanied by their wives, children and clients. The latter were undoubtedly very numerous ; and Dionysius says that the Fabii with their depend­ants amounted to 4000 persons. It seems nearly evident, as has been already stated, that the Fabii intended to form a settlement, which might become a powerful Latin town on the borders of the Etruscan territory ; and that they ought not to be regarded as simply an advanced guard oc­cupying a fort in the enemy's territory, for the purpose of ravaging the country. Even if it had not been stated that the Fabii had left Rome with their families and clients, it might fairly have been in­ferred from the unanimous tradition that only one of the family, who had remained at Rome, survived the entire destruction of the gens. As soon as the Fabii had fortified their settlement on the Cremera, they commenced their inroads and continued to lay waste the Veientine territory without cessation. The Veientes collected a powerful army from the Etruscan states and besieged the fortress, but the Romans sent an army to their relief under the command of the consul L. Aemilius Mamercus, who defeated the Etruscans, b. c. 478. Thereupon a truce was concluded for a year ; but at its expira­tion the Etruscans again took up arms, and the Fabii were all destroyed in the consulship of C. Horatius Pulvillus and T. Menenius Lanatus, b. c. 477. The manner of their death is variously related by the ancient writers. According to'one tradition, preserved but rejected by Dionysius, the Fabii set out from the Cremera on a certain day in order to offer up a sacrifice in their sanctuary on the Quirinal at Rome : trusting to the sanctity of their mission, they went without arms, as in a time of peace, but on their road they were attacked by a great army which had been placed in ambush and perished by the darts of the enemy, for al­though unarmed none of the Etruscans dared come near the heroes. According to another tra­dition the Fabii, who had repeatedly gained vic­tories in the open field, were enticed to follow some cattle, which were purposely driven under a weak escort into the mountains, and they thus fell into an ambush, where many thousand men had been placed. Although scattered when the enemy at­tacked them, the Fabii made an heroic resistance and only fell after a long struggle overwhelmed by superior numbers. This account of the death of

VIBULANUS.

the Fabii has been followed by Dionysius who has worked up the tale in his usual manner, as well as by Livy, Ovid, and other ancient writers. The fortress on the Cremera must have been taken im­mediately afterwards, and the whole of the settle­ment have been put to the sword. In whatever way the Fabii may have perished, it seems clear that they might have been saved, for the consul Menenius Lanatus was in the neighbourhood with an army, and was condemned in the following year as the guilty cause of the disaster. [lana­tus, No. 2.] (Liv. ii. 48—50 ; Dionys. ix. 14— 22 ; Gell. xvii. 21 ; Ov. Fast. ii. 195, foil. ; Dion Cass. Fragm. No. 26, ed. Reim. ; Festus, s. v. Scelerata portal) Ovid says (/. c.) that the Fabii perished on the Ides of February ; but all other authorities state that they were destroyed on the day on which the Romans were subse­quently conquered by the Gauls at the Allia, that is, on the fifteenth before the Kalends of Sextilis, June the 18th (Liv. vi. 1 ; Tac. Hist. ii. 91 ; Plut. Camill. 19): hence Niebuhr sup­poses that Ovid mistook the day of their depar­ture for that of their destruction (Hist, of Route, vol. ii. note 441).

It is unanimously stated by the ancient writers that all the Fabii perished at the Cremera with the exception of one individual, the son of Marcus, from whom all the later members of the gens were descended. The same accounts relate that he was left behind at Rome on account of his youth ; but this could not have been the reason, if we are cor­rect in the supposition that the Fabii migrated from the city with all their families, and it is moreover refuted by the fact that this Fabius was consul ten years afterwards, From the fact of his being raised to the consulship, and from the opposition which he then offered to the tribunes, it is pro­bable, as Niebuhr supposes, that he maintained the former opinions of his gens, when the latter changed their sentiments and refused to leave Rome with them. (Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, vol. ii. p. 194.)

3. M. fabius K. f. vibulanus, the brother of the two preceding, was consul b. c. 483 with L. Valerius Potitus. He resisted the efforts of the tribunes to carry the Agrarian law of Sp. Cassius into effect; and as they in consequence impeded the levy of troops, the consuls removed their tri­bunals outside the city, where the power of the tribunes did not extend, and by heavy punish­ments compelled the citizens to enlist. The con­suls then carried on war against the Volscians, but without any decisive result. (Liv. ii. 42 , Dionys. viii. 87, 88.) In b. c. 480 M. Fabius was consul a second time with Cn. Manlius Cin-cirmatus. The two consuls marched against the Veientes, but did not venture at first to attack the enemy, lest their own soldiers should desert them as they had done K. Fabius in the preceding year. They accordingly kept their troops in their intrench-ments, till the soldiers, roused at length by the taunts and scoffs of the enemy, demanded to be led forth to battle, and swore that they would not leave the field except as conquerors. The bravery of the P'abii in the battle which followed has already been related in the life of Kaeso, who fought under his brother. The Romans gained the victory, but bought it dearly. The consul Cincinnatus and Q. Fabius were killed; and the surviving consul, on account of the loss which he had sustained, re-

Pages
About | First

1252

1253

1254
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.