Latins against Romans, on the slopes of Italy’s most famous volcano. And in this battle, we see the death of Publius Decius Mus — the same guy who earned the renowned Grass Crown, years earlier.
Hello, this is Abel, speaking from Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.
The Tale of Rome, Episode 36 — Death by the Volcano.
— “You snake!”
— “You are the snake!”
— “I’ll show you who’s the coward!”
— “I dare you!”
When Decius he wanted to step forward, his heart beating like a drum, he hit the dry, hard floor next to the bed. With an insult, the Consul was now really awake from his sleep.
The dream was gone.
And in that dream, the volcano was talking to Decius.
The volcano was taunting him, all the while spewing fire serpents, and eating up the entire Roman army.
— “One of the two will die before sundown,” he heard the volcano say.
A bit later, he told Manlius Torquatus about the dream.
ONE — Just as the trumpets sounded, and as was customary in the Roman legion, the oracles of the army threw food at the sacred hens, and they confirmed what everyone feared.
A whole Roman flank, and one of the consuls of Rome, would end up dying.
TWO — Decius Mus rode out on the left side of the Roman army, and Torquatus on the right side.
In other words, Decius was on the slope of the volcano, and Torquatus on the side to the sea, being that they were facing in a south-southeast direction.
THREE — Latins began to tighten the ranks on both sides, but during the first clash neither of the two side gave up a single yard.
One of the flanks of Torquatus was deployed about a hundred meters behind, due to some irregularities of the terrain, while the troops of Decius were face to face with the Latins.
FOUR — the Sidicines, who, fearing a night attack, did not get a lot of sleep, were the first to fall.
This allowed Torquatus to create a wider row, while maintaining the depth of his Phalanx.
But to Decius, this was neither an advantage nor a disadvantage, and his troops began to break for two reasons. The end of the row was in difficulty with the slope of the volcano, and the cavalry of the Latins threatened to break the row of the Hastati, a lot sooner than they both anticipated.