They came, murdered all they met with, plundered whatever property they found, and at length set the city on fire on all sides before the eyes of the Roman garrison in the Capitol. But they had no knowledge of the art of besieging, and the blockade of the steep citadel rock was tedious and difficult, because subsistence for the great host could only be procured by armed foraging parties, and the citizens of the neighbouring Latin cities, the Ardeates in particular, frequently attacked the foragers with courage and success. Nevertheless the Celts persevered, with an energy which in their circumstances was unparalleled, for seven months beneath the rock, and the garrison, which had escaped a surprise on a dark night only in consequence of the cackling of the sacred geese in the Capitoline temple and the accidental awaking of the brave Marcus Manlius, already found its provisions beginning to fail, when the Celts received information as to the Veneti having invaded the Senonian territory recently acquired on the Po, and were thus induced to accept the ransom money that was offered to procure their withdrawal. The scornful throwing down of the Gallic sword, that it might be outweighed by Roman gold, indicated very truly how matters stood. The iron of the barbarians had conquered, but they sold their victory and by selling lost it.
Fruitlessness Of The Celtic Victory
The fearful catastrophe of the defeat and the conflagration, the 18th of July and the rivulet of the Allia, the spot where the sacred objects were buried, and the spot where the surprise of the citadel had been repulsed--all the details of this unparalleled event--were transferred from the recollection of contemporaries to the imagination of posterity; and we can scarcely realize the fact that two thousand years have actually elapsed since those world-renowned geese showed greater vigilance than the sentinels at their posts. And yet --although there was an enactment in Rome that in future, on occasion of a Celtic invasion no legal privilege should give exemption from military service; although dates were reckoned by the years from the conquest of the city; although the event resounded throughout the whole of the then civilized world and found its way even into the Grecian annals--the battle of the Allia and its results can scarcely be numbered among those historical events that are fruitful of consequences. It made no alteration at all in political relations. When the Gauls had marched off again with their gold--which only a legend of late and wretched invention represents the hero Camillus as having recovered for Rome--and when the fugitives had again made their way home, the foolish idea suggested by some faint-hearted prudential politicians, that the citizens should migrate to Veii, was set aside by a spirited speech of Camillus; houses arose out of the ruins hastily and irregularly--the narrow and crooked streets of Rome owed their origin to this epoch; and Rome again stood in her old commanding position. Indeed it is not improbable that this occurrence contributed materially, though not just at the moment, to diminish the antagonism between Rome and Etruria, and above all to knit more closely the ties of union between Latium and Rome. The conflict between the Gauls and the Romans was not, like that between Rome and Etruria or between Rome and Samnium, a collision of two political powers which affect and modify each other; it may be compared to those catastrophes of nature, after which the organism, if it is not destroyed, immediately resumes its equilibrium. The Gauls often returned to Latium: as in the year 387, when Camillus defeated them at Alba--the last victory of the aged hero, who had been six times military tribune with consular powers, and five times dictator, and had four times marched in triumph to the Capitol; in the year 393, when the dictator Titus Quinctius Pennus encamped opposite to them not five miles from the city at the bridge of the Anio, but before any encounter took place the Gallic host marched onward to Campania; in the year 394, when the dictator Quintus Servilius Ahala fought in front of the Colline gate with the hordes returning from Campania; in the year 396, when the dictator Gaius Sulpicius Peticus inflicted on them a signal defeat; in the year 404, when they even spent the winter encamped upon the Alban mount and joined with the Greek pirates along the coast for plunder, till Lucius Furius Camillus, the son of the celebrated general, in the following year dislodged them--an incident which came to the ears of Aristotle who was contemporary (370-432) in Athens. But these predatory expeditions, formidable and troublesome as they may have been, were rather incidental misfortunes than events of political significance; and their most essential result was, that the Romans were more and more regarded by themselves and by foreigners as the bulwark of the civilized nations of Italy against the onset of the dreaded barbarians--a view which tended more than is usually supposed to further their subsequent claim to universal empire.
Further Conquests Of Rome In Etruria-- South Etruria Roman
The Tuscans, who had taken advantage of the Celtic attack on Rome to assail Veii, had accomplished nothing, because they had appeared in insufficient force; the barbarians had scarcely departed, when the heavy arm of Latium descended on the Tuscans with undiminished weight. After the Etruscans had been repeatedly defeated, the whole of southern Etruria as far as the Ciminian hills remained in the hands of the Romans, who formed four new tribes in the territories of Veii, Capena, and Falerii (367), and secured the northern boundary by establishing the fortresses of Sutrium (371) and Nepete (381). With rapid steps this fertile region, covered with Roman colonists, became completely Romanized. About 396 the nearest Etruscan towns, Tarquinii, Caere, and Falerii, attempted to revolt against the Roman encroachments, and the deep exasperation which these had aroused in Etruria was shown by the slaughter of the whole of the Roman prisoners taken in the first campaign, three hundred and seven in number, in the market-place of Tarquinii; but it was the exasperation of impotence. In the peace (403) Caere, which as situated nearest to the Romans suffered the heaviest retribution, was compelled to cede half its territory to Rome, and with the diminished domain which was left to it to withdraw from the Etruscan league, and to enter into the relationship of subjects to Rome which had in the meanwhile been constituted primarily for individual Latin communities.