10,000 Celts, with their king Concolitanus, were taken prisoners; 40,000 others lay dead on the field of battle; Aneroestus and his attendants had, after the Celtic fashion, put themselves to death.

The Celts Attacked In Their Own Land

The victory was complete, and the Romans were firmly resolved to prevent the recurrence of such surprises by the complete subjugation of the Celts on the south of the Alps. In the following year (530) the Boii submitted without resistance along with the Lingones; and in the year after that (531) the Anares; so that the plain as far as the Po was in the hands of the Romans. The conquest of the northern bank of the river cost a more serious struggle. Gaius Flaminius crossed the river in the newly-acquired territory of the Anares (somewhere near Piacenza) in 531; but during the crossing, and still more while making good his footing on the other bank, he suffered so heavy losses and found himself with the river in his rear in so dangerous a position, that he made a capitulation with the enemy to secure a free retreat, which the Insubres foolishly conceded. Scarce, however, had he escaped when he appeared in the territory of the Cenomani, and, united with them, advanced for the second time from the north into the canton of the Insubres. The Gauls perceived what was now the object of the Romans, when it was too late: they took from the temple of their goddess the golden standards called the "immovable," and with their whole levy, 50,000 strong, they offered battle to the Romans. The situation of the latter was critical: they were stationed with their back to a river (perhaps the Oglio), separated from home by the enemy's territory, and left to depend for aid in battle as well as for their line of retreat on the uncertain friendship of the Cenomani. There was, however, no choice. The Gauls fighting in the Roman ranks were placed on the left bank of the stream; on the right, opposite to the Insubres, the legions were drawn up, and the bridges were broken down that they might not be assailed, at least in the rear, by their dubious allies.

The Celts Conquered By Rome

In this way undoubtedly the river cut off their retreat, and their way homeward lay through the hostile army. But the superiority of the Roman arms and of Roman discipline achieved the victory, and the army cut its way through: once more the Roman tactics had redeemed the blunders of the general. The victory was due to the soldiers and officers, not to the generals, who gained a triumph only through popular favour in opposition to the just decree of the senate. Gladly would the Insubres have made peace; but Rome required unconditional subjection, and things had not yet come to that pass. They tried to maintain their ground with the help of their northern kinsmen; and, with 30,000 mercenaries whom they had raised amongst these and their own levy, they received the two consular armies advancing once more in the following year (532) from the territory of the Cenomani to invade their land. Various obstinate combats took place; in a diversion, attempted by the Insubres against the Roman fortress of Clastidium (Casteggio, below Pavia), on the right bank of the Po, the Gallic king Virdumarus fell by the hand of the consul Marcus Marcellus. But, after a battle already half won by the Celts but ultimately decided in favour of the Romans, the consul Gnaeus Scipio took by assault Mediolanum, the capital of the Insubres, and the capture of that town and of Comum terminated their resistance. Thus the Celts of Italy were completely vanquished, and as, just before, the Romans had shown to the Hellenes in the war with the pirates the difference between a Roman and a Greek sovereignty of the seas, so they had now brilliantly demonstrated that Rome knew how to defend the gates of Italy against freebooters on land otherwise than Macedonia had guarded the gates of Greece, and that in spite of all internal quarrels Italy presented as united a front to the national foe, as Greece exhibited distraction and discord.

Romanization Of The Entire Of Italy

The boundary of the Alps was reached, in so far as the whole flat country on the Po was either rendered subject to the Romans, or, like the territories of the Cenomani and Veneti, was occupied by dependent allies. It needed time, however, to reap the consequences of this victory and to Romanize the land. In this the Romans did not adopt a uniform mode of procedure. In the mountainous northwest of Italy and in the more remote districts between the Alps and the Po they tolerated, on the whole, the former inhabitants; the numerous wars, as they are called, which were waged with the Ligurians in particular (first in 516) appear to have been slave-hunts rather than wars, and, often as the cantons and valleys submitted to the Romans, Roman sovereignty in that quarter was hardly more than a name. The expedition to Istria also (533) appears not to have aimed at much more than the destruction of the last lurking-places of the Adriatic pirates, and the establishment of a communication by land along the coast between the Italian conquests of Rome and her acquisitions on the other shore. On the other hand the Celts in the districts south of the Po were doomed irretrievably to destruction; for, owing to the looseness of the ties connecting the Celtic nation, none of the northern Celtic cantons took part with their Italian kinsmen except for money, and the Romans looked on the latter not only as their national foes, but as the usurpers of their natural heritage. The extensive assignations of land in 522 had already filled the whole territory between Ancona and Ariminum with Roman colonists, who settled here without communal organization in market-villages and hamlets. Further measures of the same character were taken, and it was not difficult to dislodge and extirpate a half-barbarous population like the Celtic, only partially following agriculture, and destitute of walled towns. The great northern highway, which had been, probably some eighty years earlier, carried by way of Otricoli to Narni, and had shortly before been prolonged to the newly-founded fortress of Spoletium (514), was now (534) carried, under the name of the "Flaminian" road, by way of the newly-established market-village Forum Flaminii (near Foligno), through the pass of Furlo to the coast, and thence along the latter from Fanum (Fano) to Ariminum; it was the first artificial road which crossed the Apennines and connected the two Italian seas.

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

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