Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor

Camillus Sets the Camp of the Volscians on Fire

While Rome was still at work repairing the damage which the Gauls had inflicted on her city, the Volscians encamped within twenty miles of her gates. They hoped to attack the city while she was unprepared for war.

But an army at once set out to meet the enemy. Before the Romans were aware, however, their camp was surrounded by the Volscians, and they were unable either to fight or to retire.

Camillus, who had again been appointed Dictator, summoned every Roman who could bear arms to follow him. He then marched to within a short distance of the camp of the Volscians. Here he ordered fires to be lighted, that the imprisoned army might know that help was at hand.

But the Volscians saw the fires as well as the Romans, and at once began to strengthen their camp with a strong barricade, made out of the trunks of trees.

Then, knowing that their numbers would soon be reinforced, they were satisfied that the enemy could do them no harm.

But Camillus did not mean to wait until their allies joined them. He determined at once to set fire to the wooden barricade that the Volscians had built around their camp.

Ordering part of his force to attack the camp on one side, the Dictator withdrew the rest of the army to that side of the camp from which the wind blew. He then bade the soldiers fling lighted torches in among the wooden defences.

The flames, blown by the wind, quickly spread from stake to stake until they reached the camp itself.

There was no water at hand to quench the fire, and the Volscians were soon driven from their tents, to find themselves in the hands of the Romans, who cut them down without mercy.

Camillus then ordered the flames to be put out, that the soldiers might pillage what was still unconsumed by the fire.

Leaving his son to guard the prisoners, the Dictator was soon marching to Sutrium, which town was besieged by the Etruscans.

But before Camillus reached the city, he met a pitiful band of men, women and children, who had already been banished from the town by the victorious enemy.

Their homes were plundered, their treasures were in the enemy's hands. With nothing left, save only the clothes they wore, they were wandering through the country in search of shelter.

Camillus was grieved for the misery of these poor folk. When he saw that his soldiers also pitied them, he determined still to go to the city, that he might wrest it once again from the Etruscans, and restore the Sutrians to their homes.

He foresaw that the victorious soldiers would be feasting, that the gates would be unguarded.

And so it was. Camillus had no difficulty in seizing the gates and manning the walls of Sutrium. Then he ordered his soldiers to fall upon the merrymakers, who were celebrating their victory with song and feast. Many of the Etruscans surrendered, while others waited like cowards to be slain. Sutrium was thus taken twice in one day.


Front Matter

The Lady Roma
The She-Wolf
The Twin Boys
Numitor's Grandson
The Sacred Birds
The Founding of Rome
The Sabine Maidens
The Tarpeian Rock
The Mysterious Gate
The King Disappears
The Peace-Loving King
Horatius Slays His Sister
Pride of Tullus Hostilius
King Who Fought and Prayed
The Faithless Friend
A Slave Becomes a King
Cruel Deed of Tullia
Fate of the Town of Gabii
Books of the Sibyl
Industry of Lucretia
Death of Lucretia
Sons of Brutus
Horatius Cocles
Mucius Burns Right Hand
The Divine Twins
The Tribunes
Coriolanus and His Mother
The Roman Army in a Trap
The Hated Decemvirs
The Death of Verginia
The Friend of the People
Camillus Captures Veii
The Statue of the Goddess
Schoolmaster Traitor
Battle of Allia
The Sacred Geese
The City Is Rebuilt
Volscians on Fire
Battle on the Anio
The Curtian Lake
Dream of the Two Consuls
The Caudine Forks
Caudine Forks Avenged
Fabius among the Hills
Battle of Sentinum
Son of Fabius Loses Battle
Pyrrhus King of the Epirots
Elephants at Heraclea
Pyrrthus and Fabricius
Pyrrhus is Defeated
Romans Build a Fleet
Battle of Ecnomus
Roman Legions in Africa
Regulus Taken Prisoner
Romans Conquer the Gauls
The Boy Hannibal
Hannibal Invades Italy
Hannibal Crosses the Alps
Battle of Trebia
Battle of Lake Trasimenus
Hannibal Outwits Fabius
Fabius Wins Two Victories
Battle of Cannae
Despair of Rome
Defeat of Hasdrubal
Claudius Enjoy a Triumph
Capture of New Carthage
Scipio Sails to Africa
Romans Set Fire to Camp
Hannibal Leaves Italy
The Battle of Zama
Scipio Receives a Triumph
Flamininus in Garlands
Death of Hannibal
Hatred of Cato for Carthage
The Stern Decree
Carthaginians Defend City
Destruction of Carthage
Cornelia, Mother of Gracchi
Tiberius and Octavius
Death of Tiberius Gracchus
Death of Gaius Gracchus
The Gold of Jugurtha
Marius Wins Notice of Scipio
Marius Becomes Commander
Capture of Treasure Towns
Capture of Jugurtha
Jugurtha Brought to Rome
Marius Conquers Teutones
Marius Mocks the Ambassadors
Metellus Driven from Rome
Sulla Enters Rome
The Flight of Marius
Gaul Dares Not Kill Marius
Marius Returns to Rome
The Orator Aristion
Sulla Besieges Athens
Sulla Fights the Samnites
The Proscriptions of Sulla
The Gladiators' Revolt
The Pirates
Pompey Defeats Mithridates
Cicero Discovers Conspiracy
Death of the Conspirators
Caesar Captured by Pirates
Caesar Gives up Triumph
Caesar Praises Tenth Legion
Caesar Wins a Great Victory
Caesar Invades Britain
Caesar Crosses Rubicon
Caesar and the Pilot
The Flight of Pompey
Cato Dies Rather than Yieldr
Caesar is Loaded with Honours
Nobles Plot against Caesar
The Assassination of Caesar
Brutus Speaks to Citizens
Antony Speaks to Citizens
The Second Triumvirate
Battle of Philippi
Death of Brutus
Antony and Cleopatra
Battle of Actium
Antony and Cleopatra Die
Emperor Augustus