itinere per montes duxit. 7Ampius ingressus hostium fines primo populationes satis prospere ac tuto fecit. delecto deinde ad castrum Mutilum satis idoneo loco ad demetenda frumenta—iam enim maturae erant segetes—, 8profectus neque explorato circa nec stationibus satis firmis quae armatae inermes atque operi intentos tutarentur positis, improviso impetu Gallorum cum frumentatoribus est circumventus. 9inde pavor fugaque etiam armatos cepit. ad septem milia hominum palata per segetes sunt caesa, inter quos ipse C. Ampius praefectus; ceteri in castra metu compulsi. 10inde sine certo duce consensu militari proxima nocte, relicta magna parte rerum suarum, ad consulem per saltus prope invios pervenere. 11qui nisi quod populatus est Boiorum fines, et cum Ingaunis Liguribus foedus icit, nihil quod esset memorabile aliud in provincia cum gessisset, Romam rediit.
3. Cum primum senatum habuit, universis postulantibus ne quam prius rem quam de Philippo ac sociorum querellis ageret, relatum extemplo est; d2ecrevitque frequens senatus ut P. Aelius consul quem videretur ei cum imperio mitteret, qui, classe accepta quam ex Sicilia Cn.
open road through the mountains. On entering enemy territory, Ampius made a number of relatively successful raids without exposing himself to danger. But then he selected a spot near the fortified town of Mutilum that was convenient for harvesting grain, the crops being already ripe, and set out without reconnoitering the area or establishing armed posts strong enough to protect unarmed men engrossed in their work; and when the Gauls suddenly attacked, he was cut off with his foragers. Even those under arms then fell prey to panic and flight. Some 7,000 men, including the commander Ampius himself, were cut down as they scattered through the fields; and the others were driven in fear back into their camp. The following night the soldiers, left with no recognized leader, made an agreement among themselves, abandoned most of their possessions, and made their way to the consul through mountain ravines that were almost impossible to negotiate. Aelius then returned to Rome, having accomplished nothing of note in his province apart from his raids on the territory of the Boii and a treaty concluded with the Ligurian Ingauni.16
3. When Aelius convened the first meeting of the senate, all members requested that no item be considered before that of Philip and the grievances of the allies, and the matter was immediately brought up for discussion. A packed house decided that the consul Publius Aelius should send out a man of his own choice, with imperium,17 to assume control of the fleet that Gnaeus Octavius18 was
- 16Barr. 16 F1. They lived close to what is now the French border and had struck an alliance with Hannibal’s brother Mago when he arrived in Italy in 205 (28.46.11).
- 17The power to command in peace and in war, held by dictators, consuls, and praetors, who retained it if their terms were prorogued. Its holders could impose the death penalty within the army and had supreme authority over the civilian population, power that was symbolized by the fasces carried before them by lictors (see Introduction, lii). It should be noted, however, that no ancient definition of imperium survives.
- 18Cn. Octavius (16), praetor in 205, with his office prorogued a number of times, became Scipio’s legate in Africa in 200. He had been directed to take the fleet to Sicily to be transferred to the consul Gnaeus Cornelius (30.44.13).