Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson
The main body indeed, assailed by the elephants in front and by the cavalry on the flanks and in the rear, formed square, and defended itself with heroic courage, but the close masses were at length broken and swept away. The victorious left wing encountered the still fresh Carthaginian centre, where the Libyan infantry prepared a similar fate for it.
From the nature of the ground and the superior numbers of the enemy's cavalry, all the combatants in these masses were cut down or taken prisoners; only two thousand men, chiefly, in all probability, the light troops and horsemen who were dispersed at the commencement, gained--while the Roman legions stood to be slaughtered--a start sufficient to enable them with difficulty to reach Clupea.
Among the few prisoners was the consul himself, who afterwards died in Carthage; his family, under the idea that he had not been treated by the Carthaginians according to the usages of war, wreaked a most revolting vengeance on two noble Carthaginian captives, till even the slaves were moved to pity, and on their information the tribunes put a stop to the shameful outrage.(7)
7. Nothing further is known with certainty as to the end of Regulus; even his mission to Rome--which is sometimes placed in 503, sometimes in 513--is very ill attested. The later Romans, who sought in the fortunes and misfortunes of their forefathers mere materials for school themes, made Regulus the prototype of heroic misfortune as they made Fabricius the prototype of heroic poverty, and put into circulation in his name a number of anecdotes invented by way of due accompaniment--incongruous embellishments, contrasting ill with serious and sober history.
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