Rome Must Fall

Chapter 8: First Battle

Chapter 8: First Battle

Vibius father saw this as a good opportunity to build political influence and began to spend a lot of money to lobby for him. Finally, last year, he managed to impress the governor Lucius Licinius Lucullus, who was known as the heir of the Sullas army. Lucullus signed an executive order, making Vibius, who was just over 30 years old and had only served as an assistant to a legal officer for a few years, the aedile of the city of Capua.

Unlike his father, who was content to serve as a common official all his life, Vibius always had his sights set on the Roman Senate. He even wanted to become a consul to elevate his familys status. Thats why, less than a year into his term, he decided to organize a grand gladiatorial contest on Capuas founding day to entertain the people and build his own reputation. However, just before the celebration, a major oversight occurreda group of gladiators actually started a rebellion!

In Rome, the Senate would appoint a senator to oversee all gladiator schools, as it was necessary to control activities involving a large number of people training with deadly weapons. However, the system of appointing Roman officials as local town administrators had been in place for less than ten years, and the management system had not been fully established. This led to unclear responsibilities, resulting in lax control over gladiators in Capua.

Nevertheless, the ultimate responsibility would fall on Vibius. Angry, he severely whipped Batiatus, who came to report the incident and decided to quickly send troops to eliminate these audacious slaves and quickly quell the unrest, ensuring the smooth progress of the foundation day celebration.

The problem was that although Capua had a garrison force, there was no readily available army apart from a few dozen city guards. Vibius could only carry out an emergency military mobilization. However, by the time the troops were assembled and organized, it was already late at night. Despite Vibius urging, the citizen soldiers of Capua refused to leave the city at night, forcing Vibius to postpone the military operation until the next day.

The next day, Vibius hurriedly led the troops out of the city and soon received a report: Those gladiators were still inside the Temple of Flora.

Only then did he feel a bit relieved and ordered the troops to slow down their march.

To be honest, he was not satisfied with this army composed of Capuan people. They were already panting and disorganized after just a short march.

He had once been a soldier and had some war experience. It was during Sullas invasion of Italy when the populares hastily assembled an army. At less than twenty years old, he was forcibly conscripted and joined the army to confront Sulla outside Rome. The result was a quick defeat, and Vibius hurriedly fled back home. Due to his familys insignificance in Roman politics, he managed to escape Sullas retribution.

The past is not worth looking back on Vibius sighed in his heart, refocusing his attention on the army he was leading: Although the quality of the soldiers is not great, at least they are well-equipped and numerous. According to that damn Batiatus, most of the gladiators are unarmed and would not be able to withstand this full-scale attack. Now, I have to consider how to report this victory to the Roman Senate to avoid their criticism.

The army began to deviate from the Via Annia and entered a grove of oak trees.

Seeing this, Vibius beckoned his aide and asked, How far is the Temple of Flora?

Its just past this oak grove, about half a kilometer away, the aide replied.

Vibius cautiously said, Send the cavalry to scout ahead, make sure those gladiators are still in the temple, and watch out for any ambush! Though he had limited war experience, he had some common sense.

The few cavalrymen hurriedly galloped away.

By the time they returned at full speed and gave Vibius a satisfactory report, the army had already exited the oak grove. In the distance, a quaint temple sat amidst an apple orchard. It was early April, and the apple trees were in full bloom with white and pink flowers, illuminated by the warm sunlight, creating a particularly beautiful sight.

Vibius clearly had no interest in the beauty around him; his gaze was fixed on the temples entrance: Seven or eight strong men in simple clothing were sitting on the steps, basking in the sun and chatting. Upon seeing the approaching army, they hurriedly stood up and entered the temple.

Form up and prepare to attack! Vibius exclaimed excitedly, followed by the sound of the bulge.

The 500 Capuan citizen soldiers, wearing leather helmets and armor, carrying rectangular shields, spears, and short swords, began to transform from a marching column into a dense formation, advancing slowly towards the temple.

During this process, the doors of the Temple of Flora opened, and the gladiators quickly poured out

Vibius eyes widened. Some of the gladiators were wearing equipment similar to the Capuan soldiers, while others were dressed in flashy gladiator gear far more than a hundred of them were armed with deadly weapons!

That damn Batiatus dared to lie to me!

Vibius seethed with anger. However, he didnt panic too much because mounted on his horse, he could see clearly: The gladiators were in a disorganized formation, and at the rear, there were dozens of individuals without any armor, only holding wooden clubs and kitchen knives. They were a ragtag group! With his forces twice the size and well-equipped, they were more than capable of crushing the enemy.

Continue to advance steadily! Vibius ordered coldly, and the bugler sounded the horn rhythmically.

But the Capuan soldiers in the front row were not as eager as before and became somewhat hesitant.

As it turned out, Spartacus, Crixus, Oenomaus, and several other renowned gladiators from the Capuan arena had changed into their usual gladiatorial gear. They stood proudly in the center of the front line. Many Capuan soldiers had witnessed their matches before, and now seeing their imposing appearance, they recalled the terrifying scenes of these gladiators slaughtering their opponents in the arena. Suddenly, fear crept into their hearts, and their legs grew weak.

This was exactly the effect Spartacus wanted. He immediately roared, BROTHERS, ATTACK! Taking large strides, he charged towards the enemy.

Crixus, Oenomaus, and the other gladiators all roared wildly and charged together, despite being outnumbered and disorganized, their momentum was fierce.

Form the shield wall! Vibius face changed slightly.

In reality, a round of spear-throwing at this moment could disrupt the gladiators charge. However, since the military reforms implemented by Marius decades ago and the introduction of conscription, the citizens of various Italian towns no longer practiced Roman tactics as their ancestors did. Therefore, the Capuan militia did not possess the relatively difficult military skill of spear-throwing.

However, Vibius felt somewhat relieved as the soldiers promptly raised their shields.

But just then, Spartacus and his group of gladiators, like ferocious tigers, had already charged to the front of the Capuan militias formation. Before the opponents could thrust their spears, the gladiators violently rammed the shield wall with their own shields.

In order to improve the gladiators chances of victory, the gladiator school provided them with ample food after intense training sessions. As a result, they were all well-fed and robust, easily surpassing the Capuan militia in body size. The untrained Capuan militia were completely powerless to resist the gladiators strength. Even with their teammates supporting them from behind, they were still knocked off balance. Taking advantage of the gaps in the shield wall, the gladiators swiftly and accurately stabbed their opponents with their short swords. Amidst the screams, the Capua militia at the front of the formation fell to the ground.

The terrifying killing power of the gladiators shattered Vibius preconceived battle plan. As he stood in the rear, he instinctively kept shouting, Hold your ground! Hold your ground!

However, his panic spread to the Capuan soldiers even more. They were already feeling intimidated by these murderous machines, and now, hearing their comrades screams, the affluent Capuans had no courage left to fight. They dropped their shields and spears and turned around to flee.

Seeing the inevitable defeat, Vibius hastily turned his horse and fled towards the city of Capua.

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