APOLLO THE DEFENDER
 WE need not follow the story of Rome and the Gauls through its details. Time after time we find them leagued with
the nations of Italy, when these were at war with the great power which was slowly compelling them either to
subjection or to alliance. We find them, for instance, fighting side by side with the Samnites at Sentinum
(295 B.C.), and with the Etrurians at the Vadimonian Lake (283 B.C.).
But they made no really formidable attack on Rome for a long period after 390. The early part of the third
century B.C. was a period of great unrest among the tribes on both sides of the Alps. In
279 this culminated in an invasion of Southern Europe so formidable that though Rome was not immediately
concerned with it, some account of it must be given.
According to the narrative of Pausanias, who introduces the story as a digression in
 his description of Delphi, the Gauls invaded Greece under the leadership of a certain Brennus, the same name,
it will be observed, as that borne by the conqueror of Rome (the word Brennus has been said to mean "king";
but Celtic scholars are not agreed upon the point). His forces are said to have amounted to 150,000 infantry,
a figure on which the authorities are fairly unanimous, and cavalry variously estimated at from 60,000 to
The Greeks, though in a very depressed condition, roused themselves to resist. It was not a choice, as it had
been two centuries before, between freedom and servitude; it was a question of life or death. The barbarians
spared no one, and if they could not be checked in their advance, Greece would be turned into a desert. The
stand was to be made, as of old, at Thermopylę. The comparison between the forces led by Leonidas and those
now assembled is interesting. The most numerous contingent was from a nation which scarcely appears in the
history of Greece at its best days, the Ętolians.
 numerous and including every arm," says Pausanias. Their heavy-armed infantry numbered 9,000. The other
figures he does not give, or they have disappeared from his text. The whole force may have amounted to between
thirty and forty thousand.
A battle that was fought in the Pass ended greatly to the advantage of the Greeks. The Gauls with their long
and unwieldy swords and cumbrous shields were no match for their antagonists, though they fought with
desperate valour. Their cavalry, the strongest arm they possessed, could not act on account of the nature of
the ground. The result was that they were driven back with very heavy loss, while the Greeks had but forty
Brennus, who seems to have had some military ability, seems to have become aware that the Ętolians made up the
most numerous and effective part of the Greek army. He conceived the idea of detaching them by sending a force
under his second-in-command to ravage Ętolia. The stratagem succeeded. The Ętolians, on hearing of the
movement, hastened to march to the defence of their country. They were too late to save two of their frontier
towns, which were stormed and sacked in the most brutal manner. But they
 were in time to exact a heavy vengeance from the barbarians. Of the fifty thousand who had been detached on
this expedition, less than half returned to the camp at Thermopylę.
The incidents that followed bear a curious resemblance to the history of the first defence of Thermopylę. The
path by which the Persians, through the treachery of Ephialtes, were able to take the defenders of the pass in
the rear was again used for the same purpose. The Phocian pickets were surprised as before, being hindered by
the mist from seeing the Gauls till these were close upon them. But there was no obstinate determination among
the Greeks to die upon the ground. They were carried off by the Athenian fleet, which from the first had been
in attendance, keeping as close as possible to the shore.
The object which now roused the cupidity of the barbarians was the shrine of Delphi with its treasury, still
rich in the offerings of many generations of worshippers and inquirers, though it had not altogether escaped
the hand of the spoiler.
As in the Persian war,
 the terrified inhabitants inquired of the god whether they should remove or conceal the sacred treasure.
Again, as before, the answer was that the god would take care of his own. "I will provide, and with me the
Maidens veiled in white," were the words of the oracle. The greater part of the army mustered at Thermopylę
had gone home; but there were some thousands who remained to protect Delphi. The god did not disdain to use
their services, though the most effective protection came—so runs the story—from his own
interference. The ground on which the Gauls had pitched their camp was shaken throughout the day by repeated
shocks of earthquake, while overhead the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed incessantly. Through the
darkened atmosphere might be seen the flashing arms of warriors who were more than mortal—one of them,
it was said, the hero Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, who had met his death at Delphi many centuries before, and had
ever since been worshipped as a local hero.
 however, the Gauls held their own; many of the Phocians, in particular, were slain. But the night that
followed was one of terrible suffering. A sharp frost set in, and following the frost came a heavy fall of
snow. The snow symbolised "the maidens vested in white"—such, at least, was the rationalistic
explanation given in after years. Nor was this all: great masses of stone from Parnassus, and rolling into the
camp of the barbarians crushed as many as twenty or thirty by a single blow. The next day the Greek garrison
at Delphi advanced against the invaders, the main body making a front attack, the Phocians, who were well
acquainted with the country, assailing the rear. The Gauls did not lack in courage or firmness. Suffering
though they did intensely from the cold, they made a resolute stand, and did not retreat till their leader was
severely wounded and carried fainting off the field. Again the night was more fatal than the day. After dark a
panic fear fell upon the camp. The barbarians seemed to see and hear enemies everywhere, and turned their arms
upon each other. After this their destruction was certain. To a host without discipline a retreat is fatal.
The Gauls were without stores, for they reckoned to be
 supported by the countries through which they passed. But now the victorious enemy hung upon their rear, and
cut off any stragglers that ventured to leave the main army. Famine and the incessant attacks of the pursuers
reduced their numbers till there was but a scanty remnant of the great host that a few weeks before had
descended on Northern Greece. Brennus, it is said, poisoned himself, unable to face his people at home after
so disastrous a campaign.
Pausanias tells us that not one of the invading Gauls quitted Greece alive. It is hardly probable that this is
true; and other writers gave a different account. What is certain is that one great division of the swarm that
had descended from Northern into Southern Europe met with a very different fortune from that which overtook
Brennus. This took a more easterly route, and plundering and destroying as it went reached the shores of the
Hellespont. (This seems to have happened in 278 B.C., the year after that in which Delphi
had been attacked.) The Gauls cast covetous glances on the rich territories of Asia, now separated from them
by only a narrow stretch of water, and in one or another contrived to reach them. One division seized a few
 small vessels and boats, and, as no sort of opposition was attempted, ferried themselves across; the other was
actually transported by an Asiatic Greek prince, who was contending with his brother for the kingdom of
Bithynia. They secured the victory for him, but Bithynia, and indeed the whole of Western Asia Minor, paid a
heavy price for their help. Their history during the next few years is very obscure, but we may gather that
they roamed from province to province, laying waste all the countries which they traversed. The unwarlike
inhabitants of Asia Minor were quite powerless to check them. After some twelve years Antiochus, King of
Syria, son of one of the great generals trained by Alexander, undertook the task, and accomplished it with
such success that he earned the surname of Soler, "the Saviour." He could not indeed expel them; in fact, so
far was their power from being broken that in 261 Antiochus lost his life in a battle with them. But the
general result of the war was that the invaders were glad to settle down in a definite region which was ceded
to them, and which was known by the name of Galatia, or Gallo-pęcia. The Galatians afterwards played an
important part in history. But with this we are not now concerned.
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