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The History of Rome; Books Nine to Twenty-Six by Titus Livius

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Literally Translated, with Notes and Illustrations,
by D. Spillan and Cyrus Edmonds.



_Titus Veturius and Spurius Postumius, with their army, surrounded
by the Samnites at the Caudine forks; enter into a treaty, give six
hundred hostages, and are sent under the yoke. The treaty declared
invalid; the two generals and the other sureties sent back to the
Samnites, but are not accepted. Not long after, Papirius Cursor
obliterates this disgrace, by vanquishing the Samnites, sending them
under the yoke, and recovering the hostages. Two tribes added. Appius
Claudius, censor, constructs the Claudian aqueduct, and the Appian
road; admits the sons of freedom into the senate. Successes against
the Apulians, Etruscans, Umbrians, Marsians, Pelignians, Aequans, and
Samnites. Mention made of Alexander the Great, who flourished at this
time; a comparative estimate of his strength, and that of the Roman
people, tending to show, that if he had carried his arms into Italy,
he would not have been as successful there as he had been in the
Eastern countries._

* * * * *

1. This year is followed by the convention of Caudium, so memorable on
account of the misfortune of the Romans, the consuls being Titus
Veturius Calvinus and Spurius Postumius. The Samnites had as their
commander that year Caius Ponius, son to Herennius, born of a father
most highly renowned for wisdom, and himself a consummate warrior and
commander. When the ambassadors, who had been sent to make
restitution, returned, without concluding a peace, he said, "That ye
may not think that no purpose has been effected by this embassy,
whatever degree of anger the deities of heaven had conceived against
us, on account of the infraction of the treaty, has been hereby
expiated. I am very confident, that whatever deities they were, whose
will it was that you should be reduced to the necessity of making the
restitution, which had been demanded according to the treaty, it was
not agreeable to them, that our atonement for the breach of treason
should be so haughtily spurned by the Romans. For what more could
possibly be done towards appeasing the gods, and softening the anger
of men, than we have done? The effects of the enemy, taken among the
spoils, which appeared to be our own by the right of war, we restored:
the authors of the war, as we could not deliver them up alive, we
delivered them dead: their goods we carried to Rome, lest by retaining
them, any degree of guilt should remain among us. What more, Roman, do
I owe to thee? what to the treaty? what to the gods, the guarantees of
the treaty? What arbitrator shall I call in to judge of your
resentment, and of my punishment? I decline none; neither nation nor
private person. But if nothing in human law is left to the weak
against stronger, I will appeal to the gods, the avengers of
intolerant arrogance, and will beseech them to turn their wrath
against those for whom neither the restoration of their own effects
nor additional heaps of other men's property, can suffice, whose
cruelty is not satiated by the death of the guilty, by the surrender
of their lifeless bodies, nor by their goods accompanying the
surrender of the owner; who cannot be appeased otherwise than by
giving them our blood to drink, and our entrails to be torn. Samnites,
war is just to those for whom it is necessary, and arms are clear of
impiety for those who have no hope left but in arms. Wherefore, as in
every human undertaking, it is of the utmost importance what matter
men may set about with the favour, what under the displeasure of the
gods, be assured that the former wars ye waged in opposition to the
gods more than to men; in this, which is now impending, ye will act
under the immediate guidance of the gods themselves."

2. After uttering these predictions, not more cheering than true, he
led out the troops, and placed his camp about Caudium as much out of
view as possible. From thence he sent to Calatia, where he heard that
the Roman consuls were encamped, ten soldiers, in the habit of
shepherds, and ordered them to keep some cattle feeding in several
different places, at a small distance from the Roman posts; and that,
when they fell in with any of their foragers, they should all agree in
the same story, that the legions of the Samnites were then in Apulia,
that they were besieging Luceria with their whole force, and very near
taking it by storm. Such a rumour had been industriously spread
before, and had already reached the Romans; but these prisoners
increased the credit of it, especially as they all concurred in the
same report. There was no doubt but that the Romans would carry
succour to the Lucerians, as being good and faithful allies; and for
this further reason, lest all Apulia, through apprehension of the
impending danger, might go over to the enemy. The only point of
deliberation was, by what road they should go. There were two roads
leading to Luceria, one along the coast of the upper sea, wide and
open; but, as it was the safer, so it was proportionably longer: the
other, which was shorter, through the Caudine forks. The nature of the
place is this: there are two deep glens, narrow and covered with wood,
connected together by mountains ranging on both sides from one to the
other; between these lies a plain of considerable extent, enclosed in
the middle, abounding in grass and water, and through the middle of
which the passage runs: but before you can arrive at it, the first
defile must be passed, while the only way back is through the road by
which you entered it; or if in case of resolving to proceed forward,
you must go by the other glen, which is still more narrow and
difficult. Into this plain the Romans, having marched down their
troops by one of those passes through the cleft of a rock, when they
advanced onward to the other defile, found it blocked up by trees
thrown across, and a mound of huge stones lying in their way. When the
stratagem of the enemy now became apparent, there is seen at the same
time a body of troops on the eminence over the glen. Hastening back,
then, they proceed to retrace the road by which they had entered; they
found that also shut up by such another fence, and men in arms. Then,
without orders, they halted; amazement took possession of their minds,
and a strange kind of numbness seized their limbs: they then remained
a long time motionless and silent, each looking to the other, as if
each thought the other more capable of judging and advising than
himself. After some time, when they saw that the consul's pavilions
were being erected, and that some were getting ready the implements
for throwing up works, although they were sensible that it must appear
ridiculous the attempt to raise a fortification in their present
desperate condition, and when almost every hope was lost, would be an
object of necessity, yet, not to add a fault to their misfortunes,
they all, without being advised or ordered by any one, set earnestly
to work, and enclosed a camp with a rampart, close to the water, while
themselves, besides that the enemy heaped insolent taunts on them,
seemed with melancholy to acknowledge the apparent fruitlessness of
their toil and labour. The lieutenants-general and tribunes, without
being summoned to consultation, (for there was no room for either
consultation or remedy,) assembled round the dejected consul; while
the soldiers, crowding to the general's quarters, demanded from their
leaders that succour, which it was hardly in the power of the immortal
gods themselves to afford them.

3. Night came on them while lamenting their situation rather than
consulting, whilst they urged expedients, each according to his
temper; one crying out, "Let us go over those fences of the roads;"
others, "over the steeps; through the woods; any way, where arms can
be carried. Let us be but permitted to come to the enemy, whom we have
been used to conquer now near thirty years. All places will be level
and plain to a Roman, fighting against the perfidious Samnite."
Another would say, "Whither, or by what way can we go? Do we expect to
remove the mountains from their foundations? While these cliffs hang
over us, by what road will you reach the enemy? Whether armed or
unarmed, brave or dastardly, we are all, without distinction, captured
and vanquished. The enemy will not even show us a weapon by which we
might die with honour. He will finish the war without moving from his
seat." In such discourse, thinking of neither food nor rest, the night
was passed. Nor could the Samnites, though in circumstances so joyous,
instantly determine how to act: it was therefore universally agreed
that Herennius Pontius, father of the general, should be consulted by
letter. He was now grown feeble through age, and had withdrawn
himself, not only from all military, but also from all civil
occupations; yet, notwithstanding the decline of his bodily strength,
his mind retained its full vigour. When he heard that the Roman armies
were shut up at the Caudine forks between the two glens, being
consulted by his son's messenger, he gave his opinion, that they
should all be immediately dismissed from thence unhurt. On this
counsel being rejected, and the same messenger returning a second
time, he recommended that they should all, to a man, be put to death.
When these answers, so opposite to each other, like those of an
ambiguous oracle, were given, although his son in particular
considered that the powers of his father's mind, together with those
of his body, had been impaired by age, was yet prevailed on, by the
general desire of all, to send for him to consult him. The old man, we
are told, complied without reluctance, and was carried in a waggon to
the camp, where, when summoned to give his advice, he spoke in such
way as to make no alteration in his opinions; he only added the
reasons for them. That "by his first plan, which he esteemed the best,
he meant, by an act of extraordinary kindness, to establish perpetual
peace and friendship with a most powerful nation: by the other, to put
off the return of war to the distance of many ages, during which the
Roman state, after the loss of those two armies, could not easily
recover its strength." A third plan there was not. When his son, and
the other chiefs, went on to ask him if "a plan of a middle kind might
not be adopted; that they both should be dismissed unhurt, and, at the
same time, by the right of war, terms imposed on them as vanquished?"
"That, indeed," said he, "is a plan of such a nature, as neither
procures friends or removes enemies. Only preserve those whom ye would
irritate by ignominious treatment. The Romans are a race who know not
how to sit down quiet under defeat; whatever that is which the present
necessity shall brand will rankle in their breasts for ever, and will
not suffer them to rest, until they have wreaked manifold vengeance on
your heads." Neither of these plans was approved, and Herennius was
carried home from the camp.

4. In the Roman camp also, when many fruitless efforts to force a
passage had been made, and they were now destitute of every means of
subsistence, forced by necessity, they send ambassadors, who were
first to ask peace on equal terms; which, if they did not obtain, they
were to challenge the enemy to battle. To this Pontius answered, that
"the war was at an end; and since, even in their present vanquished
and captive state, they were not willing to acknowledge their
situation, he would send them under the yoke unarmed, each with a
single garment; that the other conditions of peace should be such as
were just between the conquerors and the conquered. If their troops
would depart, and their colonies be withdrawn out of the territories
of the Samnites; for the future, the Romans and Samnites, under a
treaty of equality, shall live according to their own respective laws.
On these terms he was ready to negotiate with the consuls: and if any
of these should not be accepted, he forbade the ambassadors to come to
him again." When the result of this embassy was made known, such
general lamentation suddenly arose, and such melancholy took
possession of them, that had they been told that all were to die on
the spot, they could not have felt deeper affliction. After silence
continued a long time, and the consuls were not able to utter a word,
either in favour of a treaty so disgraceful, or against a treaty so
necessary; at length, Lucius Lentulus, who was the first among the
lieutenants-general, both in respect of bravery, and of the public
honours which he had attained, addressed them thus: "Consuls, I have
often heard my father say, that he was the only person in the Capitol
who did not advise the senate to ransom the state from the Gauls with
gold; and these he would not concur in, because they had not been
enclosed with a trench and rampart by the enemy, (who were remarkably
slothful with respect to works and raising fortifications,) and
because they might sally forth, if not without great danger, yet
without certain destruction. Now if, in like manner as they had it in
their power to run down from the Capitol in arms against their foe, as
men besieged have often sallied out on the besiegers, it were possible
for us to come to blows with the enemy, either on equal or unequal
ground, I would not be wanting in the high quality of my father's
spirit in stating my advice. I acknowledge, indeed, that death, in
defence of our country, is highly glorious; and I am ready, either to
devote myself for the Roman people and the legions, or to plunge into
the midst of the enemy. But in this spot I behold my country: in this
spot, the whole of the Roman legions, and unless these choose to rush
on death in defence of their own individual characters, what have they
which can be preserved by their death? The houses of the city, some
may say, and the walls of it, and the crowd who dwell in it, by which
the city is inhabited. But in fact, in case of the destruction of this
army, all these are betrayed, not preserved. For who will protect
them? An unwarlike and unarmed multitude, shall I suppose? Yes, just
as they defended them against the attack of the Gauls. Will they call
to their succour an army from Veii, with Camillus at its head? Here on
the spot, I repeat, are all our hopes and strength; by preserving
which, we preserve our country; by delivering them up to death, we
abandon and betray our country. But a surrender is shameful and
ignominious. True: but such ought to be our affection for our country,
that we should save it by our own disgrace, if necessity required, as
freely as by our death. Let therefore that indignity be undergone, how
great soever, and let us submit to that necessity which even the gods
themselves do not overcome. Go, consuls, ransom the state for arms,
which your ancestors ransomed with gold."

5. The consuls having gone to Pontius to confer with him, when he
talked, in the strain of a conqueror, of a treaty, they declared that
such could not be concluded without an order of the people, nor
without the ministry of the heralds, and the other customary rites.
Accordingly the Caudine peace was not ratified by settled treaty, as
is commonly believed, and even asserted by Claudius, but by
conventional sureties. For what occasion would these be either for
sureties or hostages in the former case, where the ratification is
performed by the imprecation, "that whichever nation shall give
occasion to the said terms being violated, may Jupiter strike that
nation in like manner as the swine is struck by the heralds." The
consuls, lieutenants-general, quaestors, and military tribunes, became
sureties; and the names of all these who became sureties are extant;
where, had the business been transacted by treaty, none would have
appeared but those of the two heralds. On account of the necessary
delay of the treaty six hundred horsemen were demanded as hostages,
who were to suffer death if the compact were not fulfilled; a time was
then fixed for delivering up the hostages, and sending away the troops
disarmed. The return of the consuls renewed the general grief in the
camp, insomuch that the men hardly refrained from offering violence to
them, "by whose rashness," they said, "they had been brought into such
a situation; and through whose cowardice they were likely to depart
with greater disgrace than they came. They had employed no guide
through the country, nor scouts; but were sent out blindly, like
beasts into a pitfall" They cast looks on each other, viewed earnestly
the arms which they must presently surrender; while their persons
would be subject to the whim of the enemy: figured to themselves the
hostile yoke, the scoffs of the conquerors, their haughty looks, and
finally, thus disarmed, their march through the midst of an armed foe.
In a word, they saw with horror the miserable journey of their
dishonoured band through the cities of the allies; and their return
into their own country, to their parents, whither themselves, and
their ancestors, had so often come in triumph. Observing, that "they
alone had been conquered without a fight, without a weapon thrown,
without a wound; that they had not been permitted to draw their
swords, nor to engage the enemy. In vain had arms, in vain had
strength, in vain had courage been given them." While they were giving
vent to such grievous reflections, the fatal hour of their disgrace
arrived, which was to render every circumstance still more shocking in
fact, than they had preconceived it in their imaginations. First, they
were ordered to go out, beyond the rampart, unarmed, and with single
garments; then the hostages were surrendered, and carried into
custody. The lictors were next commanded to depart from the consuls,
and the robes of the latter were stripped off. This excited such a
degree of commiseration in the breasts of those very men, who a little
before, pouring execrations upon them, had proposed that they should
be delivered up and torn to pieces, that every one, forgetting his own
condition, turned away his eyes from that degradation of so high a
dignity, as from a spectacle too horrid to behold.

6. First, the consuls, nearly half naked, were sent under the yoke;
then each officer, according to his rank, was exposed to disgrace, and
the legions successively. The enemy stood on each side under arms,
reviling and mocking them; swords were pointed at most of them,
several were wounded and some even slain, when their looks, rendered
too fierce by the indignity to which they were subjected, gave offence
to the conquerors. Thus were they led under the yoke; and what was
still more intolerable, under the eyes of the enemy. When they had got
clear of the defile, they seemed as if they had been drawn up from the
infernal regions, and then for the first time beheld the light; yet,
when they viewed the ignominious appearance of the army, the light
itself was more painful to them than any kind of death could have
been; so that although they might have arrived at Capua before night,
yet, uncertain with respect to the fidelity of the allies, and because
shame embarrassed them, in need of every thing, they threw themselves
carelessly on the ground, on each side of the road: which being told
at Capua, just compassion for their allies got the better of the
arrogance natural to the Campanians. They immediately sent to the
consuls their ensigns of office, the fasces and lictors; to the
soldiers, arms, horses, clothes, and provisions in abundance: and, on
their approach to Capua, the whole senate and people went out to meet
them, and performed every proper office of hospitality, both public
and private. But the courtesy, kind looks, and address of the allies,
could not only not draw a word from them, but it could not even
prevail on them to raise their eyes, or look their consoling friends
in the face, so completely did shame, in addition to grief, oblige
them to shun the conversation and society of these their friends. Next
day, when some young nobles, who had been sent from Capua, to escort
them on their road to the frontiers of Campania, returned, they were
called into the senate-house, and, in answer to the inquiries of the
elder members, said, that "to them they seemed deeply sunk in
melancholy and dejection; that the whole body moved on in silence,
almost as if dumb; the former genius of the Romans was prostrated, and
that their spirit had been taken from them, together with their arms.
Not one returned a salute, nor returned an answer to those who greeted
them; as if, through fear, they were unable to utter a word; as if
their necks still carried the yoke under which they had been sent.
That the Samnites had obtained a victory, not only glorious, but
lasting also; for they had subdued, not Rome merely, as the Gauls had
formerly done, but what was a much wore warlike achievement, the Roman
courage." When these remarks were made and attentively listened to,
and the almost extinction of the Roman name was lamented in this
assembly of faithful allies, Ofilius Calavius, son of Ovius, a man
highly distinguished, both by his birth and conduct, and at this time
further respectable on account of his age, is said to have declared
that he entertained a very different opinion in the case. "This
obstinate silence," said he, "those eyes fixed on the earth,--those
ears deaf to all comfort,--with the shame of beholding the light,--are
indications of a mind calling forth, from its inmost recesses, the
utmost exertions of resentment. Either he was ignorant of the temper
of the Romans, or that silence would shortly excite, among the
Samnites, lamentable cries and groans; for that the remembrance of the
Caudine peace would be much more sorrowful to the Samnites than to the
Romans. Each side would have their own native spirit, wherever they
should happen to engage, but the Samnites would not, every where, have
the glens of Caudium."

7. Their disaster was, by this time, well known at Rome also. At
first, they heard that the troops were shut up; afterwards the news of
the ignominious peace caused greater affliction than had been felt for
their danger. On the report of their being surrounded, a levy of men
was begun; but when it was understood that the army had surrendered in
so disgraceful a manner, the preparations were laid aside; and
immediately, without any public directions, a general mourning took
place, with all the various demonstrations of grief. The shops were
shut; and all business ceased in the forum, spontaneously, before it
was proclaimed. Laticlaves [Footnote: In the original, _lati clavi_.
The latus clavus was a tunic, or vest, ornamented with a broad stripe
of purple on the fore part, worn by the senators; the knights wore a
similar one, only ornamented with a narrower stripe. Gold rings were
also used as badges of distinction, the common people wore iron ones.]
and gold rings were laid aside: and the public were in greater
tribulation, if possible, than the army itself; they were not only
enraged against the commanders, the advisers and sureties of the peace,
but detested even the unoffending soldiers, and asserted, that they
ought not to be admitted into the city or its habitations. But these
transports of passion were allayed by the arrival of the troops, which
excited compassion even in the angry; for entering into the city, not
like men returning into their country with unexpected safety, but in
the habit and with the looks of captives, late in the evening; they hid
themselves so closely in their houses, that, for the next, and several
following days, not one of them could bear to come in sight of the
forum, or of the public. The consuls, shut up in private, transacted no
official business, except that which was wrung from them by a decree of
the senate, to nominate a dictator to preside at the elections. They
nominated Quintus Fabius Ambustus, and as master of the horse Publius
Aelius Paetus. But they having been irregularly appointed, there were
substituted in their room, Marcus Aemilius Papus dictator, and Lucius
Valerius Flaccus master of the horse. But neither did these hold the
elections: and the people being dissatisfied with all the magistrates
of that year, an interregnum ensued. The interreges were, Quintus
Fabius Maximus and Marcus Valerius Corvus, who elected consuls Quintus
Publilius Philo, and Lucius Papirius Cursor a second time; a choice
universally approved, for there were no commanders at that time of
higher reputation.

8. They entered into office on the day they were elected, for so it
had been determined by the fathers. When the customary decrees of the
senate were passed, they proposed the consideration of the Caudine
peace; and Publilius, who was in possession of the fasces, said,
"Spurius Postumius, speak:" he arose with just the same countenance
with which he had passed under the yoke, and delivered himself to this
effect: "Consuls, I am well aware that I have been called up first
with marked ignominy, not with honour; and that I am ordered to speak,
not as being a senator, but as a person answerable as well for an
unsuccessful war as for a disgraceful peace. However, since the
question propounded by you is not concerning our guilt, or our
punishment; waving a defence, which would not be very difficult,
before men who are not unacquainted with human casualties or
necessities, I shall briefly state my opinion on the matter in
question; which opinion will testify, whether I meant to spare myself
or your legions, when I engaged as surety to the convention, whether
dishonourable or necessary: by which, however, the Roman people are
not bound, inasmuch as it was concluded without their order; nor is
any thing liable to be forfeited to the Samnites, in consequence of
it, except our persons. Let us then be delivered up to them by the
heralds, naked, and in chains. Let us free the people of the religious
obligation, if we have bound them under any such; so that there may be
no restriction, divine or human, to prevent your entering on the war
anew, without violating either religion or justice. I am also of
opinion, that the consuls, in the mean time, enlist, arm, and lead out
an army; but that they should not enter the enemy's territories before
every particular, respecting the surrender of us, be regularly
executed. You, O immortal gods! I pray and beseech that, although it
has not been your will that Spurius Postumius and Titus Veturius, as
consuls, should wage war with success against the Samnites, ye may yet
deem it sufficient to have seen us sent under the yoke; to have seen
us bound under an infamous convention; to have seen us delivered into
the hands of our foes naked and shackled, taking on our own heads the
whole weight of the enemy's resentment. And grant, that the consuls
and legions of Rome may wage war against the Samnites, with the same
fortune with which every war has been waged before we became consuls."
On his concluding this speech, men's minds were so impressed with both
admiration and compassion, that now they could scarce believe him to
be the same Spurius Postumius who had been the author of so shameful a
peace; again lamenting, that such a man was likely to undergo, among
the enemy, a punishment even beyond that of others, through resentment
for annulling the peace. When all the members, extolling him with
praises, expressed their approbation of his sentiments, a protest was
attempted for a time by Lucius Livius and Quintus Maelius, tribunes of
the commons, who said, that "the people could not be acquitted of the
religious obligation by the consuls being given up, unless all things
were restored to the Samnites in the same state in which they had been
at Caudium; nor had they themselves deserved any punishment, for
having, by becoming sureties to the peace, preserved the army of the
Roman people; nor, finally, could they, being sacred and inviolable,
be surrendered to the enemy or treated with violence."

9. To this Postumius replied, "In the mean time surrender us as
unsanctified persons, which ye may do, without offence to religion;
those sacred and inviolable personages, the tribunes, ye will
afterwards deliver up as soon as they go out of office: but, if ye
listen to me, they will be first scourged with rods, here in the
Comitium, that they may pay this as interest for their punishment
being delayed. For, as to their denying that the people are acquitted
of the religious obligation, by our being given up, who is there so
ignorant of the laws of the heralds, as not to know, that those men
speak in that manner, that they themselves may not be surrendered,
rather than because the case is really so? Still I do not deny,
conscript fathers, that compacts, on sureties given, are as sacred as
treaties, in the eyes of all who regard faith between men, with the
same reverence which is paid to duties respecting the gods: but I
insist, that without the order of the people, nothing can be ratified
that is to bind the people. Suppose that, out of the same arrogance
with which the Samnites wrung from us the convention in question, they
had compelled us to repeat the established form of words for the
surrendering of cities, would ye, tribunes, say, that the Roman people
was surrendered? and, that this city, these temples, and consecrated
grounds, these lands and waters, were become the property of the
Samnites? I say no more of the surrender, because our having become
sureties is the point insisted on. Now, suppose we had become sureties
that the Roman people should quit this city; that they should set it
on fire; that they should have no magistrates, no senate, no laws;
that they should, in future, be ruled by kings: the gods forbid, you
say. But, the enormity of the articles lessens not the obligation of a
compact. If there is any thing in which the people can be bound, it
can in all. Nor is there any importance in another circumstance, which
weighs, perhaps, with some: whether a consul, a dictator, or a
praetor, be the surety. And this, indeed, was what even the Samnites
themselves proved, who were not satisfied with the security of the
consuls, but compelled the lieutenants-general, quaestors, and
military tribunes to join them. Let no one, then, demand of me, why I
entered into such a compact, when neither such power was vested in a
consul, and when I could not either to them, insure a peace, of which
I could not command the ratification; or in behalf of you, who had
given me no powers. Conscript fathers, none of the transactions at
Caudium were directed by human wisdom. The immortal gods deprived of
understanding both your generals and those of the enemy. On the one
side we acted not with sufficient caution in the war; on the other,
they threw away a victory, which through our folly they had obtained,
while they hardly confided in the places, by means of which they had
conquered; but were in haste, on any terms, to take arms out of the
hands of men who were born to arms. Had their reason been sound, would
it have been difficult, during the time which they spent in sending
for old men from home to give them advice, to send ambassadors to
Rome, and to negotiate a peace and treaty with the senate, and with
the people? It would have been a journey of only three days to
expeditious travellers. In the interim, matters might have rested
under a truce, that is, until their ambassadors should have brought
from Rome, either certain victory or peace. That would have been
really a compact, on the faith of sureties, for we should have become
sureties by order of the people. But, neither would ye have passed
such an order, nor should we have pledged our faith; nor was it right
that the affair should have any other issue, than, that they should be
vainly mocked with a dream, as it were, of greater prosperity than
their minds were capable of comprehending, and that the same fortune,
which had entangled our army, should extricate it; that an ineffectual
victory should be frustrated by a more ineffectual peace; and that a
convention, on the faith of a surety, should be introduced, which
bound no other person beside the surety. For what part had ye,
conscript fathers; what part had the people, in this affair? Who can
call upon you? Who can say, that he has been deceived by you? Can the
enemy? Can a citizen? To the enemy ye engaged nothing. Ye ordered no
citizen to engage on your behalf. Ye are therefore no way concerned
either with us, to whom ye gave no commission; nor with the Samnites,
with whom ye transacted no business. We are sureties to the Samnites;
debtors, sufficiently wealthy in that which is our own, in that which
we can offer--our bodies and our minds. On these, let them exercise
their cruelty; against these, let them whet their resentment and their
swords. As to what relates to the tribunes, consider whether the
delivering them up can be effected at the present time, or if it must
be deferred to another day. Meanwhile let us, Titus Veturius, and the
rest concerned, offer our worthless persons, as atonements for the
breaking our engagements, and, by our sufferings liberate the Roman

10. Both these arguments, and, still more, the author of them,
powerfully affected the senators; as they did likewise every one, not
excepting even the tribunes of the commons who declared, that they
would be directed by the senate. They then instantly resigned their
office, and were delivered, together with the rest, to the heralds, to
be conducted to Caudium. On passing this decree of the senate, it
seemed as if some new light had shone upon the state: Postumius was in
every mouth: they extolled him to heaven; and pronounced his conduct
as equal even to the devoting act of the consul Publius Decius, and to
other illustrious acts. "Through his counsel, and exertions," they
said, "the state had raised up its head from an ignominious peace. He
now offered himself to the enemy's rage, and to torments; and was
suffering, in atonement for the Roman people." All turned their
thoughts towards arms and war, [and the general cry was,] "When shall
we be permitted with arms in our hands to meet the Samnites?" While
the state glowed with resentment and rancour, the levies were composed
almost entirely of volunteers. New legions, composed of the former
soldiers, were quickly formed, and an army marched to Caudium. The
heralds, who went before, on coming to the gate, ordered the sureties
of the peace to be stripped of their clothes, and their hands to be
tied behind their backs. As the apparitor, out of respect to his
dignity, was binding Postumius in a loose manner, "Why do you not,"
said he, "draw the cord tight, that the surrender may be regularly
performed?" Then, when they came into the assembly of the Samnites,
and to the tribunal of Pontius, Aulus Cornelius Arvina, a herald,
pronounced these words: "Forasmuch as these men, here present, without
orders from the Roman people, the Quirites, entered into surety, that
a treaty should be made, and have thereby rendered themselves
criminal; now, in order that the Roman people may be freed from the
crime of impiety, I here surrender these men into your hands." On the
herald saying thus, Postumius gave him a stroke on the thigh with his
knee, as forcibly as he could, and said with a loud voice, that "he
was now a citizen of Samnium, the other a Roman ambassador; that the
herald had been, by him, violently ill-treated, contrary to the law of
nations; and that his people would therefore have the more justice on
their side, in waging war."

11. Pontius then said, "Neither will I accept such a surrender, nor
will the Samnites deem it valid. Spurius Postumius, if you believe
that there are gods, why do you not undo all that has been done, or
fulfil your agreement? The Samnite nation is entitled, either to all
the men whom it had in its power, or, instead of them, to a peace. But
why do I call on you, who, with as much regard to faith as you are
able to show, return yourself a prisoner into the hands of the
conqueror? I call on the Roman people. If they are dissatisfied with
the convention made at the Caudine forks, let them replace the legions
within the defile where they were pent up. Let there be no deception
on either side. Let all that has been done pass as nothing. Let them
receive again the army which they surrendered by the convention; let
them return into their camp. Whatever they were in possession of, the
day before the conference, let them possess again. Then let war and
resolute counsels be adopted. Then let the convention, and peace, be
rejected. Let us carry on the war in the same circumstances, and
situations, in which we were before peace was mentioned. Let neither
the Roman people blame the convention of the consuls, nor us the faith
of the Roman people. Will ye never want an excuse for not standing to
the compacts which ye make on being defeated? Ye gave hostages to
Porsena: ye clandestinely withdrew them. Ye ransomed your state from
the Gauls, for gold: while they were receiving the gold, they were put
to the sword. Ye concluded a peace with us, on condition of our
restoring your captured legions: that peace ye now annul; in fine, ye
always spread over your fraudulent conduct some show of right. Do the
Roman people disapprove of their legions being saved by an ignominious
peace? Let them have their peace, and return the captured legions to
the conqueror. This would be conduct consistent with faith, with
treaties, and with the laws of the heralds. But that you should, in
consequence of the convention, obtain what you desired, the safety of
so many of your countrymen, while I obtain not, what I stipulated for
on sending you back those men, a peace; is this the law which you,
Aulus Cornelius, which ye, heralds, prescribe to nations? But for my
part, I neither accept those men whom ye pretend to surrender, nor
consider them as surrendered; nor do I hinder them from returning into
their own country, which stands bound under an actual convention,
formally entered into carrying with them the wrath of all the gods,
whose authority is thus baffled. Wage war, since Spurius Postumius has
just now struck with his knee the herald, in character of ambassador.
The gods are to believe that Postumius is a citizen of Samnium, not of
Rome; and that a Roman ambassador has been violated by a Samnite; and
that therefore a just war has been waged against us by you. That men
of years, and of consular dignity, should not be ashamed to exhibit
such mockery of religion in the face of day! And should have recourse
to such shallow artifices to palliate their breach of faith, unworthy
even of children! Go, lictor, take off the bonds from those Romans.
Let no one delay them from departing when they think proper."
Accordingly they returned unhurt from Caudium to the Roman camp,
having acquitted, certainly, their own faith, and perhaps that of the

12. The Samnites finding that instead of a peace which flattered their
pride, the war was revived, and with the utmost inveteracy, not only
felt, in their minds, a foreboding of all the consequences which
ensued, but saw them, in a manner, before their eyes. They now, too
late and in vain, applauded the plans of old Pontius, by blundering
between which, they had exchanged the possession of victory for an
uncertain peace; and having lost the opportunity of doing a kindness
or an injury, were now to fight against men, whom they might have
either put out of the way, for ever, as enemies; or engaged, for ever,
as friends. And such was the change which had taken place in men's
minds, since the Caudine peace, even before any trial of strength had
shown an advantage on either side, that Postumius, by surrendering
himself, had acquired greater renown among the Romans, than Pontius
among the Samnites, by his bloodless victory. The Romans considered
their being at liberty to make war, a certain victory; while the
Samnites supposed the Romans victorious, the moment they resumed their
arms. Meanwhile, the Satricans revolted to the Samnites, who attacked
the colony of Fregellae, by a sudden surprise in the night,
accompanied, as it appears, by the Satricans. From that time until
day, their mutual fears kept both parties quiet: the daylight was the
signal for battle, which the Fregellans contrived to maintain, for a
considerable time, without loss of ground; both because they fought
for their religion and liberty; and the multitude, who were unfit to
bear arms, assisted them from the tops of the houses. At length a
stratagem gave the advantage to the assailants; for they suffered the
voice of a crier to be heard proclaiming, that "whoever laid down his
arms might retire in safety." This relaxed their eagerness in the
fight, and they began almost every where to throw away their arms. A
part, more determined, however, retaining their arms, rushed out by
the opposite gate, and their boldness brought greater safety to them,
than their fear, which inclined them to credulity, did to the others:
for the Samnites, having surrounded the latter with fires, burned them
all to death, while they made vain appeals to the faith of gods and
men. The consuls having settled the province between them, Papirius
proceeded into Apulia to Luceria where the Roman horsemen, given as
hostages at Caudium were kept in custody: Publilius remained in
Samnium, to oppose the Caudine legions. This proceeding perplexed the
minds of the Samnites: they could not safely determine either to go to
Luceria, lest the enemy should press on their rear or to remain where
they were, lest in the mean time Luceria should be lost. They
concluded, therefore, that it would be most advisable to trust to the
decision of fortune, and to take the issue of a battle with Publilius:
accordingly they drew out their forces into the field.

13. When Publilius was about to engage, considering it proper to
address his soldiers first, he ordered an assembly be summoned. But
though they ran together to the general's quarters with the greatest
alacrity, yet so loud were the clamours, demanding the fight, that
none of the general's exhortations were heard: each man's own
reflections on the late disgrace served as an exhortation. They
advanced therefore to battle, urging the standard-bearers to hasten;
at rest, in beginning the conflict, there should be any delay, in
wielding their javelins and then drawing their swords, they threw away
the former, as if a signal to that purpose had been given, and,
drawing the latter, rushed in full speed upon the foe. Nothing of a
general's skill was displayed in forming ranks or reserves; the
resentment of the troops performed all, with a degree of fury little
inferior to madness. The enemy, therefore, were not only completely
routed, not even daring to embarrass their flight by retreating to
their camp but dispersing, made towards Apulia in scattered parties:
afterwards, however, collecting their forces into one body, they
reached Luceria. The same exasperation, which had carried the Romans
through the midst of the enemy's line, carried them forward also into
their camp, where greater carnage was made, and more blood spilt, than
even in the field, while the greater part of the spoil was destroyed
in their rage. The other army, with the consul Papirius, had now
arrived at Arpi, on the sea-coast, having passed without molestation
through all the countries in their way; which was owing to the
ill-treatment received by those people from the Samnites, and their
hatred towards them, rather than to any favour received from the Roman
people. For such of the Samnites as dwelt on the mountains in separate
villages, used to ravage the low lands, and the places on the coast;
and being mountaineers, and savage themselves, despised the husbandmen
who were of a gentler kind, and, as generally happens, resembled the
district they inhabited. Now if this tract had been favourably
affected towards the Samnites, either the Roman army could have been
prevented from reaching Arpi, or, as it lay between Rome and Arpi, it
might have intercepted the convoys of provisions, and utterly
destroyed them by the consequent scarcity of all necessaries. Even as
it was, when they went from thence to Luceria, both the besiegers and
the besieged were distressed equally by want. Every kind of supplies
was brought to the Romans from Arpi; but in so very scanty proportion,
that the horsemen had to carry corn from thence to the camp, in little
bags, for the foot, who were employed in the outposts, watches, and
works; and sometimes falling in with the enemy, they were obliged to
throw the corn from off their horses, in order to fight. Before the
arrival of the other consul and his victorious army, both provisions
had been brought in to the Samnites, and reinforcements conveyed in to
them from the mountains; but the coming of Publilius contracted all
their resources; for, committing the siege to the care of his
colleague, and keeping himself disengaged, he threw every difficulty
in the way of the enemy's convoys. There being therefore little hope
for the besieged, or that they would be able much longer to endure
want, the Samnites, encamped at Luceria, were obliged to collect their
forces from every side, and come to an engagement with Papirius.

14. At this juncture, while both parties were preparing for an action,
ambassadors from the Tarentines interposed, requiring both Samnites
and Romans to desist from war; with menaces, that "if either refused
to agree to a cessation of hostilities, they would join their arms
with the other party against them." Papirius, on hearing the purport
of their embassy, as if influenced by their words, answered, that he
would consult his colleague: he then sent for him, employing the
intermediate time in the necessary preparations; and when he had
conferred with him on a matter, about which no doubt was entertained,
he made the signal for battle. While the consuls were employed in
performing the religious rites and the other usual business
preparatory to an engagement the Tarentine ambassadors put themselves
in their way, expecting an answer: to whom Papirius said, "Tarentines,
the priest reports that the auspices are favourable, and that our
sacrifices have been attended with excellent omens: under the
direction of the gods, we are proceeding, as you see, to action." He
then ordered the standards to move, and led out the troops; thus
rebuking the exorbitant arrogance of that nation, which at a time
when, through intestine discord and sedition, it was unequal to the
management of its own affairs, yet presumed to prescribe the bounds of
peace and war to others. On the other side, the Samnites, who had
neglected every preparation for fighting, either because they were
really desirous of peace, or it seemed their interest to pretend to be
so, in order to conciliate the favour of the Tarentines, when they
saw, on a sudden, the Romans drawn up for battle, cried out, that
"they would continue to be directed by the Tarentines, and would
neither march out, nor carry their arms beyond the rampart. That if
deceived, they would rather endure any consequence which chance may
bring, than show contempt to the Tarentines, the advisers of peace."
The consuls said that "they embraced the omen, and prayed that the
enemy might continue in the resolution of not even defending their
rampart." Then, dividing the forces between them, they advanced to the
works; and, making an assault on every side at once, while some filled
up the trenches, others tore down the rampart, and tumbled it into the
trench. All were stimulated, not only by their native courage, but by
the resentment which, since their disgrace, had been festering in
their breasts. They made their way into the camp; where, every one
repeating, that here was not Caudium, nor the forks, nor the
impassable glens, where cunning haughtily triumphed over error; but
Roman valour, which no rampart nor trench could ward off;--they slew,
without distinction, those who resisted and those who fled, the armed
and unarmed, freemen and slaves, young and old, men and cattle. Nor
would a single animal have escaped, had not the consuls given the
signal for retreat; and, by commands and threats, forced out of the
camp the soldiers, greedy of slaughter. As they were highly incensed
at being thus interrupted in the gratification of their vengeance, a
speech was immediately addressed to them, assuring the soldiers, that
"the consuls neither did nor would fall short of any one of the
soldiers, in hatred toward the enemy; on the contrary, as they led the
way in battle, so would they have done the same in executing unbounded
vengeance, had not the consideration of the six hundred horsemen, who
were confined as hostages in Luceria, restrained their inclinations;
lest total despair of pardon might drive on the enemy blindly to take
vengeance on them, eager to destroy them before they themselves should
perish." The soldiers highly applauded this conduct, and rejoiced that
their resentment had been checked, and acknowledged that every thing
ought to be endured, rather than that the safety of so many Roman
youths of the first distinction should be brought into danger.

15. The assembly being then dismissed, a consultation was held,
whether they should press forward the siege of Luceria, with all their
forces; or, whether with one of the commanders, and his army, trial
should be made of the Apulians, a nation in the neighbourhood still
doubtful. The consul Publilius set out to make a circuit through
Apulia, and in the one expedition either reduced by force, or received
into alliance on conditions, a considerable number of the states.
Papirius likewise, who had remained to prosecute the siege of Luceria,
soon found the event agreeable to his hopes: for all the roads being
blocked up through which provisions used to be conveyed from Samnium,
the Samnites, who were in garrison, were reduced so low by famine,
that they sent ambassadors to the Roman consul, proposing that he
should raise the siege, on receiving the horsemen who were the cause
of the war, to whom Papirius returned this answer, that "they ought to
have consulted Pontius, son of Herennius, by whose advice they had
sent the Romans under the yoke, what treatment he thought fitting for
the conquered to undergo. But since, instead of offering fair terms
themselves, they chose rather that they should be imposed on them by
their enemies, he desired them to carry back orders to the troops in
Luceria, that they should leave within the walls their arms, baggage,
beasts of burthen, and all persons unfit for war. The soldiers he
would send under the yoke with single garments, retaliating the
disgrace formerly inflicted, not inflicting a new one." The terms were
not rejected. Seven thousand soldiers were sent under the yoke, and an
immense booty was seized in Luceria, all the standards and arms which
they had lost at Caudium being recovered; and, what greatly surpassed
all their joy, recovered the horsemen whom the Samnites had sent to
Luceria to be kept as pledges of the peace. Hardly ever did the Romans
gain a victory more distinguished for the sudden reverse produced in
the state of their affairs; especially if it be true, as I find in
some annals, that Pontius, son of Herennius, the Samnite general, was
sent under the yoke along with the rest, to atone for the disgrace of
the consuls. I think it indeed more strange that there should exist
any doubt whether it was Lucius Cornelius, in quality of dictator,
Lucius Papirius Cursor being master of the horse, who performed these
achievements at Caudium, and afterwards at Luceria, as the single
avenger of the disgrace of the Romans, enjoying the best deserved
triumph, perhaps, next to that of Furius Camillus, which had ever yet
been obtained; or whether that honour belongs to the consuls, and
particularly to Papirius. This uncertainty is followed by another,
whether, at the next election, Papirius Cursor was chosen consul a
third time, with Quintus Aulus Ceretanus a second time, being
re-elected in requital of his services at Luceria; or whether it was
Lucius Papirius Mugillanus, the surname being mistaken.

16. From henceforth, the accounts are clear, that the other wars were
conducted to a conclusion by the consuls. Aulius by one successful
battle, entirely conquered the Forentans. The city, to which their
army had retreated after its defeat, surrendered on terms, hostages
having been demanded. With similar success the other consul conducted
his operations against the Satricans; who, though Roman citizens, had,
after the misfortune at Caudium, revolted to the Samnites, and
received a garrison into their city. The Satricans, however, when the
Roman army approached their walls, sent deputies to sue for peace,
with humble entreaties; to whom the consul answered harshly, that
"they must not come again to him, unless they either put to death, or
delivered up, the Samnite garrison:" by which terms greater terror was
struck into the colonists than by the arms with which they were
threatened. The deputies, accordingly, several times asking the
consul, how he thought that they, who were few and weak, could attempt
to use force against a garrison so strong and well-armed: he desired
them to "seek counsel from those, by whose advice they had received
that garrison into the city." They then departed, and returned to
their countrymen, having obtained from the consul, with much
difficulty, permission to consult their senate on the matter, and
bring back their answer to him. Two factions divided the senate; one
that whose leaders had been the authors of the defection from the
Roman people, the other consisted of the citizens who retained their
loyalty; both, however, showed an earnest desire, that every means
should be used towards effecting an accommodation with the consul for
the restoration of peace. As the Samnite garrison, being in no respect
prepared for holding out a siege, intended to retire the next night
out of the town, one party thought it sufficient to discover to the
consul, at what hour, through what gate, and by what road, his enemy
was to march out. The other, against whose wishes defection to the
Samnites had occurred, even opened one of the gates for the consul in
the night, secretly admitting the armed enemy into the town. In
consequence of this twofold treachery, the Samnite garrison was
surprised and overpowered by an ambush, placed in the woody places,
near the road; and, at the same time, a shout was raised in the city,
which was now filled with the enemy. Thus, in the short space of one
hour, the Samnites were put to the sword, the Satricans made
prisoners, and all things reduced under the power of the consul; who,
having instituted an inquiry by whose means the revolt had taken
place, scourged with rods and beheaded such as he found to be guilty;
and then, disarming the Satricans, he placed a strong garrison in the
place. On this those writers state, that Papirius Cursor proceeded to
Rome to celebrate his triumph, who say, that it was under his guidance
Luceria was retaken, and the Samnites sent under the yoke.
Undoubtedly, as a warrior, he was deserving of every military praise,
excelling not only in vigour of mind, but likewise in strength of
body. He possessed extraordinary swiftness of foot, surpassing every
one of his age in running, from whence came the surname into his
family; and he is said, either from the robustness of his frame, or
from much practice, to have been able to digest a very large quantity
of food and wine. Never did either the foot-soldier or horseman feel
military service more laborious, under any general, because he was of
a constitution not to be overcome by fatigue. The cavalry, on some
occasion, venturing to request that, in consideration of their good
behaviour, he would excuse them some part of their business, he told
them, "Ye should not say that no indulgence has been granted you,--I
excuse you from rubbing your horses' backs when ye dismount." He
supported also the authority of command, in all its vigour, both among
the allies and his countrymen. The praetor of Praeneste, through fear,
had been tardy in bringing forward his men from the reserve to the
front: he, walking before his tent, ordered him to be called, and then
bade the lictor to make ready his axe, on which, the Praenestine
standing frightened almost to death, he said, "Here, lictor, cut away
this stump, it is troublesome to people as they walk;" and, after thus
alarming him with the dread of the severest punishment, he imposed a
fine and dismissed him. It is beyond doubt, that during that age, than
which none was ever more productive of virtuous characters, there was
no man in whom the Roman affairs found a more effectual support; nay,
people even marked him out, in their minds, as a match for Alexander
the Great, in case that, having completed the conquest of Asia, he
should have turned his arms on Europe.

17. Nothing can be found farther from my intention, since the
commencement of this history, than to digress, more than necessity
required, from the course of narration; and, by embellishing my work
with variety, to seek pleasing resting-places, as it were, for my
readers, and relaxation for my own mind: nevertheless, the mention of
so great a king and commander, now calls forth to public view those
silent reflections, whom Alexander must have fought. Manlius
Torquatus, had he met him in the field, might, perhaps, have yielded
to Alexander in discharging military duties in battle (for these also
render him no less illustrious); and so might Valerius Corvus; men who
were distinguished soldiers, before they became commanders. The same,
too, might have been the case with the Decii, who, after devoting
their persons, rushed upon the enemy; or of Papirius Cursor, though
possessed of such powers, both of body and mind. By the counsels of
one youth, it is possible the wisdom of a whole senate, not to mention
individuals, might have been baffled, [consisting of such members,]
that he alone, who declared that "it consisted of kings," conceived a
correct idea of a Roman senate. But then the danger was, that with
more judgment than any one of those whom I have named he might choose
ground for an encampment, provide supplies, guard against stratagems,
distinguish the season for fighting, form his line of battle, or
strengthen it properly with reserves. He would have owned that he was
not dealing with Darius, who drew after him a train of women and
eunuchs; saw nothing about him but gold and purple; was encumbered
with the trappings of his state, and should be called his prey, rather
than his antagonist; whom therefore he vanquished without loss of
blood and had no other merit, on the occasion, than that of showing a
proper spirit in despising empty show. The aspect of Italy would have
appeared to him of a quite different nature from that of India, which
he traversed in the guise of a traveller, at the head of a crew of
drunkards, if he had seen the forests of Apulia, and the mountains of
Lucania, with the vestiges of the disasters of his house, and where
his uncle Alexander, king of Epirus, had been lately cut off.

18. We are now speaking of Alexander not yet intoxicated by
prosperity, the seductions of which no man was less capable of
withstanding. But, if he is to be judged from the tenor of his conduct
in the new state of his fortune, and from the new disposition, as I
may say, which he put on after his successes, he would have entered
Italy more like Darius than Alexander; and would have brought thither
an army that had forgotten Macedonia, and were degenerating into the
manners of the Persians. It is painful, in speaking of so great a
king, to recite his ostentatious change of dress; of requiring that
people should address him with adulation, prostrating themselves on
the ground, a practice insupportable to the Macedonians, had they even
been conquered, much more so when they were victorious; the shocking
cruelty of his punishments; his murdering his friends in the midst of
feasting and wine; with the folly of his fiction respecting his birth.
What must have been the consequence, if his love of wine had daily
become more intense? if his fierce and uncontrollable anger? And as I
mention not any one circumstance of which there is a doubt among
writers, do we consider these as no disparagements to the
qualifications of a commander? But then, as is frequently repeated by
the silliest of the Greeks, who are fond of exalting the reputation,
even of the Parthians, at the expense of the Roman name, the danger
was that the Roman people would not have had resolution to bear up
against the splendour of Alexander's name, who, however, in my
opinion, was not known to them even by common fame; and while, in
Athens, a state reduced to weakness by the Macedonian arms, which at
the very time saw the ruins of Thebes smoking in its neighbourhood,
men had spirit enough to declaim with freedom against him, as is
manifest from the copies of their speeches, which have been preserved;
[we are to be told] that out of such a number of Roman chiefs, no one
would have freely uttered his sentiments. How great soever our idea of
this man's greatness may be, still it is the greatness of an
individual, constituted by the successes of a little more than ten
years; and those who give it pre-eminence on account that the Roman
people have been defeated, though not in any entire war, yet in
several battles, whereas Alexander was never once unsuccessful in a
single fight, do not consider that they are comparing the actions of
one man, and that a young man, with the exploits of a nation waging
wars now eight hundred years. Can we wonder if, when on the one side
more ages are numbered than years on the other, fortune varied more in
so long a lapse of time than in the short term of thirteen years?
[Footnote: The duration of Alexander's military career.] But why not
compare the success of one general with that of another? How many
Roman commanders might I name who never lost a battle? In the annals
of the magistrates, and the records, we may run over whole pages of
consuls and dictators, with whose bravery, and successes also, the
Roman people never once had reason to be dissatisfied. And what
renders them more deserving of admiration than Alexander, or any king,
is, that some of these acted in the office of dictator, which lasted
only ten, or it might be twenty days, none, in a charge of longer
duration than the consulship of a year; their levies obstructed by
plebeian tribunes; often late in taking the field; recalled, before
the time, on account of elections; amidst the very busiest efforts of
the campaign, their year of office expired; sometimes the rashness,
sometimes the perverseness of a colleague, proving an impediment or
detriment; and finally succeeding to the unfortunate administration of
a predecessor, with an army of raw or ill-disciplined men. But, on
the other hand, kings, being not only free from every kind of
impediment, but masters of circumstances and seasons, control all
things in subserviency to their designs, themselves uncontrolled by
any. So that Alexander, unconquered, would have encountered
unconquered commanders; and would have had stakes of equal consequence
pledged on the issue. Nay, the hazard had been greater on his side;
because the Macedonians would have had but one Alexander, who was not
only liable, but fond of exposing himself to casualties; the Romans
would have had many equal to Alexander, both in renown, and in the
greatness of their exploits; any one of whom might live or die
according to his destiny, without any material consequence to the

19. It remains that the forces be compared together, with respect to
their numbers, the quality of the men, and the supplies of
auxiliaries. Now, in the general surveys of the age, there were rated
two hundred and fifty thousand men, so that, on every revolt of the
Latin confederates, ten legions were enlisted almost entirely in the
city levy. It often happened during those years, that four or five
armies were employed at a time, in Etruria, in Umbria, the Gauls too
being at war, in Samnium, in Lucania. Then as to all Latium, with the
Sabines, and Volscians, the Aequans, and all Campania; half of Umbria,
Etruria, and the Picentians, Marsians, Pelignians, Vestinians, and
Apulians; to whom may add, the whole coast of the lower sea, possessed
by the Greeks, from Thurii to Neapolis and Cumae; and the Samnites
from thence as far as Antium and Ostia: all these he would have found
either powerful allies to the Romans or deprived of power by their
arms. He would have crossed the sea with his veteran Macedonians,
amounting to no more than thirty thousand infantry and four thousand
horse, these mostly Thessalians. This was the whole of his strength.
Had he brought with him Persians and Indians, and those other nations,
it would be dragging after him an encumbrance other than a support.
Add to this, that the Romans, being at home, would have had recruits
at hand: Alexander, waging war in a foreign country, would have found
his army worn out with long service, as happened afterwards to
Hannibal. As to arms, theirs were a buckler and long spears; those of
the Romans, a shield, which covered the body more effectually, and a
javelin, a much more forcible weapon than the spear, either in
throwing or striking. The soldiers, on both sides, were used to steady
combat, and to preserve their ranks. But the Macedonian phalanx was
unapt for motion, and composed of similar parts throughout: the Roman
line less compact, consisting of several various parts, was easily
divided as occasion required, and as easily conjoined. Then what
soldier is comparable to the Roman in the throwing up of works? who
better calculated to endure fatigue? Alexander, if overcome in one
battle, would have been overcome in war. The Roman, whom Claudium,
whom Cannae, did not crush, what line of battle could crush? In truth,
even should events have been favourable to him at first, he would have
often wished for the Persians, the Indians, and the effeminate tribes
of Asia, as opponents; and would have acknowledged, that his wars had
been waged with women, as we are told was said by Alexander, king of
Epirus, after receiving his mortal wound, when comparing the wars
waged in Asia by this very youth, with those in which himself had been
engaged. Indeed, when I reflect that, in the first Punic war, a
contest was maintained by the Romans with the Carthaginians, at sea,
for twenty-four years, I can scarcely suppose that the life of
Alexander would have been long enough for the finishing of one war
[with either of those nations]. And perhaps, as both the Punic state
was united to the Roman by ancient treaties, and as similar
apprehensions might arm against a common foe those two nations the
most potent of the time in arms and in men, he might have been
overwhelmed in a Punic and a Roman war at once. The Romans have had
experience of the boasted prowess of the Macedonians in arms, not
indeed under Alexander as their general, or when their power was at
the height, but in the wars against Antiochus, Philip, and Perses; and
not only not with any losses, but not even with any danger to
themselves. Let not my assertion give offence, nor our civil wars be
brought into mention; never were we worsted by an enemy's cavalry,
never by their infantry, never in open fight, never on equal ground,
much less when the ground was favourable. Our soldiers, heavy laden
with arms, may reasonably fear a body of cavalry, or arrows; defiles
of difficult passage, and places impassable to convoys. But they have
defeated, and will defeat a thousand armies, more formidable than
those of Alexander and the Macedonians, provided that the same love of
peace and solicitude about domestic harmony, in which we now live,
continue permanent.

20. Marcus Foslius Flaccinator and Lucius Plautius Venno were the next
raised to the consulship. In this year ambassadors came from most of
the states of the Samnites to procure a renewal of the treaty; and,
after they had moved the compassion of the senate, by prostrating
themselves before them, on being referred to the people, they found
not their prayers so efficacious. The treaty therefore, being refused,
after they had importuned them individually for several days, was
obtained. The Teaneans likewise, and Canusians of Apulia, worn out by
the devastations of their country, surrendered themselves to the
consul, Lucius Plautius, and gave hostages. This year praefects first
began to be created for Capua, and a code of laws was given to that
nation, by Lucius Furius the praetor; both in compliance with their
own request, as a remedy for the disorder of their affairs, occasioned
by intestine dissensions. At Rome, two additional tribes were
constituted, the Ufentine and Falerine. On the affairs of Apulia
falling into decline, the Teatians of that country came to the new
consuls, Caius Junius Bubulcus, and Quintus Aemilius Barbula, suing
for an alliance; and engaging, that peace should be observed towards
the Romans through every part of Apulia. By pledging themselves boldly
for this, they obtained the grant of an alliance, not however on terms
of equality, but of their submitting to the dominion of the Roman
people. Apulia being entirely reduced, (for Junius had also gained
possession of Forentum, a town of great strength,) the consuls
advanced into Lucania; there Nerulum was surprised and stormed by the
sudden advance of the consul Aemilius. When fame had spread abroad
among the allies, how firmly the affairs of Capua were settled by [the
introduction of] the Roman institutions, the Antians, imitating the
example, presented a complaint of their being without laws, and
without magistrates; on which the patrons of the colony itself were
appointed by the senate to form a body of laws for it. Thus not only
the arms, but the laws, of Rome became extensively prevalent.

21. The consuls, Caius Junius Bubulcus and Quintus Aemilius Barbula,
at the conclusion of the year, delivered over the legions, not to the
consuls elected by themselves, who were Spurius Nautius and Marcus
Popillius, but to a dictator, Lucius Aemilius. He, with Lucius
Fulvius, master of the horse, having commenced to lay siege to
Saticula, gave occasion to the Samnites of reviving hostilities. Hence
a twofold alarm was occasioned to the Roman army. On one side, the
Samnites having collected a numerous force to relieve their allies
from the siege, pitched their camp at a small distance from that of
the Romans: on the other side, the Saticulans, opening suddenly their
gates, ran up with violent tumult to the posts of the enemy.
Afterwards, each party, relying on support from the other, more than
on its own strength, formed a regular attack, and pressed on the
Romans. The dictator, on his part, though obliged to oppose two
enemies at once, yet had his line secure on both sides; for he both
chose a position not easily surrounded, and also formed two different
fronts. However, he directed his greater efforts against those who had
sallied from the town, and, without much resistance, drove them back
within the walls. He then turned his whole force against the Samnites:
there he found greater difficulty. But the victory, though long
delayed, was neither doubtful nor alloyed by losses. The Samnites,
being forced to fly into their camp, extinguished their fires at
night, and marched away in silence; and renouncing all hopes of
relieving Saticula, sat themselves down before Plistia, which was in
alliance with the Romans, that they might, if possible, retort equal
vexation on their enemy.

22. The year coming to a conclusion, the war was thenceforward
conducted by a dictator, Quintius Fabius. The new consuls, Lucius
Papirius Cursor and Quintus Publilius Philo, both a fourth time, as
the former had done, remained at Rome. Fabius came with a
reinforcement to Saticula, to receive the army from Aemilius. For the
Samnites had not continued before Plistia; but having sent for a new
supply of men from home, and relying on their numbers, had encamped in
the same spot as before; and, by provoking the Romans to battle,
endeavoured to divert them from the siege. The dictator, so much the
more intently, pushed forward his operations against the
fortifications of the enemy; considering that only as war which was
directed against the city, and showing an indifference with respect to
the Samnites, except that he placed guards in proper places, to
prevent any attempt on his camp. The more furiously did the Samnites
ride up to the rampart, and allowed him no quiet. When the enemy were
now come up close to the gates of the camp, Quintus Aulius Cerretanus,
master of the horse, without consulting the dictator, sallied out
furiously at the head of all the troops of cavalry, and drove back the
enemy. In this desultory kind of fight, fortune worked up the strength
of the combatants in such a manner, as to occasion an extraordinary
loss on both sides, and the remarkable deaths of the commanders
themselves. First, the general of the Samnites, indignant at being
repulsed, and compelled to fly from a place to which he had advanced
so confidently, by entreating and exhorting his horsemen, renewed the
battle. As he was easily distinguished among the horsemen, while he
urged on the fight, the Roman master of the horse galloped up against
him, with his spear directed, so furiously, that, with one stroke, he
tumbled him lifeless from his horse. The multitude, however, were not,
as is generally the case, dismayed by the fall of their leader, but
rather raised to fury. All who were within reach darted their weapons
at Aulius, who incautiously pushed forward among the enemy's troops;
but the chief share of the honour of revenging the death of the
Samnite general they assigned to his brother; he, urged by rage and
grief, dragged down the victorious master of the horse from his seat,
and slew him. Nor were the Samnites far from obtaining his body also,
as he had fallen among the enemies' troops: but the Romans instantly
dismounted, and the Samnites were obliged to do the same; and lines
being thus formed suddenly but, at the same time, untenable through
scarcity of necessaries: "for all the country round, from which
provisions could be supplied, has revolted; and besides, even were the
inhabitants disposed to aid us, the ground is unfavourable. I will not
therefore mislead you by leaving a camp here, into which ye may
retreat, as on a former day, without completing the victory. Works
ought to be secured by arms, not arms by works. Let those keep a camp,
and repair to it, whose interest it is to protract the war; but let us
cut off from ourselves every other prospect but that of conquering.
Advance the standards against the enemy; as soon as the troops shall
have marched beyond the rampart, let those who have it in orders burn
the camp. Your losses, soldiers, shall be compensated with the spoil
of all the nations round who have revolted." The soldiers advanced
against the enemy with spirit inflamed by the dictator's discourse,
which seemed indication of an extreme necessity; and, at the same
time, the very sight of the camp burning behind them, though the
nearest part only was set on fire, (for so the dictator had ordered,)
was small incitement: rushing on therefore like madmen, they
disordered the enemy's battalions at the very first onset; and the
master of the horse, when he saw at a distance the fire in the camp,
which was a signal agreed on, made a seasonable attack on their rear.
The Samnites, thus surrounded on either side, fled different ways. A
vast number, who had gathered into a body through fear, yet from
confusion incapable of fleeing, were surrounded and cut to pieces. The
enemy's camp was taken and plundered; and the soldiers being laden
with spoil, the dictator led them back to the Roman camp, highly
rejoiced at the success, but by no means so much as at finding,
contrary to their expectation, every thing there safe, except a small
part only, which was injured or destroyed by the fire.

24. They then marched back to Sora; and the new consuls, Marcus
Poetelius and Caius Sulpicius, receive the army from the dictator
Fabius, discharging a great part of the veteran soldiers, having
brought with them new cohorts to supply their place. Now while, on
account of the dire situation of the city, no certain mode of attack
could be devised, and success must either be distant in time, or at
desperate risk; a deserter from Sora came out of the town privately by
night, and when he had got as far as the Roman watches, desired to be
conducted instantly to the consuls: which being complied with, he made
them an offer of delivering the place into their hands. When he
answered their questions, respecting the means by which he intended to
make good his promise, appearing to state a project by no means idle,
he persuaded them to remove the Roman camp, which was almost close to
the walls, to the distance of six miles; that the consequence would be
that this would render the guards by day, and the watches by night,
the less vigilant. He then desired that some cohorts should post
themselves the following night in the woody places under the town, and
took with himself ten chosen soldiers, through steep and almost
impassable ways, into the citadel, where a quantity of missive weapons
had been collected, larger than bore proportion to the number of men.
There were stones besides, some lying at random, as in all craggy
places, and others heaped up designedly by the townsmen, to add to the
security of the place. Having posted the Romans here, and shown them a
steep and narrow path leading up from the town to the citadel--"From
this ascent," said he, "even three armed men would keep off any
multitude whatever. Now ye are ten in number; and, what is more,
Romans, and the bravest among the Romans. The night is in your favour,
which, from the uncertainty it occasions, magnifies every object to
people once alarmed. I will immediately fill every place with terror:
be ye alert in defending the citadel." He then ran down in haste,
crying aloud, "To arms, citizens, we are undone, the citadel is taken
by the enemy; run, defend it." This he repeated, as he passed the
doors of the principal men, the same to all whom he met, and also to
those who ran out in a fright into the streets. The alarm,
communicated first by one, was soon spread by numbers through all the
city. The magistrates, dismayed on hearing from scouts that the
citadel was full of arms and armed men, whose number they multiplied,
laid aside all hopes of recovering it. All places are filled with
terror: the gates are broken open by persons half asleep, and for the
most part unarmed, through one of which the body of Roman troops,
roused by the noise, burst in, and slew the terrified inhabitants, who
attempted to skirmish in the streets. Sora was now taken, when, at the
first light, the consuls arrived, and accepted the surrender of those
whom fortune had left remaining after the flight and slaughter of the
night. Of these, they conveyed in chains to Rome two hundred and
twenty-five, whom all men agreed in pointing out as the authors, both
of the revolt, and also of the horrid massacre of the colonists. The
rest they left in safety at Sora, a garrison being placed there. All
those who were brought to Rome were beaten with rods in the forum, and
beheaded, to the great joy of the commons, whose interest it most
highly concerned, that the multitudes, sent to various places in
colonies should be in safety.

25. The consuls, leaving Sora, turned their warlike operations against
the lands and cities of the Ausonians; for all places had been set in
commotion by the coming of the Samnites, when the battle was fought at
Lautulae: conspiracies likewise had been formed in several parts of
Campania; nor was Capua itself clear of the charge: nay, the business
spread even to Rome, and inquiries came to be instituted respecting
some of the principal men there. However, the Ausonian nation fell
into the Roman power, in the same manner as Sora, by their cities
being betrayed: these were Ausona Minturnae, and Vescia. Certain young
men, of the principal families, twelve in number, having conspired to
betray their respective cities, came to the consuls; they informed
them that their countrymen, who had for a long time before honestly
wished for the coming of the Samnites, on hearing of the battle at
Lautulae, had looked on the Romans as defeated, and had assisted the
Samnites with supplies of young men and arms; but that, since the
Samnites had been beaten out of the country, they were wavering
between peace and war, not shutting their gates against the Romans,
lest they should thereby invite an attack; yet determined to shut them
if an army should approach; that in that fluctuating state they might
easily be overpowered by surprise. By these men's advice the camp was
moved nearer; and soldiers were sent, at the same time, to each of the
three towns; some armed, who were to lie concealed in places near the
walls; others, in the garb of peace, with swords hidden under their
clothes, when, on the opening of the gates at the approach of day,
were to enter into the cities. These latter began with killing the
guards; at the same time, a signal was made to the men with arms, to
hasten up from the ambuscades. Thus the gates were seized, and the
three towns taken in the same hour and by the same device. But as the
attacks were made in the absence of the generals, there were no bounds
to the carnage which ensued; and the nation of the Ausonians, when
there was scarcely any clear proof of the charge of its having
revolted, was utterly destroyed, as if it had supported a contest
through a deadly war.

26. During this year, Luceria fell into the hands of the Samnites, the
Roman garrison being betrayed to the enemy. This matter did not long
go unpunished with the traitors: the Roman army was not far off, by
whom the city, which lay in a plain, was taken at the first onset. The
Lucerians and Samnites were to a man put to the sword; and to such a
length was resentment carried, that at Rome, on the senate being
consulted about sending a colony to Luceria, many voted for the
demolition of it. Besides, their hatred was of the bitterest kind,
against a people whom they had been obliged twice to subdue by arms;
the great distance, also, made them averse from sending away their
citizens among nations so ill-affected towards them. However the
resolution was carried, that the colonists should be sent; and
accordingly two thousand five hundred were transported thither. This
year, when all places were becoming disaffected to the Romans, secret
conspiracies were formed among the leading men at Capua, as well as at
other places; a motion concerning which being laid before the senate,
the matter was by no means neglected. Inquiries were decreed, and it
was resolved that a dictator should be appointed to enforce these
inquiries. Caius Maenius was accordingly nominated, and he appointed
Marcus Foslius master of the horse. People's dread of that office was
very great, insomuch that the Calavii, Ovius and Novius, who were the
heads of the conspiracy, either through fear of the dictator's power,
or the consciousness of guilt, previous to the charge against them
being laid in form before him, avoided, as appeared beyond doubt,
trial by a voluntary death. As the subject of the inquiry in Campania
was thus removed, the proceedings were then directed towards Rome: by
construing the order of the senate to have meant, that inquiry should
be made, not specially who at Capua, but generally who at any place
had caballed or conspired against the state; for that cabals, for the
attaining of honours, were contrary to the edicts of the state. The
inquiry was extended to a greater latitude, with respect both to the
matter, and to the kind of persons concerned, the dictator scrupling
not to avow, that his power of research was unlimited: in consequence,
some of the nobility were called to account; and though they applied
to the tribunes for protection, no one interposed in their behalf, or
to prevent the charges from being received. On this the nobles, not
those only against whom the charge was levelled, but the whole body
jointly insisted that such an imputation lay not against the nobles,
to whom the way to honours lay open if not obstructed by fraud, but
against the new men: so that even the dictator and master of the
horse, with respect to that question, would appear more properly as
culprits than suitable inquisitors; and this they should know as soon
as they went out of office. Then indeed Maenius, who was more
solicitous about his character than his office, advanced into the
assembly and spoke to this effect, "Romans, both of my past life ye
are all witnesses; and this honourable office, which ye conferred on
me, is in itself a testimony of my innocence. For the dictator, proper
to be chosen for holding these inquiries, was not, as on many other
occasions, where the exigencies of the state so required, the man who
was most renowned in war; but him whose counsel of life was most
remote from such cabals. But certain of the nobility (for what reason
it is more proper that ye should judge than that I, as a magistrate,
should, without proof, insinuate) have laboured to stifle entirely the
inquiries; and then, finding their strength unequal to it, rather than
stand a trial have fled for refuge to the stronghold of their
adversaries, an appeal and the support of the tribunes; and on being
there also repulsed, (so fully were they persuaded that every other
measure was safer than the attempt to clear themselves,) have made an
attack upon us; and, though in private characters have not been
ashamed of instituting a criminal process against a dictator. Now,
that gods and men may perceive that they to avoid a scrutiny as to
their own conduct, attempt even things which are impossible, and that
I willingly meet the charge, and face the accusations of my enemies, I
divest myself of the dictatorship. And, consuls, I beseech you, that
if this business is put into your hands by the senate, ye make me and
Marcus Foslius the first objects of our your examinations; that it may
be manifested that we are safe from such imputations by our own
innocence, not by the dignity of office." He then abdicated the
dictatorship, as did Marcus Foslius, immediately after, his office of
master of the horse; and being the first brought to trial before the
consuls, for to them the senate had committed the business, they were
most honourably acquitted of all the charges brought by the nobles.
Even Publilius Philo, who had so often been invested with the highest
honours, and had performed so many eminent services, both at home and
abroad, being disagreeable to the nobility, was brought to trial, and
acquitted. Nor did the inquiry continue respectable on account of the
illustrious names of the accused, longer than while it was new, which
is usually the case; it then began to descend to persons of inferior
rank; and, at length, was suppressed, by means of those factions and
cabals against which it had been instituted.

27. The accounts received of these matters, but more especially the
hope of a revolt in Campania, for which a conspiracy had been formed,
recalled the Samnites, who were turning towards Apulia, back to
Caudium; so that from thence, being near, they might, if any commotion
should open them an opportunity, snatch Capua out of the hands of the
Romans. To the same place the consuls repaired with a powerful army.
They both held back for some time, on the different sides of the
defiles, the roads being dangerous to either party. Then the Samnites,
making a short circuit through an open tract, marched down their
troops into level ground in the Campanian plains, and there the
hostile camps first came within view of each other. Trial of their
strength in slight skirmishes was made on both sides, more frequently
between the horse than the foot; and the Romans were no way
dissatisfied either at the issue of these, or at the delay by which
they protracted the war. The Samnite generals, on the contrary,
considered that their battalions were becoming weakened daily by small
losses, and the general vigour abated by prolonging the war. They
therefore marched into the field, disposing their cavalry on both
wings, with orders to give more heedful attention to the camp behind
than to the battle; for that the line of infantry would be able to
provide for their own safety. The consuls took post, Sulpicius on the
right wing, Poetelius on the left. The right wing was stretched out
wider than usual, where the Samnites also stood formed in thin ranks,
either with design of turning the flank of the enemy, or to avoid
being themselves surrounded. On the left, besides that they were
formed in more compact order, an addition was made to their strength,
by a sudden act of the consul Poetelius; for the subsidiary cohorts,
which were usually reserved for the exigencies of a tedious fight, he
brought up immediately to the front, and, in the first onset, pushed
the enemy with the whole of his force. The Samnite line of infantry
giving way, their cavalry advanced to support them; and as they were
charging in an oblique direction between the two lines, the Roman
horse, coming up at full speed, disordered their battalions and ranks
of infantry and cavalry, so as to oblige the whole line on that side
to give ground. The left wing had not only the presence of Poetelius
to animate them, but that of Sulpicius likewise; who, on the shout
being first raised in that quarter, rode thither from his own
division, which had not yet engaged. When he saw victory no longer
doubtful there, he returned to his own post with twelve hundred men,
but found the state of things there very different; the Romans driven
from their ground, and the victorious enemy pressing on them thus
dismayed. However, the arrival of the consul effected a speedy change
in every particular; for, on the sight of their leader, the spirit of
the soldiers was revived, and the bravery of the men who came with him
rendered them more powerful aid than even their number; while the news
of success in the other wing, which was heard, and after seen,
restored the fight. From this time, the Romans became victorious
through the whole extent of the line, and the Samnites, giving up the
contest, were slain or taken prisoners, except such as made their
escape to Maleventum, the town which is now called Beneventum. It is
recorded that thirty thousand of the Samnites were slain or taken.

28. The consuls, after this important victory, led forward the legions
to lay siege to Bovianum; and there they passed the winter quarters,
until Caius Poetelius, being nominated dictator, with Marcus Foslius,
master of the horse, received the command of the army from the new
consuls, Lucius Papirius Cursor a fifth, and Caius Junius Bubulcus a
second time. On hearing that the citadel of Fregellae was taken by the
Samnites, he left Bovianum, and proceeded to Fregellae, whence, having
recovered possession of it without any contest, the Samnites
abandoning it in the night, and having placed a strong garrison there,
he returned to Campania, directing his operations principally to the
recovery of Nola. Within the walls of this place, the whole multitude
of the Samnites, and the inhabitants of the country about Nola, betook
themselves on the approach of the dictator. Having taken a view of the
situation of the city, in order that the approach to the
fortifications may be the more open, he set fire to all the buildings
which stood round the walls, which were very numerous; and, in a short
time after, Nola was taken, either by the dictator Poetelius, or the
consul Caius Junius, for both accounts are given. Those who attribute
to the consul the honour of taking Nola, add, that Atina and Calatia
were also taken by him, and that Poetelius was created dictator in
consequence of a pestilence breaking out, merely for the purpose of
driving the nail. The colonies of Suessa and Pontiae were established
in this year. Suessa had belonged to the Auruncians: the Volscians had
occupied Pontiae, an island lying within sight of their shore. A
decree of the senate was also passed for conducting colonies to
Interamna and Cassinum. But commissioners were appointed, and
colonists, to the number of four thousand, were sent by the succeeding
consuls, Marcus Valerius and Publius Decius.

29. The war with the Samnites being now nearly put an end to, before
the Roman senate was freed from all concern on that side, a report
arose of an Etrurian war; and there was not, in those times, any
nation, excepting the Gauls, whose arms were more dreaded, by reason
both of the vicinity of their country, and of the multitude of their
men. While therefore one of the consuls prosecuted the remains of the
war in Samnium, Publius Decius, who, being attacked by a severe
illness, remained at Rome, by direction of the senate, nominated Caius
Junius Bubulcus dictator. He, as the magnitude of the affair demanded,
compelled all the younger citizens to enlist, and with the utmost
diligence prepared arms, and the other matters which the occasion
required. Yet he was not so elated by the power he had collected, as
to think of commencing offensive operations, but prudently determined
to remain quiet, unless the Etrurians should become aggressors. The
plans of the Etrurians were exactly similar with respect to preparing
for, and abstaining from, war: neither party went beyond their own
frontiers. The censorship of Appius Claudius and Caius Plautius, for
this year, was remarkable; but the name of Appius has been handed down
with more celebrity to posterity, on account of his having made the
road, [called after him, the Appian,] and for having conveyed water
into the city. These works he performed alone; for his colleague,
overwhelmed with shame by reason of the infamous and unworthy choice
made of senators, had abdicated his office. Appius possessing that
inflexibility Of temper, which, from the earliest times, had been the
characteristic of his family, held on the censorship by himself. By
direction of the same Appius, the Potitian family, in which the office
of priests attendant on the great altar of Hercules was hereditary,
instructed some of the public servants in the rites of that solemnity,
with the intention to delegate the same to them. A circumstance is
recorded, wonderful to be told, and one which should make people
scrupulous of disturbing the established modes of religious
solemnities: for though there were, at that time, twelve branches of
the Potitian family, all grown-up persons, to the number of thirty,
yet they were every one, together with their offspring, cut off within
the year; so that the name of the Potitii became extinct, while the
censor Appius also was, by the unrelenting wrath of the gods, some
years after, deprived of sight.

30. The consuls of the succeeding year were, Caius Junius Bubulcus a
third time, and Quintus Aemilius Barbula a second. In the commencement
of their office, they complained before the people, that, by the
improper choice of members of the senate, that body had been
disgraced, several having been passed over who were preferable to the
persons chosen in; and they declared, that they would pay no regard to
such election, which had been made without distinction of right or
wrong, merely to gratify interest or humour: they then immediately
called over the list of the senate, in the same order which had
existed before the censorship of Appius Claudius and Caius Plautius.
Two public employments, both relating to military affairs, came this
year into the disposal of the people; one being an order, that sixteen
of the tribunes, for four legions, should be appointed by the people;
whereas hitherto they had been generally in the gift of the dictators
and consuls, very few of the places being left to suffrage. This order
was proposed by Lucius Atilius and Caius Marcius, plebeian tribunes.
Another was, that the people likewise should constitute two naval
commissioners, for the equipping and refitting of the fleet. The
person who introduced this order of the people, was Marcus Decius,
plebeian tribune. Another transaction of this year I should pass over
as trifling, did it not seem to bear some relation to religion. The
flute-players, taking offence because they had been prohibited by the
last censors from holding their repasts in the temple of Jupiter,
which had been customary from very early times, went off in a body to
Tibur; so that there was not one left in the city to play at the
sacrifices. The religious tendency of this affair gave uneasiness to
the senate; and they sent envoys to Tibur to endeavour that these men
might be sent back to Rome. The Tiburtines readily promised
compliance, and first, calling them into the senate-house, warmly
recommended to them to return to Rome; and then, when they could not
be prevailed on, practised on them an artifice not ill adapted to the
dispositions of that description of people: on a festival day, they
invited them separately to their several houses, apparently with the
intention of heightening the pleasure of their feasts with music, and
there plied them with wine, of which such people are always fond,
until they laid them asleep. In this state of insensibility they threw
them into waggons, and carried them away to Rome: nor did they know
any thing of the matter, until, the waggons having been left in the
forum, the light surprised them, still heavily sick from the debauch.
The people then crowded about them, and, on their consenting at length
to stay, privilege was granted them to ramble about the city in full
dress, with music, and the licence which is now practised every year
during three days. And that licence, which we see practised at
present, and the right of being fed in the temple, was restored to
those who played at the sacrifices. These incidents occurred while the
public attention was deeply engaged by two most important wars.

31. The consuls adjusting the provinces between them, the Samnites
fell by lot to Junius, the new war of Etruria to Aemilius. In Samnium
the Samnites had blockaded and reduced by famine Cluvia, a Roman
garrison, because they had been unable to take it by storm; and, after
torturing with stripes, in a shocking manner, the townsmen who
surrendered, they had put them to death. Enraged at this cruelty,
Junius determined to postpone every thing else to the attacking of
Cluvia; and, on the first day that he assaulted the walls, took it by
storm, and slew all who were grown to man's estate. The victorious
troops were led from thence to Bovianum; this was the capital of the
Pentrian Samnites, by far the most opulent of their cities, and the
most powerful both in men and arms. The soldiers, stimulated by the
hope of plunder, for their resentment was not so violent, soon made
themselves masters of the town: where there was less severity
exercised on the enemy; but a quantity of spoil was carried off,
greater almost than had ever been collected out of all Samnium, and
the whole was liberally bestowed on the assailants. And when neither
armies, camps, or cities could now withstand the vast superiority of
the Romans in arms; the attention of all the leading men in Samnium
became intent on this, that an opportunity should be sought for some
stratagem, if by any chance the army, proceeding with incautious
eagerness for plunder, could be caught in a snare and overpowered.
Peasants who deserted and some prisoners (some thrown in their way by
accident, some purposely) reporting to the consul a statement in which
they concurred, and one which was at the same time true, that a vast
quantity of cattle had been driven together into a defile of difficult
access, prevailed on them to lead thither the legions lightly
accoutred for plunder. Here a very numerous army of the enemy had
posted themselves, secretly, at all the passes; and, as soon as they
saw that the Romans had got into the defile, they rose up suddenly,
with great clamour and tumult, and attacked them unawares. At first an
event so unexpected caused some confusion, while they were taking
their arms, and throwing the baggage into the centre; but, as fast as
each had freed himself from his burden and fitted himself with arms,
they assembled about the standards, from every side; and all, from the
long course of their service, knowing their particular ranks, the line
was formed of its own accord without any directions. The consul,
riding up to the place where the fight was most warm, leaped from his
horse, and called "Jupiter, Mars, and the other gods to witness, that
he had come into that place, not in pursuit of any glory to himself,
but of booty for his soldiers; nor could any other fault be charged on
him, than too great a solicitude to enrich his soldiers at the expense
of the enemy. From that disgrace nothing could extricate him but the
valour of the troops: let them only join unanimously in a vigorous
attack against a foe, already vanquished in the field, beaten out of
their camps, and stripped of their towns, and now trying their last
hope by the contrivance of an ambuscade, placing their reliance on the
ground they occupied, not on their arms. But what ground was now
unsurmountable to Roman valour?" The citadel of Fregellae, and that of
Sora, were called to their remembrance, with many other places where
difficulties from situation had been surmounted. Animated by these
exhortations, the soldiers, regardless of all difficulties, advanced
against the line of the enemy, posted above them; and here there was
some fatigue whilst the army was climbing the steep. But as soon as
the first battalions got footing in the plain, on the summit, and the
troops perceived that they now stood on equal ground, the dismay was
instantly turned on the plotters; who, dispersing and casting away
their arms, attempted, by flight, to recover the same lurking-places
in which they had lately concealed themselves. But the difficulties of
the ground, which had been intended for the enemy, now entangled them
in the snares of their own contrivance. Accordingly very few found
means to escape; twenty thousand men were slain, and the victorious
Romans hastened in several parties to secure the booty of cattle,
spontaneously thrown in their way by the enemy.

32. While such was the situation of affairs in Samnium, all the states
of Etruria, except the Arretians, had taken arms, and vigorously
commenced hostilities, by laying siege to Sutrium; which city, being
in alliance with the Romans, served as a barrier against Etruria.
Thither the other consul, Aemilius, came with an army to deliver the
allies from the siege. On the arrival of the Romans, the Sutrians
conveyed a plentiful supply of provisions into their camp, which was
pitched before the city. The Etrurians spent the first day in
deliberating whether they should expedite or protract the war. On the
day following, when the speedier plan pleased the leaders in
preference to the safer, as soon as the sun rose the for battle was
displayed, and the troops marched out to the field; which being
reported to the consul, he instantly commanded notice to be given,
that they should dine, and after taking refreshment, then appear under
arms. The order was obeyed; and the consul, seeing them armed and in
readiness, ordered the standards to be carried forth beyond the
rampart, and drew up his men at a small distance from the enemy. Both
parties stood a long time with fixed attention, each waiting for the
shout and fight to begin on the opposite side; and the sun had passed
the meridian before a weapon was thrown by either side. Then, rather
than leave the place without something being done, the shout was given
by the Etrurians, the trumpets sounded, and the battalions advanced.
With no less alertness do the Romans commence the fight: both rushed
to the fight with violent animosity; the enemy were superior in
numbers, the Romans in valour. The battle being doubtful, carries off
great numbers on both sides, particularly the men of greatest courage;
nor did victory declare itself, until the second line of the Romans
came up fresh to the front, in the place of the first, who were much
fatigued. The Etrurians, because their front line was not supported by
any fresh reserves, fell all before and round the standards, and in no
battle whatever would there have been seen less disposition to run, or
a greater effusion of human blood, had not the night sheltered the
Etrurians, who were resolutely determined on death; so that the
victors, not the vanquished, were the first who desisted from
fighting. After sunset the signal for retreat was given, and both
parties retired in the night to their camps. During the remainder of
the year, nothing memorable was effected at Sutrium; for, of the
enemy's army, the whole first line had been cut off in one battle, the
reserves only being left, who were scarce sufficient to guard the
camp; and, among the Romans, so numerous were the wounds, that more
wounded men died after the battle than had fallen in the field.

33. Quintus Fabius, consul for the ensuing year, succeeded to the
command of the army at Sutrium; the colleague given to him was Caius
Marcius Rutilus. On the one side, Fabius brought with him a
reinforcement from Rome, and on the other, a new army had been sent
for, and came from home, to the Etrurians. Many years had now passed
without any disputes between the patrician magistrates and plebeian
tribunes, when a contest took its rise from that family, which seemed
raised by fate as antagonists to the tribunes and commons of those
times; Appius Claudius, being censor, when the eighteen months had
expired, which was the time limited by the Aemilian law for the
duration of the censorship, although his colleague Caius Plautius had
already resigned his office, could not be prevailed on, by any means,
to give up his. There was a tribune of the commons, Publius
Sempronius; he undertook to enforce a legal process for terminating
the censorship within the lawful time, which was not more popular than
just, nor more pleasing to the people generally than to every man of
character in the city. After he frequently appealed to the Aemilian
law, and bestowed commendations on Mamercus Aemilius, who, in his
dictatorship, had been the author of it, for having contracted, within
the space of a year and six months, the censorship, which formerly had
lasted five years, and was a power which, in consequence of its long
continuance, often became tyrannical, he proceeded thus: "Tell me,
Appius Claudius, in what manner you would have acted, had you been
censor, at the time when Caius Furius and Marcus Geganius were
censors?" Appius insisted, that "the tribune's question was irrelevant
to his case. For, although the Aemilian law might bind those censors,
during whose magistracy it was passed,--because the people made that
law after they had become censors; and whatever order is the last
passed by the people, that is held to be the law, and valid:--yet
neither he, nor any of those who had been created censors subsequent
to the passing of that law, could be bound by it."

34. While Appius urged such frivolous arguments as these, which
carried no conviction whatever, the other said, "Behold, Romans, the
offspring of that Appius, who being created decemvir for one year,
created himself for a second; and who, during a third, without being
created even by himself or by any other, held on the fasces and the
government though a private individual; nor ceased to continue in
office, until the government itself, ill acquired, ill administered,
and ill retained, overwhelmed him in ruin. This is the same family,
Romans, by whose violence and injustice ye were compelled to banish
yourselves from your native city, and seize on the Sacred mount; the
same, against which ye provided for yourselves the protection of
tribunes; the same, on account of which two armies of you took post on
the Aventine; the same, which violently opposed the laws against
usury, and always the agrarian laws; the same, which broke through the
right of intermarriage between the patricians and the commons; the
same, which shut up the road to curule offices against the commons:
this is a name, more hostile to your liberty by far, than that of the
Tarquins. I pray you, Appius Claudius, though this is now the
hundredth year since the dictatorship of Mamercus Aemilius, though
there have been so many men of the highest characters and abilities
censors, did none of these ever read the twelve tables? none of them
know, that, whatever was the last order of the people, that was law?
Nay, certainly they all knew it; and they therefore obeyed the
Aemilian law, rather than the old one, under which the censors had
been at first created; because it was the last order; and because,
when two laws are contradictory, the new always repeals the old. Do
you mean to say, Appius, that the people are not bound by the Aemilian
law? Or, that the people are bound, and you alone exempted? The
Aemilian law bound those violent censors, Caius Furius and Marcus
Geganius, who showed what mischief that office might do in the state;
when, out of resentment for the limitation of their power, they
disfranchised Mamercus Aemilius, the first man of the age, either in
war or peace. It bound all the censors thenceforward, during the space
of a hundred years. It binds Caius Plautius your colleague, created
under the same auspices, with the same privileges. Did not the people
create him with the fullest privileges with which any censor ever was
created? Or is yours an excepted case, in which this peculiarity and
singularity takes place? Shall the person, whom you create king of the
sacrifices, laying hold of the style of sovereignty, say, that he was
created with the fullest privileges with which any king was ever
created at Rome? Who then, do you think, would be content with a
dictatorship of six months? who, with the office of interrex for five
days? Whom would you, with confidence, create dictator, for the
purpose of driving the nail, or of exhibiting games? How foolish, how
stupid, do ye think, those must appear in this man's eyes, who, after
performing most important services, abdicated the dictatorship within
the twentieth day; or who, being irregularly created, resigned their
office? Why should I bring instances from antiquity? Lately, within
these last ten years, Caius Maenius, dictator, having enforced
inquiries, with more strictness than consisted with the safety of some
powerful men, a charge was thrown out by his enemies, that he himself
was infected with the very crime against which his inquiries were
directed;--now Maenius, I say, in order that he might, in a private
capacity, meet the imputation, abdicated the dictatorship. I expect
not such moderation in you; you will not degenerate from your family,
of all others the most imperious and assuming; nor resign your office
a day, nor even an hour, before you are forced to it. Be it so: but
then let no one exceed the time limited. It is enough to add a day, or
a month, to the censorship. But Appius says, I will hold the
censorship, and hold it alone, three years and six months longer than
is allowed by the Aemilian law. Surely this is like kingly power. Or
will you fill up the vacancy with another colleague, a proceeding not
allowable, even in the case of the death of a censor? You are not
satisfied that, as if a religious censor, you have degraded a most
ancient solemnity, and the only one instituted by the very deity to
whom it is performed, from priests of that rite who were of the
highest rank to the ministry of mere servants. [You are not satisfied
that] a family, more ancient than the origin of this city, and
sanctified by an intercourse of hospitality with the immortal gods,
has, by means of you and your censorship, been utterly extirpated,
with all its branches, within the space of a year, unless you involve
the whole commonwealth in horrid guilt, which my mind feels a horror
even to contemplate. This city was taken in that lustrum in which
Lucius Papirius Cursor, on the death of his colleague Julius, the
censor, rather than resign his office, substituted Marcus Cornelius
Maluginensis. Yet how much more moderate was his ambition, Appius,
than yours! Lucius Papirius neither held the censorship alone, nor
beyond the time prescribed by law. But still he found no one who would
follow his example; all succeeding censors, in case of the death of a
colleague, abdicated the office. As for you, neither the expiration of
the time of your censorship, nor the resignation of your colleague,
nor law, nor shame restrains you. You make fortitude to consist in
arrogance, in boldness, in a contempt of gods and men. Appius
Claudius, in consideration of the dignity and respect due to that
office which you have borne, I should be sorry, not only to offer you
personal violence, but even to address you in language too severe.
With respect to what I have hitherto said, your pride and obstinacy
forced me to speak. And now, unless you pay obedience to the Aemilian
law, I shall order you to be led to prison. Nor, since a rule has been
established by our ancestors, that in the election of censors unless
two shall obtain the legal number of suffrages, neither shall be
returned, but the election deferred,--will I suffer you, who could not
singly be created censor, to hold the censorship without a colleague."
Having spoken to this effect he ordered the censor to be seized, and
borne to prison. But although six of the tribunes approved of the
proceeding of their colleague, three gave their support to Appius, on
his appealing to them, and he held the censorship alone, to the great
disgust of all ranks of men.

35. While such was the state of affairs at Rome, the Etrurians had
laid siege to Sutrium, and the consul Fabius, as he was marching along
the foot of the mountains, with a design to succour the allies, and
attempt the enemy's works, if it were by any means practicable, was
met by their army prepared for battle. As the wide-extended plain
below showed the greatness of their force, the consul, in order to
remedy his deficiency in point of number, by advantage of the ground,
changed the direction of his route a little towards the hills, where
the way was rugged and covered with stones, and then formed his
troops, facing the enemy. The Etrurians, thinking of nothing but their
numbers, on which alone they depended, commence the fight with such
haste and eagerness, that, in order to come the sooner to a close
engagement, they threw away their javelins, drew their swords, rushing
against the enemy. On the other side, the Romans poured down on them,
sometimes javelins, and sometimes stones which the place abundantly
supplied; so that whilst the blows on their shields and helmets
confused even those whom they did not wound, (it was neither an easy
matter to come to close quarters, nor had they missive weapons with
which to fight at a distance,) when there was nothing now to protect
them whilst standing and exposed to the blows, some even giving way,
and the whole line wavering and unsteady the spearmen and the first
rank, renewing the shout, rush on them with drawn swords. This attack
the Etrurians could not withstand, but, facing about, fled
precipitately towards their camp; when the Roman cavalry, getting
before them by galloping obliquely across the plain, threw themselves
in the way of their flight, on which they quitted the road, and bent
their course to the mountains. From thence, in a body, almost without
arms, and debilitated with wounds, they made their way into the
Ciminian forest. The Romans, having slain in many thousands of the
Etrurians, and taken thirty-eight military standards, took also
possession of their camp, together with a vast quantity of spoil. They
then began to consider of pursuing the enemy.

36. The Ciminian forest was in those days deemed as impassable and
frightful as the German forests have been in latter times; not even
any trader having ever attempted to pass it. Hardly any, besides the
general himself, showed boldness enough to enter it; the others had
not the remembrance of the disaster at Caudium effaced from their
mind. On this, of those who were present, Marcus Fabius, the consul's
brother, (some say Caeso, others Caius Claudius, born of the same
mother with the consul,) undertook to go and explore the country, and
to bring them in a short time an account of every particular. Being
educated at Caere, where he had friends, he was perfectly acquainted
with the Etrurian language. I have seen it affirmed, that, in those
times, the Roman youth were commonly instructed in the Etrurian
learning, as they are now in the Greek: but it is more probable, that
there was something very extraordinary in the person who acted so
daringly a counterfeit part, and mixed among the enemy. It is said,
that his only attendant was a slave, who had been bred up with him,
and who was therefore not ignorant of the same language. They received
no further instructions at their departure, than a summary description
of the country through which they were to pass; to this was added the
names of the principal men in the several states, to prevent their
being at a loss in conversation, and from being discovered by making
some mistake. They set out in the dress of shepherds, armed with
rustic weapons, bills, and two short javelins each. But neither their
speaking the language of the country, nor the fashion of their dress
and arms, concealed them so effectually, as the incredible
circumstance of a stranger's passing the Ciminian forest. They are
said to have penetrated as far as the Camertian district of the
Umbrians: there the Romans ventured to own who they were, and being
introduced to the senate, treated with them, in the name of the
consul, about an alliance and friendship; and after being entertained
with courteous hospitality, were desired to acquaint the Romans, that
if they came into those countries, there should be provisions in
readiness for the troops sufficient for thirty days, and that they
should find the youth of the Camertian Umbrians prepared in arms to
obey their commands. When this information was brought to the consul,
he sent forward the baggage at the first watch, ordering the legions
to march in the rear of it. He himself staid behind with the cavalry,
and the next day, as soon as light appeared, rode up to the posts of
the enemy, which had been stationed on the outside of the forest; and,
when he had detained them there for a sufficient length of time, he
retired to his camp, and marching out by the opposite gate, overtook
the main body of the army before night. At the first light, on the
following day, he had gained the summit of Mount Ciminius, from whence
having a view of the opulent plains of Etruria, he let loose his
soldiers upon them. When a vast booty had been driven off, some
tumultuary cohorts of Etrurian peasants, hastily collected by the
principal inhabitants of the district, met the Romans; but in such
disorderly array, that these rescuers of the prey were near becoming
wholly a prey themselves. These being slain or put to flight, and the
country laid waste to a great extent, the Romans returned to their
camp victorious, and enriched with plenty of every kind. It happened
that, in the mean time, five deputies, with two plebeian tribunes, had
come hither, to charge Fabius, in the name of the senate, not to
attempt to pass the Ciminian forest. These, rejoicing that they had
arrived too late to prevent the expedition, returned to Rome with the
news of its success.

37. By this expedition of the consul, the war, instead of being
brought nearer to a conclusion, was only spread to a wider extent: for
all the tract adjacent to the foot of Mount Ciminius had felt his
devastations; and, out of the indignation conceived thereat, had
roused to arms, not only the states of Etruria, but the neighbouring
parts of Umbria. They came therefore to Sutrium, with such a numerous
army as they had never before brought into the field; and not only
ventured to encamp on the outside of the wood, but through their
earnest desire of coming to an engagement as soon as possible, marched
down the plains to offer battle. The troops, being marshalled, stood
at first, for some time, on their own ground, having left a space
sufficient for the Romans to draw up, opposite to them; but perceiving
that the enemy declined fighting, they advanced to the rampart; where,
when they observed that even the advanced guards had retired within
the works, a shout at once was raised around their generals, that they
should order provisions for that day to be brought down to them: "for
they were resolved to remain there under arms; and either in the
night, or, at all events, at the dawn of day, to attack the enemy's
camp." The Roman troops, though not less eager for action, were
restrained by the commands of the general. About the tenth hour, the
consul ordered his men a repast; and gave directions that they should
be ready in arms, at whatever time of the day or night he should give
the signal. He then addressed a few words to them; spoke in high terms
of the wars of the Samnites, and disparagingly of the Etrurians, who
"were not," he said, "as an enemy to be compared with other enemies,
nor as a numerous force, with others in point of numbers. Besides, he
had an engine at work, as they should find in due time; at present it
was of importance to keep it secret." By these hints he intimated that
the enemy was circumvented in order to raise the courage of his men,
damped by the superiority of the enemy's force; and, from their not
having fortified the post where they lay, the insinuation of a
stratagem formed against them seemed the more credible. After
refreshing themselves, they consigned themselves to rest, and being
roused without noise, about the fourth watch, took arms. Axes are
distributed among the servants following the army, to tear down the
rampart and fill up the trench. The line was formed within the works,
and some chosen cohorts posted close to the gates. Then, a little
before day, which in summer nights is the time of the profoundest
sleep, the signal being given, the rampart was levelled, and the
troops rushing forth, fell upon the enemy, who were every where
stretched at their length. Some were put to death before they could
stir; others half asleep, in their beds; the greatest part, while they
ran in confusion to arms; few, in short, had time afforded them to arm
themselves; and these, who followed no particular leader, nor orders,
were quickly routed by the Romans and pursued by the Roman horse. They
fled different ways; to the camp and to the woods. The latter afforded
the safer refuge; for the former, being situated in a plain, was taken
the same day. The gold and silver was ordered to be brought to the
consul; the rest of the spoil was given to the soldiers. On that day,
sixty thousand of the enemy were slain or taken. Some affirm, that
this famous battle was fought on the farther side of the Ciminian
forest, at Perusia; and that the public had been under great dread,
lest the army might be enclosed in such a dangerous pass, and
overpowered by a general combination of the Etrurians and Umbrians.
But on whatever spot it was fought, it is certain that the Roman power
prevailed; and, in consequence thereof, ambassadors from Perusia,
Cortona, and Arretium, which were then among the principal states of
Etruria, soliciting a peace and alliance with the Romans, obtained a
truce for thirty years.

38. During these transactions in Etruria, the other consul, Caius
Marcius Rutilus, took Allifae by storm from the Samnites; and many of
their forts, and smaller towns, were either destroyed by his arms, or
surrendered without being injured. About the same time also, the Roman
fleet, having sailed to Campania, under Publius Cornelius, to whom the
senate had given the command on the sea-coast, put into Pompeii.
Immediately on landing, the soldiers of the fleet set out to ravage
the country about Nuceria: and after they had quickly laid waste the
parts which lay nearest, and whence they could have returned to the
ships with safety, they were allured by the temptation of plunder, as
it often happens, to advance too far, and thereby roused the enemy
against them. While they rambled about the country, they met no
opposition, though they might have been cut off to a man; but as they
were returning, in a careless manner, the peasants overtook them, not
far from the ships, stripped them of the booty, and even slew a great
part of them. Those who escaped were driven in confusion to the ships.
As Fabius' having marched through the Ciminian forest had occasioned
violent apprehensions at Rome, so it had excited joy in proportion
among the enemy in Samnium: they talked of the Roman army being pent
up, and surrounded; and of the Caudine forks, as a model of their
defeat. "Those people," they said, "ever greedy after further
acquisitions, were now brought into inextricable difficulties, hemmed
in, not more effectually by the arms of their enemy, than by the
disadvantage of the ground." Their joy was even mingled with a degree
of envy, because fortune, as they thought, had transferred the glory
of finishing the Roman war, from the Samnites to the Etrurians: they
hastened, therefore, with their whole collected force, to crush the
consul Caius Marcius; resolving, if he did not give them an
opportunity of fighting, to proceed, through the territories of the
Marsians and Sabines, into Etruria. The consul met them, and a battle
was fought with great fury on both sides, but without a decisive
issue. Although both parties suffered severely, yet the discredit of
defeat fell on the Romans, because several of equestrian rank, some
military tribunes, with one lieutenant-general, had fallen; and, what
was more remarkable than all, the consul himself was wounded. On
account of this event, exaggerated by report as is usual, the senate
became greatly alarmed, so that they resolved on having a dictator
nominated. No one entertained a doubt that the nomination would light
on Papirius Cursor, who was then universally deemed to possess the
greatest abilities as a commander: but they could not be certain,
either that a message might be conveyed with safety into Samnium,
where all was in a state of hostility, or that the consul Marcius was
alive. The other consul, Fabius, was at enmity with Papirius, on his
own account; and lest this resentment might prove an obstacle to the
public good, the senate voted that deputies of consular rank should be
sent to him, who, uniting their own influence to that of government,
might prevail on him to drop, for the sake of his country, all
remembrance of private animosities. When the deputies, having come to
Fabius, delivered to him the decree of the senate, adding such
arguments as were suitable to their instructions, the consul, casting
his eyes towards the ground, retired in silence, leaving them in
uncertainty what part he intended to act. Then, in the silent time of
the night, according to the established custom, he nominated Lucius
Papirius dictator. When the deputies returned him thanks, for so very
meritoriously subduing his passion, he still persevered in obstinate
silence, and dismissed them without any answer, or mention of what he
had done: a proof that he felt an extraordinary degree of resentment,
which had been suppressed within his breast. Papirius appointed Caius
Junius Bubulcus master of the horse; and, as he was proceeding in an
assembly of the Curiae [Footnote: The _comitia curiata_, or
assemblies of the curiae, alone had the power of conferring military
command; no magistrate, therefore, could assume the command without
the previous order of their assembly. In time, this came to be a mere
matter of form; yet the practice always continued to be observed.] to
get an order passed respecting the command of the army, an unlucky
omen obliged him to adjourn it; for the Curia which was to vote first,
happened to be the Faucian, remarkably distinguished by two disasters,
the taking of the city, and the Caudine peace; the same Curia having
voted first in those years in which the said events are found.
Licinius Macer supposes this Curia ominous, also, on account of a
third misfortune, that which was experienced at the Cremera.

39. Next day the dictator, taking the auspices anew, obtained the
order, and, marching out at the head of the legions, lately raised on
the alarm occasioned by the army passing the Ciminian forest, came to
Longula; where having received the old troops of the consul Marcius,
he led on his forces to battle; nor did the enemy seem to decline the
combat. However, they stood drawn up for battle and under arms, until
night came on; neither side choosing to begin the fray. After this,
they continued a considerable time encamped near each other, without
coming to action; neither diffident of their own strength, nor
despising the adversary. Meanwhile matters went on actively in
Etruria; for a decisive battle was fought with the Umbrians, in which
the enemy was routed, but lost not many men, for they did not maintain
the fight with the vigour with which they began it. Besides this the
Etrurians, having raised an army under the sanctions of the devoting
law, each man choosing another, came to an engagement at the Cape of
Vadimon, with more numerous forces, and, at the same time, with
greater spirit than they had ever shown before. The battle was fought
with such animosity that no javelins were thrown by either party:
swords alone were made use of; and the fury of the combatants was
still higher inflamed by the long-continued contest; so that it
appeared to the Romans as if they were disputing, not with Etrurians,
whom they had so often conquered, but with a new race. Not the
semblance of giving ground appeared in any part; the first lines fell;
and lest the standards should be exposed, without defence, the second
lines were formed in their place. At length, even the men forming the
last reserves were called into action; and to such an extremity of
difficulty and danger had they come, that the Roman cavalry
dismounted, and pressed forward, through heaps of arms and bodies, to
the front ranks of the infantry. These starting up a new army, as it
were, among men now exhausted, disordered the battalions of the
Etrurians; and the rest, weak as their condition was, seconding their
assault, broke at last through the enemy's ranks. Their obstinacy then

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