THE HISTORY OF ROME; BOOKS NINE TO TWENTY-SIX
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._
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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 armies.”
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 public.
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 public.
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