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Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Vol. 2 [10]

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Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome by Titus Livius. Translated from the Original with Notes and Illustrations by George Baker, A.M.. First American, from the Last London Edition, in Six Volumes (New York: Peter A. Mesier et al., 1823). Vol. 2.

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Vol. 2 of Livy’s History of Rome from its founding to the reign of Augustus.

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Edition: current; Page: [i]
Edition: current; Page: [ii] Edition: current; Page: [iii]
TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL, with notes and illustrations, BY GEORGE BAKER, A. M.

History is Philosophy teaching by examples.

Edition: current; Page: [iv] Edition: current; Page: [v]


  • BOOK VI. . . . . 1
  • BOOK VII. . . . 74
  • BOOK VIII. . . . . 148
  • BOOK IX. . . . . 220
  • BOOK X. . . . . 305
  • Contents of the Lost Books, 387
  • BOOK XXI. . . . 393
Edition: current; Page: [vi] Edition: current; Page: [1]



Successful operations against the Æquans, and Volscians, and Prænestines. Four new tribes added. Marcus Manlius, who defended the Capitol, being convicted of aspiring to regal power, is thrown from the Tarpeian rock. A law, proposed by two plebeian tribunes, that consuls might be chosen from among the commons, causes a long and violent contest, during which, for five years, the same set of plebeian tribunes are the only magistrates in the state: is at length passed: and Lucius Sextus, one of the proposers, made the first plebeian consul. A law passed, that no person shall possess more than five hundred acres of land.

I. IN the five preceding books, I have exhibited a view of the affairs of the Romans,Y.R.365. bc387. from the building of the city of Rome, until its capture; under the government, first, of kings; then of consuls and dictators, decemvirs, and consular tribunes; their foreign wars, and domestic dissensions: matters involved in obscurity, not only by reason of their great antiquity, like objects placed at such a distance as to be scarcely discernible by the eye; but also because that in those times, the use of letters, the only faithful guardian of the memory of events, was very rare. And besides, whatever Edition: current; Page: [2] information might have been contained in the commentaries of the pontiffs, and other public or private records, it was almost entirely lost in the burning of the city. Henceforward, from the second origin of Rome, from whence, as from its root, receiving new life, it sprung up with redoubled health and vigour, I shall be able to give the relation of its affairs, both civil and military, with more clearness and certainty. Now, after its restoration, it leaned still, for principal support, on the same instrument which had raised it from ruin, Marcus Furius Camillus. Nor did the people suffer him to lay aside the dictatorship before the end of that year. It was judged improper that the tribunes, during whose administration the city had been taken, should preside at the elections for the year ensuing, and an interregnum was resolved on. While the public were kept diligently employed in repairing the city, Quintus Fabius, as soon as he went out of office, had a prosecution instituted against him by Caius Marcius, a tribune of the commons, for having, while in the character of ambassador, contrary to the law of nations, acted in arms against the Gauls, with whom he had been sent as a minister to negotiate: he escaped standing his trial, by a death so opportune, that most people believed it voluntary. The interregnum commenced. Publius Cornelius Scipio was interrex; and, after him, Marcus Furius Camillus a second time.Y.R.366. bc386. He elected military tribunes, with consular power, Lucius Valerius Poplicola a second time, Lucius Virginius, Publius Cornelius, Aulus Manlius, Lucius Æmilius, and Lucius Postumius. These, entering on office, immediately on the conclusion of the interregnum, consulted the senate on no other business previous to that which related to religion. They ordered, in the first place, that a collection should be made of the treaties and laws which could be found. The latter consisted of the twelve tables, and some laws enacted Edition: current; Page: [3] by the kings. Some of these were publicly promulgated; but such as related to religious matters were kept secret, chiefly through means of the pontiffs, that they might hold the minds of the multitude in bondage. They next turned their deliberations to those days, which were to be accounted displeasing to the gods; and the fifteenth day of the calends of August was distinguished by an order, that on that unfortunate day no public or private business whatever should be transacted: it was deemed doubly unfortunate: for, on that day, the Fabii were slain at Cremera; and, afterwards, on the same day, the fatal battle of Allia, which effected the destruction of the city, was fought: from the latter disaster, it was denominated the Allian day. Some are of opinion, that, because, on the day following the ides of July, Sulpicius, when military tribune, had neglected to perform the rites of the augury; and, without being assured of the favour of the gods, had, on the third day after, exposed the Roman army to the enemy, it was ordained, that the days following the calends, and the nones, should also be accounted equally inauspicious.

II. But it was not long allowed them to consult, in quiet, on the means of raising up the city, after such a grievous fall. On one side, their old enemy, the Volscians, had taken arms, resolved to extinguish the Roman name; and, on the other, according to intelligence received from certain traders, a conspiracy of the leading men, from all the several states of Etruria, had been formed at the temple of Voltumna, for the purpose of commencing hostilities. To which was added a new cause of apprehension, by the defection of the Latines and Hernicians, who, ever since the battle fought at the lake Regillus, during the course of near an hundred years, had continued in friendship with the Roman people without ever giving reason to doubt their fidelity. Wherefore, when such alarms started up on every side, and all men plainly perceived, Edition: current; Page: [4] that the Roman name was not only loaded with hatred among their enemies, but also with contempt among their allies, it was determined that the defence of the commonwealth should be conducted by the same auspices which had effected its recovery, and that Marcus Furius Camillus should be nominated dictator. On being invested with that office, he appointed Caius Servilius Ahala master of the horse; and, proclaiming a cessation of civil business, made a levy of the younger citizens, at the same time administering the oath of obedience to such of the elders also as retained any considerable degree of strength, and enrolling them among the troops. The army, thus enlisted and armed, he divided into three parts; one division he opposed to the Etrurians, in the Veientian territories; another he ordered to encamp near the city: the latter were commanded by Aulus Manlius, military tribune; those who were sent against the Etrurians, by Lucius Æmilius. The third division he led, in person, against the Volscians, and prepared to assault their camp at a place called Admarcium, near Lanuvium. Their inducement to begin this war was, a belief that almost the whole of the Roman youth were cut off by the Gauls; nevertheless, on hearing that the command was given to Camillus, they were struck with such terror, that they fenced themselves with a rampart, which they further secured with trees piled on each other, that the enemy might find no pass by which they could enter the works. As soon as Camillus saw the nature of this defence, he ordered it to be set on fire: a high wind blowing at the time towards the enemy, the flames quickly opened a passage, which, together with the heat, the smoke, and the cracking of the green timber in burning, filled them with such consternation, that the Romans found less difficulty in climbing over the rampart into the Volscian camp, than they had met in making their way across the fence, after it was consumed by the flames. The enemy being routed and put to the sword, the dictator, Edition: current; Page: [5] as he had taken the camp by assault, gave the spoil to the soldiers; a present the more acceptable to them, the less hopes they had conceived of it, from a commander by no means inclined to profuse generosity. Proceeding then in pursuit of those who fled, by entirely wasting every part of their lands, he at length, in the seventieth year, reduced the Volscians to submission. After subduing the Volscians, he marched against the Æquans, who likewise had begun hostilities; surprised their army at Bolæ, and, having attacked not only their camp, but their city also, carried both at the first onset.

III. While such fortune attended the operations, on that side where Camillus, the life of the Roman affairs, was employed, a violent alarm had fallen on another quarter: for the Etrurians, having taken arms, with almost their entire force, laid siege to Sutrium, a place in alliance with the Roman people, whose ambassadors, having applied to the senate, imploring aid in their distress, obtained a decree, that the dictator should, as soon as possible, carry assistance to the Sutrians. But the circumstances of the besieged not permitting them to wait the issue of their hopes, from that quarter, the townsmen being quite spent with labour, watching, and wounds, which, through the smallness of their number, fell continually on the same persons, they gave up the city to the enemy, by capitulation; and being discharged without arms, with only a single garment each, were leaving their habitations in a miserable train, when, at the very juncture, Camillus happened to come up at the head of the Roman army. The mournful crowd prostrated themselves at his feet, and their leaders addressed him in a speech dictated by extreme necessity, and seconded by the lamentations of the women and children, who were dragged into exile with them: on which he bade the Sutrians cease their lamentations, for he was come “to turn mourning and tears to the side of the Etrurians.” He then ordered the baggage to be deposited, the Sutrians to remain Edition: current; Page: [6] there with a small guard, which he left, and the soldiers to follow him in arms: then, advancing to Sutrium, with his troops freed from incumbrance, he found, as he expected, every thing in disorder, the usual consequence of success; no advanced guard before the walls, the gates open, and the conquerors dispersed, carrying out the booty from the houses of their enemies: Sutrium therefore was taken a second time on the same day. The Etrurians, lately victorious, were cut to pieces in every quarter, by this new enemy; nor was time given them to assemble together, and form a body, or even to take up arms. They then pushed hastily towards the gates, in order, if possible, to throw themselves out into the fields, when they found them shut, for such had been the dictator’s order at the beginning. On this, some took arms; others, who happened to be in arms before the tumult began, called their friends together to make battle, and a warm engagement would have been kindled by the despair of the enemy, had not criers been sent through every part of the city, with orders to proclaim, that “they should lay down their arms; that the unarmed should be spared, and no injury done to any but those who made opposition.” On which, even those who had been most resolutely bent on fighting, when their situation was desperate, now that hopes of life were given, threw down their arms, and surrendered themselves to the enemy; the safest method in their present circumstances. Their number being very great, they were divided under several guards; and the town was, before night, restored to the Sutrians uninjured, because it had not been taken by force, but had surrendered on terms.

IV. Camillus returned to the city in triumph, crowned at once with conquest over three different enemies. By far the greater part of the prisoners, led before his chariot, were Etrurians; and these, being sold by auction, such a vast sum of money was brought into the treasury, that, after payment Edition: current; Page: [7] of the price of their gold to the matrons, there were three golden bowls made out of the surplus, which being inscribed with the name of Camillus, lay, before the burning of the Capitol, as we are well informed, in the recess of Jupiter’s temple, at Juno’s feet. In that year, such of the Veientians, Capenatians, and Faliscians, as had, during the wars with those nations, come over to the Romans, were admitted members of the state, and lands were assigned to these new citizens. Those were also recalled by decree of senate from Veii, who, to avoid the trouble of building at Rome, had betaken themselves thither, and seized on the vacant houses. This produced only murmurs, and they disregarded the order: but afterwards, a certain day being fixed, and capital punishment denounced against those who did not return to Rome, refractory as the whole had been, each particular person was reduced to obedience, through fear for his own safety. And now Rome increased, not only in number of inhabitants, but in buildings, which rose up at the same time in every part; as the state gave assistance in the expences, the ædiles pressed forward the work, as if a public one; and private persons, of themselves, incited by their feeling of the want of accommodations, hastened to finish it; so that within the year, a new city was erected. On the year being ended, an election was held of military tribunes, with consular power.Y.R.367. bc385. Those elected were Titus Quintius Cincinnatus, Quintus Servilius Fidenas a fifth time, Lucius Julius Iulus, Lucius Aquilius Corvus, Lucius Lucretius Tricipitinus, and Servius Sulpicius Rufus. They led one army against the Æquans, not to wage war, for that people acknowledged themselves conquered, but, in the warmth of animosity, to lay waste their country, that they might not have strength for any new enterprises; and another, into the territory of Tarquinii. Here Cortuosa and Contenebra, towns belonging to the Etrurians, were taken by storm, and demolished. At Cortuosa there was Edition: current; Page: [8] no contest; attacking it by surprise, they took it at the first onset: the town was then plundered and burnt. Contenebra sustained a siege for a few days, and it was continual labour, unintermitted either by night or by day, which subdued the townsmen; for the Roman army being divided into six parts, each division maintained the fight, for one hour in six, in rotation, whereas the smallness of their number exposed the same townsmen always, fatigued as they were, to a contest with an enemy who were continually relieved. They gave way at length, and made room for the Romans to enter the city. It was agreed between the tribunes, that the spoil should be converted to the use of the public; but the order not being issued in time, during the delay, the soldiers possessed themselves of the spoil, which could not be taken from them, without occasioning general discontent. In the same year, that the additions to the city should not consist of private buildings only, the lower parts of the Capitol were rebuilt with hewn stone; a work deserving notice, even amidst the present magnificence of the city.

V. And now, while the citizens were busily employed in building, the tribunes of the commons endeavoured to draw crowds to their harangues, by proposals of agrarian laws. The Pomptine territory was held out as a lure to their hopes, as the possession of it was then, by the reduction of the Volscian power by Camillus, perfectly secure, which had not been the case before. They laid heavy charges, that “that territory was much more grievously oppressed by the nobility, than it had been by the Volscians; for the latter had only made incursions into it, at such times as they had arms and strength; whereas certain persons of the nobility forcibly usurped possession of land, which was the property of the public: nor, unless there were a division of it now made, would there be any room left for the commons.” They made no great impression on the commons, who were so inintent Edition: current; Page: [9] on building, that they did not much frequent the Forum; and, besides, were so exhausted by their expences in that way, that they were careless about land, which they had not abilities to improve. The state having ever been strongly affected with religious impressions, and even those of the first rank having, at that time, in consequence of the late misfortunes, become superstitious, the government was changed to an interregnum, in order that the auspices might be taken anew. There were interreges in succession, Marcus Manlius Capitolinus, Servius Sulpicius Camerinus, and Lucius Valerius Potitus.Y.R.368. bc384. The last held, at length, an election of military tribunes, with consular power; and appointed Lucius Papirius, Caius Cornelius, Caius Sergius, Lucius Æmilius a second time, Lucius Menenius, and Lucius Valerius Poplicola a third time. These entered into office immediately on the expiration of the interregnum. In that year the temple of Mars, vowed during the Gallic war, was dedicated by Titus Quintius, one of the duumvirs appointed for the performance of religious rites. Four new tribes were formed of the new citizens, the Stellatine, the Tromentine, the Sabatine, and the Narnian, which made up the number of twenty-five tribes.

VI. Lucius Sicinius, plebeian tribune, pressed the business of the Pomptine lands in the assemblies of the people, who now attended in greater numbers, and were also more easily led to wish for land than formerly. Mention was introduced, in the senate, of declaring war against the Latines and Hernicians, but that business was postponed, by their attention being called to a more important war, Etruria being in arms.Y.R.369. bc383. They had recourse, therefore, to the expedient of electing Camillus a military tribune, with consular power. The five colleagues, joined with him, were Servius Cornelius Maluginensis, Quintus Servilius Fidenas a sixth time, Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus, Lucius Horatius Edition: current; Page: [10] Pulvillus, and Publius Valerius. The cares of the public were, in the very beginning of the year, diverted from the Etrurian war: for a number of fugitives, from the Pomptine district, running hastily into the city, in a body, brought intelligence, that the Antians were in arms, and that the states of the Latines had privately sent their young men to co-operate with them in the war, alleging that the state was not concerned in the business, but only did not hinder volunteers to engage in any service which they chose. It had ceased to be the practice to despise any enemy: the senate therefore thanked the gods that Camillus was in office, because, had he been in a private station, it would have been necessary to have nominated him dictator: his colleagues also agreed, that, when any danger threatened, the entire direction of affairs should be vested in him singly, and determined to consign all their authority into his hands; nor did they think, that any concession which they made, towards exalting his dignity, derogated in the least from their own. After the tribunes had been highly commended by the senate, Camillus too, covered with confusion, returned them his thanks, and proceeded to say, that “a heavy burthen was laid on him by the Roman people, who had created him, in a manner, dictator, now a fourth time; a very great one, by the senate, in such judgments as that body had expressed concerning him; but the greatest of all, by the condescension of colleagues of such eminent distinction. Wherefore, if it were possible to add to his diligence and vigilance, he would vie with himself, and labour earnestly, that the opinion of the state concerning him, so universally conceived, might be as lasting, as it was honourable to him. With respect to the war, and the Antians, there was more of threats in it than of danger; nevertheless his advice was, that, as they should fear nothing, so they should despise nothing. The city of Rome was besieged on all sides, by the ill-will and hatred of its Edition: current; Page: [11] neighbours. The business of the commonwealth would therefore require more generals and more armies than one. It is my design,” said he, “that you, Publius Valerius, as my associate in command and counsel, shall march with me, at the head of the legions, against the enemy at Antium: that you, Quintus Servilius, after forming another army, and putting it in readiness, shall encamp in the city, and be ready to act, in case the Etrurians, as lately, or these new disturbers, the Latines and Hernicians, should, in the mean time, make any attempts: I am perfectly assured, that your conduct will be worthy of your father, of your grandfather, of yourself, and of six tribunates. Let a third army be enlisted by Lucius Quintius, for the guard of the city, out of those excused from service, and those past the military age. Let Lucius Horatius provide arms, weapons, corn, and whatever else the exigencies of war may demand. You, Servius Cornelius, we, your colleagues, appoint the president of this grand council of the state, the guardian of religion, of the assemblies, of the laws, and of every thing else pertaining to the city.” All of them cheerfully promising their best endeavours, in the several departments committed to them, Valerius, whom he had chosen his associate in command, added, that, “he should consider Camillus as dictator, and himself as his master of the horse,” and desired them therefore to “regulate their expectations respecting the war, according to the opinion which they entertained of their sole commander.” The senate, elated with joy, one and all declared, that “they really cherished the best expectations with regard to war and peace, and every branch of public business; nor would the commonwealth ever stand in need of a dictator, if it were to have such men in office, united in such harmony of sentiment, equally ready to obey and to command, and who rather considered fame Edition: current; Page: [12] as their joint stock, than endeavoured to monopolize it, to the exclusion of others.”

VII. A cessation of civil business being proclaimed, and troops levied, Camillus and Valerius marched towards Satricum, to which place the Antians had drawn together not only the youth of the Volscians, chosen from among the new generation, but immense numbers from the Latines and Hernicians, nations who, from a long enjoyment of peace, were in the fullest vigour. This new enemy then being united in addition to the old, shook the resolution of the Roman soldiery: and the centurions reporting to Camillus, while he was employed in forming his line of battle, that “the minds of the soldiers were disturbed; that a backwardness appeared in their taking up arms, and that they went out of the camp with reluctance, and after several halts; nay, that some had been heard to say, that each of them would have to fight against an hundred enemies; that so great a multitude, even if unarmed, could hardly be withstood, much less when they were furnished with arms;” he leaped on his horse, and in the front of the battalions, turning to the line, and riding between the ranks, asked them, “what is the meaning, soldiers, of this dejection, of this unusual backwardness? Are ye unacquainted with the enemy, or with me, or with yourselves? The enemy, what are they, but the continual subject of your bravery and your glory? On the other hand, with me at your head, not to mention the taking of Falerii, and Veii, or the cutting to pieces the Gallic legions, by whom our country was held in captivity, you have lately celebrated a triple triumph, for three several victories gained over these same Volscians, Æquans, and Etrurians. Is it that ye do not recognize me as your leader, because I gave you the signal not in character of dictator, but of tribune? I desire not the highest degree of authority over you; and with respect to me, you ought to regard nothing Edition: current; Page: [13] but myself: for neither did the dictatorship ever add to my courage, nor even exile deprive me of it. We are all therefore the same, and since we bring to this war all the same advantages which accompanied us in the former, let us expect the same issue. Do you once begin the fight, each party will do what they have learned and practised: you will conquer; they will fly.”

VIII. Then, giving the signal, he leaped from his horse, and laying hold of the nearest standard-bearer, hurried him onward against the foe, calling aloud, “Soldier, advance the standard.” On seeing this, that Camillus himself, now unequal, through age, to acts of bodily strength, was advancing against the enemy, they all raised the shout, and rushed forward together, every one crying out eagerly, “Follow the general.” It is said, that the standard was even thrown, by order of Camillus, into the ranks of the enemy, and the van hereby excited to exert themselves for its recovery: that in this spot, the Antians were first compelled to give way, and that the panic spread, not only through the first line, but even to the troops in reserve. Nor was it only the force of the soldiers, animated by the presence of their leader, which disheartened the enemy, the very sight of Camillus struck terror into the Volscians: so that wherever he met their eyes, victory was no longer doubtful. This was particularly evident, when hastily mounting his horse, he rode with a footman’s shield to the left wing, when it was almost driven from its ground, and by his appearance restored the battle, while he pointed to the rest of the line who were fighting with success. The affair was now decided. On the one side the enemy’s disordered numbers impeded their flight; on the other, the wearied soldiers would have had a long and laborious task, in putting to the sword so great a multitude, when heavy rain suddenly falling, attended with a violent storm of wind, prevented the pursuit of the victory, for it was no longer a fight. Edition: current; Page: [14] The signal for retreat was then given, and the following night put an end to the war, without any farther trouble to the Romans: for the Latines and Hernicians abandoning the Volscians, marched away to their homes; having found such an issue of their enterprise as the wickedness of it deserved. The Volscians seeing themselves deserted by those, through reliance on whom they had been induced to revive hostilities, abandoned their camp, and shut themselves up within the walls of Satricum: against these, the first plan of operations, adopted by Camillus, was to inclose them with lines of circumvallation, and to carry on his approaches by mounds, and other works: but finding that no obstruction was ever given to these, by any sally from the town, he judged that the enemy were not possessed of such a degree of spirit, as should induce him, in apprehension thereof, to wait in tedious expectation of victory; and therefore exhorting his men not to waste their strength by a long course of labours, as in the siege of Veii, for victory was within their reach; and the soldiers showing the greatest alacrity, he assailed the walls on all sides by scalade, and made himself master of the town. The Volscians threw down their arms, and surrendered.

IX. But the general’s thoughts were intent on a matter of greater moment, on the city of Antium. That, he knew, was the grand spring which set the Volscians in motion, and had given rise to the last war. But as a city of so great strength could not be taken without great preparations for the siege, and a large train of engines and machines, he left his colleague to command the army, and went to Rome, in hopes of persuading the senate to resolve on the destruction of Antium. In the middle of his discourse on the subject, it being, I suppose, the will of the gods, that the state of Antium should have a longer duration, ambassadors arrived from Nepete and Sutrium, imploring aid against the Etrurians, and urging that the opportunity for assisting them would be Edition: current; Page: [15] quickly lost. Thither did fortune divert the force of Camillus from Antium: for as those places were situated opposite Etruria, and served as barriers, or gates, as it were, on that side, that people, on the one hand, whenever any new enterprise was undertaken, were ever anxious to get possession of them; and the Romans, on the other, to recover and secure them. The senate therefore resolved, that application should be made to Camillus, to drop the design against Antium, and undertake the Etrurian war. The city legions, which had been under the command of Quintius, were decreed to him: although he would have preferred the army which was in the country of the Volscians, of which he had made trials, and which was accustomed to his command, yet he offered no objections; he only insisted on Valerius being associated with him in command. Accordingly Quintius and Horatius were sent to succeed Valerius, in the country of the Volscians. Camillus and Valerius marching from the city to Sutrium, found one part of the town already taken by the Etrurians; and, in the other part, the passages to which were barricaded, the townsmen with great difficulty in repelling the assault of the enemy. The approach of aid from Rome, together with the name of Camillus, universally celebrated among friends and foes, not only gave them respite for the present from the ruin which impended, but also afforded an opportunity of effectuating their relief. Camillus then, dividing his army into two parts, ordered his colleague to lead round his division, to that side which was in possession of the enemy, and to make an assault on the walls; not so much in expectation that the city should be taken by scalade, as that, whilst the enemy should be diverted to that side, the townsmen, now fatigued with fighting, might gain some relaxation, and also that he himself might have an opportunity of entering the city without a dispute: both which consequences taking place, at the same time, and terrifying the Etrurians by the double Edition: current; Page: [16] danger to which they stood exposed, when they saw the walls of one part assailed with the greatest fury, and the enemy within the walls of the other, they were struck with such consternation, that they threw themselves out, in one body, by a gate which alone happened to be unguarded. Great numbers were slain in their flight, both in the city and in the fields: the greatest execution done by the soldiers of Camillus was within the walls: those of Valerius were more alert in the pursuit; nor did they desist from the slaughter, until it was so dark that they could see no longer. Sutrium being thus recovered, and restored to the allies, the army was conducted to Nepete, of which the Etrurians had now the entire possession, having received it by capitulation.

X. It was expected, that the recovery of this city would have been attended with greater difficulty; not only because the whole of it was possessed by the enemy, but also, because it was in consequence of a party of the Nepesinians betraying the public, that the surrender had been made. However, it was thought proper that a message should be sent to their principal men, to separate themselves from the Etrurians, and show on their own part the same faithful attachment, which they had implored from the Romans. But their answer importing, that there was nothing in their power, for that the Etrurians held possession of the walls and the guards of the gates, a trial was first made to terrify the townsmen, by laying waste their lands. But when they were found to adhere more religiously to the terms of the capitulation, than to those of the alliance, the army was led up to the walls, with fascines, made of bushes, collected in the country, with which the ditches being filled, the scaling ladders were raised, and the town taken at the first attack. Proclamation was then made that the Nepesinians should lay down their arms, and that the unarmed should be spared. The Etrurians, armed and unarmed, were put to the sword without distinction: of the Nepesinians, Edition: current; Page: [17] likewise, the authors of the surrender were beheaded. To the guiltless multitude their effects were restored, and a garrison was left in the town. Having thus recovered two allied cities from the enemy, the tribunes, with great glory, led home the victorious army. During this year, satisfaction was demanded from the Latines and Hernicians, and the reason required, of their not having, for some years past, sent the supplies of soldiers stipulated by treaty. An answer was given in full assembly by both nations, that “there was neither design nor blame to be imputed to the public, because some of their young men carried arms in the service of the Volscians. That these, however, had suffered the penalty of their improper conduct; not one of them having returned home. As to the supplies of soldiers, the reason of their not sending them was, their continual apprehensions from the Volscians, that pest still clinging to their side, which so many successive wars had not been able to exhaust.” Which answer being reported to the senate, they were of opinion, that a declaration of war, in consequence of it, would rather be unseasonable than ill-grounded.

XI. In the following year, Aulus Manlius, Publius Cornelius, Titus and Lucius Quintii Capitolini,Y.R.370. bc382. Lucius Papirius Cursor a second time, and Caius Sergius a second time, being military tribunes, with consular power, a grievous war broke out abroad, and a more grievous sedition at home: the war was set on foot by the Volscians, assisted by a revolt of the Latines and Hernicians: the sedition, by one, from whom it could, least of all, have been apprehended; a man of patrician birth, and of illustrious character, Marcus Manlius Capitolinus; who, being of a temper too aspiring, while he looked with contempt on the other men of chief distinction, burned with envy of one, who was most eminently distinguished, at the same time, by honours and by merit, Marcus Edition: current; Page: [18] Furius Camillus. It gave him great uneasiness, that “he should be the only man considered among the magistrates, the only man at the head of the armies; that he was now exalted to such eminence, that the persons elected under the same auspices with himself, he used, not as colleagues, but as subordinate officers; while, at the same time, if a just estimate were made, it would have been impossible for Camillus to have recovered their native city from the Gauls who besieged it, if he himself had not first saved the Capitol and citadel. The other indeed attacked the Gauls when, between the receiving of the gold and the expectation of peace, they were off their guard: but he had beaten them off, when armed for fight, and taking possession of the citadel. In the other’s glory, as far as bravery was concerned, every soldier who conquered along with him had a right to share; in his own victory, no man living could claim a part.” Puffed up with such notions as these, and being, besides, of a vicious disposition, vehement and headstrong, when he perceived that his interest had not that prevailing influence among the patricians which he thought his due, he, the first of all the patricians, became a partizan of the plebeians; formed schemes in conjunction with the magistrates of the commons, and, while he criminated the patricians, and allured the commons to his side, he came to be actuated by ambition for popular applause, not by prudence, and to prefer a great to a good character. Not content with agrarian laws, which had ever served the plebeian tribunes as matter of sedition, he attempted to undermine public credit: for debt, he knew, supplied sharper incentives, as it not only threatened poverty and ignominy, but menaced personal freedom with stocks and chains: and the amount of the debts which the people had contracted by building, an undertaking most distressing to the circumstances even of the rich, was immense. The Volscian war therefore, heavy in itself, and charged with additional weight by the defection Edition: current; Page: [19] of the Latines and Hernicians, was held out as a colourable pretext for having recourse to a higher authority; while, in fact, they were the reforming plans of Manlius which obliged the senate to create a dictator. Aulus Cornelius Cossus being created, he nominated Titus Quintius Capitolinus master of the horse.

XII. The dictator, although he perceived that he should have a greater struggle to maintain at home than in the field; yet, either because the war required dispatch, or because he thought that, by a victory and triumph, he might add to the power of the dictatorship itself, as soon as the levies were completed, proceeded to the Pomptine territory; where he was informed, the Volscians had appointed the assembling of their army. To persons reading in so many former books, of wars continually waged with the Volscians, I doubt not that, besides satiety, this difficulty also will occur, whence the Volscians and Æquans, so often vanquished, could procure supplies of soldiers? which having been passed over in silence by the ancient writers, what can I possibly advance, but opinion? and that every one, indeed, can form for himself. It seems probable, however, either that they employed, according to the present practice in the Roman levies, the several different generations of their young men successively, as they sprung up, during the intervals between wars; or, that the troops were not always enlisted out of the states of the nation making war; or, that there was an innumerable multitude of freemen in those places, which, at present, were it not for the Roman slaves, would be a desert, and where scarcely the smallest seminary of soldiers remains. Certain it is, all authors agreeing therein, that notwithstanding their strength had lately been greatly reduced under the conduct and auspices of Camillus, yet the forces of the Volscians were exceedingly numerous; and to them were added the Latines and Hernicians, a number of the Circeians, together Edition: current; Page: [20] with some colonists from Velitræ. The Roman dictator encamped on the first day; and on the following, having taken the auspices before he made his appearance, and sacrificing a victim, implored the favour of the gods. With joy in his countenance, he presented himself to the soldiers, who were now at day-break taking arms, according to orders, on the signal for battle being displayed, and said, “Soldiers, victory is ours, if the gods and their prophets know aught of futurity. Therefore, as becomes men full of well-grounded hopes, and about to engage with their inferiors, let us, fixing our spears at our feet, bear no other arms than our swords. I do not wish that any should even push forward beyond the line; but that standing firm ye receive the enemy’s onset in a steady posture. When they shall have discharged their ineffectual weapons, and, breaking their order, rush against you as ye stand, then let your swords glitter in their eyes, and let every one recollect, that there are gods who support the Roman cause; gods, who have sent us to battle with favourable omens. Do you, Titus Quintius, keep back the cavalry, watching attentively the beginning of the conflict: as soon as you shall see the armies closed foot to foot, then, while their fears are employed on some other object, strike dismay into them with your horsemen; and, by a brisk charge, disperse the ranks that dispute the victory.” As he had ordered, so did the cavalry, so did the infantry manage the fight. Nor did either the general deceive the legions, or fortune the general.

XIII. The enemy, grounding their confidence on no other circumstance than their number, and measuring both armies merely by the eye, entered on the battle inconsiderately, and inconsiderately gave it over. Fierce, only in their shout, and the discharge of their missive weapons at the first onset, they were unable to withstand the swords, the close engagement Edition: current; Page: [21] foot to foot, and the looks of the Romans darting fire through their ardour for the fight. Their first line was driven from its ground; the confusion spread to the troops in reserve; and the charge of the cavalry increasing the disorder, the ranks were quickly broken, so as to resemble the waves of the sea. Thus the foremost fell, and as each saw death approaching, they quickly turned their backs. The Romans followed close, and as long as the enemy retreated in bodies, the trouble of the pursuit fell to the share of the infantry; but when it was perceived, that they every where threw away their arms, and were scattered over the country, then squadrons of horse were sent out, with instructions that they should not, by spending time in attacking single persons, give the multitude an opportunity of escaping: that it would be sufficient if their speed were retarded, and their forces kept employed by frequent skirmishes, until the infantry might overtake them, and complete their destruction. The flight and pursuit did not cease until night came on. The camp of the Volscians was also taken the same day, and plundered, and the whole booty, except the persons of free condition, bestowed on the soldiers. The greatest number of the prisoners were Latines and Hernicians, and these not men of plebeian station, who could be supposed to have served for hire, but many young men of the first rank were found amongst them; an evident proof, that aid had been given to the Volscians by public authority. Several of the Circeians were likewise found there, with colonists from Velitræ, and being all sent to Rome, on being examined by the principal senators, they made a plain discovery, as they had done to the dictator, of the defection of their respective states.

XIV. The dictator kept his army encamped in one post, not doubting that the senate would order war to be made on those states; when more momentous business, arising at Edition: current; Page: [22] home, made it necessary that he should be called back to Rome; this was the sedition which ripened daily, and which was become more than commonly alarming, on account of the person who fomented it. It was now easy to perceive from what motive proceeded the discourses of Manlius, disguised under the veil of popular zeal, but pregnant with mischief. On seeing a centurion, who was highly distinguished for his behaviour in the army, led to prison, in consequence of a judgment given against him for debt, he ran up, with his band of attendants, into the middle of the Forum, and laid hands on him, exclaiming against the tyranny of the patricians, the cruelty of the usurers, the miseries of the commons, and the merits and hard fortune of the man. “Then, indeed, it was in vain,” said he, “that with this right hand I saved the capitol and citadel, if I must see my fellow-citizen and fellow-soldier, as if a prisoner to the victorious Gauls, dragged into slavery.” He then paid the debt to the creditor in the view of the people, and gave the man his liberty, after purchasing him, in the regular form, with the scales and brass, whilst the latter besought both gods and men to grant a recompense to his deliverer, Marcus Manlius, the parent of the Roman commons; and being instantly received into the tumultuous crowd, he himself increased the tumult, shewing the scars of the wounds which he had received in the Veientian, Gallic, and other succeeding wars; telling them, that “his services in the army, and the rebuilding his ruined dwelling, had been the means of overwhelming him with accumulated interest of a debt; the interest always precluding the possibility of discharging the principal, though he had already paid the amount of the first sum many times over. That it was owing to the generosity of Marcus Manlius that he now beheld the light of day, the Forum, and the faces of his fellow-citizens. Every obligation, due to parents, he owed to him; to him, Edition: current; Page: [23] therefore, he devoted whatever remained of his person, his life, and his blood: whatever ties should bind him to his country, to public or private guardian deities, by all these united he was bound to that one man.” While the commons were deeply affected by these expressions, another scheme was introduced, of still greater efficacy, towards promoting a general commotion. A piece of ground in the country of the Veientians, the principal part of Manlius’s patrimony, he ordered to be sold by auction; adding, that “I will not suffer one of you, my fellow-citizens, while I have any property remaining, to have judgments given against him, and to be ordered into custody of a creditor.” This, above all, inflamed their minds to such a degree, that they seemed ready to follow the asserter of their liberty through every measure, whether right or wrong. Besides this, he made speeches at his own house, as if he were haranguing an assembly of the people, full of imputations against the patricians, in which he threw out, among the rest, without regarding any distinction between truth and falsehood, that “treasure, consisting of the gold rescued from the Gauls, was concealed by the patricians; that they were not content, now, with keeping possession of the public lands, unless they converted the public money likewise to their own use; and that if this were brought to light, it would be sufficient to clear the commons of their debts.” On this prospect being presented to them, they at once conceived it to be a scandalous proceeding, that when gold was to be procured for the ransom of the city from the Gauls, the collection had been made by a general contribution, and that the same gold, when taken from the enemy, should become the prey of a few. The next step, therefore, was, to inquire in what place a treasure of such magnitude was kept concealed: to this, he declined giving an answer at present, saying, he would explain that point in due time; on which Edition: current; Page: [24] all other concerns were neglected, and the attention of every man directed solely to this: and it was easy to foresee, that neither people’s gratitude, in case the information were well founded, nor their displeasure, should it prove false, would be confined within the bounds of moderation.

XV. While things were in this state, the dictator, being called home from the army, came into the city. Next day he called a meeting of the senate; when, having made sufficient trial of the people’s inclinations, he forbade the senate to depart from him, and being attended by the whole body, he fixed his throne in the Comitium, and sent a serjeant to Marcus Manlius; who, on being summoned by order of the dictator, after giving the signal to his party, that a contest was at hand, came to the tribunal surrounded by a very numerous band. On one side stood the senate, on the other the commons, as if in order of battle, watching attentively each their own leader. Then silence being made, the dictator said, “I wish that I, and the Roman patricians, may agree with the commons on every other subject, as I am very confident we shall with respect to you, and the business on which I am to interrogate you. I understand that expectations have been raised by you, in the minds of the citizens, that, without injury to credit, their debts may be discharged by means of the Gallic gold secreted by the principal patricians. To which proceeding, so far am I from giving any obstruction, that, on the contrary, I exhort you, Marcus Manlius, to deliver the Roman commons from the burthen of interest, and to tumble from off these heaps of peculated wealth, those men who lie brooding over it. But if you refuse to perform this, either because you wish to be yourself a sharer in the peculation, or because your information is groundless, I shall order you to be led to prison; nor will I suffer the multitude to be any longer disquieted by you with fallacious hopes.” To this Manlius Edition: current; Page: [25] answered, that “it had not escaped his observation that Cornelius was created dictator, not for the purpose of acting against the Volscians, who were enemies as often as it answered any purpose to the patricians, nor against the Latines and Hernicians, whom they were driving into hostilities by false imputations, but against himself and the Roman commons. And now, the war which had been feigned to subsist, being dropped, an assault was made upon him: now the dictator acted as the professed patron of usurers against the commons. Now the favour of the multitude towards him was made a handle for criminal charges, and for effecting his destruction. The crowd that attends my person,” said he, “offends you, Aulus Cornelius, and you, conscript fathers. Why then do ye not draw it away from me by doing acts of kindness? by becoming surety, by delivering your countrymen from the stocks? by hindering them, when cast in suits and ordered into custody of creditors, to be carried to prison? by relieving the necessities of others out of your own superfluities? But why do I exhort you to expend your property? Only fix a new capital, deduct from the principal what has been paid as interest, and then the crowd about me will not be more remarkable than about any other. But why do I, alone, interest myself for my fellow-citizens? To this, I have no other answer to make, than if you should ask why I, alone, saved the capitol and the citadel? I then gave every aid in my power to the whole community, and will do so still to each individual. Now, as to the Gallic treasures, the manner in which I am questioned causes difficulty in a matter which, in itself, has none. Why do ye ask, what ye already know? Why do ye order others to shake out what lies in your own laps, rather than lay it down yourselves, unless to conceal some treacherous scheme? The more carnestness ye shew for inquiry, the Edition: current; Page: [26] more I fear, lest ye should be albe to blind the eyes of the observers. Wherefore compulsion ought not to be used to make me discover your hoard, but to yourselves, to make you produce it to the public.”

XVI. The dictator ordered him to lay aside all evasion, and insisted on his either proving the truth of his information, or acknowledging himself guilty of having charged the senate falsely of a fraudulent concealment; and on his declaring that he would not speak at the pleasure of his enemies, ordered him to be led to prison. Being arrested by the serjeant, he exclaimed, “O Jupiter, supremely good and great, imperial Juno, Minerva, and all ye gods and goddesses who inhabit the capitol and citadel, do ye suffer your soldier and guardian to be harassed in this manner? Shall this hand, with which I beat off the Gauls from your temples, be now loaded with chains?” Neither the eyes nor ears of any present could well endure the indignity offered him: but the people of this state had taught themselves to consider the authority of certain magistrates as indisputable; nor dared either the plebeian tribunes, or the commons themselves, to open their lips, or lift up their eyes, against the dictatorial power. On Manlius being thrown into prison, it appears, that a great part of the commons put on mourning: and that great numbers of the people, neglecting their hair and beard, dejectedly flocked about its gates. The dictator had triumphed over the Volscians; and by that triumph had attracted a greater share of ill-will than of glory: for it was a general murmur, that “he had acquired at home, not in war; and that it was a victory over a citizen, not over an enemy; that only one thing was wanting to complete his arrogance, that Marcus Manlius should be led before his chariot.” And now the affair fell little short of open sedition; when, for the purpose of softening it, the senate, without any solicitation, became suddenly bountiful, Edition: current; Page: [27] ordering a colony of two thousand Roman citizens to be conducted to Sutrium, and two acres and a half of land to be assigned to each; which being represented as trifling in itself, conferred on a few, and that too as a bribe for betraying Marcus Manlius, the sedition was irritated by the intended remedy. The crowd of Manlius’s followers was now become more remarkable by their mourning dress, and the frequent appearance of persons under prosecution: while the dread of the dictator’s power was removed by his resignation; it had set men’s thoughts and tongues at liberty.

XVII. Many were heard, therefore, to speak out freely in public, upbraiding the multitude, that “they always continued their attachment to their defenders, until they raised them to the top of a precipice; and then, in the hour of danger, deserted them. Thus had Spurius Cassius been undone, while he was inviting the citizens to the possession of lands. Thus Spurius Mælius; when, by the expenditure of his own property, he warded off famine: and thus was Marcus Manlius betrayed into the hands of his enemies, and, while drawing forth to liberty and light one half of the state, sunk and buried under usury. That the commons fattened their favourites, in order that they might be slaughtered. Was such a punishment as this to be endured, because a man of consular dignity did not answer at the nod of a dictator? Admitting that what he said before was false, and therefore he had no answer to make, what slave was ever punished with imprisonment for a lie? Had they no recollection of that night, which had so nearly proved fatal, for ever, to the Roman name? None, of the band of Gauls, climbing up the Tarpeian rock? None, of Marcus Manlius himself, such as they had seen him in arms, covered with sweat and blood, after rescuing, in a manner Jove himself, out of the enemy’s hands? Had recompense been made to the saviour of their country by their half pounds Edition: current; Page: [28] of bread? And would they suffer a person, whom they had almost deified, whom, at least with respect to the surname of Capitolinus, they had set on an almost equal footing with Jupiter, to waste his life in chains, in prison, in darkness, subjected to the will of an executioner? That all had found such effectual support from a single person, and now that single person found no support at all from such great numbers.” The crowd did not, even during the night, disperse from the spot; and they threatened to break open the prison, when, conceding what would have been taken by force, the senate, by a decree, discharged Manlius from confinement. But this proceeding, instead of putting an end to the sedition, supplied it with a leader. About the same time the Latines and Hernicians, and also the colonists of the Circeii and Velitræ, endeavouring to clear themselves of the charge of being concerned in the Volscian war, and re-demanding the prisoners, in order to punish them according to their own laws, met with severe replies; the colonists with the severer, because, being Roman citizens, they had framed the abominable design of attacking their own country. They were therefore not only refused with respect to the prisoners, but had notice given them, in the name of the senate (who, however, did not proceed to such a length with regard to the allies,) to depart instantly from the city, from the presence and the sight of the Roman people; lest the privilege of ambassadors, instituted for the benefit of foreigners, not of fellow-citizens, should afford them no protection.

Y.R.371. bc381.XVIII. The sedition, headed by Manlius, reassumed its former violence, and on the expiration of the year the election was held, when military tribunes, with consular power, were elected out of the patricians: these were Servius Cornelius Maluginensis, a third time, Publius Valerius Potitus a second time, Marcus Furius Camillus a sixth time, Servius Sulpicius Rufus a second Edition: current; Page: [29] time, Caius Papirius Crassus, and Titus Quintius Cincinnatus a second time. Peace being established with foreign nations, in the beginning of this year, was highly agreeable to both patricians and plebeians; to the latter, because, as they were not called to serve in the army, and had such a powerful leader at their head, they conceived hopes of being able to abolish usury; to the former, because their thoughts would not be drawn away, by any dangers abroad, from applying remedies to the evils subsisting at home. Both parties, therefore, exerting themselves much more strenuously than ever, a decisive contest approached apace. Manlius, on his part, calling together the commons at his house, held consultations, night and day, with the principal persons amongst them, on the methods of effecting a revolution in affairs, being filled with a much higher degree both of courage and resentment, than he had possessed before. The ignominy, recently thrown on him, operating on a mind unaccustomed to affronts, had inflamed his resentment; his courage was augmented by the consideration, that Cossus had not ventured to proceed in the same manner towards him, as Quintius Cincinnatus had done towards Spurius Mælius; and that, besides, not only the dictator had endeavoured, by abdicating his office, to avoid the general odium excited by his imprisonment, but even the senate itself had not been able to withstand it. Elated with these reflections, and exasperated at the same time, he laboured to inflame the spirits of the commons, which, of themselves, were sufficiently heated. “How long,” said he, “will ye continue ignorant of your own strength, a knowledge which nature has not denied even to brutes? Only calculate your numbers, and those of your adversaries. But supposing that, in attacking them, each of you were to meet an antagonist, yet I should imagine, that ye would contend more vigorously in behalf of liberty, than they in behalf of tyranny. For whatever number Edition: current; Page: [30] of clients ye compose round your several respective patrons, so many of you will there be against each single foe. Only make a shew of war, and ye shall have peace. Let them see you ready to make use of force, and they will voluntarily relax their pretensions. All must concur in some effort, or separately submit to every kind of ill-treatment. How long will ye look to me for aid? I certainly will not be wanting to any of you; it is your part to take care that sufficient aid be not wanting to me. Even I, your champion, when my enemies thought proper, was at once reduced to nothing; and ye, all together, beheld the person thrown into chains, who had warded off chains from each individual of you. What am I to hope, if my enemies should attempt something more grievous against me? The fate of Cassius and Mælius? Ye act right, in shewing yourselves shocked even at the mention of this: may the gods avert it. But they will never come down from heaven on my behalf: they must inspire you with proper sentiments, that ye may avert it; as they inspired me, in arms and in peace, to defend you, both from barbarous foes, and from tyrannical fellow-citizens. Has so great a people a spirit so mean as to be always satisfied with being protected against its enemies? And are ye never to know any dispute with the patricians, except about the degree of tyranny which ye are to allow them to exercise over you? Yet this temper is not implanted in you by nature; ye are become their property through habit. For, what is the reason, that towards foreigners ye shew such vigour of mind, as to think yourselves entitled to bear rule over them? Because ye have been accustomed to vie with them for empire. But against the others ye are content to make a few feeble essays towards obtaining liberty, rather than, by manly exertions, to maintain it. Nevertheless, whatever sort of leaders ye have had, and whatever has been your own conduct, Edition: current; Page: [31] ye have hitherto, either by force or good fortune, carried every point, of what magnitude soever, which ye have attempted. It is now time to aim at higher objects. Only make trial of your own good fortune, and of me, whom ye have already tried, I hope to your advantage. Ye will, with less difficulty, raise up one, to rule the patricians, than ye have raised up others, to oppose their rule. Dictatorships and consulships must be levelled to the ground, that the Roman commons may raise up their heads. Give me, therefore, your support; stop all judicial proceedings respecting money. I profess myself the patron of the commons—a title which I am authorized to assume, both by my zeal and my fidelity. If, on your part, ye choose to dignify your leader with any more distinguishing appellation of honour or command, ye will render him the better able to accomplish the objects of your wishes.” This, we are told, was the first introduction of his scheme for attaining regal power; but we have no clear account who were his accomplices, nor to what length the design was carried.

XIX. On the other side, the senate were seen deliberating on the secession of the commons to one particular house, and that, as it happened, standing in the citadel; and on the important danger which threatened the liberty of the public. Great numbers exclaimed that they wanted a Servilius Ahala, who would not irritate a public enemy, by ordering Manlius to be led to prison, but would finish an intestine war with the loss of one citizen. A resolution was at length adopted, comprised in milder terms, but comprehending the same force: that “the magistrates should take care that the commonwealth received no detriment from the pernicious designs of Marcus Manlius.” On this, the consular and plebeian tribunes consulted together on the measures necessary to be pursued in the present exigency; for even these latter magistrates, seeing that their own power must come to Edition: current; Page: [32] an end, as also the liberty of the public, had put themselves under the direction of the senate. And now no other expedient occurring but that of force, and the shedding of blood, Marcus Mænius and Quintus Publius, plebeian tribunes, spoke to this effect: “Why do we make that a contest between the patricians and plebeians, which ought to be between the state and one pestilent citizen? Why do we attack the commons in conjunction with him, whom we could attack, with more safety, through the means of those very commons; so that he should sink under the weight of his own strength? Our recommendation is, to institute a legal prosecution against him. Nothing is less popular than regal power: as soon as the multitude shall perceive that the contest is not with them; and that instead of advocates, they are to be judges; and shall behold the prosecutors, plebeians; the accused, a patrician; and that the charge is, that of aiming at regal power; they will show more zeal in defence of their own liberty, than they will attachment to any person whatever.”

XX. This proposal meeting universal approbation, a prosecution was commenced against Manlius. At first it raised a great ferment among the commons; more especially when they saw the accused in a mourning habit, unaccompanied, not only by any of the patricians, but by those who were connected with him by blood or affinity; nay, even deserted by his own brothers, Aulus and Titus Manlius: and indeed it had never before occurred, on an occasion of such danger, that a man’s nearest relations did not put on a dress of sorrow. It was mentioned, that when Appius Claudius was thrown into prison, Caius Claudius, who was at enmity with him, and the whole Claudian family, appeared in mourning. That a conspiracy was now formed to destroy this favourite of the people, because he was the first who had come over from the patricians to the commons. On the day of trial, I Edition: current; Page: [33] do not find, in any author, what matters were objected to the accused by the prosecutors, reading properly to prove the charge of his aspiring to kingly authority, except this; his assembling the multitude, his seditious expressions, his largesses, and pretended discovery of fraudulent practices: but I have no doubt that they were of importance; since not the merits of the cause, but the place, was what prevented his being immediately condemned by the commons. This I have thought proper to remark, in order to show, that even such great and glorious achievements, as those of this man, were not only stripped of all their merit, but even rendered matter of detestation, by his depraved ambition for regal power. It is said, that he produced near four hundred persons, to whom he had lent money without interest; whose goods he had prevented being sold, or whose persons he had redeemed from confinement, after they had been adjudged to creditors. That, besides this, he not only enumerated the military rewards which he had obtained, but also produced them to view: spoils of enemies slain, to the number of thirty; presents from generals, to the amount of forty; among which were particularly remarkable, two mural, and eight civic crowns*. That he produced also the citizens, whose lives he had saved in battle; and mentioned among them Caius Servilius, when he was master of the horse, now absent. Then, after recounting his exploits in war, in a manner suited to the dignity of the subject, displaying, in a Edition: current; Page: [34] pompous discourse, eloquence equal to the bravery of his actions, he uncovered his breast, marked with an uncommon number of scars from wounds received in battle; and frequently turning his eyes to the Capitol, called down Jupiter, and the other gods, to aid him in his present unhappy situation; and prayed, that the same sentiments with which they had inspired him, while he stood in defence of the fortress, for the preservation of the Roman people, they would now, in the crisis of his fate, infuse into the breasts of that same Roman people; and he besought each person present, in particular, and the whole assembly, that, with their eyes fixed on the Capitol and citadel, and their faces turned to the immortal gods, they would form their judgment concerning him. As the people were summoned by centuries in the field of Mars, and as the accused stretched out his hands to the Capitol, and instead of addressing his intreaties to men, directed them to the gods, the tribunes saw plainly, that unless they removed the multitude from a situation where even their eyes must remind them of such an honourable exploit, the best founded charge would never gain belief in minds so influenced: wherefore, adjourning the trial, they summoned a meeting in the Peteline grove, on the outside of the Nomentan gate, from whence there was no view of the Capitol: there the charge was established; and, people’s minds being unmoved by any foreign or adventitious circumstance, a severe sentence, and which excited horror even in the breasts of his judges, was passed on him. Some authors say, that he was condemned by two commissioners appointed to take cognizance of matters of treason. The tribunes cast him down from the Tarpeian rock: thus the same spot, in the case of one man, became a monument of distinguished glory, and of the cruelest punishment. After his death, marks of infamy were fixed on him: for his house having stood where the temple of Moneta and the mint office now Edition: current; Page: [35] stand, an order was made by the people, that no patrician should dwell in the citadel or Capitol: a decree at the same time being passed, to prohibit any of the Manlian family from ever after bearing the name of Marcus Manlius. Such was the end of a man, who, had he not been born in a free state, would have merited the esteem of posterity. A short time after, the people, recollecting only his virtues, were filled with deep regret for his loss. A pestilence, too, which presently followed, without any apparent cause of so great a malady, was attributed, by most men, to the punishment inflicted on Manlius. “The Capitol,” they observed, “had been polluted with the blood of its preserver; and it had given displeasure to the gods, that the person, by whom their temples had been rescued out of the hands of the enemy, should be brought before their eyes, in a manner, to suffer punishment.”

Y.R.372. bc380.XXI. The pestilence was succeeded by a scarcity of the fruits of the earth; and the report of both calamities spreading abroad, a variety of wars ensued in the following year, in which Lucius Valerius a fourth time, Aulus Manlius a third time, Servius Sulpicius a third time, Lucius Lucretius, Lucius Æmilius a third time, and Marcus Trebonius were military tribunes, with consular power. Besides the Volscians, destined by some fatality to give perpetual employment to the Roman soldiery; and the colonies of Circeii and Velitræ, long meditating a revolt; and Latium, whose conduct gave room for suspicion, a new enemy suddenly sprung up in the people of Lanuvium, a city whose fidelity had hitherto been remarkably steady. The senate, judging that this arose from contemptuous notions entertained by that nation, on seeing that the revolt of the people of Velitræ, members of the Roman state, remained so long unpunished, decreed, that an assembly should be held as soon as possible, concerning a declaration of war against that Edition: current; Page: [36] colony: and to induce the commons to engage in that service with the greater readiness, they appointed five commissioners to make a distribution of the Pomptine lands, and three to conduct a colony to Nepete. Then it was proposed to the people, that they should order the declaration of war; and the plebeian tribunes in vain endeavouring to dissuade them, the tribes unanimously passed it. During that year, preparations were made for hostilities, but, on account of the pestilence, the troops were not led into the field. This delay afforded sufficient time to the colonists, to take measures to appease the anger of the senate; and the greater part of their people were inclined to send a suppliant embassy to Rome; which would have taken place, had not, as is often the case, the interest of the public been involved with the danger of individuals; and had not the authors of the revolt, dreading lest themselves only might be considered as answerable for the guilt, and be delivered up as victims to the resentment of the Romans, infused into the colonists an aversion from peaceful councils. They therefore found means, not only to obstruct the proposed embassy in the senate, but to excite a great part of the commons to make predatory excursions into the Roman territory, which new injury broke off all hopes of peace. This year also, a report was first propagated of the Prænestians having revolted; and when the people of Tusculum, and Gabii, and Lavici, on whose lands they had made incursions, brought the charge against them, the senate, in their answer, showed so little resentment, as made it evident, that they gave the less credit to the charges, because they wished them not to be true.

XXII. In the following year, the two Papirii, Spurius and Lucius, new military tribunes, with consular power,Y.R.373. bc379. led the legions to Velitræ, leaving their four colleagues in the tribuneship, Servius Cornelius Maluginensis a fourth time, Quintus Servilius, Servius Sulpicius, Edition: current; Page: [37] and Lucius Æmilius a fourth time, to secure the safety of the city, and to be in readiness, in case intelligence of any new commotion should arrive from Etruria; for now every thing was apprehended from that quarter. At Velitræ, they fought a battle with success, in which they were opposed by a number of Prænestine auxiliaries, rather greater than that of the colonists: and here the city being so near, was the reason of the enemy quitting the field the sooner, as it was their only refuge after their flight. The tribunes did not proceed to lay siege to the town, because the issue was uncertain; and besides, they did not think that they ought to push the war to the utter destruction of the colony. The letters sent to Rome to the senate, with news of the victory, expressed greater animosity against the Prænestine enemy, than against those of Velitræ. In consequence of which, by decree of the senate, and order of the people, war was declared against the Prænestians. These, the next year, in conjunction with the Volscians, took Satricum, a colony of the Roman people, by storm, after an obstinate defence made by the colonists, and in their treatment of the prisoners made a barbarous use of their victory.Y.R.374. bc378. Incensed thereat, the Romans elected Marcus Furius Camillus a seventh time, military tribune; the colleagues joined with him were the two Postumii Regillenses, Aulus and Lucius, and Lucius Furius, with Lucius Lucretius, and Marcus Fabius Ambustus. The war with the Volscians was decreed to Camillus out of the ordinary course. Lucius Furius was chosen by lot, from among the rest of the tribunes, his assistant, an appointment which proved not so advantageous to the public, as productive of honour to Camillus, in every branch of his conduct: in that which respected the public, as he restored their cause, when nearly ruined by the temerity of Furius; and in that which concerned themselves in particular, as, from the error of that man, he sought the means of Edition: current; Page: [38] engaging his gratitude rather than of augmenting his own glory. Camillus was now far in the decline of life, and had intended at the election to take the usual oath, in order to be excused, on account of his health, but was prevented by the unanimous desire of the people. He retained all his faculties entire; his vigorous genius still bloomed and flourished, in a breast which glowed with youthful ardour; and though he took little share in civil affairs, yet the business of war roused his spirit. Enlisting four legions, of four thousand men each, and ordering the troops to assemble next day at the Esquiline gate, he marched towards Satricum. There the conquerors of the colony waited for him, nowise dismayed, confiding in their number of men, in which they had considerably the advantage: and when they understood that the Romans were approaching, marched out immediately to the field, determined without any delay to put all on the hazard of one decisive effort: which manner of proceeding, they thought, would put it out of the power of the enemy to compensate for the smallness of their number by the skill of their great commander, on which they placed their sole reliance.

XXIII. The same ardour prevailed likewise in the troops of the Romans, and in one of their generals; nor was there any thing which prevented them from hazarding an immediate engagement, but the wisdom and authority of that general, who sought, by protracting the war, to find some opportunity wherein their strength might receive aid from skill. The more on that account did the enemy urge them, and now, not only drew out their troops in order of battle before their own camp, but advanced into the middle of the plain, and throwing up trenches near the Roman battalions, made ostentatious show of boldness derived from their strength. The soldiers were highly provoked at this, and much more highly Lucius Furius, the other military tribune: who, besides a naturally sanguine temper, and his vigorous time of life, was elated Edition: current; Page: [39] with the hopes which he saw possess the multitude, who are ever apt to assume confidence from causes the worst founded. The soldiery, of themselves full of impatience, he instigated still farther, by depreciating his colleague’s judgment on account of his great age, the only point on which he could possibly impeach it, saying, “that war was the province of youth, and that men’s minds flourished, and withered, together with their bodies; that he, who certainly had been a most active warrior, was become a mere drone; and, though it had been his custom, immediately on coming up with an enemy, to snatch from them the possession of their camps and cities at the first onset; yet now he wasted time, lying inactive within the trenches. And what accession to his own strength, or diminution of that of the enemy, did he hope for? What opportunity, what season, what place for practising stratagem? The old man’s schemes were too cold and languid. Camillus, for his own part, had enjoyed a sufficient share both of life and of glory: but where was the propriety of suffering the strength of the state, which ought to be immortal, to sink into the debility of old age together with one mortal body.” By such discourses, he had drawn to himself the attention of the whole camp; and when, in every quarter, they called for battle, he said to his colleague, “Camillus, we cannot withstand the violence of the soldiers; and the enemy, whose courage we have increased by our delays, insults us with arrogance absolutely intolerable. Give up your single judgment to the general one, and suffer yourself to be overcome in counsel, that you may the sooner overcome in battle.” To which Camillus replied, that “in all the wars which, to that day, had been waged under his single auspices, neither himself nor the Roman people had found reason to be displeased, either with his conduct or his fortune: at present, he was sensible, that he had a colleague, in command and authority, equal to himself; in vigour of age, superior: as to what regarded Edition: current; Page: [40] the troops, he had ever hitherto been accustomed to rule, not to be ruled; but his colleague’s right of command he could not call in question. Let him do, with the favour of the gods, what he thought the interest of the common-wealth required. He would even request so much indulgence to his age, as that he should not be in the front line. That what-ever duties in war an old man qualified for, in these he would not be deficient; and that he besought the immortal gods, that no misfortune might give them reason to think his plain the wiser one.” Neither was his salutary advice listened to by men, nor such pious prayers by the gods: the adviser of the fight drew up the first line; Camillus formed the reserve, and posted a strong guard in front of the camp; then, taking his own station on a eminence, as a spectator, he anxiously watched the issue of the other’s plan.

XXIV. As soon as the clash of arms was heard in the first encounter, the enemy, through stratagem, not through fear, began to retire. There was a gentle acclivity in their rear between the army and their camp, and as they had plenty of men, they had left in their camp several strong cohorts, armed and ready for action, who were to sally forth after the battle should begin, and when the enemy approached the rampart. The Romans, eagerly following the retreating army, were drawn into disadvantageous ground, where this sally could be made on them with effect: terror thus reverting on the conqueror, from this new force, the declivity of the ground obliged the Roman line to give way. The Volscians, who had come fresh from their tents to the attack, pressed them close; and those, too, who had counterfeited retreat, now returned to the fight. The Roman soldiers no longer retired in order, but forgetting their late presumption and their former reaction every where turned their backs, and, with utmost speed, ran towards their camp: when Camillus being lifted on his horse by his attendants, and Edition: current; Page: [41] hastily opposing the reserved troops on their way, called out, “Is this, soldiers, the fight that ye demanded? What man, what god can ye blame? The former temerity was all your own; your own this present cowardice. As ye have followed another leader, follow now Camillus; and, as ye are accustomed to do, under my conduct, conquer. Why do ye look towards the rampart and camp? Not a man of you, unless victorious, shall find admittance there.” Shame, at first, stopped their precipitate flight: then, when they saw the standards wheel about, and a line formed to front the enemy; when a leader, who, besides being distinguished by so many triumphs, was venerable even on account of his age, exposed himself in the front of the battalions, where there was the greatest share both of labour and danger; every one began to upbraid both himself and others, and mutual exhortation spread, in a brisk shout, through the whole length of the line. Nor was the other tribune deficient in activity. Being sent to the cavalry by his colleague, while he was reforming the line of infantry, he did not offer to rebuke them; for the share which he had in their fault had rendered any thing he could say of little weight. Instead of command, therefore, he had recourse entirely to intreaties; beseeching each, and and all together, to “redeem him from misconduct, who was answerable for the events of that day. In spite,” said he, “of the advice and endeavours of my colleague, I have associated myself in the rashness of the many, rather than listened to the prudence of one. Camillus sees matter of glory to himself, on either side to which your fortune may incline; but I, unless the fight is restored, shall feel the evil, in common with you all, and shall alone experience all the infamy; the most wretched lot that could befal me.” It was thought best, while the line was still unsteady, that the cavalry should dismount, and charge the enemy on foot. Accordingly, distinguished beyond others by their arms and their spirit, they Edition: current; Page: [42] advanced on the part where they saw the infantry most pressed: nor was there one among them, whether officer or soldier, who did not display the utmost efforts of courage: the aid, therefore, which their vigorous exertions of bravery supplied, soon determined the event. The Volscians were driven headlong in real flight over the same ground, where they had just before retired with counterfeited fear: great numbers of them were slain, both in the battle, and afterwards in the pursuit: of the rest, however, who were found in the camp, which the enemy took before they halted, more were made prisoners than put to death.

XXV. Here, in taking an account of the prisoners, several Tusculans being observed, they were separated from the rest, and brought to the tribunes: and, being examined, confessed that they had served in the war under the authority of the state. Hereupon Camillus, alarmed at the apprehension of a war so near home, declared, that he would immediately carry the prisoners to Rome, that the senate might not be ignorant of the revolt of the Tusculans from the confederacy: meanwhile, his colleague, if he thought proper, should command the camp and the army. One day had been sufficient to teach him, not to prefer his own counsels to better. However, neither himself, nor any person in the army supposed, that Camillus would, without marks of displeasure, pass over his misconduct, by which the public had been thrown into such perilous hazard; and, as well in the army, as at Rome, the account uniformly received and universally admitted, was, that, with respect to the different degrees of success, experienced in the country of the Volscians, the blame of the troops being worsted in fight, and quitting the field, was to be imputed to Lucius Furius, and that the whole honour of their victory belonged to Camillus. On the prisoners being brought before the senate, it was decreed, that war should be made on the Tusculans, and Camillus was Edition: current; Page: [43] appointed to the command in that expedition: on which, he requested to be allowed one assistant in the business, and having received permission to name any of his colleagues, whom he thought proper, contrary to all men’s expectation he chose Lucius Furius; by which, he both alleviated the disgrace of his colleague, and, at the same time, acquired great honour to himself. However, there was no war with the Tusculans. By a strict adherence to peaceable measures, they warded off the force of the Romans, which it had been impossible for them to have done by arms: for, on entering their territory, no removals were made from the places adjacent to the roads, no interruption in the cultivation of the grounds, the gates of their city stood open, crowds of the inhabitants came forth in their gowns to meet the generals, and provisions for the troops were brought with cheerfulness into the camp, both from the city and the country. Camillus pitched his camp before the gates, and being desirous to know, whether the same appearance of peace prevailed within the walls, which was held out in the country, went into the city; and when he saw the doors and the shops open, and all kinds of wares exposed to sale; tradesmen busy in their respective employments, the schools of learning buzzing with the voices of the scholars, and the streets filled with the populace of every sort, among whom were women and children going different ways, as their several occasions called them, and when, in short, he perceived no circumstance which bore any appearance of fright, or even of surprise; he looked round to find in what manner, and where the preparation for war had been made, for there was not the least trace of any thing having been either removed, or placed to oppose him in his way: all, indeed, was in an uniform state of peace, so that one could hardly suppose, that even the rumour of war had reached them.

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XXVI. Overcome, therefore, by the submissive demeanour of the enemy, he ordered their senate to be called, and said to them: “Men of Tusculum; ye are the only persons who have hitherto discovered the real strength, and the true arms, wherewith ye might secure yourselves from the resentment of the Romans. Go to Rome, to the senate. The fathers will consider whether your former conduct more merited punishment, or your present forgiveness. I shall not arrogate to myself the gratitude which ye will owe for favour conferred by the public. From me, ye shall have liberty to solicit pardon. The senate will grant such return to your prayers, as they shall judge proper.” When the Tusculans came to Rome, and the senate of that people, who, very lately, were faithful allies, appeared in the porch of the senate-house, with sorrow in their countenances, the senators, moved with compassion, immediately ordered them to be called in, in a manner expressive of hospitality, rather than of enmity. The Tusculan dictator spoke to this effect: “Conscript fathers; we, against whom ye have proclaimed and were about to wage war, just as ye see us now, standing in the porch of your house, went forth to meet your commanders and your legions. This was our habit, this the habit of our commons; and ever shall be, unless, at any time, we shall receive arms from you, and in your cause. We return thanks to your generals and your troops for having given credit to their own eyes, rather than to public rumour; and for committing no hostilities themselves, where they found none subsisting. The peace, by which our conduct has been governed, the same we request from you. War, we beseech you to avert to that quarter, where, if any where, war subsists. The power of your arms against us, if after submission we are to experience it, we will experience unarmed. This is our determination; may the immortal gods render it as successful as it is dutiful. As to what regards Edition: current; Page: [45] the charges, by which ye were moved to declare war against us, although it is needless to refute with words, what has been contradicted by facts, yet, admitting that they were true, after giving such evident proofs of repentance, we should think ourselves safe in pleading guilty before you. Consider us then as guilty towards you, since ye are persons, to whom such satisfaction may be made with propriety.” These were nearly the words of the Tusculans. They obtained peace at the present, and not very long after, the freedom of the state also. The legions were then withdrawn from Tusculum.

XXVII. Camillus, after having highly signalized himself by his conduct and bravery in the Volscian war, by his successful management in the Tusculan expedition, and in both, by his singular moderation towards his colleague, went out of office,Y.R.375. bc377. having elected military tribunes for the ensuing year, Lucius and Publius Valerius, Lucius a fifth time, Publius a third, and Caius Sergius a third time, Lucius Menenius a second time, Spurius Papirius, and Servius Cornelius Maluginensis. Censors became necessary this year principally on account of the various representations made of the debts; the tribunes of the commons exaggerating the amount of them, with design to increase the general discontent, while it was under-rated by those whose interest it was, that the difficulty of procuring payment should appear to be owing rather to the want of honesty than of ability in the debtors. The censors appointed were Caius Sulpicius Camerinus, and Spurius Postumius Regillensis: after they had entered on the business, it was interrupted by the death of Postumius, as it was not allowable to employ a substitute as colleague with a censor. Sulpicius, therefore, abdicating the office, others were named to it; but some defect being discovered in the manner of their appointment, they were not received; and to appoint a third Edition: current; Page: [46] set was not allowed, as the gods seemed unwilling to admit of censors for that year. The plebeian tribunes now exclaimed, that such mockery of the commons was not to be endured; that “the senate declined a public inquiry, which would ascertain each man’s property, as that would discover that one-half of the commonwealth was held in a state of depression by the other; while, in the mean time, the commons, overwhelmed with debt, were exposed continually to the arms of one enemy after another. Wars were now industriously sought on all sides, without any distinction. From Antium the legions were led to Satricum, from Satricum to Velitræ, from thence to Tusculum. The Latines, the Hernicians, the Prænestians, were now threatened with hostilities; and this, out of hatred to the citizens, rather than for injuries; with design to wear out the commons under arms, not suffering them either to take breath in the city, or to have leisure to reflect on their liberty, or to take their places in an assembly, where they might sometimes hear a tribune’s voice, discoursing about the reduction of interest, and the removal of other grievances. But, for their part, if they could find in the commons a spirit capable of emulating the liberty of their fathers, they would neither suffer any Roman citizen to be made over to a creditor for money lent, nor any levy of troops to be made, until, the debts being examined, and some method adopted for lessening them, every man should know what was his own, and what another’s; whether his person was still to enjoy freedom, or whether that too was due to the stocks.” The prize, held out to sedition, quickly excited it; for numbers were continually made over to creditors; and, accounts being received of the Prænestines being in arms, the senate voted new legions to be levied, to both which proceedings obstructions began to be raised, at once by the interposition of the tribunitian power, and the united efforts of the commons. For neither did the tribunes suffer Edition: current; Page: [47] those who were adjudged to their creditors to be carried to prison, nor did the younger citizens give in their names for the war; while the senate were less solicitous at present about enforcing the laws concerning the lending of money, than about effecting the levy; for now they were informed that the enemy had marched from Præneste, and taken post in the Sabine territory. That very intelligence, however, rather irritated the tribunes to persist in the opposition which they had set up, than deterred them; nor was any thing sufficient to allay the discontents, but the approach of hostilities almost to the very walls.

XXVIII. For the Prænestines having learned that there was no army levied at Rome, no general fixed on, and that the patricians and commons were taken up with quarrels among themselves, their leaders deemed this a fortunate opportunity for molestation; and, having made a hasty march, ravaging the country all along as they passed, they advanced their standards to the Colline gate. Great was the consternation in the city; the alarm was given through every part; people ran together to the walls and gates, and turning at length their thoughts from sedition to war, they created Titus Quintius Cincinnatus dictator, who nominated Aulus Sempronius Atratinus master of the horse. No sooner was this heard, than the enemy, such was the terror of that office, retired from the walls; while, on the dictator’s edict being issued, the Roman youth attended without excuse. During the time that the levy was going on at Rome, the enemy encamped not far from the river Allia, whence they carried their depredations through all the country round, boasting among themselves, that they had chosen a post fatal to the city of Rome, whose troops would be dismayed, and fly from thence, as they had done in the Gallic war. For, “if the Romans were afraid of a day, which was deemed inauspicious, and marked with the name of that place, how much more than Edition: current; Page: [48] the Allian day would they dread the Allia itself, the monument of so great a disaster? The fierce looks of the Gauls, and the sound of their voices, would certainly recur to their eyes and ears.” Possessed with these groundless notions of circumstances as groundless, they rested their hopes on the fortune of the place. On the other hand, the Romans considered that “in whatever place their Latine enemies stood, they knew very well that they were the same whom they had utterly vanquished at the lake Regillus, and had held under peaceable subjection for now an hundred years: that the Allia, being that way distinguished, would rather stimulate them to blot out the remembrance of their misfortune, than raise apprehensions of any ground being inauspicious to their success. Were they even to meet the Gauls themselves on that spot, they would fight, as they fought at Rome, for the recovery of their country; as, the day after at Gabii, where they took effectual care, that not a single enemy, who had entered the walls of Rome, should carry home an account either of their successes or defeats.”

XXIX. With these sentiments on each side, they met at the Allia. As soon as the Roman dictator came within sight of the enemy, who were drawn up and ready for action, he said, “Aulus Sempronius, do you perceive that those men have taken post at the Allia, relying, no doubt, on the fortune of the place? Nor have the immortal gods afforded them any surer ground of confidence, or any more effectual support. But do you, relying on arms and courage, make a brisk charge on the middle of their line. When they shall be thrown into disorder, I will bear down on them with the legions. Ye gods! who witnessed the treaty, be favourable to our cause, and exact the penalty due for the affront offered to yourselves, and also for the deception imposed on us, through an appeal to your divinity.” The Prænestines were unable to stand against either the cavalry or the infantry: the first shout Edition: current; Page: [49] and charge broke their ranks. In a little time, no part of their line remaining entire, they turned their backs, and fled in such consternation, that they even passed by their own camp, and never relaxed their speed, until Præneste was in view. There, rallying, they took possession of a post, which they fortified after a hasty manner, dreading, lest, if they retreated within the walls, the country should be immediately wasted with fire, and when every other place was desolated, siege should be laid to the city. But no sooner did the victorious Romans approach, after plundering the camp at the Allia, than they abandoned this fortress also, and shut themselves up in the town of Præneste, scarcely thinking the walls a sufficient security. There were eight other towns under the dominion of the Prænestines: these were attacked in succession, and taken, without any great difficulty, and the army led to Velitræ. That also was taken by storm. They then came to Præneste, the main source of the war, and it fell into their hands, not by force, but capitulation. Titus Quintius having thus gained the victory in one pitched battle, having taken from the enemy, by storm, two camps and nine towns, and Præneste on surrender, returned to Rome; and, in his triumph, carried into the Capitol the statue of Jupiter Imperator, which he had brought away from Præneste. It was dedicated between the recesses of Jupiter and Minerva, and on a tablet, fixed under it as a monument of his exploits, were engraved nearly these words: “Jupiter, and all the gods, granted that Titus Quintius, dictator, should take nine towns in nine days.” On the twentieth day after his appointment he abdicated the dictatorship.

XXX. An election was then held of military tribunes, with consular power,Y.R.376. bc376. when equal numbers of patricians and plebeians were chosen. The patricians were, Publius and Caius Manlius, with Lucius Julius; the plebeians, Caius Sextilius, Marcus Albinius, and Lucius Edition: current; Page: [50] Antistius. To the Manlii, because they were superior to the plebeians in point of descent, and to Julius in interest, the Volscians were assigned as a province, out of the ordinary course, without casting of lots, or mutual agreement: of which step both they themselves, and the senate, who made the disposal, had afterwards reason to repent. Without taking measures to obtain the proper intelligence, they sent out some cohorts to forage. Marching hastily to support these, in consequence of a false report brought to them, of their being ensnared, without even retaining the author of the report, and who was not a Roman but a Latine soldier, they themselves fell into an ambuscade; where, whilst they gave and received many wounds, maintaining resistance on disadvantageous ground merely by dint of valour, the enemy, in another quarter, made an assault on the Roman camp, which lay in a low situation. The generals, by their rashness and unskilfulness, had thrown affairs, in both places, into most imminent danger; and that any part of the army was saved was owing to the fortune of the Roman people, and the bravery of the soldiers, capable of acting with steadiness, even without a commander. When an account of these transactions was brought to Rome, it was, at first, thought necessary that a dictator should be nominated: but intelligence being received from the country of the Volscians that matters were quiet, and it being evident that they knew not how to take advantage of success and opportunity, even the troops and generals which were there were recalled; and a cessation of hostilities continued during the remainder of the year, as far as regarded that people. The only interruption of tranquillity which occurred, and that towards the end of the year, was the revival of hostilities by the Prænestines, who had prevailed on the states of the Latines to co-operate with them. During this year, new colonists were inrolled for Setia, the colony themselves complaining of a scarcity of men. Internal tranquillity, Edition: current; Page: [51] which was procured by the influence of the plebeian military tribunes, and the respect paid to their dignity by those of their own condition, proved some consolation for the failure of success in war.

XXXI. In the beginning of the next year, the flames of sedition blazed out with great violence;Y.R.377. bc375. the military tribunes, with consular power, being Spurius Furius, Quintus Servilius a second time, Caius Licinius, Publius Clœlius, Marcus Horatius, and Lucius Geganius. This sedition again arose from the debts; for the purpose of ascertaining which, Spurius Servilius Priscus and Quintus Clœlius Siculus were appointed censors, but were hindered, by a war, from proceeding in the business: for hasty messengers, at first, and then people who fled from the country, brought information that the Volscian legions had entered the borders, and were committing depredations through the Roman territory. Alarming as this intelligence was, so far was their fear of a foreign enemy from restraining the violence of their domestic feuds, that, on the contrary, it gave occasion to the tribunitian power to exert itself with greater vehemence in obstructing the levies, until these conditions were imposed on the senate: that, during the continuance of the war, no one should pay a tax, nor should any judicial process be carried on respecting money due. This relaxation being obtained for the commons, there was no farther delay in the levies. When the new legions were enlisted, it was resolved that they should be divided, and two different armies led into the Volscian territory. Spurius Furius and Marcus Horatius proceeded to the right, towards Antium and the sea-coast; Quintus Servilius and Lucius Geganius to the left, towards Ecetra and the mountains. On neither side did the enemy meet them. Devastations were therefore made, not like those which the Volscians had committed in the manner of banditti, snatching an opportunity, and hurried Edition: current; Page: [52] by their fears, relying on the dissensions among the Romans, and dreading their valour; but with a regular army, and giving full scope to their resentment, more detrimental, too, by reason of their continuance; for the Volscians, dreading lest an army should come out from Rome against them, had made their incursions only into the skirts of the frontiers; the Romans loitered in their country, in hopes of bringing them to an engagement. Every house, therefore, was burnt, and several villages also; not a fruit-tree was left, nor the seed in the ground to give a prospect of a harvest. All the men and cattle found without the walls were driven off as spoil, and the troops, from both quarters, were led back to Rome.

XXXII. Thus a short interval had been allowed to the debtors, but no sooner was quiet restored abroad, than the courts were filled anew with lawsuits against them: and so distant was every hope of lessening the burthen of former debts, that they were obliged to contract new ones, by a tax for building a wall of hewn stone, which the censors had contracted for. To this hardship the commons were necessitated to submit, because there were, at the time, no levies which the tribunes might obstruct; nay, such an ascendancy had the nobility,Y.R.378. bc374. that they obliged them to choose all the military tribunes out of the patricians, Lucius Æmilius, Publius Valerius a fourth time, Caius Veturius, Servius Sulpicius, Lucius and Caius Quintius Cincinnatus. By the same influence, a resolution was carried, without opposition, that, to make head against the Latines and Volscians, who, with their forces united, were encamped at Satricum, all the young men should be obliged to take the military oath; and that three armies should be formed; one, for the protection of the city; another, which, in case any disturbance should arise elsewhere, might be sent where the sudden exigencies of war should Edition: current; Page: [53] require. The third, and by far the most powerful, Publius Valerius and Lucius Æmilius led to Satricum, and there, finding the enemy drawn up in order of battle, on level ground, they instantly came to an engagement. But a heavy rain, attended with a violent storm of wind, put a stop to the fight; when, though victory had not declared for them, they yet had a fair prospect of it. Next day the battle was renewed, and, for a considerable time, the Latine legions particularly, who, during the long continuance of the confederacy, had learned the Roman discipline, maintained their ground with equal bravery and success. At length, a charge of the cavalry disordered their ranks, and before this could be remedied, the infantry advanced upon them. Wherever the Roman line attacked, the enemy were pushed from their ground; and when once the advantage turned against them, they found the Roman force irresistible. They were therefore utterly routed; and flying to Satricum, which was two miles distant, had many of their men slain, chiefly by the cavalry. Their camp was taken and plundered. The night after the battle, they went off from Satricum to Antium, in a manner more like a flight than a march: and though the Roman army followed, almost in their steps, yet fear proved fleeter than fury; so that they had got within their walls, before the Romans could harass or impede their rear. Several days were spent in wasting the country; for the Romans were not properly furnished with military engines for attacking walls, nor the others in a condition to hazard a battle.

XXXIII. At this time a dissension arose between the Antians and the Latines: for the Antians, quite reduced by a war which had lasted from their birth, began to think of submission. The Latines, having but lately revolted, after a long enjoyment of peace, and their spirits being still fresh, were, therefore, the more resolutely determined to persevere in the war. Their dispute lasted no longer, than until each Edition: current; Page: [54] party perceived that they might accomplish their own views, without obstruction from the other. The Latines, by leaving the place, freed themselves from the imputation of being concerned in a peace which they deemed dishonourable. The Antians, as soon as those were removed, whose presence impeded their salutary designs, surrendered themselves and their territory to the Romans. The rage of the Latines, on finding that they could neither do any damage to the Romans in war, nor keep the Volscians any longer in arms, vented itself in setting fire to the city of Satricum, which had been their first place of refuge after defeat. Not a building in that city remained; for they threw their firebrands indiscriminately on those that belonged to gods and to men, except the temple of mother Matuta: and from this they were withheld, not by any scruples of their own, or reverence towards the gods, but by a tremendous voice, which issued through the temple, with severe denunciations of vengeance, unless they removed their abominable fires to a distance from the temples. Inflamed with the same rage, they proceeded to Tusculum, in resentment of its having forsaken the general association of the Latines, and joined itself to the Romans, not only as an ally, but even as a member of their state. No notice being received there of their intention, they rushed in by the gates, and, on the first shout, made themselves masters of the whole town, excepting the citadel. Into this the townsmen had made their escape, with their wives and children, and sent messengers to Rome, to acquaint the senate with their misfortune. With no less expedition than became the honour of the Roman people, an army was despatched to Tusculum, commanded by Lucius Quintius and Servius Sulpicius, military tribunes. They found the gates of Tusculum shut, and the Latines acting the parts both of besiegers and besieged; on one side, defending the walls of the town; on the other, carrying on the attack of the citadel; at once Edition: current; Page: [55] striking terror into others, and feeling it themselves. The approach of the Romans made a great alteration in the minds of both parties: the despondency of the Tusculans it converted into the most joyful alacrity; and the assured confidence entertained by the Latines, that they should quickly become masters of the citadel, as they were already of the town, into an anxiety almost hopeless for their own safety. The shout was now raised by the Tusculans from the citadel, and returned, by a much louder one, from the Roman army. The Latines were hard pressed on all sides; nor could they either sustain the force of the Tusculans, pouring down on them from the higher ground, or repel the Romans advancing to the walls, and forcing the bars of the gates. The walls, first, were mastered by scalade; the gates were then broke open; and the two enemies, pressing them in front and in rear, no strength being left for fight, no room for escape, they were surrounded and cut to pieces to a man. Tusculum being thus recovered from the enemy, the army returned to Rome.

XXXIV. In proportion to the degree of tranquillity which prevailed this year abroad, in consequence of the successes obtained in war, did the violence of the patricians, and the distresses of the commons, increase daily in the city; the necessity of immediate payment, of itself, impairing the ability to pay: so that, having no means left of answering any demands out of their property, they were cast in suits, and ordered into custody. Thus, at the expense of their reputations and persons, they satisfied their creditors; punishment being substituted in the place of money. In consequence of this, they sunk into such despondency, not only the lowest, but even the principal plebeians, that no man could be found adventurous enough either to stand candidate, among patricians, for the military tribuneship (a privilege which they had used such mighty efforts to obtain); or even to sue for Edition: current; Page: [56] and undertake the plebeian magistracies: insomuch that it seemed as if the patricians had now recovered, for ever, the possession of that honour; and that it had been only usurped, for a few years, by the commons. The excessive joy, which that party would have reaped from this event, was prevented by a cause, which was but trifling, as is very often the case, in comparison with the important consequences which it produced. Marcus Fabius Ambustus was a man of considerable weight among those of his own rank, and also among the commons, because they considered him as one who was not at all disposed to treat them with contempt: he had two daughters married, the elder to Servius Sulpicius, the younger to Caius Licenius Stolo, of high reputation, but a plebeian: and the very circumstance of Fabius not having scorned this alliance had procured him favour in the minds of the populace. It happened, that while the two sisters were amusing themselves in conversation at the house of Servius Sulpicius, then military tribune, on Sulpicius’s return home from the Forum, one of his lictors, according to custom, rapped at the door with his rod: the younger Fabia, who was a stranger to the custom, being frightened at this, was laughed at by her sister, who was surprised at her ignorance of the matter. That laugh, however, left a sting in the other’s breast; as the merest trifles will often affect the female mind. The crowd also of attendants, and of people offering their service, I suppose, made her think her sister happy in her marriage, and repine at her own; according to the so generally prevailing foible, for it is certain that scarcely any can bear to be surpassed by those nearest their own level. While she was under great disquietude, from this recent mortification, her father happened to see her, and asked, “Is all well?” and though she dissembled, at first, the cause of her uneasiness, because it was neither very consistent with the affection of a sister, nor very honourable to her husband, he, by tender Edition: current; Page: [57] inquiries, at length brought her to confess, that her unhappiness arose from being united to an inferior, from being married into a house which neither dignities nor honours could enter. Ambustus, then, consoling his daughter, bid her keep up her spirits: for that she should shortly see, in her own house, the same honours which she saw at her sister’s. He then, with his son-in-law, began to frame his designs, and in conjunction with Lucius Sextius, a young man of active talents, to whose hopes there appeared no impediment, except the want of patrician descent.

XXXV. The juncture appeared seasonable for the introduction of innovations, on account of the immense burthen of debt, from which evil the commons could have no hope of relief, except some of their own order were placed in the administration of government. To that point they saw it necessary to direct their most vigorous exertions. The commons, by spirited endeavours and perseverance, had already gained one step towards it; from whence, if they struggled forward, they might arrive at the summit, and be placed on an equal footing with the patricians, in honour as well as in merit. It was resolved, that at present there should be plebeian tribunes created; in which office the commons might find the means of opening for themselves a way to the other distinctions.Y.R.379. bc373. Accordingly, Caius Licinius and Lucius Sextius were elected tribunes, and proposed several new laws, every one of which was injurious to the power of the patricians, and in favour of the interest of the plebeians. One related to debt, enacting, that whatever had been paid as interest, being deducted from the principal, the remainder should be discharged in three years, by so many equal instalments. Another, setting bounds to landed property, enacted, that no one should possess more than five hundred acres of land: a third, that there should be no election of military tribunes; and that one of the consuls Edition: current; Page: [58] should, indispensably, be chosen out of the commons: all points of the utmost consequence, and not to be accomplished without powerful struggles. When the patricians were thus challenged to contend, at once, for all those objects which excite the warmest desires in the human heart, they were terrified and dismayed; nor could they, either in their public or private consultations, devise any other remedy than the one which they had frequently tried before, a protest: accordingly, they engaged some of the tribunes to oppose the propositions of their colleagues. These, having collected about them a band of patricians for their support, as soon as they saw the tribes summoned by Licinius and Sextius, to give their suffrages, refused to suffer either the proposition to be read, or any of the usual forms, in taking the votes of the people, to be gone through. After assemblies had been often called to no purpose, and the propositions were now considered as rejected, Sextius said to them, “It is very well; since it is determined that a protest shall carry such force in it, we will defend the commons with the same weapon. Come, patricians, proclaim an assembly for the election of military tribunes; I will take care that those words, I FORBID IT, shall not be very pleasing in your ears, though ye listen with such delight to our colleagues chaunting them at present.” Nor did his threats fall without effect; except for ædiles and plebeian tribunes, there were no elections held. Licinius and Sextius being re-elected plebeian tribunes, suffered not any curule magistrates to be appointed; and, during the space of five years, the city was kept without magistrates in those offices, the commons constantly re-electing the two tribunes, and these preventing the election of military tribunes.

XXXVI. There had been a seasonable cessation of wars; but the colonists of Velitræ, grown wanton through ease, and knowing that there was no army on foot at Rome, made several incursions into the Roman territory, and even laid siege Edition: current; Page: [59] to Tusculum. When, on this event, the Tusculans, their old allies and new fellow-citizens, implored assistance, not only the patricians, but even the commons, were moved, principally by a sense of honour; and the plebeian tribunes withdrawing their opposition,Y.R.385. bc367. an election of military tribunes was held by an interrex, when Lucius Furius, Aulus Manlius, Servius Sulpicius, Servius Cornelius, and the two Valerii, Publius and Caius, were chosen into that office. These, in raising the levies, found not the same tractable temper in the commons which they had shewn in the election: however, having, after very warm disputes, completed the number of troops, they began their march, and compelled the enemy, not only to retire from Tusculum, but to take shelter within their own walls; and Velitræ was then besieged by a much greater force than had threatened Tusculum. Yet the commanders, who conducted the siege, were not able to bring it to a conclusion before the new military tribunes were elected: these were Quintus Servilius, Caius Veturius a second time,Y.R.386. bc366. Aulus and Marcus Cornelius, Quintus Quintius, and Marcus Fabius. Neither did these, in their tribunate, perform any thing memorable at Velitræ. The dangerous state of affairs at home called more powerfully for their attention: for, besides Sextius and Licinius, the proposers of the laws, now re-elected the eighth time to the office of plebeian tribune, Fabius likewise, the military tribune, father-in-law of Stolo, without disguise, professed himself a supporter of those laws of which he had been an adviser: and whereas there had been, at first, among the plebeian tribunes, eight protesters against the laws, there were now only five; and these, as usual with men who desert their party, were embarrassed and perplexed. In expressions borrowed from others, they alleged, as a pretext for their protesting, merelv what they had been privately instructed to say, that “a large Edition: current; Page: [60] share of the commons were absent in the army at Velitræ; that the assembly ought to be deferred until the soldiers returned, in order that the entire body of the commons might have an opportunity of giving their votes, in matters wherein they were so deeply interested.” Sextius and Licinius, in conjunction with the other part of their colleagues, and Fabius, one of the military tribunes, having, from the experience of so many years, acquired the art of managing the minds of the commons, called on the principal patricians, and teazed them with interrogatories, on each of the subjects proposed to the people: “Were they so shameless as to require, that when the proportion of a plebeian was only two acres of land, they should be allowed to possess above five hundred acres each? That a single man should enjoy the share of near three hundred citizens; while a plebeian had scarcely an extent of land sufficient for a stinted habitation, or a place of burial? Did they think it reasonable, that the commons, inextricably embarrassed by the accumulation of interest, should surrender their persons to the stocks, and to the harsh treatment of creditors, rather than that they should be allowed a discharge of the debt, on paying off the principal? That men should daily be driven in flocks from the Forum, after being made over to their creditors? That the houses of the nobility should be filled with such prisoners? And that, in the habitation of every patrician, there should be a private prison?”

XXXVII. After painting those matters in the most invidious and pitiable colours, to an audience, whereof each individual was in dread that the case might become his own, and exciting, in the hearers, even greater indignation than they felt themselves, they went on to insist, that “there never could be any stop put to the patricians engrossing the lands to themselves, and crushing the commons under the weight of interest, unless the latter should constitute one of the consuls Edition: current; Page: [61] out of their own body, to be a guardian of their liberty. That the tribunes of the commons were now despised, because those invested with that power, by the present practice of protests, rendered its own strength inefficacious. It was impossible to deal on equal terms, while the others held in their hands the power of command, and they, only that of giving protection. Unless admitted to a share in the government, the commons could never enjoy an equal portion in the commonwealth. Nor ought it to be thought sufficient that plebeians should be allowed to stand candidates at the election of consuls; none of them would ever be elected, unless it were made an indispensable rule that one consul must, necessarily, be taken from among the commons. Had they now forgotten, that though the practice of electing military tribunes, rather than consuls, had been instituted, for the very purpose of opening the highest honours to the plebeians, yet, during a space of forty-four years, not one plebeian had been elected into that office? How then could they believe, that when there were but two places to be filled, those men would voluntarily bestow a share of the honour on the commons, who were accustomed to monopolize the whole eight places at the election of military tribunes? That they would suffer a passage to be laid open to the consulship, who, for such a length of time, had kept the tribuneship so closely fenced up? They must acquire by a law, what they could not accomplish by influence at elections; and one consul’s place must be set apart, beyond the reach of contest, to which the commons may have access: since, as long as it is left subject to dispute, it will ever become the prize of the more powerful. Nor could the nobles now pretend to say, what formerly they had been fond of asserting, that there were not to be found, among the plebeians, men qualified for the curule offices. For, was the administration of government conducted with less diligence and vigour since the tribunate of Publius Licinius Calvus, the first Edition: current; Page: [62] plebeian elected, than during those years in which none but patricians were military tribunes? Nay, on the contrary, several patricians, on the expiration of their office, had been condemned for misconduct, but never one plebeian. Quæstors too, in like manner as military tribunes, began, a few years before, to be elected out of the commons: nor had the Roman people seen reason to be displeased with any one of them. The consulship now remained to be attained by the plebeians; that was the bulwark, that the basis of their liberty. Could they once arrive at that, then, indeed, the Roman people would be satisfied that kings were really banished from the city, and liberty settled on a sure foundation. For, from that day, every advantage, in which the patricians now surpassed them, would come into the possession of the commons; command and honour, military glory, birth, nobility, all highly valuable to themselves in the present enjoyment, and which they could leave, with an increase of value, to their children.” Finding such discourses favourably attended to, they published another proposition: that instead of two commissioners for performing religious rites, ten should be appointed, half of whom should be plebeians, half patricians; and they deferred the meeting, which was to decide on all these matters, until the troops, then engaged in the siege of Velitræ, should return.

Y.R.387. bc365.XXXVIII. The year expired before the legions were brought home from Velitræ; and consequently, the affair of the laws remained suspended, and was handed over to the new military tribunes: for as to the plebeian tribunes, the commons re-elected the same; particularly the two who had proposed the laws. The military tribunes elected were Titus Quintius, Servius Cornelius, Servius Sulpicius, Spurius Servilius, Lucius Papirius, and Lucius Veturius. Immediately on the commencement of the new year, the contest about the laws was pushed to Edition: current; Page: [63] extremity; and when, on the tribes being assembled, the proposers of the laws persisted in their proceedings, in spite of the protests of their colleagues, the patricians were so alarmed that they recurred for aid to their last resource, an office superior to all others in power, and a citizen superior to all others in reputation. It was resolved that a dictator should be appointed. Accordingly Marcus Furius Camillus was nominated, and he chose Lucius Æmilius master of the horse. On the other side, the proposers of the laws, in opposition to this great effort of their adversaries, with determined resolution, collected every means of strength, in aid of the plebeian cause; and, summoning an assembly of the people, cited the tribes to give their votes. The dictator, attended by a band of patricians, having taken his seat, with many angry and menacing expressions, the business, at first, produced the usual contest among the plebeian tribunes; some of them supporting the law, and others protesting against it. But their protest, which by right ought to have prevailed, being nevertheless overpowered by the people’s warm attachment to the laws themselves, and to the promoters of them; and, the first tribes having pronounced, “Be it as you propose;” Camillus said, “Roman citizens, since the headstrong passions of your tribunes, not their legal authority, rule your proceedings; and since, after having at the expense of a secession, procured the privilege of protesting, ye now yourselves invalidate it, by the same violence through which ye obtained it; I, as dictator, out of regard, as well to your particular interest, as to the general interest of the commonwealth, will support the right of protesting: and, by the power of my authority, will defend your rights of protection, which ye endeavour to betray. Wherefore, if Caius Licinius and Lucius Sextius will give way to the protest of their colleagues, I shall be far from introducing the authority of a patrician magistrate into an assembly of the commons. Edition: current; Page: [64] But if, in opposition to the protest, they persist in their attempt to impose laws on the state, as if it were under captivity to them, I will not suffer the tribunitian power to be brought to dissolution by its own act.” The tribunes, in contempt of this declaration, still proceeding in the business with unabated activity, Camillus was so highly provoked, that he sent his lictors to disperse the commons; adding threats, that “if they persisted, he would compel every one of the younger men to take the military oath, and would instantly lead an army out of the city.” This struck great terror into the populace: but the opposition served rather to inflame than lessen the resolution of their leaders. However, before the dispute was brought to any decision, the dictator abdicated his office; either, because some informality was discovered in his appointment, as some writers have said; or because the plebeian tribunes proposed to the commons, and the commons passed it into an order, that if Marcus Furius Camillus performed any act as dictator, he should be fined five hundred thousand asses.* But the following considerations induce me to believe, that he was deterred from acting rather by a defect in the auspices, than by such an unprecedented order: first, the temper of the man himself; then Publius Manlius being immediately substituted in his room. What end could it answer, to appoint him for managing a dispute in which Camillus had been worsted? besides, the year following, the same Camillus was created dictator, and he certainly could not, without shame, have resumed an authority, which had been foiled in his hands the year before. At the time too, when the proposition about fining him is reported to have been published, he must either have had power sufficient to have prevented the passing of this order, by which he saw himself degraded, or else he Edition: current; Page: [65] could not have been able to oppose the others, on account of which this was introduced; for through the whole course of the various disputes, in regard to the authority of the tribunes, and that of the consuls even down to our memory, the dictatorship ever held a decided pre-eminence over both.

XXXIX. During the interval between the abdication of the former dictator, and the new one, Manlius, entering into office, as if it were an interregnum, the tribunes summoned an assembly of the people; and it was there discovered, which of the laws proposed were favourites of the public, and which of the proposers. For the commons passed those which respected interest of money, and the lands, and rejected the one respecting a plebeian consul; both which decisions would have been carried into effect, had not the tribunes insisted, that they had put the question to the assembly, on the whole of the laws collectively. Publius Manlius then turned the advantage to the side of the commons, by nominating as his master of the horse, a plebeian, Caius Licinius, who had been military tribune. This, we are informed, gave much displeasure to the patricians, to whom the dictator apologized for his conduct, alleging the near relationship between him and Licinius; at the same time asserting, that the post of master of the horse was no way superior to that of consular tribune. When the assembly for electing plebeian tribunes was proclaimed, Licinius and Sextius conducted themselves in such a manner, that, while they professed an unwillingness any longer to be continued in office, they applied to the commons the most powerful incentives, towards the effectuating of that purpose, which, from their dissimulation in the above particular, they seemed little desirous to promote. Telling them, that “they were now standing the ninth year, as it were in battle array against the nobility, with the greatest danger to their own particular interests, and without any advantage to the public. That, as they were Edition: current; Page: [66] now grown old, so, together with them, both the propositions which they had published, and the whole tribunitian power, were fallen into a state of languor. At first, the attack was carried on, against their propositions, by the protest of their colleagues; then, by banishing the younger citizens to the war of Velitræ; at last, the dictatorial thunder had been levelled against themselves. At present, neither colleagues, nor war, nor dictator stood in their way: for the latter had even, by nominating a plebeian master of the horse, given them an omen of a plebeian consul. The commons were the only obstruction to themselves, and to their own interests. They could, if they chose it, immediately, have the city and the forum free from creditors, and the lands free from unjust occupiers. And when would they ever consider these kindnesses with proper gratitude, if, at the very time when they were receiving plans for their own advantage, they precluded the authors of them from all hope of distinction? It was not suitable with the candour of the Roman people, to require that the burthen of interest money should be taken off from them, and that they should be introduced into the possession of the lands unjustly occupied by the powerful, and at the same time leave the persons, through whose means they acquired those lands, to grow old in the quality of tribunitians; not only without honours, but even without hope of them. Wherefore, let them, first, determine in their own mind what choice they would make, and then notify that choice, in the election of their tribunes. If they chose that the propositions published by them should be passed collectively, then there would be some reason for re-electing the same tribunes; for they would carry into effect their own wishes. But, if they chose that nothing more should pass, than what each found necessary to his private affairs, there would then be no occasion for the invidious mode of re-election; and, as they would fail of obtaining the tribuneship, Edition: current; Page: [67] so would the people of obtaining the matters proposed to them.”

XL. On hearing such peremptory language from the tribunes, and whilst amazement, at the insolence of their behaviour, held the rest of the patricians motionless and silent, Appius Claudius Crassus, grandson of the decemvir, is said to have stood forth to combat their argument; and, prompted, rather by hatred and anger, than by hope of success, to have spoken to this effect: “Roman citizens, to me it would be neither new nor surprising, if I should hear applied to myself on the present occasion, the same charge, which has always been objected, by seditious tribunes, to our family; that the Claudian race, even from the very beginning, has shown a more zealous attachment to the dignity of the patricians, than to any other object in the state; and that they have constantly opposed the interests of the commons. One of these assertions, neither I, nor any of the Claudii, will deny; that, from the time when we were first adopted, and admitted into the order of the patricians, we have earnestly endeavoured that the dignity of those families, among which ye were pleased to place us, might truly be said to have been augmented, rather than diminished, through our means. As to the other declaration, I can take upon me to insist and maintain, in behalf of myself and of my ancestors, that, unless we are to suppose that actions, which tend to the general good of the state, are injurious to the commons, as if they were inhabitants of another city, we never, either in our private capacity, or in office, proceeded knowingly, in any instance, to the detriment of those commons: and that there cannot, consistently with truth, be mentioned any one act, or word, of ours, contrary to your interest; though some indeed there may have been contrary to your inclinations. But even were I not of the Claudian family, nor sprung from patrician blood, but an individual in the general mass of citizens, only supposing me sensible that I was descended from Edition: current; Page: [68] free-born parents, and that I lived in a free state, could I keep silence in such a case as this; when Lucius Sextius, and Caius Licinius, perpetual tribunes, as it seems, have during the nine years in which they have reigned, acquired such a degree of arrogance, as to declare, that they will not allow you freedom of suffrage, either in elections or in enacting laws? On a certain condition, one of them says, ye shall reelect us tribunes, a tenth time. What else is this, than if he said, what others court, we disdain, so far, that, without a valuable consideration, we will not accept of it? And now, I pray you, what is that consideration, for which we may have you perpetually tribunes of the commons? Why, he tells you it is, that ye admit all our propositions collectively, be they pleasing or displeasing, profitable or unprofitable. Let me intreat you, ye Tarquinii, who are tribunes of the commons, to suppose that I, one of the citizens, called out in reply to you from the middle of the assembly: with your good leave, let us be permitted to choose, out of these propositions, such as we judge salutary to ourselves, and to reject others. No, says he, ye shall have no such permission. Must ye enact, concerning interest of money and lands, which tends to the good of every one of yourselves, and must not the prodigy of seeing Lucius Sextius and Caius Licinius consuls take place in the city of Rome, because ye view it with scorn and abhorrence? Either admit all, or I propose nothing. Just as if, before a person pressed with hunger, one were to lay food and poison together, and then to order him either to abstain from what would minister to life, or to mix along with it what would cause death. If then this state were really free, would not the whole assembly have replied to you thus; begone with your tribuneships and your propositions. What? If you do not propose that which is advantageous to the people to admit, can there be no other found to procure them advantages? If any patrician (or what they wish to be thought Edition: current; Page: [69] more invidious) if a Claudian should say, either admit all, or I propose nothing; what man among you, citizens, would endure it? Will ye never learn to attend to facts, rather than persons? For ever listen with partial ears to every thing uttered by men of their office, and with prejudice to what is said by any of us? But, surely, their language is very different from what becomes members of a republic: and what shall we say of their proposal, which they are so incensed at your rejecting? It is exactly of a piece, citizens, with their language. He says, I desire it may be enacted, that it shall not be lawful for you to elect into the consulship such persons as ye may approve: for can he mean otherwise who orders, that one consul must necessarily be taken from the plebeians, and does not allow you the power of electing two patricians? If wars were to be waged now, such as the Etrurian for instance, when Porsena lay on the Janiculum; or, as the Gallic lately, when, except the Capitol and citadel, all places were in possession of the enemy, and that Lucius Sextius stood candidate for the consulship with Camillus, would ye be able to bear, that Sextius should, without any competition, be made consul, while Camillus would be obliged to struggle against the danger of a repulse? Is this to introduce a community of honours? to make it lawful for two plebeians, but unlawful for two patricians, to be chosen consuls. To make it necessary to elect one plebeian, but allowable to pass by all the patricians; what sort of fellowship, what sort of confederacy is this? Are you not satisfied with obtaining a part of that in which hitherto you have had no concern; must you be laying violent hands on the whole? I fear, says Sextius, that if ye are at liberty to elect two patricians, ye will elect no plebeian. What is this but to say, because ye would not, of your own choice, elect unworthy persons, I will impose on you a necessity of admitting them without choice. What follows, but that, if one plebeian be named, together with two Edition: current; Page: [70] patricians, he is not even under an obligation to the people, and may say, that he was appointed by the law, and not elected by their suffrages?

XLI. “The power of extorting, not of suing for honours, is what they aim at; and to attain the most exalted without incurring the obligations even of the lowest: they choose also to make their way to them by means of accidental successes, rather than by merit. Is there any man who can think it an affront to have his character inspected and estimated? Who can deem it reasonable, that he alone, amidst struggling competitors, should have a certainty of obtaining honours? Who would exempt himself from your judgment? Who would render your suffrages necessary (if suffrages I must say) instead of voluntary; servile instead of free? Not to mention Licinius and Sextius, the years of whose perpetuated power, as if they were kings, ye number in the Capitol; what man is there this day, in the state, so mean that he might not, by the opportunities created by this law, make his way to the consulship, with greater ease, than we or our children? Since, in some cases, it will not be in your power to elect us, though ye wish it, and ye will be under a necessity of electing them, though against your will. Of the injury offered to merit, I shall say no more, for merit regards only the human race. But what shall I say, with respect to religion, and the auspices; the affront and injury offered to which, reflect immediately on the immortal gods? That this city was founded under auspices; that all business, civil and military, foreign and domestic, is conducted under them, who can be ignorant? In whom therefore is the privilege of auspices vested according to the constitution of our forefathers? In the patricians undoubtedly. For no plebeian magistrate is even so elected. So peculiar to us are the auspices, that the patrician magistrates, whom the people may approve, can be in no other manner elected; while we ourselves, without the suffrages Edition: current; Page: [71] of the people, create an interrex, under auspices; and, in private stations also hold such privilege, which they do not, even when in office. Does not he then, in effect, abolish the auspices, who by creating plebeian consuls, takes them out of the hands of the patricians, the only persons capable of holding them? They may now mock at religion, and say, where is the great matter, if the chickens do not feed? If they come out too slowly from the coop? If a bird chaunt an ominous note? These are trivial matters: but by not disregarding these trivial matters, our ancestors raised this state to the highest eminence. In the present times, as if we stood in no need of the favour of the gods, we violate all religious institutions. Let therefore pontiffs, augurs, kings of the sacrifices, be chosen at random. Let us place the tiara of Jupiter’s flamen on any one that offers, provided he be a man. Let us commit the Ancilia, the shrines, the gods, and the charge of their worship, to persons to whom they cannot, without impiety, be intrusted. Let neither laws be enacted, nor magistrates elected under auspices. Let not the approbation of the senate be requisite, either to the assemblies of the centuries, or of the Curias. Let Sextius and Licinius, like Romulus and Tatius, reign in the city of Rome, in return for their generosity in plundering from other men’s fortunes: in giving away other men’s money and lands, does it not occur to you, that by one of these laws, great part of the possessions must be converted into desolate wilds, in consequence of the owners being expelled from them: by the other, that credit would be annihilated, by which all human society must be at an end. For every reason, then, I am of opinion, that ye ought to reject those propositions altogether. Whatever is your determination, may the gods grant it a happy issue.”

XLII. The speech of Appius produced no other effect, than the putting off the decision on the propositions to another Edition: current; Page: [72] time. Sextius and Licinius, being again re-elected tribunes, the tenth time, procured a law to be enacted, that, of the decemvirs for superintending religious matters, half should be chosen from among the commons. Accordingly, five patricians were elected, and five plebeians. Which step being gained, the way seemed open to the consulship. Satisfied with this victory, the commons conceded so far to the patricians, that, no mention being made of consuls for the present, military tribunes should be elected.Y.R.388. bc364. The election fell on Aulus and Marcus Cornelius a second time, Marcus Geganius, Publius Manlius, Lucius Veturius, and Publius Valerius a sixth time. Except the siege of Velitræ, an affair of which the issue was rather tedious than doubtful, the Romans were undisturbed by any foreign concerns; when a sudden report of the Gauls approaching in arms, occasioned so great an alarm, that Marcus Furius Camillus was appointed dictator the fifth time, and he nominated Titus Quintius Pennus master of horse. Claudius asserts, that a battle was fought with the Gauls this year, on the banks of the river Anio, and that, at this time, happened the famous combat on the bridge, in which Titus Manlius, engaging with a Gaul who had challenged him, slew him in the sight of the two armies, and spoiled him of a chain. But I am led, by the authority of many writers to believe, that these events happened at least ten years later; and that a pitched battle was now fought with the Gauls by the dictator Camillus, in the territory of Alba. The victory was neither doubtful, nor obtained with difficulty by the Romans; although, from people’s recollection of former misfortunes, the coming of the Gauls had diffused very great terror. Many thousands of the barbarians were slain in the field, and great numbers in the storming of their camp. The rest dispersing, mostly towards Apulia, escaped, partly by continuing their flight to a great distance; and partly by being, through dismay and terror, scattered widely, Edition: current; Page: [73] in different quarters. The dictator had a triumph decreed him, with the concurrence of the senate and commons. Scarcely, however, had he got rid of the business of this war, than he found employment, from a more violent commotion at home: and the issue of an obstinate struggle was, that the dictator and senate were overpowered, and the propositions of the tribunes admitted. In consequence, an election of consuls was held, in spite of the opposition of the nobility, in which Lucius Sextius was made consul, the first of plebeian rank. Nor did the disputes end even here. The patricians refusing to give their approbation, the affair was likely to produce a secession of the commons, with dreadful consequences; when their dissensions were accommodated on terms, by the interposition of the dictator. The nobility made concessions to the commons, with respect to the plebeian consul, and the commons to the nobility with respect to one prætor to be elected out of the patricians, to administer justice in the city. Concord being, by these means, restored between the orders, after such a long continuance of mutual animosity, the senate were of opinion, that such an event deserved to be signalized by an exhibition of the most magnificent games, and by the addition of another day, to the usual three, of the Latine festival; expecting on this occasion, if on any whatever, to find a general willingness to show that testimony of gratitude to the immortal gods. But the plebeian ædiles refused to undertake the business: on which the younger patricians, with one accord, cried out, that out of their desire of paying due honour to the deities, they would with pleasure perform it, provided they were appointed ædiles. Their offer was accepted, with universal thanks, and the senate decreed, that the dictator should propose to the people, to appoint two of the patricians to the office of ædiles; and that the senate would give their approbation to all the elections made in that year.

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The offices of prætor and curule ædile instituted. A pestilential disorder rages in the city; of which dies the celebrated Furius Camillus. Scenic representations first introduced. Curtius, armed, on horseback, leaps into a gulph in the Forum. Titus Manlius, having slain in single combat a Gaul, who challenged any of the Roman soldiers to fight, takes from him a golden chain which he wears, and is, from thence, called Torquatus. Two new tribes added, called the Pomptine and Publilian. Licinius Stolo is found guilty, upon a law carried by himself, of possessing more than five hundred acres of land. Marcus Valerius, surnamed Corvinus, from having, with the aid of a crow, killed a Gaul, who challenged him, is next year elected consul, though but twenty-three years old. A treaty of friendship made with the Carthaginians. The Campanians, overpowered by the Samnites, surrender themselves to the Roman people, who declare war against the Samnites. P. Decius Mus saves the Roman army, brought into extreme danger by the consul A. Cornelius. Conspiracy and revolt of the Roman soldiers in the garrison of Capua. They are brought to a sense of duty, and restored to their country, by Marcus Valerius Corvus, dictator. Successful operations against the Hernicians, Gauls, Tiburtians, Privernians, Tarquinians, Samnites, and Volscians.

Y.R.389. bc363.I. THIS year will ever be remarkable for the consulship of a man of no ancestry; and remarkable, also, for the institution of two new public offices, the prætorship and the curule ædileship. These honours the patricians claimed to themselves, as a compensation for their concession of one consul’s place to the plebeians. The Edition: current; Page: [75] commons gave the consulship to Lucius Sexties, the introducer of the law by which it was obtained. The patricians, by their influence among the people, gained the prætorship for Spurius Furius Camillus son of Marcus; and the ædileship, for Cneius Quintius Capitolinus and Publius Cornelius Scipio, men of their own rank. The patrician colleague, given to Lucius Sextius, was Lucius Æmilius Mamercinus. In the beginning of the year, rumours were spread concerning the Gauls, who, after having been dispersed over Apulia, were now said to be collecting themselves into a body; and also concerning a revolt of the Hernicians. But all kinds of business were purposely deferred, lest the plebeian consul should have an opportunity of performing any service, and silence was as much observed on every subject, as though it had been proclaimed. The tribunes, however, did not suffer it to pass unnoticed, that the patricians, by way of requital for one plebeian consulship, had assumed to themselves three patrician magistrates, sitting in curule chairs, and clad in robes of state like consuls; the prætor even administering justice, as a colleague to the consuls, and elected under the same auspices. In consequence of this, the senate were afterwards ashamed to order, that the curule ædiles should be chosen from among the patricians. It was at first agreed that plebeians should be appointed every second year, but in after time the choice was left open. In the consulate of Lucius Genucius and Quintus Servilius, who immediately succeeded, though affairs were tranquil both at home and abroad, yet, as if at no time there could be an exemption from danger and alarm, a pestilence broke out with great violence; a censor, a curile ædile, and three plebeian tribunes, are said to have fallen victims to it, while its ravages among the populace were proportionably numerous; but this calamity was rendered memorable chiefly by the death of Marcus Furius Camillus,Y.R.390. bc362. whose loss, though at an advanced period of life, was much to be regreted: Edition: current; Page: [76] he was, in truth, a man singularly eminent in every change of fortune; before he went into banishment, the first person in the state, as well in civil as military departments; in exile, still more illustrious, whether we consider the disaster by which the nation was induced to supplicate his return; or his own successful conduct, by which, on being restored to his country, he effected that country’s liberation, and justified his own fair claim to celebrity. He then, through a course of twenty-five years after, uniformly maintained a character equal to this high rank of glory, allowed on all hands as deserving of being reckoned, next to Romulus, a second founder of the city of Rome.

Y.R.391. bc361.II. The pestilence continuing during both this and the following year, in which Caius Sulpicius Pæticus and Caius Licinius Stolo were consuls; nothing memorable was transacted, only that, for the purpose of soliciting the favour of the gods, the Lectisternium was performed the third time since the building of the city. But the disorder receiving no alleviation, either from human wisdom or divine aid, the strength of the people’s minds became almost overpowered by superstition, and, it is said, that on this occasion, among other devices for appeasing the wrath of heaven, scenic plays were introduced; a new thing to a warlike people; for hitherto there had been only the shows of the Circus. However, this kind of performance was, as in general all beginnings are, but a trifling matter, and even that borrowed from abroad. Actors were sent for from Etruria, who, though without any poetical language, or any gestures correspondent to such language, yet regulating their motions by the measures of the music, exhibited, in the Tuscan manner, something far from ungraceful. The younger citizens soon began to imitate these; throwing out, at the same time, among each other, ludicrous expressions in coarse verses, and with gestures adapted to the words: this Edition: current; Page: [77] kind of performance then being received with approbation, in the course of frequent practice gained much improvement. The native performers were called Histriones, from the Tuscan word Hister, signifying a player; and they did not, as formerly, pronounce alternately, without regard to order, verses like the Fescennine, artless and unpolished, but represented comic medleys,* composed in regular metre, with the several parts of the performance properly adjusted to the music; the delivery of the words and the gesticulation being performed in concert with the music. Several years after this, Livius, who was the first to lay aside medleys, and to digest a story into a regular plot, being also, as all were at that time, the actor of his own pieces; and, having broken his voice by being obliged to repeat them too often, after requesting the indulgence of the public, placed a boy before the musician, to chaunt, while he himself performed the gesticulations. And this he executed with much freer action, because disengaged from attention to the management of his voice. Hence originated the practice of the chaunting being performed by another, to the gesticulation of the actors, whose voices were eased of all but the dialogue. When, by this regulation, the scenic business was directed to other objects than laughter and intemperate mirth, and the amusement was, by degrees, converted into an art, the younger citizens, leaving to professed actors the exhibition of plays, began, according to the ancient practice, to throw out alternately ludicrous jests, comprised in verse, which thence got Edition: current; Page: [78] the name of exodia, or interludes, and were collected principally out of the Atellan farces.* This kind of entertainment, thus borrowed from Oscia, these younger citizens kept in their own hands, not suffering it to be debased by professed players. For this reason the rule was established, which is still observed, that the actors of these Atellan farces are not degraded from their tribe, and are capable of serving in the army, as if no way concerned in the business of the stage. Among the trifling beginnings of other matters, I thought it not amiss to give a view of the origin of theatrical exhibitions also, in order to show, from a moderate setting out, to what an intolerable extravagance they have proceeded; such extravagance, indeed, as scarcely to be supported by opulent kingdoms.

III. However, this introduction of stage plays, intended as a pious expiation, neither relieved men’s minds from religious dread, nor their bodies from the disorder: so far otherwise, that an inundation of the Tiber happening to overflow the Circus, and to interrupt a play in the middle of the performance, that incident excited the utmost degree of terror, as it was deemed a token of the displeasure of the gods, and that they disdained the atonements offered to their wrath.Y.R.392. bc360. Wherefore, in the next consulate, of Cneius Genucius, and Lucius Æmilius Mamercinus a second time, people’s minds being more harassed in searching for expiations, than their bodies by the sickness, it was collected, from the memory of some of the more aged, that a pestilence had formerly ceased, on the nail being driven by a dictator. The senate were so superstitious on the occasion, as to order a dictator to be appointed, for the purpose Edition: current; Page: [79] of driving the nail: Lucius Manlius Imperiosus was accordingly nominated, and he appointed Lucius Pinarius master of the horse. There is an obsolete law, written in antique letters and words, that whoever is supreme officer, should drive a nail on the ides of September. It used to be driven into the right side of the temple of Jupiter, supremely great and good, in that part where the statue of Minerva stands. This nail, it is said, served as a mark of the number of years elapsed, the use of letters being rare in those times; and the law directed the ceremony to the temple of Minerva, because the use of numbers was an invention of that goddess. Cincius, a diligent inquirer into such monuments of antiquity, assures us, that there were to be seen, among the Volscians also, nails fixed in the temple of the Tuscan goddess Nortia, by which they kept account of the number of years. Marcus Horatius, being then consul, first performed this ceremony, in obedience to the law, at the temple of Jupiter, supremely good and great, in the year after the expulsion of the kings. Afterwards, the solemnity of driving the nail was transferred from the consuls to a dictator, because this was a superior office: the custom was dropped in after times, but it was now deemed an affair of sufficient importance in itself, to require the nomination of a chief. Manlius, who was appointed for the purpose, as if he had been commissioned to manage the affairs of the state in general, and not merely to acquit it of a religious duty, being ambitious of commanding an army against the Hernicians, harassed the youth by a rigorous severity in levying troops, until at length all the plebeian tribunes united to oppose him; and then overcome, either by force or shame, he resigned the dictatorship.

IV. Notwithstanding which, in the beginning of the next year, Quintus Servilius Ahala,Y.R.393. bc359. and Lucius Genucius a second time, being consuls, a criminal prosecution was commenced against Manlius, by Marcus Edition: current; Page: [80] Pomponius, a plebeian tribune. His rigour in the levies, which he had carried, not only to the fining of the citizens, but even to the wounding of their persons, (those who refused to answer to their names being some beaten with rods, others loaded with chains, had excited a general hatred against him; but more obnoxious than all were his impetuous temper, and the surname of Imperiosus, which he had assumed out of an ostentation of severity, a quality which appeared not more conspicuously in his behaviour to strangers, than to the persons most closely connected with him, and to those of his own blood.—One of the charges brought against him, by the tribune, was, that “he had banished his son, a youth convicted of no dishonourable act, from the city, from his house, from his tutelar gods, from the Forum; prohibited him the enjoyment of the light, and of the conversation of his equals; having reduced him to work like a slave, in a kind of prison or work-house, and thus had one of most distinguished birth, of dictatorian rank, learned, from his daily sufferings, that he was born of a father really imperious. And for what fault? Because he was not endowed with eloquence, nor ready in discourse. And whether ought the father, if he had a particle of humanity in him, to apply gentle remedies to a natural defect, or to attempt to correct it by punishment, and cause it to be more noticed by a course of harsh treatment? Even beasts, if any of their offspring chance to be unhappily formed, are nevertheless careful in nourishing and cherishing it. But Manlius aggravated the misfortune of his son, and clogged the slowness of his capacity with additional impediments; and whatever spark of natural ability he possessed, took the method to extinguish it by accustoming him to a rustic life and clownish manners, keeping him among his cattle.”

V. By these charges every one was highly incensed against Manlius, except the young man himself; on the contrary, Edition: current; Page: [81] grieving that he should be the cause of hatred and accusations against his parent, in order to demonstrate to gods and men that he wished support to his father, rather than to his enemies, he formed a design, which, though not reconcileable to the rules of civil society, was yet commendable in its principle of filial duty. Having provided himself with a dagger, he came to the city, without the knowledge of any one, early in the morning, and proceeding directly to the house of Marcus Pomponius the tribune, told the porter that he wanted to see his master immediately, and desired him to acquaint him that Titus Manlius, the son of Lucius, was there. He was immediately introduced: for the other hoped that he came inflamed with resentment against his father, and had brought either some new matter for accusation, or some scheme for accomplishing the design. Manlius then, after mutual salutations, told him that he wished to confer with him, on some business, in private. All who were present being ordered to withdraw to a distance from the apartment, he drew his dagger, and standing over the couch with the weapon ready to strike, threatened to stab him that moment, if he did not swear, in the words which he should dictate, that he “never would hold a meeting of the commons for the purpose of prosecuting his father.” The tribune, affrighted at seeing the steel glittering before his eyes, himself alone and unarmed, the other a young man, his superior in strength, and, what was no less terrifying, full of savage ferocity from consciousness of his strength, swore in the terms enjoined him; and afterwards alleged this sorry proceeding, as his reason for desisting from his undertaking. Nor did the people conceive any displeasure at so bold an attempt of a son in behalf of his parent, although they would have been much better pleased to have had an opportunity of passing sentence on a culprit of such a cruel and tyrannical disposition; and it was thought the more commendable in Edition: current; Page: [82] him, that the excessive rigour of his father had not erased from his mind the love of him. Wherefore, besides the father being excused from standing a trial, that very affair was also productive of honours to the son; and, on its being determined that year, for the first time, that the tribunes of the soldiers for the legions should be appointed by vote of the people, (for until then, the commanders used to appoint them of their own authority, as they do at present those termed Ruffuli,) he obtained the second place among six, though not recommended to public favour by any merit, either in a civil or military line, having spent his youth in the country, and out of the way of any intercourse with the world.

VI. In the same year, we are told, the earth, near the middle of the Forum, in consequence either of an earthquake, or some other violent cause, sunk down to an immense depth, forming a vast aperture; nor could the gulph be filled up by all the earth which they could throw into it, though every one exerted himself in bringing it thither, until, pursuant to advice of the gods, they set about enquiring what it was which constituted the principal strength of the Roman people; for, according to the responses of the soothsayers, that must be devoted to this place, if they wished that the Roman commonwealth should be everlasting. Then they tell us, that Marcus Curtius, a youth highly distinguished by his military exploits, reproved them for deliberating whether Rome was possessed of any greater good than arms and valour; and, on this, silence being made, throwing his eyes round to the temples of the gods within view of the Forum, and to the Capitol, and extending his hands, at one time towards heaven, at another, towards the infernal gods, through the gaping aperture of the earth, he devoted himself as a victim. Then, having dressed himself in complete armour, and mounted a horse accoutred with the most gorgeous Edition: current; Page: [83] furniture which could be procured, he plunged into the opening, and the multitude, men and women, threw in over him their offerings, and quantities of the fruits of the earth; and thus it is said the lake received its name, and not, as it supposed by some, from Mettius Curtius, the ancient soldier of Titus Tatius. If there were any way of coming at the truth, no diligence should be wanting, on my part, in the pursuit of it: but now, when the distance of time precludes all certain evidence, we must abide by the reports of tradition, and account for the name of the lake from this latter fable. This great prodigy being expiated, the senate, during the same year, taking the affair of the Hernicians into consideration, voted, (after sending heralds to demand satisfaction, without effect,) that on the first proper day, the sense of the people should be taken on the subject of a declaration of war against them, and the people, in full assembly, ordered it. That province fell, by lot, to the consul Lucius Genucius: and now the whole state was in anxious suspense; because, being the first plebeian who, in quality of consul, was to wage war under his own auspices, the issue of the expedition would furnish an opportunity of judging of the wisdom or imprudence of introducing a community of honours. Fortune so ordered it, that Genucius marching against the enemy with a powerful force, fell into an ambush, where the legions being seized with a sudden panic, and routed, the consul was surrounded and slain by persons, who knew not at the time who they had killed. When the news of this was brought to Rome, the patricians, who were not so much grieved at the calamity of the public, as they were elated at the ill success attending the command of a plebeian consul, every where exclaimed, “Let them go now and elect plebeian consuls; yet transfer the auspices, they could not without impiety. The patricians might indeed, by a vote of the people, be driven from the possession of their own peculiar Edition: current; Page: [84] honours; but had this inauspicious law been able to prevail likewise against the immortal gods? These had interposed to vindicate their own authority, their own auspices: for no sooner had these been defiled by a person prohibited by divine and human laws, than the destruction of their army, together with their commander, had given them warning, not to conduct elections in such a manner hereafter, as to confound the rights of birth.” The senate-house and the Forum resounded with such expressions. Appius Claudius, who had argued against the law, and therefore, with greater authority, blamed the people now for the issue of a scheme, of which he had manifested his disapprobation, was, at the general desire of the patricians, nominated dictator by the consul Servilius, and proclamation was issued for a levy and a cessation of business.

VII. Before the arrival of the dictator, and the new legions, at the place where the Hernicians lay, Caius Sulpicius, the lieutenant-general, who held the command, making use of an opportunity which offered, fought the enemy with brilliant success. After the death of the consul, the Hernicians had advanced towards the Roman camp, in a contemptuous manner, confident, beyond doubt, of becoming masters of it; on which the soldiers, burning with rage and indignation, and encouraged by the lieutenant-general, sallied out upon them. The Hernicians were so widely disappointed in their hopes of approaching the rampart, that they were obliged to retire in great confusion. Soon after, by the arrival of the dictator, the new army was joined to the old, and the forces doubled. The dictator, by bestowing commendations, in a public speech, on the lieutenant-general and the soldiers, by whose bravery the camp had been defended, animated still farther the courage of those, who heard their own praises justly set forth, and stimulated the rest to emulation of their merit. Nor were the preparations for action less vigorous on the side Edition: current; Page: [85] of the enemy; mindful of the honour which they had before acquired, and not ignorant of the addition to the strength of the Romans, they applied themselves to augment their own likewise. The whole Hernician race, every man of military age, was called out. Eight cohorts were formed, consisting each of four hundred men, the ablest which could be chosen out of all their number. This select body, the flower of their youth, they also filled with hope and spirits by a decree, that they should receive double pay: they were, besides, excused from military works, in order that, being reserved entirely for the single labour of fighting, they might be sensible that they ought to make exertions beyond what was expected from the generality of men: even an extraordinary post in the field was allotted them, that their valour might be the more conspicuous. A plain of two miles in breadth separated the Roman camp from that of the Hernicians: in the middle of this, the spaces being nearly equal on both sides, they came to an engagement. The fight was maintained, for some time, without any apparent advantage, the Roman cavalry making many fruitless attempts to disorder the enemy’s line by their charge: but when they found that, acting as cavalry, they could produce no effect in proportion to their efforts, the horsemen, after first consulting the dictator, and obtaining his permission, dismounted from their horses, rushed forward, with a loud shout, before the line, and recommenced the fight in a new mode. Nor could they have been resisted, had not the extraordinary cohorts, their equals in vigour both of body and mind, thrown themselves in their way.

VIII. The contest then lay between the nobility of the two nations. Whatever the common chance of war carried off from the one side or the other, was a loss to be estimated on a much higher scale than that of the numbers. The rest, an armed populace, as if they had delegated the fight to their Edition: current; Page: [86] nobles, rested the issue of their own cause on the bravery of the others. Many fell on both sides; more were wounded. At length the horsemen, chiding each other, began to ask, “In what manner they were to act next? since, neither on horseback had they made an impression on the enemy, nor on foot were performing any service of consequence? What other method of fighting did they wait for? To what purpose was their rushing forward so fiercely before the line, and their combating in a post which did not belong to them?” Animated by these mutual reproaches, they raised the shout anew, pressed forward, and compelled the enemy, first to shrink, then to give way, and at last fairly drove them off the field. It is not here easy to say what circumstance turned the advantage against strength so equally matched with their own; unless it were, that the fortune, which continually attended each nation, had power both to exalt and to depress courage. The Romans pursued the flying Hernicians to their camp; but they did not choose to attack it, because it was then late in the day. Some delay in finishing the sacrifices with success had detained the dictator, so that he could not give the signal before noon, and, in consequence, the battle had lasted until night. Next day, the camp of the Hernicians was found deserted, and many of their wounded left behind. Their main body, as they fled, was attacked by the Signians, who observing, as they passed by their walls, that their standards were but thinly attended, routed and dispersed them through the country in precipitate flight. Nor did the Romans gain the victory without bloodshed; a fourth part of their soldiers perished, and, what was a loss of no less importance, several of the Roman horsemen fell.

Y.R.394. bc358.IX. In the year following, the consuls, Caius Sulpicius, and Caius Licinius Calvus, led an army against the Hernicians, and, not finding the enemy in the field, took Ferentinum, one of their cities, by Edition: current; Page: [87] storm; when, on their return from thence, the Tiburtians shut their gates against them. This behaviour finally determined the Romans, many complaints having been made on both sides, before this, to declare war against the people of Tibur, after demanding satisfaction by heralds. We learn, from very good authority, that Titus Quintius Pennus was dictator this year, and Servius Cornelius Maluginensis master of the horse. Macer Licinius writes, that he was nomimated by the consul Licinius, for the purpose of holding the elections; because, observing that his colleague hastened the elections, in order to have them over before the commencement of the campaign, with design to procure his own re-election to the consulship, he judged it necessary to thwart his ambitious designs. This account, being calculated to enhance the honour of his own family, renders the authority of Licinius of the less weight; as I find no mention of that circumstance in the earlier annals, I am inclined to think, that the dictator was appointed rather on account of the Gallic war. There is no doubt that, in that year, the Gauls were encamped at the third stone on the Salarian road, at the farther side of the bridge of the Anio. The dictator having, in consequence of the alarm of a Gallic tumult, proclaimed a cessation of civil business, obliged all the younger citizens to take the military oath; and, marching out of the city with a very powerful army, encamped on the hither bank of the Anio. The bridge lay between the armies, neither party choosing to break it down, lest it should be construed as an indication of fear. Frequent skirmishes were fought for the possession of the bridge, but so indecisive, that it could not be clearly discovered to which party it belonged. While affairs were in this posture, a Gaul, of a stature remarkably large, advanced on the bridge, then unoccupied; and, with a loud voice, called out, “Let the bravest man that Rome can produce, come forth here to battle, that the event of a combat Edition: current; Page: [88] between us two may determine which of the nations is to be held superior in war.”

X. The young Roman nobility were for a long time silent, ashamed to refuse the challenge, yet unwilling to claim the first post of danger. Then Titus Manlius, son of Lucius, the same who had freed his father from the persecution of the tribune, advancing from his station to the dictator, said, “General, I would on no account leave my post to fight without your orders, not though I should see a certain prospect of victory: but if you permit me, I wish to show that brute, who makes such an insolent parade in the front of the enemy’s army, that I am sprung from that family which beat down an army of Gauls from the Tarpeian rock.” The dictator answered, “Titus Manlius, I honour your bravery, and your dutiful regard to your father, and to your country; go, and with the help of the gods, show the Roman name invincible.” The youth was then armed by his companions, took a footman’s shield, and girded on a Spanish sword, adapted to close fight. As soon as they had fitted on his armour and ornaments, they conducted him out towards the Gaul, who showed a savage joy, and (the ancients have thought that circumstance also worth mention) even thrust out his tongue in derision. They then retired to their posts, and the two champions were left in the middle space, in the manner of a spectacle, rather than according to the rules of combat, very unequally matched, in the eyes of such as judged by sight and appearance. The one had a body of enormous size, glittering in a vest of various colours, having armour painted and inlaid with gold: the other was of the middle stature among soldiers, and his mein devoid of ostentation, in arms calculated for ready use more than for show. On his side there was no song of defiance, no capering, or vain flourishing of arms, but his breast, replete with resolution and silent rage, reserved all its fierceness for the decision of Edition: current; Page: [89] the contest. They took their ground between the two armies, while the minds of such great numbers of men on both sides were suspended between hope and fear. The Gaul, like some huge mass, ready to crush the other under it, stretching forward his shield with his left hand, discharged an ineffectual blow on the edge of his sword, with great noise, on the armour of Manlius, as he approached; while the Roman, pushing aside the lower part of his antagonist’s shield with his own, and insinuating himself between that and his body, closed in with him in such a manner, as to be in no danger of a wound. He then raised the point of his sword, and with one, and then a second thrust, piercing the belly and groin of his foe, laid him prostrate on the ground, of which he covered a vast extent. The body, without offering it any other indignity, he despoiled of a chain only, which, bloody as it was, he threw round his own neck. Astonishment and dismay held the Gauls motionless. The Romans, in rapture, advanced from their posts to meet their champion, and with congratulations and praises conducted him to the dictator. Among the unpolished jests which they threw out, according to the soldiers’ custom, composed in a manner somewhat resembling verses, the appellation Torquatus was heard joined with his name; which, being generally adopted, has since done honour to the descendants of that whole line. The dictator also presented him with a golden crown, and, in a public speech, extolled the action in the highest terms.

XI. In fact, that combat was of so great consequence with respect to the general issue of the campaign, that, on the night following, the army of the Gauls, abandoning their camp in hurry and confusion, removed into the territory of Tibur; and from thence, soon after, into Campania, having first concluded an alliance with the Tiburtians, for the purpose Edition: current; Page: [90] of carrying on the war, and received from them liberal supplies of provisions.Y.R.395. bc357. This was the reason, that in the next year Caius Pœtelius Balbus, consul, notwithstanding that province of the Hernicians had fallen to the lot of his colleague Marcus Fabius Ambustus, led an army, by order of the people, against the Tiburtians, to whose assistance the Gauls came back from Campania, and dreadful ravages were committed in the territories of Lavici, Tusculum, and Alba, in which the Tiburtians openly took the lead. Though the state had been content with a consul at the head of the army, against such an enemy as the Tiburtians, the alarm of a Gallic war made it requisite, that a dictator should be created. Quintus Servilius Ahala being accordingly appointed, he nominated Titus Quintius master of the horse; and, by direction of the senate, vowed to celebrate the great games, if in that war he should be crowned with success. The dictator then, ordering the consular army to remain where it was, in order to keep the Tiburtians at home, by obliging them to employ their arms in their own defence, enlisted all the younger citizens, none declining the service. A battle was fought with the enemy at no great distance from the Colline gate, in which the entire strength of the city was employed, in the sight of their parents, wives, and children. Such incitements to courage as the preservation of their dearest relatives, which operate powerfully, even when those relatives are absent, being now placed before their eyes, roused every sentiment of honour and every feeling of affection. After great slaughter on both sides, the army of the Gauls was at length defeated. They directed their flight towards Tibur, which the Gauls considered as the grand stay of the war; but being met in disorder, not far from that city, by the consul Pœtelius, and the Tiburtians marching out to their aid, they were all driven within the gates. Thus both the dictator and the consul conducted Edition: current; Page: [91] their operations most successfully. Fabius likewise, the other consul, at first, in slight skirmishes, and, at last, in one remarkable engagement, wherein the Hernicians attacked him with their whole force, entirely defeated them. The dictator, after passing magnificent encomiums on the consuls, and declining in their favour the honours due to his own exploits, abdicated the dictatorship. Pœtelius enjoyed a double triumph over the Gauls and the Tiburtians. Fabius was contented with entering the city in ovation. The Tiburtians treated the triumph of Pœtelius with derision; for, “where,” they asked, “had he tried their strength in the field? a few of their people, who had gone out at the gates, as spectators of the flight and confusion of the Gauls, on finding themselves also attacked, and that every one who came in the way was slain, without distinction, had retired into the city. Did the Romans deem this a matter worthy of a triumph? They had thought it a great and marvellous exploit to raise a tumult at an enemy’s gates, but they should soon experience greater trepidation round their own walls.”

XII. Accordingly, in the year following, when Marcus Popillius Lænas, and Cneius Manlius,Y.R.396. bc356. were consuls, setting out from Tibur in the dead of the night, with forces prepared for action, they came to the city of Rome, where the people, being roused hastily from sleep, were filled with consternation, by the suddenness of the affair, and the alarm happening in the night, great numbers also being ignorant who were the enemy or whence they came. However, they quickly ran to arms, posted guards at the gates, and manned the walls; and when day-break showed no other enemy before the city but the Tiburtians, and those not very considerable, the consuls marching out by two different gates, attacked their army on both flanks as they were just advancing to the walls. It then appeared, Edition: current; Page: [92] that they had come with greater reliance on the opportunity for a surprise, than on their own valour; for they scarcely withstood the first onset of the Romans. Their coming proved, in the event, even fortunate to the Romans, a dissension which was on the point of breaking out between the patricians and plebeians being suppressed by their apprehensions from a war so near at home. Another irruption into their territory, and by another enemy, succeeded this; more terrible, however, to the country, than to the city. The Tarquinians over-ran the Roman frontiers, committing depredations, principally, on the side contiguous to Etruria: and, after restitution had been demanded in vain, the new consuls, Caius Fabius, and Caius Plautius, by order of the people,Y.R.397. bc355. declared war against them: that province fell to Fabius, the Hernicians to Plautius. A rumour of a Gallic war also prevailed. But amid these causes of apprehension, they derived some consolation in a peace with the Latines, granted at their own request, and also from a large supply of soldiers sent by that nation in compliance with an ancient treaty, the terms of which had been disregarded for many years past. This addition of strength was such an effectual support to the cause of the Romans, that they heard with the less concern, soon after, that the Gauls had come to Præneste, and, afterwards, that they were encamped near Pedum. It was determined that Caius Sulpicius should be created dictator; he was accordingly nominated by the consul, Caius Plautius, who was called home for the purpose; and Marcus Valerius was appointed master of the horse. These led against the Gauls the ablest of the soldiers, chosen out of the two consular armies. This war proved much more tedious than was suitable to the views of either party. At first, the Gauls only were in haste to come to an engagement; but, in a little time, the Roman soldiery far surpassed them in their eagerness for the Edition: current; Page: [93] fight. The dictator thought it highly improper, when no urgent occasion required it, to hazard a battle against an enemy, whose strength, time, and an incommodious situation, would daily impair, while they lay there inactive, without either a magazine of provisions, or a fortification of any strength; and who were, besides, of such a constitution, both of body and mind, that their whole force consisted in brisk exertions, but flagged on a short delay. On these considerations, the dictator protracted the war, and denounced a severe punishment if any should engage without orders. With this the soldiers were highly displeased, censuring, in their private conversations, sometimes the dictator, and sometimes the senate in general, for not having ordered the war to be conducted by the consuls. “An excellent general,” they said, “had been chosen, an extraordinary commander, who expected, that, without any effort, victory would fly down from heaven into his lap.” Afterwards, they began openly in the day to utter the same expressions, and others still more outrageous, saying, that, “without regarding the general’s orders, they would either fight the enemy, or go in a body to Rome.” The centurions, too, mixed themselves with the soldiers; nor did they confine their murmurs to their own circles, but, at length, in the head-quarters, and about the general’s tent, uttered their sentiments in one general confused clamour; until, the crowd increasing to the size of a general assembly, it was at last shouted from every side, that they should go that instant to the dictator, and that Sextus Tullius should speak in behalf of the army, in such manner as became his courage.

XIII. Tullius was now, the seventh time, in the post of first centurion of a legion; nor was there a man in the army, at least among the infantry, more eminently distinguished by his behaviour. At the head of the body of the soldiery, he proceeded to the tribunal, and while Sulpicius wondered Edition: current; Page: [94] not more at the crowd, than at Tullius, a soldier most remarkable for obedience to command, being the leader of that crowd, he addressed him thus:—“Dictator, permit me to inform you, that the whole army, thinking themselves condemned, in your judgment, as cowards, and kept without arms, almost as if they had been sentenced to ignominy, have entreated me to plead their cause before you. In truth, could it even be objected to us, that, on any occasion, we had deserted our post, turned our backs to an enemy, or shamefully lost our standards, I think we might, notwithstanding, reasonably expect to obtain so much favour from you, as that you would allow us by our bravery to atone for our fault; and, by a new acquisition of glory, to blot out the memory of our disgrace. Even the legions, defeated at the Allia, marching out afterwards from Veii, recovered by their valour, the country which they had lost through cowardice. We, by the blessing of the gods, your good fortune, and that of the Roman people, have both our cause and our glory unimpaired; although I scarcely dare to mention glory, whilst the enemy scoff at us with every kind of insult, as hiding ourselves, like women, behind a rampart. And what grieves us still more, is, that you, our general, should entertain so mean an opinion of our army, as to suppose us without spirit, without arms, without hands; and that, before you have made any trial of your strength, you should despair of us, as if you considered yourself the commander of a set of maimed and disabled men. For what else can we believe to be the reason, that you, a general of long experience, remarkable for spirit in war, sit, as the saying is, with folded hands? But however this may be, it is fitter that you should doubt our courage than we yours. If, however, this plan be not your own; if it be enjoined by public authority; and if some scheme concerted among the patricians, and not the Gallic war, detains us in banishment from the city, and from Edition: current; Page: [95] our homes, I beseech you, that what I say on this head, you will not consider as spoken by soldiers to their general, but to the patricians by the commons, who declare, that as ye have your separate plans, so will they have theirs. In such case, who can blame us, if we look on ourselves as your soldiers, not as your slaves; as men sent to war, not into exile; as men who, if any one were to give the signal, and lead them to the field, would fight as becomes Romans; but who, if there were no occasion for their arms, would rather pass a time of peace at Rome, than in a camp? Let this be deemed as addressed to the patricians. Of you, general, we, your soldiers, intreat that you will give us an opportunity of fighting. We wish to conquer, and under your command: to present you with distinguished laurels; to enter the city with you in triumph, and following your chariot with congratulations and rejoicings, to approach the temple of Jupiter supremely good and great.” The speech of Tullius was followed by the entreaties of the multitude, who, from every side, loudly requested that he would give the signal, that he would order them to take arms.

XIV. This proceeding, however laudable in its principle, was yet conducted in a manner which the dictator could by no means approve. He yet undertook to comply with the wishes of the soldiers; and inquired of Tullius in private, what sort of transaction this was, and on what precedent they had acted? Tullius earnestly besought Sulpicius to believe that he had not forgotten either his duty as a soldier, or the high respect due to his general: assuring him that “his reason for not declining to put himself at the head of the incensed soldiery, who were all actuated by the same spirit, was, lest some other might stand forth, and such as a multitude in commotion generally appoint. That, as to himself, most certainly, he would do nothing without the direction of the general; on whom, nevertheless, it was highly Edition: current; Page: [96] incumbent to use every precaution on his part, for retaining the army in obedience to command. That minds so exasperated would not brook delay, and that they would themselves choose a time and place for fighting, if not granted to them by the general.” While they were talking in this manner, it happened that as a Gaul was attempting to drive off some cattle that were feeding on the outside of the rampart, two Roman soldiers took them from him. Stones were thrown by the Gauls, then a shout was raised at the next Roman post, and several ran out from both sides. The affair was now likely to end in a general battle, had not the contest been quickly stopped by the centurions. This accident, however, served to confirm the testimony of Tullius in the judgment of the dictator; and the matter admitting no farther delay, notice was given that they were to fight on the day following. The dictator, however, as he was going out to the field, confiding in the courage more than in the numbers of his men, began to look about and study how he might, by some artifice, strike terror into the enemy. His sagacious mind struck out a new device, which many commanders, both of our own and foreign nations, have since practised, some even in our times. He ordered the panniers to be taken off from the mules, two side-cloths only being left on each, and on these he mounted the muleteers dressed up in arms, of which some had been taken from the enemy, the rest belonged to the sick. Having thus equipped about one thousand of these, he mixed with them an hundred horsemen, and ordered them to go up during the night, into the mountains above the camp, to conceal themselves in the woods, and not to stir from thence, until they should receive a signal from him. As soon as day appeared, he began to extend his line along the bottom of the mountain, with the purpose of making the enemy draw up with their faces towards the ascent: he thus completed his preparatory measures Edition: current; Page: [97] for infusing terror, which terror, groundless as it was, proved rather more serviceable to him, than his real strength. The leaders of the Gauls at first believed that the Romans would not come down to the plain: afterwards, when they saw them begin on a sudden to descend, they also, on their part, eager for the contest, rushed on to battle, and the fight began before the signal had been given by the generals.

XV. The Gauls made their fiercest attack on the right wing, which would not have been able to withstand them, had not the dictator happened to be on the spot, who reproached Sextus Tullius by name, and asked him, “Was that the manner in which he had engaged that the soldiers should fight? Where were those shouts, with which they had demanded arms? Where their threats that they would engage without the general’s orders? Behold their general now, calling them with a loud voice to battle, and advancing in arms before the front of the line. Would any of those follow him, who just now were to have led the way; fierce in the camp, but dastardly in the field?” These reproaches were just; the men were, therefore, so deeply stung with shame, that, totally regardless of danger, they rushed against the weapons of their adversaries. This onset, made with a degree of madness, first disordered the enemy; and the cavalry charging them while in disorder, forced them to give way. Sulpicius, when he saw their line wavering on that side, went round with some troops to the left wing, where he observed them collected in a close body, and gave the signal agreed on to those who were stationed on the mountains; whereupon a new shout was raised on that quarter also, and they were seen coming down the mountain in an oblique direction towards the camp of the Gauls; these, then, dreading lest they should be cut off from their camp, ceased fighting, and ran towards it with precipitation; but being met in the way by Marcus Valerius, the master of the horse, who, after having Edition: current; Page: [98] routed their left wing, was pushing forward to the intrenchment, they turned their flight towards the mountains and woods. Here the greater part of them were intercepted by the muleteers, who personated horsemen; and of those, whose fears had carried them into the woods, a terrible slaughter was made, after the battle was ended. Nor did any one, since Camillus, obtain a more complete triumph over the Gauls than Caius Sulpicius. From the spoils he consecrated a very large quantity of gold, in the Capitol, inclosing it within a wall of hewn stone. The same year, the consuls also engaged with the enemy, but with different success: for the Hernicians were entirely defeated, and subdued by Caius Plautius: whereas Fabius, his colleague, came to an engagement with the Tarquinians without caution or prudence. Nor was the loss sustained in the field, on the occasion, so much to be regretted, as that the Tarquinians put to death three hundred and seven Roman soldiers, their prisoners; by which barbarity the disgrace of the Roman people was rendered the more conspicuous. To this disaster were added devastations of the Roman territories, made, in sudden incursions, by the Privernatians, and afterwards, by the people of Velitræ. This year two tribes, the Pomptine and Publilian, were added to the others. The votive games vowed by Marcus Furius Camillus, in his dictatorship, were performed. And a law was now first proposed to the people by Caius Pætilius, plebeian tribune, in pursuance of the directions of the senate, concerning the corrupting of voters at elections, by the passing of which they thought a sufficient restraint was laid on the vicious practices of new men particularly, who had been accustomed to frequent the markets, and other places of meeting, for that purpose.

Y.R.398. bc354.XVI. Not equally pleasing to the patricians was a law, carried in the year following, when Caius Marcius and Cneius Manlius were consuls, by Marcus Duilius, and Lucius Mænius, plebeian tribunes, Edition: current; Page: [99] fixing the interest of money at the rate of twelve for each hundred by the year, and which the commons admitted, and passed with much the greater eagerness. In addition to the wars determined on in the foregoing year, a new one arose with the Faliscians; against whom, two charges were made: first, that their youth had fought in conjunction with the Tarquinians; the second, that they had refused, on the demand of the Roman heralds, to restore those soldiers, who, after the defeat, had escaped to Falerii. That province fell to Cneius Manlius. Marcius led an army into the territory of Privernum, which was in a flourishing state, and abounding in plenty, through a long continuance of peace; and there he enriched his soldiers with abundance of spoil. To the great quantity of effects, he added an act of munificence; for, by sequestering no part for the use of the public, he favoured the soldier in the acquisition of private property. The Privernians having taken post in a strongly fortified camp under their walls, he called the soldiers to an assembly, and said to them, “I now bestow upon you the spoil of the camp and city of the enemy, provided ye promise me, that ye will exert yourselves with bravery in the field, and show that ye are not better disposed to plunder than to fight.” They called for the signal with loud shouts; and, full of spirits and with the utmost confidence, advanced to battle. There Sextus Tullius, whom we mentioned above, called out in the front of the line, “General, behold how your troops perform their promises to you.” Then, laying aside his javelin, he rushed forward with his drawn sword. The whole van followed Tullius, and, by their first onset, overthrew the enemy, thence pursuing them as they fled to the town; and, when they were just raising the scaling ladders to the walls, the city surrendered. A triumph was performed over the Privernians. By the other consul nothing memorable was done, only that, holding an assembly of the Edition: current; Page: [100] tribes in the camp at Sutrium, a proceeding unprecedented, he procured a law to be passed concerning the twentieth of the value of persons set free by manumission. As this law produced no small increase of revenue to the treasury, which was very low, the senate gave it their approbation. However, the plebeian tribunes, not so much displeased with the rule as with the precedent, had a law enacted, by which it was made a capital offence for any person, in future, to hold an assembly of the people, at a distance from the city: for they said, “if that were allowed, there was nothing, how prejudicial soever to the community, which might not be passed into a law by soldiers sworn to obey their consuls.” This year, Caius Licinius Stolo, being prosecuted on his own law, by Marcus Popillius Lænas, was fined ten thousand asses,* for holding in partnership with his son a thousand acres of land, and for attempting, by emancipating his son, to elude the law.

Y.R.399. bc353.XVII. The new consuls who succeeded, Marcus Fabius Ambustus and Marcus Popillius Lænas, both a second time, had two wars on their hands, one with the Tiburtians of no great difficulty, in which Lænas commanded, who, after forcing the enemy to take shelter in their town, laid waste their country: the other consul was routed, in the beginning of the fight, by the Faliscians and Tarquinians. These continued to excite the greatest Edition: current; Page: [101] terrors by means of their priests, who, carrying lighted torches and the figures of serpents, and advancing with the gestures of furies, utterly disconcerted the Roman soldiers by their extraordinary appearance; so that they ran back to their entrenchments, in all the hurry of dismay, like men seized with phrenzy or thunder-struck. Afterwards, when the consuls, lieutenant-generals, and tribunes, began to ridicule and upbraid them for being frightened like children at strange sights, which could do them no injury, shame wrought such a sudden change in their minds, that they rushed, as if blindfold, on those very objects from which they had fled. Having quickly dispersed those insignificant instruments of the enemy, and fallen in with those who were in arms, they drove their whole line from the field, and before the day was at an end, getting possession of their camp, where they found an immense booty, returned to their own with victory, uttering ludicrous reflections, in the military style, both on the stratagem of the enemy and their own fright. The whole Etrurian nation then rose up in arms, and, headed by the Tarquinians and Faliscians, advanced as far as Salinæ. To make head against such an alarming force, Caius Marcius Rutilus was nominated dictator, the first plebeian who held that office, and he chose, for his master of the horse, Caius Plautius, a plebeian likewise. It excited great indignation in the minds of the patricians, that the dictatorship, along with the other offices, should now become common; and they laboured, with all their might, to prevent any thing requisite to the war from being decreed or prepared for the dictator; for which reason the people ordered, with the greater readiness, every thing which the dictator proposed. Marching his forces from the city on both sides of the Tiber, and transporting his troops on rafts, occasionally, as his intelligence of the enemy required, he surprized many of their straggling parties, scattered over the country in search of plunder: attacking Edition: current; Page: [102] their camp also by surprise, he made himself master of it; and eight thousand of the enemy being made prisoners, and the rest either slain or driven out of the Roman territory, he triumphed by order of the people, contrary to the approbation of the senate. The nobility, being unwilling that the election of consuls should be held either by a plebeian dictator or consul, and the other consul, Fabius, being detained abroad by the war, an interregnum took place. There were then interreges, in succession, Quintus Servilius Ahala, Marcus Fabius, Cneius Manlius, Caius Fabius, Caius Sulpicius, Lucius Æmilius, Quintus Servilius, and Marcus Fabius Ambustus. In the second interregnum, a contention arose on account of two patricians being elected consuls; and, on the tribunes protesting, the interrex Fabius said, that “was set down in the twelve tables, that whatever the people ordered last, that should be law, and in force; and that the people’s votes were their orders.” The tribunes not being able, by their protests, to obtain any other advantage, than that of putting off the election, two patricians were at length chosen consuls,Y.R.400. bc352. Caius Sulpicius Pæticus a third time, and Marcus Valerius Publicola, and on the same day entered into office.

XVIII. In the four hundredth year from the building of the city of Rome, and the thirty-fifth since its recovery from the Gauls, the consulship was taken out of the hands of the commons, at the end of eleven years; and consuls, who were both patricians, the interregnum ceasing, entered on their office, Caius Sulpicius Pæticus a third time, and Marcus Valerius Publicola. During this year, Empulum was taken from the Tiburtians without much difficulty; but whether this was owing, as some writers assert, to the war being waged there under the auspices of both consuls; or, whether it arose from the lands of the Tarquinians being wasted by the consul Sulpicius, at the same time that Valerius led his Edition: current; Page: [103] legions against the Tiburtians, is uncertain. The consuls, however, had a more difficult contest to maintain at home against the commons and tribunes. As they were both patricians, they thought themselves bound, as well in regard to their honour as to their resolution, to deliver the consulships over to two patricians likewise: for that if the consulship were now made a plebeian magistracy, they must yield it for ever. They therefore held it proper to retain entire a right, which they had received entire from their fathers. The commons, on the other hand, made loud remonstrances; “Why did they live? Why were they reckoned in the number of citizens, if they could not maintain by their united efforts, what had been procured by the firmness of two men, Lucius Sextius and Caius Licinius? It were better to endure kings or decemvirs, or, if such there were, any title of government still more obnoxious, than to have both their consuls of the patrician order, and not to be allowed to command and obey in turn. Shall one half of the citizens be placed in perpetual command, and think the commons born for no other purpose than to be their slaves?” The tribunes were not remiss in fomenting these disorders; but all were in such a ferment, that hardly were any distinguished particularly as leaders. After they had several times gone down to the field of election to no purpose, and after many days of meeting had been wasted in debates, the commons, being at last overcome by the perseverance of the consuls, took this method of venting their resentment at the disappointment: the tribunes exclaimed, that there was an end of liberty, and that now they ought to leave not only the field, but the city also, since it was held under captivity and oppression by the arbitrary power of the patricians; and then they were followed by the plebeians in a melancholy crowd. The consuls, though deserted by a part of the people, yet, nevertheless, with the small number Edition: current; Page: [104] who remained,Y.R.401. bc351. finished the election. Both the consuls appointed were patricians, Marcus Fabius Ambustus a third time, and Titus Quintius. In some annals I find, instead of Titus Quintius, Marcus Popillius consul.

XIX. Two wars were carried on this year with success. The Tiburtians were reduced by force of arms to submission; the city of Sassula was taken from them; and the rest of their towns would have shared the same fate, had not the whole nation laid down their arms, and surrendered themselves to the consul. He triumphed over the Tiburtians. In other respects, the victory was used with much moderation: but the Tarquinians were treated with rigorous severity. After a great slaughter had been made of them in the field, there were chosen out of the vast number of prisoners, three hundred and fifty-eight of the most distinguished birth, to be sent to Rome: the rest of the multitude were put to the sword: nor were the people more merciful to those who were sent to Rome: they were all beaten with rods, and beheaded in the middle of the Forum. Such was the punishment retaliated on the enemy, in return for their murdering the Romans in the Forum of Tarquinii. These successes in war induced the Samnites to solicit their friendship; their ambassadors received a courteous answer, and a treaty of alliance was concluded with them. The Roman commons did not experience the same prosperity at home as in war; for, although the burthen of interest-money had been lightened, by fixing the rate at one for the hundred, the poor were unequal to the discharge of the principal alone, and were put in confinement by their creditors. The thoughts of the commons, therefore, were so much engrossed by their private distresses, as to exclude all solicitude about both the consuls being patricians, or the business of elections, or any party concerns. The consulate therefore remained with the patricians, Edition: current; Page: [105] and Caius Sulpicius Pæticus a fourth time, and Marcus Valerius Publicola a second time, were elected.Y.R.402. bc350. While the state was occupied with the Etrurian war, entered on in consequence of a report prevailing that the people of Cære, out of compassion to their relations, had joined the Tarquinians; ambassadors from the Latines diverted their attention to the Volscians, bringing information that these had enlisted and armed a number of troops, with which they threatened to invade their borders, whence they would certainly carry forward their depredations into the Roman territories. The senate therefore determined not to neglect either affair; they ordered legions to be enlisted for both purposes, and the consuls to cast lots for their provinces. The greater share of their attention was afterwards directed to the Etrurian war, when it was discovered, from the letters of the consul Sulpicius, to whose lot Tarquinii had fallen as his province, that the country round the Roman Salinæ had been laid waste: that part of the plunder had been conveyed into the country of the Cæritians; and that the young men of that nation were certainly among the plunderers. Wherefore, recalling the consul Valerius, who had been sent to oppose the Volscians, and was then encamped on the frontiers of Tusculum, the senate ordered him to nominate a dictator. He nominated Titus Manlius, son of Lucius, who, having appointed Aulus Cornelius Cossus his master of the horse, and thinking the consular army sufficient, with the approbation of the senate, and by order of the people, declared war against the Cæritians.

XX. These were then first seized with real dread of a war, not considering that the Romans were provoked to it by the ravages committed on their territory. They perceived how unequal their own strength was to such a contest, repented heartily of their depredations, and cursed the Tarquinians, the advisers of their revolt. Nor did any entertain a thought Edition: current; Page: [106] of arms and hostilities, but every one earnestly recommended that ambassadors should be sent to solicit pardon of their error. Their ambassadors having applied to the senate, and being by them referred to the people, implored the gods, whose sacred property they had taken into their care in the Gallic war, and treated with all due reverence, that the Romans, in their present flourishing state, might feel for them the same commiseration which they had formerly felt for the Roman people in their distress; and, turning to the temple of Vesta, appealed to the bonds of hospitality subsisting between themselves and the priests and vestals, to the forming of which they had contributed on their part with pure and religious zeal: “Could any one believe, that people who had such merits to plead, would, on a sudden, without reason, commence enemies? Or, if they had been guilty of some hostile act, that it was design, and not rather mistake occasioned by frenzy, that could induce them to act in such a manner, as would cancel their ancient kindnesses by recent injuries; especially as those, on whom they were conferred, had shown so grateful a sense of them? Could it be supposed, that they would choose to themselves, as an enemy, the Roman people, while flourishing in prosperity, and most successful in arms, with whom, when oppressed by calamities, they had formed a friendship? Let them not call that a studied matter, which really arose from necessity. The Tarquinians, marching through their territory in hostile array, although they had asked for nothing but a passage, compelled some of their peasants to accompany them in that predatory expedition, the guilt of which was now charged on them. If it were the pleasure of the Romans, that these should be delivered into their hands, they were ready to deliver them; or, if that they should be punished, they would inflict the punishment. They then intreated, that Cære, the sanctuary of the public worship of the Roman people, the Edition: current; Page: [107] refuge of its priests, and the receptacle of Rome’s sacred effects, might, out of regard to the rights of hospitality contracted with the vestals, and to the gods whose worship was there preserved, be left unhurt, and unstained with the imputation of having commenced hostilities.” The people were moved, not so much by the merits of their present case, as by their old deserts, to overlook the injury, rather than the kindness. Peace was therefore granted to the people of Cære, and a resolution passed, that it should be referred to the senate to pass a decree, granting them a truce of an hundred years. The force of the war was then meant to be turned against the Faliscians, who were guilty of the same crime; but the enemy were no where to be found. Depredations were made in all parts of their country, but it was not thought proper to besiege the towns; and, the legions being brought home to Rome, the remainder of the year was spent in repairing the walls and the towers: the temple of Apollo was also dedicated.

XXI. In the latter end of the year, a dispute between the patricians and plebeians suspended the election of consuls; for the tribunes declared, that they would not suffer it to be held, unless conformably to the Licinian law, and Manlius was obstinately determined rather to abolish the consulship entirely out of the state, than to lay it open to all promiscuously. The election, therefore, being frequently adjourned, and the dictator going out of office, the matter ended in an interregnum. The interreges found the commons highly incensed against the patricians, so that the contest between the parties was prolonged to the eleventh interrex. The pretext of the tribunes was, the support of the Licinian law. The commons had a cause of uneasiness in a matter which touched them more nearly, the increasing weight of interest-money; and the ill temper, contracted from their private grievances, broke out in the public disputes, of which the patricians Edition: current; Page: [108] became so wearied,Y.R.403. bc349. that for concord’s sake, they ordered the interrex Lucius Cornelius Scipio to conform to the Licinian law in the election of consuls. To Publius Valerius Publicola, a plebeian colleague was assigned, Caius Marcius Rutilus. When a disposition to harmony once began to prevail, the new consuls directed their endeavours to the procuring relief in the affair of interest-money also, which seemed the only obstacle in the way of universal quiet; accordingly, they made the payment of the debts a public concern, appointing five commissioners for the management thereof, whom, from their dealing out the money, they called bankers. These, by their equity and diligence, rendered themselves deserving of having their names recorded, with honour, in every history of the times. They were Caius Duilius, Publius Decius Mus, Marcus Papirius, Quintus Publilius, and Titus Æmilius, who went through a business of a most difficult nature, (at first dissatisfactory, in general, to both parties, always, certainly, to one,) with moderation, and, moreover, at the expense of the public, rather than of the creditors: for the more tardy debts, and such as were rendered troublesome, rather by unwillingness than want of ability in the debtors to satisfy them, were either discharged by the treasury, on security being first given to the public (tables being placed in the Forum with money for the purpose); or were settled by composition, after an equitable valuation of the effects of the debtor. So that, not only without injury, but finally without complaint from any party, was an immense amount of debts cleared off. After this, a false alarm of an Etrurian war, grounded on a rumour that the twelve states had conspired to that purpose, occasioned the nomination of a dictator. Caius Julius was appointed in the camp, for the decree of senate was sent thither to the consuls, and Lucius Æmilius was joined Edition: current; Page: [109] as master of the horse. However, every thing abroad remained in quiet.

XXII. At home, an attempt, made by Julius, to procure the election of two patricians to the consulship, brought the government to an interregnum. The two intermediate interreges, Caius Sulpicius and Marcus Fabius, effected what the dictator had endeavoured in vain, the election of consuls out of the patricians, the temper of the commons being now appeased by the late kindness shown them in the lightening of their debts.Y.R.404. bc348. Caius Sulpicius Pæticus himself, who was the first interrex, and now out of office, was chosen with Titus Quintius Pennus. Some gave the surname of Cælo, others that of Caius to Quintius. They both marched against the enemy: Quintius against the Faliscians, Sulpicius against the Tarquinians; and, not meeting either enemy in the field, turned the rage of war on the lands, plundering and burning every thing throughout the country: by which kind of operations, as by a slow consumption, both those states were so enfeebled, that they were obliged to abate of their obstinacy, and send to request a truce; first, from the consuls, and afterwards, with their permission, from the senate: they obtained one for forty years. The public being thus freed from all concern about the two nations which threatened their quiet, it was resolved, that, while they enjoyed some repose from war, a general survey should be made, on account of the many alterations in property, caused by the payment of the debts. But, when the assembly was proclaimed for the appointing of censors, Caius Marcius Rutilus, who had been the first plebeian dictator, declaring himself a candidate for the censorship, disturbed the harmony of the public: and this step he seemed to have taken at an unfavourable juncture, because it happened that both the consuls were then patricians, who declared that they would not allow his pretensions. However, Edition: current; Page: [110] he effected his purpose, partly through his own resolute perseverance, and partly through the aid of the tribunes; for they supported him, with their utmost power, in the recovery of a right, which they had lost in the election of consuls. Besides, as the worth of the man himself set him on a level with any of the highest honours, so the commons were also desirous, that their title to a share in the censorship should be established through the same person, who had opened their way to the dictatorship. At the election no dissent was shewn to the appointment of Marcius along with Cneius Manlius. There was likewise a dictator appointed this year, Marcus Fabius; not in consequence of any alarm of war, but to prevent the observance of the Licinian law, in the choice of consuls. The dictatorship, however, gave no greater efficacy to this scheme of the patricians, as to the election of consuls, than it had in that of censors.

Y.R.405. bc347.XXIII. Marcus Popillius Lænas was chosen consul on the part of the commons, Lucius Cornelius Scipio on that of the patricians. Fortune even threw the greater share of lustre on the plebeian consul: for, on the receipt of intelligence that a vast army of Gauls had pitched their camp in the Latine territory, Scipio then labouring under a heavy fit of sickness, the Gallic war was given, out of course, to Popillius. He levied forces with great diligence, ordered the younger citizens to assemble in arms, at the temple of Mars, outside the Capuan gate, and the Quæstors to carry out the standards from the treasury to the same place; and, having completed four legions, gave the surplus of the men to the prætor Publius Valerius Publicola; recommending it to the senate, to raise another army as a reserve against the uncertain contingencies of war. Then, having completed every necessary preparation and arrangement, he proceeded towards the enemy. In order to acquire a knowledge of their strength, before he should hazard a decisive Edition: current; Page: [111] action, he began to form an intrenchment on a hill, the nearest possible to the camp of the Gauls. These being of a race naturally fierce and eager for fighting, as soon as they saw the Roman standards at a distance, drew out their forces in order for battle, as if they were immediately to engage: but, when the opposite army did not descend to the plain, (the Romans being secure both from the height of the ground, and by entrenchments,) imagining that they were dispirited with fear, and also that they might be attacked with greater advantage, being particularly busy on their fortifications, they advanced with a furious shout. On the side of the Romans, the works suffered no interruption, the veterans being the persons employed therein; but the battle was supported by the younger soldiers and spearmen, who had been formed in front of the others, armed and ready for the fight. Besides their own superior valour, the Romans had the advantage of the higher ground, so that the spears and javelins did not all fall without effect, as is generally the case when thrown on the same level, but flying with the greater force and steadiness, by means of their own weight, almost every one of them took effect; so that the Gauls were weighed down with the weapons with which they either had their bodies transfixed, or their shields rendered too heavy for them to support, from the number sticking in them. Though they had advanced against the steep, almost in full speed at first, yet they became irresolute, and halted. This delay abated their courage, while it augmented that of the opposite party; they were then pushed backwards headlong from the height, the carnage ensuing in consequence being more horrid than even that made by the enemy; for greater numbers were bruised to death, by falling one on the other with their ponderous shields, than were slain by the sword.

XXIV. But the victory was not yet decided in favour of the Romans. On coming down to the plain, they found another Edition: current; Page: [112] formidable opposition still to be overcome: for the numbers of the Gauls being so great as to prevent them from feeling their loss, they led on fresh troops against the victorious enemy, as if a new army had sprung up from the ruins of the other. The Romans therefore desisted from the pursuit; seeing that, after all their fatigue, another laborious contest remained for them to maintain; besides, that the consul having his left shoulder pierced almost through with a javelin, while he exposed himself incautiously in the van, had retired for a short time from the line. They were now letting victory slip out of their hands by delay, when the consul, having got his wound dressed, rode back to the front of the line, and called out, “Soldiers, why do ye thus stand? Ye have not to do with a Latine or Sabine enemy, whom, when ye have conquered him by your arms, ye can, perhaps, make an ally: they are brutes against whom we have drawn the sword; we must destroy them, or they will destroy us. Ye have repulsed them from your camp; ye have driven them headlong down the declivity; ye stand on the prostrated bodies of your enemy; cover, then, the plains with the same carnage, with which ye have covered the mountains; wait not until they fly from you, advance your standards, and charge your enemy.” Roused again to action by these exhortations, they drove back the foremost companies of the Gauls, and then, forming in wedges, broke through the centre of their line. The barbarians being thus disunited, and having no regular system of command or subordination of officers, in their confusion destroyed each other as before. After being dispersed over the plains, and carried by the precipitancy of their flight, even beyond their own camp, they bent their way towards the citadel of Alba; which, among the hills nearly equal in height, happened to strike their eyes as the highest eminence. The consul did not contine the pursuit farther than to their camp, being greatly weakened Edition: current; Page: [113] by his wounds, and at the same time unwilling to expose his troops, already fatigued, to new toil; especially as the high grounds were now occupied by the enemy. Bestowing, therefore, on the soldiers the entire plunder of the camp, he led them back to Rome, exulting in victory, and enriched with the spoils of the Gauls. The consul’s wound occasioned a delay of his triumph, and the same cause made the senate wish for a dictator, for both the consuls being sick, a magistrate was wanted to hold the election. Lucius Furius Camillus being nominated accordingly, and Publius Cornelius Scipio appointed his master of horse, he restored to the patricians their original possession of the consulship: in return for which service, being himself elected consul, through the zeal exerted by the patricians, he declared Appius Claudius Crassus his colleague.

XXV. Previous to the new consuls entering into office, the triumph of Popillius over the Gauls was celebrated,Y.R.406. bc346. with the highest applause from the commons, who, in making their observations among themselves, frequently asked, did any one see reason to be sorry for having a plebeian consul? At the same time they censured the dictator severely, who, they said, had received the consulship as a bribe, for having infringed the Licinian law, in a manner more dishonourable on account of his selfish ambition, than even of the injury offered to the public; as, while he was invested with the office of dictator, he made himself consul. This year was rendered remarkable by many and various commotions. The Gauls, unable to endure the severity of the winter, came down from the Alban mountains, and spread themselves over the plains, and the parts near the sea, plundering wherever they came. The sea was infested by fleets of the Grecians, as were the coast of Antium, the Laurentian district, and the mouth of the Tiber: and it so fell out that these pirates even fought an obstinate battle with the plunderers on land; Edition: current; Page: [114] after which they separated, the Gauls to their camp, and the Grecians to their ships, doubtful, on both sides, whether they should consider themselves as victors or vanquished. At the same time, the most alarming apprehensions were excited by assemblies of the Latine states being held at the grove of Ferentina; and by the answer, which they gave in plain terms, to the order of the Romans for a supply of soldiers; “that they should cease to issue orders to people of whose assistance they stood in need; that the Latines would take arms, rather in support of their own liberty, than of the dominion of others.” The senate being greatly disturbed at this defection of their allies, in addition to the two former wars, which they had already on their hands, and, perceiving the necessity of keeping them under restraint by fear, since the faith of treaties had proved ineffectual, ordered the consul to exert the whole power of his office, to the utmost stretch, in levying troops; observing, that they must now rely for support on an army of their own countrymen, since their allies had deserted them. We are told, that, by collecting men from all quarters, (not only the youth of the city, but of the country likewise,) there were ten legions completed, consisting each of four thousand two hundred foot, and three hundred horse; such a body of new raised troops, as, in case of danger from a foreign power, the whole world, though directed to one point, could not easily furnish. So true it is, that our improvements have been confined to those particulars, on which alone we bestow our labour and our wealth. Among the melancholy events of this year, one of the consuls, Appius Claudius, died in the midst of the preparations for war, and the whole administration of affairs fell on Camillus; over whom, though standing single in the consulship, the senate did not think it decent that a dictator should be appointed, as well in consideration of the high respectability of his character, which ought to exempt him Edition: current; Page: [115] from being placed in a state of subordination, as of the auspicious omen afforded by his surname with regard to a Gallic war. The consul then stationed two legions to guard the city, divided the other eight with the prætor Lucius Pinarius, and, emulating his father’s bravery, assumed to himself the Gallic war without the decision of lots; ordering the prætor to guard the sea coast, and prevent the landing of the Grecians. When he had marched down into the Pomptine territory, not choosing to come to an engagement on the level grounds, when no circumstance made it necessary, and judging that the enemy would be effectually subdued, by being prevented from the acquisition of plunder, as they had no other resource than what they obtained in that way, he chose out a situation convenient for a fixed encampment.

XXVI. Here, while the men passed the time in quiet in their quarters, a Gaul of extraordinary size, splendidly armed, advanced towards them; and striking his shield with his spear, having caused silence, he challenged, by an interpreter, any one of the Romans to enter the lists with him in arms. There was a tribune of the soldiers called Marcus Valerius, a young man, who, thinking himself not less qualified for an honourable enterprise of the kind than Titus Manlius, after first inquiring whether it would be agreeable to the consul, advanced in armour into the middle space. The contest between these men was the less noticed, because of an interposition of the power of the gods: for, just as the Roman began the combat, a crow pitched suddenly on his helmet, looking towards his antagonist, which, as an augury sent from heaven, the tribune at first received with joy, and then prayed that “whatever god or goddess had sent him, the auspicious bird would be favourable and propitious to him.” What is wonderful to be told, the bird not only kept the seat where it had once pitched, but as often as the rencounter was renewed, raising itself on its wings, attacked the Edition: current; Page: [116] face and eyes of his antagonist, the Gaul, with its beak and talons, who became so much terrified by the sight of such a prodigy, that he was slain by Valerius. The crow then flew up on high towards the east, until it was out of sight. Hitherto the advanced guards on both sides had remained quiet: but when the tribune began to strip the spoils from the body of his fallen enemy, the Gauls no longer confined themselves to their post, and the Romans ran with still greater speed to the conqueror, when a scuffle arising round the body of the prostrate Gaul, a desperate fight ensued. And now the contest was supported, not by the companies from the nearest posts, but by the legions pouring out from both sides. While the Roman soldiers exulted at the victory of the tribune, and likewise at such attention and favour shown them by the gods, Camillus ordered them to march on to battle, and pointing to the tribune decorated with the spoils, “Soldiers, imitate him,” said he, “and strew heaps of Gauls round their fallen champion.” Both gods and men contributed their aid to insure success in that engagement, and a complete and acknowledged victory was obtained over the Gauls, according to the forebodings entertained by both parties from the issue of the combat. The first party of Gauls maintained the battle with fury; but the remainder, before they came within a weapon’s cast, turned their backs, and fled. They were dispersed through the territories of the Volscians, and of Falerii; from thence they made towards Apulia and the upper sea. The consul calling an assembly, besides bestowing praises on the tribune, presented him with ten oxen, and a golden crown; and then being ordered by the senate, to attend in person to the war on the coast, he joined his camp to that of the prætor. There, as the business did not promise a speedy conclusion, from the dastardly conduct of the Grecians, who would not venture into the field, he, by direction of the senate, nominated Titus Manlius Torquatus, dictator, Edition: current; Page: [117] for the purpose of the elections. The dictator accordingly, after appointing Aulus Cornelius Cossus master of the horse, held the elections; and, with the warmest applause of the people, declared consul, though absent, his rival in his own line of glory, Marcus Valerius Corvus, for that surname was given him from thenceforth; he was then only twenty-three years old.Y.R.407. bc345. The colleague joined with Corvus was a plebeian, Marcus Popillius Lænas, who was now to enjoy that office a fourth time. Between the Grecians and Camillus nothing memorable occurred. The former were not warriors by land, nor the latter by sea. At length the Greeks, not being suffered to leave their ships, and, besides other necessaries, their water also failing, withdrew from Italy. To what nation or what state that fleet belonged, there is no certain account. I am most inclined to believe, that it was sent by the tyrants of Sicily; for the farther Greece, at that time, besides being weakened by intestine wars, stood much in dread of the power of the Macedonians.

XXVII. After the armies were disbanded, peace prevailed abroad, and concord subsisted between the orders at home; but, lest their happiness should be too great, a pestilence attacked the state, which obliged the senate to order the decemvirs to inspect the Sibylline books; and, by their direction, a lectisternium was performed. This year, a colony was led by the Antians to Satricum; and the city, which the Latines had demolished, rebuilt. There was also a treaty concluded at Rome with ambassadors of the Carthaginians, who had come to solicit friendship and alliance. The same tranquillity continued at home and abroad, during the consulate of Titus Manlius Torquatus and Caius Plautius.Y.R.408. bc344. The only business which occurred out of course, was, that the interest of money, instead of Edition: current; Page: [118] twelve, was reduced to six for the hundred;* and the payment of the debts adjusted in such a manner, that one-fourth part being paid at the present, the other three parts should be discharged in three years, by so many equal payments. Notwithstanding which, numbers of the commons were still distressed; but the senate paid more regard to public credit, than to the difficulties of particular persons. The greatest relief to their circumstances was the cessation of the taxes and levies. In the third year after the rebuilding of Satricum by the Volscians, Marcus Valerius Corvus, being a second time consul, with Caius Pœtelius, on intelligence received from Latium, that ambassadors from Antium were going round the states of the Latines,Y.R.409. bc343. to excite them to war, he was ordered to march an army against the Volscians, before the enemies should be joined by others; and he proceeded to Satricum with his troops ready for action. To this place the Antians, and other Volscians, had advanced to meet him, with forces which they had, some time before, got in readiness, to oppose any enterprize which might be undertaken on the side of Rome; and both parties being inflamed with an inveterate hatred, an engagement commenced without delay. The Volscians, a nation who enter into war with more ardour than they support it, being vanquished in the fight, fled precipitately to the walls of Satricum; but not relying, with any great confidence, even on the protection of those walls, and the city being encompassed by a continued line of troops, who were on the point of taking it by scalade, they surrendered themselves prisoners, to the number of four Edition: current; Page: [119] thousand, besides the unarmed multitude. The town was burned, the temple of Mother Matuta only being exempted from the flames. The entire spoil was given to the soldiers. The four thousand who surrendered, were not considered as part of the spoil: these, the consul, in his triumph, drove before his chariot in chains; and, from the sale of them afterwards, brought a large sum of money into the treasury. Some writers allege, that this body of prisoners consisted of slaves; and it is more probable that they were so, than that men, who had capitulated, should be set up to sale.

Y.R.410. bc342.XXVIII. These consuls were succeeded by Marcus Fabius Dorso, and Servius Sulpicius Camerinus. The Auruncians soon after commenced hostilities, by a sudden predatory irruption; and apprehensions being entertained, that this act of one state was part of a scheme formed by the whole Latine nation, Lucius Furius was created dictator, as if all Latium were already in arms. He nominated Cneius Manlius Capitolinus master of the horse; and a cessation of civil business being proclaimed, as usual on alarms of a dangerous nature, and levies being made, without allowing any exemption, the legions were led, with all possible expedition, against the Auruncians, who were found to possess the spirit of freebooters rather than of soldiers; so that they were utterly vanquished in the first engagement. However, the dictator, considering that they had brought on hostilities by their incursions, and that they had no apparent desire to decline the fight, wished to engage the aid of the gods in his favour; and, in the heat of the battle, vowed a temple to Juno Moneta; and then returning to Rome, under the obligation of this vow, in consequence of his success, he abdicated the dictatorship. The senate ordered two commissioners to be appointed to erect the temple, with a magnificence becoming the Roman people: the site chosen for it was that spot in the citadel, whereon had stood Edition: current; Page: [120] the house of Marcus Manlius Capitolinus. The consuls, making use of the dictator’s troops for carrying on the Volscian war, took Sora from the enemy by surprise. The temple of Moneta was dedicated in the next year after it had been vowed, Caius Marcius Rutilus a third time, and Titus Manlius Torquatus a second time, being consuls.Y.R.411. bc341. The dedication was immediately followed by a prodigy, similar to the ancient one of the Alban lake; for a shower of stones fell, and, during the day, night seemed to cover the sky: the state being filled with pious fears, and the books being inspected, the senate came to a resolution that a dictator should be nominated, for the purpose of directing the religious rites. Publius Valerius Publicola was accordingly nominated, and Quintus Fabius Ambustus appointed his master of the horse. It was thought proper, that not the tribes only should offer supplications, but even the neighbouring nations; and a regular course was fixed for them, and on what day each should perform that duty. Some severe sentences are recorded, which were passed this year by the people against usurers, on charges brought by the ædiles. An interregnum took place in the same year, for which no particular reason has been given.Y.R.412. bc340. At the conclusion of the interregnum, both consuls were elected out of the patricians, Marcus Valerius Corvus a third time, and Aulus Cornelius Cossus; and this seems to have been the purpose intended by it.

XXIX. Henceforward will be related wars of greater importance, whether we consider the strength of the powers, the length of their continuance, or the distance of the countries in which they were carried on: for in this year, arms were first taken up against the Samnites, a nation powerful in wealth and arms. After the Samnitian war, in which a variety of fortune was experienced, Pyrrhus appeared as an Edition: current; Page: [121] enemy; after Pyrrhus, the Carthaginians. What a series of important events! How often have the extremities of danger been undergone, before the structure of this empire could be raised to its present magnitude, which the world can scarcely endure! The cause of the war with the Samnites originated, with respect to the Romans, in the affairs of others; not immediately between themselves, who had, till then, been united in alliance and friendship. The Samnites had, unjustly, merely because they were superior in strength, made war on the Sidicinians. The weak, being obliged to seek assistance, united themselves to the Campanians, who, bringing to the support of these their allies rather a nominal than any real strength, enervated as they were by luxury, were defeated in the Sidicinian territory, by men inured to arms. Thus they thenceforth drew on themselves the whole burthen of the war: for the Samnites, neglecting the Sidicinians, turned their arms on the Campanians, as chief of the neighbouring states, from whom they expected to gain victory with equal ease, and a greater share both of spoil and glory. After posting a strong guard on Tifata, a ridge of hills hanging over Capua, they marched down from thence, with their army formed in a square, ready for action, into the plain which lies between Capua and Tifata. There another battle was fought, in which the Campanians were defeated, and driven into the the town; and, seeing no prospect of support at hand, the flower of their youth being greatly reduced in number, they were under a necessity of imploring aid from the Romans.

XXX. Their ambassadors, being introduced to the senate, spoke nearly to this effect: “Conscript Fathers, the Campanian nation has sent us, its ambassadors, to solicit, at your hands, perpetual friendship and present succour. Had this request been made when our affairs were in a prosperous state, the connection, though it might have been more readily Edition: current; Page: [122] effected, would have been bound by a weaker tie. For, in that case, as we should have been sensible that we met in friendship on terms of equality, though, perhaps, with as friendly dispositions as at present, yet we might have been less submissive and compliant to your inclinations. In the present case, attached to you in consideration of your compassion towards us, and defended, by your aid, from the perils which surround us, we become bound to show also, in our conduct, a due sense of the benefit received; otherwise we must be deemed ungrateful and unworthy of any assistance either from gods or men. Nor, certainly, can we suppose, that the circumstance of the Samnites having, first, become friends and allies to you, is of efficacy to preclude our being received into your friendship; or that it gives them any advantage over us, except in point of priority, and order of precedence: for there is no cautionary provision in your treaty with the Samnites, prohibiting your forming other alliances. It has ever, indeed, been deemed by you, a sufficient title to your friendship, that the person who sought it, wished to be your friend. Now, the Campanians, who, although our present circumstances forbid ostentatious language; yield to no other nation except yourselves, either in the magnificence of our city, or the fertility of our soil, if admitted to your friendship, bring no small accession, we think, to the advantages which ye already enjoy. Whenever the Æquans and Volscians, the perpetual enemies of this city, shall take arms, we will be on their rear; and what ye shall have performed in behalf of our safety, the same we shall, on every occasion, perform in behalf of your dominion, and your glory. When those nations, which lie between you and us, shall be subdued, (which period, we may infer, both from your prowess and your good fortune, is not very distant,) ye will then have an uninterrupted extent of dominion reaching to our borders. It is a mortifying and a melancholy Edition: current; Page: [123] truth, which our situation forces us to acknowledge, Conscript Fathers, that our affairs are in such a state, that we must become the property either of friends or enemies. If ye defend us, yours: if ye abandon us, that of the Samnites. Consider, therefore, whether that Capua, and all Campania, shall become an addition to your strength, or to that of the Samnites. Romans, it is undoubtedly reasonable that your compassion and assistance should lie open, as a resource, to all men; but still more especially to those, who, by performing the same good offices to others imploring their aid, have, by exertions beyond their strength, brought themselves into such distresses as ours. Although, while we fought, in appearance, for the Sidicinians, we were, in reality, fighting for ourselves: because that nation, which is in our neighbourhood, was plundered by the Samnites in a most cruel manner; and because we were apprehensive that the flames, after consuming the Sidicinians, would spread from thence to ourselves: for they do not attack us, as feeling themselves aggrieved, but they rejoice at a pretext being afforded them for it. If their object were the gratification of resentment, and not of satiating their ambition, would it not be enough that they cut our legions to pieces, once in the territory of the Sidicinians, and a second time in Campania itself? What kind of resentment must that be, which could not be satisfied by all the blood spilt in two general engagements? Add to this the devastation of our country; men and cattle driven away as spoil; our country-houses burned or otherwise destroyed; every thing, in short, nearly annihilated by fire and sword. This, we say, was surely enough to gratify resentment, yet their ambition must be gratified also. It is that which hurries them on to the siege of Capua: they wish either to lay that most beautiful city in ruins, or to hold the possession of it themselves. But make it, Romans, your own, by your generous kindness, nor suffer them thus unjustly Edition: current; Page: [124] to hold it. We speak not to a people disposed to decline just and necessary wars, yet allow us to observe, that, if disposed to assist us, ye will not even have occasion to use your arms. The insolence of the Samnites has reached to our level; higher it does not soar. So that even the prospect of your assistance will be our security. And whatever, thenceforward, we shall possess, whatever we ourselves shall be, we must ever esteem it all as yours. For you will the fields of Campania be ploughed; for you the city of Capua be stored with inhabitants; ye will be reckoned by us among our founders, our parents, and our gods. Not one of your own colonies shall surpass us in obsequiousnesss and fidelity towards you. Grant, then, Conscript Fathers, to the prayers of the Campanians, the nod of favour; your irresistible, your providential aid: bid us hope that Capua will be saved. Multitudes of every denomination escorted us on our setting out. Full of vows and tears we left every place. Think, then, in what a state of eager expectation are now the senate and people of Campania, our wives and our children. Doubtless, at this moment, they are standing at the gates, watching the road which leads from hence, impatient to know what answer, Conscript Fathers, ye may order us to bring back to them. One kind of answer brings them safety, life, and liberty: another—there is horror in the thought. Determine, then, about us, as about people, who are either to be your friends and allies, or not to exist at all.”

XXXI. The ambassadors then withdrawing, the senate took the affair into consideration. A great many were of opinion, that their city of Capua, the largest and most opulent in Italy; and their land, the most fertile, and situated near the sea, would serve the Roman people as a granary, from whence they might be supplied with all the various kinds of provisions, yet they paid greater regard to the faith of their engagements, than to these great advantages; and the consul, Edition: current; Page: [125] by direction of the senate, gave them this answer: “Campanians, the senate deems you deserving of their assistance. But, in contracting a friendship with you, it is proper to guard against the violation of any prior alliance. The Samnites are associated with us by treaty. We refuse, therefore, to take arms against the Samnites, which would be a breach of duty, first towards the gods, and then towards men. But, as is consistent with both those duties, we will send ambassadors to those our friends and allies, to request that no violence may be offered to you.” To this, the chief of the embassy replied, according to instructions which they had brought from home: “Though ye do not think proper to defend us and our rights against violence and injustice, ye will surely defend your own. We therefore surrender into your jurisdiction, Conscript Fathers, and that of the Roman people, the inhabitants of Campania, the city of Capua, our lands, the temples of the gods, and all things else appertaining to us, divine and human. Whatever sufferings we shall henceforward undergo, will be the sufferings of men who have put themselves under your dominion.” Having spoken thus, they all stretched forth their hands towards the consuls, and, with floods of tears, prostrated themselves in the porch of the senate-house. The senate were deeply affected at this instance of the vicissitude of human grandeur; seeing that nation which possessed an exuberance of wealth, and was universally noted for luxury and pride, and to whom, a short time since, the neighbouring states looked up for support, so utterly depressed in spirit, as voluntarily to resign themselves, and all that belonged to them, into the power of others. They therefore thought themselves bound in honour not to abandon those who were now become their subjects; and that it would be unjustifiable behaviour in the Samnites, if they persisted in carrying on hostilities against a city and country which, in consequence of the surrender, had become Edition: current; Page: [126] the property of the Roman people. It was in consequence resolved, that ambassadors should be sent immediately to that nation. These were instructed to make known “the request of the Campanians; the answer of the senate, in which due regard was paid to the friendship of the Samnites; and the surrender made in conclusion. To request, that in consideration of the alliance and intercourse subsisting between the states, they would spare their subjects, and not carry arms into a country which now made a part of the Roman state. And, if gentle remonstrances did not produce the desired effect, that they should then denounce to the Samnites, as the will of the senate and people of Rome, that they should retire from the city of Capua, and the Campanian territory.” When these things were represented to the ambassadors in the assembly of the Samnites, they not only answered fiercely, that they would continue the war, but their magistrates, going out of the senate-house, while the ambassadors were standing on the spot, called the commanders of their cohorts, and, with a loud voice, gave them orders to march instantly into the Campanian territory, and plunder it.

XXXII. When the result of this embassy was reported at Rome, the senate, laying aside all other business, dispatched heralds to demand satisfaction; which not being complied with, and war being, in consequence, declared in the customary manner, they decreed that the affair should, without loss of time, be submitted to the consideration of the people. This was done accordingly, and, in pursuance of their order, the consuls instantly began their march; Valerius to Campania, Cornelius to Sunium. The former pitched his camp near mount Gaurus, the later at Saticula. The legions of the Samnites met Valerius first; for they supposed that the whole weight of the war would be directed to that side. They were, at the same time, stimulated by rage against the Campanians, for having shown themselves so ready, at one Edition: current; Page: [127] time to give, at another to call in aid against them. But no sooner did they see the Roman camp, than, with one voice, they furiously demanded the signal from their leaders; maintaining, confidently, that the Romans should meet the same fate, in supporting the Campanians, which had attended the latter, in supporting the Sidicinians. Valerius, after spending a few days in slight skirmishes, for the purpose of making trial of the enemy, displayed the signal for battle, exhorting his men, in few words, not to let the new war and the new enemy dispirit them. “In proportion as they carried their arms to a greater distance from the city, they would, in every stage of their progress, meet nations more and more unwarlike. They ought not to estimate the value of the Samnites by the losses of the Sidicinians and Campanians. Let the combatants be of what kind soever, one side must necessarily be worsted. As to the Campanians, they were undoubtedly vanquished by debility, flowing from excessive luxury, and by their own pusillanimity, rather than by the strength of their enemy. And, after all, of what weight were two successful wars on the side of the Samnites during so many ages, in the balance against the glorious achievements of the Roman people, who reckoned nearly a greater number of triumphs than of years from the foundation of their city, and who had extended the sway of their victorious arms over all around them; the Sabines, Etruria, the Latines, the Hernicians, the Æquans, the Volscians, the Auruncians? who, after slaying myriads of Gauls, in so many battles, forced them, at last, to fly to their ships? As every soldier ought to go courageously into the field, animated by the national renown in arms, so ought he, at the same time, to consider the commander, under whose conduct and auspices he is to fight, whether he be one capable of attracting attention merely by his pompous exhortations, spirited in words alone, and unqualified for military labours: or one who well knows how Edition: current; Page: [128] to wield arms, to advance before the standards, and to encounter the thickest of the fight. Soldiers,” said he, “I wish you to be led by my actions, not by my words; and to take, not only orders, but example also, from me. It was not by intrigues, nor by cabals, usual among the nobles, but by this right hand, that I procured to myself three consulships, and the highest praises of my countrymen. There was a time when it might have been said of me,—You enjoyed these dignities because you were a patrician, and descended from the deliverers of your country; and because your family had the consulship in the same year wherein the city first had a consul.—This might have been said. But at present the consulship lies open to us patricians, and to you plebeians, without distinction; nor is it, as formerly, the prize of birth, but of merit. Look forward, therefore, soldiers, to the very summit of honours. Although ye have given me, among yourselves, and in consequence of the approbation of the gods, the new surname of Corvus, the ancient one of our family, the Publicolæ, is not erased from my memory. I do, and ever did, cultivate the favour of the Roman commons, in war and in peace; in a private station, and in public offices, both high and low; in that of tribune, equally as in that of consul; and with the same tenor of conduct through all my several consulships. As to the present business, join your endeavours with mine, to obtain, by the favour of the gods, a new and signal triumph over these Samnites.”

XXXIII. Never was there a commander who put himself on a more familiar footing with his soldiers, performing every subaltern duty, without reluctance. In the military sports, wherein it is the custom for equals to vie with equals in speed and strength, he was condescending and affable; success or defeat made no alteration in him, nor did he disdain any competitor whatever. In his actions, beneficent according Edition: current; Page: [129] to the occasion; in his conversation, as attentive to the ease and freedom of others, as to his own dignity; and, what is in the highest degree attractive of public esteem, the same mode of conduct, by which he had gained the magistracy, was pursued by him throughout the whole of his administration. The troops, therefore, universally applauding the exhortations of their commander, marched out of the camp with incredible alacrity. The battle commenced with as equal hopes, and as equal strength, on both sides, as any that ever was fought; each party full of confidence in themselves, without despising their adversary. The Samnites were emboldened by their late exploits, and the having gained two victories within the space of a few days: the Romans, on the other side, by the glorious achievements of four hundred years, and success coeval with the foundation of their city; both parties, however, felt some unusual concern on engaging with a new enemy. The conflict gave proof of the spirit which they possessed; for they maintained it for a considerable time, without either giving way in the least. The consul, since the enemy could not be overpowered by force, endeavoured, by a charge of his cavalry, to disorder their foremost battalions; but when he saw their irregular efforts attended with no success, being obliged to wheel their squadrons in a narrow compass, and that they could not open to themselves a passage, he rode back to the van of the legions, and, leaping from his horse, said to them, “Soldiers, the task belongs to infantry; come on, then; as ye shall see me making way with my sword to the main body of the enemy; so let each, with all his might, beat down those who oppose him. Soon then shall that ground, where their erected spears are now glittering, be effectually cleared by a wide-extended slaughter.” By the time he had uttered these words, the cavalry, by his order, turned to the wings, and left the way open for the legions. The consul advanced first, and slew Edition: current; Page: [130] the person whom he happened to engage. Fired at this sight, every one on the right and left of him, assaulted his opposite foe with extraordinary fury. The Samnites, though they received a greater number of wounds than they gave, obstinately stood their ground. The battle had now continued a considerable time, and great slaughter was made round the standards of the Samnites, yet in no part were any of them seen to fly; so determined were they to be vanquished by death alone. The Romans, therefore, finding their strength beginning to relax, and that only a small part of the day remained, rushed upon the enemy. Now was the first appearance of the Samnites giving ground, and of the matter being likely to end in their flight; great numbers were made prisoners or slain; nor would many of them have survived, had not night stopped the pursuit, for it was no longer a battle. On the one side, the Romans acknowledged that they never had fought with a more determined enemy; and on the other, the Samnites, on being asked what was the cause which first impelled men so firm at the outset to fly, made answer, that it was occasioned by the eyes of the Romans, which appeared to flash with fire, together with their desperate looks and furious aspect; for that in fact they felt more terror from these, than from any other circumstance. And this terror was confirmed, not only in the issue of the battle, but by their marching away during the night. Next day, the Romans took possession of the deserted camp, into which the Campanians poured in a body to congratulate them.

XXXIV. But the joy caused by this event had nearly been allayed by a terrible disaster in Samnium: for the consul Cornelius, departing from Saticula, incautiously led his army into a mountainous tract, passable only through a deep defile, and occupied on all sides by the enemy: nor did he perceive their troops posted over his head, until it was too late for his men to retreat with safety; while the Samnites waited Edition: current; Page: [131] only until he should bring down the whole of his army into the valley. Publius Decius, a tribune of the soldiers, observed one hill higher than the rest, hanging over the enemy’s camp, too steep to be climbed by an army encumbered with baggage, but not difficult to troops lightly accoutred. Addressing, therefore, the consul, who was in great perturbation, he said, “Aulus Cornelius, do you see that high point above the enemy? That is the bulwark of our hopes and safety, if we are expeditious in making ourselves masters of a post, which nothing but blindness could have hindered the enemy from seizing. I ask only the first rank and spearmen of one legion; when I shall have arrived at the summit with these, then do you proceed forward, free from all apprehension, and preserve yourself and the army. For the enemy will not have in their power to move without bringing destruction on themselves, as they, from occupying the lower ground, will be exposed to every weapon we throw. As for ourselves, either the fortune of the Roman people, or our own courage, will extricate us.” He was highly commended by the consul, and having received the body of troops which he desired, made his way through the mountains by concealed paths; nor was he noticed by the enemy, until he came near the spot which he wished to gain: they were then universally seized with astonishment and affright; so that, attracting the eyes of all to himself, he gave time to the consul to lead off his troops to more favourable ground, while he took post himself on the highest summit. The Samnites, marching their forces sometimes towards one side, sometimes towards the other, lost the opportunity of effecting either business; for they could neither pursue the consul, except through the same defile in which they lately had him under the power of their weapons, nor march up their men against the acclivity, to the eminence occupied by Decius, over their heads. They were enraged principally against those who Edition: current; Page: [132] had snatched from them the opportunity of acting with success, and the nearness of their situation, and the smallness of the party, would have led them to seek for vengeance there: but they could resolve on nothing: at one time it was intended to surround the hill on all sides with troops, and thus cut off Decius from the consul; at another, to leave open a passage, and then to fall on him, when he should have descended into the defile; night however came upon them, before they had determined which measure to pursue. Decius, at first, entertained hopes that he might engage them advantageously, as they should advance against the steep; and was afterwards surprized that they did not proceed to attack him, or, if they were deterred by the difficulty of the ground, that they did not surround him with works. At length, calling the centurions to him, he said, “What a want of military skill, and what indolence do they not discover? How did such men as these gain a victory over the Sidicinians and Campanians? See how their battalions move to and fro, sometimes collected into one spot, sometimes drawn out for a march: not a man doing any thing, although, by this time, they might have surrounded us with a rampart. As this is the case, we should too much resemble them, if we remained here longer than is expedient. Come on, then; follow me, that, while there is yet some little day-light remaining, we may discover in what places they post their guards, and if there is a passage for us left open.” Of all these matters he took an accurate view, clad in a soldier’s vest; the centurions, whom he took with him, being also in the dress of common soldiers, lest the enemy should take notice of the commander going the round.

XXXV. Having placed watch-guards in proper places, he commanded notice to be issued, by ticket*, to all the rest, Edition: current; Page: [133] that, on the signal being given, by the cornet sounding the second watch, they should come to him silently in arms. When they had assembled there, according to their orders, he addressed them thus: “Soldiers, silence is necessary, ye must therefore listen to me, without testifying your approbation in the usual manner. When I shall have fully explained my sentiments to you, then such of you, as agree in opinion with me, will pass over, without noise, to the right; on which ever side the majority shall be, that judgment shall be followed. Now hear what I have to propose. The enemy have surrounded you; but not in consequence of your taking refuge here in cowardice. By valour ye seized this spot; by valour ye must make your way from it. By coming hither, ye have saved a most valuable army to the Roman people; by forcing your passage hence, save yourselves. It becomes your character that, though few in number, ye afford succour to multitudes, while ye yourselves need no aid. The enemy whom ye have to deal with, is the same who, yesterday, stupidly neglected to make use of the opportunity, which fortune had put in their hands, of cutting off our whole army; who never saw this hill hanging with such advantage over their heads, until they found us in possession of it; and who, with all the thousands of which their forces consist, neither prevented the ascent of such a small party as our’s, nor, when we became masters of the place, surrounded us with entrenchments, though there was so much of the day remaining. Those whom ye baffled in such a manner, while they were awake, it is your business to elude, when they are buried in sleep. Nay, there is a necessity for it: for in such a situation are our affairs, that my part is rather to point out what necessity enforces, than to offer you counsel. For whether Edition: current; Page: [134] ye are to stay, or to remove from this place, admits not of deliberation. Fortune has left us nothing here, besides our arms and courage to make use of them: and consequently, we must perish through hunger and thirst, if we fear the sword of the enemy, beyond what becomes men and Romans. There is, therefore, but one way to safety; and that is, to sally forth. This we must do either by day, or by night. But there is another consideration, that cuts off all hesitation; which is, that if we wait for the light, we can have no hope that the enemy, who, at present, encompass the hill on all sides, as ye see, with their bodies exposed at disadvantage, will not hem us in with a continued rampart and trench. If night then be favourable to a sally, as it appears to be, this certainly is the fittest hour of it. Ye assembled here on the signal of the second watch; a time in which your foes are sunk in the profoundest sleep. Ye will pass among them, either in silence, entirely escaping their notice, or ready, if they should perceive you, to terrify them with a sudden shout. Only follow me, whom ye have hitherto followed. The same fortune which conducted us hither, will conduct us home. And now, such of you as are of opinion, that this is a salutary plan, come over with me, to the right.”

XXXVI. Every man of them went over, and followed Decius, who bent his way through the spaces which lay open between the guards. They had now passed the middle of the camp, when a soldier, striding over the bodies of the watchmen, who lay asleep on the ground, by striking one of their shields, occasioned a noise; on which the watchman being roused, stirred the next to him, and each, as he awoke, called up the rest, ignorant whether these were friends or foes, whether the party had sallied from the hill, or the consul had taken their camp. Decius, finding that he was discovered, ordered his men to raise a shout, and thus disheartened them with affright before they had shaken off the Edition: current; Page: [135] heaviness of sleep, perplexing them to such a degree, that they were incapable of taking arms briskly, so as to make head against, or to harass him in pursuit. During this consternation and confusion of the Samnites, the party of Romans, killing such of the guards as fell in their way, made good their passage to the camp of the consul. There was a considerable part of the night yet to come, and they now seemed to be in safety, when Decius said to them, “Roman soldiers, I honour your bravery: ages to come shall extol both your enterprize and your return. But, in order that others may be gratified with a view of such eminent merit, light is requisite; nor is it fitting that you be concealed under darkness and silence, while returning into the camp with such distinguished glory. Here let us wait in quiet for the day.” His words were obeyed; and, as soon as morning appeared, a messenger being sent forward into the camp, to the consul, the troops there were roused from sleep to excessive joy; and the news being conveyed round by ticket, that those men were returning, in safety, who had exposed themselves to such imminent danger for the preservation of them all, they poured out in a body eagerly to meet them; praised them, congratulated them, called them each, and all together, their preservers; gave thanks and praises to the gods, and almost worshipped Decius. Thus did the tribune enjoy a kind of triumph in the camp, as he marched through the middle of it, with his party in arms, all men fixing their eyes on, and honouring him in the same manner as the consul. When they arrived at the general’s tent, the consul summoned an assembly by sound of trumpet; but which (after having begun to expatiate on the merits of Decius) he adjourned, on the interposition of Decius himself; who recommended, that every other business should be postponed, while it was in their power to improve the occasion which presented itself. He then advised the consul to attack the enemy while Edition: current; Page: [136] they were under consternation, and scattered round the hill in detached parties: adding, that he even believed that numbers who had been sent out in pursuit of him, were straggling through the forest. The legions were accordingly ordered to take arms, and, marching out of camp, the forest being now better known by means of scouts, were led towards the enemy through a more open tract. By sudden and unexpected attacks, the soldiers of the Samnites being dispersed up and down, and most of them unarmed, as was supposed, they first drove them in a panic into the camp, and then, after beating off the guards, took the camp itself. The shout spread quite round the hill, and put all the parties to flight from their several posts. Thus a great part of them yielded the victory to an enemy whom they did not see. Those, whose fears had driven them within the ramparts, amounting to thirty thousand, were all put to the sword. The camp was plundered.

XXXVII. The business being thus concluded, the consul again called an assembly, and pronounced a panegyric on Decius; representing his actions, not merely as he had begun to recite them, but as consummated since, by a new display of merit; and, besides other military gifts, presented him with a golden crown, and a hundred oxen, one of them white, of extraordinary beauty, richly ornamented, and having gilded horns. To the soldiers, who had been on the party with him, he assigned a double portion of corn for ever, with an ox and two vests to each. Beside the consul’s donations, the legions set on Decius’s head a crown of grass, denoting deliverance from a blockade, accompanying the present with a military shout of approbation. Another crown, expressive of the same compliment, was put on his head by his own party. Decorated with these honourable emblems, he sacrificed the beautiful white ox to Mars, and bestowed the hundred others on the soldiers who had accompanied him in the Edition: current; Page: [137] expedition. To the same soldiers the legions made a contribution, each man of a pound of corn, and a pint of wine; all this was performed with an extraordinary degree of cordiality, accompanied with the military shout, a token of universal approbation. The third battle was fought near Suessula, where the army of the Samnites, which had been routed by Marcus Valerius, being joined by all the able young men of their nation, whom they called from home, determined to try their fortune in a final contest. From Suessula hasty messengers came to Capua, and horsemen from thence at full speed to the consul Valerius, to beg for succour. The troops were quickly put in motion, and, leaving a strong guard with the baggage in the camp, proceeded on their march with rapidity. They chose for their camp a very narrow spot, at a small distance from the enemy, as they were not attended by a crowd of servants, and having no other cattle than horses. The Samnites, without delay, drew up in order of battle; and when they found that no army was sent to meet them, advanced, in readiness for action, to the Roman camp. When they saw the soldiers on the rampart, and when the scouts brought accounts from every quarter into how narrow a compass the camp was contracted, they thence inferred that the number of the enemy was but small. The whole army began to exclaim, that they ought to fill up the trenches, tear down the rampart, and break into the camp; and in that rash manner they would have proceeded, had not their leaders restrained their impetuosity. However, as their own great numbers bore hard on their supplies, and, as in consequence of their lying so long at Suessula, and of the battle being now deferred, they had a prospect of being shortly in want of every thing, they resolved, that while the enemy remained shut up, and in appearance through fear, their troops should be led out into the country to forage. They had supposed too, that the Romans, having marched in haste, Edition: current; Page: [138] could have brought no more corn with them than they were able to carry on their shoulders, along with their arms, so that they would, in a little time, be reduced to actual distress. When the consul observed that the enemy were dispersed over the country, and that the guards which they had left were not numerous, after exhorting his soldiers in few words, he led them to an attack of their camp, and having taken it, (a greater number being slain in their tents, than at the gates, or on the rampart,) he ordered the standards taken from them to be collected together. Then, leaving two legions to guard them, with strict injunctions to abstain from plundering until he should return, he set out with his troops in regular order; and, sending on the cavalry before him, to drive the scattered Samnites together, as if with hunting toils, made great slaughter of them: for, in their fright, they could neither fix on any signal to collect their troops in a body, nor resolve whether they should repair to the camp, or fly to a greater distance. Such was their consternation, and such the precipitancy of their flight, that there were brought to the consul not less than forty thousand shields, though there was nothing like that number of slain; and of military standards, including those which had been taken within their ranks, one hundred and seventy. He then returned to the enemy’s camp, the entire spoil of which he gave to the soldiers.

XXXVIII. The event of this engagement obliged the Faliscians, who were under the terms of a truce, to petition the senate for a treaty of alliance; and induced the Latines, who had their armies already prepared, to turn their operations, from the Romans, against the Pelignians. Nor was the fame of these successes confined within the limits of Italy: the Carthaginians also sent ambassadors to Rome with congratulations, and with a present of a golden crown, weighing twenty-five pounds, to be placed in Jupiter’s shrine in the Capitol. Both the consuls triumphed over the Samnites, Edition: current; Page: [139] while Decius followed them, highly distinguished by praises and presents; and, in the rough jests of the soldiers, the name of the tribune was heard as frequently as those of the commanders. The embassies of the Campanians and Suessans were then heard; and, in compliance with their petitions, a body of troops was sent thither into winter quarters, to protect them against the incursions of the Samnites. Capua, even at that time, destructive of military discipline through the allurements of every kind of pleasures, so debauched the minds of the soldiers, as to alienate their affections from their country; and schemes were formed, in their winter quarters, to take Capua from the Campanians by the same wicked means by which they themselves had taken it from its ancient possessors. “Nor was there any injustice,” they said, “in turning their own example on themselves: for why should the Campanians, who were unable to defend either their persons or their property, enjoy the most fertile lands in Italy, and a city proportioned to the goodness of those lands, rather than the victorious army, who, at the expence of their sweat and blood, had driven the Samnites out of it? was it reasonable that these should have the full enjoyment of such a fruitful and delicious country, while they, after being spent with the fatigues of war, must toil in the unwholesome and parched soil round their own city, or, within the city, endure the oppressive grievance of interest money daily increasing?” These schemes were agitated in secret cabals, and as yet communicated only to a few, when the new consul, Caius Marcius Rutilus, came among them, the province of Campania having fallen to him by lot, his colleague Quintus Servilius being left in the city.Y.R.413. bc339. He was a man of good judgment, matured both by age and experience, for he was then in his fourth consulship, and had served the offices of dictator and censor. When, therefore, he was informed by the tribunes Edition: current; Page: [140] of all the circumstances of the affair, he concluded, that the best method of proceeding would be, to frustrate the violent designs of the soldiery, by prolonging the period during which they might hope to be able to execute their design whenever they pleased; and accordingly, he caused a report to be spread, that the troops were to have their winter quarters, for the next year, in the towns they then occupied: for they had been cantoned in different places of Campania, and the plot had spread from Capua through the whole army. Their eagerness in pursuit of their design being, by these means, relaxed, the mutiny was composed for the present.

XXXIX. The consul, on leading out his troops to the summer campaign, resolved, while he found the Samnites quiet, to purge the army by dismissing the turbulent men; some he discharged, under the pretence of their having served out their regular time; others, as being enfeebled by age, or otherwise debilitated: several were sent away on furloughs, at first, singly; afterwards, even several cohorts, because they had spent the winter at a great distance from home, and from their private concerns: others, too, were dispatched to different places, under pretence of the business of the army, by which means a great part of them were removed out of the way. All these the other consul, and the prætor, detained under various pretences at Rome. At first, the men, not suspecting the artifice practised on them, were not displeased at the thought of re-visiting their homes. But when they perceived, that none returned to their standards, and that moreover, hardly any were dismissed except those who had wintered in Campania; and, of these, the fomentors of the mutiny in particular; they at first began to wonder, and afterwards to fear, what seemed beyond a doubt, that their designs had been divulged; and that they would have to undergo trials, discoveries, secret punishments of individuals, and the cruel and unrestrained tyranny of the consuls Edition: current; Page: [141] and senate. These were the subjects of secret conferences among the troops in the camp, when they observed, that those who were the sinews of the conspiracy had been sent away through the art of the consul. One cohort, coming near Anxur, seated themselves at Lautulæ, in a narrow woody pass, between the sea and the mountains, in order to intercept those who were daily dismissed under various pretexts, as has been mentioned. Their body soon grew strong in numbers, nor was any thing now wanting of the form of a regular army, except a leader. Without order, however, and plundering the country in their way, they came into the Alban territory, and, under the hill of Alba Longa, enclosed their camp with a rampart; where, when the work was finished, they spent the remainder of the day in discussing different opinions respecting the choice of a commander, having no great confidence in the abilities of any who were present. And “on whom,” they said, “could they prevail to come out from Rome, on their invitation? what man was there, among the patricians or plebeians, who would, with his eyes open, expose himself to such imminent danger; or, to whom could the cause of the army, driven to madness by ill-treatment, be properly confided?” Next day, while they were employed in deliberating on the same subject, some of the rambling marauders brought intelligence, that Titus Quintius was cultivating his farm in the territory of Tusculum, regardless of the city and of its honours. He was of patrician race, who, being obliged to relinquish the military profession, in which he had acquired great glory, in consequence of one of his feet being lamed by a wound, determined to spend his life in the country, far from ambition and the contentions of the Forum. As soon as his name was heard, they immediately recognised the man: and, with wishes of success to the measure, ordered him to be sent for. But as there was little room to hope that he would voluntarily appear Edition: current; Page: [142] in the cause, it was resolved that both menaces and force should be employed. Accordingly those who were sent for the purpose, entering his house in the dead of night, while he lay composed in sleep, and denouncing, as the only alternative, either honour and command, or, when he made opposition, death, they brought him by force to their camp. Immediately on his arrival, he was saluted general, and while he was terrified at this unaccountable and sudden transaction, they brought to him the ensigns of the office, and insisted on his leading them to the city. Then, with haste dictated by their own unruliness, taking up the standards, they came in hostile array to the eighth stone on the road, which is now the Appian, and would have proceeded directly to the city, had they not been told that an army was coming to meet them; Marcus Valerius Corvus being nominated dictator, and Lucius Æmilius Mamercinus master of the horse.

XL. As soon as the army sent to oppose them came in sight, and they distinguished the well-known arms and standards, their regard for their country instantly reviving, softened the resentment of every breast. They were not yet hardy enough to shed the blood of their countrymen; they had never yet known any but foreign wars; and secession from their fellow-citizens was deemed the utmost effort of rage. Now, therefore, the leaders, and even the soldiers on both sides, expressed a desire that there should be a meeting held for a negotiation. Accordingly, on one side Quintius, who would not have borne arms, even in favour of his country, but with extreme reluctance, and of course with much greater against it; and on the other, Corvus, who entertained the warmest affection for every one of his countrymen, particularly the soldiery, and above all others, those who had served under his own banner, advanced to a conference. The instant the latter appeared, the same respectful deference Edition: current; Page: [143] was paid to him by his adversaries, which his own men manifested by their silence: he then addressed them in this manner; “Soldiers, at my departure from the city, I made it my earnest prayer to the immortal gods, whom ye, the public and myself adore, and humbly implored them of their goodness, to grant me, not a victory over you, but the happiness of restoring concord. The time past has afforded, and doubtless the future will afford occasions enough for the acquisition of military glory. At the present, peace should be the object of our wishes. The request which I urged to the immortal gods, whilst I offered up my vows, it is in your power to fulfil for me, if you will allow yourselves to recollect that your camp stands not in Samnium, nor in the territory of the Volscians, but on Roman ground; that those hills, which ye see, are your native soil; that this army is composed of your countrymen; that I am your own consul, under whose conduct and auspices ye last year twice defeated the legions of the Samnites, and twice took their camp by storm. Soldiers, I am Marcus Valerius Corvus, whose nobility of birth ye have ever felt to be productive of benefits to you, not of ill-treatment. I have been the adviser of no severe law against your interest, of no cruel decree of the senate; in every post of command which I have held, more strict towards myself than you. Yet, if any man might presume upon personal merit, upon high dignity, and upon public honours, I might: for I am descended from ancestors so distinguished, and I have besides given such proof of my own qualifications, that I attained the honour of the consulship when only twenty-three years old: I might then assume a degree of pride not only towards the commons, but towards the patricians. But in what instance did ye ever hear that I either acted or spoke with greater harshness, when consul, than when only a tribune? The same has been the constant tenor of my administration, in two successive consulships; Edition: current; Page: [144] the same shall it be, in this uncontroullable office of dictator. So that I shall be found not more gentle to these my own soldiers, and the soldiers of my country, than to you (it shocks me so to call you) its enemies. Ye shall therefore draw the sword against me, before I unsheath it against you: on your side, if a battle must take place, the signal shall be sounded; from your side the shouts and onset shall begin. You must determine, then, to do what neither your grandfathers nor fathers could; neither those who seceded to the sacred mount, nor yet those who afterwards took post on the Aventine. Wait until your wives and mothers come out from the city with dishevelled hair, as formerly to Coriolanus. At that time the legions of the Volscians, because they had a Roman for their leader, ceased from hostilities. And will not ye, an army of Romans, desist from this unnatural war? Titus Quintius, under whatever circumstances you stand on that side, whether voluntarily, or through compulsion, if the business must be decided by arms, do you then retire to the rear. It will be more honourable for you to turn your back and fly, than to fight against your country. You will at present stand with propriety and honour among the foremost for the promoting of peaceful measures, and may you be a salutary agent in this conference. Let your demands and your offers be reasonable; although, indeed, it were better to admit even unreasonable terms, than engage in an unnatural combat with each other.”

XLI. Titus Quintius then turning to his party, his eyes full of tears, said, “In me too, soldiers, if I am of any use, ye have a better leader to peace than to war. For he who has spoken what ye have just now heard, is not a Volscian nor a Samnite, but a Roman; he, soldiers, is your own consul, your own general; the influence of whose auspices ye have already experienced operating in your favour. Wish not, then, to try its effects against you. The senate could Edition: current; Page: [145] have employed other commanders, who would fight against you with animosity; but they chose the one who would be most tender of you, who were his own soldiers, and in whom, as your own general, ye could most thoroughly confide. Even those who have conquest in their power wish for peace; what, then, ought to be our wish? Why do we not, renouncing both anger and hope, those fallacious guides, resign ourselves and all our interests to his well-known honour.” All declaring their approbation by a shout, Titus Quintius advanced before the standards, and said, that “the soldiers would be governed by the dictator;” he besought them to “undertake the cause of those his unfortunate countrymen, and support it under his patronage, with the same honour which had ever marked his administration of the public affairs. That with regard to his own particular case, he stipulated no terms, he wished not to found a hope on aught but innocence. But provision should be made for the safety of the soldiers, as had been formerly practised by the senate, once, in the case of the commons, and a second time in that of the legions, so that no one should suffer for the secession.” The dictator, highly commending Quintius, and desiring the others to hope for the best, rode back with speed to the city, and, with the approbation of the senate, proposed to the people assembled in the Peteline grove, that none of the soldiers should be punished on account of the secession; and even made it his request to them, which he hoped they would approve, that no person, either in jest or earnest, should upbraid any of them with that proceeding. A military law was also passed, sanctioned with a devoting clause, that the name of any soldier, once enrolled, should not be erased without his own consent; and it was included in the law, that no person who had been a tribune of the soldiers should afterwards be a centurion. This demand of the conspirators was pointed against Publius Salonius, who had long been alternately tribune Edition: current; Page: [146] of the soldiers, and first centurion, which they now call primipili. The soldiers were incensed against him, because he had always opposed their licentious proceedings, and, to avoid being concerned therein, had fled from Lautulæ. This was the only proposal with which the senate refused to comply; on which Salonius, earnestly intreating the conscript fathers not to pay greater regard to his promotion, than to the public concord, prevailed on them to let that also pass. There was another requisition, equally unreasonable, that a deduction of one-third should be made from the pay of the cavalry, because they had opposed the conspiracy. They at that time received triple the pay of the foot.

XLII. Besides these regulations, I find in some writers, that Lucius Genucius, plebeian tribune, proposed a law to the people, that no one should lend money at interest. Likewise, that, by other orders of the commons, it was enacted, that no person should hold the same public office a second time within ten years, or enjoy two offices in the same year; and, that it should be lawful to elect both the consuls from among the plebeians. If all these concessions were really made, it is evident that the revolters possessed no small degree of strength. According to the accounts of other historians, Valerius was not nominated dictator, but the whole business was managed by the consuls; nor was it before they came to Rome, but in the city itself, that the conspirators became so desperate as to have recourse to arms. That the attack by night was not at the country-seat of Titus Quintius, but at the house of Caius Manlius; on whom they laid violent hands, and made him their leader; then, marching out as far as the fourth stone, they took possession of a strong post; also, that no mention of a reconciliation was first made by the commanders, but that after the troops had marched out to battle, mutual salutations suddenly took place; and that the soldiers, mixing together, began to shake hands, and embrace Edition: current; Page: [147] each other with tears; and that the consuls, finding the minds of the soldiers averse from fighting, were obliged to make the proposition to the senate, of admitting the revolters to terms. So that in no circumstance do the ancient writers of the history agree, except in relating that there was a mutiny, and that it was composed. The report of this sedition, and the heavy war, undertaken at the same time against the Samnites, induced several nations to forsake the alliance of the Romans; and besides the Latines, who were known, for a long time past, to be in a disposition to break the treaty, the Privernians also, by a sudden incursion, ravaged Norba and Setia, colonies of the Romans, which lay in their neighbourhood.

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The Latines, in conjunction with the Campanians, revolt; send ambassadors to Rome, to propose, as the condition of peace, that one of the consuls shall in future be chosen from among them. Their requisition rejected with disdain. Titus Manlius, the consul, puts his own son to death, for fighting, although successfully, contrary to orders. Decius, the other consul, devotes himself for the army. The Latines surrender. Manlius returning to the city, none of the young men go out to meet him. Minutia, a vestal, condemned for incest. Several matrons convicted of poisoning. Laws then first made against that crime. The Ausonians, Privernians, and Palæpolitans subdued. Quintus Publilius the first instance of a person continuing in command, after the expiration of his office, and of a triumph decreed to any person not a consul. Law against confinement for debt. Quintus Fabius, master of the horse, fights the Samnites, with success, contrary to the orders of Lucius Papirius, dictator; and, with difficulty, obtains pardon, through the intercession of the people. Successful expedition against the Samnites.

Y.R.414. bc338.I. THE new consuls were now in office, Caius Plautius a second time, and Lucius Æmilius Mamercinus, when messengers from Setia and Norba brought information to Rome of the revolt of the Privernians, with complaints of the damages sustained by those colonies. News also arrived that an army of Volscians, headed by the people of Antium, had taken post at Satricum. Both these wars fell by lot to Plautius, who, marching first to Privernum, came to an immediate engagement. The enemy, Edition: current; Page: [149] after a slight resistance, were entirely defeated, and their town taken, but this was restored to the inhabitants, being first secured by a strong garrison, while two-thirds of their lands were taken from them. From thence the victorious army was led to Satricum against the Antians: there a furious battle was fought, with a great effusion of blood on both sides. A storm separated the combatants, while there was no evident advantage on either part; the Romans, however, no wise disheartened by the fatigue of an engagement so indecisive, prepared for battle against the next day. But the Volscians, when they had reckoned up their loss, found not in themselves the same degree of resolution for making a second trial, and marched off in the night to Antium, with all the hurry of a defeat; leaving behind their wounded, and part of their baggage. A vast quantity of arms was found, both in the field and in the camp: these the consul declared an offering to Mother Lua*, and, entering the enemy’s country, laid it all waste as far as the sea-coast. The other consul, Æmilius, on marching into the Sabellan territory, found neither a camp of the Samnites, nor legions to oppose him; but, while he was wasting their country with fire and sword, ambassadors came to him, suing for peace. He referred them to the senate; where, when they were admitted to an audidence, laying aside their fierceness of spirit, they requested of the Romans that peace might be restored between the two nations, and that they might be at liberty to carry on war against the Sidicinians: these requests, they alleged, they were the better entitled to make, as “they had united in friendship with the Roman people, at a time when their own affairs were in a flourishing state, not in a season of distress, as the Campanians had done; and, because those, against whom they wished to take arms, were the Sidicinians, who had ever been enemies to them, and never friends to the Romans; Edition: current; Page: [150] who had neither, as the Samnites, sought their friendship in time of peace; nor, as the Campanians, their assistance in war; nor were connected with them in any way, either of alliance or subjection.”

II. The prætor Tiberius Æmilius, having required the opinion of the senate respecting the demands of the Samnites, and the senate having voted a renewal of the treaty with them, gave them this answer, that, “as the Romans had given no cause to hinder the uninterrupted continuance of their friendship, so neither did they now object to its being revived; since the Samnites showed an unwillingness to persevere in a war, which they had brought on themselves through their own fault. That, as to what regarded the Sidicinians, they did not interfere with the liberty of the Samnite nation to determine for themselves with respect to peace and war.” The treaty being concluded, and the ambassadors returning home, the Roman army was immediately withdrawn from thence, after receiving a year’s pay for the soldiers, and corn for three months; which were the conditions stipulated by the consul, on his granting them a truce, until the ambassadors should return. The Samnites marched against the Sidicinians, with the same troops which they had employed in the Roman war, sanguine in their expectation of getting immediate possession of the enemy’s capital. On this the Sidicinians proposed, first, to the Romans, to put themselves under their dominion; but the senate rejected the proposal, as made too late, and forced from them merely by extreme necessity; then the same offer was made to, and accepted by the Latines, who were ready to commence hostilities on their own account. Nor did even the Campanians refrain from taking a part in this quarrel, much stronger impressions being left on their minds by the ill-treatment received from the Samnites, than by the kindness of the Romans. Out of such a number of nations, one vast army was Edition: current; Page: [151] composed, under the direction of the Latines, which, entering the territories of the Samnites, did much greater damage by depredations than by fighting. But, although the Latines had the better in the field, yet they were well pleased to retire out of the enemy’s country, to avoid the necessity of too frequent engagements. This respite afforded time to the Samnites to send ambassadors to Rome, who, having obtained an audience of the senate, made heavy complaints, that, though now their confederates, they suffered the same calamities which they had felt, when their enemies; and, with the humblest entreaties, requested, that the Romans would “think it enough to have deprived the Samnites of conquest over their enemies, the Campanians and Sidicinians; and that they would not, besides, suffer them to be conquered by such a union of dastardly nations. That they would, by their sovereign authority, oblige the Latines and Campanians, if those people were really under the dominion of the Romans, to forbear from entering the territory of the Samnites, and, if they refused obedience, compel them to it by arms.” To this the Romans gave an indeterminate answer, because it would have been mortifying to acknowledge that the Latines were not under their power, and they feared, lest, by charging them with misbehaviour, they might attempt to free themselves from all subjection: but considered the case of the Campanians as very different, they having come under their protection, not by treaty, but by surrender. They answered, therefore, that “the Campanians, whether willing or not, should be quiet; but, in the treaty with the Latines, there was no article which prohibited their waging war against whom they chose.”

III. This answer, as it sent away the Samnites in doubt what opinion to form, with respect to the conduct which the Romans intended to pursue, entirely subverted the allegiance of the Campanians by the menaces held out to them; it also Edition: current; Page: [152] increased the presumption of the Latines, as the senate seemed now not disposed, in any respect, to control them. These last, therefore, under the pretext of preparing for war against the Samnites, held frequent meetings, in which their chiefs, concerting matters among themselves, secretly fomented the design of a war with Rome. The Campanians, too, gave their support to this war, though against their preservers. But, notwithstanding that they took all possible pains to keep their proceedings from being generally known, and though they wished to get rid of the Volscian enemy then at their back, before the Romans should be alarmed; yet, by means of persons connected with the latter in hospitality, and other private ties, intelligence of the conspiracy was conveyed to Rome. There, the consuls being commanded to abdicate their office, in order that the new ones might be the sooner elected, and have the more time to prepare for a war of so great importance, it began to be considered as improper that the election should be held by persons not vested with full authority; consequently an interregnum took place, and continued under two interreges, Marcus Valerius and Marcus Fabius.Y.R.415. bc337. The latter elected consuls, Titus Manlius Torquatus a third time, and Publius Decius Mus. It is agreed on all hands, that, in this year, Alexander, King of Epirus, made a descent with a fleet on Italy, in which expedition, had his first attempts been crowned with success, he would, without doubt, have carried his arms against the Romans. This period was also distinguished by the exploits of Alexander the Great, son to the other’s sister, who, in another quarter of the globe, after showing himself invincible in war, was doomed by fortune to be cut off by sickness in the prime of life. Now, the Romans, although they entertained not a doubt of the revolt of their allies, and of the Latine nation, yet, as if they acted in behalf of the Samnites, not of themselves, summoned ten of the Edition: current; Page: [153] chiefs of the Latines to appear at Rome, and receive their orders. The Latines had, at that time, two prætors, Lucius Annius, a native of Setia, and Lucius Numicius, of Circei, both Roman colonists; through whose means, besides Signia and Velitræ, which belonged to the Romans, the Volscians also had been engaged to join in the war. It was thought proper that these two should be particularly summoned; every one clearly perceived on what account they were sent for: the prætors, therefore, before they set out for Rome, called a general assembly, whom they informed, that they were called to attend the Roman senate, and desired their opinion with respect to the business which they supposed would be the subject of discussion, and to make known to them the answers which they chose should be given on the occasion.

IV. After several different opinions had been advanced, Annius said, “Although I myself proposed the question, of what answer should be made, yet, in my judgment, the general interest requires that ye determine how we are to act, rather than how we are to speak. When your designs shall be clearly unfolded, it will be easy to adapt words to the subject: for, if we are still capable of submitting to slavery, under the shadow of a confederacy between equals, what have we more to do than to abandon the Sidicinians, yield obedience to the commands, not only of the Romans, but of the Samnites, saying in answer to the former, that, whenever they intimate their pleasure, we are ready to lay down our arms? But, on the other hand, if our minds are at length penetrated by an ardent desire of liberty; if there be a confederacy subsisting; if alliance be equality of rights; if the Romans have now reason to glory in a circumstance, of which they were formerly ashamed, our being of the same blood with them; if they have, in our troops, such an army of allies, that, by its junction with their own, they double Edition: current; Page: [154] their strength; such a one, in short, as their consuls, either in commencing, or concluding their own wars, would, very unwillingly, disunite from their party: why is there not a perfect and settled equalization? why is it not permitted, that one of the consuls should be chosen from among the Latines? and that they, who supply an equal share of strength, should be admitted to an equal share in the government? This, indeed, considered in itself, would not redound to our honour, in any extraordinary degree: as we should still acknowledge Rome to be the metropolis of Latium; but that it may possibly appear to do so, is owing to our tame resignation for such a length of time. But, if ye ever wished to acquire a participation in the government, the opportunity now presents itself, afforded to you by the bounty of the gods, and your own resolution. Ye have tried their patience, by refusing the supply of troops: who can doubt that they were incensed, to the highest degree, when we broke through a practice of more than two hundred years continuance? yet they thought proper to smother their resentment. We waged war with the Pelignians in our own name: those who, formerly, would not grant us liberty to defend our own frontiers, interfered not then. They heard that we had received the Sidicinians into our protection; that the Campanians had revolted from them to us; that we were preparing an army to act against the Samnites, their confederates; yet they stirred not a step from their city. What but a knowledge of our strength, and of their own, made them thus moderate? I am informed, from good authority, that, when the Samnites made their complaints of us, the Roman senate answered them in such terms, as plainly evinced that they themselves did not insist on Latium being under the dominion of Rome. Urge, then, your claim, and assume the exercise of that right which they tacitly concede to you. If fear deters you from making this demand, lo! Edition: current; Page: [155] here I pledge myself that I will require, in the hearing, not only of the senate, and people of Rome, but of Jove himself, who resides in the Capitol, that, if they wish us to continue in confederacy and alliance with them, they receive from us, one of the consuls, and half of the senate.” On his not only recommending this measure with boldness, but undertaking the execution of it, they unanimously, with acclamations of applause, gave him authority to act, and speak, in such manner, as he should judge conducive to the interest of the republic of the Latine nation, and becoming his own honour.

V. When the prætors arrived in Rome, they had audience of the senate in the Capitol; and the consul, Titus Manlius, having, by the direction of the senate, required of them that they should not make war on the Samnites, the confederates of the Romans,—Annius, as if he were a conqueror, who had taken the Capitol by arms, and not an ambassador, who owed his safety, in speaking, to the law of nations, replied thus: “Titus Manlius, and ye, Conscript Fathers, it is full time for you to cease to treat us as a people subject to your commands, since ye see the very flourishing state, which, through the bounty of the gods, Latium enjoys at present, both with respect to numbers and strength: the Samnites are conquered by our arms; the Sidicinians and Campanians, and now the Volstians also, are united to us in alliance; and even your own colonies prefer the government of Latium to that of Rome. But, since ye do not think proper to put an end to your imperious exertions of arbitrary dominion, we, although able, by force of arms, to assert the independency of Latium, will yet pay so much regard to the connexion subsisting between us, as to offer an association on terms of equality, as it has pleased the gods that the strength of both should be, as it is, completely balanced. One of the consuls must be chosen out of Latium, the other out of Rome; the Edition: current; Page: [156] senate must consist of an equal number of each nation; we must become one people, one republic; and, in order that both may have the same seat of government, and the same name, as one side or the other must make the concession, let this, to the happiness of both, have the advantage of being deemed the mother country, and let us all be called Romans.” The Romans happened to have a consul, (Titus Manlius,) of a temper as vehement as that of Annius, who, so far from restraining his anger, openly declared, that, if the Conscript Fathers should be so infatuated, as to receive laws from a man of Setia, he would come into the senate, with his sword in hand, and put to death every Latine that he should find in their house; then turning to the statue of Jupiter, he exclaimed, “Jupiter, hear these impious demands; hear justice and equity. O Jupiter, are you, as if overpowered and made captive, to behold, in your consecrated temple, a foreign consul, and a foreign senate? are these, Latines, the treaties which the Roman king, Tullus, made with the Albans your forefathers, or which Lucius Tarquinius, afterwards concluded with yourselves? does not the fight at the lake Regillus recur to your thoughts? are your calamities of old, and our recent kindnesses towards you, entirely obliterated from your memories?”

VI. These words of the consul were followed by expressions of indignation from the senators; and it is related, that, in reply to the frequent addresses to the gods, whom the consuls often invoked as witnesses to the treaties, Annius was heard to express contempt of the divinity of the Roman Jupiter. However, being inflamed with wrath, and quitting the porch of the temple with hasty steps, he fell down the stairs, and was dashed against a stone at the bottom with such violence, that he received a contusion on his head, which deprived him of sense. As all authors do not concur in mentioning his death to have ensued, I, for my part, must leave Edition: current; Page: [157] that circumstance in doubt; as I shall another, of a violent storm, with dreadful noise in the air, happening while appeals were made to the gods, concerning the infraction of the treaties. For, as these accounts may possibly be founded in fact, so may they likewise have been invented, to express, in a lively manner, an immediate denunciation of the wrath of the gods. Torquatus, being sent by the senate to dismiss the ambassadors, on seeing Annius stretched on the ground, exclaimed, in a voice so loud as to be heard both by the senators and the people, “Ye gods, proceed in so just a war, in which your own rights are concerned; there is a Deity in heaven; thou dost exist, great Jupiter; not without reason have we consecrated you, in this mansion, as the father of gods and men. Why do you hesitate, Romans, and ye, Conscript Fathers, to take up arms, when the gods thus lead the way? Thus will I throw down, in the dust, the legions of the Latines, as ye see their ambassador prostrated.” These words of the consul were received by the multitude with applause, and excited such a flame in their breasts, that the ambassadors, at their departure, owed their safety rather to the care of the magistrates, who escorted them, by the consul’s order, than to the people’s regard to the laws of nations. The senate concurred in voting for the war; and the consuls, after raising two armies, marched through the territories of the Marsians and Pelignians; and, having formed a junction with the army of the Samnites, pitched their camp in the neighbourhood of Capua, where the Latines and their allies had already collected their forces. Here, as it is related, there appeared to both the consuls, in their sleep, the same figure of a man, of a form larger, and more majestic, than the human, who said to them, that “of the one party a general, of the other the army, were due as victims to the infernal gods, and to mother earth; and that on whichever side a general should devote the legions of his enemy, and himself, Edition: current; Page: [158] together with them, to that party and nation the victory would fall.” The consuls, having communicated to each other these visions of the night, determined, that victims should be slain to avert the wrath of the gods; and also, that, if the portents, appearing in their entrails, concurred with what they had seen in their sleep, one or other of the consuls should fulfil the will of the fates. Finding the answers of the auspices to agree with the awful impressions already made on their minds in private, they then called together the lieutenant-generals and tribunes; and, having made known to them all the decrees of the gods, settled between themselves, that, lest the voluntary death of a consul might dishearten the troops in the field, on whichever side the Roman army should begin to give ground, the consul commanding there should devote himself for the Roman people, and for his country. In this consultation, it was also mentioned, that, if ever strictness in command had been enforced in any war, it was then, particularly, requisite that military discipline should be brought back to the ancient model. Their attention was the more strongly directed to this point, by the consideration, that the enemies, with whom they had to deal, were the Latines; people who used the same language, and who had the same manners, the same kind of arms, and, what was more than all, the same military institutions as themselves; who had been intermixed with them in the same armies, often in the same companies, soldiers with soldiers, centurions with centurions, tribunes with tribunes, as comrades and colleagues. Lest, in consequence of this, the soldiers might be betrayed into any mistake, the consuls issued orders, that no person should fight with any of the enemy, except in his post.

VII. It happened that, among the other commanders of the troops of horsemen, which were dispatched to every quarter to procure intelligence, Titus Manlius, the consul’s son, came, with his troop, to the back of the enemy’s camp, so Edition: current; Page: [159] near as to be scarcely distant a dart’s throw from the next post, where some horsemen of Tusculum were stationed, under the command of Geminius Metrius, a man highly distinguished amongst his countrymen, both by his birth and conduct. On observing the Roman horsemen, and the consul’s son, remarkable above the rest, marching at their head, (for they were all known to each other, particularly men of any note,) he called out, “Romans, do ye intend, with one troop, to wage war against the Latines and their allies? What employment will the two consuls and their armies have in the mean time?” Manlius answered, “they will come in due season, and with them will come one whose power and strength is superior to either, Jupiter himself, the witness of those treaties which ye have violated. If, at the lake of Regillus, we gave you fighting until ye were weary, I will answer for it, that we shall, in this place also, give you such entertainment, that, for the future, it will not be extremely agreeable to you to face us in the field.” To this, Geminius, advancing a little from his men, replied, “Do you choose, then, until that day arrives, when, with such great labour ye move your armies, to enter the lists yourself with me, that, from the event of a combat between us two, it may immediately be seen how much a Latine horseman surpasses a Roman?” Either anger, or shame of declining the contest, or the irresistible power of destiny, urged on the daring spirit of the youth, so that, disregarding his father’s commands, and the edict of the consuls, he rushed precipitately to a contest, in which, whether he was victorious or vanquished, was of no great consequence to himself. The other horsemen removed to some distance, as if to behold a show; and then, in the space of clear ground which lay between, the combatants spurred on their horses against each other, and, on their meeting in fierce encounter, the point of Manlius’s spear passed over the helmet of his antagonist, and that of Metius, Edition: current; Page: [160] across the neck of the other’s horse: they then wheeled their horses round, and Manlius having, with the greater quickness, raised himself in his seat, to repeat his stroke, fixed his javelin between the ears of his opponent’s horse, the pain of which wound made the animal rear his fore feet on high, and toss his head with such violence, that he shook off his rider, whom as he endeavoured to raise himself, after the severe fall, by leaning on his javelin and buckler, Manlius pierced through the throat, so that the steel came out between his ribs, and pinned him to the earth. Then collecting the spoils, he rode back to his men, and, together with his troop, who exulted with joy, proceeded to the camp, and so on to his father, without ever reflecting on the nature, or the consequences of his conduct, or whether he had merited praise or punishment. “Father,” (said he,) “that all men may justly attribute to me the honour of being descended of your blood, having been challenged to combat, I bring these equestrian spoils taken from my antagonist, whom I slew.” Which, when the consul heard, turning away instantly from the youth, in an angry manner, he ordered an assembly to be called, by sound of trumpet; and, when the troops had come together in full numbers, he spoke in this manner: “Titus Manlius, for as much as you, in contempt of the consular authority, and of the respect due to a father, have, contrary to our edict, fought with the enemy, out of your post; and, as far as in you lay, subverted the military discipline, by which the power of Rome has to this day been supported; and have brought me under the hard necessity either of overlooking the interests of the public, or my own, and those of my nearest connections; it is fitter that we undergo the penalty of our own transgressions, than that the commonwealth should expiate our offences so injurious to it. We shall afford a melancholy example, but a profitable one, to the youth of all future ages. For my part, I own, both the natural affection of a parent, Edition: current; Page: [161] and the instance which you have shewn of bravery, misguided by a false notion of honour, affect me deeply. But, since the authority of a consul’s orders must either be established by your death; or, by your escaping with impunity, be annulled for ever; I expect that even you yourself, if you have any of our blood in you, will not refuse to restore, by your punishment, that military discipline which has been subverted by your fault. Go, lictor: bind him to the stake.” Shocked to the last degree at such a cruel order, each looking on the axe as if drawn against himself, all were quiet, through fear, rather than discipline. They stood, therefore, for some time motionless and silent; and when the blood spouted from his severed neck, then, their minds emerging, as it were, from the stupefaction in which they had been plunged, they all at once united their voices in free expressions of compassion, refraining not either from lamentations or execrations; and covering the body of the youth with the spoils, they burned it on a pile, erected without the rampart, with every honour which the warm zeal of the soldiers could bestow on a funeral. From thence, ‘ Manlian orders’ were not only then considered with horror, but have been transmitted, as a model of austerity, to future times. The harshness of this punishment, however, rendered the soldiery more obedient to their commander; while the guards and watches, and the regulation of the several posts, were thenceforth attended to with greater diligence: this severity was also found useful, when the troops, for the final decision, went into the field of battle.

VIII. A battle between these two nations much resembled that of a civil war; for, except in point of courage, there was a perfect similarity between the Latines and Romans, in every particular. The Romans formerly made use of targets; afterwards, when they came to receive pay, they made shields for themselves, instead of the targets; and their army, Edition: current; Page: [162] which before was composed of phalanxes, like those of the Macedonians, began to be formed in a line of distinct companies. At length a farther division was made of these, into centuries; each century containing sixty-two soldiers, one centurion, and a standard-bearer. The spearmen formed the first line, in ten companies, with small intervals between them. A company had twenty light armed soldiers, the rest bearing shields; those were called light, who carried only a spear and short iron javelins. This body, which formed the van in the field of battle, contained the youth in early bloom, who were advancing to the age of service; next to them followed the men of more robust age, in the same number of companies, whom they called Principes, all bearing shields, and distinguished by the completest armour. This band of twenty companies they called Antepilani, because there were, at the same time, ten others placed behind them with the standards. Of these companies, each was distinguished into three divisions, and the first division of each they called a Pilus. Each company had three ensigns, and contained one hundred and eighty-six men. The first ensign was at the head of the Triarii, veteran soldiers of approved courage; the second, at the head of the Rorarii, men whose age and course of service afforded less ability; the third, at that of the Accensi, the body in whom they placed the least confidence of all, for which reason also they were thrown back to the last line. An army being marshalled according to this disposition, the spearmen first began the fight: if these were unable to repulse the enemy, they retreated leisurely, and the principes received them into the intervals of their ranks. The fight then rested on the principes, the spearmen following in their rear. The veterans continued kneeling behind the ensigns, with their left leg extended forward, holding their shields resting on their shoulders, and their spears fixed in the ground, with the points erect; so that their line presented Edition: current; Page: [163] an appearance of strength, like that of a rampart. If the principes also failed in making an impression upon the enemy, they fell back slowly, from the front to the veterans. Hence came into use the proverbial expression, denoting a case of difficulty, that the affair had come to the Triarii. These, then, rising up, received the principes and spearmen into the intervals of their ranks, and immediately closing their files, shut up, as it were, every opening, and in one compact body fell upon the enemy; after which, there was no other resource left. This was the most formidable circumstance to the enemy, when, after having pursued them as vanquished, they saw a new line of battle suddenly starting up, with an increase of strength. The number of legions, generally raised, was four, each consisting of four thousand foot, and three hundred horse. To these, an addition of an equal number used to be made by levies, among the Latines, with whom the Romans were now to contend as enemies, and who practised the same method in drawing up their troops. So that it was well known, that, unless the ranks should be put out of their order, they would have to engage, not only ensign against ensign, a body of every description against one exactly similar, but even centurion against centurion. There were among the veterans two first centurions, one in each army; the Roman, deficient in bodily strength, but a man of courage and experience in service: the Latine, exceedingly strong, and a first-rate warrior. These were perfectly well known to each other, because they had always commanded centuries in equal rank. The Roman, diffident of his strength, had, before he left Rome, obtained permission from the consuls, to appoint any one, whom he thought proper, his sub-centurion, to defend him against the one who was destined to be his antagonist; and the youth whom he chose, being opposed to the Latine centurion in battle, obtained a victory over him. The armies came to an engagement Edition: current; Page: [164] at a little distance from the foot of Mount Vesuvius, where the road led to the Veseris.

IX. The Roman consuls, before they led out their forces to the field, performed sacrifices. We are told, that the aruspex showed to Decius, that the head of the liver was wounded on the side which respected himself, in other respects the victim was acceptable to the gods: but Manlius found, in his immolation, omens highly favourable. On which Decius said, “All is well yet, since my colleague’s offering has been accepted.” With their troops, arrayed in the order already described, they marched forth to battle. Manlius commanded the right wing; Decius, the left. At the beginning, the conflict was maintained with equal strength on both sides, and with equal courage. Afterwards, the Roman spearmen, on the left wing, unable to withstand the violent push made by the Latines, retreated to the principes. On this disorder happening, the consul Decius called to Marcus Valerius, with a loud voice, “Valerius, we want the aid of the gods: as public pontiff of the Roman people, dictate to me the words in which I may devote myself for the legions.” The pontiff then directed him to take the gown called Prætexta, and, with his head covered, and his hand thrust up under the gown to his chin, standing upon a spear laid under his feet, to repeat these words: “O Janus, Jupiter, father Mars, Quirinus, Bellona, ye Lares, ye gods Novensiles*, ye gods Indigetes, ye divinities, under whose dominion we and our enemies are, and ye gods of the infernal regions, I beseech you, I adore you, I implore of you, that ye may propitiously grant strength and victory to the Roman people, the Quirites; and affect the enemies of the Roman people, the Quirites, with terror, dismay, and death. In such manner as I have expressed in Edition: current; Page: [165] words, so do I devote the legions, and the auxiliaries of our foes, together with myself, to the infernal gods, and to earth, for the republic of the Romans, for the army, legions, and auxiliaries of the Roman people, the Quirites.” After he had uttered these solemn words, he ordered his lictors to go to Titus Manlius, and to inform his colleague, without delay, that he had devoted himself for the army. Then girding himself in the Gabine cincture, and taking his arms, he leaped on his horse, and plunged into the midst of the enemy. He appeared, in the view of both armies, much more majestic than one of the human race, as if sent from heaven to expiate all the wrath of the gods, to avert destruction from his friends, and transfer it to the side of their enemies: accordingly, all the terror and dismay went along with him; at first, disturbed the battalions of the Latines, and then spread universally over their whole line. This appeared most evidently, in that wherever he was carried by his horse, there they were seized with a panic, as if struck by some pestilent constellation: but where he fell, overwhelmed with darts, manifest consternation took possession of the cohorts of the Latines, so that they fled from the spot, leaving it void to a considerable extent. At the same time, the Romans, their minds being delivered from the dread of the gods, exerted themselves with fresh ardour, as if they were then rushing to the first onset, on receiving the signal. Then even the Rorarii pushed forward among the Antepilani, and added strength to the spearmen and principes, and the veterans, resting on their right knee, waited for the consul’s nod to rise up to the fight.

X. Afterwards, in the course of the battle, the Latines had the advantage in some places, on account of their superior numbers. The consul Manlius, who had heard the circumstances of his colleague’s death, and, as was justly due to him, expressed his sentiments of the glorious manner in Edition: current; Page: [166] which he died, both by tears, and by the praises to which it was entitled, hesitated a while whether it were yet time for the veterans to rise: then, judging it better to reserve them fresh for the decisive blow, he ordered the Accensi to advance from the rear, before the standards. On their moving forward, the Latines immediately called up their veterans, thinking their adversaries had done the same; and, when these, by fighting furiously for a considerable time, had fatigued themselves, and either broken off the points of their spears, or blunted them, yet continuing to drive back their opponents, thinking that the fate of the battle was nearly decided, and that they had come to the last line, then the consul called to the veterans, “Now arise, fresh as ye are, against men who are fatigued, and think on your country, your parents, your wives, and children; think on your consul, submitting to death to ensure your success.” The veterans rising, with their arms glittering, and receiving the Antepilani into the intervals of their ranks, presented a new face which was not foreseen; raising their shout, they broke the first line of the Latines; then, after slaying those who constituted the principal strength, forced their way, almost without a wound, through the other companies, as if through an unarmed crowd; and, such havoc did they make in their thickest bands, that they left alive scarce a fourth part of the enemy. The Samnites, who stood in order of battle, at a distance, close to the foot of the mountain, increased the fears of the Latines. But of all, whether citizens, or allies, the principal share of honour was due to the consuls; one of whom drew down, upon his own single person, all the dangers and threats denounced by the deities either of heaven or hell; while the other displayed such a degree both of courage and conduct, that it is universally agreed, among all who have transmitted to posterity an account of that battle, both Latines and Romans, that, on whichever side Manlius Edition: current; Page: [167] had held the command, victory must have attended. The Latines fled towards Minturnæ. The body of Decius was not found that day, night putting a stop to the search: on the following, it was discovered, pierced with a multitude of darts, amidst vast heaps of slaughtered enemies, and his funeral was solemnized, under the direction of his colleague, in a manner suited to his honourable death. It seems proper to mention here, that it is allowable for a consul, dictator, and prætor, when they devote the legions of their enemies, to devote along with them not themselves in particular, but any citizen whom they choose, out of a Roman legion regularly enrolled. “If the person devoted perishes, the performance is deemed complete. If he die not, then an image seven feet high, or more, must be buried in the earth, and a victim sacrificed, as an expiation. Where that image shall be buried, there it shall be unlawful for a Roman magistrate to pass.” But if he shall choose to devote himself, as Decius did, then “if he who devotes himself, die not, he shall not be capable of performing, with propriety, any act of worship, in behalf either of himself, or of the public. Let him have a right to devote his arms to Vulcan, or to any other god he shall do it, either by a victim, or in any other mode. The enemy should, if possible, be hindered from getting possession of the weapon, on which the consul stood when he uttered his imprecation: but if they chance to attain it, an atonement must be made to Mars by the sacrifices called Suovetaurilia.” Although the memory of every divine and human rite has been obliterated through the preference given to what is new and foreign, above that which is ancient and the growth of our own country, yet I thought it not amiss to recite these particulars, as they have been transmitted to us, and even in the very words in which they were expressed.

XI. Several authors relate, that the Samnites having waited to see the issue of the fight, came up, at length, with support Edition: current; Page: [168] to the Romans, after the battle was ended. In like manner, a reinforcement from Lavinium, after wasting time in deliberation, set out to the aid of the Latines, after they had been vanquished; and, when the first standards and part of the army had passed the gates, receiving information of the overthrow of the Latines, they faced about, and returned to the city; on which their prætor, named Millionius, is reported to have said, that “a high price must be paid to the Romans for so short a journey.” Such of the Latines as survived the fight, after being scattered through different roads, collected themselves in a body, and took refuge in the city of Vescia. There their general Numisius insisted, in their meetings, that “the variable chances of war had ruined both armies, by equal losses, and that the name only of victory was on the side of the Romans; and that they were, in fact, no better than defeated. The two pavilions of their consuls were polluted; one, by the parricide committed on a son; the other, by the death of a devoted consul: every part of their army had suffered great slaughter: their spearmen and their first ranks were cut to pieces; and, both before and behind their standards, multitudes were slain, until the veterans at last restored their cause. Now, although the forces of the Latines were reduced in an equal proportion, yet still, for the purpose of procuring reinforcements, either Latium, or the territory of the Volscians, was nearer than Rome. Wherefore, if they approved of it, he would with all speed call out the youth from the states of the Latines and Volscians; would march back to Capua, with an army prepared for action, and, while the Romans thought of nothing less than a battle, strike them with dismay by his unexpected arrival.” The misrepresentations contained in his letters, which he dispatched round Latium and the Volscian nation, were the more easily credited by the people, as they had not been present at the battle, and, in consequence, a Edition: current; Page: [169] tumultuary army, levied in haste, assembled together from all quarters. This body the consul Torquatus met at Trisanum, a place between Sinuessa and Minturnæ. Without waiting to choose ground for camps, both parties threw down their baggage in heaps, and immediately began an engagement, which decided the fate of the war: for the strength of the Latines was so entirely broken, that, on the consul leading his victorious army to ravage their country, they all submitted themselves to his mercy, and their submission was followed by that of the Campanians. A forfeiture of a portion of their territory was exacted from Latium and Capua. The Latine lands, to which the Privernian was added, and also the Falernian, which had belonged to the people of Campania, as far as the river Vulturnus, were distributed to the Roman commons. Of two acres, the portion allotted to each, three-fourths were assigned them in the Latine ground, the complement to be made up out of the Privernian. In the Falernian, three acres were given to each, the addition of one being made in consideration of the distance. Of the Latines, the Laurentians were exempted from punishment, as were the Campanian horsemen, because they had not joined in the revolt. An order was made, that the treaty should be renewed with the Laurentians, and from that time this has been annually done, on the tenth day after the Latine festival. The privileges of citizens were granted to the Campanian horsemen; and, as a monument thereof, they hung up a tablet in the temple of Castor at Rome. The people of Campania were also enjoined to pay them a yearly stipend, of four hundred and fifty denarii* each; their number amounted to one thousand six hundred.

XII. The war being thus brought to a conclusion, Titus Manlius, after distributing rewards and punishments, according Edition: current; Page: [170] to the merits and demerits of each, returned to Rome. On his arrival there, it appeared that none but the aged came out to meet him, and that the young, both then and during the whole of his life, detested and cursed him. The Antians, having made inroads on the territories of Ostia, Ardea, and Solonia, the consul Manlius, unable on account of the ill state of his health to act against them in person, nominated dictator Lucius Papirius Crassus, who happened at the time to be prætor, and he constituted Lucius Papirius Cursor master of the horse. Nothing worth mention was performed against the Antians by the dictator, although he kept his army in a fixed camp, in the territory of Antium, during several months. To this year, which was signalized by conquest over so many, and such powerful nations, and, besides, by the glorious death of one of the consuls, and the other’s unrelenting severity in command,Y.R.416. bc336. by which he has been rendered for ever memorable, succeeded as consuls, Tiberius Æmilius Mamercinus, and Quintus Publilius Philo, who found not equal opportunity for the display of abilities; and were, besides, more attentive to their private interests, and the parties which divided the state, than to the public good. The Latines taking arms again, out of resentment for being deprived of their lands, were defeated, and driven out of their camp, in the plains of Ferentinum; and while Publilius, under whose conduct and auspices the battle had been fought, was employed there, in receiving the submissions of the Latine states, who had lost the greater part of their young men in the engagement, Æmilius led the army towards Pedum. The people of this city were supported by the Tiburtine, Prænestine, and Veliternian states: auxiliaries also came to them from Lavinium and Antium. Though the Romans had here the superiority, in several engagements, yet the most difficult part of the business remained still to be attempted, at the city of Pedum itself, and at the camp of Edition: current; Page: [171] the combined states, which lay close to the walls; when the consul, on hearing that a triumph had been decreed to his colleague, hastily left the war unfinished, and repaired to Rome to demand a triumph for himself, before he had obtained a victory. The senate, offended at his ambitious proceeding, refused to grant it, until Pedum should either surrender or be taken. This so alienated Æmilius from their interests, that he acted, during the remainder of his consulate, like a seditious tribune; for, as long as he continued in office, he never ceased criminating the patricians in harangues to the people, which his colleague, who was himself a plebeian, took no pains to prevent. The charges he brought against them were grounded on a scanty distribution of the Latine and Falernian lands: and, when the senate, wishing to put an end to the administration of the consuls, ordered a dictator to be nominated, to conduct the war against the Latines, who were again in arms, Æmilius, who was the acting consul at the time, nominated his colleague dictator, who appointed Junius Brutus master of the horse. The dictatorship of Publius was popular, for his discourses were replete with invectives against the patricians. He, at the same time, passed three laws, highly advantageous to the commons, and injurious to the nobility: one, that the orders of the commons should bind all the Romans; another, that the senate should, previous to the taking of the suffrages, declare their approbation of all laws, which should be passed in the assemblies of the centuries; the third, that one of the censors should, necessarily, be elected out of the commons, as it had been already established that both the consuls might be plebeians. In the judgment of the patricians, the detriment sustained that year, at home, from the behaviour of the consuls and dictator, was more than a counterbalance to the increase of empire, through their conduct and successes in war.

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Y.R.417. bc335.XIII. At the commencement of the next year, in which Lucius Furius Camillus, and Caius Mænius, were consuls, the senate, in order to render more conspicuous the conduct of Æmilius, in relinquishing the business of the campaign, warmly urged that men, arms, and every kind of force, should be employed to take Pedum, and demolish it. The new consuls were of course obliged to postpone every other business, and to set out thither. In Latium, the state of affairs was such, that the people could ill endure either war or peace; their strength was not equal to the support of a war, and peace they disdained, on the humiliating terms of losing their lands. They resolved, therefore, to steer a middle course; to keep within the walls of their towns, so that no provocation should be offered to the Romans, which might serve them as a pretext for hostilities; and in case they should hear of siege being laid to any of their possessions, then, that every one of the estates should be obliged to bring succour to the besieged. Pedum, however, received aid from few: the Tiburtians and Prænestians, whose territories lay nearest, arrived there; but the Aricians, Lavinians, and Veliternians, while forming a junction with the Volscians of Antium, at the river Astura, were unexpectedly attacked by Mænius, and routed. The Tiburtians, who were much the strongest body, Camillus fought at Pedum; and, though he had greater difficulties to surmount, yet the issue was equally successful. Some confusion happened, occasioned, principally, by a sudden eruption of the townsmen, during the fight: but Camillus, making part of his troops face about, not only drove them within the walls, but, after utterly discomfiting both themselves and their allies, took the city the same day by scalade. It was then resolved, their troops being flushed with victory, that they should proceed until they had made an entire conquest of all Latium. This plan they prosecuted without intermission, making Edition: current; Page: [173] themselves masters of some of the towns by force, and of others by capitulation, reducing the entire country to subjection. Then, leaving garrisons in the conquered places, they returned to Rome, to enjoy the triumph, to which all men allowed they were justly entitled. To a triumph was added the honour of having equestrian statues erected to them in the Forum, a compliment very rare in that age. Before the assembly for electing consuls was called for the ensuing year, Camillus moved the senate to take into consideration the conduct to be observed towards the states of Latium, and proceeded in this manner: “Conscript Fathers, Whatever was to be effected in Latium, by means of arms and military operations, has now, through the favour of the gods, and the valour of your soldiers, been fully accomplished. The armies of our enemies have been cut to pieces at Pedum, and the Astura; all the towns of Latium, and Antium, in the Volscian territory, either taken by storm, or surrendered, are held by your garrisons. It remains then to be considered, since the frequent rebellions of these people are the cause of so much trouble, by what means we may secure their quiet submission, and peaceable behaviour. The attainment of this end, the immortal gods have placed within your reach, insomuch that they have given you the power of determining whether Latium shall longer exist, or not. Ye can therefore ensure to yourselves perpetual peace, as far as regards the Latines, by the means either of severity, or of mercy. Do ye choose to adopt cruel measures against people vanquished, and submitting to your authority? Ye may utterly destroy all Latium, and make a desert of a country, from which, in many and difficult wars, ye have often been supplied with a powerful army of allies. Do ye choose, on the contrary, and in conformity to the practice of your ancestors, to augment the Roman state, by receiving the vanquished into the number of your citizens? Here is a large addition which ye may acquire, Edition: current; Page: [174] by means which will redound most highly to your glory. That government, which the subjects feel happy in obeying, stands certainly on the firmest of all foundations. But, whatever your determination may be, it is necessary that it be speedy: as all those states are, at present, suspended between hope and fear. It is therefore of importance that ye should be discharged as soon as possible, from all solicitude concerning them; and also, that, either by punishment or clemency, an immediate impression be made on their minds, before they recover from the state of insensibility in which the uncertainty of their fate has thrown them. It was our part to bring the business to such an issue, that your deliberations concerning it should be unrestrained in every particular. It is now yours to determine what is most advantageous to yourselves and the commonwealth.”

XIV. The principal members of the senate highly approved of the consul’s statement of the business, on the whole: but said, that “as the states were differently circumstanced, it would conduce to an easy adjustment of the plan, so as that their resolutions should be conformable to the several merits of each, if he put the question, on the case of each state, separately.” The question was accordingly put, and a decree passed with respect to each singly. The Lanuvians were admitted members of the state; the exercise of their public worship was restored to them, with a provision, that the grove and temple of Juno Sospita should be in common, between the burghers* of Lanuvium, and the Roman people. On the Edition: current; Page: [175] same terms with these, the Aricians, Nomentans, and Pedans, were received into the number of citizens. To the Tusculans, the rights of citizens, of which they were already in possession, were continued; and the guilt of the rebellion, instead of being imputed to disaffection in the state, was thrown on a few incendiaries. On the Veliternians, who were Roman citizens of an old standing, in resentment of their having so often arisen in rebellion, severe vengeance was inflicted: their walls were razed, and their senate driven into banishment; they were also enjoined to dwell on the farther side of the Tiber, with a denunciation that if any of them should be caught on the hither side of that river, the fine to be paid for his discharge should be no less than one thousand asses*, and that the person apprehending him should not release him from confinement, until the money should be paid. Into the lands, which had belonged to their senators, colonists were sent, from the addition of whose numbers Velitræ recovered the appearance of its former populousness. To Antium, also, a new colony was sent, permission being granted, at the same time, to the Antians, of having themselves enrolled therein if they chose it. The ships of war were taken from them, and the people wholly interdicted from meddling with maritime affairs; but the rights of citizens were granted to them. The Tiburtians and Prænestines were amerced in a portion of their lands; not merely on account of their recent crime of rebellion, common to them with the rest of the Latines, but because they had formerly, in disgust Edition: current; Page: [176] at the Roman government, associated in arms with the Gauls, a nation of savages. From the other states they took away the privileges of intermarriage, commerce, and holding assemblies. To the Campanians, in compliment to their horsemen, who had refused to join in rebellion with the Latines, as likewise to the Fundans and Formians, because the troops had always found a safe and quiet passage through their territories, the freedom of the state was granted, without right of suffrage. The states of Cumæ and Suessula, it was decreed, should be placed on the same footing, and enjoy the same privileges, as Capua. Of the ships of the Antians, some were drawn up into the docks at Rome; the rest were burned, and with the prows of these a pulpit, built in the Forum, was ordered to be decorated, hence called Rostra.*

Y.R.418. bc334.XV. During the succeeding consulate of Caius Sulpicius Longus, and Publius Ælius Pætus, whilst all the neighbouring states were sincerely disposed, not more through consideration of the power of the Romans, than grateful sentiments inspired by their generous conduct, to cultivate peace with them, a quarrel broke out between the Sidicinians and the Auruncians. The latter, having been formerly, on their submission, admitted into alliance, by Titus Manlius, in his consulate, had ever since demeaned themselves peaceably, for which reason they were more justly entitled to expect assistance from the Romans. But, before the consuls led out the army, (for the senate had ordered the Auruncians to be supported,) intelligence was brought that these, through fear, had deserted their city, and, removing with their wives and children, had fortified Suessa, which is now called Aurunca, and that their former dwellings and fortifications were demolished by the Sidicinians. The senate, Edition: current; Page: [177] highly displeased with the consuls, in consequence of whose dilatory proceedings their allies had been disappointed of support, ordered a dictator to be nominated. Caius Claudius Regillensis, being accordingly appointed, chose Caius Claudius Hortator master of the horse. A scruple afterwards arose concerning the dictator, and the augurs having declared his creation informal, both he and the master of the horse abdicated their offices. This year, Minucia, a vestal, falling at first under suspicion of incontinence, because of her dressing in a style of elegance beyond what became her situation, and being afterwards prosecuted before the pontiffs, on the testimony of a slave, was, by their decree, ordered to refrain from meddling in sacred rites, and to retain her slaves under her own power.* Being afterwards brought to trial, she was buried alive, at the Colline gate, on the right hand of the causeway in the field of wickedness, which was so denominated, I suppose, from her crime. The same year Quintus Publilius Philo was the first plebeian elected prætor. He was opposed by the consul Sulpicius, who refused to admit him as a candidate; but the senate, having failed of carrying their point, with respect to the highest offices, showed the less earnestness about the prætorship.

Y.R.419. bc333.XVI. The following year, wherein Lucius Papirius Crassus, and Cæso Duilius were consuls, was distinguished by a war with the Ausonians, which deserves notice, rather as they were a new enemy, than on account of its importance. This people inhabited the city Cales: they had united their arms with their neighbours, the Sidicinians, yet the forces of the two nations were defeated, in a single battle, without any great difficulty. Their cities being near at hand, induced them to quit the Edition: current; Page: [178] field the earlier, and also afforded them shelter after their flight. However, the senate did not, on this, desist from the prosecution of the war, being provoked at the Sidicinians having so often taken arms against them, either as principals or auxiliaries.Y.R.420. bc332. They therefore exerted their utmost endeavours to raise to the consulship, the fourth time, Marcus Valerius Corvus, the greatest general of that age. The colleague joined with him was Marcus Atilius Regulus; and, lest chance might frustrate their wishes, a request was made to the consuls, that, without casting lots, that province might be assigned to Corvus. Receiving the victorious army from the former consuls, he marched directly to Cales, where the war had its rise: and having, at the first onset, routed the enemy, who were disheartened by the recollection of the former engagement, he directed his operations against the town itself. Such was the ardour of the soldiers, that they wanted to proceed directly up to the walls with ladders, asserting, that they would quickly scale them; but that being a hazardous attempt, Corvus chose to effect his purpose by the labour of his men, rather than at the expense of so much danger to them; he therefore formed a rampart, prepared machines, and advanced towers up to the walls. But an opportunity, which accidentally presented itself, prevented his having occasion to use them: for Marcus Fabius, a Roman, who was prisoner there, having broken his chains, while his guards were inattentive on a festival day, by fastening a rope to one of the battlements, let himself down among the Roman works, and persuaded the general to make an assault on the enemy, while, in consequence of feasting and drinking, they were disqualified for action. And thus the Ausonians, together with their city, were captured with as little difficulty as they had been defeated in the field. The booty found there was immense, and the legions, leaving a garrison at Cales, returned to Rome. Edition: current; Page: [179] The consul triumphed in pursuance of a decree of the senate; and, in order that Atilius should not be without a share of honour, both the consuls were ordered to lead the troops against the Sidicinians. But first, in obedience to the senate, they nominated dictator, for the purpose of holding the elections, Lucius Æmilius Hamercinus, who named Quintus Publilius Philo master of the horse.Y.R.421. bc331. The dictator presiding at the election, Titus Veturius and Spurius Postumius were created consuls. Notwithstanding the war with the Sidicinians remained unfinished, yet being desirous to prevent, by an act of generosity, the wishes of the commons, they proposed to the senate the sending a colony to Cales; and a decree being passed that two thousand five hundred men should be enrolled for that purpose, they constituted Cæso Duilius, Titus Quintius, and Marcus Fabius, commissioners for conducting the colony, and distributing the lands.

XVII. The new consuls, receiving from their predecessors the command of the army, marched into the enemy’s country, and carried devastation even to the walls of their capital. There, because it was expected that the Sidicinians, who had collected a vast body of forces, would make a vigorous struggle in support of their last hope, and a report also prevailing that Samnium was preparing for hostilities, the consuls, by direction of the senate, nominated dictator, Publius Cornelius Rufinus, who appointed Marcus Antonius his master of the horse. A doubt afterwards arose, with respect to the regularity of their creation, on which they abdicated their offices, and a pestilence ensuing, recourse was had to an interregnum, as if the auspices of every office had been infected by that irregularity. Under Marcus Valerius Corvus, the fifteenth interrex from the commencement of the interregnum,Y.R.422. bc330. consuls were at last elected, Aulus Cornelius a second time, and Cneius Domitius. While things were in a state of tranquillity, Edition: current; Page: [180] a report, which was spread, that the Gauls were in arms, produced the same effect which a war with that people usually did, a resolution to create a dictator: Marcus Papirius Crassus was nominated to that office, and Publius Valerius Publicola to that of master of the horse; and, while they were busy in levying troops, with greater diligence than would have been deemed requisite in the case of war with any neighbouring state, intelligence was brought, by scouts dispatched for the purpose, that all was quiet among the Gauls. Suspicions were also entertained that Samnium still continued, during this year, in a disposition to raise new disturbances; for which reason, the Roman troops were not withdrawn from the country of the Sidicinians. An attack made by Alexander king of Epirus, on the Lucanians, drew the Samnites to that quarter, where those two nations fought a pitched battle with the king, as he was making a descent on the side of the country adjoining Pæstum. Alexander, having gained the victory, concluded a treaty of amity with the Romans; with what degree of faith he would have observed it, had the rest of his enterprises proved successful, it is hard to say. The census, or general survey, was performed this year, and the new citizens rated; on whose account, two additional tribes were constituted, the Mæcian and Scaptian, by the censors Quintus Publilius Philo, and Spurius Postumius. The Acerrans were enrolled as Romans, in pursuance of a law introduced by the prætor, Lucius Papirius, which granted them the privileges of citizens, excepting the right of suffrage. Such were the transactions, foreign and domestic, of this year.

Y.R.423. bc329.XVIII. The following year exhibited a shocking scene, whether occasioned by the intemperature of the air, or by the wickedness of the people. The consuls were Marcus Claudius Marcellus, and Caius Valerius, either Flaccus or Potitus, for I find these Edition: current; Page: [181] different surnames of the consul in the annals; it is, however, a matter of little consequence, which of them be the true one. There is another account, which I could heartily wish were false: that those persons, whose deaths distinguished this year as disastrous, on account of the extraordinary mortality, were cut off by poison. Although this particular be not mentioned by all the historians of this period, yet, that I may not detract from the credit of any writer, I shall relate the matter as it has been handed down to us. While the principal persons of the state died, by disorders of the same kind, and which were attended with the same issue in every case, a certain maid-servant undertook, before Quintus Fabius Maximus, curule ædile, to discover the cause of the general malady, provided security were given her on the public faith, that she should not be a sufferer in consequence. Fabius immediately reported the affair to the consuls, and the consuls to the senate, and, by order of that body, the public faith was pledged to the informer. She then stated to them, that the calamity, which afflicted the nation, was caused by the wicked contrivances of certain women; that some matrons were, at the time, preparing drugs for the purpose; and that, if they would be pleased to go along with her without delay, they might detect them in the fact. Accordingly, they followed the informant, and found several women preparing drugs, and also quantities of the same laid up, which being brought into the Forum, and the matrons, in whose custody they were found, to the number of twenty, being summoned by a beadle, two of them, Cornelia and Sergia, both of patrician families, asserted that those drugs were wholesome; while the informant maintained the contrary; and insisted on their drinking them, in order to convict her of having invented a falsehood. On this, having taken time to confer together, and in the open view of all, a space being cleared for them, they drank off the preparation, Edition: current; Page: [182] and all perished by means of their own wicked device. Their attendants, being instantly seized, gave information against a great number of matrons, of whom no less than one hundred and seventy were condemned. Until that day, no person had ever been tried at Rome for poisoning: the affair was deemed a prodigy, and seemed more the result of madness, than of vicious depravity. Wherefore, mention being found in the annals, that formerly, on occasion of the secessions of the commons, (a disastrous time,) the ceremony of driving the nail had been performed by a dictator, and that, by that expiation, the minds of men, which were distracted by discord, had been restored to their proper state, it was resolved that a dictator should be nominated for the purpose.Y.R.424. bc328. Cneius Quintius being accordingly created, appointed Lucius Valerius master of the horse, and, as soon as the nail was driven, they abdicated their offices.

Y.R.425. bc327.XIX. Lucius Papirius Crassus, and Lucius Plautius Venno were the consuls for the next year; in the beginning of which, ambassadors came to Rome from Fabrateria and Polusca, two Volscian states, praying to be admitted into alliance; and promising, that if they were protected against the arms of the Samnites, they would ever continue faithful and obedient subjects to the government of the Roman people. On this, ambassadors were sent by the senate, to require of the Samnites, that they should offer no violence to the territories of those states; and this embassy produced the desired effect, rather because the Samnites were not yet prepared for war, than that they were desirous of peace. This year, war broke out with the people of Privernum: these were supported by inhabitants of Fundi, of which country was also the commander in chief, Vitruvius Vaccus, a man of considerable note, not only at home, but at Rome also. He had a house Edition: current; Page: [183] on the Palatine hill, on the spot which, after the buildings were razed, and the ground thrown open, was called Vacciprata*. He was committing great depredations in the districts of Setia, Norba, and Cora; to oppose him, therefore, Lucius Papirius began his march, and took post a small distance from his camp. Vitruvius neither took the prudent resolution of remaining within his trenches, in the presence of an enemy, his superior in strength, nor had he the courage to fight at any great distance from them. Without either judgment in forming, or boldness in executing his plan, he entered on an engagement, while the last of his troops had scarcely got out of the gate of the camp, and his men were in a disposition rather to fly back thither, than to face the enemy. After some slight efforts, he was compelled to give up the contest entirely; but, by reason of the shortness of the distance, and the ease with which he could regain his camp, he saved his army, without much difficulty from any great loss, few falling either in the action or in the retreat. As soon as it grew dark, they removed in haste and disorder to Privernum, choosing to entrust their safety to walls, rather than to a rampart. The other consul, Plautius, after wasting the country on every side, and driving off the spoil, led his army from Privernum into the territory of Fundi. On entering the borders, he was met by the senate of that state, who declared, that “they came not to intercede for Vitruvius, and those who had followed his faction, but for the people of Fundi, who, in the judgment of Vitruvius himself, were clear from all blame of the war, as he showed by repairing for safety, after his defeat, to Privernum, and not to Fundi, his native city. At Privernum, therefore, the enemies of the Roman people were to be sought, and punished; who, regardless of their duty to both countries, had revolted Edition: current; Page: [184] at once from Fundi and from Rome. The Fundians were in a state of peace, their minds were Roman, and impressed with a grateful remembrance of the privilege of citizens imparted to them: they besought the consul that he would not treat as enemies an unoffending people; assuring him, that their lands, their city, and their persons, were, and ever should be, in the disposal of the Roman people.” The consul commended their conduct; and, dispatching letters to Rome, that the Fundians had preserved their allegiance, turned his march to Privernum. Claudius writes, that he first inflicted punishment on those who had been the principal abettors of the conspiracy; that three hundred and fifty were sent in chains to Rome; but that the senate did not accept their submission, because they thought that the people of Fundi meant, by consigning to punishment these men, who were mean and indigent, to secure impunity to themselves.

XX. While the two consular armies were employed in the siege of Privernum, one of the consuls was recalled to Rome, to preside at the elections. This year goals were first erected in the circus. While the attention of the public was still occupied by the Privernian war, it was forcibly attracted by an alarming report of the Gauls being in arms, a matter at no time slighted by the senate.Y.R.426. bc326. The new consuls, therefore, Lucius Æmilius Mamercinus, and Caius Plautius, on the calends of July, the very day on which they entered into office, received orders to settle the provinces immediately between themselves. Mamercinus, to whom the Gallic war fell, was directed to levy troops, without admitting any plea of immunity; nay, it is said, that even the rabble of handicrafts, and those of sedentary trades, of all the worst qualified for military service, were called out; by which means a vast army was collected at Veii, in readiness to meet the Gauls. It was not thought proper to Edition: current; Page: [185] proceed to a greater distance, lest the Gauls might, by some other route, arrive at the city without being observed. In the course of a few days it was found, on a careful inquiry, that every thing on that side was quiet at the time; and the whole force, which was to have opposed the Gauls, was then turned against Privernum. Of the issue of the business, there are two different accounts: some say, that the city was taken by storm; and that Vitruvius fell alive into the hands of the conquerors: others, that the townsmen, to avoid the extremities of a storm, presented the rod of peace, and surrendered to the consul; and that Vitruvius was delivered up by his troops. The senate, being consulted with respect to Vitruvius and the Privernians, sent directions, that the consul Plautius should demolish the walls of Privernum, and, leaving a strong garrison there, come home to enjoy the honour of a triumph; at the same time ordering that Vitruvius should be kept in prison, until the return of the consul, and that he should then be beaten with rods, and put to death. His house, which stood on the Palatine hill, they commanded to be razed to the ground, and his effects to be devoted to Semo Sancus. With the money produced by the sale of them, brazen globes were formed, and placed in the chapel of Sancus, opposite to the temple of Quirinus. As to the senate of Privernum, it was commanded, that every person who had continued to act as a senator of Privernum, after the revolt from the Romans, should reside on the farther side of the Tiber, under the same restrictions as those of Velitræ. After the passing of these decrees, there was no farther mention of the Privernians, until Plautius had triumphed. When that ceremony was over, and Vitruvius, with his accomplices, had been put to death, the consul thought that the people’s resentment being now fully gratified by the sufferings of the guilty, he might safely introduce the business of the Privernian state, which he did in the following Edition: current; Page: [186] manner: “Conscript Fathers, since the authors of the revolt have received, both from the immortal gods and from you, the punishment due to their crime, what do ye judge proper to be done with respect to the guiltless multitude? For my part, although my duty consists rather in collecting the opinions of others, than in offering my own, yet, when I reflect that the Privernians are situated in the neighbourhood of the Samnites, with whom it is exceedingly uncertain how long we shall be at peace, I cannot help wishing, that as little ground of animosity as possible may be left between them and us.”

XXI. The affair naturally admitted of a diversity of opinions, while each, agreeably to his particular temper, recommended either severity or lenity; and the debate was still farther perplexed by the behaviour of one of the Privernian ambassadors, more conformable to the prospects to which he had been born, than to the insuperable exigency of the present juncture: for being asked, by one of the advocates for severity, “what punishment he though the Privernians deserved?” he answered, “such as those deserve, who deem themselves worthy of liberty.” The consul observing, that, by this stubborn answer, the adversaries of the cause of the Privernians were the more exasperated against them, and wishing, by a question of favourable import, to draw from him a more conciliating reply, said to him, “what if we remit the punishment, in what manner may we expect that ye will observe the peace which shall be established between us?” He replied, “if the peace which ye grant us be a good one, inviolably and eternally; if bad, for no long continuance.” On this, several exclaimed, that the Privernian menaced them, and not in ambiguous terms; and that such expressions were calculated to excite rebellion. But the more reasonable part of the senate interpreted his answers more favourably, and said, that “the words which they had heard Edition: current; Page: [187] were those of a man, and of one who knew what it was to be free. Could it be believed that any people, or even any individual, would remain, longer than necessity constrained, in a situation which he felt painful? That the terms of a peace were faithfully observed, only when they were voluntarily accepted; but that it was absurd to expect fidelity, when attempts were made to establish slavery.” In this opinion they were led to concur, principally, by the consul himself, who frequently observed to the consulars, who had proposed the different resolutions, in such a manner as to be heard by the rest, that, “surely those men who thought of nothing but liberty, were worthy of being made Romans.” They consequently carried their cause in the senate: and, moreover, by direction of that body, a proposal was laid before the people, that the freedom of the state should be granted to the Privernians. This year a colony of three hundred was sent to Anxur, and received two acres of land each.

XXII. The year following, in which the consuls were Publius Plautius Proculus,Y.R.427. bc325. and Publius Cornelius Scapula, was remarkable for no one transaction, civil or military, except the sending of a colony to Fregellæ, a district which had belonged to the Sidicinians, and afterwards to the Volscians; and a distribution of meat to the people, made by Marcus Flavius, on occasion of the funeral of his mother. There were many who represented, that, under the appearance of doing honour to his parent, he was making recompence to the people, for having acquitted him, when prosecuted by the ædiles on a charge of having debauched a married woman. This donative, intended as a return for favours shewn on the trial, proved also the means of procuring him the honour of a public office; for, at the next election of plebeian tribunes, though absent, he was preferred before the candidates who solicited in person. The Edition: current; Page: [188] city Palæpolis was situated at no great distance from the spot where Neapolis now stands. The two cities were inhabited by one people: these came from Cumæ, and the Cumans derive their origin from Chalcis in Eubœa. By means of the fleet, in which they had been conveyed hither, they possessed great power on the coast of the sea, near which they dwelt. Their first landing was on the islands of Ænaria, and the Pithacusæ: afterwards they ventured to transfer their settlement to the continent. This state, relying on their own strength, and also on the disposition of the Samnites, to come to a rupture with the Romans; or, encouraged by the report of a pestilence, having attacked the city of Rome, committed various acts of hostility against the Romans settled in the Campanian and Falernian territories. Wherefore, in the succeeding consulate of Lucius Cornelius, and Quintus Publilius Philo a second time,Y.R.428. bc324. heralds being sent to Palæpolis to demand satisfaction, and a haughty answer being returned by these Greeks, a race more magnanimous in words than in action, the people, in pursuance of the direction of the senate, ordered war to be declared against them. On settling the provinces between the consuls, the war against the Greeks fell to Publilius. Cornelius, with another army, was appointed to watch the motions of the Samnites: and a report prevailing, of an expected revolt in Campania, in which case they intended to march their troops thither, that was judged the properest station for him.

XXIII. The senate received information, from both the consuls, that there was very little hope of peace with the Samnites. Publilius informed them, that two thousand soldiers from Nolæ, and four thousand of the Samnites, had been received into Palæpolis, a measure rather forced on the Greeks by the Nolans, than agreeable to their inclination. Cornelius wrote, that a levy of troops had been ordered, that all Samnium Edition: current; Page: [189] was in motion, and that the neighbouring states of Privernum, Fundi, and Formiæ, were openly solicited to join them. It was thought proper, that, before hostilities were commenced, ambassadors should be sent to expostulate on these subjects with the Samnites, who answered in a haughty manner; they even went so far as to accuse the Romans of behaving injuriously towards them; but, nevertheless, they took pains to acquit themselves of the charges made against them, asserting, that “their state had not given either counsel or aid to the Greeks, nor used any solicitations, on their behalf, to the Fundans, or Formians: for, if they were disposed to war, they had not the least reason to be diffident of their own strength. However, they could not dissemble, that it gave great offence to the state of the Samnites, that Fregellæ, a town which they had taken from the Volscians, and demolished, should have been rebuilt by the Romans; and that they should have established a colony within the territory of the Samnites, to which their colonists gave the name of Fregellæ. This injury and affront, if not done away by the authors, they were determined themselves to remove, by the most effectual means in their power.” One of the Roman ambassadors proposed to discuss the matter, before their common allies and friends; on which their magistrate said, “Why do we disguise our sentiments? Romans, no conferences of ambassadors, nor arbitration of any person whatever, can terminate our differences; but the plains of Campania, in which we must fight: let our armies, therefore, meet between Capua and Suessula; and there let us decide, whether the Samnite, or the Roman, shall hold the sovereignty of Italy.” To this the ambassadors of the Romans replied, that “they would go, not whither their enemy called, but whither their commanders should lead.” In the mean time, Publilius, by seizing an advantageous post between Palæpolis and Neapolis, had cut off the confederates from that interchange of mutual Edition: current; Page: [190] aid, which they had hitherto afforded each other, when either place was pressed. The day of the elections approached; and, as it was highly inexpedient that Publilius should be recalled, when on the point of assailing the enemy’s walls, and in daily expectation of gaining possession of their city, application was made to the tribunes, to recommend to the people the passing of an order, that Publilius Philo, when his year of office should expire, might continue in command, as pro-consul, until the war with the Greeks should be finished. A letter was dispatched to Lucius Cornelius, with orders to name a dictator; for it was not thought proper that the consul should be recalled, while he was employed in vigorously prosecuting the business of the campaign, and had already carried the war into Samnium. He nominated Marcus Claudius Marcellus, who appointed Spurius Postumius master of the horse. The elections, however, were not held by the dictator, because the regularity of his appointment was called in question; and the augurs, being consulted, pronounced that it appeared defective. The tribunes inveighed against this proceeding, as dangerous and dishonourable; “for it was not probable,” they said, “that a fault in the appointment could have been discovered, as the consul, rising in the night, had nominated the dictator in private, and while every thing was still*; nor had the said consul, in any of his letters, either public or private, made any mention of such a thing; nor did any person whatever appear, who said that he saw or heard any thing which could vitiate the auspices. Neither could the augurs, sitting at Rome, divine what inauspicious circumstance had occurred to the consul in the camp. Who did not plainly perceive, that the dictator’s being a plebeian, was the defect which the augurs had discovered?” These, and other Edition: current; Page: [191] arguments, were urged, in vain, by the tribunes: the affair ended in an interregnum. At last, after the elections had been adjourned repeatedly, on one pretext or another, the fourteenth interrex,Y.R.429. bc323. Lucius Æmilius, elected consuls Caius Pætelius, and Lucius Papirius Mugillanus, or Cursor, as I find him named, in some annals.

XXIV. Historians relate, that, in this year, Alexandria, in Egypt, was founded; and that Alexander, king of Epirus, being slain by a Lucanian exile, verified, in the circumstances of his death, the prediction of Jupiter of Dodona. At the time when he was invited into Italy by the Tarentines, he received a caution, from that oracle, to beware of the Acherusian waters, and the city Pandosia, for there were fixed the limits of his destiny. For that reason he made the greater haste to pass over to Italy, in order to be at as great a distance as possible from the city Pandosia, in Epirus, and the river Acheron, which, after flowing through Molossis, runs into the lakes called infernal, and is received into the Thesprotian gulf. But, as it frequently happens, that men, by endeavouring to shun their fate, run directly upon it, after having often defeated the armies of Bruttium and Lucania, and taken Heraclea, a colony of the Tarentines, Potentia and Metapontum from the Lucanians, Terina from the Bruttians, and several other cities of the Messapians and Lucanians; and, having sent into Epirus three hundred illustrious families, whom he intended to keep as hostages, he posted his troops on three hills, which stood at a small distance from each other, not far from the city Pandosia, and close to the frontiers of the Bruttians and Lucanians, in order that he might thence make incursions into every part of the enemy’s country. At that time, he kept about his person two hundred Lucanian exiles, whom he considered as faithful attendants, but whose fidelity, according to the general Edition: current; Page: [192] disposition of people of that description, was ever ready to follow the changes of fortune. A continual fall of rain spread such an inundation over all the plains, as cut off, from the three separate divisions of the army, all communication. In this state, the two parties, in neither of which the king was present, were suddenly attacked and overpowered by the enemy, who, after putting them to the sword, employed their whole force in blockading the post, where Alexander commanded in person. From this place the Lucanian exiles sent emissaries to their countrymen, and, stipulating a safe return for themselves, promised to deliver the king, either alive or dead, into their power. But he, bravely resolving to make an extraordinary effort, at the head of a chosen band, broke through the midst of their forces; engaged singly, and slew, the general of the Lucanians, and, collecting together his men, who had been scattered in the retreat, arrived at a river, where the ruins of a bridge, which had been recently broken by the violence of the flood, pointed out his road. Here, while the soldiers were fording the river on a very uneven bottom, one of them, almost spent with fatigue and apprehension, cried out, as a reflection on the odious name of it,—“You are justly named Acheros (dismal:)” which expression reached the King’s ears, and instantly recalling to his mind the fate denounced on him, he halted, hesitating whether he should cross over or not. Then Sotimus, one of the royal band of youths which attended him, asked why he delayed in such a critical moment; and showed him, that the Lucanians were watching an opportunity to perpetrate some act of treachery: whereupon the king, looking back, and seeing them coming towards him in a body, drew his sword, and pushed on his horse, through the middle of the river. He had now reached the shallow, when a Lucanian exile, from a distance, transfixed him with a javelin: after his fall, the current carried down his lifeless body, Edition: current; Page: [193] with the weapon sticking in it, to the posts of the enemy: there it was mangled, in a manner shocking to relate; for, dividing it in the middle, they sent one half to Consentia, and kept the other, as a subject of mockery, to themselves. While they were throwing darts and stones at it, a woman, mixing with the crowd, (who expressed a degree of barbarous rage which could scarce be conceived to exist in human breasts,) prevailed on them to stop for a moment. She then told them, with tears in her eyes, that she had a husband and children, prisoners among the enemy; and that she hoped to be able, with the King’s body, (if they would grant it to her,) however disfigured, to ransom her friends: this put an end to their outrages. The remnants of his limbs were buried at Consentia, entirely through the care of the woman; and his bones were sent to Metapontum, to the enemy, from whence they were conveyed to Epirus, to his wife Cleopatra, and his sister Olympias; the latter of whom was the mother, the former the sister, of Alexander the Great. Such was the melancholy end of Alexander of Epirus; of which, although fortune did not allow him to engage in hostilities with the Romans, yet, as he waged war in Italy, I have thought it proper to give this brief account. This year, the fifth time since the building of the city, the Lectisternium was performed at Rome, for procuring the favour of the same deities, to whom it was addressed before.

XXV. The new consuls having, by order of the people, declared war against the Samnites, exerted themselves in more formidable preparations of every kind, than had been made against the Greeks; and, about the same time, received a new accession of strength, from a quarter where they had no such expectation. The Lucanians and Apulians, nations who, until that time, had no kind of intercourse with the Roman people, proposed an alliance with them, promising a supply of men and arms for the war: a treaty of friendship Edition: current; Page: [194] was accordingly concluded. At the same time their affairs went on successfully in Samnium. Three towns fell into their hands, Allifæ, Callifæ, and Ruffrium; and the adjoining country, to a great extent, was, on the first arrival of the consuls, laid entirely waste. As the commencement of their operations, on this side, was attended with so much success, so the war, in the other quarter, where the Greeks were held besieged, now drew towards a conclusion. For, besides the communication between the two posts of the enemy being cut off, by the besiegers having possession of part of the works through which it had been carried on, they now suffered, within the walls, hardships far more grievous than those with which they were threatened, being insulted in the persons of their wives and children, and feeling all the extremities usual in the sacking of cities. When, therefore, intelligence arrived, that reinforcements were to come from Tarentum, and from the Samnites, all agreed that there were more of the latter already within the walls than they wished; but the young men of Tarentum, who were Greeks as well as themselves, they earnestly longed for, as they hoped to be enabled, by their means, to oppose the Samnites and Nolans, which they deemed no less necessary than resisting their Roman enemies. At last a surrender to the Romans appeared to be the lightest evil. Charilaus and Nymphius, the two principal men in the state, consulting together on the subject, settled the part which each was to act; it was, that one should desert to the Roman general, and the other stay behind to manage affairs in the city, so as to facilitate the execution of their plan. Charilaus was the person who came to Publilius Philo; he told him, that “he had taken a resolution, which he hoped would prove advantageous, fortunate, and happy to the Palæpolitans, and to the Roman people, of delivering the fortifications into his hands. Whether he should appear, by that deed, to have betrayed, or preserved Edition: current; Page: [195] his country, depended on the honour of the Romans. That, for himself, in particular, he neither stipulated nor requested any thing; but, in behalf of the state, he requested, rather than stipulated, that, in case the design should succeed, the Roman people would consider, more especially, the zeal and hazard with which it sought a renewal of their friendship, than its folly and rashness in deviating from its duty.” He was commended by the general, and received a body of three thousand soldiers, with which he was to seize on that part of the city which was possessed by the Samnites, which detachment was commanded by Lucius Quintius, military tribune.

XXVI. In the mean time, Nymphius, on his part, artfully addressing himself to the commander of the Samnites, prevailed upon him, as all the troops of the Romans were employed either about Palæpolis, or in Samnium, to allow him to sail round with the fleet, to the territory of Rome, where he undertook to ravage, not only the sea coast, but the country adjoining the very city. But, in order to avoid observation, it was necessary, he told him, to set out by night, and to launch the ships immediately. To effect this with the greater dispatch, all the young Samnites, except the necessary guards of the city, were sent to the shore. While Nymphius wasted the time there, giving contradictory orders, designedly to create confusion, which was increased by the darkness, and by the crowd, which was so numerous as to obstruct each other’s operations, Charilaus, according to the plan concerted, was admitted, by his associates, into the city; and, having filled the higher parts of it with Roman soldiers, he ordered them to raise a shout; on which the Greeks, who had received previous directions from their leaders, kept themselves quiet. The Nolans fled through the opposite part of the town, by the road leading to Nola. The flight of the Samnites, who were shut out from the city, was easier, Edition: current; Page: [196] but had a more disgraceful appearance; for they returned to their homes without arms, stripped of their baggage, and destitute of every thing; all, in short, belonging to them being left with their enemies; so that they were objects of ridicule, not only to foreigners, but even to their own countrymen. I know that there is another account of this matter, which represents the town to have been betrayed by the Samnites; but I have chosen to follow the writers most worthy of credit: besides, the treaty of Neapolis, for to that place the seat of government of the Greeks was then transferred, renders it more probable, that the renewal of friendship was voluntary on their side. Publilius had a triumph decreed him, because people were well convinced, that it was his conduct of the siege which reduced the enemy to submission. This man was distinguished by two extraordinary incidents, of which he afforded the first instance: a prolongation of command, never before granted to any one: and a triumph after the expiration of his office.

XXVII. Another war, soon after, arose with the Greeks of the other coast. The Tarentines having, for a considerable time, buoyed up the state of Palæpolis with delusive hopes of assistance, when they understood that the Romans had gotten possession of that city, as if they were the persons who had suffered the disappointment, and not the authors of it, they inveighed against the Palæpolitans, and became furious in their anger and malice towards the Romans; to which they were farther incited by receiving information that the Lucanians and Apulians had joined them; for a treaty of alliance had been this year concluded with both these nations: “The business,” they observed, “was now brought almost to their doors; and such would soon be the state of affairs, that they must deal with the Romans as enemies, or receive them as masters: that, in fact, their interests were at stake, on the issue of the war of the Samnites, the Edition: current; Page: [197] only nation which continued to make opposition; and that with power very inadequate, since they were deserted by the Lucanians: these however might yet be brought back, and induced to renounce the Roman alliance, if proper skill were used, in sowing dissension between them.” These reasonings being readily adopted, by people who wished for a change, they procured, for money, some young Lucanians of considerable note in their country, but devoid of honour, to bring about their design; these, having lacerated each other’s bodies with stripes, came naked into a public meeting of their countrymen, exclaiming that, because they had ventured to go into the Roman camp, they had been thus beaten with rods, by order of the consul, and had hardly escaped the loss of their heads. Circumstances, so shocking in their nature, carrying strong proofs of the ill-treatment, none of artifice, the people were so irritated, that, by their clamours, they compelled the magistrates to call together the senate; and whilst some stood round that assembly, insisting on a declaration of war against the Romans, others ran different ways to rouse to arms the multitude residing in the country. Thus the minds, even of rational men, being hurried into imprudence by the general uproar, a decree was passed, that the alliance with the Samnites should be renewed, and ambassadors sent for that purpose. This hasty proceeding surprised the Samnites, who, however, insisted, that they should not only give hostages, but also receive garrisons into their fortified places; and they, blinded by resentment, refused no terms. In a little time after, on the authors of the imposition removing to Tarentum, the whole came to light. But, as they had given all power out of their own hands, nothing was left them but unavailing repentance.

XXVIII. This year proved, as it were, a new æra of liberty to the Roman commons; a stop being put to the practice of confining debtors. This alteration of the law was effected Edition: current; Page: [198] in consequence of the behaviour of a usurer, in which lust and cruelty were equally conspicuous. His name was Lucius Papirius. To him, one Caius Publilius having surrendered his person to be confined for a debt due by his father, his youth and beauty, which ought to have excited commiseration, operated on the other’s mind as incentives to barbarity. He first attempted to seduce the young man by impure discourses; but finding that his ears were shocked at their infamous tendency, he then endeavoured to terrify him by threats, and reminded him frequently of his situation. At last convinced of his resolution to act conformably to his honourable birth, rather than to his present condition, he ordered him to be stripped and scourged. With the marks of the rods imprinted in his flesh, the youth rushed out into the public street, uttering loud complaints of the depravedness and inhumanity of the usurer. On which a vast number of people, moved by compassion for his early age, and indignation at his barbarous treatment, reflecting at the same time what might be the lot of themselves, and of their children, flocked together into the Forum, and from thence, in a body, to the senate-house. When the consuls were obliged, by the sudden tumult, to call a meeting of the senate, the people, falling at the feet of each of the senators, as they were going into the senate-house, presented to their view the back of Caius torn with stripes. On that day, in consequence of the outrageous conduct of an individual, one of the strongest bonds of credit was broken; and the consuls were commanded to propose to the people, that no person should be held in fetters or stocks, except convicted of a crime, and in order to punishment; but that, for money due, the goods of the debtor, not his person, should be answerable. Thus the confined debtors were released; and provision made, for the time to come, that they should not be liable to confinement.

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XXIX. In the course of this year, while the war with the Samnites was sufficient in itself to give full employment to the senate, besides the sudden defection of the Lucanians, and the intrigues of the Tarentines, by which it had been effected, they found another source of uneasiness in an union formed by the state of the Vestinians with the Samnites. Which event, though it continued, during the present year, to be the general subject of conversation, without coming under any public discussion, appeared so important to the consuls of the year following, Lucius Furius Camillus a second time, and Decius Junius,Y.R.430. bc322. that it was the first business which they proposed to the consideration of the state. Notwithstanding it had yet produced no effects, it threw the senate into great perplexity, as they dreaded equally the consequences, either of passing it over, or of taking it up; lest on the one hand, if that people’s conduct passed with impunity, wantonness and arrogance might excite other states in their neighbourhood to follow their example; and, on the other, if an attempt should be made to punish them by force of arms, resentment and dread of immediate danger might produce the same effect. And the whole body of Vestinians, too, was at least equal in strength to the Samnites, being composed of the Marsians, the Pelignians, and the Marrusinians; against all of whom they would have to contend, if any steps were taken against that nation. However, that opinion prevailed, which might, at the time, seem to have more spirit than prudence; but the event afforded a proof that fortune assists the brave. The people, in pursuance of the direction of the senate, ordered war against the Vestinians, which province fell by lot to Junius; Samnium to Camillus. Armies were led to both places, which, by carefully guarding the frontiers, prevented a junction of the forces of their enemies. But Lucius Furius, on whom the principal weight of the business rested, Edition: current; Page: [200] was deprived of his share in the management of it, being seized with a severe sickness. He was, therefore, ordered to nominate a dictator to conduct the war, and he nominated Lucius Papirius Cursor, the most celebrated general, by far, of any in that age, who appointed Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus master of the horse. These commanders were remarkable for their exploits in war; but more so, for a quarrel which arose between themselves, and which proceeded almost to violence. The other consul, in the territory of the Vestinians, carried on operations of various kinds; and, in all, was uniformly successful. He utterly laid waste their lands; and, by spoiling and burning their houses and corn, compelled them to come to an engagement; when, in one battle, he reduced the strength of the Vestinians to such a degree, though not without loss on his own side, that they not only fled to their camp; but, fearing even to trust to the rampart and trench, dispersed from thence into the several towns, in hopes of finding security in the situation and fortifications of their cities. At last he undertook to reduce their towns by force; and so ardent were the soldiers, and such their resentment for the wounds which they had received, (hardly one of them having come out of the battle unhurt,) that he took Cutina by scalade, and afterwards Cingilia. The spoil of both cities he gave to the soldiers, in consideration of their having bravely surmounted the obstruction both of gates and walls.

XXX. The commanders entered Samnium without having obtained any particularly favourable indications in the auspices; an ominous circumstance, which pointed, not at the event of war, for that was prosperous, but at the furious passions and the quarrels which broke out between the leaders. For Papirius the dictator, returning to Rome in order to take the auspices anew, in consequence of a caution received from the aruspex, left strict orders with the master of the Edition: current; Page: [201] horse to remain in his post, and not to engage in battle during his absence. After the departure of the dictator, Fabius having discovered by his scouts, that the enemy were in as unguarded a state as if there was not a single Roman in their neighbourhood, the high-spirited youth, (either conceiving indignation at the sole authority in every point appearing to be lodged in the hands of the dictator, or induced by the opportunity of striking an important blow,) having made the necessary preparations and dispositions, marched to a place called Imbrinium, and there fought a battle with the Samnites. His success in the fight was such, that there was no one circumstance which could have been improved to more advantage, if the dictator had been present. The leader was not wanting to the soldiers, nor the soldiers to their leader. The cavalry too, (finding, after repeated charges, that they could not break the ranks,) by the advice of Lucius Cominius, a military tribune, pulled off the bridles from their horses and spurred them on so furiously, that no power could withstand them; forcing their way through the thickest of the enemy, they bore down every thing before them; and the infantry, seconding the charge, the whole body was thrown into confusion. Of these, twenty thousand are said to have fallen on that day. Some accounts say that there were two battles fought during the dictator’s absence, and two victories obtained; but the most ancient writers mention only this one, and in some histories the whole transaction is omitted. The master of the horse getting possession of abundance of spoils, in consequence of the great numbers slain, collected the arms into a huge heap, and burned them; either in pursuance of a vow to some of the gods, or, if we choose to credit Fabius, in order to prevent the dictator from reaping the fruits of that renown, to which he alone was entitled. He feared, too, that Papirius might inscribe his name on the spoils, or carry them in triumph. His letters also, Edition: current; Page: [202] containing an account of the success, being sent to the senate, showed plainly that he wished not to impart to the dictator any share of the honour; who certainly viewed the proceeding in this light, for, while others rejoiced at the victory obtained, he showed only surliness and anger: insomuch that, immediately dismissing the senate, he hastened out of the senate-house, and frequently repeated with warmth, that the legions of the Samnites were not more effectually vanquished and overthrown by the master of the horse, than were the dictatorial dignity and military discipline, if such contempt of orders escaped with impunity. Thus, breathing resentment and menaces, he set out for the camp; but, though he travelled with all possible expedition, intelligence arrived before him, that the dictator was coming, eager for vengeance, and in every second sentence applauding the conduct of Titus Manlius.

XXXI. Fabius instantly called an assembly, and intreated the soldiers to “show the same courage in protecting him, under whose conduct and auspices they had conquered, from the outrageous cruelty of the dictator, which they had so lately displayed in defending the commonwealth from its most inveterate enemies. He was now coming,” he told them, “frantic with envy; enraged at another’s bravery, raving like a madman, because, in his absence, the business of the public had been executed with remarkable success; and, if he could change the fortune of the engagement, would wish the Samnites in possession of victory rather than the Romans. He talked much of contempt of orders; as if his prohibition of fighting were not dictated by the same motive, which caused his vexation at the fight having taken place. He wished to shackle the valour of others, and meant to take away the soldiers’ arms when they were most eager for action, and that no use might be made of them in his absence: he was farther enraged too, because Quintus Fabius considered Edition: current; Page: [203] himself as master of the horse, not as a beadle to the dictator. How would he have behaved, had the issue of the fight been unfortunate; which, through the chances of war and the uncertainty of military operations, might have been the case; since now, when the enemy has been vanquished, (as completely, indeed, as if that leader’s own singular talents had been employed in the matter,) he yet threatens the master of the horse with punishment? Nor is his rancour greater towards the master of the horse than towards the military tribunes, towards the centurions, towards the soldiers. On all he would vent his rage; and, because that is not in his power, he vents it on one. Envy, like flame, soars upwards; aims at the summit, and makes its attack on the head of the business, on the leader. If he could put him out of the way, together with the glory of the service performed, he would then triumph, like a conqueror over vanquished troops; and, without scruple, practise against the soldiers, what he had been allowed to act against their commander. It behoved them, therefore, in his cause, to support the general liberty of all. If the dictator perceived among the troops the same unanimity in justifying their victory, that they had displayed in gaining it, and that all interested themselves in the safety of one, it would bend his temper to milder counsels. In fine,” he told them that “he committed his life, and all his interests, to their honour and to their courage.”

XXXII. His speech was received with the loudest acclamations from every part of the assembly, bidding him “have courage; for, while the Roman legions were in being, no man should offer him violence.” Not long after, the dictator arrived, and instantly summoned an assembly by sound of trumpet. Then, silence being made, a crier cited Quintus Fabius master of the horse, and, as soon as, on the lower ground, he had approached the tribunal, the dictator said, Edition: current; Page: [204] “Quintus Fabius, I demand of you, when the authority of dictator is acknowledged to be supreme, and is submitted to by the consuls, officers endowed with regal power; and likewise by the prætors, created under the same auspices with consuls; whether or no you think it reasonable that it should not meet obedience from a master of the horse? I also ask you whether, when I knew that I set out from home under uncertain auspices, it was for me, under that consideration, to hazard the safety of the commonwealth, or whether my duty did not require me to have the auspices newly taken, so that nothing might be done while the will of the gods remained doubtful? And, further, when a religious scruple was of such a nature, as to hinder the dictator from acting, whether the master of the horse could be exempt from it, and at liberty? But why do I ask these questions, when, supposing that I had gone without leaving any orders, your own judgment ought to have been regulated according to what you could discover of my intention. Why do you not answer? Did I not forbid you to act, in any respect, during my absence? Did I not forbid you to engage the enemy? Yet, in contempt of these my orders, while the auspices were uncertain, while the omens were confused, contrary to the practice of war, contrary to the discipline of our ancestors, and contrary to the authority of the gods, you dared to enter on the fight. Answer to these questions, proposed to you. On any other matter utter not a word. Lictor, draw near him.” To each of these particulars, Fabius, finding it no easy matter to answer, at one time remonstrated against the same person acting as accuser and judge, in a cause which affected his very existence; at another, he asserted that his life should sooner be forced from him, than the glory of his past services; clearing himself, and accusing the other by turns, so that the dictator’s anger blazed out with fresh fury; and he ordered the matter of the horse to be stripped, and Edition: current; Page: [205] the rods and axes to be got ready. Fabius, imploring the protection of the soldiers, while the lictors were tearing his garments, retired to the quarters of the veterans, who were already raising a commotion in the assembly: from them the uproar spread through the whole body; in one place the voice of supplication was heard; in another, menaces. Those who happened to stand nearest to the tribunal, because, being under the eyes of the general, they could easily be known, applied to him with entreaties to spare the master of the horse, and not in him to condemn the whole army. The remoter parts of the assembly, and the crowd collected round Fabius, railed at the unrelenting spirit of the dictator, and were not far from mutiny: nor was even the tribunal perfectly quiet. The lieutenants-general standing round the general’s seat, besought him to adjourn the business to the next day, and to allow time to his anger, and room for consideration; representing, that “the indiscretion of Fabius had been sufficiently rebuked; his victory sufficiently disgraced; and they begged him not to proceed to the extreme of severity; not to brand with ignominy a youth of extraordinary merit, or his father, a man of most illustrious character, together with the whole family of the Fabii.” When neither their prayers nor arguments made any impression, they desired him to observe the violent ferment of the assembly, and told him, that, “while the soldiers’ tempers were heated to such a degree, it became not either his age or his wisdom to kindle them into a flame, and afford matter for a mutiny: that no one would lay the blame of such an event on Quintus Fabius, who only deprecated punishment; but on the dictator, if, blinded by resentment, he should, by an ill-judged contest, draw on himself the fury of the multitude: and, lest he should think that they acted from motives of regard to Quintus Fabius, they were ready to make oath that, in their Edition: current; Page: [206] judgment, it was not for the interest of the commonwealth that Quintus Fabius should be punished at that time.”

XXXIII. Their expostulations irritating the dictator against themselves, instead of appeasing his anger against the master of the horse, the lieutenants-general were ordered to go down from the tribunal; and, after several vain attempts were made to procure silence by means of a crier, the noise and tumult being so great that neither the voice of the dictator himself, nor that of his apparitors, could be heard; night, as in the case of a battle, put an end to the contest. The master of the horse was ordered to attend on the day following; but, being assured by every one that Papirius, being agitated and exasperated in the course of the present convention, would proceed against him with greater violence, he fled privately from the camp to Rome; where, by the advice of his father, Marcus Fabius, who had been three times consul, and likewise dictator, he immediately called a meeting of the senate. While he was laying his complaints before the fathers, of the rage and injustice of the dictator, on a sudden was heard the noise of lictors before the senate-house, clearing the way, and Papirius himself arrived, full of resentment, having followed, with a guard of light horse, as soon as he heard that the other had quitted the camp. The contention then began anew, and the dictator ordered Fabius to be seized. As he persisted in his purpose with inflexible obstinacy, notwithstanding the united intercessions of the principal patricians, and of the whole senate, Fabius, the father, then said, “since neither the authority of the senate has any weight with you; nor my age, which you wish to render childless; nor the noble birth and merit of a master of the horse, nominated by yourself; nor prayers, which have often mitigated the rage of an enemy, and which appease the the wrath of the gods; I call upon the tribunes of the commons for support, and appeal to the people: and, since you decline Edition: current; Page: [207] the judgment of your own army, as well of the senate, I call you before a judge who must certainly be allowed, though no other should, to possess more power and authority than yourself, though dictator. It shall be seen whether you will submit to an appeal, to which Tullus Hostilius, a Roman King, submitted.” They proceeded directly from the senate-house to the assembly; where, being arrived, the dictator attended by few, the master of the horse by all the people of the first rank in a body, Papirius commanded him to be taken from the rostrum to the lower ground; on which, his father, following him, said, “You do well in ordering us to be brought down to a place where even as private persons we have liberty of speech.” At first, instead of regular speeches, nothing but altercation was heard: at length, the indignation of old Fabius, and the strength of his voice, got the better of noise, while he reproached Papirius with arrogance and cruelty. “He himself,” he said, “had been dictator at Rome: and no man, not even the lowest plebeian, or centurion, or soldier, had suffered in any way through his means. But Papirius sought for victory and triumph over a Roman commander with as much zeal as over the generals of the enemy. What an immense difference between the moderation of the ancients, and the oppression of the moderns? Quintius Cincinnatus, when dictator, shewed no farther mark of resentment to Lucius Minucius the consul, (although from his ill conduct he had fallen into the power of the enemy, and from which he rescued him,) than leaving him at the head of the army, in the quality of lieutenant-general, instead of consul. Marcus Furius Camillus, in the case of Lucius Furius, who, in contempt of his great age and authority, had fought a battle, the issue of which was dishonourable in the last degree, not only restrained his anger at the time, so as to write no unfavourable representation of his conduct to the people or the senate; but, after returning home, when the patricians Edition: current; Page: [208] gave him a power of electing from among his colleagues whoever he might approve as an associate with himself in the command, chose that very man in preference to all the other consular tribunes. Nay, the body of the people themselves, whose power is supreme in every case, never suffered their passions to carry them to greater severity, even towards those, who, through rashness and ignorance, had occasioned the loss of armies, than the fining them in a sum of money. Until that day, a capital prosecution for ill conduct in war had never been instituted against any commander, but now, generals of the Roman people, after gaining the most splendid victories, and meriting the most honourable triumphs, are threatened with rods and axes; a treatment which would not have been deemed allowable, even towards those who had been defeated by an enemy. What degree of punishment would his son have been liable to, if he had occasioned the loss of the army? if he had been put to flight, and driven out of his camp? Could the dictator stretch his resentment and violence to any greater length than to scourge him, and put him to death? How was it consistent with reason, that, through the means of Quintus Fabius, the state should be filled with joy, exulting in victory, and occupied in thanksgivings and congratulations; while, at the same time, he who had given occasion to the temples of the gods being thrown open, their altars yet smoking with sacrifices, and loaded with honours and offerings, should be stripped naked, and torn with stripes in the sight of the Roman people; within view of the Capitol and citadel, and of those gods, whose aid he had so successfully invoked in two different battles? With what temper would such proceedings be borne by the army which had conquered under his conduct and auspices? What mourning would there be in the Roman camp; what joy among their enemies?” This speech he accompanied with an abundant flow of tears; uniting reproaches and complaints, imploring Edition: current; Page: [209] the aid both of gods and men, and warmly embracing his son.

XXXIV. On his side stood the majesty of the senate, the favour of the people, the support of the tribunes, and regard for the absent army. On the other side were urged the inviolable authority of the Roman government and military discipline; the edict of the dictator, always observed as the mandate of a deity; nor was the severity of Manlius forgot, and his postponing even parental affection to public utility. “The same also,” said the dictator, “was the conduct of Lucius Brutus, the founder of Roman liberty, in the case of his two sons. But now, such is the indulgence of fathers, and the easiness of temper in the aged, that, in this case of contempt of the dictatorial authority, they indulge the young in the subversion of military order, as if it were a matter of trifling consequence. For his part, however, he would persevere in his purpose, and would not remit the smallest part of the punishment justly due to a person who fought contrary to his orders, while the rites of religion were imperfectly executed, and the auspices uncertain. Whether the majesty of the supreme authority was to be perpetual, or not, depended not on him; but Lucius Papirius would not diminish aught of its rights. He wished that the tribunitian office, inviolate itself, would not, by its interposition, violate the authority of the Roman government; nor the Roman people, in his case particularly, annihilate the dictator, and the rights of the dictatorship, together. But, if this should be the case, not Lucius Papirius, but the tribunes and the people, would be blamed by posterity; though then too late, when military discipline being once dissolved, the soldier would no longer obey the orders of the centurion, the centurion those of the tribune, the tribune those of the lieutenant-general, the lieutenant-general those of the consul, nor the master of the horse those of the dictator. No one would then pay any deference Edition: current; Page: [210] to men, no, nor even to the gods. Neither edicts of generals, nor auspices, would be observed. The soldiers, without leave of absence, would straggle at random through the lands of friends and of foes; and, regardless of their oath, would, merely to gratify a wanton humour, quit the service whenever they might choose. The standards would be forsaken; the men would neither assemble in pursuance of orders, nor attend to the difference of fighting by night or by day, on favourable or unfavourable ground. In a word, military operations, instead of the regularity established under the sanction of a sacred solemnity, would become like those of free-booters, directed by chance and accident. Render yourselves, then, tribunes of the commons, accountable for all these evils, to all future ages. Expose your own persons to these heavy imputations in defence of the licentious conduct of Quintus Fabius.”

XXXV. The tribunes stood confounded, and were now more anxiously concerned at their own situation than at his who sought their support, when they were freed from this embarrassment by the Roman people unanimously having recourse to prayers and entreaties, that the dictator would, for their sakes, remit the punishment of the master of the horse. The tribunes likewise, seeing the business take this turn, followed the example, earnestly beseeching the dictator to pardon human error, to consider the immaturity of the offender’s age, who had suffered sufficiently: and now the youth himself, now his father, Marcus Fabius, disclaiming farther contest, fell at the dictator’s knees, and deprecated his wrath. Then the dictator, after causing silence, said, “Romans, it is well. Military discipline has prevailed; the majesty of government has prevailed; both which were in danger of ceasing this day to exist. Quintus Fabius, who fought contrary to the order of his commander, is not acquitted of guilt; but, after being condemned as guilty, is granted as a boon to the Edition: current; Page: [211] Roman people; is granted to the college of tribunes, supporting him with their prayers, not with the regular power of their office. Live, Quintus Fabius, more happy in this union of all parts of the state for your preservation than in the victory in which you lately exulted. Live, after having ventured on such an act, as your father himself, had he been in the place of Lucius Papirius, would not have pardoned. With me you shall be reconciled, whenever you wish it. To the Roman people, to whom you owe your life, you can perform no greater service, than to let this day teach you the important lesson of submission to lawful commands, both in war and peace.” He then declared, that the master of the horse was at liberty to depart: and, as he retired from the rostrum, the senate, being greatly rejoiced, and the people still more so, gathered round him, and escorted him, on one hand commending the dictator, on the other congratulating the master of the horse; while all agreed in opinion, that the authority of military command was confirmed no less effectually in the instance of Quintus Fabius than in that of young Manlius. It so happened, that, through the course of that year, as often as the dictator left the army, the Samnites were in motion: but Marcus Valerius, the lieutenant-general, who commanded in the camp, had Quintus Fabius before his eyes for an example, not to fear any violence of the enemy, so much as the unrelenting anger of the dictator. So that when a body of his foragers fell into an ambuscade, and were cut to pieces in disadvantageous ground, it was generally believed that the lieutenant-general could have given them assistance, if he had not been held in dread by his rigorous orders. The resentment which this excited helped to alienate the affections of the soldiery from the dictator; against whom they had been before incensed by his implacable behaviour towards Quintus Fabius, and from having granted him pardon at the intercession of the Roman people, after he had refused it to their entreaties.

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XXXVI. The dictator prohibited Quintus Fabius from acting in any case as a magistrate, conferred the command in the city on Lucius Papirius Crassus, as master of the horse, and then returned to the camp; where his arrival brought neither any great joy to his countrymen, nor any degree of terror to the enemy: for, on the day following, either not knowing the dictator’s arrival, or little regarding whether he were present or absent, they marched out in order of battle. Of such importance, however, was that single man, Lucius Papirius, that, had the zeal of the soldiers seconded the dispositions of the commander, no doubt was entertained that an end might have been put, that day, to the war with the Samnites. He chose the best possible position for his troops, posted his body of reserve most judiciously, and strengthened them with every advantage which military skill could devise: but the soldiers exerted no vigour; and designedly kept from conquering, in order to injure the reputation of their leader. Of the Samnites, however, very many were slain; and great numbers of the Romans wounded. The experienced commander quickly perceived the circumstance which prevented his success, and that it would be necessary to moderate his temper, and to mingle mildness with austerity. Accordingly, attended by the lieutenants-general, he went round to the tents of the wounded soldiers, enquiring of each the state of his health; then, mentioning them by name, he gave them in charge to the officers, tribunes, and præfects, recommending them to their particular care. This behaviour, popular in itself, he maintained with such dexterity, that by his attention to their recovery, he gradually gained their affection; nor did any thing so much contribute towards their recovery as the gratitude excited by this humane condescension. As soon as the men were restored to health, he came to an engagement with the enemy; and both himself and the troops, being possessed with full confidence Edition: current; Page: [213] of success, he so entirely defeated and dispersed the Samnites, that they never, after that day, met the dictator in the field. The victorious army, afterwards, directed its march wherever a prospect of booty invited, and traversed their territories without a weapon being raised against them, or any opposition given, either openly or by stratagem. It added to their alacrity, that the dictator had, by proclamation, given the whole spoil to the soldiers; so that they were animated not only by the public quarrel, but by their private emolument. Thus reduced, the Samnites sued to the dictator for peace, and, after they had engaged to supply each of his soldiers with a suit of clothes, and a year’s pay, being ordered to apply to the senate, they answered, that they would follow the dictator, committing their cause wholly to his integrity and honour. On this the troops were withdrawn out of Samnium.

XXXVII. The dictator entered the city in triumph; and, though desirous of resigning his office immediately, yet, by order of the senate,Y.R.431. bc321. he held it until the consuls were elected: these were Caius Sulpicius Longus, a second time, and Quintus Æmilius Cerretanus. The Samnites, without finishing the treaty of peace, the terms being still in negociation, departed, after concluding a truce for a year. Nor was even that faithfully observed; so strongly was their inclination for war excited, on hearing that Papirius was gone out of office. In this consulate of Caius Sulpicius and Quintus Æmilius, (some histories have Aulius,) to the revolt of the Samnites was added a new war with the Apulians. Armies were sent against both. The Samnites fell by lot to Sulpicius, the Apulians to Æmilius. Some writers say, that this war was not waged with the Apulians, but in defence of the allied states of that nation, against the violence and injustice of the Samnites. But the circumstances of the Samnites at that period, when they were themselves engaged in a war, which they could with difficulty Edition: current; Page: [214] support, render it more probable that they did not make war on the Apulians, but that both nations were in arms against the Romans at the same time. However, no memorable event occurred. The lands of the Apulians and Samnium were utterly laid waste; but in neither quarter did the enemy show themselves. At Rome, an alarm, which happened in the night, suddenly roused the people from their sleep, in such a fright, that the Capitol and citadel, the walls and gates, were all filled with men in arms. But, after they had called all to their posts, and run together, in bodies, in every quarter, when day appeared, neither the author nor cause of the alarm could be discovered. This year, in pursuance of the advice of Flavius, a tribune of the commons, the Tusculans were brought to a trial before the people. He proposed, that punishment should be inflicted on those of the Tusculans, “by whose advice and assistance the Veliternians and Privernians had made war on the Roman people.” The Tusculans, with their wives and children, came to Rome, and, in mourning habits, like persons under accusation, went round the tribes, throwing themselves at the feet of the citizens with humble supplications. This excited a degree of compassion which operated more effectually towards procuring them pardon, than all the arguments they could urge, did towards clearing themselves of guilt. Every one of the tribes, except the Pollian, negatived the proposition. The sentence of the Pollian tribe was, that the grown-up males should be beaten, and put to death, and their wives and children sold by auction according to the rules of war. It appears, that the resentment which arose against the advisers of so rigorous a measure, was retained in memory by the Tusculans down to the age of our fathers; and that hardly any candidate of the Pollian tribe could, ever since, gain the votes of the Papirian.

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XXXVIII. In the following year, which was the consulate of Quintus Fabius and Lucius Fulvius,Y.R.432. bc320. Aulus Cornelius Arvina being made dictator, and Marcus Fabius Ambustus master of the horse, troops were levied with greater exertion than ordinary, under the apprehension of having a more powerful opposition than usual to encounter, in the war with the Samnites, who, it was reported, had procured, from their neighbours, a number of young men for hire: an army, therefore, of extraordinary force, was sent against them. Although in a hostile country, their camp was pitched in as careless a manner, as if the foe were at a great distance; when, suddenly, the legions of the Samnites approached with so much boldness as to advance their rampart close to an out-post of the Romans. Night coming on, prevented their assaulting the works; but they did not conceal their intention of doing so next day, as soon as the light should appear. The dictator found that there would be a necessity for fighting sooner than he had expected, and, lest the situation should be an obstruction to the bravery of the troops, he led away the legions in silence, leaving a great number of fires the better to deceive the enemy. The camps, however, lay so close together, that he could not escape their observation: their cavalry instantly pursued, and pressed closely on his troops, yet refrained from attacking them until the day appeared. Their infantry did not even quit their camp before day-light. As soon as it was dawn, the cavalry ventured to begin skirmishing; and, by harassing the Roman rear, and pressing them in places of difficult passage, considerably delayed their march. Meanwhile their infantry overtook the cavalry; and now the Samnites pursued close with their entire force. The dictator then, finding that he could no longer go forward without great inconvenience, ordered the spot where he stood to be measured out for a camp. But it was impossible, while the Edition: current; Page: [216] enemy’s horse were spread about on every side, that palisades could be brought, and the work be begun: seeing it, therefore, impracticable, either to march forward, or to settle himself there, he drew up his troops for battle, removing the baggage out of the line. The enemy likewise formed their line opposite to his; no wise inferior, either in spirit or in strength. Their courage was chiefly improved from not knowing that the motive of the Romans’ retreat was the incommodiousness of the ground, so that they imagined themselves objects of terror, and supposed that they were pursuing men who fled through fear. This kept the balance of the fight equal for a considerable time; though, of late, it had been unusual with the Samnites to stand even the shout of a Roman army. Certain it is, that the contest, on this day, continued so very doubtful from the third hour to the eighth, that neither was the shout repeated, after being raised at the first onset, nor the standards moved either forward or backward; nor any ground lost on either side. They fought without taking breath, every man in his post, and pushing against their opponents with their shields. The noise continuing equal, and the terror of the fight the same, seemed to denote, that the decision would be effected either by fatigue or by the night. The men had now exhausted their strength, the sword its power, and the leaders their skill; when, on a sudden, the Samnite cavalry, having learned from a single troop which had advanced beyond the rest, that the baggage of the Romans lay at a distance from their army, without any guard or defence; eager for booty, they hastened to attack it: of which, the dictator being informed by a hasty messenger, said, “Let them alone, let them encumber themselves with spoils.” Afterwards came several, one after another, crying out, that they were plundering and carrying off all the effects of the soldiers: he then called to him the master of the horse, and said, “Do you see, Marcus Edition: current; Page: [217] Fabius, that the enemy’s cavalry have forsaken the fight? they are entangled and encumbered with our baggage. Attack them: you will find them, as is the case of every multitude employed in plundering, scattered about; few mounted on horseback, few with swords in their hands; and, while they are loading their horses with spoil, and unarmed, put them to the sword, and make it bloody spoil for them. I will take care of the legions, and the fight of the infantry: your’s be the honour which the horse shall acquire.”

XXXIX. The body of cavalry, in the most exact order possible, charging the enemy, who were straggling and embarrassed, filled every place with slaughter: for the packages which they hastily threw down, and which lay in the way of their feet, and of the affrighted horses, as they endeavoured to escape, made them unable either to fight or fly. Then Fabius, after he had almost entirely cut off the enemy’s horse, led round his squadrons in a small circuit, and attacked the infantry in the rear. The new shout, raised in that quarter, terrified the Samnites on the one hand; and when, on the other, the dictator saw their troops in the van looking behind them, their battalions in confusion, and their line wavering, he earnestly exhorted and animated his men, calling on the tribunes and chief centurions, by name, to join him in renewing the fight. Raising the shout anew, they pressed forward, and, as they advanced, perceived the enemy more and more confused. The cavalry now could be seen by those in front, and Cornelius, turning about to the several companies, made them understand, by raising his voice and hands, that he saw the standards and bucklers of his own horsemen. On hearing which, and at the same time seeing them, they, at once, so far forgot the fatigue which they had endured, through almost the whole day, and even their wounds, that they rushed to the fray with as much vigour and alacrity, as if they were coming fresh out of camp Edition: current; Page: [218] on receiving the signal for battle. The Samnites could no longer sustain the charge of horse and foot together: part of them, inclosed on both sides, were cut off; the rest separated, and fled different ways. The infantry slew those who were surrounded and made resistance; and the cavalry made great havoc of the fugitives, among whom fell their general. This battle crushed, at length, the power of the Samnites so effectually, that, in all their meetings, they expressed much discontent, and said, “it was not at all to be wondered at, if, in an impious war, commenced in violation of a treaty, when the gods were, with justice, more incensed against them than men, none of their undertakings prospered. They were not to expect the crime (for so such an infraction of treaties must be held) to be expiated and atoned for without a heavy penalty. The only alternative they had, was, whether the penalty should be the guilty blood of a few, or the innocent blood of all.” Some now ventured to name the authors of the war, among whom was particularly mentioned, Brutulus Papius: he was a man of power and noble birth, and undoubtedly the cause of the late rupture. The prætors being compelled to take the opinion of the assembly concerning him, a decree was made, “that Brutulus Papius should be delivered into the hands of the Romans; and that, together with him, all the spoil taken from the Romans, and the prisoners, should be sent to Rome, and that the restitution demanded by the heralds, in conformity to treaty, should be made, as was agreeable to justice and equity.” In pursuance of this determination, heralds were sent to Rome, and also the dead body of Brutulus; for, by a voluntary death, he avoided the punishment and ignominy intended for him. It was thought proper that his goods also should be delivered up along with the body. But none of all those things were accepted, except the prisoners, and such articles of the spoil as Edition: current; Page: [219] were recognized by the owners. The dictator obtained a triumph by a decree of the senate.

XL. Some writers affirm, that the consuls had the conduct of this war, and that they triumphed over the Samnites; and also, that Fabius advanced into Apulia, and carried off from thence abundance of spoil. But that Aulus Cornelius was dictator that year is an undisputed fact. The question then is, whether he was appointed for the purpose of conducting the war, or on occasion of the illness of Lucius Plautius, the prætor; in order that there might be a magistrate to give the signal for the starting of the chariots at the Roman games. This latter is asserted of him; and that, after performing the business, which, in truth, reflected no great lustre on his office, he resigned the dictatorship. It is not easy to determine between either the facts or the writers, which of them deserves the preference: I am persuaded that history has been much corrupted by means of funeral panegyrics, and false inscriptions on monuments; each family striving by false representations to appropriate to itself the fame of warlike exploits, and public honours. From this cause, certainly, much confusion has taken place, both in the memoirs of individuals, and in the public records of events. Nor is there extant any writer, contemporary with those events, on whose authority we can with certainty rely.

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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, Æquans, 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.

Y.R.433. bc319.I. THE year following was distinguished by the convention of Caudium, so memorable on account of the misfortune of the Romans. The consuls of the year were Titus Veturius Calvinus, and Spurius Postumius. The Samnites were that year commanded by Caius Pontius, son to Herennius, born of a father most highly renowned Edition: current; Page: [221] for wisdom, and himself a consummate warrior and commander. When the ambassadors, who had been sent to offer restitution, returned, without concluding a peace, he said, in an assembly, “that ye may not think that no purpose has been effected by this embassy, be assured, that 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 restitution, it was not agreeable to them, that our atonement for the breach of treaty 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 to 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 umpire shall I call in to judge of your resentment, and of my punishment? I decline none; neither nation nor private person. But, if the weak is not to find protection against a stronger in human laws, I will appeal to the gods, the avengers of intolerable arrogance, and will beseech them to turn their wrath against those who are not satisfied by the restoration of their own, nor by additional heaps of other men’s property; whose inhuman rage is not satiated by the death of the guilty, by the surrender of their lifeless bodies, and 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, when it becomes necessary, and arms are clear of impiety, Edition: current; Page: [222] when men have no hope left but in arms. Wherefore, as the issue of every human undertaking depends chiefly on men’s acting either with or without the favour of the gods, be assured that the former wars ye waged in opposition to the gods more than to men; in this, which we are now to undertake, ye will act under the immediate guidance of the gods themselves.”

II. After uttering these predictions, not more favourable 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, besieging Luceria with their whole force, and very near becoming masters of it. Such a rumour had been industriously spread before, and had already reached the Romans; but these prisoners caused them to give it greater credit, especially as they all concurred in the same report. The Romans did not hesitate to resolve on carrying succour to the Lucerians, because they were good and faithful allies; and, for this farther reason, lest all Apulia, through apprehension of the impending danger, might go over to the enemy. The only point which came under 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, abounding in grass Edition: current; Page: [223] and water, and through the middle of which the passage runs: but before this is arrived at, the first defile must be passed, while the only way back is through the road by which it was entered; or if in case of resolving to proceed forward, it must be by the other glen, which is still more narrow and difficult. Into this plain the Romans marched down their troops, by one of those passes, through the cleft of a rock; and, when they advanced to the other defile, found it blocked up by trees thrown across, with a mound of huge stones. The stratagem of the enemy now became apparent; and at the same time a body of troops was seen on the eminence over the glen. Hastening back, then, to 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 of their limbs: they then remained a long time motionless and silent, with their eyes fixed on each other, as if each thought the other more capable of judging and advising than himself. After some time, the consul’s pavilions were erected, and they got ready the implements for throwing up works, although they were sensible that it must appear ridiculous to attempt raising a fortification in their present desperate condition, and when almost every hope was lost. 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 enduring the haughty taunts of their enemies, seemed with melancholy to acknowledge the apparent fruitlessness of their 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.

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III. Night came on while they were employed in lamenting their situation, all urging, with warmth, whatever their several tempers prompted. Some crying out, “Let us go over those fences which obstruct 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, how can we proceed? 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, they passed the whole night. Nor could the Samnites, though in circumstances so accordant to their wishes, 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 was informed that the Roman armies were shut up at the Caudine forks, between the two glens, and was asked for advice 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 to advise with him a second time, he recommended that they should all, to a man, be put to death. On receiving these answers, so opposite to each other, like the ambiguous responses of an oracle, his son, although, as well as others, persuaded that the powers Edition: current; Page: [225] 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 and consult him in person. The old man, we are told, complied without reluctance, and was carried in a wagon to the camp, where, when he came to speak, he made no alterations in the opinions which he had given, only added the reasons on which he founded 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.” His son, and the other chiefs, then asking him if “a plan of a middle kind might not be adopted; of dismissing them unhurt; and, at the same time, by the right of war, imposing terms on them as vanquished?” “That, indeed,” said he, “is a plan of such a nature, as neither procures friends nor removes enemies. Only consider who they are, whom ye would irritate by ignominious treatment. The Romans are a race who know not how to sit down quiet under defeat; any scar, which the present necessity shall imprint in their breasts, will rankle there 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.

IV. In the other camp, the Romans, having tried many fruitless efforts to force a passage, and being now destitute of every means of subsistence, were reduced by necessity to 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 make acknowledgment Edition: current; Page: [226] of their situation, he would send them under the yoke unarmed, and only partly clothed; that the other conditions of peace should be such as were just and proper between the conquerors and the conquered. Their troops must depart, and their colonies be withdrawn out of the territories of the Samnites; and, 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 negociate 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 every mind, that, had they been told that all were to die on the spot, they could not have felt deeper affliction. Silence continued a long time; the consuls not being 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 lieutenant-generals, both in respect of bravery, and of the public honours which he had attained, addressed them thus: “Consuls, I have often beard 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 this 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, either on equal or unequal ground, the advice which I should give would not be devoid of the same spirit which animated my father. I acknowledge, indeed, that death, in defence of Edition: current; Page: [227] 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 for their own gratification, what is there 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. But, in fact, in case of the destruction of this army, all these are given up to ruin, instead of being saved from it. 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 it. 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 us therefore undergo that indignity, how great soever, and submit to that necessity to which even the gods themselves are seen to yield. Go, consuls, ransom the state for arms, which your ancestors ransomed with gold.”

V. The consuls accordingly went to Pontius to confer with him; and 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. So that the Caudine peace was not ratified by settled treaty, as is commonly believed, and even asserted by Claudius in his history, but by convention, wherein the parties became sureties. For what occasion would there be either for sureties or hostages in the former case, where the ratification is performed by Edition: current; Page: [228] 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, lieutenant-generals, quæstors, and military tribunes, became sureties; and the names of all these are extant in the convention; where, had the business been transacted by treaty, none would have appeared but those of the two heralds. On account of the necessary delay, before a peace could be concluded, it was also insisted on, that six hundred horsemen should be given 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, who knew the country, nor scouts to explore it; but went on blindly, like beasts into a pitfall.” They cast looks of distraction on each other, viewed earnestly the arms which they must presently surrender; while their persons would be subject to the will 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 against the enemy. In vain had arms, in vain had strength, in vain had courage, been given them.” While Edition: current; Page: [229] 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 were pouring execrations upon them, that every one, forgetting his own condition, turned away his eyes from that disgraceful insult on so high a dignity, as from a spectacle too horrid to behold.

VI. First, the consuls, nearly half naked, were sent under the yoke; then each officer, according to his rank, was exposed to disgrace, and the same of 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, to which the army was reduced, 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, doubting the fidelity of the allies, and embarrassed by shame, they halted at a small distance from that city. They stood in need of every kind of refreshment, yet threw themselves carelessly on the ground, on each side of the road: which being told at Edition: current; Page: [230] Capua, compassion for the situation of their allies, took place 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, the whole senate and people went out to meet them, and performed every proper office of hospitality, both public and private. But the looks and address of the allies, joined with all their kindness, could not draw a word from them; nor even prevail on them to raise their eyes: so deeply were they affected by shame and grief, that they shunned the conversation 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 enquiries 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 they were dumb; the former genius of the Romans was struck mute, and that their spirit had been taken from them, together with their arms. Not one gave answer to those who saluted them; as if, through fear, they were unable to utter a word; and that their necks still carried the yoke under which they had been sent. That the Samnites had obtained a victory, not only glorious, but lasting; for they had subdued, not Rome, merely, as the Gauls had formerly done; but, what was a much more warlike achievement, the Roman courage.” These discourses were attentively listened to, and lamentations made in this assembly of faithful allies, as if the Roman name were almost extinct. We are told that Ofilius Calavius, son of Ovius, a man highly distinguished, both by his birth and conduct, and at this time farther respectable on account of his age, 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 Edition: current; Page: [231] 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.”

VII. People at Rome were, by this time, informed of the disaster which had befallen them. At first, they heard that the troops were shut up; afterwards, the news of the ignominious peace arrived; and this 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, by common consent, without any order for that purpose being issued. Ornamented dresses* were laid aside: and the public were in greater tribulation, if possible, than the vanquished themselves; they were not only enraged against the commanders, the advisers and sureties of the peace, but were filled with detestation, even of the unoffending soldiers, and asserted, that they ought not to be admitted into the city. But these transports of passion were allayed by the arrival of the troops, Edition: current; Page: [232] in a state so deplorable, as was sufficient to convert even anger into compassion; for they came 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; and 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 they were compelled, 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 Ælius Pætus. But some irregularity being discovered in their appointment, there were substituted in their room, Marcus Æmilius 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 office of interrex was held by Quintus Fabius Maximus; afterwards by Marcus Valerius Corvus,Y.R.434. bc318. 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.

VIII. They entered into office immediately on being 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, whose duty it was to open the business, 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, doubtless I am to be called up first with marked ignominy, not with honour; and am ordered to speak, not as being a senator, but as a person who has to answer for an unsuccessful war, and disgraceful peace. However, the Edition: current; Page: [233] question propounded by you is not concerning our guilt, or our punishment; waving, therefore, a defence, which would not be very difficult, before men who are not unacquainted with the casualties to which mankind are subject, I shall briefly state my opinion on the matter in question; which opinion will testify, whether I was actuated by tenderness to myself, or to your legions, when I engaged as surety to the convention, be it of what kind it may, 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 the maxims of religion and 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. And, O Immortal Gods! I pray and beseech you, that, although it has not been your will, that Spurius Postumius, and Titus Veturius, in the office of 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 shackled, and delivered into the hands of our foes, taking on our own heads the whole weight of the enemy’s resentment. And grant, that the consuls and legions of Rome may meet the same fortune in war, against the Samnites, which has attended them in every war before we became consuls.” On his concluding this speech, men’s minds were so impressed with admiration and compassion, that they could scarce believe him to be the same Spurius Edition: current; Page: [234] Postumius, who had been the author of so shameful a peace; lamenting, at the same time, that such a man was likely to undergo, among the enemy, a punishment even beyond that of others, through the desire of annulling the peace. All the members, showing tenderness towards him, expressed their approbation of his sentiments, when Lucius Livius and Quintus Mælius, being tribunes of the commons, attempted, for a time, to stop the proceeding by a protest; insisting, that “the people could not be acquitted of the religious obligation, from the consuls being given up, unless all things were restored to 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.”

IX. 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 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, by way of interest for their punishment, on account of the delay of payment. 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, to prevent themselves from being 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 Edition: current; Page: [235] the Samnites forced 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 the people can be bound, in any one instance, it can, in all. Nor is there any importance in another circumstance, which weighs, perhaps, with some: whether a consul, a dictator, or a prætor, be the surety. And this, indeed, was the judgment, even of the Samnites themselves, who were not satisfied with the security of the consuls, but compelled the lieutenant-generals, quæstors, and military tribunes to join them. Let it not then be demanded of me, why I entered into such a compact, when no such power was lodged 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; 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, Edition: current; Page: [236] during the time which they spent in sending for old men from home to give them advice, to send ambassadors to Rome, and to negociate 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 the will of fate, 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 effectuate its deliverance; that an ineffectual victory should be succeeded by a more ineffectual peace; and that a convention, on the faith of 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, whose abilities are sufficiently extensive over that which is our own, over 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, you will consider whether the delivering them up can be immediately effected, or if it must be deferred to another day. Meanwhile let us, Titus Veturius, Edition: current; Page: [237] and the rest concerned, offer our worthless persons, as atonements for the non-performance of our engagements, and, by our sufferings, liberate the Roman armies.”

X. These arguments, and, still more, the person by whom they were delivered, 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 him to have equalled in glory even the consul Publius Decius, who devoted himself. “Through his counsel, and exertions,” they said “the republic had raised up its head, after being sunk in 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. 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, “nay,” 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 order from the Roman people, the Quirites, Edition: current; Page: [238] entered into surety, that a treaty should be made, whereby they have 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 the people he represented would therefore have the more justice on their side, in the war which they were about to wage.”

XI. 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 ye 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 make a demand 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 make the demand on the Roman people. If they are dissatisfied with the convention made at the Caddine 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 us nothing. Let them receive again the arms 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 violating the compacts which ye make on being Edition: current; Page: [239] defeated? Ye gave hostages to Porsena: ye clandestinely got them back. 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 take back 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, carrying with them the wrath of all the gods, whose authority is thus despised. 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 ye have just grounds for a war against us. 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, as not even children would allow themselves! Go, lictor, take off the bonds from those Romans. Let no one hinder them to depart, when they think proper.” Accordingly they returned unhurt from Caudium, to the Roman camp, Edition: current; Page: [240] having acquitted, certainly, their own faith, and, perhaps, that of the public.

XII. 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 a certainty of victory, for an uncertain peace; and 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, as 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 Fregellæ, 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; for 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; a crier was 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 avail themselves of it. A part, more determined, however, retaining their arms, rushed out by the opposite Edition: current; Page: [241] gate, and found greater safety in their boldness, than the others from the credulity inspired by their fears: for the Samnites surrounded the latter with fires, and burned them all to death, while they made vain appeals to the faith of gods and men. The consuls having settled the provinces between them, Papirius proceeded into Apulia to Luceria, where the Roman horsemen, given as hostages to 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 try the issue of a battle with Publilius: accordingly, they drew out their forces into the field.

XIII. When Publilius was about to engage, he thought it proper to address his soldiers; and, accordingly, he ordered an assembly to be summoned. But, though they ran together to the general’s quarters with the greatest alacrity, yet, so loud were their clamours, demanding the fight, that none of the general’s exhortations were heard: each man’s own reflections on the late disgrace were sufficient to determine them. They advanced, therefore, to battle, urging the standard-bearers to hasten; and lest, in beginning the conflict, there should be any delay, by reason that javelins were less easily wielded than 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. The general had little opportunity of showing his skill in forming ranks or reserves; the ungoverned troops performed all, with a degree of fury little inferior to madness. The enemy, therefore, were completely routed, not even daring to retreat to their camp, but dispersing, made the best of their way towards Edition: current; Page: [242] Apulia: afterwards, however, they collected their forces into one body, and came to 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, used to ravage the lowlands, and the places on the coast; and, being savage themselves, despised the husbandmen, who were of a gentler kind. Now, the people of this tract, had they been favourably affected towards the Samnites, could either have prevented the Roman army from coming to Arpi; or, as they lay between Rome and Arpi, could, by intercepting the convoys of provisions, have caused such scarcity of every necessary, as would have been fatal. 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 a very scanty proportion, the horsemen carrying corn from thence to the camp, in little bags, for the foot, who were employed in the out-posts, watches, and works, and these sometimes falling in with parties of the enemy, when they were obliged to throw the corn from off their horses, in order to fight. With respect to the Samnites, before the arrival of the other consul and his victorious army, provisions and reinforcements had been brought in to them from the mountains; but the coming of Publilius strengthened the Romans in every part; for, committing the siege to the care of his Edition: current; Page: [243] 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.

XIV. 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 their words had made some impression on him, 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, on which they were at no loss how to determine, 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 found it their interest to pretend to be so, in order to conciliate the favour of the Tarentines, when they saw, on a Edition: current; Page: [244] 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 they would rather endure any consequence which might ensue, than show contempt to the recommendation of the Tarentines.” 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 any one have escaped, had not the consuls given the signal for retreat; and, partly by commands, partly by threats, forced the soldiers out of the camp, where they were greedily indulging themselves in slaughter. As they were highly incensed at being thus interrupted, 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 their inclinations been restrained by the consideration of the six hundred horsemen, who were confined, as hostages, in Luceria, for it was feared that the Samnites, through despair, might be hurried on blindly to Edition: current; Page: [245] take cruel revenge on them, before they perished themselves.” The soldiers highly applauded the consul’s conduct, rejoiced that their resentment had been checked, and acknowledged, that every thing ought to be endured, rather than that so many Roman youths of the first distinction should be brought into danger.

XV. The assembly being then dismissed, a consultation was held, whether they should press forward the siege of Luceria, with all their forces; or, whether one of the commanders, and his army, should make trial of the dispositions of the rest of the Apulians, which were 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, 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 Herrennius, 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 setting the example.” All this they submitted to. Seven thousand soldiers were sent under the yoke, and an immense Edition: current; Page: [246] booty was seized in the town, where the Romans retook all the standards and arms which they had lost at Caudium; and, what greatly increased 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 remarkable 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 Herrennius, the Samnite general, was sent under the yoke along with the rest, to atone for the disgrace of the consuls. I think it indeed less strange to find uncertainty, with respect to the treatment of the Samnite general, than that there should be a doubt whether it was Lucius Cornelius, in quality of dictator, (Lucius Papirius Cursor being master of the horse, who acted 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.Y.R.435. bc317. This uncertainty is followed by another, whether, at the next election, Papirius Cursor was chosen consul, a third time, with Quintus Aulus Cerretanus a second time, being re-elected in requital of his services at Luceria; or whether it was Lucius Papirius Mugillanus, the surname being mistaken.

XVI. 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 Ferentans. The city, to which their army had retreated after its defeat, surrendered on terms, and was ordered to give hostages. Similar fortune attended the other consul, in 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, Edition: current; Page: [247] 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:” which words struck greater terror into the colonists, than the arms with which they were threatened. The deputies, on this, 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, and bring back their answer to him. Two factions divided the senate: the leaders of one 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, who had opposed the going over to the Samnites, went farther, and opened one of the gates for the consul in the night, secretly admitting him into the town. In consequence of this two-fold treachery, the Samnite garrison was surprized 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 besiegers. 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, taking proper measures to discover who were the instigators Edition: current; Page: [248] of the revolt, 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, Papirius Cursor proceeded to Rome to celebrate his triumph, according to the relation of those authors, who say, that he was the general who retook Luceria, and sent the Samnites under the yoke. Undoubtedly, as a warrior, he was deserving of every 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 robustnesss 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 prætor of Præneste, through fear, had been tardy in bringing forward his men from the reserve to the front: the general walking before his tent, ordered him to be called, and then bade the lictor to make ready his axe, on which the Prænestine, standing frighted 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, fined 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 Edition: current; Page: [249] 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.

XVII. Nothing has ever been 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, as it has often set my thoughts at work, in silent disquisitions, now calls forth a few reflections to public view; and disposes me to enquire, what would have been the consequence, respecting the affairs of the Romans, if they had happened to have been engaged in a war with Alexander. The circumstances of greatest moment seem to be, the number and bravery of the soldiers, the abilities of the commanders, and fortune, which exerts a powerful sway over all human concerns, and especially over those of war. Now these particulars, considered both separately and collectively, must clearly convince an observer, that not only other kings and nations, but that even Alexander himself, would have found the Roman empire invincible. And first, to begin with comparing the commanders. I do not, indeed, deny, that Alexander was a captain of consummate merit; but still his fame owes part of its lustre to his having been single in command, and to his dying young, while his affairs were advancing in improvement, and while he had not yet experienced a reverse of fortune. For, to pass by other illustrious kings and leaders, who afford exemplary instances of the decline of human greatness, what was it, but length of life, which subjected Cyrus (whom the Greeks, in their panegyrics, exalt so far beyond all others) to the caprice of fortune? and the same was, lately, the case of Pompey the Great. I shall enumerate the Roman chiefs: not every one of every age, but those Edition: current; Page: [250] only with whom, either as consuls or dictators, Alexander might have been engaged. Marcus Valerius Corvus, Caius Marcius Rutilus, Caius Sulpicius, Titus Manlius Torquatus, Quintus Publilius Philo, Lucius Papirius Cursor, Quintus Fabius Maximus, the two Decii, Lucius Volumnius, Manius Curius. Then follow a number of very extraordinary men, had it so happened, that he had first engaged in war with Carthage, and had come into Italy at a more advanced period of life. Every one of these possessed powers of mind and a capacity equal with Alexander; add to this, that a regular system of military discipline had been transmitted from one to another, from the first rise of the city of Rome; a system now reduced into the form of an art, completely digested in a train of fixed and settled principles, deduced from the practice of the Kings; and afterwards, of the expellers of those Kings, the Junii and Valerii; with all the improvements made in it by the Fabii, the Quintii, the Cornelii, and particularly Furius Camillus, who was an old man in the earlier years of those with whom Alexander must have fought. Manlius Torquatus might, perhaps, have yielded to Alexander, had he met him in the field: 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. The councils of one youth, it is possible, might have baffled the wisdom of a whole senate, composed of such members, that he alone, who said it was an assembly of kings, conceived a just idea of it. But then there was little probability that he should, with more judgment than any one of those whom I have named, choose ground for an encampment, provide supplies, guard against stratagems, distinguish the season for fighting, form his line of battle, or strengthen Edition: current; Page: [251] 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 burthensome 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. Italy would have appeared, to him, a country of a quite different nature from Asia, which he traversed in the guise of a reveller, 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.

XVIII. I am here speaking of Alexander, not yet intoxicated by prosperity, the seductions of which no man was less capable of withstanding. But, if a judgment is to be formed of him, from the tenour 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 who 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 pride in the frequent changes of his dress; his 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 increased? if his fierce and uncontroulable anger? and, as I mention not any one circumstance Edition: current; Page: [252] 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 expence of the Roman name, it was to be apprehended that the Roman people would not have had resolution to face 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; is it to be supposed that out of such a number of Roman chiefs, no one would have freely uttered his sentiments. How large soever the scale may be, on which our idea of this man’s greatness is formed, 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 fight, do not consider, that they are comparing the actions of one man, and that a young man, with the course of action of a nation, which has been waging wars, now eight hundred years. Can we wonder then, if fortune has varied more in such a long space, than in the short term of thirteen years? but why not compare the success of one man, with that of another? how many Roman commanders might I name, who never were beaten? 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, Edition: current; Page: [253] 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, to attend elections; amidst the very busiest efforts of the campaign, overtaken by the close of their official year: sometimes by the rashness, sometimes the perverseness of a colleague, involved in difficulties or losses; 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, controul all things in subserviency to their designs, themselves uncontrouled 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; the life, or death, of any of whom would have affected only his own concerns, without any material consequence to the public.

XIX. It remains to compare the forces together, with respect to their numbers, the different kinds of troops, and their resources for procuring auxiliaries. Now, in the general surveys of that age, there were rated two hundred and fifty thousand men: so that, on every revolt of the Latine confederates, ten legions were enlisted, almost entirely in the city. It often happened during those years, that four or five armies were employed at a time, in Etruria, in Umbria, the Gauls also being at war, in Samnium, in Lucania. Then as to all Latium, with the Sabines, and Volscians, the Æquans, and Edition: current; Page: [254] all Campania; half of Umbria, Etruria, and the Picentians, the Maraians, Pelignians, Vestinians, and Apulians; to whom, we may add, the whole coast of the lower sea, possessed by the Greeks from Thurii, to Neapolis and Cumæ; 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 incumbrance, rather 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, could make no other effort. The Roman, whom Caudium, whom Cannæ, did not crush, what fight 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 Edition: current; Page: [255] said by Alexander, king of Epirus, after receiving his mortal wound, in relation to the battles fought in Asia by this very youth, and when compared 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 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, 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 when they were led by Alexander, or when their power was at the height, but in the wars against Antiochus, Philip, and Perseus; and so far were they from sustaining any losses, that they incurred not even danger. Let not the truth give offence to any, 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 zeal to promote domestic harmony, which at present subsist among us, shall continue to prevail.

XX. Marcus Foslius Flaccinator and Lucius Plautius Venno were the next raised to the consulship.Y.R.436. bc316. In this year ambassadors came from most of the states of the Samnites to procure a renewal of the treaty; and, having moved the compassion of the senate, by the humility Edition: current; Page: [256] with which they prostrated themselves before them, were referred to the people, with whom they found not their prayers so efficacious. Their petition, therefore, with regard to the treaty, was rejected; but, after a supplication of several days, they obtained a truce for two years. 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 præfects first began to be created for Capua, and a code of laws was given to that nation, by Lucius Furius the prætor; 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.Y.R.437. bc315. On the affairs of Apulia falling into decline, the Teatians of that country came to the new consuls, Caius Junius Bubulcus, and Quintus Æmilius 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 consul Æmilius. 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, widely extended their sway.

XXI. The consuls, Caius Junius Bubulcus, and Quintus Æmilius Barbula, at the conclusion of the year, delivered Edition: current; Page: [257] over the legions, not to the consuls elected by themselves, who were Spurius Nautius, and Marcus Popillius, but to a dictator, Lucius Æmilius.Y.R.438. bc314. He, with Lucius Fulvius, master of the horse, laying siege to Saticula, gave occasion to the Samnites of reviving hostilities, and this produced a two-fold alarm to the Roman army. On one side, the Samnites having collected a numerous force with intent to relieve their allies from the siege, pitched their camp at a small distance from that of the Romans: on the other side, the Santiculans, opening suddenly their gates, ran up with violent tumult to their posts. 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 chose a position in which he could not easily be surrounded, and also formed two different fronts. However, he directed his first efforts against those who had sallied from the town, and, without meeting 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.

XXII. The year coming to a conclusion, the war was thenceforward conducted by a dictator, Quintus Fabius.Y.R.439. bc313. 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 command Edition: current; Page: [258] of the army from Æmilius. 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 the taking of the city as the only object of the war, and showing an indifference with respect to the Samnites, except that he placed guards in proper places, to prevent any attempt on his camp. This encouraged the Samnites, so that they rode up to the rampart, and allowed him no quiet. These now coming 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 them back. In this desultory kind of fight, fortune exerted her power 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, filled with indignation at being repulsed, and compelled to fly from a place to which he had advanced with such confidence, prevailed on his horsemen, by entreaties and exhortations, to renew 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 in such a furious career, that, with one stroke of his spear, 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 roused 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 was reserved for his brother, who, urged by rage and grief, dragged down the victorious master of the horse Edition: current; Page: [259] from his seat, and slew him. As he fell in the midst of their troops, the Samnites were also near keeping possession of his body: but the Romans instantly dismounting, the Samnites were obliged to do the same; and thus were lines formed suddenly, and a battle began on foot, round the bodies of the generals, in which the Romans had manifestly the advantage; and, recovering the body of Aulius, carried it back in triumph to the camp, with hearts filled with a mixture of joy and grief. The Samnites having lost their commander, and made a trial of their strength in this contest between the cavalry, left Saticula, which they despaired of relieving, and returned to the siege of Plistia: within a few days after which, the Romans got possession of Saticula by capitulation, and the Samnites of Plistia by force.

XXIII. The seat of the war was then changed. The legions were led away from Samnium and Apulia to Sora. This city had revolted to the Samnites, and put to death the Roman colonists. The Roman army having arrived here first, by forced marches, with the purpose of revenging the murder of their countrymen, and recovering possession of the colony, and the scouts who were scattered about the roads bringing intelligence, one after another, that the Samnites were followed at no great distance, they marched to meet the enemy, and at Lautulæ fought them with doubtful success. Neither loss nor flight on either side, but the night, separated the combatants, uncertain whether they were victorious or defeated. I find in some historians, that the Romans were worsted in this battle, and that here Quintus Aulius, the master of the horse, fell. Caius Fabius, substituted master of the horse in the room of Quintus Aulius, came hither with a new army from Rome; and having, by messengers whom he sent forward, consulted the dictator, where he should halt, at what time, and on what side, he should fall upon the enemy, and, being sufficiently apprized of his designs in every Edition: current; Page: [260] particular, he rested in a place where he was safe from observation. The dictator, after having kept his men within the rampart for several days after the engagement, like one besieged, rather than a besieger, suddenly displayed the signal for battle; and, judging it the more efficacious method of inflaming the courage of brave men, to let none have any room for hope but in himself, he kept secret from the troops the arrival of the master of the horse, and the new army; and, as if there were no safety but in forcing their way thence, he said, “Soldiers, caught as we are in a confined situation, we have no passage through which we can extricate ourselves, unless we open one by a victory. Our post is sufficiently secured by works; 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 nature of 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 spirits inflamed by the dictator’s discourse, which seemed to indicate 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 no small incitement: rushing on, therefore, like madmen, they disordered the enemy’s battalions at the very Edition: current; Page: [261] first onset; and the master of the horse, when he saw at a distance the fire of the camp, which was the signal agreed on, made a seasonable attack on their rear. The Samnites, thus assailed on every side, fled different ways. A vast number, who had gathered into a body through fear, yet from confusion, incapable of acting, were surrounded and cut to pieces. The enemy’s camp was taken and plundered; and the soldiers, being laden with the spoil, the dictator led them back to the Roman camp, highly rejoiced at the success, but still more at finding, contrary to their expectation, every thing there safe, except a small part only, which was injured or destroyed by the fire.

XXIV. They then marched back to Sora; and the new consuls, Marcus Pœtelius and Caius Sulpicius,Y.R.440. bc312. receiving the army from the dictator Fabius, discharged a great part of the veteran soldiers, having brought with them new cohorts to supply their place. Now while, on account of the difficulties presented by the situation of the city, no mode of attack could be devised, which promised any certainty of success, and the taking of it must either be done at the expense of a great deal of time, or at a desperate risk; a townsman deserting, 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. From his answers to their questions, respecting the means by which he intended to accomplish his design, it appeared to be not ill formed; and he persuaded them to remove the Roman camp, which was almost close to the walls, to the distance of six miles, alleging, 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, Edition: current; Page: [262] into the citadel, where a quantity of missive weapons had been collected, larger then bore proportion to the number of men. There were stones besides, some lying at random, as in all craggy places, and others heaped up 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, by concealing the real state of things, magnifies every object to people, when 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. Flight began on every side, and the townsmen, half asleep, and for the most part unarmed, broke open the gates, 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 were left in safety at Sora, where they placed a garrison. All Edition: current; Page: [263] 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.

XXV. The consuls leaving Sora, turned their 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 Lautulæ: 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 occasioned inquiries 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, Minturnæ, and Vescia. Certain young men of the principal families, twelve in number, having conspired to betray their respective cities, came to the consuls, and informed them, that their countrymen, who had, for a long time before, earnestly wished for the coming of the Samnites, on hearing of the battle at Lautulæ, had looked on the Romans as defeated, and had assisted the Samnites with supplies of 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 any troops should approach, and that, while their minds were 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, who, on the opening of the gates at the approach of day, were to enter into the cities. These latter began with killing the guards, and, at the Edition: current; Page: [264] same time, made the signal to the men in 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 generals were not present when the attacks were made, 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.

XXVI. During this year, Luceria fell into the hands of the Samnites, the Roman garrison being betrayed to them. The actors in this treachery did not long go unpunished: 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. 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 their citizens as colonists among nations so ill-affected towards them. However the resolution was carried, that such should be sent; and accordingly two thousand five hundred were transported thither. This year, disaffection to the Romans becoming general, conspiracies were formed among the leading men at Capua, as well as at other places; which being reported to the senate, they deemed it an affair by no means to be neglected. They decreed that inquiries should be made, and resolved that a dictator should be appointed to enforce these inquiries. Caius Mænius 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 Edition: current; Page: [265] dictator’s power, or the consciousness of guilt, previous to the charge against them being laid in form before him, chose, as appeared beyond doubt, to avoid 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 enquiry should be made, not specially who at Capua, but generally, who at any place had formed cabals or conspiracies; for that cabals, for the attaining of honours, were contrary to the edicts of the state. The enquiry was extended to a greater latitude, with respect both to the matter, and to the kind of persons concerned. The dictator scrupled 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 themselves, or their order, 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 inquisitors; and this they should know as soon as they went out of office. This so deeply affected Mænius, who was more solicitous about his character than his office, that he advanced into the assembly and spoke to this effect: “Romans, 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 enquiries, 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 course of life was most remote from such cabals. But certain of the nobility Edition: current; Page: [266] (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 enquiries; and then, finding their strength unequal to it, rather than stand a trial, have fled for refuge to the strong hold 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 restrained by a sense of decency from 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 impossibilities; 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 will make me and Marcus Foslius the first objects of your examinations; it shall be manifested, that we owe our safety from such imputations to our own innocence, not to 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.

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XXVII. 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 from their intended march towards Apulia, back to Caudium; where, being near, they might, if any commotion should open them an opportunity, snatch Capua out of the bands 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 road 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. Both armies then made trial of their strength in slight skirmishes, more frequently between the horse than the foot; and the Romans were no way displeased either at the issue of these, or at the protraction of the war. The Samnite generals, on the contrary, were uneasy that their battalions should be weakened daily by small losses, and the general vigour abated by inaction. 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 in the right wing, Pœtelius in the left. The right wing was stretched out wider than usual; the Samnites also on that side being 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 Pœtelius: 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 Edition: current; Page: [268] 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 Pœtelius 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 affairs on that side in a very different posture; the Romans driven from their ground, and the victorious enemy pressing on their disordered battalions. 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 a more powerful reinforcement than even their number; while the news of success in the other wing, of which they soon had visible proof, restored the vigour of 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. Thirty thousand of the Samnites were slain or taken, according to the accounts of historians.

XXVIII. The consuls, after this important victory, led forward the legions to lay siege to Bovianum; and there they continued, during part of the winter, until Caius Pœtelius being nominated dictator,Y.R.441. bc311. 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 Fregellæ was taken by the Samnites, he left Bovianum, and proceeded to that city, of which Edition: current; Page: [269] he recovered possession without any contest, the Samnites abandoning it in the night: he then placed a strong garrison there, and returned into 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, shut themselves up, on the approach of the dictator. Having taken a view of the situation of the city, in order to open the approach to the fortifications, 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 dictator Pœtelius, or the consul Caius Junius, but by which of them is uncertain. Those who attribute to the consul the honour of taking Nola, add, that he also took Atina and Calatia, and that Pœtelius was created dictator in consequence of a pestilence breaking out, merely for the purpose of driving the nail. The colonies of Suessa and Pontiæ were established in this year. Suessa had been the property of the Auruncians: the Volscians had occupied Pontiæ, an island lying within sight of their shore. A decree of the senate was also passed for conducting colonies to Interamna and Casinum. But the commissioners were appointed, and the colonists,Y.R.442. bc310. to the number of four thousand, sent by the succeeding consuls, Marcus Valerius and Publius Decius.

XXIX. The Samnites were now nearly disabled from continuing the war; but, before the Roman senate was freed from all concern on that side, a report arose of the Etrurians intending to commence hostilities; 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 Edition: current; Page: [270] 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 all requisite matters. 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 intention to delegate the same to them. The consequence, as related, is wonderful to be told, and sufficient to 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, and not fewer than 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 pursued by the wrath of the gods; and, some years after, deprived of sight.

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XXX. The consuls of the succeeding year were Caius Junius Bubulcus, a third time, and Quintus Æmilius Barbula a second.Y.R.443. bc309. In the commencement of their office, they complained before the people, that, by the improper choice which had been made 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, made, without distinction of right or wrong, merely to gratify interest or humour: they then immediately called over the list of she senate, in the same order which had taken place 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 bestowed by the dictators and consuls, and very few of the places were left to be filled by vote. 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, were it not for the relation which it bears 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. This affair gave uneasiness to the senate, on account of its consequences to religion; and they sent envoys to Tibur with instructions, to endeavour that these men might be sent back to Rome. The Tiburtines readily promised compliance, and, first calling Edition: current; Page: [272] them into the senate-house, warmly recommended to them to return thither; and then, finding that they could not be prevailed on, practised 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 wagons, and carried them away to Rome: nor did they know any thing of the matter, until, the wagons 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, during three days in every year. And that license, 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.

XXXI. The consuls adjusting the provinces between them, the Samnites fell by lot to Junius, the new war of Etruria to Æmilius. In the country of the former, the Samnites, finding themselves unable to take Cluvia, a Roman garrison, by force, had formed a blockade, and reduced it, by famine, to capitulate: and, after torturing with stripes, in a shocking manner, the townsmen who surrendered, 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, Edition: current; Page: [273] stimulated by the hope of plunder, soon made themselves masters of the town; where, their resentment being less violent, 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 assailers. The Samnites now perceiving that the Romans possessed such a superiority in arms, that no force in the field, no camp, no cities, could withstand them, bent their whole attention to find out an opportunity of acting by stratagem. They conceived that the enemy, proceeding with incautious eagerness in pursuit of plunder, might, on such occasion, be caught in a snare and overpowered. Some peasants who deserted, and some prisoners who were taken, (part of them being purposely thrown in the way, while others were met by accident,) concurred in their report to the consul, which at the same time was true, that a vast quantity of cattle had been driven together into a certain defile of difficult access, and by which he was induced to lead thither the legions lightly accoutered, in order to seize the prey. 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, they formed the line 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 Edition: current; Page: [274] for his soldiers; nor could any other fault be charged on him, than too great a solicitude to enrich them at the expense of the enemy. From the impending disgrace nothing could extricate him but the valour of the troops: let them only join unanimously in a vigorous attack against a foe, whom they had already vanquished in the field, beaten out of their camps, and stripped of their towns, and who were now trying their last resource, in an attempt to over-reach them, by the contrivance of an ambuscade, placing their reliance on the ground they occupied, not on their arms. But what ground, what station, was now unsurmountable to Roman valour?” The citadel of Fregellæ, 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 obstacles, advanced against the enemy, posted above them; and here they underwent a good deal of fatige in 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 their inducement to make choice of it, now entangled them in the snares of their own contrivance: 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, which the enemy had so unwisely thrown in their way.

XXXII. 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 Edition: current; Page: [275] consul, Æmilius, came with an army to deliver the allies from the siege. The Romans, on their arrival, were plentifully supplied, by the Sutrians, with provisions carried 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, their leaders, having determined on the speedier plan, in preference to the safer, as soon as the sun rose, displayed the signal for battle, and the troops marched out to the field: which being reported to the consul, he instantly commanded notice to be given, that they should take refreshment, and then appear under arms. The order was obeyed: and the consul, seeing them armed and in readiness, ordered the standards to he 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. At length, rather than leave the place without something being done, the shout was given by the Etrurians, the trumpets sounded, and the battalions advanced. Nor were the Romans less alert: both rushed to the fight with violent animosity, the Etrurians superior in numbers, the Romans in valour. The battle continued a long time doubtful, and great numbers fell 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 Etrurian line not being supported by any fresh reserves, all before and round the standards were slain, and in no battle whatever would have been seen a nobler stand, or a greater effusion of human blood, had not the night sheltered the Etrurians, who were resolutely determined to resist to death; so that the victors, not the vanquished, were the first who desisted from fighting. After sun-set the signal for Edition: current; Page: [276] 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, the reserves only being left, who were scarce sufficient to guard the camp; and, among the Romans, a greater number died of their wounds, than had fallen in the field.

Y.R.444. bc308.XXXIII. 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 Æmilian 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, who undertook to enforce the termination of the censorship, within the lawful time, by means of a legal process, which was not more popular than just, nor more pleasing to the people generally, than to every man of character in the city. After frequently appealing to the Æmilian law, and bestowing commendations on Mamercus Æmilius, 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 Edition: current; Page: [277] what manner you would have acted, had you been censor at the time when Caius Furius and Marcus Geganius were in that office?” Appius insisted, that “the tribune’s question was irrelevant to his case. For, although the Æmilian 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 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.”

XXXIV. 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; 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, citizens, 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, which occasioned you to form two armies, and to take 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 latter: this is a name, more hostile to your liberty by far, than that of the Tarquinii. I pray you, Appius Claudius, this being now the hundredth year since the dictatorship of Mamercus Æmilius, during which period so many men of the highest characters and abilities have filled that office; did none of these ever read the twelve tables? Edition: current; Page: [278] 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 Æmilian 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 Æmilian law? Or, that the people are bound, and you alone exempted? The Æmilian 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 Æmilius, 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 singularity peculiarly 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 Mænius, dictator, having enforced inquiries with more strictness than consisted with the safety of some powerful men, a Edition: current; Page: [279] charge was thrown out by his enemies, that he himself was infected with the very crime against which his inquiries were directed:—now Mænius, 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 Æmilian law. Surely, this is like absolute 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 with having, as if you were a religious censor, hindered the most ancient solemnity, and the only one instituted by the very deity, to whom it is performed, from being attended by priests of the highest rank, but degraded it to the ministration of 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, but would involve the whole commonwealth in guilt so horrid, that I dread even to mention it. This city was taken in that lustrum in which Caius Julius and Lucius Papirius were censors. On the death of Julius, Papirius, rather than resign his office, substituted Marcus Cornelius Maluginensis as his colleague. 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, no one has since been found who would follow his example: all censors having, in case of the death of a colleague, abdicated Edition: current; Page: [280] 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. Your fortitude is arrogance; your boldness, a contempt of gods and men. Appius Claudius, in consideration of the dignity of that office, which you have borne, and of the respect due to it, 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 Æmilian 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.

XXXV. 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 design to succour the allies, and attempt the enemy’s works, if he should see it practicable, was met by their army prepared for battle. The wide extended plain below, showing 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 the multitude of their men, on which alone they depended, advanced with such haste and eagerness, Edition: current; Page: [281] that, in order to come the sooner to a close engagement, they threw away their javelins, drew their swords, and rushed on. On the other side, the Romans poured down on them, sometimes javelins, and sometimes stones, which the place abundantly supplied; so that the blows on their shields and helmets, confusing even those whom they did not wound, kept them from closing with their foe; and they had no missive weapons, with which to act at a distance. While they stood still, exposed to blows against which they had no sufficient defence, some even giving way, and the line growing unsteady and wavering, the Roman spearmen, and the first rank, renewing the shout, poured down 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 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.

XXXVI. 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; so fresh was the remembrance of the disaster at Caudium in every one’s mind. On this, Marcus Fabius, the consul’s brother, (some say Cæso, others Caius Claudius, born of the same mother with the consul,) undertook to explore the country, and to bring them in a short time an account of every particular. Being educated Edition: current; Page: [282] at Cære, 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 though their speaking the language of the country, with the fashion of their dress and arms, be supposed to have concealed them, it was more effectually done by 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 beggage at the first watch, ordering the legions to march in the rear of it. He himself staid behind with the cavalry, and next day, as soon as light appeared, rode up in a threatening manner Edition: current; Page: [283] 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 body 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 rescuars 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.

XXXVII. The consul, by this expedition, instead of bringing the war nearer to a conclusion, only spread it 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, earnestly desirous of coming to an engagement as soon as possible, marched down to 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 Edition: current; Page: [284] to them; but perceiving that these declined fighting, they advanced to the rampart; where, observing that even the advanced guards had retired within the works, they at once began to insist clamorously on their general’s ordering 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 contemptuously of the Etrurians, who “were not,” he said, “to be compared with other nations, either in respect of abilities as soldiers, or 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.” This he intimated, 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 went to rest, and being roused without noise, about the fourth watch, took arms. The servants following the army, had axes put into their hands, 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; Edition: current; Page: [285] few, in short, had time to defend themselves; and these, who followed no particular leader, nor orders, were quickly routed 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 inclosed 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 came from Perusia, Cortona, and Arretium, which were then among the principal states of Etruria, to solicit a peace and alliance with the Romans; and they obtained a truce for thirty years.

XXXVIII. During these transactions in Etruria, the other consul, Caius Marcius Rutilus, took Allifæ by storm from the Samnites; and many of their forts, and smaller towns, were either destroyed by his arms, or surrendered intire. 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 marine soldiers 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, Edition: current; Page: [286] 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 the news of 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 what they were to undergo. “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 losing the day 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. This event, exaggerated by report, as is usual, greatly alarmed the senate, 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, Edition: current; Page: [287] 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 came to Fabius, and delivered to him the decree of 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 it cost him a violent struggle to suppress. Papirius appointed Caius Junius Bubulcus master of the horse; and, as he was proceeding, in an assembly of the Curiæ*, 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.

XXXIX. Next day the dictator, taking the auspices anew, Edition: current; Page: [288] 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 troops of the consul Marcius, he led on his forces to battle; nor did the enemy seem to decline the combat. However, they stood 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 the army in Etruria was fully employed: 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 made a levy of troops, enforced by 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 least intention 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 last reserves were called into action; and such was the extremity of the difficulty and danger, that the Roman cavalry dismounted, and pressed forward, through heaps of arms and bodies, to the front ranks of the infantry. A new army, as it were, thus starting up, disordered the battalions of the Etrurians; and the rest, weak as their condition was, Edition: current; Page: [289] seconding this attack, broke at last through the enemy’s ranks. Their obstinacy then began to give way; some companies quitted their posts, and, as soon as they once turned their backs, betook themselves to open flight. That day first broke the strength of the Etrurians, now grown exuberant through a long course of prosperity; all the flower of their men were cut off, and the Romans, without halting, seized and sacked their camp.

XL. Equal danger, and an issue equally glorious, soon after attended the war with the Samnites; who, besides their many preparations for the field, made no little glitter with new decorations of their armour. Their troops were in two divisions, one of which had their shields embossed with gold, the other with silver. The shape of the shield was this; broad at the middle to cover the breast and shoulders, and flat at top, sloping off gradually so as to become pointed below, that it might be wielded with ease; a loose coat of mail also helped to defend the breast, and the left leg was covered with a greave; their helmets were adorned with plumes, to add to the appearance of their stature. The golden-armed soldiers wore tunicks of various colours; the silver-armed, of white linen. To the latter, the right wing was assigned; the former took post on the left. The Romans had been apprised of these splendid accoutrements, and had been taught by their commanders, that “a soldier ought to be rough; not decorated with gold and silver, but placing his confidence in his sword. That matters of this kind were in reality spoil rather than armour; glittering before action, but soon losing their brilliancy when besmeared with blood. That the brightest ornament of a soldier was valour; that all those trinkets would follow victory, and that those rich enemies would be valuable prizes to the poorer conquerors.” Cursor, having animated his men with these observations, led them on to battle. He took post himself on the right wing, giving Edition: current; Page: [290] the command of the left to the master of the horse. At the first onset, the conflict between the two armies became desperate, while the dictator and the master of the horse were eagerly contending on which wing victory should first show itself. It happened that Junius first, with the left wing, made the right of the enemy give way; this consisted of men devoted after the custom of the Samnites, and on that account distinguished by white garments and armour of equal whiteness. Junius, saying “he would sacrifice these to Pluto,” pressed forward, disordered their ranks, and made an evident impression: which being perceived by the dictator, he exclaimed, “Shall the battle begin on the left wing, and shall the right, the dictator’s own troops, only second the arms of others, and not claim the greatest share of the victory?” This spurred on the soldiers: nor did the cavalry yield to the infantry in bravery, nor the ardour of lieutenant-generals to that of the commanders. Marcius Valerius from the right wing, and Publius Decius from the left, both men of consular rank, rode off to the cavalry, posted on the extremities of the line, and, exhorting them to join in putting in for a share of the honour, charged the enemy on the flanks. The Roman legions, on observing the confusion of the Samnites, by being thus assailed on both sides, renewed the shout, and rushing forcibly on them, they began to fly. And now the plains were quickly filled with heaps of bodies and splendid armour. At first, their camp received the dismayed Samnites; but they did not long retain even the possession of that: before night it was taken, plundered, and burnt. The dictator triumphed, in pursuance of a decree of the senate; and the most splendid spectacle by far, of any in his procession, was the captured arms: so magnificent were they deemed, that the shields, adorned with gold, were distributed among the owners of the silver shops to serve as embellishments to the Forum. Hence, it is said, arose the Edition: current; Page: [291] custom of the Forum being decorated by the Ædiles, when the grand processions are made, on occasion of the great games. The Romans, indeed, converted these extraordinary arms to the honour of the gods: but the Campanians, out of pride, and in hatred of the foe, gave them as ornaments to their gladiators, who used to be exhibited as a show at their feasts, and whom they distinguished by the name of Samnites. During this year, the consul Fabius fought with the remnants of the Etrurians at Perusia, which city also had violated the truce, and gained an easy and decisive victory. After this, he marched up to the walls of the town, and would have taken it, had not deputies come out and capitulated. Having placed a garrison at Perusia, and sent on before him to the Roman senate, the embassies of Etruria, who solicited friendship, the consul rode into the city in triumph, for successes more important than those of the dictator. Besides, a great share of the honour of reducing the Samnites was attributed to the lieutenant-generals, Publius Decius and Marcus Valerius; whom, at the next election, the people, with universal consent, declared the one consul, the other prætor.

XLI. Fabius, in consideration of his extraordinary merit in the conquest of Etruria, was re-elected into the consulship.Y.R.445. bc307. Decius was appointed his colleague. Valerius was created prætor a fourth time. The consuls divided the provinces between them. Etruria fell to Decius, Samnium to Fabius. The latter, having marched to Nuceria, rejected the application of the people of Alfaterna, who then sued for peace, because they had not accepted it when offered, and by force of arms compelled them to surrender. A battle was fought with the Samnites, who were overcome without much difficulty: nor would the memory of that engagement have been preserved, except that in it the Marsians first appeared in arms against Edition: current; Page: [292] the Romans. The defection of the Marsians was followed by that of the Pelignians, who met the same fate. The other consul, Decius, was likewise very successful in his operations: through the terror with which he inspired the Tarquinians, he compelled them to supply his army with corn, and to sue for a truce of forty years. He took several forts from the Volsinians by assault, some of which he demolished, that they might not serve as receptacles to the enemy, and, by extending his operations through every quarter, diffused such a dread of his arms, that the whole Etrurian nation sued to him for an alliance: this they did not obtain; but a truce for a year was granted them. The pay of the Roman army for that year was furnished by the enemy; and two tunicks for each soldier were exacted from them: this was the purchase of the truce. The tranquillity now established in Etruria was interrupted by a sudden insurrection of the Umbrians, a nation which had suffered no injury from the war, except what inconvenience the country had felt in the passing of the army. These, by calling into the field all their own young men, and forcing a great part of the Etrurians to resume their arms, made up such a numerous force, that, speaking of themselves with ostentatious vanity, and of the Romans with contempt, they boasted that they would leave Decius behind in Etruria, and march away to besiege Rome; which design of theirs being reported to the consul Decius, he removed by long marches from Etruria towards their city, and sat down in the district of Pupinia, in readiness to act according to the intelligence which he might receive of the enemy’s motions. Nor was the insurrection of the Umbrians slighted at Rome: their very threats excited fears among the people, who had experienced, in the calamities suffered from the Gauls, the insecurity of the city wherein they resided. Deputies were therefore dispatched to the consul Fabius, with directions, that, if he had any respite Edition: current; Page: [293] from the war of the Samnites, he should, with all haste, lead his army into Umbria. The consul obeyed the order, and, by forced marches, proceeded to Mevania, where the forces of the Umbrians then lay. The unexpected arrival of the consul, whom they had believed to be sufficiently employed in Samnium, far distant from their country, so thoroughly affrighted the Umbrians, that several advised retiring to their fortified towns; others, the laying aside their arms. However, one district, called by themselves Materina, prevailed on the rest, not only to retain their arms, but to come to an immediate engagement. They fell upon Fabius while he was fortifying his camp. When the consul saw them rushing impetuously towards his rampart, he called off his men from the work, and drew them up in the best manner which the nature of the place and the time allowed; encouraged them by displaying, in honourable and just terms, the glory which they had acquired, as well in Etruria as in Samnium, and bade them finish this insignificant appendage to the Etrurian war, and take vengeance for the impious expressions in which these people had threatened to attack the city of Rome. Such was the alacrity of the soldiers on hearing this, that, raising the about spontaneously, they interrupted the general’s discourse, and, without waiting for orders, advanced, with the sound of all the trumpets and cornets, in full speed against the enemy. They made their attack, not as on men, or, at least, men in arms, but, what must appear wonderful in the relation, began by snatching the standards out of the hands which held them; and then, the standard-bearers themselves were dragged to the consul, and the armed soldiers hauled from the one line to the other; little resistance was any where made, and the business was performed, not so much with swords, as with their shields, with the bosses of which, and thrusts of their elbows, they bore down the foe. The prisoners were more numerous than the slain, and through Edition: current; Page: [294] the whole line the Umbrians called on each other, with one voice, to lay down their arms. Thus a surrender was made in the midst of action, by the first promoters of the war; and, on the next and following days, the other states of this people also surrendered. The Ocriculans were admitted to a treaty of friendship on giving security.

XLII. Fabius, after reaping laurels in a war allotted to another, led back his army into his own province. And as, in the preceding year, the people had, in consideration of his services so successfully performed, re-elected him to the consulship, so now the senate, from the same motive, notwithstanding a warm opposition made by Appius, prolonged his command for the year following, in which AppiusY.R.446. bc306. Claudius and Lucius Volumnius were consuls. In some annals I find, that Appius, still holding the office of censor, declared himself a candidate for the consulship, and that his election was stopped by a protest of Lucius Furius, plebeian tribune, until he resigned the censorship. After his election to the consulship, the new war with the Sallentines, who had taken arms, being decreed to his colleague, he remained at Rome, with design to increase his interest by popular intrigues, since the means of procuring honour in war were placed in the hands of others. Volumnius had no reason to be dissatisfied with his province: he fought many battles with good success, and took several cities by assault. He was liberal in his donations of the spoil; and this munificence, engaging in itself, he enhanced by his courteous demeanour, by which conduct he inspired his soldiers with ardour to meet both toil and danger. Quintus Fabius, proconsul, fought a pitched battle with the armies of the Samnites, near the city of Allifæ. The victory was complete. The enemy were driven from the field, and pursued to their camp; nor would they have kept possession of that, had not the day been almost spent. It was invested, however, Edition: current; Page: [295] before night, and guarded until day, lest any should slip away. Next morning, while it was scarcely clear day, they proposed to capitulate, and it was agreed, that such as were natives of Samnium sheuld be dismissed with single garments. All these were sent under the yoke. No precaution was taken in favour of the allies of the Samnites: they were sold by auction, to the number of seven thousand. Those who declared themselves subjects of the Hernicians, were kept by themselves under a guard. All these Fabius sent to Rome to the senate; and, after being examined, whether it was in consequence of a public order, or as volunteers, that they had carried arms on the side of the Samnites against the Romans, they were distributed among the states of the Latines, to be held in custody; and it was ordered, that the new consuls, Publius Cornelius Arvina,Y.R.447. bc305. and Quintus Marcius Tremulus, who by this time had been elected, should lay that affair entire before the senate: this gave such offence to the Hernicians, that, at a meeting of all the states, assembled by the Anagnians, in the circus called the Maritime, the whole nation of the Hernicians, excepting the Alatrians, Ferentines, and Verulans, declared war against the Roman people.

XLIII. In Samnium also, in consequence of the departure of Fabius, new commotions arose. Calatia and Sora, and the Roman garrisons stationed there, were taken, and the prisoners treated with extreme cruelty: Publius Cornelius was therefore sent thither with an army. The command against the new enemy (for by this time an order had passed for declaring war against the Anagnians, and the rest of the Hernicians) was decreed to Marcius. These, in the beginning, secured all the passes between the camps of the consuls, in such a manner, that no messenger; however expert, could make his way from one to the other; and each consul spent several days in absolute uncertainty and in anxious suspense concerning Edition: current; Page: [296] the state of the other. Apprehensions for their safety spread even to Rome; so that all the younger citizens were compelled to enlist, and two regular armies were raised, to answer sudden emergencies. The conduct of the Hernicians, during the progress of the war afterwards, showed nothing suitable to the present alarm, or to the ancient renown of that nation. Without ever making any effort worth mentioning, being beaten out of three different camps within a few days, they stipulated for a truce of thirty days, during which they might send to Rome, to the senate, on the terms of furnishing two months’ pay, and corn, and a tunic to every soldier. The senate referred them back to Marcius, whom they empowered to determine on the affair, and he accepted their submission. Meanwhile, in Samnium, the other consul, though superior in strength, was very much embarrassed by the nature of his situation: the enemy had blocked up all the roads, and seized on the passable defites, so as to stop all supplies of provisions; nor could the consul, though he daily drew our his troops, and offered battle, allure them to an engagement. It was evident, that neither could the Samnite support an immediate contest, nor the Roman a delay of action. The approach of Marcius, who, after he had subdued the Hernicians, hastened to the succour of his colleague, put it out of the enemy’s power any longer to avoid fighting: for they, who had not deemed themselves a match in the field, even for one of the armies, could surely not suppose that, if they should allow the two consular armies to unite, they could have any hope remaining: they made an attack, therefore, on Marcius, as he was approaching in the irregular order of march. The baggage was hastily thrown together in the centre, and the line formed as well as the time permitted. The shout, which reached the post of Cornelius, with the dust observed at a distance, excited a bustle and hurry in his camp. Ordering his men, instantly, to arms, and leading Edition: current; Page: [297] them out to the field with the utmost haste, he charged the flank of the enemy’s line, which had enough to do in the other dispute, at the same time exclaiming, that “it would be the height of infamy, if they suffered Marcius’s army to monopolize the honour of both victories, and did not assert their claim to the glory of their own war.” He bore down all before him, and pushed forward, through the midst of the enemy’s line, to their camp, which, being left without a guard, he took and set on fire; and the flames of it being seen by the soldiers of Marcius, and likewise by the enemy on their looking about, a general flight immediately took place among the Samnites. But they could not effect an escape in any direction; in every quarter they met death. After a slaughter of thirty thousand men, the consuls had now given the signal for retreat; and were collecting, into one body, their several forces, who were employed in mutual congratulations, when some new cohorts of the enemy, which had been levied for a reinforcement, being seen at a distance, occasioned a renewal of the carnage. On these the conquerors rushed, without any order of the consuls, or signal received, crying out, that they would give these Samnites an introduction to service, which they would not like. The consuls indulged the ardour of the legions, well knowing that raw troops mixed with veterans dispirited by defeat, would be incapable even of attempting a contest. Nor were they wrong in their judgment: all the forces of the Samnites, old and new, fled to the nearest mountains. These the Roman army also ascended, so that no situation afforded safety to the vanquished: they were beaten off, even from the summits which they had seized. And now, they all, with one voice, supplicated for a suspension of arms. On which, being ordered to furnish corn for three months, pay for a year, and a tunic to each of the soldiers, they sent deputies to the senate to sue for peace. Cornelius was left in Samnium. Edition: current; Page: [298] Marcius returned into the city, in triumph over the Hernicians; and a decree was passed for erecting to him, in the Forum, an equestrian statue, which was placed before the temple of Castor. To three states of the Hernicians (the Alatrians, Verulans, and Ferentines,) their own laws were restored, because they preferred these, to the being made citizens of Rome; and they were permitted to intermarry with each other, a privilege which they alone of the Hernicians, for a long time after, enjoyed. To the Anagnians and the others who had made war on the Romans, was granted the freedom of the state, without the right of voting; public assemblies, and intermarriages, were not allowed them, and their magistrates were prohibited from acting, except in the ministration of public worship. During this year, Caius Junius Bubulcus, censor, contracted for the building of a temple to Health, which he had vowed during his consulate in the war with the Samnites. By the same person, and his colleague, Marcus Valerius Maximus, roads were made through the fields at the public expense. During the same year the treaty with the Carthaginians was renewed a third time, and ample presents made to their ambassadors who came on that business.

XLIV. This year had a dictator in office, Publius Cornelius Scipio, with Publius Decius Mus, master of the horse. By these the election of consuls was held, being the purpose for which they had been created, because neither of the consuls could be absent from the armies.Y.R.448. bc304. The consuls elected were Lucius Postumius and Titus Minucius; whom Piso places next after Quintus Fabius and Publius Decius, omitting the two years in which I have set down Claudius with Volumnius, and Cornelius with Marcius, as consuls. Whether this happened through a lapse of memory in digesting his annals, or whether he purposely passed over those two consulates as deeming the accounts Edition: current; Page: [299] of them false, cannot be ascertained. During this year the Samnites made incursions into the district of Stellæ in the Campanian territory. Both the consuls were therefore sent into Samnium, and proceeded to different regions, Postumius to Tifernum, Minucius to Bovianum. The first engagement happened at Tifernum, where Postumius commanded. Some say, that the Samnites were completely defeated, and twenty thousand of them made prisoners. Others, that the armies separated without victory on either side; and that Postumius, counterfeiting fear, withdrew his forces privately by night, and marched away to the mountains; whither the enemy also followed, and took possession of a strong hold two miles distant. The consul, having created a belief that he had come thither for the sake of a safe post, and a fruitful spot, (and such it really was,) secured his camp with strong works. Furnishing it with magazines of every thing useful, he left a strong guard to defend it; and, at the third watch, led away the legions, lightly accoutred, by the shortest road which he could take, to join his colleague, who lay opposite to his foe. There, by advice of Postumius, Minucius came to an engagement; and when the fight had continued doubtful through a great part of the day, Postumius, with his fresh legions, made an unexpected attack on the enemy’s line, spent by this time with fatigue: thus, weariness and wounds having rendered them incapable even of flying, they were cut off to a man, and twenty-one standards taken. The Romans then proceeded to Postumius’s station, where the two victorious armies falling upon the enemy, already dismayed by the news of what had passed, routed and dispersed them: twenty-six military standards were taken here, and the Samnite general, Statius Gellius, with a great number of other prisoners, and both the camps, fell into the hands of the conquerors. Next day Bovianum was besieged, and soon after taken. Both the consuls were honoured with Edition: current; Page: [300] a triumph, and with high applause of their excellent conduct. Some writers say, that the consul Minucius was brought back to the camp grievously wounded, and that he died there; that Marcus Fulvius was substituted consul in his place, and that it was he, who, being sent to command Minucius’s army, took Bovianum. During the same year, Sora, Arpinum, and Censennia were recovered from the Samnites. The statue of Hercules the Great was erected in the Capitol, and dedicated.

Y.R.449. bc303.XLV. In the succeeding consulate of Publius Sulpicius Saverrio and Publius Sempronius Sophus, the Samnites, desirous either of a termination or a cessation of hostilities, sent ambassadors to Rome to treat of peace; to whose submissive solicitations this answer was returned, that “had not the Samnites frequently solicited peace, at times when they were actually preparing for war, their present application might, perhaps, in the course of negociating, have produced the desired effect. But now, since words had hitherto proved vain, people’s conduct might be guided by facts: that Publius Sempronius the consul would shortly be in Samnium with an army: that he could not be deceived in judging whether their dispositions inclined to peace or war. He would bring the senate certain information respecting every particular, and their ambassadors might follow the consul on his return from Samnium.” The Roman army accordingly marched through all parts of Samnium, found every thing in a state of peace, and was liberally supplied with provisions; on which, a renewal of the old treaty was, this year, granted to the Samnites. The Roman arms were then turned against the Æquans, their old enemies, but who had, for many years past, remained quiet, under a fallacious appearance of friendship. The reason of making war on them was, that while the Hernicians were in a state of prosperity, these had, in conjunction with them, frequently Edition: current; Page: [301] sent aid to the Samnites; and after the Hernicians were subdued, almost the whole nation, without dissembling that they acted by public authority, had revolted to the enemy; and when, after the conclusion of the treaty with the Samnites at Rome, ambassadors were sent to demand satisfaction, they said, that “this was only a trial made of them, on the expectation that they would through fear suffer themselves to be made Roman citizens. But how much that condition was to be wished for, they had been taught by the Hernicians; who, when they had the option, preferred their own laws to the freedom of the Roman state. To people who wished for liberty to choose what they judged preferable, the necessity of becoming Roman citizens would have the nature of a punishment.” In resentment of these declarations, uttered publicly in their assemblies, the Roman people ordered war to be made on the Æquans; and, in prosecution of this new undertaking, both the consuls marched from the city, and sat down at the distance of four miles from the camp of the enemy. The troops of the Æquans, like tumultuary recruits, in consequence of their having passed such a number of years without waging war on their own account, were all in disorder and confusion, without established officers and without command. Some advised to give battle, others to defend the camp; the greater part were influenced by concern for the devastation of their lands, likely to take place, and the consequent destruction of their cities, left with weak garrisons. Among a variety of propositions, they however heard one which tended to transfer every man’s attention from the public interests to the care of his private concerns. It recommended that, at the first watch, they should depart from the camp by different roads, and carry all their effects into the cities, where they might be secured by the strength of the fortifications; this they all approved and warmly celebrated. When the enemy were now dispersed through the Edition: current; Page: [302] country, the Romans, at the first dawn, marched out to the field, and drew up in order of battle, but no one coming to oppose them, they advanced in a brisk pace to the camp. Perceiving neither guards before the gates, nor soldiers on the ramparts, nor the usual bustle of a camp,—surprised at the extraordinary silence, they halted in apprehension of some stratagem. At length, passing over the rampart, and finding the whole deserted, they proceeded to search out the tracks of the enemy. But these, as they scattered themselves to every quarter, occasioned perplexity at first. Afterwards discovering their design by means of scouts, they attacked their cities, one after another, and, within the space of fifty days, took, entirely by force, forty-one towns, most of which were razed and burnt, and the race of the Æquans almost extirpated. A triumph was granted over the Æquans. The Marrucinians, Marsians, Pelignians, and Ferentans, warned by the example of their disasters, sent deputies to Rome to solicit peace and friendship; and these states, on their submissive applications, were admitted into alliance.

XLVI. In the same year, Caius Flavius, son of Cneius, grandson of a freed man, a notary, in low circumstances originally, but artful and eloquent, was appointed curule ædile. I find in some annals, that, being in attendance on the ædiles, and seeing that he was voted ædile by the prerogative tribe, but that his name would not be received, because he acted as a notary, he threw down his tablet, and took an oath, that he would not, for the future, follow that business. But Licinius Macer contends, that he had dropped the employment of notary a considerable time before, having already been a tribune, and twice a triumvir, once for regulating the nightly watch, and another time for conducting a colony. However, of this there is no dispute, that to the contempt thrown by the nobles on the meanness of his condition, he opposed much firmness. He made public the rules of proceeding Edition: current; Page: [303] in judicial causes, hitherto shut up in the closets of the pontiffs; and hung up to public view, round the Forum, the calendar on white tablets, that all might know when business could be transacted in the courts. To the great displeasure of the nobles, he performed the dedication of the temple of Concord, in the area of Vulcan’s temple; and the chief pontiff, Cornelius Barbatus, was compelled by the united instances of the people, to dictate to him the form of words, although he affirmed, that, consistently with the practice of antiquity, no other than a consul, or commander-in-chief, could dedicate a temple. This occasioned a law to be proposed to the people, by direction of the senate, that no person should dedicate a temple, or an altar, without an order from the senate, or from a majority of the plebeian tribunes. The incident which I am about to mention would be trivial in itself, were it not an instance of the freedom assumed by plebeians in opposition to the pride of the nobles: Flavius coming to make a visit to his colleague, who was sick, some young nobles who were sitting there agreed among themselves not to pay him the compliment of rising at his entrance; on which he ordered his curule chair to be brought thither, and from his honourable seat of office enjoyed the sight of his enemies tortured with envy. However, Flavius owed his appointment to the ædileship to a faction composed of the lowest class of people, which had gathered strength during the censorship of Appius Claudius: for he was the first who degraded the senate, by electing into it the immediate descendants of freed men; and when he found that no one allowed that election as valid, and that his conduct, in the senate-house, had not procured him the influence in the city which it had been his principal object to attain, he distributed men of the meanest order among all the several tribes, and thus corrupted the assemblies both of the Forum and of the field of Mars. With respect to the election of Edition: current; Page: [304] Flavius, it excited great indignation in the breasts of most of the nobles, who laid aside their gold rings and bracelets in conseqence of it. From that time the state was split into two parties. The uncorrupted part of the people, who favoured and supported the good, held one side; the faction of the rabble, the other. Quintus Fabius and Publius Decius were then made censors; and Fabius, both for the sake of concord, and at the same time to prevent the elections remaining in the hands of the lowest of the people, purged the rest of the tribes of all the rabble of the Forum, and threw it into four, which he ordered to be called city tribes. And this procedure, we are told, gave such universal satisfaction, that, by this regulation in the orders of the state, he obtained the surname of Maximus, which he had not been honoured with by his many victories. The annual review of the knights, on the ides of July, is also said to have been projected and instituted by him.

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Submission of the Marcians accepted. The college of Augurs augmented from four to nine. The law of appeal to the people carried by Valerius the consul. Two more tribes added. War declared against the Samnites. Several successful actions. In an engagement against the combined forces of the Etruscans, Umbrians, Samnites, and Gauls, Publius Decius, after the example of his father, devotes himself for the army. Dies, and, by his death, procures the victory to the Romans. Defeat of the Samnites by Papirius Cursor. The census held. The lustrum closed. The number of the citizens two hundred and sixty-two thousand, three hundred and twenty-two.

I. UNDER the succeeding consuls, Lucius Genucius, and Servius Cornelius, the state enjoyed almost uninterrupted rest from foreign wars.Y.R.450. bc302. Colonies were led out to Sora and Alba. For the latter, situated in the country of the Æquans, six thousand colonists were enrolled. Sora had formerly belonged to the Volscian territory, but had fallen into the possession of the Samnites: thither were sent four thousand settlers. This year the freedom of the state was granted to the Arpinians and Trebulans. The Frusinonians were fined a third part of their lands, because it was discovered, that they had endeavoured Edition: current; Page: [306] to stir up the Hernicians to rebellion; and the heads of that conspiracy, after a trial before the consuls, held in pursuance of a decree of the senate, were beaten with rods and beheaded. However, that the Romans might not pass the year entirely exempt from war, a little expedition was made into Umbria; intelligence being received from thence, that numbers of men, in arms, had, from a certain cave, made excursions into the adjacent country. Into this cave the troops penetrated with their standards, and, the place being dark, they received many wounds, chiefly from stones thrown. At length the other mouth of the cave being found, for it was pervious, both the openings were filled up with wood, which being set on fire, there perished by means of the smoke and heat, no less than two thousand men; many of whom, at the last, in attempting to make their way out, rushed into the very flames.Y.R.451. bc301. The two Marci, Livius Denter, and Æmilius, succeeding to the consulship, war broke out again with the Æquans; who, being highly displeased at the colony established within their territory, as if it were a fortress to keep them in awe, made an attempt, with their whole force, to seize it, but were repulsed by the colonists themselves. They caused, however, such an alarm at Rome, that, to quell this insurrection, Caius Junius Bubulcus was nominated dictator: for it was scarcely credible that the Æquans, after being reduced to such a degree of weakness, should by themselves alone have ventured to engage in a war. The dictator, taking the field, with Marcus Titinius, master of the horse, in the first engagement, reduced the Æquans to submission; and, returning into the city in triumph, on the eighth day, dedicated, in the character of dictator, the temple of Health, which he had vowed when consul, and contracted for when censor.

II. During this year a fleet of Grecians, under the command of Cleonymus, a Lacedæmonian, arrived on the coast Edition: current; Page: [307] of Italy, and took Thuriæ, a city in the territory of the Sallentines. Against this enemy, the consul Æmilius was sent, who, in one battle, completely defeated them, and without farther opposition drove them on board their ships. Thuriæ was then restored to its old inhabitants, and peace re-established in the country of the Sallentines. In some annals, I find, that Junius Bubulcus was sent dictator into that country, and that Cleonymus, without hazarding an engagement with the Romans, retired out of Italy. He then sailed round the promontory of Brundusium, and, steering down the middle of the Adriatic gulf, because he dreaded, on the left hand, the coasts of Italy destitute of harbours, and, on the right, the Illyrians, Liburnians, and Istrians, nations of savages, and noted in general for piracy, he passed on to the coasts of the Venetians. Here, having landed a small party to explore the country, and, being informed that a narrow beach stretched along the shore, beyond which were marahes, overflowed by the tides; that dry land was seen at no great distance, level in the nearest part, and rising behind into hills, beyond which was the mouth of a very deep river, into which they had seen ships brought round and moored in safety, (this was the river Meduacus,) he ordered his fleet to sail into it and go up against the stream. As the channel would not admit the heavy ships, the troops, removing into the lighter vessels, arrived at a part of the country, occupied by three maritime cantons of the Patavians, settled on that coast. Here they made a descent, leaving a small guard with the ships, made themselves masters of these cantons, set fire to the houses, drove off a considerable booty of men and cattle, and, allured by the sweets of plunder, proceeded still farther from the shore. When news of this was brought to Patavium, where the contiguity of the Gauls kept the inhabitants constantly in arms, they divided their young men into two bands, one of which was led towards the quarter Edition: current; Page: [308] where the marauders were said to be busy; the other by a different route, to avoid meeting any of the pirates, towards the station of the ships, fifteen miles distant from the town. There attacked the small craft, and, killing the guards, compelled the affrighted mariners to remove their ships to the other bank of the river. By land also, the attack on the dispersed plunderers was equally successful; and the Grecians, flying back towards their ships, were opposed in their way by the Venetians. Thus enclosed, on both sides, they were out to pieces; and some, who were made prisoners, gave information, that the fleet with their king Cleonymus, was but three miles distant. Sending the captives into the nearest canton, to be kept under a guard, some soldiers got on board the flat-bottomed vessels, so constructed for the purpose of passing the shoals with case; others threw themselves into those which had been lately taken from the enemy, and proceeding down the river, surrounded their unwieldy ships, which dreaded the unknown sands and flats, more than they did the Romans, and which showed a greater eagerness to escape into the deep, than to make resistance. The soldiers pursued them as far as the mouth of the river; and having taken and burned a part of the fleet, which, in the hurry and confusion, had been stranded, returned victorious. Cleonymus, having met success in no part of the Adriatic sea, departed with scarce a fifth part of his navy remaining. Many, now alive, have seen the beaks of his ships, and the spoils of the Lacedæmonians, hanging in the old temple of Juno. In commemoration of this event, there is exhibited at Patavium, every year, on its anniversary day, a naval combat on the river in the middle of the town.

III. A treaty was this year concluded at Rome with the Vestinians who solicited friendship. Various causes of apprehension afterwards sprung up. News arrived, that Etruria was in rebellion; the insurrection having arisen from the Edition: current; Page: [309] dissensions of the Arretians; for the Cilnian family having grown exorbitantly powerful, a party, out of envy of their wealth, had attempted to expel them by force of arms. Accounts were also received that the Maraians held forcible possession of the lands to which the colony of Carseoli, consisting of four thousand men, had been sent. By reason, therefore, of these commotions, Marcus Valerius Maximus was nominated dictator, and chose for his master of the horse Marcus Æmilius Paullus. This I am inclined to believe, rather than that Quintus Fabius, at such an age as he then was, and after enjoying many honours, was placed in a station subordinate to Valerius: but I think it not unlikely that the mistake arose from the surname Maximus. The dictator, taking the field at the head of an army, in one battle utterly defeated the Marsians, drove them into their fortified towns, and afterwards, in the course of a few days, took Milionia, Plestina, and Fresilia; and then, fining this people in a part of their lands, granted them a renewal of the treaty. The force of the war was then directed against the Etrurians; and, the dictator having gone to Rome, for the purpose of renewing the auspices, the master of the horse, going out to forage, was taken at disadvantage, by means of an ambuscade, and obliged to fly shamefully into his camp, after losing several standards, and many of his men. Now, that such a discomfiture happened to Fabius is exceedingly improbable; not only because, if in any particular, certainly above all, in the qualifications of a commander, he fully merited his surname; but, besides, impressed with the recollection of Papirius’s severity, he never could have been tempted to fight, without the dictator’s order.

IV. The news of this disaster excited at Rome an alarm greater than the importance of the affair should seem to justify; for, as if the army had been destroyed, the courts were ordered to be shut, guards mounted at the gates, and watches Edition: current; Page: [310] act in every street: and armour and weapons were heaped on the walls. All the younger citizens were compelled to enlist, and the dictator was ordered to join the army. There he found every thing in a more tranquil state than he expected, and regularity established, through the care of the master of the horse; the camp removed to a place of greater safety; the cohorts, which had lost their standards, left without tents on the outside of the ramparts; and the troops ardently impatient for battle, that their disgrace might be the sooner obliterated. He therefore immediately decamped, and advanced into the territory of Rusella. Thither the enemy also followed; and, although, since their late success, they entertained the most sanguine hopes from an open trial of strength, yet they endeavoured to gain also an advantage by a stratagem which they had before practised with success. There were, at a small distance from the Roman camp, the half-ruined houses of a town which had been burnt in the devastation of the country. Among these they concealed a body of troops, and then drove on some cattle, within view of a Roman post, commanded by a lieutenant-general, Cneius Fulvius. This temptation not inducing any one to stir from his station, one of the herdsmen, advancing close to the works, called out, that others were driving out those cattle at their leisure from the ruins of the town, why did they remain idle, when they might safely drive them through the middle of the Roman camp? This being interpreted to the lieutenant-general, by some natives of Cære, and great impatience prevailing through every company of the soldiers, who, nevertheless, dared not to move without orders, he commanded some who were skilled in the language to observe attentively, whether the dialect of the herdsmen resembled that of rustics or of citizens: these reported, that their accent in speaking, their manner and appearance, were all of a more polished cast than suited such description of Edition: current; Page: [311] persons. “Go then,” said he, “tell them that they may uncover the ambush which they vainly conceal; that the Romans understand all their devices, and can now be no more taken by stratagem than they can be conquered by arms.” When these words were heard, and carried to those who lay in ambush, they immediately arose from their lurking-place, and marched, out in order into the plain which was open to view on every side. The lieutenant-general, thinking their force too powerful for his small band to cope with, sent, in haste, to Valerius for support, and, in the mean time, by himself, sustained the enemy’s onset.

V. On receiving his message, the dictator ordered the standards to move, and the troops to follow in arms. But every thing was executed more quickly, almost, than ordered. The men in an instant snatched up their standards, and were with difficulty restrained from running impetuously on, being stimulated both by indignation at their late defeat, and by the shouts striking their ears with increasing vehemence, as the contest grew hotter. They therefore urged each other, and pressed the standard-bearers to quicken their pace. The dictator, the more eagerly he saw them push forward, took the more pains to repress their haste, and ordered them to march at a slower rate. On the other side, the Etrurians, putting themselves in motion, on the first beginning of the fray, had come up with their whole force; and several expresses came to the dictator, one after another, that all the legions of the Etrurians had joined in the fight, and that his men could not any longer withstand them: at the same time, he himself saw, from the higher ground, the perilous situation of the party. Confident, however, that the lieutenant-general was able, even yet, to support the dispute, and considering that he himself was at hand to rescue him from defeat, he wished to let the enemy be fatigued, as much as might be, in order that when in that state, he might fall on them Edition: current; Page: [312] with his fresh troops. Slowly as these marched, the distance was now just sufficient for the cavalry to begin their career for a charge. The battalions of the legions marched in front, lest the enemy might suspect any secret or sudden movement, but intervals had been left in the ranks of the infantry, affording room for the horses to gallop through. At the same instant the line raised the shout, and the cavalry, charging at full speed, poured on the enemy; and spread at once a general panic. After this, as succour had arrived almost too late to the party surrounded, so now they were allowed entire rest, the fresh troops taking on themselves the whole business of the fight. Nor was that either long or dubious. The enemy were routed, and fled to their camp, which the Romans advancing to attack, they crowded all together in the remotest part of it. Their flight being obstructed by the narrowness of the gates, the greater number climbed up on the mounds and ramparts, to try if they could either defend themselves with the aid of the advantageous ground, or get over, by any means, and escape. One part of the rampart happening to be badly compacted, sunk under the weight of the multitude, who stood on it, and fell into the trench. On which, crying out that the gods had opened that pass to give them safety, they made their way out, most of them leaving their arms behind. By this battle the power of the Etrurians was, a second time, effectually crushed, so that, engaging to furnish a year’s pay, and corn for two months, with the dictator’s permission, they sent ambassadors to Rome to treat of peace. This was refused, but a truce for two years was granted to them. The dictator returned into the city in triumph. I have seen it asserted, that tranquillity was restored in Etruria by the dictator, without any memorable battle, only by composing the dissensions of the Arretians, and effecting a reconciliation between the Cilnian family and the commons. Marcus Valerius was elected consul, before the Edition: current; Page: [313] expiration of his dictatorship, many have believed, without his soliciting the office, and even while he was absent; and that the election was held by an interrex. In one point all agree, that he held the consulship with Quintus Appuleius Pansa.

VI. During this consulate of Marcus Valerius and Quintus Appuleius, affairs abroad wore a very peaceable aspect.Y.R.452. bc300. Their losses sustained in war, together with the truce, kept the Etrurians quiet. The Samnites, depressed by the misfortunes of many years, had not yet become dissatisfied with their new alliance. At Rome also, the carrying away of such multitudes to colonies, rendered the commons tranquil, and lightened their burthens. But, that all things might not stagnate in a dead calm, a contention was excited between the principal persons in the commonwealth, patricians on one hand, and plebeians on the other, by the two Ogulnii, Quintus and Cneius, plebeian tribunes, who, seeking every where occasions of criminating the patricians in the hearing of the people, and having found other attempts fruitless, engaged in a scheme calculated to inflame, not the lowest class of the commons, but their chief men, the plebeians of consular and triumphal rank, to the completion of whose honours nothing was now wanting but the offices of the priesthood, which were not yet laid open to them. They therefore published a proposal for a law, that, whereas there were then four augurs and four pontiffs, and it had been determined that the number of priests should be augmented, the four additional pontiffs and five augurs should all be chosen out of the commons. How the college of augurs could be reduced to the number of four, except by the death of two, I do not understand: for it is a rule among the augurs, that their number should be composed of threes, so that the three ancient tribes, the Ramnes, Titienses, and Luceres, should have each its own augur; or, in case there should be Edition: current; Page: [314] occasion for more, that each should increase its number of augurs, in equal proportion with the rest, in like manner as when, by the addition of five to four, they made up the number nine, so that there were three to each tribe. However, as it was proposed that they should be chosen out of the commons, the patricians were as highly offended at the proceeding, as when they saw the consulship made common; yet they pretended that the business concerned not them so much as it did the gods, who would “take care that their own worship should not be contaminated; that, for their parts, they only wished that no misfortune might ensue to the commonwealth.” But the true reason of their not making a vigorous opposition was, that they were now accustomed to suffer defeat in such kind of diputes; and they saw their adversaries, not as formerly, grasping at objects which they could scarcely hope to reach, the higher honours; but already in possession of all those advantages, on the uncertain prospect of which, they had maintained the contest, manifold consulships, censorships, and triumphs.

VII. There was, however, a struggle between the supporters and the opponents of the law, maintained principally by Appius Claudius and Publius Decius Mus. After these had urged nearly the same topics, respecting the privileges of patricians and plebeians, which had been formerly employed for and against the Licinian law, when the proposition was brought forward, of opening the consulship to plebeians, Decius is said to have drawn a lively description of his own father, such as many then present in the assembly had seen him, girt in the Gabine dress, standing on a spear, in the attitude in which he had devoted himself for the people and the legions, and to have added, that “the consul Publius Decius was then deemed by the immortal gods an offering equally pure and pious, as if his colleague, Titus Manlius, had been devoted. And might not the same Publius Decius have been, Edition: current; Page: [315] with propriety, chosen to perform the public worship of the Roman people? Was there any reason to apprehend that the gods would give less attention to his prayers than to those of Appius Claudius? Did the latter perform his private acts of adoration with a purer mind, or worship the gods more religiously than he? Who had any reason to complain of the vows offered in behalf of the commonwealth, by so many plebeian consuls and dictators, either on the commencement of their campaigns, or in the heat of battle? Were the number of commanders reckoned, during those years, since business began to be transacted under the conduct and auspices of plebeians, the same number of triumphs might be found. The commons had now no reason to be dissatisfied with the behaviour of such of their body as had attained nobility. On the contrary, they were fully convinced, that, in case of a sudden war breaking out, the senate and people of Rome would not repose greater confidence in patrician than in plebeian commanders. Which, being the case,” said he, “what god or man can deem it an impropriety, if those whom ye have honoured with curule chairs, with the purple bordered gown, with the palmvest, and embroidered robe, with the triumphal crown and laurel; whose houses ye have rendered conspicuous above others, by affixing to them the spoils of conquered enemies, should add to these the badges of augurs or pontiffs? If a person, who has rode through the city in a gilt chariot; and, decorated with the ensigns of Jupiter, supremely good and great, has mounted the Capitol, should be seen with a chalice and wand; what impropriety, I say, that he should, with his head veiled, slay a victim, or take an augury in the citadel? When, in the inscription on a person’s statue, the consulship, censorship, and triumph, shall be read with patience, will the eyes of the readers be unable to endure the addition of the office of augur or pontiff? In truth (with deference to the gods I say it) I trust that we are, through the Edition: current; Page: [316] kindness of the Roman people, qualified in such a manner, that we should, by the dignity of our characters, reflect back, on the priesthood, as much lustre as we should receive; and may demand, rather on behalf of the gods, than for our own sakes, that those, whom we worship in our private, we may also worship in a public capacity.

VIII. “But why do I argue thus, as if the cause of the patricians, respecting the priesthood, stood on untouched ground? and as if we were not already in possession of one sacerdotal office, of the highest class? We see plebeian Decemvirs, for performing sacrifices, interpreters of the Sibylline prophecies, and of the fates of the nation; we also see them presidents of Apollo’s festival, and of other religious performances. Neither was any injustice done to the patricians, when, to the two commissioners for performing sacrifices, an additional number was joined, in favour of the plebeians; nor is there now, when a tribune, a man of courage and activity, wishes to add five places of augurs, and four of pontiffs, to which plebeians may be nominated; not, Appius, with intent to expel you from your places; but, that men of plebeian rank may assist you, in the management of divine affairs, with the same zeal with which they assist you in matters of human concernment. Blush not, Appius, at having a man, your colleague, in the priesthood, whom you might have a colleague in the censorship or consulship, whose master of the horse you yourself may be, when he is dictator, as well as dictator when he is master of the horse. A Sabine adventurer, the first origin of your nobility, either Attus Clausus, or Appius Claudius, which you will, was admitted, by the ancient patricians of those days, into their number: do not then, on your part, disdain to admit us into the number of priests. We bring with us numerous honours; all those honours, indeed, which have rendered your party so proud. Lucius Sextius was the first consul, chosen out of the plebeians; Edition: current; Page: [317] Caius Licinius Stolo, the first master of the horse; Caius Marcius Rutilus, the first dictator, and likewise censor; Quintus Publilius Philo, the first prætor. On every one of these occasions was heard a repetition of the same arguments; that the right of auspices was vested in you; that ye alone had the rights of ancestry; that ye alone were legally entitled to the supreme command, and the auspices both in peace and war. The supreme command has hitherto been, and will continue to be, equally prosperous in plebeian hands, as in patrician. Have ye never heard it said, that the first created patricians, were not men sent down from heaven, but such as could cite their fathers, that is, nothing more than free born. I can now cite my father, a consul; and my son will be able to cite a grandfather. Citizens, their opposition means nothing else, than that we should never obtain any thing, without a previous refusal. The patricians wish only for a dispute; nor do they care what issue their disputes may have. For my part, be it advantageous, happy, and prosperous to you and to the commonwealth, I am of opinion that this law should receive your sanction.”

IX. The people ordered that the tribes should be instantly called; and there was every appearance that the law would be accepted. It was deferred, however, for that day, by a protest, from which on the day following the tribunes were deterred; and it passed with the approbation of a vast majority. The pontiffs created were Publius Decius Mus, the advocate for the law; Publius Sempronius Sophus, Caius Marcius Rutilus, and Marcus Livius Denter. The five augurs, who were also plebeians, were Caius Genucius, Publius Ælius Pætus, Marcus Minucius Fessus, Caius Marcius, and Titus Publilius. Thus the number of the pontiffs was made eight; that of the augurs nine. In the same year Marcus Valerius, consul, procured a law to be passed concerning appeals; more carefully enforcing the observance of it, by additional Edition: current; Page: [318] sanctions. This was the third time, since the expulsion of the kings, of this law being introduced, and always by the same family. The reason for renewing it so open, was, I believe, no other, than that the influence of a few was apt to prove too powerful for the liberty of the commons. However, the Porcian law seems intended, solely, for the security of the persons of the citizens; a severe penalty being thereby enacted against beating with stripes, or putting to death, a Roman citizen. The Valerian law, after forbidding a person, who had appealed, to be beaten with rods and beheaded, added, in case of any one acting contrary thereto, that it shall yet be only deemed a wicked act. This, I suppose, was judged of sufficient strength to enforce obedience to the law in those days; so powerful was then men’s sense of shame: at present one would scarcely make use of such a threat seriously, even on any ordinary occasion. The Æquans rebelling, the same consul conducted the war against them; in which no memorable event occurred; for, except ferocity, they retained nothing of their ancient condition. The other consul Appuleius, invested the town of Nequinum in Umbria. The ground, the same whereon Narnia now stands, was so steep, (on one side even perpendicular,) as to render the town impregnable either by asault, or works.Y.R.453. bc299. That business, therefore, came unfinished, into the hands of the succeeding consuls, Marcus Fulvius Pætinus, and Titus Manlius Torquatus. We are told by Licinius Macer and Tubero, that all the centuries named Quintus Fabius, though not a candidate, consul for that year; but that he himself recommended to them, to postpone the conferring the consulship on him until a year wherein there might be more employment for their arms; adding, that, during the present year, he might be more useful in the management of a city magistracy; and thus, neither dissembling what he aimed at, nor yet making direct application for it, he was appointed Edition: current; Page: [319] curule ædile with Lucius Papirius Cursor. This I cannot aver as certain; because Piso, a more ancient writer of annals, asserts, that the curule ædiles of that year were Caius Domitius Calvinus, son of Cneius, and Spurius Carvilius Maximus, son of Caius. I am of opinion, that this latter surname caused a mistake, concerning the ædiles; and that thence followed a story, conformable to this mistake, patched up, out of the two elections, of the ædiles, and of the consuls. The general survey was performed, this year, by Publius Sempronius Sophus, and Publius Sulpicius Saverrio, censors; and two tribes were added, the Aniensian and Terentine. Such were the occurrences at Rome.

X. Meanwhile, after much time had been lost in the tedious siege of Nequinum, two of the townsmen, whose houses were contiguous to the wall, having formed a subterraneous passage, came by that private way to the Roman advanced guards; and being conducted thence to the consul, offered to give admittance to a body of armed men within the works and walls. The proposal was thought to be such as ought neither to be rejected, nor yet assented to without caution. With one of these men, the other being detained as a hostage, two spies were sent through the mine, and certain information being received from them of the practicability of the design, three hundred men in arms guided by the deserter entered the city, and seized by night the nearest gate, which being broke open, the Roman consul and his army took possession of the city without any opposition. In this manner came Nequinum under the dominion of the Roman people. A colony was sent thither as a barrier against the Umbrians, and called Narnia from the river Nar. The troops returned to Rome with abundance of spoil. This year the Etrurians made preparations for war, in violation of the truce. But a vast army of the Gauls, making an irruption into their territories, while their attention was directed to another quarter, Edition: current; Page: [320] suspended for a time the execution of their design. They then, relying on the abundance of money which they possessed, laid themselves out to make friends of the Gauls, instead of enemies; in order that, with their armies combined, they might attack the Romans. The barbarians made no objection to the alliance, and a negociation was opened for settling the price; which being adjusted and paid, the Etrurians, having every thing else in readiness for commencing their operations, desired them to accompany them in their march. But this they refused, alleging, that “they had stipulated a price for their assistance against the Romans: that the payment already made, they had received in consideration of their not wasting the Etrurian territory, or using their arms against the inhabitants. That notwithstanding, if it was the wish of the Etrurians, they were still willing to engage in the war, but on no other condition than that of being allowed a share of their lands, and obtaining at length some permanent settlement.” Many assemblies of the states of Etruria were held on this subject, without being able to come to any conclusion; not so much by reason of their aversion from the dismemberment of their territory, as of the dread, which every one felt of the consequences, if they should fix in so close vicinity to themselves people of such a savage race. The Gauls were therefore dismissed, and carried home an immense sum of money, acquired without toil or danger. The report of a Gallic tumult, in addition to an Etrurian war, had caused serious apprehensions at Rome; and, with the less hesitation on that account, an alliance was concluded with the state of the Picentians.

XI. The province of Etruria fell by lot to the consul Titus Manlius; who, when he had but just entered the enemy’s country, as he was exercising the cavalry, in wheeling about at full speed, was thrown from his horse, and almost killed on the spot; three days after he died. The Etrurians, embracing Edition: current; Page: [321] this omen, as it were, of the future progress of the war, and observing that the gods had commenced hostilities on their behalf, assumed new courage. At Rome the news caused great affliction, on account both of the loss of such a man and of the unseasonableness of the juncture; insomuch that the senate would have proceeded to order a dictator to be created, but that an assembly, held for the purpose of substituting a new consul, was conducted agreeably to the wishes of people of the first consequence. All the votes and centuries concurred unanimously in appointing Marcus Valerius consul, the same whom the senate would have ordered to be made dictator. They then commanded him to proceed immediately into Etruria, to the legions. His coming gave such a check to the Etrurians, that not one of them dared thenceforward to appear on the outside of their trenches; their own fears operating as a blockade. Nor could the new consul, by wasting their lands, and burning their houses, draw them out to an engagement; for not only country-houses, but numbers of their towns, were seen smoking, and in ashes, on every side. While this war proceeded more slowly than had been expected, an account was received of the breaking out of another; which was, not without reason, regarded as terrible, in consequence of the heavy losses formerly sustained by both parties. This account, given by their new allies, the Picentians, was, that the Samnites were taking measures for a renewal of hostilities, and that they themselves had been solicited to join therein. The Picentians received the thanks of the state; and a large share of the attention of the senate was turned, from Etruria, towards Samnium. The public suffered also much distress from the dearness of provisions, and would have felt the extremity of want, according to the relation of those who make Fabius Maximus curule ædile that year, had not the vigilant activity of that man, such as he had on many occasions displayed in the field, been exerted Edition: current; Page: [322] now with equal zeal at home, in the management of the market, and in procuring and forming magazines of corn. An interregnum took place this year, the reason of which is not mentioned.Y.R.454. bc298. Appius Claudius, and, after him, Publius Sulpicius, were interreges. The latter held an election of consuls, and chose Lucius Cornelius Scipio and Cneius Fulvius. In the beginning of this year, ambassadors came from the Lucanians to the new consuls, with complaints that “the Samnites, finding that they could not, by any offers, tempt them to take part in the war, had marched an army in a hostile manner into their country, which they were now laying waste; intending by these violent measures, to force them into a compliance. They declared, that the nation of the Lucanians thought their former errors too many, and were so firmly fixed in their resolution, that they would rather undergo every kind of suffering and hardship than ever again violate the reverence due to the Roman name: besought the senate to take the people of Lucania into their protection, and defend them from the injustice and outrage of the Samnites; and that, on their part, though the undertaking a war with the Samnites imposed on them a necessity of being faithful to the Romans, they were, nevertheless, willing to give hostages.”

XII. The deliberation of the senate was short. They all, to a man, concurred in opinion, that a compact should be entered into with the Lucanians, and satisfaction demanded from the Samnites: accordingly, a favourable answer was returned to the Lucanians, and the alliance concluded. Heralds were then sent, to require of the Samnites, that they should depart from the country of the allies, and withdraw their troops from the Lucanian territory. These were met by persons despatched for the purpose by the Samnites, who gave them warning, that “if they appeared at any assembly in Samnium, they must not expect to depart in safety.” As Edition: current; Page: [323] soon as this was heard at Rome, the senate voted, and the people ordered, that war should be declared against the Samnites. The consuls, then, dividing the provinces between them, Etruria fell to Scipio, the Samnites to Fulvius; and they set out by different routes, each against the enemy allotted to him. Scipio, while he expected a tedious campaign, like that of the preceding year, was met near Volaterra by the Etrurians, in order of battle. The fight lasted through the greater part of the day, while very many fell on both sides, and night came on before it could be discovered to which side victory inclined. But the following dawn showed the conqueror and the vanquished; for the Etrurians had decamped in the dead of the night. The Romans, marching out with intent to renew the engagement, and seeing their superiority acknowledged by the departure of the enemy, advanced to their camp; and, finding even this fortified post deserted, took possession of it, together with a vast quantity of spoil. The consul then, leading back his forces into the Faliscian territory, and leaving his baggage with a small guard at Falerii, set out with his troops, lightly accoutered, to ravage the enemy’s country: and not only was the ground laid waste, but their forts also and smaller towns were destroyed by fire. He did not, however, lay siege to the cities, into which the Etrurians had been hurried by their fears. The other consul, Fulvius, fought the Samnites at Bovianum, where he gained great honour, and a complete victory. Then attacking the town, and soon after Aufidena, he took both by assault. This year a colony was carried out to Carseoli, in the territory of the Æquicolæ. The consul Fulvius triumphed on his defeat of the Samnites.

XIII. Shortly before the election of consuls, a report prevailed, that the Etrurians and Samnites were raising vast armies; that the leaders of the Etrurians were, in all their assemblies, openly censured for not having procured the aid Edition: current; Page: [324] of the Gauls on any terms; and the magistrates of the Samnites arraigned, for having opposed to the Romans an army destined to act against the Lucanians. That, in consequence, the people were rising up in arms, with all their own strength and that of their allies combined; and that this affair seemed not likely to be terminated without a contest of much greater difficulty than the former. Although the candidates for the consulship were men of illustrious characters, yet this alarming intelligence turned the thoughts of all on Quintus Fabius Maximus, who sought not the employment at first, and afterwards, when he discovered their wishes, even declined it. “Why,” said he, “should they impose such a difficult task on him, who was now in the decline of life, and had passed through a full course of labours, and of the rewards of labour? Neither the vigour of his body, nor of his mind, remained the same; and he dreaded fortune herself, lest some god should think her too bountiful to him, and more constant than the course of human affairs allowed. He had himself succeeded, in gradual succession, to the dignities of his predecessors; and he beheld, with great satisfaction, others rising up to succeed to his. There was no scarcity at Rome, either of honours suited to men of the highest merit, or of men of eminent merit suited to the highest honours.” This disinterested conduct, instead of repressing, increased, while in fact it justified, their zeal. But thinking that this ought to be checked by respect for the laws, he ordered that clause to be read aloud, by which it is forbidden that the same person shall be re-elected consul within ten years. Such a clamour now arose, that the law was scarcely heard; and the tribunes of the commons declared, that this “decree should be no impediment; for they would propose an order to the people, that he should be exempted from the obligation of the laws.” Still he persisted in his opposition, asking, “To what purpose were laws enacted, if they were eluded by the Edition: current; Page: [325] very persons who procured them? The laws now,” he said, “instead of being rulers, were over-ruled.” The people, nevertheless, proceeded to vote; and, as soon as each century was called in, it immediately named Fabius consul. Then, at length, overcome by the universal wish of the state, he said, “Romans, may the gods approve your present, and all your future proceedings. But since, with respect to me, ye intend to act according to your own wills, let my interest find room with you, with respect to my colleague. I earnestly request, that ye will place in the consulship with me, Publius Decius; a man with whom I have already experienced the utmost harmony in our joint administration of that office; a man worthy of you, worthy of his father.” The recommendation was deemed well founded, and all the remaining centuries voted Quintus Fabius and Publius Decius consuls. This year, great numbers were prosecuted by the ædiles, for having in possession larger quantities of land than the state allowed; and hardly any were acquitted: by which means, a very great restraint was laid on exorbitant covetousness.

XIV. Whilst the new consuls, Quintus Fabius Maximus,Y.R.455. bc297. a fourth, and Publius Decius Mus, a third time, were settling between themselves as to which should command against the Samnites, and which against the Etrurians; and what number of forces would be sufficient for this, and for that province; and which would be the fitter commander in each war; ambassadors arrived from Sutrium, Nepete, and Falerii, with intelligence, that the states of Etruria were holding assemblies on the subject of suing for peace. In consequence of this information, the whole force of their arms was directed against Samnium. The consuls took different routes, in order to secure the more ready supply of provisions, and to leave the enemy in the greater uncertainty on what quarter the war would fall. Fabius led his legions towards Samnium through the territory Edition: current; Page: [326] of Sora, and Decius his through that of Sidicinum. As soon as they arrived at the frontiers, both advanced briskly, spreading devastation wherever they came; but still took care to explore the country, to a distance beyond where the troops were employed in plundering. The enemy had posted themselves in readiness for battle, in a retired valley near Tifernum; intending, as soon as the Romans should enter it, to fall upon them with advantage of the ground; but they escaped the snare. Fabius, sending away his baggage to a place of safety, and setting a small guard over it, gave notice to his soldiers that a battle was at hand, and advanced to the place where he had been told the enemy lay in ambush. The Samnites, disappointed in the hope of making an unexpected attack, determined on a regular engagement. They therefore marched out into the plain; and, with a greater share of spirit than of hopes, committed themselves to the disposal of fortune. However, whether in consequence of their having drawn together, from every state, the whole of the force which it possessed, or that the consideration of their all being at stake, heightened their courage, they maintained, even in open fight, a formidable struggle. Fabius, when he saw that the enemy in no place gave way, ordered his son Maximus, and Marcus Valerius, military tribunes, with whom he had hastened to the front, to seek the cavalry, and to exhort them, that “if they remembered any instance wherein the public had received advantage from the service of the horsemen, they would, on that day, exert themselves to preserve inviolate the renown of that body; telling them that the enemy stood immoveable against the efforts of the infantry, and the only hope remaining was in the charge of horse.” He addressed particularly both these youths, and with the same cordiality, loading them with praises and promises. At the same time, considering that, in case that effort should also fail, it would be necessary to accomplish, by stratagem, what Edition: current; Page: [327] his strength could not effect; he ordered Scipio, one of his lieutenants-general, to draw off the spearmen of the first legion out of the line; to lead them round as secretly as possible to the nearest mountains; and, in such direction as he could ascend without being seen, to gain the heights, and show himself suddenly on the rear of the enemy, while their attention should be employed on the front. The cavalry, led on by the tribunes, rushing forward unexpectedly before the van, caused scarcely more confusion among the enemy than among their friends. The line of the Samnites stood firm against the furious onset of the squadrons; it neither could be driven from its ground, nor broken in any part. The cavalry, finding their attempts fruitless, withdrew from the fight, and retired behind the line of infantry. On this the enemy assumed new spirits, with increasing confidence in their own prowess: so that the Roman troops in the van would not have been able to support the contest, had not the second line, by the consul’s order, come up into the place of the first. These fresh troops checked the progress of the Samnites, who had now began to gain ground; and, at this seasonable juncture, their comrades appearing suddenly on the mountains, and raising a shout, occasioned in the Samnites a fear of greater danger than really threatened them: Fabius called out aloud that his colleague Decius was approaching; on which all the soldiers, elated with joy, repeated eagerly, that the other consul was come, the legions were arrived! This artifice, while it produced a happy effect on the Romans, filled the Samnites with such dismay, that they thought of nothing but flight: for they dreaded above all things, lest, fatigued as they were, they should be overpowered by another army, fresh and unhurt. As they dispersed themselves on every side, there was less effusion of blood than might have been expected, considering the completeness of the victory. There were three thousand four hundred Edition: current; Page: [328] slain; about three hundred and thirty made prisoners, and twenty-three military standards taken.

XV. The Apulians would have joined their forces to the Samnites before this battle, had not the consul, Publius Decius, encamped in their neighbourhood at Maleventum; and, finding means to bring them to an engagement, put them to the rout. Here, likewise, there was more of flight than of bloodshed. Two thousand of the Apulians were slain; but Decius, despising such an enemy, led his legions into Samnium. There, the two consular armies, overrunning every part of the country during the space of five months, laid it entirely waste. There were in Samnium forty-five places where Decius, and eighty-six where the other consul, encamped. Nor did they leave traces only of having been there, as ramparts and trenches, but other dreadful mementos of it—general desolation and regions depopulated. Fabius also took the city of Cimetra, where he made prisoners two thousand four hundred soldiers; and there were slain in the assault about four hundred and thirty. Going thence to Rome to preside at the elections, he used all expedition in despatching that business. All the first-called centuries voted Quintus Fabius consul. Appius Claudius was a candidate, a man of consular rank, daring and ambitious; and, as he wished not more ardently for the attainment of that honour for himself, than he did that the patricians might recover the possession of both places in the consulship, he laboured, with all his own power, supported by that of the whole body of the nobility, to prevail on them to appoint him consul along with Quintus Fabius. To this Fabius objected, giving, at first, the same reasons which he had advanced the year before. The nobles then all gathered round his seat, and besought him to raise up the consulship out of the plebeian mire, and to restore both to the office itself, and to the patrician rank, their original dignity. Fabius then, procuring silence, allayed Edition: current; Page: [329] their warmth by a qualifying speech, declaring, that, “he would have so managed, as to have received the names of two patricians, if he had seen an intention of appointing any other than himself to the consulship. As things now stood, he would not set so bad a precedent as to admit his own name among the candidates; such a proceeding being contrary to the laws.”Y.R.456. bc296. Whereupon Appius Claudius, and Lucius Volumnius, a plebeian, who had likewise been colleagues in that office before, were elected consuls. The nobility reproached Fabius for declining to act in conjunction with Appius Claudius, because he evidently excelled him in eloquence and political abilities.

XVI. When the election was finished, the former consuls were continued in command for six months, and ordered to prosecute the war in Samnium. Accordingly, during this next year, in the consulate of Lucius Volumnius and Appius Claudius, Publius Decius, who had been left consul in Samnium by his colleague, continued in the character of proconsul, to spread devastation, in like manner as in the preceding year, through all parts of that country; until, at last, he drove the army of the Samnites, which never dared to face him in the field, entirely out of the country. Thus expelled from home, they bent their route to Etruria; and, supposing that the business, which they had often in vain endeavoured to accomplish by embassies, might now be negotiated with more effect, when they were backed by such a powerful armed force, and could intermix terror with their entreaties, they demanded a meeting of the chiefs of Etruria: which being assembled, they set forth the great number of years, during which they had waged war with the Romans, in the cause of liberty; “they had,” they said, “endeavoured, with their own strength, to sustain the weight of so great a war: they had also made trial of the support of the adjoining nations, which proved of little avail. Unable longer to maintain Edition: current; Page: [330] the conflict, they had sued to the Roman people for peace; and had again taken up arms, because they felt peace, attended with servitude, more grievous than war with liberty. They had one only hope remaining, which was the support which they expected from the Etrurians. They knew that nation to be the most powerful in Italy, in respect of arms, men, and money; to have the Gauls their closest neighbours, born in the midst of war and arms, of furious courage, both from their natural temper, and particularly against the people of Rome, whom they boasted, without infringing the truth, of having made their prisoners and of having ransomed for gold. If the Etrurians possessed the same spirit, which formerly animated Porsena and their ancestors, there was nothing to prevent their expelling the Romans from all the lands on this side of the Tiber, and compelling them to fight for their own existence, and not for the intolerable dominion which they assumed over Italy. The Samnite army had come to them, in readiness for action, furnished with arms and subsistence, and were willing to follow that instant, even should they lead to the attack of the city of Rome itself.”

XVII. While they were engaged in these representations, and intriguing at Etruria, the operations of the Romans in their own territories distressed them severely. For Publius Decius, when informed by his scouts of the departure of the Samnite army, called a council, and there said, “Why do we ramble through the country, carrying the war from one village to another? Why not attack the cities and fortified places? No army now guards Samnium. They have fled: they are gone into voluntary exile.” The proposal being universally approved, he marched to attack Murgantia, a city of considerable strength; and so great was the ardour of the soldiers, resulting from their affection to their commander, and from their hopes of richer treasure than could be found in Edition: current; Page: [331] pillaging the country-places, that, in one day, they took it by assault. Here, two thousand one hundred of the Samnites, making resistance, were surrounded and taken prisoners; and abundance of other spoil fell into the hands of the victors. Decius not choosing that the troops should be incumbered in their march with such heavy baggage, ordered them to be called together, and said to them, “Do ye intend to rest satisfied with this single victory, and this booty? or do ye choose to cherish hopes proportioned to your bravery? All the cities of the Samnites, and the property left in them, are your own; since, after so often defeating their legions, ye have finally driven them out of the country. Sell those effects in your hands; and allure traders, by a prospect of profit, to follow you on your march. I will from time to time, supply you with goods for sale. Let us go hence to the city of Romulea, where no great labour, but greater gain, awaits you.” They accordingly sold off the spoil; and, warmly adopting the general’s plan, proceeded to Romulea. This town likewise was taken without works or engines, and plundered: for, as soon as the battalions approached it, nothing could hinder the soldiers from mounting the walls; but, hastily applying ladders, they forced their way over the fortifications. Two thousand three hundred men were slain, six thousand taken prisoners, and abundance of spoil fell into the hands of the soldiers. This they were obliged to sell in like manner as the former; and, though no rest was allowed them, they proceeded, nevertheless, with the utmost alacrity, to Ferentinum. But here they met a greater share both of difficulty and danger: the garrison made a vigorous defence, and the place was strongly fortified both by nature and art. However, the soldiers, now inured to plunder, overcame every obstacle. Three thousand of the enemy were killed round the walls, and the spoil was given to the troops. In some annals, the principal share of the honour of taking these cities Edition: current; Page: [332] is attributed to Maximus. They say that Murgantia was taken by Decius; Romulea and Ferentinum by Fabius. Some ascribe this honour to the new consuls: others not to both, but to one of these, Lucius Volumnius whose province, they say, Samnium was.

XVIII. While things went on thus in Samnium, and whoever it was that had the command and auspices, another powerful combination, composed of many states, was formed in Etruria against the Romans; the chief promoter of which was, Gellius Egnatius, a Samnite. Almost all the Etrurians had united in this hostile design. The neighbouring states of Umbria were drawn in, as it were, by contagion; and auxiliaries were procured from the Gauls for hire: all their several numbers assembled at the camp of the Samnites. When intelligence of this sudden commotion was received at Rome, the consul, Lucius Volumnius, had already set out for Samnium, with the second and third legions, and fifteen thousand of the allies; it was therefore resolved, that Appius Claudius should, without loss of time, go into Etruria. He took with him two Roman legions, the first and fourth, and twelve thousand allies, and encamped at a small distance from the enemy. However, his early arrival, though productive of one good effect, the restraining, by dread of the Roman name, several states of Etruria who were inclined to war, yet was not followed by any very judicious or successful enterprise. Several battles were fought, at times and places unfavourable, and increasing confidence rendered the enemy daily more formidable; so that matters came nearly to such a state, as that neither could the soldiers rely much on their leader, nor the leader on his soldiers. It appears in three several histories, that a letter was sent by the consul to call his colleague from Samnium. But I will not affirm what requires stronger proof, that point having been disputed between these two consuls, a second time associated in the same office; Edition: current; Page: [333] Appius denying that he sent any such, and Volumnius affirming that he was called thither by a letter from him. Volumnius had, by this time, taken three forts in Samnium, in which three thousand of the enemy had been slain, and about half that number made prisoners; and, a sedition having been raised among the Lucanians by the plebeians, and the more indigent of the people, he had, to the great satisfaction of the nobles, quelled it by sending thither Quintus Fabius, proconsul, with his own veteran army. He left to Decius the ravaging of the country; and proceeded with his troops into Etruria to his colleague; where, on his arrival, the army in general received him with joy. Appius, if he did not write the letter, being conscious of this, had, in my opinion, just ground of displeasure: but if he had actually sent for assistance, his disowning it, as he did, arose from an illiberal and ungrateful mind. For, on going out to receive him, when they had scarcely exchanged salutations, he said, “Is all well, Lucius Volumnius? How stand affairs in Samnium? What motive induced you to remove out of your province?” Volumnius answered, that “affairs in Samnium were in a prosperous state; and that he had come thither in compliance with the request in his letter. But, if that were a forged letter, and that there was no occasion for him in Etruria, he would instantly face about, and depart.” “You may depart,” replied the other; “no one detains you: for it is a perfect inconsistency, that when, perhaps, you are scarcely equal to the management of the war allotted to yourself, you should vaunt of coming hither to succour others.” To this Volumnius rejoined, “May Hercules direct all for the best; for his part, he was better pleased that he had taken useless trouble, than that any conjuncture should have arisen which had made one consular army insufficient for Etruria.”

XIX. As the consuls were parting, the lieutenants-general and tribunes of Appius’s army gathered round them. Some entreated their own general that he would not reject the Edition: current; Page: [334] voluntary offer of his colleague’s assistance, which he ought to have solicited: the greater number used their endeavours to stop Volumnius, beseeching him “not, through a peevish dispute with his colleague, to abandon the interest of the commonwealth; and represented to him, that in case any misfortune should happen, the blame would fall on the person who forsook the other, not on the one forsaken; that the state of affairs was such, that the credit and discredit of every success and failure in Etruria, would be attributed to Lucius Volumnius: for no one would enquire, what were the words of Appius, but what the situation of the army. Appius indeed had dismissed him, but the commonwealth, and the army, required his stay. Let him only make trial of the inclinations of the soldiers.” By such admonitions and entreaties, they, in a manner, dragged the consuls to an assembly. There, longer discourses were made to the same purport, as had passed before in the presence of a few. As Volumnius had the advantage of the argument, so did he show himself not deficient in oratory, in despite of the extraordinary eloquence of his colleague. On which Appius observed with a sneer, that “they ought to acknowledge themselves indebted to him, in having a consul, who, among his other qualifications, possessed eloquence also, instead of being dumb and speechless, as he was in their former consulate; when, particularly during the first months, he was not able so much as to open his lips; but now, in his harangues, even aspired after popularity.” Volumnius replied, “how much more earnestly do I wish, that you had learned from me to act with spirit; than I from you to speak with elegance! I now make you a final proposal, which will demonstrate, not which is the better orator, for that is not what the public wants, but which is the better commander. The provinces are Etruria and Samnium: make your choice; I, with my own army, will undertake to manage the business of either.” Edition: current; Page: [335] The soldiers then, with loud clamours, requested that they would, in conjunction, carry on the war in Etruria; when Volumnius, perceiving that it was the general wish, said, “Since I have been mistaken in apprehending my colleague’s meaning, I will take care that there shall be no room for mistake with respect to the purport of your wishes. Signify by a shout, whether you choose that I should stay or depart.” On this, a shout was raised, so loud, that it brought the enemy out of their camp: they snatched up their arms, and marched forward in order of battle. Volumnius likewise ordered the signal to be sounded, and his troops to take the field. It is said that Appius hesitated, perceiving that, whether he fought or remained inactive, his colleague would enjoy the honour of the victory; and that, afterwards, dreading lest his own legions should follow Volumnius with the rest, he gave the signal, at the earnest desire of his men. On neither side were the forces drawn up to advantage: for, on the one, Gellius Egnatius, the Samnite general, had gone out to forage with a few cohorts, and his men entered on the fight, as the violence of their passions prompted, rather than under any directions, or orders. On the other, the Roman armies, neither marched out together, nor had time sufficient to form: Volumnius began to engage, before Appius came up, consequently their front in the battle was uneven; and by some accidental interchange of their usual opponents, the Etrurians fought against Volumnius; and the Samnites, after delaying some time on account of the absence of their general, against Appius. We are told that Appius, during the heat of the fight, raising his hands towards heaven, so as to be seen in the foremost ranks, prayed thus, “Bellona, if thou grantest us the victory this day, I vow to thee a temple.” And that after this vow, as if inspirited by the goddess, he displayed a degree of courage equal to that of his colleague, and of the troops. The generals performed every duty, and Edition: current; Page: [336] each of their armies exerted, with emulation, its utmost vigour, lest the other should be first victorious. They therefore quickly broke and defeated the enemy, who were ill able to withstand a force so much superior to any with which they had been accustomed to contend; then pressing them as they gave ground, and pursuing them closely as they fled, they drove them into their camp. There Gellius and his Samnite cohorts, interposing, the fight was renewed for a time with some warmth. But these being likewise soon dispersed, the conquerors advanced to storm the camp; and Volumnius, in person, leading his troops against one of the gates, while Appius, frequently invoking Bellona the victorious, inflamed the courage of his men, neither rampart nor trenches could prevent their breaking in. The camp was taken and plundered, and the spoil, of which great abundance was found, was given up to the soldiers. Of the enemy seven thousand three hundred were slain; and two thousand one hundred and twenty taken.

XX. While both the consuls, with the whole force of the Romans, pointed their exertions principally against their enemies in Etruria, a new army was set on foot in Samnium; and, with design to ravage the frontiers of the Roman empire, passed over through the country of the Vescians, into the Campanian and Falernian territories, where they committed great depredations. Volumnius, as he was hastening back to Samnium, by forced marches, because the term for which Fabius and Decius had been continued in command was nearly expired, heard of this army of Samnites, and of the mischief which they had done in Campania; determining, therefore, to afford protection to the allies, he altered his route towards that quarter. When he arrived in the district of Cales, he found marks of their recent ravages; and the people of that town informed him that the enemy carried with them such a quantity of spoil, that they could scarcely observe any order in their march: and that the commanders Edition: current; Page: [337] then directed publicly, that the troops should go immediately to Samnium, deposit the booty there, and return to the business of the expedition, as an engagement must not be hazarded while they were so heavily laden. Notwithstanding that this account carried every appearance of truth, he yet thought it necessary to obtain more certain information; accordingly he despatched some horsemen, to seize on some of the straggling marauders; from these he learned, on enquiry, that the enemy lay at the river Vulturnus; that they intended to remove thence at the third watch; and that their route was towards Samnium. On receiving this intelligence, which could be depended upon, he put his troops in motion, and sat down at such a distance from the enemy, as was sufficient to prevent their discovering his approach, and, at the same time, left it in his power to surprise them, as they should be coming out of their camp. A long time before day, he drew nigh to their post, and sent persons, who understood the Oscan language, to discover how they were employed: these, mixing with the enemy, which they could easily do during the confusion in the night, found that the standards had gone out thinly attended; that the booty, and those appointed to guard it, were then setting out, a contemptible train; each busied about his own affairs, without any concert with the rest, or much regard to orders. This the consul judged the fittest time for the attack; and, day-light now approaching, he gave orders to sound the charge, and fell on the enemy as they were marching out. The Samnites being embarrassed with the spoil, and very few armed, were at a loss how to act. Some quickened their pace, and drove the prey before them; others halted, deliberating whether it would be safer to advance, or to return again to the camp; and, while they hesitated, they were overtaken and cut off. The Romans had by this time passed over the rampart, and filled the camp with slaughter and confusion: the Samnite army Edition: current; Page: [338] had their disorder increased by a sudden insurrection of their prisoners; some of whom, getting loose, set the rest at liberty, while others snatched the arms which were tied up among the baggage, and, being intermixed with the troops, raised a tumult more terrible than the battle itself. They then performed a memorable exploit: for, making an attack on Statius Minacius, the general, as he was passing between the ranks and encouraging his men, they dispersed the horsemen who attended him, gathered round himself, and dragged him, sitting on his horse, a prisoner to the Roman consul. This brought back the foremost battalions of the Samnites, and the battle, which seemed to have been already decided, was renewed: but they could not support it long. Six thousand of them were slain, and two thousand five hundred taken, among whom were four military tribunes, together with thirty standards, and, what gave the conquerors greater joy than all, seven thousand four hundred prisoners were recovered. The spoil which had been taken from the allies was immense, and the owners were summoned, by a proclamation, to claim and receive their property. On the day appointed, all the effects, the owners of which did not appear, were given to the soldiers, who were obliged to sell them, in order that they might have nothing to think of but their duty.

XXI. The depredations, committed on the lands of Campania had occasioned a violent alarm at Rome; and it happened, that about the same time, intelligence was brought from Etruria, that, after the departure of Volumnius’s army, all that country had risen up in arms, together with Gellius Egnatius, the leader of the Samnites; that the Umbrians were invited to join in the insurrection, and the Gauls tempted with high offers. Terrified at this news, the senate ordered the courts of justice to be shut, and a levy to be made of men of every description. Accordingly not only free-born Edition: current; Page: [339] men, and the younger sort were obliged to enlist, but cohorts were formed of the elder citizens, and the sons of freed men were incorporated in the centuries. Plans were formed for the defence of the city, and the chief command committed to the prætor, Publius Sempronius. However, the senate was exonerated of one half of their anxiety, by a letter from the consul, Lucius Volumnius, informing them that the army, which had ravaged Campania, had been defeated and dispersed: whereupon, they decreed a public thanksgiving for this success, in the name of the victors. The courts were opened, after having been shut eighteen days, and the thanksgiving was performed with much joy. They then turned their thoughts to devising measures for the future security of the country, depopulated by the Samnites; and, with this view, resolved that two colonies should be settled on the frontiers of the Vescian and Falernian territories; one at the mouth of the river Liris, which has received the name of Minturnæ; the other in the Vescian forest, which borders on the Falernian territory; where, it is said, stood Sinope, a city of Grecians, called thenceforth by the Roman colonists Sinuessa. The plebeian tribunes were charged to procure an order of the commons, enjoining Publius Sempronius, the prætor, to create triumvirs for conducting the colonies to those places. But it was not easy to find people to give in their names; because, a settlement in those places was considered, nearly, as a perpetual advanced guard in a hostile country, not as a provision of land. From these employments, the attention of the senate was drawn away, by the Etrurian war growing daily more formidable; and by frequent letters from Appius, warning them not to neglect the disturbances in that quarter. Four nations, he told them, were uniting their arms; the Etrurians, the Samnites, the Umbrians, and the Gauls; and they had already formed two separate camps, one spot being insufficient to Edition: current; Page: [340] contain so great a multitude. In consequence, the time of the elections drawing nigh, the consul, Lucius Volumnius, was recalled to Rome, to hold them. Having summoned an assembly of the people, before the centuries were called to give their votes, he spoke at length on the great importance of the Etrurian war, and said, that “even at the time when he himself acted there, in conjunction with his colleague, the war was too weighty to be managed by one general, or one army; and that it was now reported that the enemy had, since that time, gained an accession of the Umbrians, and a numerous body of Gauls.” He desired them to “bear in mind, that they were, on that day, to choose consuls, who were to command in a war against four nations. For his own part, were he not confident that the Roman people would concur, in appointing to the consulship, the man who was allowed, beyond dispute, to be the first commander at present in the world, he would have immediately nominated a dictator.”

XXII. No doubt was entertained but that the universal choice would light on Quintus Fabius; and, accordingly, the prerogative, and all the first called centuries, named him consul with Lucius Volumnius. Fabius spoke to the same purpose as he had done two years before; but, afterwards, yielding to the general wish, he applied himself to procure Decius to be appointed his confederate: “that,” he said, “would be a prop to his declining age. In the censorship, and two consulships, in which they had been associated, he had experienced, that there could be no firmer support, in promoting the interest of the commonwealth, than harmony with a colleague. At his advanced stage of life, his mind could hardly conform itself to a new associate in command; and he could more easily act in concert with a temper to which he had been familiarized.” Volumnius subscribed to these sentiments, bestowing due praises on Publius Decius, Edition: current; Page: [341] and enumerating “the advantages resulting from concord between consuls, and the evils arising from their disagreement in the conduct of military affairs;” at the same time remarking, “how near the extremity of danger matters had been brought, by the late dispute between Appius and himself.” He warmly recommended to Decius and Fabius to “live together with one mind and one spirit.” Observed that “they were men qualified by nature for military command: great in action, but unpractised in the strife of words, their talents were such as eminently became consuls. As to the artful and the ingenious, lawyers and orators, such as Appius Claudius, they ought to be kept at home to preside in the city and the forum; and to be appointed prætors for the administration of justice.” In these proceedings that day was spent, and, on the following, the elections both of consuls and prætor were held, and were guided by the recommendations suggested by the consul. Quintus Fabius and Publius Decius were chosen consuls; Appius Claudius, prætor; all of them absent; and, by a decree of the senate, followed by an order of the commons, Lucius Volumnius was continued in the command for another year.

XXIII. During that year many prodigies happened. To avert the evils which they might portend, the senate decreed a supplication for two days: the wine and frankincense for the sacrifices were furnished at the expense of the public; and numerous crowds of men and women attended the performance. This supplication was rendered remarkable by a quarrel, which broke out among the matrons in the chapel of patrician chastity, which stands in the cattle market, near the round temple of Hercules. Virginia, daughter of Aulus, a patrician, but married to Volumnius the consul, a plebeian, was on that account excluded by the matrons from sharing in the sacred rites: a short altercation ensued, which was afterwards, through the intemperance of passion incident to Edition: current; Page: [342] the sex, kindled into a flame of contention. Virginia boasted, with truth, that she had a right to enter the temple of patrician chastity, as being of patrician birth and chaste in her character, and, besides, the wife of one to whom she was betrothed a virgin, and had no reason to be ashamed either of her husband, or of his exploits or honours: to her high-spirited words she added importance by an extraordinary act. In the long street, where she resided, she inclosed, with a partition, a part of the house, of a size sufficient for a small chapel, and there erected an altar. Then, calling together the plebeian matrons, and complaining of the injurious behaviour of the patricians, she said, “this altar I dedicate to plebeian chastity, and exhort you, that the same degree of emulation, which prevails among the men of this state, on the point of valour, may be maintained by the women on the point of chastity; and that you contribute your best care, that this altar may have the credit of being attended with a greater degree of sanctity, and by chaster women than the other.” Solemn rites were performed at this altar under the same regulations, nearly, with those at the more ancient one; no person being allowed the privilege of taking part in the sacrifices, except a woman of approved chastity, and who was the wife of one husband. This institution, being afterwards debased by the admission of vicious characters, and not only by matrons, but women of every description, sunk at last into oblivion. During this year the Ogulnii, Cneius and Quintus, being curule ædiles, carried on prosecutions against several usurers; and these being condemned to pay fines out of the produce and for the use of the public, the ædiles made brazen thresholds in the Capitol; utensils of plate for three tables, which were deposited in the chapel of Jupiter; a statue of Jupiter in a chariot, drawn by four horses, placed on the roof; and images of the founders of the city, in their infant state under the teats of the wolf, at the Ruminal fig-tree. Edition: current; Page: [343] They also paved with square stones, the road from the Capuan gate to the temple of Mars. The plebeian ædiles likewise, Lucius Ælius Pætus, and Caius Fulvius Corvus, out of money levied as fines on farmers of the public pastures, whom they had convicted of mal-practices exhibited games, and consecrated golden bowls in the temple of Ceres.

XXIV. Then came into the consulship Quintus Fabius, a fifth time, and Publius Decius, a fourth.Y.R.457. bc295. They had been colleagues in the censorship, and twice in the consulship, and were celebrated, not more for their glorious achievements, splendid as these were, than for the unanimity which had ever subsisted between them. The interruption, which this afterwards suffered, was, in my opinion, owing to a jarring between the opposite parties, rather than between themselves; the patricians endeavouring that Fabius should have Etruria for his province, without casting lots, and the plebeians insisting that Decius should bring the matter to the decision of lots. There was certainly a contention in the senate, and the interest of Fabius, being superior there, the business was brought before the people. Here, between military men who laid greater stress on deeds than on words, the debate was short. Fabius said, “that it was unreasonable, that, after he had planted a tree, another should gather the fruit of it. He had opened the Ciminian forest, and made a way for the Roman arms, through passes until then impracticable. Why had they disturbed his repose, at that time of his life, if they intended to give the management of the war to another?” Then, in the way of a gentle reproof, he observed, that “instead of an associate in command, he had chosen an adversary; and that Decius thought it too much that their unanimity should last through three consulates.” Declaring, in fine, that “he desired nothing farther, than that, if they thought him qualified for the Edition: current; Page: [344] command in the province, they should send him thither. He had submitted to the judgment of the senate, and would now be governed by the authority of the people.” Publius Decius complained of injustice in the senate; and asserted, that “the patricians had laboured, as long as possible, to exclude the plebeians from all access to the higher honours; and, since merit, by its own intrinsic power, had prevailed so far, as that it should not, in any rank of men, be precluded from the attainment of them, they sought every expedient to render ineffectual, not only the suffrages of the people, but even the decisions of fortune; converting all things to the aggrandizement of a few. Former consuls had disposed of the provinces by lots; now, the senate bestowed a province on Fabius at their pleasure. If this was meant as a mark of honour, the merits of Fabius were so great towards the commonwealth, and towards himself in particular, that he would gladly contribute to the advancement of his reputation in every instance where its splendour could be increased without reflecting dishonour on himself. But who did not see, that, when a war of difficulty and danger, and out of the ordinary course, was committed to only that one consul, the other would be considered as useless and insignificant? Fabius gloried in his exploits performed in Etruria: Publius Decius wished for a like subject of glory, and, perhaps, would utterly extinguish that fire, which the other left smothered, in such a manner, that it often broke out anew, in sudden conflagrations. In fine, honours and rewards he would concede to his colleague, out of respect to his age and dignified character: but when danger, when a vigorous struggle with an enemy was before them, he never did, nor ever would, willingly, give place. With respect to the present dispute, this much he would gain, at all events, that a business, appertaining to the jurisdiction of the people, should be determined by an order of that people, and not complimented Edition: current; Page: [345] away by the senate. He prayed Jupiter, supremely good and great, and all the immortal gods, not to grant him an equal chance with his colleague, unless they intended to grant him equal ability and success, in the management of the war. It was certainly in its nature reasonable, in the example salutary, and concerned the reputation of the Roman people, that the consuls should be men of such abilities, that either of them was fully equal to the command in a war with Etruria.” Fabius, after just requesting of the people, that, before the tribes were called in to give their votes, they would hear the letters of the prætor Appius Claudius, written from Etruria, withdrew from the Comitium, and the people, not less unanimously than the senate, decreed to him the province of Etruria, without having recourse to lots.

XXV. Immediately almost all the younger citizens flocked together to the consul, and cheerfully gave in their names, earnestly desirous of serving under such a commander. Seeing so great a multitude collected round him, he said, “My intention is to enlist only four thousand foot, and six hundred horse: such of you as give in your names to-day and to-morrow, I will carry with me. I am more solicitous to bring home all my soldiers rich, than to employ a great multitude.” Accordingly, with a competent number of men, who possessed greater hopes and confidence, because a numerous army had not been required, he marched to the town of Aharna, from which the enemy were not far distant, and proceeded to the camp of the prætor Appius. When he came within a few miles of it, he was met by some soldiers, sent to cut wood, attended by a guard. Observing the lictors preceding him, and learning that he was Fabius the consul, they were filled with joy; and expressed warm thanks to the gods, and to the Roman people, for having sent them such a commander. Then, as they gathered round, to pay their respects, Fabius enquired Edition: current; Page: [346] whither they were going, and on their answering that they were going to provide wood, “what do you tell me,” said he, “have you not a rampart raised about your camp?” “They had,” they replied, “a double rampart, and a trench; and, notwithstanding, were in great apprehension.” “Well then,” said he, “you have abundance of wood, go back and level the rampart.” They accordingly returned to the camp, and there levelling the rampart, threw the soldiers who had remained in it, and Appius himself, into the greatest fright, until with eager joy each called out to the rest, that, “they acted by order of the consul, Quintus Fabius.” Next day, they decamped, and the prætor Appius was dismissed to Rome. From that time, the Romans had no fixed post; the consul affirming, that it was prejudicial to an army to lie in one spot; and that by frequent marches, and changing places, it was rendered more healthy, and more capable of brisk exertions: and this he practised as long as the season permitted, the winter being not yet ended. Then, in the beginning of spring, leaving the second legion near Clusium, which they formerly called the Camertian, and giving the command of the camp to Lucius Scipio, as pro-prætor, he returned to Rome, in order to adjust measures for carrying on the war; either led thereto by his own judgment, on finding it attended with greater difficulty than he had believed, from report; or, being summoned by a decree of senate; for both accounts are given. Some choose to have it believed, that he was forced to return by the practices of the prætor, Appius Claudius; who, both in the senate, and before the people, exaggerated, as he was wont in all his letters, the danger of the Etrurian war; contending, that “one general, or one army, would not be sufficient to oppose four nations. That whether these directed the whole of their combined force against him alone, or acted separately in different parts, there was reason to fear, that he would be unable to provide, effectually, against Edition: current; Page: [347] every emergency. That he had left there but two Roman legions; and that the foot and horse, who came with Fabius, did not amount to five thousand. It was therefore his opinion, that the consul Publius Decius, should, without delay, join his colleague in Etruria; and that the province of Samnium should be given to Lucius Volumnius. But, if the consul preferred going to his own province, that then Volumnius should march a full consular army into Etruria, to join the other commander.” The advice of the prætor was approved by a great part of the members; but Publius Decius recommended that every thing should be kept undetermined, and open for Quintus Fabius; until he should either come to Rome, if he could do so without prejudice to the public, or send some of his lieutenants, from whom the senate might learn the real state of the war in Etruria; and what number of troops, and how many generals, would be requisite for carrying it on.

XXVI. Fabius, on his return to Rome, qualified his discourses, both in the senate and before the people, in such a manner as to appear neither to exaggerate, or lessen, any particular relating to the war; and to show, that, in agreeing to another general being joined with him, he rather indulged the apprehensions of others, than guarded against any danger to himself, or the public. “But if they chose,” he said, “to give him an assistant, and associate in command, how could he overlook Publius Decius the consul; with whom he was perfectly acquainted, as a colleague, on so many occasions? There was no man living whom he would rather wish to be joined in commission with him: with Publius Decius he should have forces sufficient, and never too many enemies. If, however, his colleague preferred any other employment, let them then give him Lucius Volumnius as an assistant.” The disposal of every particular was left entirely to Fabius by the people and the senate, and even by his colleague; Edition: current; Page: [348] while Decius, having declared that he was ready to go either to Etruria, or Samnium, such general congratulation and satisfaction took place, that all men anticipated victory, and felt as if a triumph, not a war, had been decreed to the consuls. I find in some writers, that Fabius and Decius, immediately on their entering into office, set out together for Etruria; and no mention is made of the casting of lots, or of the disputes which I have related. Others, not satisfied with relating those disputes, have added charges of misconduct, laid by Appius before the people against Fabius, when absent; and a stubborn opposition, maintained by the prætor against the consul, when present; and also another contention between the colleagues, Decius insisting that each consul should attend to the care of his own separate province. Certainty however begins to appear, from the time when both consuls set out for the campaign. Now, before these arrived in Etruria, the Senonian Gauls came in a vast body to Clusium, to attack the Roman legion encamped there. Scipio, who commanded in that post, wishing to remedy the deficiency of his numbers, by an advantage in the ground, led his men up a hill, which stood between the camp and the city: but having, in his haste, neglected to examine the place, when he came near the summit, he found it already possessed by the enemy, who had ascended on the other side. The legion was, consequently, attacked on the rear, and surrounded by several battalions, who pressed it on all sides. Some writers say, that the whole were cut off, so that not one survived to give an account of the disaster; and that no information of the misfortune reached the consuls, who were, at the time, not far from Clusium, until the Gallic horsemen came within sight, carrying the heads of the slain, some hanging before their horses’ breasts, others on the points of their spears, and expressing their triumph in songs, according to their custom. Others affirm, that the defeat was by Umbrians, not Gauls, Edition: current; Page: [349] and that the loss sustained was not so great. That a party of foragers, under Lucius Manlius Torquatus, lieutenant-general, being surrounded, Scipio, the proprætor, brought up relief from the camp, and, renewing the battle, defeated the Umbrians lately victorious, and retook the prisoners and spoil. But it is more probable, that this blow was suffered from a Gallic, than an Umbrian enemy; because during that year, as was often the case at other times, the danger principally apprehended by the public, was that of a Gallic tumult; for which reason, notwithstanding that both the consuls had marched against the enemy, with four legions, and a large body of Roman cavalry, joined by a thousand chosen horsemen of Campania, supplied on the occasion, and a body of the allies and Latine confederates, superior in number to the Romans, two other armies were posted near the city, on the side facing Etruria; one, in the Faliscian, the other in the Vatican territory, Cneius Fulvius, and Lucius Postumius Megellus, both proprætors, being ordered to keep the troops stationed in those places.

XXVII. The consuls, having crossed the Appennines, came up with the combined forces in the territory of Sentinum, and pitched their camp, distant from them about four miles. Several councils were then held by the enemy, and their plan of operations was thus settled; that they should not encamp together, nor go out together to battle: the Gauls were united to the Samnites, the Umbrians to the Etrurians. The day of battle was fixed. The part of maintaining the fight was committed to the Samnites and Gauls; and the Etrurians and Umbrians were ordered to attack the Roman camp during the heat of the engagement. This plan was frustrated by three Clusian deserters, who came over by night to Fabius, and after disclosing the above designs, were sent back with presents, in order that they might discover, and bring intelligence of, any new scheme which should be Edition: current; Page: [350] formed. The consuls then wrote to Flavius and Postumius to move their armies, the one from the Faliscian, the other from the Vatican country, towards Clusium; and to ruin the enemy’s territory by every means in their power. The news of these depredations drew the Etrurians from Sentinum to protect their own region. The consuls, in their absence, practised every means to bring on an engagement. For two days, they endeavoured, by several attacks, to provoke the enemy to fight; in which time, however, nothing worth mention was performed. A few fell on each side, but still the minds of the Romans were so irritated as to wish for a general engagement, yet nothing decisive was hazarded. On the third day, both parties marched out their whole force to the field: here, while the armies stood in order of battle, a hind, chased by a wolf from the mountains, ran through the plain between the two lines: there the animals turned their courses to different sides; the hind towards the Gauls, the wolf towards the Romans: way was made between the ranks for the wolf, the Gauls slew the hind with their javelins; on which one of the Roman soldiers in the van said, “To that side, where you see an animal, sacred to Diana, lying prostrate, flight and slaughter are directed; on this side the victorious wolf of Mars, safe and untouched, reminds us of our founder, and of our descent from that deity.” The Gauls were posted on the right wing, the Samnites on the left: against the latter, Fabius drew up, as his right wing, the first and third legions; against the Gauls, Decius formed the left wing of the fifth and sixth. The second and fourth were employed in the war in Samnium, under the pro-consul Lucius Volumnius. The first encounter was supported with strength so equal on both sides, that had the Etrurians and Umbrians been present at the action, either in the field or at the camp, in whichever place they might have employed their force, the Romans must have been defeated.

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XXVIII. However, although the victory was still undecided, fortune not having declared in favour of either party, yet the course of the fight was by no means similar on both right and left wings. The Romans, under Fabius, rather repelled than offered assault; and the contest was protracted until very late in the day: for their general knew very well, that both Samnites and Gauls were furious in the first onset; so that, to prevent their progress, was as much as could well be effected. It was known, too, that in a longer dispute, the spirits of the Samnites gradually flagged, and even the bodies of the Gauls, remarkably ill able to bear labour and heat, became quite relaxed; and although, in their first efforts, they were more than men, yet in their last they were less than women. He, therefore, reserved the strength of his men for the aforesaid reasons, until the time when the enemy were the more likely to be worsted. Decius, more impetuous, as being in the prime of life, and full flow of spirits, exerted his whole force to the utmost in the first encounter; and thinking the infantry not sufficiently powerful, brought up the cavalry to their aid. Putting himself at the head of a troop of young horsemen, of distinguished bravery, he besought those youths, the flower of the army, to follow him, and charge the enemy; telling them, “they would reap a double share of glory, if the victory should commence on the left wing, and through their means.” Twice they compelled the Gallic cavalry to gave way. At the second charge they advanced nearer, and were briskly engaged in the midst of the enemy’s squadrons, when, by a method of fighting, to which they were utter strangers, they were thrown into dismay. A number of the enemy, mounted on chariots and cars, made towards them with such a prodigious clatter from the trampling of the cattle and rolling of wheels, as affrighted the horses of the Romans, unaccustomed to such tumultuous operations. By this means the victorious cavalry were Edition: current; Page: [352] dispersed, through a panic, and men and horses, in their headlong flight, were tumbled promiscuously on the ground. The same cause produced disorder even in the battalions of the legions: through the impetuosity of the horses, and of the carriages which they dragged through the ranks, many of the soldiers in the van were trodden or bruised to death; while the Gallic line, as soon as they saw their enemy in confusion, pursued the advantage, nor allowed them time to take breath. Decius, calling aloud, “whither were they flying, or what hope could they have in running away?” strove to stop them as they turned their backs, but finding that he could not, by any efforts, prevail on them to keep their posts, so thoroughly were they dismayed, he called on the name of his father Publius Decius, and said, “Why do I any longer defer the fate entailed on my family? It is the appointment of destiny to our race, that we should serve as expiatory victims to avert the public danger. I will now offer the legions of the enemy, together with myself, a bloody sacrifice to Earth, and the infernal gods.” Having thus said, he commanded Marcus Livius, a pontiff, whom, at his coming out to the field, he had charged not to stir from him, to dictate the form of words in which he was to devote himself, and the legions of the enemy, for the army of the Roman people, the Quirites. He was accordingly devoted with the same imprecations, and in the same habit, in which his father Publius Decius had ordered himself to be devoted at the Veseris in the Latine war. After this, he added, that “he carried along with him dismay and flight, slaughter and blood, and the wrath of the gods celestial and infernal; that, with the contagious influence of the furies, the ministers of death, whose victim he was, he would infect the standards, the weapons, and the armour of the enemy; and on the same spot, should be accomplished his perdition, and that of the Gauls and Samnites.” After uttering these execrations on Edition: current; Page: [353] himself and the foe, he spurred forward his horse, where he saw the line of the Gauls thickest, and, rushing upon the enemy’s weapons, met his death.

XXIX. Thenceforward the battle seemed to be fought with a degree of force which could scarcely be deemed human. The Romans, on the loss of their general, a circumstance which, on other occasions, is wont to inspire terror, stopped their flight, and re-assumed spirit to begin the combat afresh. The Gauls, and especially those who encircled the consul’s body, as if deprived of reason, cast their javelins at random without execution; some became so stupid as not to think of either fighting or flying: while, on the other side, Livius the pontiff, to whom Decius had transferred his lictors, with orders to act as pro-prætor, cried out aloud, that “the Romans were victorious, being exempted from misfortune by the death of their consul. That the Gauls and Samnites were now the victims of mother Earth, and the infernal gods. That Decius was summoning and dragging to himself, the army devoted along with him: and that, among the enemy, all was full of dismay, and the vengeance of the fulries.” While the soldiers were busy in restoring the fight, they were joined by Lucius Cornelius Scipio and Caius Marcius, with some reserved troops from the rear, who had been sent by Quintus Fabius, the consul, to the support of his colleague. These, on being made acquainted with the fate of Decius, were powerfully excited to brave every danger in the cause of the public; but, as the Gauls stood in close order, with their shields formed into a fence before them, little prospect of success appeared from a close fight. The javelins, which lay scattered between the two lines were, therefore, by order of the lieutenants-general, gathered up from the ground, and thrown against the enemy’s shields, and as most of them pierced the fence, the long-pointed ones even into their bodies, their compact band was overthrown in Edition: current; Page: [354] such a manner, that a great many, who were unhurt, yet fell as if thunderstruck. Such were the changes of fortune on the left wing of the Romans: on the right, Fabius had at first protracted the time, as we mentioned above, in slow operations: then, as soon as he perceived that neither the shout, nor the efforts of the enemy, nor the weapons which they threw, retained their former force, ordered the commanders of the cavalry to lead round their squadrons to the wing of the Samnites, and, on receiving the signal, to charge them in flank, with all possible violence, he commanding, at the same time, his infantry to advance leisurely, and drive the enemy from their ground. When he saw that they were unable to maintain their posts, and manifestly spent with fatigue, drawing together all his reserves, whom he had kept fresh for that occasion, he made a brisk push with the legions, giving the cavalry the signal to charge. The Samnites could not support the shock, but fled precipitately to their camp, passing by the line of the Gauls, and leaving their allies to fight by themselves. These stood in close order under cover of their shields: Fabius, therefore, having heard of the death of his colleague, ordered the squadron of Campanian cavalry, in number about five hundred, to fall back from the ranks, ride round, and attack the rear of the Gallic line, sending the chief strength of the third legion after these, with directions that wherever they should see the enemy’s troops disordered by the charge, to follow the blow, and cut them to pieces, before they recovered from their consternation. After vowing a temple, and the spoils which might fall into his hands, to Jupiter the victorious, he proceeded to the camp of the Samnites, whither all their forces were hurrying in confusion. The gates not affording entrance to such very great numbers, those who were necessarily excluded, attempted resistance just at the foot of the rampart, and here fell Gellius Egnatius the Samnite general. These, however, Edition: current; Page: [355] were soon driven within the rampart; the camp was taken after a slight dispute; and at the same time the Gauls were attacked on the rear, and overpowered. There were slain of the enemy on that day twenty-five thousand; eight thousand were taken prisoners. Nor was the victory gained without loss of blood; for, of the army of Publius Decius, the killed amounted to seven thousand; of the army of Fabius, to one thousand two hundred. Fabius, after sending persons to search for the body of his colleague, had the spoils of the enemy collected into a heap, and burned them as an offering to Jupiter the victorious. The consul’s body could not be found that day, being hid under a heap of slaughtered Gauls: on the following, it was discovered and brought to the camp, amidst abundance of tears shed by the soldiers. Fabius, discarding all concern about any other business, solemnized the obsequies of his colleague in the most honourable manner, passing on him the high encomiums which he had justly merited.

XXX. During the same period, Cneius Fulvius, pro-prætor, made a progress in Etruria equal to his wishes; having, besides the immense losses occasioned to the enemy by the devastation of their lands, fought a battle with extraordinary success, in which there were above three thousand of the Perusians and Clusians slain, and twenty military standards taken. The Samnites in their flight, passing through the Pelignian territory, were attacked on all sides by the Pelignians; and, out of five thousand, one thousand were killed. The glory of the day in the affair at Sentinum was great, when represented with a strict adherence to truth: but some have carried their exaggerations of it beyond the bounds of credibility, asserting in their writings, that there were in the army of the enemy forty thousand three hundred and thirty foot, six thousand horse, and one thousand chariots, that is, including the Etrurians and Umbrians, who they affirm were Edition: current; Page: [356] present in the engagement: and, to magnify, likewise, the number of Roman forces, they add to the consuls another general, Lucius Volumnius, pro-consul and his army to their legions. In the greater number of annals, that victory is ascribed entirely to the two consuls; and it is mentioned that Volumnius was employed at the time in Samnium; that he compelled the army of the Samnites to retreat to mount Tifernus, and, not retarded by the difficulty of the ground, routed and dispersed them. Quintus Fabius, leaving Decius’s army in Etruria, and leading off his own legions to the city, triumphed over the Gauls, Etrurians, and Samnites; the soldiers attending his triumph. These, in their coarse military verses, celebrated not more highly the conduct of Quintus Fabius, than the illustrious death of Publius Decius; recalling to memory his self-immolated father, of whom the son might be considered as a glorious counterpart, in respect of the issue which resulted both to himself and to the public. Out of the spoil, donations were made to the soldiers of eighty-two asses* to each, with cloaks and vests; rewards for service, which in that age were far from contemptible.

XXXI. Notwithstanding these successes, peace was not yet established, either among the Samnites or Etrurians: for the latter, at the instigation of the Perusians, resumed their arms, as soon as the consul had withdrawn his troops; and the Samnites made predatory incursions on the territories of Vescia and Formiæ; and also on the other side, on those of Æsernia, and the parts adjacent to the river Vulturnus. Against these was sent the prætor Appius Claudius, with the army formerly commanded by Decius. In Etruria, Fabius, on the revival of hostilities, slew four thousand five hundred of the Perusians, and took prisoners one thousand seven hundred Edition: current; Page: [357] and forty, who were ransomed at the rate of three hundred and ten asses* each. All the rest of the spoil was bestowed on the soldiers. The legions of the Samnites, though pursued, some by the prætor Appius Claudius, the others by Lucius Volumnius, pro-consul, formed a junction in the country of the Stellatians. Here sat down, on one side, the whole body of the Samnites; and, on the other, Appius and Volumnius, with their forces united in one camp. A battle ensued, fought with the most rancorous animosity, one party being spurred on by rage against men who had so often renewed their attacks on them, and the other, now fighting in support of their last remaining hope. The consequence was, that there were slain, of the Samnites, sixteen thousand three hundred, and two thousand and seven hundred made prisoners: of the Roman army fell two thousand and seven hundred. This year, so successful in the operations of war, was filled with distress at home, arising from a pestilence; and with anxiety, occasioned by prodigies: for accounts were received that, in many places, showers of earth had fallen; and that very many persons, in the army of Appius Claudius, had been struck by lightning; in consequence of which, the books were consulted. At this time, Quintus Fabius Gurges, the consul’s son, having prosecuted some matrons before the people on a charge of adultery, built, with the money accruing from the fines which they were condemned to pay, the temple of Venus, which stands near the Circus. Still we have the wars of the Samnites on our hands, notwithstanding that the relation of them has already extended, in one continued course, through four volumes of our history, and through a period of forty-six years, from the consulate of Marcus Valerius and Aulus Cornelius, who first carried the Roman arms into Samnium. And, not to recite Edition: current; Page: [358] the long train of disasters sustained by both nations, and the toils which they underwent, which, however, were not sufficient to subdue their stubborn fortitude; even in the course of the last year, the Samnites, with their own forces separately, and also in conjunction with those of other nations, had been defeated by four several armies, and four generals of the Romans, in the territory of Sentinum, in that of the Pelignians, at Tifernum, and in the plains of the Stellatians; had lost the general of the highest character in their nation; and, now, saw their allies in the war, the Etrurians, the Umbrians, and the Gauls, in the same situation with themselves; but, although destitute of support, either in their own or in foreign resources, yet did they not desist from the prosecution of hostilities. So indefatigably, though unsuccessfully, did they struggle in defence of liberty; and, rather than not aspire after victory, chose to subject themselves to repeated defeats. Who does not find his patience tired, either in writing, or reading, of wars of such continuance; and which yet exhausted not the resolution of the parties concerned?

Y.R.458. bc294.XXXII. Quintus Fabius and Publius Decius were succeeded in the consulship by Lucius Postumius Megellus and Marcus Atilius Regulus. The province of Samnium was decreed to both in conjunction; because intelligence had been received that the enemy had embodied three armies; one for the recovery of Etruria; another to repeat their ravages in Campania; and the third, intended for the defence of their frontiers. Sickness detained Postumius at Rome, but Atilius set out immediately, with design to surprise the enemy in Samnium, before they should have advanced beyond their own borders; for such had been the directions of the senate. The Romans met the enemy, as if by mutual appointment, at a spot, where, while they could be hindered, not only from ravaging, but Edition: current; Page: [359] even from entering the Samnite territory, they could likewise hinder the Samnites from continuing their progress into the countries which were quiet, and the lands of the allies of the Roman people. While they lay opposite to each other, the Samnites attempted an enterprize, which the Romans, so often their conquerors, would scarcely have ventured to undertake; such is the rashness inspired by extreme despair: this was an assault on the Roman camp. And although this attempt, so daring, succeeded not in its full extent, yet it was not without considerable effect. There was a fog, which continued through a great part of the day, so thick as to exclude the light of the sun, and to prevent not only the view of any thing beyond the rampart, but scarcely the sight of each other, when they should meet. Depending on this, as a covering to the design, when the sun was but just risen, and the light, which he did afford, was obscured by the fog, the Samnites came up to an advanced guard of the Romans, at one of the gates, who were standing carelessly on their post. In the sudden surprise, these had neither courage nor strength to make resistance: an assault was then made, through the Decuman gate, in the rear of the camp: the quæstor’s quarters, in consequence, fell into the hands of the enemy, and the quæstor, Lucius Opimius Pansa, was there slain, on which a general alarm was given.

XXXIII. The consul, being roused by the tumult, ordered two cohorts of the allies, a Lucanian and Suessanian, which happened to be nearest, to defend the head-quarters, and led the companies of the legions down the principal street. These ran into the ranks, scarcely taking time to furnish themselves with arms; and, as they distinguished the enemy by their shout, rather than by sight, could form no judgment how great their number might be: thus, ignorant of the circumstances of their situation, they at first drew back, and suffered them to penetrate into the heart of the Edition: current; Page: [360] camp. The consul, asking them aloud, whether they intended to let themselves be beaten out beyond the rampart, and then to return again to storm their own camp; they raised the shout, and uniting their efforts, stood their ground; then made advances, pushed closely on the enemy, and having forced them to give way, drove them back, without suffering their first terror to abate. They soon beat them out beyond the gate and the rampart, but not daring to pursue them, because the darkness of the weather made them apprehend an ambush, and content with having cleared the camp, they retired within the rampart, having killed about three hundred of the enemy. Of the Romans, including the first advanced guard and the watchmen, and those who were surprised at the quæstor’s quarters, two hundred and thirty perished. This not unsuccessful piece of boldness raised the spirits of the Samnites so high, that they not only prevented the Romans from marching forward into their country, but even from procuring forage from their lands; and the foragers were obliged to go back into the quiet country of Sora. News of these events being conveyed to Rome, with circumstances of alarm magnified beyond the truth, Lucius Postumius, the consul, though scarcely recovered from his illness, was obliged to set out for the army. However, before his departure, having issued a proclamation that his troops should assemble at Sora, he dedicated the temple of Victory, for the building of which he had provided, when curule ædile, out of the money arising from fines; and, joining the army, he advanced from Sora towards Samnium, to the camp of his colleague. The Samnites, despairing of being able to make head against the two armies, retreated from thence, on which the consuls, separating, proceeded by different routes to lay waste the enemy’s lands, and besiege their towns.

XXXIV. Postumius attempted to make himself master of Milionia by storm; but not succeeding with regular works, Edition: current; Page: [361] he carried his approaches to the walls, and thus gained an entrance into the place. The fight was continued in all parts of the city from the fourth hour until near the eighth, and for a great part of the time without any decisive advantage: the Romans, at last, gained possession of it. Three thousand two hundred of the Samnites were killed, four thousand two hundred taken, besides the other booty. From thence, the legions were conducted to Ferentinum, out of which the inhabitants had, during the night, retired in silence through the opposite gate, with all their effects which could be either carried or driven. The consul, on his arrival, approached the walls with the same order and circumspection, as if he were to meet an opposition here, equal to what he had experienced at Milionia. The troops, perceiving a dead silence in the city, and neither arms nor men on the towers and ramparts, were eager to mount the deserted fortifications, but he restrained them, lest they might fall into a snare. He ordered two divisions of the confederate Latine horse to ride round the walls, and explore every particular. These horsemen observed one gate, and at a little distance, another on the same side, standing wide open, and on the roads leading from these, every mark of the enemy having fled by night. They then rode up leisurely to the gates, from whence, with perfect safety, they took a clear view through straight streets quite across the city. Returning to the consul, they told him that the city was abandoned by the enemy, as was plain from the solitude, the tracks on their retreat, and the things which, in the confusion of the night, they had left scattered up and down. On hearing this, the consul led round the army to that side of the city which had been examined, and making the troops halt, at a little distance from the gate, gave orders that five horsemen should ride into the city; and, when they should have advanced a good way into it, then, if they saw all things safe, three should remain there, and the other Edition: current; Page: [362] two return to him with intelligence. These returned and said, that they had proceeded to a part of the town from which they had a view on every side, and that nothing but silence and solitude reigned through the whole extent of it. The consul immediately led some light-armed cohorts into the city; ordering the rest to fortify a camp in the mean time. The soldiers, who entered the town, breaking open the doors, found only a few persons, disabled by age or sickness; and such effects remaining as could not, without difficulty, be removed. These were seized as plunder: and it was discovered from the prisoners, that several cities in that quarter had, in pursuance of a concerted plan, resolved on flight; that their towns-people had gone off at the first watch, and they believed that the same solitude would be found in the other places. The accounts of the prisoners proved well-founded, and the consul took possession of the forsaken towns.

XXXV. The other consul, Marcus Atilius, met much greater difficulties in the war wherein he was engaged. As he was marching his legions towards Luceria, to which he was informed that the Samnites had laid siege, the enemy met him on the border of the Lucerian territory. Rage supplied them, on this occasion, with strength to equal his: the battle was stubbornly contested, and the victory doubtful: the issue, however, proved more calamitous on the side of the Romans, both because they were unaccustomed to defeat, and that, on leaving the field, they felt more sensibly, than during the heat of the action, the number of their wounds, and the loss of men which they had sustained. In consequence of this, such dismay spread through the camp, as, had it seized them during the engagement, must have occasioned their overthrow. Even as the matter stood, they spent the night in great anxiety; expecting, every instant, that the camp would be assaulted by the Samnites; or that, at the first light, they should be obliged to stand a battle with an apparently Edition: current; Page: [363] powerful foe. On the side of the enemy, however, although there was less loss, yet there was not greater courage. As soon as day appeared, they wished to retire without any more fighting; but there was only one road, and that leading close by the post of their enemy; so that, on their march, it seemed as if they were advancing directly to attack the camp. The consul, therefore, ordered his men to take arms, and to follow him to the field, giving directions to the lieutenants-general, tribunes, and the præfects of the allies, in what manner he would have each of them act. They all assured him, that “they would do every thing in their power, but that the soldiers were quite dejected; that, from their own wounds, and the groans of the dying, they had passed the whole night without sleep; that if the enemy had approached the camp before day, so great were the fears of the troops, that they would certainly have deserted their standards. Even at present they were restrained from flight, merely by shame; and, in other respects, were little better than vanquished men.” This account made the consul judge it necessary to go himself among the soldiers, and speak to them; and, as he came up to each, he rebuked them for their backwardness in taking arms, asking, “why they loitered, and declined the fight? If they did not choose to go out of the camp, the enemy would come into it; and they must fight in defence of their tents, if they would not in defence of the rampart. Men who have arms in their hands, and contend with their foe, have always a chance for victory; but the man who waits naked and unarmed for his enemy, must suffer either death or slavery.” To these reprimands and rebukes they answered, that “they were exhausted by the fatigue of the battle of yesterday; and had no strength, nor even blood remaining; and besides, the enemy appeared more numerous than they were the day before.” The hostile army, in the mean time, drew near: so that, seeing every thing more distinctly as the Edition: current; Page: [364] distance grew less, they asserted that the Samnites carried with them palisades for a rampart, and evidently intended to draw lines of circumvallation round the camp. On this the consul exclaimed, with great earnestness, against submitting to such an ignominious insult, and from so dastardly a foe. “Shall we even be blockaded,” said he, “in our camp, and die, like cowards, by famine, rather than like men, if death must be our lot by the sword? May the gods be propitious! and let every one act in the manner which he thinks becomes him. The consul Marcus Atilius, should no other accompany him, will go out, even alone, to face the enemy; and will fall in the middle of the Samnite battalions, rather than see the Roman camp enclosed by their trenches.” The lieutenants-general, tribunes, every troop of the cavalry, and the principal centurions, expressed their approbation of what the consul said: and the soldiers, at length, overcome by shame, took up their arms, but in a spiritless manner: and, in the same spiritless manner, marched out of the camp. In a long train, and that not every where connected, melancholy, and seemingly subdued, they proceeded towards the enemy, whose hopes and courage were not more steady than theirs. As soon therefore as these beheld the Roman standards, a murmur spread from front to rear of the Samnites, that, as they had feared, “the Romans were coming out to oppose their march; that there was no road open, through which they could even fly thence: in that spot they must fall, or else cut down the enemy’s ranks, and make their way over their bodies.”

XXXVI. They then threw the baggage in a heap, in the centre, and, with their arms, prepared for battle, formed their line, each falling into his own post. There was now but a small interval between the two armies, and both stood, waiting, until the shout and onset should be begun by their adversary. Neither party had any inclination to fight, and they Edition: current; Page: [365] would have separated, and taken different roads, without coming to action, but that each had a dread of being harassed in retreat by the other. Notwithstanding this reluctance, an engagement unavoidably began, but without any vigour, and with a shout, which discovered neither resolution nor steadiness; nor did any move a foot from his post. The Roman consul, then, in order to infuse life into the action, ordered a few troops of cavalry to advance out of the line, and charge: most of whom being thrown from their horses, and the rest put into disorder, several parties ran forward, both from the Samnite line, to cut off those who had fallen, and from the Roman, to protect their friends: this roused some little spirit in the combatants; but the Samnites had come forward, with more briskness, and also in greater numbers, and the disordered cavalry, with their affrighted horses, trod down their own party who came to their relief. These were, consequently, the first who fled; and their example was followed by the whole Roman line. And now the Samnites had no employment for their arms but against the rear of a flying enemy, when the consul, galloping on before his men, to the gate of the camp, posted there a body of cavalry, with orders to treat as an enemy, any person who should make towards the rampart, whether Roman or Samnite; and, placing himself in the way of his men, as they pressed in disorder towards the camp, denounced threats to the same purport: “whither are you going, soldiers?” said he, “here also you will find both men and arms; nor, while your consul lives, shall you pass the rampart, unless you bring victory along with you. Choose, therefore, which you will prefer, fighting against your own countrymen, or the enemy.” While the consul was thus speaking, the cavalry gathered round, with the points of their spears presented, and ordered the infantry to return to the fight. Not only his own brave spirit, but fortune likewise aided the consul, for the Samnites Edition: current; Page: [366] did not push their advantage; so that he had time to wheel round his battalions, and to change his front from the camp, towards the enemy. The men then began to encourage each other to return to the battle, while the centurions snatched the ensigns from the standard-bearers, and bore them forward, pointing out to the soldiers the enemy, coming on in a hurry, few in number, and with their ranks disordered. At the same time the consul, with his hands lifted up towards heaven, and raising his voice so as to be heard at a distance, vowed a temple to Jupiter Stator, if the Roman army should rally from flight, and renewing the battle, defeat the Samnites. All divisions of the army now united their efforts to restore the fight; officers, soldiers, in short, the whole force, both of cavalry and infantry, even the gods seemed to have looked with favour on the Roman cause; so speedily was a thorough change effected in the fortune of the day, the enemy being repulsed from the camp, and, in a short time, driven back to the spot where the battle had commenced. Here they stopped, being obstructed by the heap of baggage, lying in their way, where they had thrown it together; and then to prevent the plundering of their effects, formed round them a circle of troops. On this, the infantry assailed them vigorously in front, while the cavalry, wheeling, fell on their rear: and, being thus inclosed between the two, they were all either slain or taken prisoners. The number of the prisoners was seven thousand three hundred, who were all sent under the yoke; the killed amounted to four thousand eight hundred. The victory was not obtained without loss of blood, on the side of the Romans: when the consul took an account of the loss sustained in the two days, the number returned, of soldiers lost, was seven thousand three hundred. During these transactions in Apulia, the Samnites attempted to seize on Interamna, a Roman colony situated on the Latine road, but, being disappointed in their design on the town, Edition: current; Page: [367] employed their troops in ravaging the country; whence, as they were driving off spoil, consisting of men and cattle, together with the colonists, who fell into their hands, they met the consul returning victorious from Luceria, and not only lost their booty, but marching in disorder, in a long train, and heavily encumbered, were themselves cut to pieces. The consul, by proclamation summoned the owners to Interamna, to claim, and receive again their property, and leaving his army there, went to Rome to hold the elections. On his applying for a triumph, that honour was refused him, because he had lost so many thousands of his soldiers; and also, because he had sent the prisoners under the yoke, without imposing any conditions.

XXXVII. The other consul, Postumius, finding no employment for his arms in Samnium, led over his forces into Etruria, where he first laid waste the lands of the Volsinians: and, afterwards, on their marching out to protect their country, gained a decisive victory over them, at a small distance from their own walls. Two thousand two hundred of the Etrurians were slain; the rest owed their safety to the city being so near. The army was then led into the territory of Rusella, and there, not only were the lands wasted, but the town itself taken. More than two thousand men were made prisoners, and somewhat less than that number killed on the walls. But a peace, effected that year in Etruria, was still more important and honourable than the war had been. Three very powerful cities of Etruria, (Volsinii, Perusia, and Arretium,) made overtures of peace; and having stipulated with the consul to furnish clothing and corn for his army, on condition of being permitted to send deputies to Rome, they obtained a truce for forty years, and a fine was imposed on each state of five hundred thousand asses,* to be immediately Edition: current; Page: [368] paid. Postumius having demanded a triumph from the senate, in consideration of these services, rather in compliance with the general practice, than in hope of succeeding; and finding a strong opposition made to his request; by one party, out of enmity to himself; by another, out of friendship to his colleague, whose disappointment they wished to console by a similar refusal: some objecting that he had been too dilatory in setting out from the city, others, that he had removed from Samnium into Etruria without orders from the senate; he addressed them thus: “Conscript Fathers, I shall not carry my deference to your high dignity to such a length, as to forget that I am consul. The same authority of my office, by which I carried on those wars, shall now, when the wars have been brought to a happy conclusion, Samnium and Etruria being subdued, and victory and peace procured, give me the recompense of a triumph.” With these words he left the senate. On this arose a contention between the plebeian tribunes; some of them declaring that they would protest against his assuming a triumph, in a method unprecedented; others, that they would support his pretensions in opposition to their colleagues. The affair came at length to be discussed before the people, and the consul being summoned to attend, he first represented, that Marcus Horatius and Lucius Valerius, when consuls, and lately Caius Marcius Rutilus, father of the present censor, had triumphed, not by direction of the senate, but by that of the people; and then added, that “he would, in like manner, have laid his request before the public, had he not known that some plebeian tribunes, the abject slaves of the nobles, would have obstructed their passing an order on it. But he did, and ever should, consider the universal approbation, and will of the people, as equivalent to any order whatsoever.” Accordingly, on the day following, being supported by three plebeian tribunes, in opposition to the protest of the other Edition: current; Page: [369] seven, and the declared judgment of the senate, he triumphed; and the people paid every honour to the day. In the historical accounts which have been transmitted to us, of this year, there is some confusion; Claudius asserts, that Postumius, after having taken several cities in Samnium, was defeated and put to flight in Apulia; and that, being wounded himself, he was obliged to take refuge with a few attendants in Luceria. That the war in Etruria was conducted by Allius, and that it was he who triumphed. Fabius writes, that the two consuls acted in conjunction, both in Samnium and at Luceria; that an army was led over into Etruria, but by which of the consuls he has not mentioned; that at Luceria, great numbers were slain on both sides: and that in that battle, the temple of Jupiter Stator was vowed, the same vow having been formerly made by Romulus, but the fane only, that is, the area appropriated for the temple, had been yet consecrated. However, in this year, the state having been twice bound by the same vow, the senate, to avoid the guilt of neglect in the case of a religious obligation, ordered the fane to be erected.

XXXVIII. In the next year we find a consul, of a character eminently illustrious, distinguished by the united splendour of his own and his father’s glory, Lucius Papirius Cursor.Y.R.459. bc293. We find likewise a war of the utmost importance, and a victory of such consequence, as no man, excepting Lucius Papirius, the consul’s father, had ever before obtained over the Samnites. It happened too that these had, with the same care and pains as on the former occasion, decorated their soldiers with the richest suits of splendid armour; and they had, likewise, called in to their aid the power of the gods, having, as it were, initiated the soldiers, by administering the military oath, with the solemn ceremonies practised in ancient times, and levied troops in every part of Samnium, under an ordinance entirely Edition: current; Page: [370] new, that “if any of the younger inhabitants should not attend the meeting, according to the general’s proclamation, or shall depart without permission, his head should be devoted to Jupiter.” Orders being then issued, for all to assemble at Aquilonia, the whole strength of Samnium came together, amounting to forty thousand men. There a piece of ground, in the middle of the camp, was enclosed with hurdles and boards, and covered overhead with linen cloth, the sides being all of an equal length, about two hundred feet. In this place sacrifices were performed, according to directions read out of an old linen book, the function of priest being discharged by a very old man, called Ovius Paccius, who affirmed that he took these ceremonials from the ancient ritual of the Samnites, being the same which their ancestors used, when they had formed the secret design of wresting Capua from the Etrurians. When the sacrifices were finished, the general ordered a beadle to summon every one of those who were most highly distinguished by their birth, or conduct: these were introduced singly. Besides the other exhibitions of the solemnity, calculated to impress the mind with religious awe, there were, in the middle of the covered enclosure, altars erected, about which lay the victims slain, and the centurions stood around with their swords drawn. The soldier was led up to the altars, rather like a victim, than a performer in the ceremony, and was bound by an oath not to divulge what he should see and hear in that place. He was then compelled to swear, in a dreadful kind of form, containing execrations on his own person, on his family and race, if he did not go to battle, whithersoever the commanders should lead; and, if either he himself fled from the field; or, in case he should see any other flying, did not immediately kill him. At first some, refusing to take the oath, were put to death round the altars, and lying among the carcases of the victims, served afterwards as a Edition: current; Page: [371] warning to others not to refuse it. When those of the first rank in the Samnite nation had been bound under these solemnities, the general nominated ten, whom he desired to choose each a man, and so to proceed until they should have filled up the number of sixteen thousand. This body, from the covering of the enclosure wherein the nobility had been thus devoted, was called the linen legion. They were furnished with splendid armour, and plumed helmets, to distinguish them above the rest. They had another body of forces, amounting to somewhat more than twenty thousand, not inferior to the linen legion, either in personal appearance, or renown in war, or their equipment for service. This number, composing the main strength of the nation, sat down at Aquilonia.

XXXIX. On the other side, the consuls set out from the city. First, Spurius Carvilius, to whom had been decreed the veteran legions, which Marcus Atilius, the consul of the preceding year, had left in the territory of Interamna, marched at their head into Samnium; and, while the enemy were busied in their superstitious rites, and holding their secret meeting, he took by storm the town of Amiternum. Here were slain about two thousand eight hundred men, and four thousand two hundred and seventy were made prisoners. Papirius, with a new army, which he raised in pursuance of a decree of the senate, made himself master of the city of Duronia. He took fewer prisoners than his colleague; but slew much greater numbers. Rich booty was acquired in both places. The consuls then, overrunning Samnium, and wasting the province of Atinum with particular severity, arrived, Carvilius at Cominium, and Papirius at Aquilonia, where the main force of the Samnites was posted. Here, for some time, there was neither a cessation of action, nor any vigorous effort. The day was generally spent in provoking the enemy when quiet, and retiring when they offered Edition: current; Page: [372] resistance; in menacing, rather than making an attack. By which practice of beginning, and then desisting, even those trifling skirmishes were continually left without a decision. The other Roman camp was twenty miles distant, and Papirius constantly consulted his absent colleague, on every thing which he undertook, while Carvilius, on his part, directed a greater share of his attention to Aquilonia, where the state of affairs was more critical and important, than to Cominium, which he himself was besieging. When Papirius had fully adjusted every measure, preparatory to an engagement, he despatched a message to his colleague, that “he intended, if the auspices permitted, to fight the enemy on the day following; and that it would be necessary that he (Carvilius) should at the same time make an assault on Cominium, with his utmost force, that the Samnites there might have no leisure to send any succour to Aquilonia.” The messenger had the day for the performance of his journey, and he returned in the night, with an answer to the consul, that his colleague approved of the plan. Papirius, on sending off the messenger, had instantly called an assembly, where he descanted, at large, on the nature of the war in general, and on the mode at present adopted by the enemy, in the equipment of their troops, which certainly served for empty parade, but could have no kind of efficacy towards ensuring success: for “plumes,” he said, “made no wounds; that a Roman javelin would make its way through shields, however painted and gilt; and that the dazzling whiteness of their tunics would soon be besmeared with blood, when the sword began its work. His father had formerly cut off, to a man, a gold and silver army of the Samnites; and such accoutrements had made a more respectable figure, as spoils, in the hands of the conquering foe, than as arms in those of the wearers. Perhaps it was allotted, by destiny, to his name Edition: current; Page: [373] and family, that they should be opposed in command against the most powerful efforts of the Samnites; and should bring home spoils, of such beauty, as to serve for ornaments to the public places. The immortal gods were certainly on his side, on account of the leagues so often solicited, and so often broken. Besides, if a judgment might be formed of the sentiments of the deities, they never were more hostile to any army, than to that, which, in its abominable sacrifice, was polluted with human blood, mingled with that of cattle; which was in all events devoted to the wrath of the gods, dreading, on the one hand, the deities, who were witnesses to the treaties concluded with the Romans; on the other, the imprecations comprised in the oath which they took, in contradiction to those treaties, which they had before sworn to observe: an oath, which, taken through compulsion, they no doubt abhorred; while they as certainly feared, at once the gods, their countrymen, and their enemies.”

XL. The rage of the soldiers was inflamed to a high degree before; but, when the consul had recounted to them all these circumstances, which he had learned from deserters, they then, filled with confidence in both divine and human aid, with one universal shout, demanded the battle; were vexed at the action being deferred; impatient under the intended delay of a day and a night. Papirius, at the third watch, having received his colleague’s letter, arose in silence, and sent the keeper of the chickens to take the auspices. There was no one description of men in the camp, who felt not earnest wishes for the fight: the highest, and the lowest, were equally eager; the general watching the ardour of the soldiers, and the soldiers that of the general. This universal zeal spread even to those employed in taking the auspices; for the chickens having refused to feed, the auspex ventured to misrepresent the omen, and reported to the consul, that Edition: current; Page: [374] they had fed voraciously*. The consul, highly pleased, and giving notice that the auspices were excellent, and that they were to act under the direction of the gods, displayed the signal for battle. Just as he was going out to the field, he happened to receive intelligence from a deserter, that twenty cohorts of Samnites, consisting of about four hundred each, had marched towards Cominium. Lest his colleague should be ignorant of this, he instantly despatched a messenger to him, and then ordered the troops to advance with speed, having already assigned to each division of the army its proper post, and appointed general officers to command them. The command of the right wing he gave to Lucius Volumnius, that of the left to Lucius Scipio, that of the cavalry, to the other lieutenant-generals, Caius Cædicius and Caius Trebonius. He ordered Spurius Nautius to take off the panniers from the mules, and to lead them round quickly, together with his auxiliary cohorts, to a rising ground in view; and there to shew himself during the heat of the engagement, and to raise as much dust as possible. While the general was employed in making these dispositions, a dispute arose among the keepers of the chickens, about the auspices of the day, which was overheard by some Roman horsemen, who, deeming it a matter too important to be slighted, informed Spurius Papirius, the consul’s nephew, that there was a doubt about the auspices. The youth, born in an age when that sort of learning, which inculcates contempt of the gods, was Edition: current; Page: [375] yet unknown, examined into the affair, that he might not carry an uncertain report to the consul; and then acquainted him with it. His answer was, “I very much applaud your conduct and zeal. However, the person who officiates, in taking the auspices, if he makes a false report, draws on his own head the evil portened: but to the Roman people and their army, the favourable omen reported to me is an excellent auspice.” He then commanded the centurions to place the keepers of the chickens in the front of the line. The Samnites likewise brought forward their standards, followed by their main body, armed and decorated in such a manner as to afford a magnificent show. Before the shout was raised, or the battle begun, the auspex, wounded by a random cast of a javelin, fell before the standards; which being told to the consul, he said, “the gods are present in the battle; the guilty has met his punishment.” While the consul uttered these words, a crow, in front of him, cawed with a clear voice; at which augury, the consul being rejoiced, and affirming, that never had the gods displayed more evident demonstrations of their interposition in human affairs, ordered the charge to be sounded and the shout to be raised.

XLI. A furious conflict now ensued, but with very unequal spirit in the combatants. The Romans, actuated by anger, hope, and ardour for conquest, rushed to battle, like men thirsting for their enemy’s blood; while the Samnites, for the most part reluctantly, as if compelled by necessity and religious dread, rather stood on their defence, than made an attack. Nor would they, familiarized as they were to defeats, through a course of so many years, have withstood the first shout and shock of the Romans, had not another fear, operating still more powerfully in their breasts, restrained them from flying. For they had before their eyes the whole scene exhibited at the secret sacrifice, the armed priests, the promiscuous carnage of men and cattle, the altars besmeared Edition: current; Page: [376] with blood of victims, and of their murdered countrymen, the dreadful curses, and the direful form of imprecation, in which they had called down perdition on their family and race. Thus shackled, they stood in their posts, more afraid of their countrymen, than of the enemy. The Romans, pushing the attack with vigour on both the wings, and in the centre, made great havoc among them, deprived, as they were, of the use of their faculties, through their fears of the gods and of men, and making but a faint opposition. The slaughter had now almost reached to their standards, when, on one side, appeared a cloud of dust, as if raised by the marching of a numerous army: this was caused by Spurius Nautius, (some say Octavius Metius,) commander of the auxiliary cohorts: for these took pains to raise a great quantity of dust, the servants of the camp mounted on the mules, dragging boughs of trees, full of leaves, along the ground. Through this obscuration, arms and standards were seen in front, with cavalry closing the rear. This effectually deceived, not only the Samnites, but the Romans themselves: and the consul confirmed the mistake, by calling out among the foremost battalions, so that his voice reached also the enemy, that “Cominium was taken; and that his victorious colleague was approaching;” bidding his men “now make haste to complete the defeat of the enemy, before the other army should come in for a share of the glory.” This he said as he sat on horseback, and then ordered the tribunes and centurions to open passages for the horse. He had given previous directions to Trebonius, and Cædicius, that, when they should see him waving the point of his spear aloft, they should cause the cavalry to charge the enemy with all possible violence. Every particular, as previously concerted, was executed with the utmost exactness. The passages were opened between the ranks, the cavalry darted through, and, with the points of their spears presented, rushed into the midst of the enemy’s battalions, breaking Edition: current; Page: [377] down the ranks wherever they charged. Volumnius and Scipio seconded the blow, and taking advantage of the enemy’s disorder, made a terrible slaughter. Thus attacked, the linen, regardless of all restraints from either gods or men, quitted their posts in confusion; the sworn, and the unsworn all fled alike, no longer dreading aught but the Romans. The remains of their infantry were driven into the camp at Aquilonia. The nobility and cavalry directed their flight to Bovianum. The horse were pursued by the Roman horse, the infantry by their infantry, while the wings proceeded by different roads; the right, to the camp of the Samnites; the left, to the city. Volumnius succeeded first in gaining possession of the camp. At the city, Scipio met a stouter resistance; not because the conquered troops there had gained courage, but because walls are a better defence against armed men, than a rampart. From these, they repelled the enemy with stones. Scipio considering, that unless the business were effected, during their first panic, and before they could recover their spirits, the attack of so strong a town would be very tedious, asked his soldiers “if they could endure, without shame, that the other wing should already have taken the camp, and that they, after all their success, should be repulsed from the gates of the city?” Then, all of them loudly declaring their determination to the contrary, he himself advanced, the foremost, to the gate, with his shield raised over his head: the rest, following under the like cover of their shields conjoined, burst into the city, and dispersing the Samnites, who were near the gate, took possession of the walls, but were deterred from pushing forward, by the smallness of their number.

XLII. Of these transactions, the consul was for some time ignorant; and was busily employed in calling home his troops, for the sun was now hastening to set, and the approach of night rendered every place suspicious and dangerous, even to Edition: current; Page: [378] victorious troops. Having rode forward, a considerable way, he saw on the right, the camp taken, and heard on the left, a shouting in the city, with a confused noise of fighting, and cries of terror. This happened while the fight was going on at the gate. When, on riding up nearer, he saw his own men on the walls, and so much progress already made in the business, pleased at having gained, through the precipitate conduct of a few, an opportunity of striking an important blow, he ordered the troops, whom he had sent back to the camp, to be called out, and to march to the attack of the city: these, having made good their entrance, on the nearest side, proceeded no farther, because night approached. Before morning, however, the town was abandoned by the enemy. There were slain of the Samnites on that day, at Aquilonia, thirty thousand three hundred and forty; taken three thousand eight hundred and seventy, with ninety-seven military standards. One circumstance, respecting Papirius, is particularly mentioned by historians: that, hardly ever was any general seen in the field with a more cheerful countenance; whether this was owing to his natural temper, or to his confidence of success. From the same firmness of mind it proceeded, that he did not suffer himself to be diverted from the war by the dispute about the auspices; and that, in the heat of the battle, when it was customary to vow temples to the immortal gods, he vowed to Jupiter the victorious, that if he should defeat the legions of the enemy, he would, before he tasted of any generous liquor, make a libation to him of a cup of wine and honey. This kind of vow proved acceptacle to the gods, and they conducted the auspices to a fortunate issue.

XLIII. Like success attended the operations of the other consul at Cominium: leading up his forces to the walls, at the first dawn, he invested the city on every side, and posted strong guards opposite to the gates to prevent any sally being Edition: current; Page: [379] made. Just as he was giving the signal, the alarming message from his colleague, touching the march of the twenty Samnite cohorts, not only caused him to delay the assault, but obliged him to call off a part of his troops, when they were formed and ready to begin the attack. He ordered Decius Brutus Scæva, a lieutenant-general, with the first legion, twenty auxiliary cohorts, and the cavalry, to go and oppose the said detachment; and in whatever place he should meet the foe, there to stop and detain them, and even to engage in battle, should opportunity offer for it; at all events not to suffer those troops to approach Cominium. He then commanded the scaling ladders to be brought up to the walls, on every side of the city; and, under a fence of closed shields, advanced to the gates. Thus, at the same moment, the gates were broke open, and the assault made on every part of the rampart. Though the Samnites, before they saw the assailants on the works, had possessed courage enough to oppose their approaches to the city, yet now, when the action was no longer carried on at a distance, nor with missile weapons, but in close fight; and when those, who had with difficulty gained the walls, the most formidable obstruction in their way, fought with ease on equal ground, against an enemy inferior in strength, they all forsook the towers and strong holds, and were driven to the Forum. There, for a short time they tried, as a last effort, to retrieve the fortune of the fight; but soon, throwing down their arms, surrendered to the consul, to the number of fifteen thousand four hundred; four thousand three hundred and eighty being slain. Such was the course of events at Cominium, such at Aquilonia. In the middle space between the two cities, where a third battle had been expected, the enemy were not found: for, when they were within seven miles of Cominium, they were recalled by their countrymen, and had no part in either battle. At night-fall, when they were now within sight of their Edition: current; Page: [380] camp, and also of Aquilonia, shouts from both places reaching them with equal violence induced them to halt; then, on the side of the camp, which had been set on fire by the Romans, the wide-spreading flames discovered with more certainty the disaster which had happened, and prevented their proceeding any farther. In that same spot, stretched on the ground at random, under their arms, they passed the whole night in great inquietude, at one time wishing for, at another dreading the light. At the first dawn, while they were still undetermined to what quarter they should direct their march, they were obliged (unprotected as they were, either by a rampart or advanced guard,) to betake themselves hastily to flight, being descried by the cavalry, who had gone in pursuit of the Samnites that left the town in the night. These had likewise been perceived from the walls of Aquilonia, and the legionary cohorts now joined in the pursuit. The foot were unable to overtake them, but the cavalry cut off about two hundred and eighty of their rear guard. The rest, with less loss than might have been expected in such a disorderly rout, effected their escape to Bovianum, leaving behind, in their consternation, a great quantity of arms, and eighteen military standards.

XLIV. The joy of one Roman army was enhanced by the success of the other. Each consul, with the approbation of his colleague, gave to his soldiers the plunder of the town which he had taken; and, when the houses were cleared, set them on fire. Thus, on the same day, Aquilonia and Cominium were both reduced to ashes. The consuls then united their camps, where mutual congratulations took place between them, and between their soldiers. Here, in the view of the two armies, Carvilius bestowed on his men commendations and presents according to the desert of each; and Papirius likewise, whose troops had been engaged in a variety of actions, in the field, in the assault of the camp, and in that of Edition: current; Page: [381] the city, presented Spurius Nautius, Spurius Papirius, his nephew, four centurions, and a company of the spearmen, with bracelets and crowns of gold—to Nautius, on account of his behaviour at the head of his detachment, when he had terrified the enemy with the appearance as of a numerous army; to young Papirius, on account of his zealous exertions with the cavalry, both in the battle and in harassing the Samnites in their flight by night, when they withdrew privately from Aquilonia; and to the centurions and company of soldiers, because they were the first who gained possession of the gate and wall of that town. All the horsemen he presented with gorgets and bracelets of silver, on account of their distinguished conduct on many occasions. A council was then held to consider of the propriety either of removing both armies, or one at least, out of Samnium; in which it was concluded, that the lower the strength of the Samnites was reduced, the greater perseverance and vigour ought to be used in prosecuting the war, until they should be effectually crushed, that Samnium might be given up to the succeeding consuls in a state of perfect subjection. As there was now no army of the enemy which could be supposed capable of disputing the field, they had only one mode of operations to pursue, the besieging of the cities; by the destruction of which, they might be enabled to enrich their soldiers with the spoil; and, at the same time, utterly to destroy the enemy, reduced to the necessity of fighting, their all being at stake. The consuls, therefore, after despatching letters to the senate and people of Rome, containing accounts of the services which they had performed, led away their legions to different quarters; Papirius going to attack Sepinum, Carvilius to Volana.

XLV. The letters of the consuls were heard with extraordinary exultation, both in the senate-house and in the assembly of the people; and, in a public thanksgiving of four Edition: current; Page: [382] days continuance, individuals concurred with hearty zeal in celebrating the public rejoicings. These successes were not only important in themselves, but peculiarly seasonable; for it happened, that, at the same time, intelligence was brought of the Etrurians being again in arms. The reflection naturally occurred, how it would have been possible, in case any misfortune had happened in Samnium, to have withstood the power of Etruria; which, being encouraged by the conspiracy of the Samnites, and seeing both the consuls, and the whole force of the Romans, employed against them, had made use of that juncture, in which the Romans had so much business on their hands, for reviving hostilities. Ambassadors from the allies being introduced to the senate by the prætor Marcus Atilius, complained that their countries were wasted with fire and sword by the neighbouring Etrurians, because they had refused to revolt from the Romans; and they besought the Conscript Fathers to protect them from the violence and injustice of their common enemy. The ambassadors were answered, that “the senate would take care that the allies should not repent their fidelity. That the Etrurians should shortly be in the same situation with the Samnites.” Notwithstanding which, the business respecting Etruria would have been prosecuted with less vigour, had not information been received, that the Faliscians likewise, who had for many years lived in friendship with Rome, had united their arms with those of the Etrurians. The consideration of the near vicinity of that nation quickened the attention of the senate; insomuch that they passed a decree that heralds should be sent to demand satisfaction: which being refused, war was declared against the Faliscians by direction of the senate, and order of the people; and the consuls were desired to determine, by lots, which of them should lead an army from Samnium into Etruria. Carvilius had, in the mean time, taken from the Samnites Volana, Palumbinum, Edition: current; Page: [383] and Herculaneum: Volana after a siege of a few days, Palumbinum the same day on which he approached the walls. At Herculaneum, it is true, the consul had two regular engagements without any decisive advantage on either side, and with greater loss than was suffered by the enemy: but afterwards, encamping on the spot, he shut them up within their works, besieged and took the town. In these three towns were taken or slain ten thousand men, of whom the prisoners composed somewhat the greater part. On the consuls casting lots for the provinces, Etruria fell to Carvilius, to the great satisfaction of the soldiers, who now found the cold too severe in Samnium. Papirius was opposed at Sepinum with a more powerful force: he was obliged to fight often in pitched battles; often, on a march; and often, under the walls of the city, against the irruptions of the enemy; and could neither besiege, nor engage them on equal terms: for the Samnites had not only the advantage of walls, but likewise of numbers of men and arms to protect their walls. At length, after a great deal of fighting, he forced them to submit to a regular siege. This he carried on with vigour, and made himself master of the city by means of his works, and by storm. The rage of the soldiers on this occasion caused the greatest slaughter in the taking of the town; seven thousand four hundred fell by the sword; the number of the prisoners did not amount to three thousand. The spoil, of which the quantity was very great, the whole substance of the Samnites being collected in a few cities, was given up to the soldiers.

XLVI. The snow had now entirely covered the face of the country, and rendered the shelter of houses absolutely necessary: the consul therefore led home his troops from Samnium. While he was on his way to Rome, a triumph was decreed him with universal consent: and accordingly he triumphed while in office, and with extraordinary splendour, Edition: current; Page: [384] considering the circumstances of those times. The cavalry and infantry marched in the procession, adorned with the honourable presents which they had received. Great numbers of crowns were seen, which had been bestowed as marks of honour, for having saved the lives of citizens, or for having first mounted walls or ramparts. People’s curiosity was highly gratified in viewing the spoils of the Samnites, and comparing them, in respect of magnificence and beauty, with those taken by his father, which were well known, from being frequently exhibited as ornaments of the public places. Several prisoners of distinction, renowned for their own exploits, and those of their ancestors, were led in the cavalcade. There were carried in the train two millions and thirty-three thousand asses in weight*, said to be produced by the sale of the prisoners; and of silver, taken in the cities, one thousand three hundred and thirty pounds. All the silver and brass were lodged in the treasury, no share of this part of the spoil being given to the soldiers. The ill humour which this excited in the commons, was farther exasperated by their being obliged to contribute, by a tax, to the payment of the army; whereas, said they, if the vain parade of conveying the produce of the spoil to the treasury had been disregarded, donations might have been made to the soldiers, and the pay of the army also supplied out of that fund. The temple of Quirinus, vowed by his father when dictator, (for that he himself had vowed it in the heat of battle, I do not find in any ancient writer, nor indeed could he in so short a time have finished the building of it,) the son in the office of consul dedicated, and adorned with military spoils. And of these, so great was the abundance, that not only that temple and the Forum were decorated with them, but quantities were also distributed among the allies and colonies in the Edition: current; Page: [385] neighbourhood, to serve as ornaments to their temples and public places. Immediately after his triumph, he led his army into winter-quarters in the territory of Vescia; that country being exposed to the inroads of the Samnites. Meanwhile, in Etruria, the consul Carvilius first laid siege to Troilium, when four hundred and seventy of the richest inhabitants, offering a large sum of money for permission to leave the place, he suffered them to depart: the town, with the remaining multitude, he took by storm. He afterwards reduced, by force, five forts strongly situated, wherein were slain two thousand four hundred of the enemy, and not quite two thousand made prisoners. To the Faliscians, who sued for peace, he granted a truce for a year, on condition of their furnishing a hundred thousand asses in weight*, and a year’s pay for his army. This business completed, he returned home to a triumph, which, though it was less illustrious than that of his colleague, in respect of his share in the defeat of the Samnites, was yet raised to an equality with it; the whole honour of the campaign in Etruria belonging solely to him. He carried into the treasury three hundred and ninety thousand asses in weight. Out of the remainder of the money accruing to the public from the spoils, he contracted for the building of a temple to Fors Fortuna, near to that dedicated to the same goddess by King Servius Tullius; and gave to the soldiers, out of the spoil, one hundred and two asses each, and double that sum to the centurions and horsemen: this donative was received the more gratefully, on account of the parsimony of his colleague.

XLVII. The favour of the consul saved from a trial, before the people, Postumius; who, on a prosecution being commenced against him by Marcus Scantius, plebeian tribune, evaded, as was said, the jurisdiction of the people, by procuring the commission of lieutenant-general, so that he Edition: current; Page: [386] could only be threatened with it. The year having now elapsed, new plebeian tribunes had come into office; and even these, in consequence of some irregularity in their appointments, had, within five days after, others substituted in their room. The lustrum was closed this year by the censors Publius Cornelius Arvina and Caius Marcius Rutilus. The number of citizens rated was two hundred and sixty-two thousand three hundred and twenty-two. These were the twenty-sixth pair of censors since the first institution of that office; and this the nineteenth lustrum. In this year, persons who had been presented with crowns, in consideration of meritorious behaviour in war, first began to wear them at the exhibition of the Roman games. At the same time was first introduced from Greece, the practice of bestowing palms on the victors in the games. In the same year the curule ædiles, who exhibited those games, completed the paving of the road from the temple of Mars to Bovillæ, out of fines levied on the farmers of the public pastures. Lucius Papirius presided at the consular election, and returned consuls Quintus Fabius Gurges, son of Maximus, and Decius Junius Brutus Scæva. Papirius himself was made prætor. The many prosperous events of this year were scarcely sufficient to afford consolation for one calamity, a pestilence, which afflicted both the city and country, and caused a prodigious mortality. To discover what end, or what remedy, was appointed by the gods for that calamity, the books were consulted, and there it was found that Æsculapius must be brought to Rome from Epidaurus. However, as the consuls had full employment in the wars, no farther steps were taken in that business during this year, except the performing a supplication to Æsculapius, of one day’s continuance.

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HERE ten books of the original are lost, making a chasm of seventy-five years. The Translator’s object being to publish the work of Livy only, he has not thought it his duty to attempt to supply this deficiency, either by a compilation of his own, or by transcribing or translating those of others. The reader, however, who may be desirous of knowing the events which took place during this interval, will find as complete a detail of them as can now be given, in Hooke’s or Rollin’s Roman History.

The contents of the lost books have been preserved, and are as follows:—


Y.R. 460. bc 292.—Fabius Gurges, consul, having fought an unsuccessful battle with the Samnites, the senate deliberate about dimissing him from the command of the army; are prevailed upon not to inflict that disgrace upon him, principally by the entreaties of his father, Fabius Maximus, and by his promising to join the army, and serve, in quality of lieutenant-general, under his son: which promise he performs, and the consul, aided by his counsel and co-operation, obtains a victory over the Samnites, and a triumph in consequence. C. Pontius, the general of the Samnites, led in triumph before the victor’s carriage, and afterwards beheaded. A plague at Rome. Y.R. 461. bc 291.—Ambassadors sent to Epidaurus, to bring from thence to Rome the statue of Æsculapius; a serpent, of itself, goes on board their ship; supposing it to be the abode of the deity, they bring it with them; and, upon its quitting their vessel, and swimming to the island in the Tyber, they consecrate there a temple to Æsculapius. L. Postumius, a man of consular rank, condemned for employing the soldiers under his command in working upon his farm. Y.R. 462. bc 290.—Curius Dentatus, consul, having subdued the Samnites, and the rebellious Sabines, triumphs twice during his year of office. Y.R. 463. bc 289.—The colonies of Castrum, Sena, and Adria, established. Three judges of capital crimes now first appointed. A census and lustrum: the number of citizens found to be two hundred and seventy-three thousand. After a long continued sedition, on account of debts, the commons secede to the Janiculum: Y.R. 466. bc 286.—are brought back by Q. Hortensius, dictator, Edition: current; Page: [388] who dies in office. Successful operations against the Volsinians and Lucanians, against whom it was thought expedient to send succour to the Thuringians. Y.R. 468. bc 284.


Y.R. 469. bc 283.—The Senonian Gauls having slain the Roman ambassadors, war is declared against them: they cut off L. Cæcilius, prætor, with the legions under his command. Y.R. 470. bc 282.—The Roman fleet plundered by the Tarentines, and the commander slain: ambassadors, sent to complain of this outrage, are ill-treated and sent back; whereupon war is declared against them. The Samnites revolt; against whom, together with the Lucanians, Bruttians, and Etruscans, several unsuccessful battles are fought by different generals. Y.R. 471. bc 281.—Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, comes into Italy, to succour the Tarentines. A Campanian legion sent, under the command of Decius Jubellius, to garrison Rhegium, murder the inhabitants, and seize the city.


Y.R. 472. bc 280.—Valerius Lævinus, consul, engages with Pyrrhus, and is beaten, his soldiers being terrified at the unusual appearance of elephants. After the battle, Pyrrhus, viewing the bodies of the Romans who were slain, remarks, that they all of them lay with their faces turned towards their enemy. He proceeds towards Rome, ravaging the country as he goes along. C. Fabricius is sent by the senate to treat for the redemption of the prisoners: the King, in vain, attempts to bribe him to desert his country. The prisoners restored without ransom. Cineas, ambassador from Pyrrhus, to the senate, demands, as a condition of peace, that the King be admitted into the city of Rome: the consideration of which being deferred to a fuller meeting, Appius Claudius, who, on account of a disorder in his eyes, had not, for a long time, attended in the senate, comes there; moves, and carries his motion, that the demand of the King be refused. Cneius Domitius, the first plebeian censor, holds a lustrum; the number of the citizens found to be two hundred and seventy-eight thousand two hundred and twenty-two. A second, but undecided battle with Pyrrhus. Y.R. 473. bc 279.—The treaty with the Carthaginians renewed a fourth time. Y.R. 474. bc 278.—An offer made to Fabricius, the consul, by a traitor, to poison Pyrrhus; he sends him to the King, and discovers to him the treasonable offer. Successful operations against the Etruscans, Lucanians, Bruttians, and Samnites.

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Y.R. 475. bc 277.—Pyrrhus crosses over into Sicily. Many prodigies, among which, the statue of Jupiter in the Capitol is struck by lightning, and thrown down. Y.R. 476. bc 276. The head of it afterwards found by the priests. Curius Dentatus, holding a levy, puts up to sale the goods of a person who refuses to answer to his name when called upon. Y.R. 477. bc 275.—Pyrrhus, after his return from Sicily, is defeated, and compelled to quit Italy. The censors hold a lustrum, and find the number of the citizens to be two hundred and seventy-one thousand two hundred and twenty-four. Y.R. 479. bc 273.—A treaty of alliance formed with Ptolemy, king of Ægypt. Sextilia, a vestal, found guilty of incest, and buried alive. Two colonies sent forth, to Posidonium and Cossa. Y.R. 480. bc 272.—A Carthaginian fleet sails in aid of the Tarentines, by which act the treaty is violated. Successful operations against the Lucanians, Samnites, and Bruttians. Death of King Pyrrhus.


The Tarentines overcome; peace and freedom granted to them. Y.R. 481. bc 271.—The Campanian legion, which had forcibly taken possession of Rhegium, besieged there; lay down their arms, and are punished with death. Some young men, who had ill-treated the ambassadors from the Apollonians to the senate of Rome, are delivered up to them. Peace granted to the Picentians. Y.R. 484. bc 268.—Two colonies established; one at Ariminum in Picenum, another at Beneventum in Samnium. Silver coin now, for the first time, used by the Roman people. Y.R. 485. bc 267.—The Umbrians and Sallentines subdued. The number of quæstors increased to eight.


Y.R. 488. bc 264.—Origin and progress of the Carthaginian state. After much debate, the senate resolves to succour the Mammertines against the Carthaginians, and against Hiero, King of Syracuse. Roman cavalry, then, for the first time, cross the sea, and engage, successfully, in battle with Hiero; who solicits and obtains peace. Y.R. 489. bc 263.—A lustrum: the number of the citizens amounts to two hundred and ninety-two thousand two hundred and twenty-four. D. Junius Brutus exhibits the first show of gladiators, in honour of his deceased father. Y.R. 490. bc 262.—The Æsernian colony established. Y.R. 491. bc 261.—Successful operations against the Carthaginians and Vulsinians.

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Y.R. 492. bc 260.—Cneius Cornelius, consul, surrounded by the Carthaginian fleet; and, being drawn into a conference by a stratagem, is taken. Y.R. 493. bc 259.—C. Duillius, consul, engages with, and vanquishes the Carthaginian fleet: is the first commander to whom a triumph was decreed for a naval victory; in honour of which, he is allowed, when returning to his habitation at night, to be attended with torches and music. L. Cornelius, consul, fights and subdues the Sardinians and Corsicans, together with Hanno, the Carthaginian general, in the island of Sardinia. Y.R. 494. bc 258.—Atilius Calatinus, consul, drawn into an ambuscade by the Carthaginians, is rescued by the skill and valour of M. Calpurnius, a military tribune, who, making a sudden attack upon the enemy, with a body of only three hundred men, turns their whole force against himself. Y.R. 495. bc 257.—Hannibal, the commander of the Carthaginian fleet which was beaten, is put to death by his soldiers.


Y.R. 496. bc 256.—Attilius Regulus, consul, having overcome the Carthaginians in a sea-fight, passes over into Africa: kills a serpent of prodigious magnitude, with great loss of his own men. Y.R. 497. bc 255:—The senate, on account of his successful conduct of the war, not appointing him a successor, he writes to them, complaining; and, among other reasons for desiring to be recalled, alleges, that his little farm, being all his subsistence, was going to ruin, owing to the mismanagement of hired stewards. Y.R. 498. bc 254.—A memorable instance of the instability of fortune exhibited in the person of Regulus, who is overcome in battle, and taken prisoner, by Xanthippus, a Lacedæmonian general. Y.R. 499. bc 253.—The Roman fleet shipwrecked; which disaster entirely reverses the good fortune which had hitherto attended their affairs. Y.R. 500. bc 252.—Titus Coruncanius, the first high priest chosen from among the commons. Y.R. 501. bc251.—P. Sempronius Sophus, and M. Valerius Maximus, censors, examine into the state of the senate, and expel thirteen of the members of that body. They hold a lustrum, and find the number of citizens to be two hundred and ninety-seven thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven. Y.R. 502. bc250.—Regulus, being sent by the Carthaginians to Rome to treat for peace, and an exchange of prisoners, binds himself by oath to return, if these objects be not attained; dissuades the senate from agreeing to the propositions; and then, in observance of his oath, returning to Carthage, is put to death by torture.

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Y.R. 502. bc 250.—C. Cæcilius Metellus, having been successful in several engagements with the Carthaginians, triumphs with more splendour than had ever yet been seen; thirteen generals of the enemy, and one hundred and twenty elephants, being exhibited in the procession. Y.R. 503. bc 249.—Claudius Pulcher, consul, obstinately persisting, notwithstanding the omens were inauspicious, engages the enemy’s fleet, and is beaten; drowns the sacred chickens which would not feed: recalled by the senate, and ordered to nominate a dictator; he appoints Claudius Glicia, one of the lowest of the people, who, notwithstanding his being ordered to abdicate the office, yet attends the celebration of the public games in his dictator’s robe. Y.R. 504. bc 248.—Atilius Calatinus, the first dictator who marches with an army out of Italy. An exchange of prisoners with the Carthaginians. Two colonies established at Fregenæ and Brundusium, in the Sallentine territories. Y.R. 505. bc 247.—A lustrum: the citizens numbered amount to two hundred and fifty-one thousand two hundred and twenty-two. Y.R. 506. bc 246.—Claudia, the sister of Claudius, who had fought unsuccessfully, in contempt of the auspices, being pressed by the crowd, as she was returning from the game, cries out, I wish my brother were alive, and had again the command of the fleet: for which offence she is tried and fined. Y.R. 507. bc 245.—Two prætors now first created. Y.R. 508. bc 244.—Aulus Postumius, consul, being priest of Mars, forcibly detained in the city by Cæcilius Metellus, the high-priest, and not suffered to go forth to war, being obliged by law to attend to the sacred duties of his office. Y.R. 509. bc 243.—After several successful engagements with the Carthaginians, Caius Lutatius, consul, puts an end to the war, by gaining a complete victory over their fleet, at the island of Ægate. Y.R.510. bc 242.—The Carthaginians sue for peace, which is granted to them. Y.R. 511. bc 241.—The temple of Vesta being on fire, the high priest, Cæcilius Metellus, saves the sacred utensils from the flames. Two new tribes added, the Veline and Quirine. The Falisci rebel; are subdued in six days.


Y.R. 512. bc 240.—A colony settled at Spoletum. An army sent against the Ligurians; being the first war with that state. The Sardinians and Corsicans rebel, and are subdued. Y.R. 514. bc 238.—Tuccia, a vestal, found guilty of incest. War declared against the Illyrians, who had slain an ambassador: they are subdued and brought to submission. Y.R. 515. bc 237.—The number of prætors increased to four The Transalpine Edition: current; Page: [392] Gauls make an irruption into Italy: are conquered and put to the sword. Y.R. 516. bc 236.—The Roman army, in conjunction with the Latines, is said to have amounted to no less than three hundred thousand men. Y.R. 517. bc 235.—The Roman army for the first time, crosses the Po; fights with and subdues the Insubrian Gauls. Y.R. 530. bc 222.—Claudius Marcellus, consul, having slain Viridomarus, the general of the Insubrian Gauls, carries off the spolia opima. Y.R. 531. bc 221.—The Istrians subdued; also the Illyrians, who had rebelled. Y.R. 532. bc 220.—The censors hold a lustrum, in which the number of the citizens is found to be two hundred and seventy thousand two hundred and thirteen. The sons of freedmen formed into four tribes: the Esquiline, Palatine, Suburran and Colline. Y.R. 533. bc 219.—Caius Flaminius, censor, constructs the Flaminian road, and builds the Flaminian circus.

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Rise of the second Punic war. Hannibal, contrary to treaty, passes the Iberus: besieges, and, after eight months, takes Saguntum. The Romans send an embassy to Carthage; declare war. Hannibal crosses the Pyrennees; makes his way through Gaul; with great fatigue passes the Alps; defeats the Romans at the river Ticinus, in a fight between the cavalry, in which P. Cornelius Scipio, being wounded, is saved by his son, afterwards Africanus. The Romans again defeated at the Trebia. Cneius Cornelius Scipio defeats the Carthaginian army in Spain, and makes Hanno, their general, prisoner.

I. To this division of my work, I may be allowed to prefix a remark, which most writers of history make in the beginning of their performance: that I am going to write of a war, the most memorable of all that were ever waged; that which the Carthaginians, under the conduct of Hannibal, maintained with the Roman people. For never did any other states and nations, of more potent strength and resources, engage in a contest of arms; nor did these same nations at any other period, possess so great a degree of power and strength. The arts of war also, practised by each party, were Edition: current; Page: [394] not unknown to the other; for they had already gained experience of them in the first Punic war; and so various was the fortune of this war, so great its vicissitudes, that the party, which proved in the end victorious, was, at times, brought the nearest to the brink of ruin. Besides, they exerted, in the dispute, almost a greater degree of rancour than of strength; the Romans being fired with indignation at a vanquished people presuming to take up arms against their conquerors: the Carthaginians, at the haughtiness and avarice, which they thought the others showed in their imperious exercise of the superiority which they had acquired. We are told that, when Hamilcar was about to march at the head of an army into Spain, after the conclusion of the war in Africa, and was offering sacrifices on the occasion, his son Hannibal, then about nine years of age, solicited him, with boyish fondness, to take him with him, whereupon, he brought him up to the altars, and compelled him to lay his hand on the consecrated victims, and swear, that as soon as it should be in his power, he would show himself an enemy to the Roman people. Being a man of high spirit, he was deeply chagrined at the loss of Sicily and Sardinia: for he considered Sicily as given up by his countrymen through too hasty despair of their affairs; and Sardinia as fraudulently snatched out of their hands by the Romans, during the commotions in Africa, with the additional insult of a farther tribute imposed on them.

II. His mind was filled with these vexatious reflections; and during the five years that he was employed in Africa, which followed soon after the late pacification with Rome; and likewise during nine years which he spent in extending the Carthaginian empire in Spain; his conduct was such, as afforded a demonstration that he meditated a more important war than any in which he was then engaged; and that, if he had lived some time longer, the Carthaginians would have Edition: current; Page: [395] carried their arms into Italy under the command of Hamilcar, instead of under that of Hannibal. The death of Hamilcar, which happened most seasonably for Rome, and the unripe age of Hannibal, occasioned the delay. During an interval of about eight years, between the demise of the father, and the succession of the son, the command was held by Hasdrubal; whom, it was said, Hamilcar had first chosen as a favourite, on account of his youthful beauty, and afterwards made him his son-in-law, on account of his eminent abilities; in consequence of which connection, being supported by the interest of the Barcine faction, which, among the army and the commons, was exceedingly powerful, he was invested with the command in chief, in opposition to the wishes of the nobles. He prosecuted his designs, more frequently by means of policy than of force; and augmented the Carthaginian power considerably, by forming connections with the petty princes; and through the friendship of their leaders, conciliating the regard of nations hitherto strangers. But peace proved no security to himself. One of the barbarians, in resentment of his master having been put to death, openly assassinated him, and being seized by the persons present, showed no kind of concern; nay, even while racked with tortures, as if his exultation, at having effected his purpose, had got the better of the pains, the expression of his countenance was such as carried the appearance of a smile. With this Hasdrubal, who possessed a surprising degree of skill in negotiation, and in attaching foreign nations to his government, the Romans renewed the treaty, on the terms, that the river Iberus should be the boundary of the two empires, and that the Saguntines, who lay between them, should retain their liberty.

III. There was no room to doubt that the suffrages of the commons, in appointing a successor to Hasdrubal, would follow the direction pointed out by the leading voice of the Edition: current; Page: [396] army, who had instantly carried young Hannibal to the head-quarters, and with one consent, and universal acclamations, saluted him general. This youth, when scarcely arrived at the age of manhood, Hasdrubal had invited by letter to come to him; and that affair had even been taken into deliberation in the senate, where the Barcine faction showed a desire, that Hannibal should be accustomed to military service, and succeed to the power of his father. Hanno, the leader of the other faction, said, “although what Hasdrubal demands, seems reasonable; nevertheless, I do not think that his request ought to be granted;” and when all turned their eyes on him, with surprise at this ambiguous declaration, he proceeded, “Hasdrubal thinks that he is justly entitled to demand, from the son, the bloom of youth, which he himself dedicated to the pleasures of Hannibal’s father. It would however be exceedingly improper in us, instead of a military education, to initiate our young men in the lewd practices of generals. Are we afraid lest too much time should pass, before the son of Hamilcar acquires notions of the unlimited authority, and the parade of his father’s sovereignty: or that after he had, like a king, bequeathed our armies, as hereditary property to his son-in-law, we should not soon enough become slaves to his son? I am of opinion that this youth should be kept at home, where he will be amenable to the laws, and to the magistrates; and that he should be taught to live on an equal footing with the rest of his countrymen; otherwise this spark, small as it is, may hereafter kindle a terrible conflagration.”

IV. A few, particularly those of the best understanding, concurred in opinion with Hanno; but, as it generally happens, the more numerous party prevailed over the more judicious. Hannibal was sent into Spain, and on his first arrival attracted the notice of the whole army. The veteran soldiers imagined that Hamilcar was restored to them from Edition: current; Page: [397] the dead, observing in him the same animated look, and penetrating eye; the same expression of countenance, and the same features. Then, such was his behaviour, and so conciliating, that, in a short time, the memory of his father was the least among their inducements to esteem him. Never man possessed a genius so admirably fitted to the discharge of offices so very opposite in their nature as obeying and commanding: so that it was not easy to discern whether he were more beloved by the general or by the soldiers. There was none to whom Hasdrubal rather wished to intrust the command in any case where courage and activity were required; nor did the soldiers ever feel a greater degree of confidence and boldness, under any other commander. With perfect intrepidity in facing danger, he possessed, in the midst of the greatest, perfect presence of mind. No degree of labour could either fatigue his body or break his spirit: heat and cold he endured with equal firmness: the quantity of his food and drink was limited by natural appetite, not by the pleasure of the palate. His seasons for sleeping and waking were not distinguished by the day, or by the night; whatever time he had to spare, after business was finished, that he gave to repose, which, however, he never courted, either by a soft bed, or a quiet retirement: he was often seen, covered with a cloak, lying on the ground in the midst of the soldiers on guard, and on the advanced posts. His dress had nothing particular in it, beyond that of others of the same rank; his horses, and his armour, he was always remarkably attentive to: and whether he acted among the horsemen, or the infantry, he was eminently the first of either, the foremost in advancing to the fight, the last who quitted the field of battle. These great virtues were counterbalanced in him by vices of equal magnitude; inhuman cruelty; perfidy beyond that of a Carthaginian; a total disregard of truth, and of every obligation deemed sacred; utterly devoid of all Edition: current; Page: [398] reverence for the gods, he paid no regard to an oath, no respect to religion. Endowed with such a disposition, a compound of virtues and vices, he served under the command of Hasdrubal for three years, during which he omitted no opportunity of improving himself in every particular, both of theory and practice, that could contribute to the forming of an accomplished general.

V. But, from the day on which he was declared chief, he acted as if Italy had been decreed to him as his province, and he had been commissioned to wage war with Rome. Thinking every kind of delay imprudent; lest, while he procrastinated, some unforeseen event might disconcert his design, as had been the case of his father Hamilcar, and afterwards of Hasdrubal, he determined to make war on the Saguntines. And, as an attack on them would certainly call forth the Roman arms, he first led his army into the territory of the Olcadians, a nation beyond the Iberus; which, though within the boundaries of the Carthaginians, was not under their dominion, in order that he might not seem to have aimed directly at the Saguntines, but to be drawn on into a war with them by a series of events, and by advancing progressively, after the conquest of the adjoining nations, from one place to the next contiguous. Here he took and plundered Althea, the capital of the nation, abounding in wealth; and this struck such terror into the smaller cities, that they submitted to his authority, and to the imposition of a tribute. He then led his army, flushed with a victory, and enriched with spoil, into winter-quarters, at New Carthage. Here, by a liberal distribution of the booty, and by discharging punctually the arrears of pay, he firmly secured the attachment, both of his own countrymen, and of the allies; and, at the opening of the spring, carried forward his arms against the Vaccæans, from whom he took, by storm, the cities Hermandica and Arbacala. Arbacala, by the bravery Edition: current; Page: [399] and number of its inhabitants, was enabled to make a long defence. Those who escaped from Hermandica, joining the exiles of the Olcadians, the nation subdued in the preceding summer, roused up the Carpetans to arms, and attacking Hannibal, as he was returning from the country of the Vaccæans, not far from the river Tagus, caused a good deal of disorder among his troops, encumbered, as they were, with spoil. Hannibal avoided fighting, and encamped on the bank; then, as soon as the enemy afforded him an opportunity, he crossed the river by a ford, and carried his rampart to such a distance from its edge, as to leave room for the enemy to pass over, resolving to attack them in their passage. He gave orders to his cavalry, that, as soon as they should see the troops advance into the water, they should fall upon them: his infantry he formed on the bank, with forty elephants in their front. The Carpetans, with the addition of the Olcadians and Vaccæans, were one hundred thousand in number, an army not to be overcome, if a fight were to take place in an open plain. These being naturally of an impetuous temper, and confiding in their numbers, believing also that the enemy’s retreat was owing to fear, and thinking that there was no obstruction to their gaining an immediate victory, but the river lying in their way, they raised the shout, and without orders, rushed from all parts into it, every one by the shortest way. At the same time a vast body of cavalry pushed from the opposite bank into the river, and the conflict began in the middle of the channel, where they fought upon very unequal terms: for in such a situation the infantry, not being secure of footing, and scarcely able to bear up against the stream, were liable to be borne down by any shock from the horse, though the rider were unarmed, and took no trouble; whereas a horseman, having his limbs at liberty, and his horse moving steadily, even through the midst of the eddies, could act either in close fight, or at a Edition: current; Page: [400] distance. Great numbers were swallowed up in the current; while several, whom the eddies of the river carried to the Carthaginian side, were trodden to death by the elephants. The hindmost, who could more safely retreat to their own bank, attempting to collect themselves into one body, from the various parts to which their terror and confusion had dispersed them, Hannibal, not to give them time to recover from their consternation, marched into the river with his infantry in close order, and obliged them to fly from the bank. Then, by ravaging their country, he reduced the Carpetans also, in a few days, to submission. And now, all parts of the country beyond the Iberus, except the territory of Saguntum, was under subjection to the Carthaginians.

Y.R.534. bc218.VI. As yet there was no war with the Saguntines; but disputes, which seemed likely to be productive of war, were industriously fomented between them and their neighbours, particularly the Turdetans: and the cause of these latter being espoused by the same person, who first sowed the seeds of the contention, and plain proofs appearing, that not an amicable discussion of rights, but open force was the means intended to be used, the Saguntines despatched ambassadors to Rome, to implore assistance in the war, which evidently threatened them with immediate danger. The consuls at Rome, at that time were Publius Cornelius Scipio and Tiberius Sempronius Longus; who after having introduced the ambassadors to the senate, proposed, that the state of the public affairs should be taken into consideration. It was resolved, that ambassadors should be sent into Spain, to inspect the affairs of the allies; instructed, if they saw sufficient reason, to warn Hannibal not to molest the Saguntines, the confederates of the Roman people; and also to pass over into Africa, to represent, at Carthage, the complaints of these to the Romans. After this embassy had been decreed, and before it was despatched, news Edition: current; Page: [401] arrived, which no one had expected so soon, that Saguntum was besieged. The business was then laid entire before the senate, as if no resolution had yet passed. Some were of opinion, that the affair should be prosecuted with vigorous exertions, both by sea and land, and proposed, that Spain and Africa should be decreed as the provinces of the consuls: others wished to direct the whole force of their arms against Spain and Hannibal; while many thought that it would be imprudent to engage hastily in a matter of so great importance, and that they ought to wait for the return of the ambassadors from Spain. This opinion being deemed the safest, was adopted; and the ambassadors, Publius Valerius Flaccus and Quintus Bæbius Tamphilus, were on that account despatched, with the greater speed, to Saguntum, to Hannibal; and, in case of his refusing to desist from hostilities, from thence to Carthage, to insist on that general being delivered up, to atone for the infraction of the treaty.

VII. While the Romans were employed in these deliberations and preparatory measures, the siege of Saguntum was prosecuted with the utmost vigour. This city, by far the most wealthy of any beyond the Iberus, stood at the distance of about a mile from the sea; the inhabitants are said to have come originally from the island Zacynthus, and to have been joined by some of the Rutulian race from Ardea. They had grown up, in a very short time, to this high degree of opulence, by means of a profitable commerce, both by sea and land, aided by the increase of their numbers, and their religious observance of compacts, which they carried so far as to maintain the faith of all engagements inviolate, even should they tend to their own destruction. Hannibal marched into their territory in a hostile manner, and, after laying all the country waste, attacked their city on three different sides. There was an angle of the wall which stretched down into a vale, more level and open than the rest of the ground round Edition: current; Page: [402] the place: against this he resolved to carry on his approaches, by means of which the battering ram might be advanced up to the walls. But although the ground, at some distance, was commodious enough for the management of his machines, yet, when the works came to be applied to the purpose intended, it was found to be no way favourable to the design: for it was overlooked by a very large tower; and, as in that part danger was apprehended, the wall had been raised to a height beyond that of the rest. Besides, as the greatest share of fatigue and danger was expected there, it was defended with the greater vigour, by a band of chosen young men. These, at first with missile weapons, kept the enemy at a distance, nor suffered them to carry on any of their works in safety. In a little time, they not only annoyed them from the tower and the walls, but had the courage to sally out on the works and posts of the enemy; in which tumultuary engagements the Saguntines generally suffered not a greater loss of men than the Carthaginians. But Hannibal himself happening, as he approached the wall with too little caution, to be wounded severely in the forepart of the thigh with a heavy javelin, and falling in consequence of it, such consternation and dismay spread through all the troops around him, that they were very near deserting their posts.

VIII. For some days following, while the general’s wound was under cure, there was rather a blockade, than a siege. But although, during this time, there was a cessation of arms, there was no intermission of the preparations, either for attack or defence. Hostilities therefore commenced anew, with a greater degree of fury, and the machines began to be advanced, and the battering rams to be brought up, in a greater number of places, so that in some parts there was scarcely room for the works. The Carthaginian had great abundance of men, for it is credibly asserted that the number of his troops was not less than one hundred and fifty thousand: Edition: current; Page: [403] the townsmen were obliged to have recourse to various shifts, in order, with their small numbers, to execute every necessary measure, and to make defence in so many different places; nor were they equal to the task: for now the walls began to be battered with the rams; many parts of them were shattered; in one place, a large breach left the city quite exposed: Three towers, in one range, together with the whole extent of wall between them, tumbled down with a prodigious crash, and so great was the breach, that the Carthaginians looked on the town as already taken. On which, as if the wall had served equally for a covering to both parties, the two armies rushed to battle. Here was nothing like the disorderly kind of fight, which usually happens in the assault of towns, each party acting as opportunity offers advantage, but regular lines were formed, as if in the open plain, on the ground between the ruins of the walls and the buildings of the city, which stood at no great distance. Their courage was animated to the greatest height, on one side by hope; on the other by despair; the Carthaginian believing, that only a few more efforts were necessary to render him master of the place; the Saguntines forming, with their bodies, a bulwark to their native city, instead of its wall, of which it had been stripped; not one of them giving ground, lest he should make room for the enemy to enter by the space. The greater therefore the eagerness of the combatants, and the closer their ranks, the more wounds consequently were received, no weapon falling without taking place, either in their bodies or armour.

IX. The Saguntines had a missile weapon called Falarica, with a shaft of fir, round, except towards the end, to which the iron was fastened: this part, which was square, as in a javelin, they bound about with tow and daubed with pitch; it had an iron head three feet long, so that it could pierce both armour and body together: but what rendered it most Edition: current; Page: [404] formidable, was, that being discharged with the middle part on fire, and the motion itself increasing greatly the violence of the flame, though it struck in the shield without penetrating to the body, it compelled the soldier to throw away his arms, and left him, without defence, against succeeding blows. Thus the contest long continued doubtful, and the Saguntines, finding that they succeeded in their defence beyond expectation, assumed new courage; while the Carthaginian, because he had not obtained a victory, deemed himself vanquished. On this, the townsmen suddenly raised a shout, pushed back the enemy among the ruins of the wall, drove them off from that ground, where they were embarrassed and confused, and, in fine, compelled them to fly in disorder to their camp.

X. In the mean time, an account was received, that ambassadors had arrived from Rome; on which Hannibal sent messengers to the sea-shore, to meet them, and to acquaint them, that it would not be safe for them to come to him, through the armed bands of so many savage nations; and, besides, that, in the present critical state of affairs, he had not leisure to listen to embassies. He saw clearly, that on being refused audience, they would proceed immediately to Carthage: he therefore despatched messengers and letters beforehand, to the leaders of the Barcine faction, charging them to prepare their friends to act with spirit, so that the other party should not be able to carry any point in favour of the Romans. Thus the embassy there proved equally vain and fruitless, excepting that the ambassadors were received and admitted to audience. Hanno alone, in opposition to the sentiments of the senate, argued for their complying with the terms of the treaty, and was heard with great attention, rather out of the respect paid to the dignity of his character, than from the approbation of the hearers. He said, that “he had formerly charged and forewarned them, as they regarded the Edition: current; Page: [405] gods, who were guarantees and witnesses of the treaties, not to send the son of Hamilcar to the army. That man’s shade,” said he, “cannot be quiet, nor any one descended from him; nor will treaties with Rome subsist, as long as one person of the Barcine blood and name exists. As if with intent to supply fuel to fire, ye sent to your armies a young man, burning with ambition for absolute power, to which he could see but one road, the exciting of wars, one after another, in order that he might live surrounded with arms and legions. You yourselves therefore have kindled this fire, with which ye are now scorched: your armies now invest Saguntum, a place which they are bound by treaty not to molest. In a short time the Roman legions will invest Carthage, under the guidance of those same deities, who enabled them, in the former war, to take vengeance for the breach of treaties. Are you strangers to that enemy, or to yourselves, or to the fortune attending both nations? When ambassadors came from allies, in favour of allies, your worthy general, disregarding the law of nations, refused them admittance into his camp. Nevertheless, after meeting a repulse, where ambassadors, even from enemies, are not refused access, they have come to you, requiring satisfaction in conformity to treaty. They charge no crime on the public, but demand the author of the transgression, the person answerable for the offence. The more moderation there appears in their proceedings, and the slower they are in beginning a warfare, so much the more unrelenting, I fear, will prove the fury of their resentment, when they do begin. Place before your eyes the islands Ægates and Eryx, the calamities which you underwent, on land and sea, during the space of twenty-four years; nor were your troops then led by this boy, but by his father Hamilcar, another Mars, as those men choose to call him. But at that time we had not, as we were bound by treaty, avoided interfering with Tarentum in Italy, as, at present, we do not avoid interfering Edition: current; Page: [406] with Saguntum. Wherefore gods and men united to conquer us, and the question which words could not determine, ‘ which of the nations had infringed the treaty?’ the issue of the war made known, as an equitable judge, giving victory to that side on which justice stood. Hannibal is now raising works and towers against Carthage; with his battering rams he is shaking the walls of Carthage. The ruins of Saguntum (oh! that I may prove a false prophet!) will fall on our heads: and the war commenced against the Saguntines must be maintained against the Romans. Some will say, shall we then deliver up Hannibal? I am sensible that, with respect to him, my authority is of little weight, on account of the enmity between me and his father. But as I rejoiced at the death of Hamilcar, for this reason, that had he lived, we should now have been embroiled in a war with the Romans, so do I hate and detest this youth as a fury and a firebrand kindling the like troubles at present. Nor is it my opinion, merely, that he ought to be delivered up, as an expiation for the infraction of the treaty, but that, if no one demanded him, he ought to be conveyed away to the remotest coasts, whence no accounts of him, nor even his name, should ever reach us, and where he would not be able to disturb the tranquillity of our state. I therefore move you to resolve, that ambassadors be sent instantly to Rome, to make apologies to the senate; others, to order Hannibal to withdraw the troops from Saguntum, and to deliver up Hannibal himself to the Romans, in conformity to the treaty; and that a third embassy be sent, to make restitution to the Saguntines.” When Hanno had ended his discourse, there was no occasion for any one to enter into a debate with him, so entirely were almost the whole body of the senate in the interest of Hannibal, and they blamed him as having spoken with greater acrimony than even Valerius Flaccus, the Roman ambassador. They then answered the Roman ambassadors, Edition: current; Page: [407] that “the war had been begun by the Saguntines, not by Hannibal; and that the Roman people acted unjustly and unwisely, if they preferred the interest of the Saguntines to that of the Carthaginians, their earliest allies.”

XI. While the Romans wasted time in sending embassies, Hannibal, finding his soldiers fatigued with fighting and labour, gave them a few days to rest, appointing parties to guard the machines and works. This interval he employed in reanimating his men, stimulating them at one time with resentment against the enemy, at another, with hope of rewards; but a declaration which he made in open assembly, that, on the capture of the city, the spoil should be given to the soldiers, inflamed them with such ardour, that, to all appearance, if the signal had been given immediately, no force could have withstood them. The Saguntines, as they had for some days enjoyed a respite from fighting, neither offering nor sustaining an attack, so they had never ceased, either by day or night, to labour hard in raising a new wall, in that part where the city had been left exposed by the fall of the old one. After this, the operations of the besiegers were carried on with much greater briskness than before; nor could the besieged well judge, whilst all places resounded with clamours of various kinds, to what side they should first send succour, or where it was most necessary. Hannibal attended in person, to encourage a party of his men who were bringing forward a moveable tower, which exceeded in height all the fortifications of the city. As soon as this had reached the proper distance, and had, by means of the engines for throwing darts and stones,* disposed in all its stories, cleared the ramparts of all who were to defend it, then Hannibal, seizing the opportunity, sent about five hundred Africans, Edition: current; Page: [408] with pick-axes, to undermine the wall at the bottom: which was not a difficult work, because the cement was not strengthened with lime, but the interstices filled up with clay, according to the ancient method of building: other parts of it, therefore, fell down, together with those to which the strokes were applied, and through these breaches several bands of soldiers made their way into the city. They, likewise, there took possession of an eminence, and collecting thither a number of engines for throwing darts and stones, surrounded it with a wall, in order that they might have a fortress within the city itself, a citadel, as it were, to command it. The Saguntines, on their part, raised an inner wall between that and the division of the city not yet taken. Both sides exerted themselves to the utmost, as well in forming their works as in fighting. But the Saguntines, while they raised defences for the inner parts, contracted, daily, the dimensions of the city. At the same time the scarcity of all things increased, in consequence of the long continuance of the siege, while their expectations of foreign aid diminished; the Romans, their only hope, being at so great a distance, and all the countries round being in the hands of the enemy. However, their sinking spirits were for a short time revived, by Hannibal setting out suddenly on an expedition against the Oretans and Carpetans. For these two nations, being exasperated by the severity used in lovying soldiers, had, by detaining the commissaries, afforded room to apprehend a revolt; but receiving an unexpected check, from the quick exertions of Hannibal, they laid aside the design of insurrection.

XII. In the mean time the vigour of the proceedings against Saguntum was not lessened; Maharbal, son of Himilco, whom Hannibal had left in the command, pushing forward the operations with such activity, that neither his countrymen, nor the enemy, perceived that the general was absent. He not only engaged the Saguntines several times with Edition: current; Page: [409] success, but, with three battering rams, demolished a considerable extent of the wall; and when Hannibal arrived, he showed him the whole ground covered with fresh ruins. The troops were therefore led instantly against the citadel, and after a furious engagement, in which great loss was suffered on both sides, part of the citadel was taken. Small as were the hopes of an accommodation, attempts were now made to bring it about by two persons, Alcon a Saguntine, and Alorcus a Spaniard. Alcon, thinking that he might effect something by submissive entreaties, went over to Hannibal by night, without the knowledge of the Saguntines; but, his piteous supplications making no impression, and the terms offered by his enemy being full of rigour, and such as might be expected from an enraged and not unsuccessful assailant, instead of an advocate, he became a deserter, affirming, that if any man were to mention to the Saguntines an accommodation on such conditions, it would cost him his life;—for it was required that they should make restitution to the Turdetans; should deliver up all their gold and silver; and, departing from the city with single garments, should fix their residence in whatever place the Carthaginian should order. When Alcon declared that his countrymen would never accept these conditions of peace, Alorcus, insisting, that when men’s bodily powers are subdued, their spirits are subdued along with them, undertook the office of mediator in the negociation. Now he was at this time a soldier in the service of Hannibal, but connected with the state of Saguntum in friendship and hospitality. Delivering up his sword to the enemy’s guards, he passed openly through the fortifications, and was conducted at his own desire to the prætor. A concourse of people of every kind having immediately assembled about the place, the senate, ordering the rest of the multitude to retire, give audience to Alorcus, who addressed them in this manner:

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XIII. “If your countryman Alcon, after coming to the general to sue for peace, had returned to you with the offered terms, it would have been needless for me to have presented myself before you, as I would not appear in the character either of a deputy from Hannibal, or of a deserter. But since he has remained with your enemy, either through his own fault, or yours: through his own, if he counterfeited fear; through yours, if he who tells you truth, is to be punished: I have come to you, out of my regard to the ties of hospitality so long subsisting between us, in order that you should not be ignorant that there are certain conditions on which you may obtain both peace and safety. Now, that what I say is merely out of regard to your interest, and not from any other motive, this alone is sufficient proof: that, so long as you were able to maintain a defence by your own strength, or so long as you had hopes of succour from the Romans, I never once mentioned peace to you. Now, when you neither have any hopes from the Romans, nor can rely for defence either on your arms or walls, I bring you terms of peace, rather unavoidable than favourable. And there may be some chance of carrying these into effect, on this condition, that, as Hannibal dictates them, in the spirit of a conqueror, so you should listen to them with the spirit of men conquered; that you consider not what you part with as loss, for all things are the property of the victor, but whatever is left to you as a gift. The city, a great part of which is already demolished, and almost the whole of which he has in his possession, he takes from you: your lands he leaves to you, intending to assign a place where you may build a new town: all your gold and silver, both public and private property, he orders to be brought to him: your persons, with those of your wives and children he preserves inviolate, provided you are satisfied to quit Saguntum, without Edition: current; Page: [411] arms, and with single garments. These are the terms, which, as a victorious enemy, he enjoins: with these, grievous and afflicting as they are, your present circumstances counsel you to comply. I do not indeed despair but that, when the entire disposal of every thing is given up to him, he may remit somewhat of the severity of these articles. But even these, I think it advisable to endure, rather than to suffer yourselves to be slaughtered, and your wives and children seized, and dragged into slavery, before your eyes, according to the practice of war.”

XIV. The surrounding crowd, gradually approaching to hear this discourse, had formed an assembly of the people conjoined with the senate, when the men of principal distinction, withdrawing suddenly before any answer was given, collected all the gold and silver both from their private and public stores, into the Forum, threw it into a fire hastily kindled for the purpose, and then most of them cast themselves in headlong after it. While the dismay and confusion, which this occasioned, filled every part of the city, another uproar was heard from the citadel. A tower, after being battered for a long time, had fallen down, and a cohort of the Carthaginians, having forced their way through the breach, gave notice to their general, that the place was destitute of the usual guards and watches. Hannibal, judging that such an opportunity admitted no delay, assaulted the city with his whole force, and, instantly making himself master of it, gave orders that every person of adult age should be put to the sword: which cruel order was proved however, by the event, to have been in a manner induced by the conduct of the people; for how could mercy have been extended to any of those who, shutting themselves up with their wives and children, burned their houses over their heads; or who, bein arms, continued fighting, until stopped by death?

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XV. In the town was found a vast quantity of spoil, notwithstanding that the greater part of the effects had been purposely injured by the owners; and that, during the carnage, the rage of the assailants had made hardly any distinction of age, although the prisoners were the property of the soldiers. Nevertheless it appears, that a large sum of money was brought into the treasury, out of the price of the goods exposed to sale, and likewise that a great deal of valuable furniture and apparel was sent to Carthage. Some writers have asserted, that Saguntum was taken in the eighth month from the beginning of the siege; that Hannibal then retired into winter quarters to New Carthage; and that, in the fifth month, after leaving Carthage, he arrived again in Italy. But if these accounts were true, it is impossible that Publius Cornelius and Tiberius Sempronius could have been the consuls, to whom, in the beginning of the siege, the ambassadors were sent from Saguntum; and who, during their office, fought with Hannibal; the one at the river Ticinus, and both, a considerable time after, at the Trebia. Either all these matters must have been transacted in less time, or Saguntum must have been taken, not first invested, in the beginning of that year wherein Publius Cornelius and Tiberius Sempronius were consuls. For the battle at the Trebia could not have happened so late as the year of Cn. Servilius and Caius Flaminius; because Caius Flaminius entered on the office of consul at Arimimum, having been elected thereto by Tiberius Sempronius, who, after the engagement at the Trebia, had gone home to Rome for the purpose of electing consuls; and, when the election was finished, returned into winter quarters to the army.

XVI. The ambassador’s returning from Carthage, brought information to Rome, that every thing tended to war; and, nearly at the same time, news was received of the destruction Edition: current; Page: [413] of Saguntum. Grief seized the senate, for the deplorable catastrophe of their allies, and shame for not having afforded them succour; rage against the Carthaginians, and such apprehensions for the public safety, as if the enemy were already at their gates; so that their minds being agitated by so many passions at once, their meetings were scenes of confusion and disorder, rather than of deliberation. For, “never,” they observed, “had an enemy, more enterprising and warlike, entered the field with them; and, at no other period had the Roman power been so unfit for great exertions, or so deficient in practice. As to the Sardinians, Corsicans, Istrians, and Illyrians, they had only roused the Roman arms, without affording them exercise; and with the Gauls the affair was really a tumult, rather than a war. The Carthaginians, another kind of foe, were crossing the Iberus; trained to arms during twenty-three years, in the most laborious service, among the nations of Spain; accustomed to conquer on every occasion; habituated to the command of a most able general; flushed with their late conquest of a very opulent city, and bringing with them many Spanish states; while the Gauls, ever glad of an opportunity of fighting, would doubtless be engaged in the expedition. War must then be waged against all the world, in the heart of Italy, and under the walls of Rome.”

XVII. The provinces had been already named for the consuls, but now they were ordered to cast lots. Spain fell to Cornelius; Africa, with Sicily, to Sempronius. For the service of the year, six legions were decreed, with such a number of the troops of the allies as the consuls should deem requisite, and a fleet as great as could be fitted out. Of Romans were enlisted twenty-four thousand foot, and one thousand eight hundred horse; of the allies, forty thousand foot, and four thousand four hundred horse. The fleet consisted of two hundred and twenty ships of five banks of oars, and twenty light gallies. Edition: current; Page: [414] The question was then proposed to the people, whether “they chose and ordered, that war should be declared against the people of Carthage?” This being determined on, a general supplication was performed in the city, and prayers offered to the gods, that the war which the Roman people had ordered might have a prosperous and happy issue. The forces were divided between the consuls in this manner: to Sempronius were assigned two legions, containing each four thousand foot and three hundred horse and of the allies sixteen thousand foot, and one thousand eight hundred horse, with one hundred and sixty ships of war, and twelve light gallies. With these land and sea forces, Tiberius Sempronius was sent to Sicily, with intention that he should cross over to Africa, in case the other consul should be able to prevent the Carthaginians from entering Italy. The army assigned to Cornelius was less numerous, because Lucius Manlius, a prætor, was also sent into Gaul with a considerable force. Of ships, particularly, Cornelius’s share was small: sixty quinqueremes only were given him, for it was not supposed either that the enemy would come by sea, or that he would exert himself on that element. Two Roman legions, with their regular proportion of cavalry, and, of the allies, fourteen thousand foot, and sixteen hundred horse were assigned to him. In this year, the province of Gaul, though not yet threatened with a Carthaginian war, had posted in it two Roman legions, and ten thousand confederate infantry, with one thousand confederate horsemen and six hundred Roman.

XVIII. These adjustments being made, they yet determined, previous to the taking up arms, to send Quintus Fabius, Marcus Livius, Lucius Amilius, Caius Licinius, and Quintus Bæbius, men venerable on account of their age, into Africa, as ambassadors, to require an explanation from the Carthaginians, whether Hannibal’s attack on Saguntum had been authorized by the state; and, in case they should acknowledge Edition: current; Page: [415] it, as it was expected they would, and defend that proceeding, then to declare war against the people of Carthage. When the Romans arrived at Carthage, and were introduced to an audience of the senate, Quintus Fabius, without enlarging on the subject, simply proposed the question, as stated in their instructions; on which one of the Carthaginians replied, “Romans, in your former embassy, ye were too precipitate, when you demanded that Hannibal should be delivered up, as attacking Saguntum of his own authority. But your present proceeding, though hitherto milder in words, is, in effect, more unreasonably severe. A charge was made against Hannibal, only when you required him to be delivered up: now, you endeavour to extort from us a confession of wrong committed, and at the same instant, as if we had already pleaded guilty, insist on reparation. For myself, I am of opinion that the question proper to be asked is, not whether Saguntum was attacked by public authority, or private, but whether justly or unjustly? For with respect to a subject of our government, whether acting under direction of the public, or not, the right of enquiry, and of punishing, is exclusively our own. The only point, then, that comes into discussion with you, is, whether the act was allowable according to treaty? Wherefore, since you chose that a distinction should be made, between what commanders do by public authority, and what of their own will, there is a treaty subsisting between us, concluded by your consul Lutatius, in which provision is made for the interest of the allies of both nations. But there is no clause in favour of the Saguntines; for they were not at the time in alliance with you. But then, in the treaty entered into with Hasdrubal, the Saguntines are expressly exempted from hostilities. In answer to which, I shall urge nothing but what I have learned from yourselves. For you asserted, that the treaty which your consul Caius Lutatius at first concluded with us, inasmuch as it had been concluded Edition: current; Page: [416] without either the approbation of the senate, or an order of the people, was not binding on you; and that for that reason, another treaty was ratified anew, under the sanction of public authority. Now, if your treaties do not bind you, unless sanctioned by your approbation and order, surely the treaty of Hasdrubal, under the same circumstances, cannot be binding on us. Cease therefore to talk of Saguntum, and the Iberus; and let your minds at length give birth to the burthen of which they are long in labour.” The Roman then, folding up a corner of his robe, said, “here we bring you peace, and war; take which you choose.” Which proposal they answered with an equal degree of peremptory heat, calling out, that “he should give whichever he chose.” He then threw open the fold again, and said that “he gave war;” they with one voice replied, that “they accepted it; and, with the same spirit with which they accepted it, would prosecute it.”

XIX. This mode of a direct demand, and declaration of war, was deemed suitable to the dignity of the Roman people, even before this time; but more particularly after the destruction of Saguntum, than to enter into a verbal disquisition concerning the construction of treaties. For, if the business were to be decided by argument, what similitude was there between the treaty of Hasdrubal, and the former treaty of Lutatius, which was altered? Since in the latter, there was an express clause inserted, that “it should be valid, provided the people should ratify it;” but in that of Hasdrubal, there was no such provision. Besides, this treaty was confirmed, in such a manner, by the silent approbation of so many years, during the remainder of his life, that even after the death of its author, no alteration was made in it; although, even were the former treaty adhered to, there was sufficient security provided for the Saguntines, by the exempting from hostilities the allies of both nations; there being Edition: current; Page: [417] no distinction made of those who then were, or of those who should afterwards become such. And, as it was evidently allowable to form new alliances, who could think it reasonable, either that persons should not be received into friendship on account of any degree of merit whatever; or, that people, once taken under protection, should not be defended? The only restriction implied was, that the allies of the Carthaginians should not be solicited to revolt, nor, revolting of their own accord, should be received. The Roman ambassadors, in pursuance of their instructions received at Rome, passed over from Carthage into Spain, in order to make application to the several states of that country, and either to engage their alliance, or at least dissuade them from joining the Carthaginians. They came, first, to the Bargusian, by whom being favourably received, because that people were dissatisfied with the Carthaginian government, they roused the spirits of many powers on the farther side of the Iberus, by the flattering prospect of a change in their circumstances. Thence they came to the Volscians, whose answer, which was reported with applause through every part of Spain, deterred the other states from joining in alliance with Rome. For thus the oldest member of their assembly replied, “Where is your sense of shame, Romans, when you require of us, that we should prefer your friendship to that of the Carthaginians? The Saguntines, who embraced it, have been abandoned by you: in which abandonment you, their allies, have shown greater cruelty, than the Carthaginians, their enemy, showed in destroying them. What I recommend is, that you seek connections where the fatal disaster of Saguntum is unknown. To the states of Spain, the ruins of that city will be both a melancholy, and a forcible warning, not to confide in the faith or alliance of Rome.” They were then ordered to depart immediately from the territories of the Volscians; nor did they afterwards meet, from Edition: current; Page: [418] any assembly in Spain, a more favourable reception; therefore, after making a circuit through all parts of that country, without effecting any thing, they passed over into Gaul.

XX. At Ruscino they encountered a new and terrifying spectacle; the people coming in arms to the assembly, for such is the custom of that country. After displaying, in magnificent terms, the renown and the valour of the Roman people, and the greatness of their empire, they requested that the Gauls would not grant a passage through their cities and territories to the Carthaginian, who was preparing to invade Italy. On which, we are told, such a laugh was raised, accompanied by a general outcry of displeasure, that the magistrates and the elder members of the assembly could, with difficulty, bring the younger men into order, so unreasonable, and so absurd did it appear, to require that the Gauls should not suffer the war to pass into Italy, but should draw it on themselves, and expose their own lands to devastation, instead of those of strangers. When the uproar was at length appeased, an answer was given to the ambassadors, that “the Gauls had never received either any kindness from the Romans, or ill treatment from the Carthaginians, that should induce them to take arms either in favour of the former, or in opposition to the latter. On the contrary, they had been informed, that their countrymen were expelled by the Roman people from the lands, and out of the limits of Italy, compelled to pay tribute, and subjected to indignities of every kind.” To the same application, they received the same answer, from the other assemblies in Gaul; nor did they meet any very friendly or peaceable reception until they arrived at Marseilles. There, in consequence of the diligent inquiries made by those faithful allies, they learned, that “the minds of the Gauls had been already prepossessed in favour of Hannibal. But that even he would find that nation not very tractable, so ferocious and ungovernable were their tempers, Edition: current; Page: [419] unless he frequently revived the attachment of their chiefs with gold, of which that people were remarkably greedy.” Having thus finished their progress through the states of Spain and Gaul, the ambassadors returned to Rome, shortly after the consuls had set out for their provinces, and found the passions of every man warmly excited by the prospect of the approaching war, for all accounts now agreed that the Carthaginians had passed the Iberus.

XXI. Hannibal, after taking Saguntum, had retired into winter quarters, at New Carthage; where, receiving information of all the transactions and resolutions which had passed at Rome, and at Carthage, and that he was not only the leader, but likewise the cause of the war, he determined no longer to defer his measures, and having distributed and sold off the remains of the plunder, he called together his Spanish troops, and spoke to this effect: “Fellow soldiers, as we have already established peace through all the states of Spain, we must either lay aside our arms, and disband our forces, or transfer the seat of war to other countries. For the way to make these nations flourish, with the blessings not only of peace, but of victory, is, for us to seek glory and spoil from others. Wherefore as we shall soon be called to service, at a distance from home, and as it is uncertain when you may see your families, and whatever is dear to you, if any choose to visit your friends, I now give you leave of absence. At the beginning of spring, I charge you to attend here, in order that, with the aid of the Gods, we may enter on a war, from which we shall reap abundance both of honour and riches.” This voluntary offer, of leave to revisit their homes, was highly pleasing to almost every one of them; for they already longed to see their friends, and foresaw a longer absence from them, likely to happen. This interval of rest renewed the powers of their minds and bodies, enabling them to encounter every hardship anew; for the fatigues they had Edition: current; Page: [420] already sustained, and those they were soon to undergo, appeared to be little thought of. At the beginning of spring they therefore assembled according to orders. Hannibal, after reviewing the auxiliaries of the several nations, went to Gades, where he fulfilled his vows to Hercules, and bound himself in new ones, in case his future operations should be crowned with success. Then dividing his attention, between the measures requisite for annoying the enemy, and those necessary for defence, lest, while he should be making his way to Italy by land, through Spain and Gaul, Africa should be naked and open to an attack of the Romans from Sicily, he resolved to provide for its security by sending thither a strong body of forces. In the room of these, he required a reinforcement to be sent to him from Africa, consisting chiefly of light armed spearmen. This he did with the view, that the Africans serving in Spain, and the Spaniards in Africa, where each would be better soldiers at a distance from home, they might be, as it were, mutual hostages for the good behaviour of each other. He sent into Africa, of infantry, thirteen thousand eight hundred and fifty targeteers, with eight hundred and seventy Balearick slingers; of cavalry, collected from many nations, one thousand two hundred. Part of these forces he ordered to garrison Carthage, the rest to be distributed through Africa. At the same time he ordered four thousand chosen young men, whom he had enlisted by means of commissaries sent among the several states, to be conducted to Carthage, both as an addition of strength and as hostages.

XXII. Judging also, that Spain ought not to be neglected, in which opinion he was not the less confirmed by having been acquainted with the tour made through it by the Roman ambassadors, for the purpose of engaging the friendship of the chiefs, he allotted that province to Hasdrubal his brother, a man of talents and activity; and he formed his strength Edition: current; Page: [421] mostly of the troops from Africa, giving him eleven thousand eight hundred and fifty African foot, with three hundred Ligurians, and five hundred Balearians. To these bodies of infantry, were added four hundred and fifty horsemen of the Liby-Phœnicians, a race composed of a mixture of Phœnicians with Africans; of Numidians and Mauritanians, who inhabit the coast of the ocean, to the number of one thousand eight hundred; a small band of the Hergetans, a Spanish nation, amounting to two hundred horsemen; and, that he might not be destitute of any kind of force, which might be useful in operations on land,from ten elephants. Also for the defence of the sea coast, because, as the Romans had been formerly victorious at sea, it was probable that they would now likewise exert themselves in the same line, a fleet was assigned him of fifty quinqueremes, two quadriremes, and five triremes; but, of these, only thirty-two quinqueremes, and the five triremes, were fully equipped and manned with rowers. From Gades he returned to Carthage, the winter quarters of the army. Then putting his troops in motion, he led them by the city of Etovissa to the Iberus, and the sea coast. Here, as is said, he saw, in his sleep, a youth of divine figure, who told him that he was sent by Jupiter to guide him into Italy, and bade him therefore to follow, and not turn his eyes to any side. Filled with terror, he followed at first without looking to either side, or behind; but afterwards, out of the curiosity natural to mankind, considering what that could be at which he was forbidden to look back, he could no longer restrain his eyes: he then saw behind him a serpent of immense size, moving along and felling all the bushes and trees in its way: and after it, followed a dark cloud with loud thundering in the air. On which, asking what was the nature of this great commotion, or what it portended, he was told that it meant the devastation of Italy; he was then ordered to proceed in Edition: current; Page: [422] his course, and not to enquire farther, but let the decrees of the destinies remain in obscurity.

XXIII. Overjoyed at this vision, he led his forces in three divisions over the Iberus, having sent forward emissaries to conciliate by presents the friendship of the Gauls, through whose country the army was to pass, and to explore the passes of the Alps. The number of forces, which he brought across the Iberus, was ninety thousand foot, and twelve thousand horse. He then reduced the Ilergetans, the Bargusians, the Ausetanians, and the province of Lacetania, which lay at the foot of the Pyrenean mountains. The government of all this tract he gave to Hanno, with intention to retain the command of the narrow passes, which lead from Spain into Gaul: and, to enable him to secure the possession of it, assigned him a body of forces, consisting of ten thousand foot and one thousand horse. When the army began to pass the defiles of the Pyrenees, and a rumour spread with greater certainty among the barbarians, that the war was intended against the Romans, three thousand of the Carpetan foot left him, and marched away, actuated, as clearly appeared, not so much by dread of the enemy, as of the great length of the march, and the insuperable difficulty of crossing the Alps. Hannibal, considering that to recall or detain them by force, might be attended with dangerous consequences, and wishing to avoid every thing that might irritate the ferocious tempers of the rest, sent home above ten thousand men, in whom he had discovered an equal aversion from the service, pretending that he had, in like manner, dismissed the Carpetans.

XXIV. Then, lest delay and idleness should inspire them with improper notions, he crossed the Pyrenees with the rest of his forces, and pitched his camp near the town of Illiberis. The Gauls had been told that his operations were directed against Italy; nevertheless, having been informed that Edition: current; Page: [423] the Spaniards on the other side of the Pyrenees had been reduced by force, and that a powerful guard was stationed in their country, they were so much alarmed for their liberty, that they hastily took arms, and several states formed a general meeting at Ruscino. When Hannibal was informed of this, dreading delay more than the power of the enemy, he despatched envoys to their petty princes, acquainting them, that he wished to confer with them in person, and proposing, that either they should come nearer to Illiberis, or that he would advance to Ruscino; that he would, with great pleasure, receive them in his camp, or, without hesitation, go himself to theirs: for he came into Gaul as a friend, not as an enemy; and meant not to draw a sword, if the Gauls would allow him to hold his resolution, until he arrived in Italy. This passed through messengers: but the Gauls immediately removed their camp to Illiberis, came without reluctance to the Carthaginian, and were so highly captivated by his presents, that, with great cheerfulness, they conducted his army, by the town of Ruscino, through their territories.

XXV. In Italy, at this time, nothing farther was known, than that Hannibal had passed the Iberus, intelligence of which had been brought to Rome by ambassadors from Marseilles; yet, as if he had already passed the Alps, the Boians engaging the concurrence of the Insubrians, began a revolt, their motive for which was not their ancient enmity towards the Roman people, but the offence which they lately conceived, at the establishment of the colonies on the Po, at Cremona, and Placentia, within the limits of the Gallic territories. For this reason, they hastily took arms, and, making an irruption into those very soils, caused such terror and confusion, that not only the country people, but even the Roman commissioners, who had come thither to distribute the lands, doubting their safety within the walls of Placentia, fled to Mutina. These were Caius Lutatius, Caius Servilius, Edition: current; Page: [424] and Titus Annius. There is no doubt about the name of Lutatius; but some annals, instead of Caius Servilius and Titus Annius, have Quintus Acilius, and Caius Herrennius; others, Publius Cornelius Asina, and Caius Papirius Maso. There is also an uncertainty, whether ambassadors, sent to expostulate with the Boians, suffered violence, or whether the ill treatment was offered to the commissioners who were measuring out the lands. While they were shut up in Mutina, and the besiegers, a people quite unskilled in the arts of attacking towns, and remarkably lazy with respect to all military operations, lay inactive round the walls, which they could not injure, a pretended treaty for an accommodation was set on foot, and the ambassadors being invited out to a conference by the chiefs of the Gauls, were, in violation, not only of the laws of nations, but of the faith pledged on the occasion, seized and put into confinement, the Gauls declaring, that they would not set them at liberty, unless their own hostages were returned to them. On hearing of this treatment of the ambassadors, and the danger which threatened Mutina and the garrison, Lucius Manlius the prætor, inflamed with resentment, led his army in a rapid march towards that city. The ground, on both sides of the road, was, at that time, covered with woods, and mostly uninhabited. Advancing into these places, without having examined the country, he fell into an ambush, and with much difficulty, after losing a great number of men, made his way into the open plains. Here he fortified a camp, which the Gauls not having resolution to attack, the soldiers recovered their spirits, though it was evident that their strength was greatly diminished: they then began their march anew, and, as long as their road lay through open grounds, the enemy never appeared; but falling on their rear, when the Romans again entered the woods, they threw all into fright and disorder, slew eight hundred soldiers, and carried off six standards. Edition: current; Page: [425] As soon as the troops had got clear of that difficult and troublesome pass, the Gauls ceased from their attempts, and the Romans from their fears, and the latter, afterwards, easily securing the safety of their march through the open country, proceeded to Tanetum, a small town on the Po. Here, by means of a temporary fortification, which they raised, the supply of provisions conveyed by the river, and the aid of the Brescian Gauls, they maintained their ground against the numerous forces of the enemy, though daily augmented.

XXVI. When news of this sudden insurrection arrived at Rome, and the senate understood, that, besides the Carthaginian war, they had another to maintain with the Gauls, they ordered Caius Atilius, a prætor, to march to the relief of Manlius with one Roman legion, and five thousand allied troops, inlisted by the consul in the late levy; with these he arrived at Tanetum without any interruption, for the enemy through fear, had retired at his approach. At the same time Publius Cornelius, having raised a new legion, in the room of that which had been sent with the prætor, set out from the city with sixty ships of war; and coasting along Etruria, Liguria, and the Salyan mountains, he arrived at Marseilles, and pitched his camp on the nearest mouth of the Rhone, for that river, dividing itself, flows into the sea through several channels scarcely believing, yet, that Hannibal had passed the Pyrenean mountains. But when he learned that he was, even then, employed in preparations for passing the Rhone, being unable to determine in what place he might meet him, and his men being not yet sufficiently recovered from the fatigue of the voyage, he despatched three hundred chosen horsemen, guided by some Massilians and auxiliary Gauls, to gain information of every particular, and to take a view of the enemy, without danger. Hannibal procuring, either by threats or presents, an unmolested passage through the other provinces, had arrived at the country of the Volcæ, a Edition: current; Page: [426] powerful state. These possessed territories on both sides of the Rhone, but, doubting their ability to repel the Carthaginian from the country on the hither side, in order to avail themselves of the river as a defence, they had transported almost all their effects beyond it, and were ready in arms to defend the opposite bank. Hannibal, by means of presents, prevailed on the inhabitants of the other districts contiguous to the river, and even on those of that very state, who staid in their own habitations, to collect ships from every quarter, and to build others; themselves being desirous that his army should be transported, and their country freed, as speedily as might be, from the burthen of such a multitude of men. A vast number of vessels therefore were brought together, and of boats rudely constructed for the purpose of short passages. Others were formed by hollowing single trees, the Gauls first showing the way; and afterwards the soldiers themselves, encouraged by the plenty of timber, and likewise by the easiness of the work, hastily formed clumsy hulks to transport themselves and their effects, regardless of every other circumstance, provided they would but float, and contain a burthen.

XXVII. And now, when all preparatory measures for effecting their passage were completed, the enemy, on the farther side, threatened them with a violent opposition, covering the whole bank with horse and foot. But, in order to remove these out of his way, Hannibal ordered Hanno, son of Bomilcar, to set out by night, at the first watch, with a body of forces composed mostly of Spaniards, to march up the river to the distance of one day’s journey, and then crossing it, as secretly as possible, to lead round his detachment with all expedition, that he might fall on the rear of the enemy when so required. The Gauls, who were given him as guides on the occasion, informed him that, at the distance of about twenty-five miles above that place, the river spreading round Edition: current; Page: [427] a small island, showed the passage, where it divided itself, broader, and the channel consequently shallower. At this place, felling timber with the utmost haste, they formed rafts for carrying over the men, horses, and other weighty matters. As to the Spaniards, they took no trouble about any means of conveyance, but thrusting their clothes into leathern bags, and resting their bodies on their bucklers placed under them, swam over the river. The rest of the troops, having also passed over on the rafts joined together, they encamped near the river, and being fatigued by the march during the night, and by the labour of the work, refreshed themselves with rest for one day, while their leader was earnestly studying how to execute the design in proper season. Next day, having marched from thence, they made a signal, by raising a smoke, that they had effected their passage, and were not far distant; which being perceived by Hannibal, he gave the signal for his troops to pass the river. The infantry had the boats equipped and in readiness, and a line of larger vessels, with the horsemen, most of whom had their horses smimming near them, crossed higher up the river, in order to break the force of the current, and thereby render the water smooth for the boats passing below. The horses, for the most part, were led after the sterns by collars, those only excepted which had been put on board the ships bridled and accoutred, in order that the riders, on their landing, might have them ready for instant use.

XXVIII. The Gauls ran down to the bank to meet them, with various kinds of cries and songs, according to their custom, tossing their shields above their heads, and with their right hands brandishing their javelins, notwithstanding the terrible appearance of such a vast number of ships, together with the loud roaring of the river, and the confused clamours of the mariners and soldiers, both of those who were struggling to force their way through the violent current, and of Edition: current; Page: [428] those who from the opposite bank encouraged their friends on their passage. While they saw sufficient cause of terror on their front, a more terrifying shout assailed them from behind, where their camp was taken by Hanno. Presently he came up; so that they were encompassed by dangers; such a vast number of soldiers being brought by the ships, and another army quite unexpectedly pressing on their rear. The Gauls finding that, instead of being the assailants as they had intended, they were even driven from their own ground, made off hastily through the clearest opening that they could find, and in the utmost confusion dispersed to their several towns. Hannibal now looked with contempt on the boisterous menaces of this people, and bringing over the rest of his forces at leisure, encamped on the spot. Various plans, I should suppose, were projected for conveying the elephants across the river, at least the accounts transmitted of the manner in which it was performed are various. Some relate, that being brought all together to the river side, the fiercest among them was provoked to anger by his keeper, who pursued him by swimming as he fled into the water: that this drew down the rest of the herd; and that each, as soon as he lost the bottom, was by the mere force of the stream hurried to the opposite bank. But it is more generally agreed, that they were carried over on rafts; and as this must have appeared the safer method, it is now more easy to believe, that the business was so effected. One raft, of two hundred feet in length and fifty in breadth, was extended from the bank into the river, the upper part of it being firmly fastened to the shore with several strong cables, to prevent its being carried down with the stream, and this was covered with a layer of earth, like a bridge, in order that the beasts might, without fear, walk on it as on solid ground. Another raft of equal breadth, and one hundred feet long, was fastened to this, and when the elephants, being driven over the fixed raft as on a Edition: current; Page: [429] road, the females going foremost, passed over to the smaller one which was joined to it, then the ropes with which this latter had been slightly tied were instantly loosed, and it was towed away by several light vessels to the other bank. When the first were thus landed, it was brought back for the rest. As long as they were driven, as it were, on a bridge connected with the land, they showed no signs of fear: they first began to be frightened when, the raft being set loose, they were separated from the rest, and dragged into the deep: then pressing close on one another, as those on the outside drew back from the water, they occasioned a good deal of disorder; but terrified by seeing the water on every side of them, they soon became quiet. Some, indeed, becoming outrageous, tumbled into the river, but their own weight rendering them steady, though their riders were thrown off, they cautiously searched out the shallow parts, and came safe to land.

XXIX. While thus employed in transporting the elephants, Hannibal had despatched five hundred Numidian horsemen towards the camp of the Romans, to discover where they lay, what were their numbers, and, if possible, what their designs. This detachment of cavalry was met by the three hundred Roman horse, sent, as mentioned above, from the mouth of the Rhone. A battle ensued, more furious than common, between such small numbers: for, besides many wounds, there was a great loss of lives, nearly equal on both sides, and it was not until the Romans were thoroughly fatigued, that the dismay and flight of the Numidians yielded them the victory. On the side of the conquerors fell one hundred and sixty, not all Romans however, some of them being Gauls; and of the vanquished more than two hundred. As this prelude, and omen likewise, of the war, portended to the Romans a favourable issue on the whole, so did it a victory not unbloody, nor to be purchased without a Edition: current; Page: [430] dangerous struggle. After this action, the parties returned to their respective commanders. On the one hand, Scipio could form no determination, farther than to regulate his measures by the designs and proceedings of the enemy; and, on the other, Hannibal was in doubt, whether he should continue his march into Italy without intermission, or come to an engagement with the first Roman army that threw itself in his way. However, from the thoughts of an immediate engagement he was diverted by the arrival of ambassadors from the Boians, and of a chieftain called Magalus, who, assuring him that they would be his guides on the march, and companions in the dangers, recommended him to reserve the first essay of his entire force for the attack of Italy, and not, previously, to hazard any diminution of his strength. His troops feared indeed, the enemy, for the memory of the former war was not yet obliterated; but much more did they dread the extreme difficulty of the march, and the passage of the Alps, a matter exceedingly formidable, at least by report, and to people unacquainted with those mountains.

XXX. Hannibal, therefore, as soon as he had determined to proceed forward, and direct his operations against Italy, called an assembly of the soldiers, and endeavoured, by the different methods of reproof and exhortation, to mould their minds to his purpose. “He wondered,” he said, “what sudden terror could have taken possession of breasts hitherto always undaunted. During such a number of years in which they carried arms, they were constantly victorious; nor had left Spain until all the nations and countries comprehended between the two opposite seas were under subjection to Carthage. Then, seized with indignation at the Roman people demanding that every person, concerned in the siege of Saguntum, should be delivered into their hands as criminals, they had passed the Iberus, resolved to exterminate the Edition: current; Page: [431] Roman race, and to set the world at liberty. No one, at that time, thought the march too long, though they were to continue it from the setting place of the sun to that of its rising. Now, when they saw by far the greater part of the journey accomplished, after conquering the obstructions of the Pyrenean forests, in the midst of the fiercest nations; after effecting their passage over so great a river as the Rhone, in the face of so many thousands of Gauls opposing them; nay, when they had the Alps within view, the other side of which was a part of Italy, just in the gates of their enemy’s country, they grew weary and halted.—Was it that they conceived the Alps to be any thing more than high mountains? Suppose them higher than the summits of the Pyrenees: surely no part of the earth reached to the heaven, nor was of a height insuperable by mankind. These eminences in reality were inhabited, cultivated, produced and supported animals. Were they passable by small parties, and impassable by armies? Those very ambassadors, before their eyes, had not been carried aloft on wings over the Alps. Neither had their ancestors been natives of the soil, but settlers, who came from other countries into Italy, and who crossed with safety those same hills, often in vast bodies, with their wives and children, as other colonies emigrate. To a soldier carrying nothing with him but the implements of war, what could be impassable or insuperable? In order to gain possession of Saguntum, what toils, what dangers, did they not undergo, for the space of eight months? Now, when their object was Rome, the capital of the world, what difficulty or danger should be deemed capable of retarding the enterprize? The Gauls formerly made themselves masters of those very places which the Carthaginians despaired of approaching. Either, therefore, they must yield the superiority in spirit and courage to that nation, which, during a short time past, they had so frequently overcome; or they must look for the termination Edition: current; Page: [432] of their march, in the field lying between the Tiber and the walls of Rome.”

XXXI. When, by these exhortations, he had reanimated their courage, he ordered them to take refreshment, and prepare for a march. On the following day, he proceeded upwards along the bank of the Rhone, directing his route towards the interior parts of Gaul; not because that was the more direct road to the Alps, but because he thought that the farther he withdrew from the sea, the less probability there would be of his meeting with the Romans, with whom he did not intend to come to battle, until he should have arrived in Italy. After a march of four days, he came to the Island. Here the rivers Isara and Rhone, which run down from different parts of the Alps, after encompassing a pretty large tract of ground, unite their streams, and the plain enclosed between them is called the Island. The adjacent country is inhabited by the Allobroges, a nation, even in those times, inferior to none in Gaul in power and reputation, but at that juncture weakened by discord. Two brothers disputed the sovereignty. The elder, who had been invested with the government, by name Brancus, was dispossessed by the younger brother, and a combination of the younger men; on which side, though there was less justice, there was more strength. Most opportunely, the parties in this dissension referred their pretensions to the judgment of Hannibal, who being appointed arbitrator of the disputed sovereignty, gave a decision agreeable to the sense of the senate, and of the principal men of the state: that the government should be restored to the elder. In requital of which favour, he was assisted with a supply of provisions, and plenty of all kind of necessaries, particularly of clothing, which the terrible accounts of the cold of the higher regions made it necessary to provide. After settling the disputes of the Allobroges, though now bent on proceeding to the Alps, he took not the direct Edition: current; Page: [433] road thither, but turned to the left into the country of the Tricastines; thence, through the extreme boundaries of the Vocontian territory, he advanced into that of the Tricorians, meeting no obstruction until he came to the river Druentia. This also, deriving its source from the Alps, is, of all the rivers in Gaul, the most difficult to pass; for, though conveying a vast body of water, it admits not the use of ships; because, being confined by no banks, it flows in several, and not always the same channels, continually forming new shallows, and new whirlpools, so that a person is in danger of missing his way; and besides, rolling down loose gritty stones, the footing is unsteady. Happening too, at that time, to be swelled by rains, it caused the utmost disorder among the troops on their passage, and which was much increased by their own hurry and confused clamours.

XXXII. In about three days after Hannibal’s moving from the bank of the Rhone, the consul Publius Cornelius had come with his forces, in order of battle, to the camp of the enemy, intending to fight them without delay. But finding the fortifications abandoned, and concluding that, as they had got the start of him so far, it would be difficult to overtake them, he marched back to the sea, where his ships lay; for he judged that he might thus with greater ease and safety meet Hannibal on his descent from the Alps. However, not to leave Spain, the province which the lots had assigned to his care, destitute of the aid of Roman troops, he sent his brother Cneius Scipio, with the greater part of his forces, against Hasdrubal, with the expectation not merely of protecting old allies, and acquiring new, but of driving him out of Spain. He himself, with a very small force, repaired to Genoa, proposing, with the army which was stationed on the Po, to provide for the security of Italy. From the Druentia, Hannibal, passing through a tract in general level, without any molestation from the Gauls inhabiting those regions, Edition: current; Page: [434] arrived at the Alps. And now, notwithstanding that the men had already conceived notions of the scene from report, which, in cases capable of misrepresentation, generally goes beyond the truth, yet the present view exhibited such objects as renewed all their terrors; the height of the mountains, the snows almost touching the sky, the wretched huts standing on the cliffs, the cattle and beasts shivering with the cold, the people squalid and in uncouth dress, all things, in short, animate and inanimate, stiffened with frost, besides other circumstances more shocking to the sight than can be represented in words. As they marched up the first acclivities, they beheld the eminences which hung over them covered with parties of the mountaineers, who, if they had posted themselves in the vallies out of view, and, rushing out suddenly, had made an unexpected attack, must have occasioned the most terrible havoc and dismay. Hannibal commanded the troops to halt, and having discovered from some Gauls, whom he sent forward to examine the ground, that there was no passage on that side, encamped in the widest valley which he could find, where the whole circuit around consisted of rocks and precipices. Then, having gained intelligence by means of the same Gauls, (who differed not much from the others in language or manners, and who had entered into conversation with them,) that the pass was blocked up only by day, and that, at night, they separated to their several dwellings, he advanced at the first dawn to the eminences, as if with the design of forcing his way through the pass. This feint he carried on through the whole day, his men at the same time fortifying a camp in the spot where they were drawn up. As soon as he understood that the mountaineers had retired from the heights, and withdrawn their guards, he made, for a show, a greater number of fires than was proportioned to the troops who remained in the camp, and, leaving behind the baggage, with the cavalry and the greatest Edition: current; Page: [435] part of the infantry, he himself with a light-armed band, composed of the most daring men in the army, pushed rapidly through the pass, and took post on those very eminences of which the enemy had been in possession.

XXXIII. At the first dawn of the next day, the rest of the army began to march forward. By this time the mountaineers, on a signal given, were coming together out of their fortresses to their usual station; when, on a sudden, they perceived a part of the enemy over their heads in possession of their own strong post, and the rest passing along the road. Both these circumstances striking them at once, they were for some time incapable of thought, or of turning their eyes to any other object. Afterwards, when they observed the confusion in the pass, and that the body of the enemy was disordered on their march, by the hurry among themselves, and particularly by the unruliness of the affrighted horses, it was imagined that, to augment in any degree the terror under which they already laboured, were effectually to destroy them: they therefore ran down the rocks in an oblique direction through pathless and circuitous ways, which habitual practice rendered easy to them: and now the Carthaginians had to contend, at once, with the Gauls and the disadvantage of the ground; and there was a greater struggle among themselves than with the enemy, for every one strove to get first out of danger. But the greatest disorder was occasioned by the horses, which, affrighted at the dissonant clamours, multiplied by the echoes from the woods and vallies, became nearly unmanageable; and when they happened to receive a stroke or a wound, grew so unruly as to overthrow numbers of men, and heaps of baggage of all sorts; and as there were abrupt precipices on each side of the pass, their violence cast down many to an immense depth, so that the fall of such great masses produced a dreadful effect. Although these were shocking sights to Hannibal, yet he kept his place Edition: current; Page: [436] for a while, and restrained the troops that were with him, lest he should encrease the tumult and confusion. Afterwards, seeing the line of the army broken, and that there was danger of their being wholly deprived of their baggage, in which case the effecting of their passage would answer no purpose, he hastened down from the higher ground; and while, by the mere rapidity of his motion, he dispersed the forces of the enemy, he at the same time increased the confusion among his own. But this, when the roads were cleared by the flight of the mountaineers, was instantly remedied, and the whole army was soon brought through the pass not only without disturbance, but almost without noise. He then seized a fort, which was the capital of that district, and several villages that lay round it, and fed his army for three days with cattle taken from the fugitives. During these three days, as he was not incommoded by the mountaineers, nor much by the nature of the ground, he made a considerable progress in his march.

XXXIV. He then reached the territory of another state, which was thickly inhabited for a mountainous country: there, he was very near suffering a defeat, not by open force, but by his own arts, treachery and ambush. Some men of advanced age, governors of their forts, came to the Carthaginian as ambassadors, with humble representations, that “as the calamities of others had afforded them a profitable lesson, they wished to make trial of the friendship, rather than of the strength, of the Carthaginians. That they were, therefore, resolved to yield obedience to all his commands, and requested him to accept of provisions and guides on his march, and hostages to ensure the performance of their engagements.” Hannibal neither hastily crediting, nor yet slighting their offers, lest, if rejected, they might declare openly against him, after returning a favourable answer, accepted the hostages, and made use of the provision which Edition: current; Page: [437] they had, of their own accord, brought to the road; but followed the guides, not as through a friendly country, but with the strictest order in his march. The elephants and cavalry composed the van, and he himself followed with the main body of the infantry, carefully inspecting every particular. On their coming into a road narrower than the rest, confined, on one side, by an impending hill, the barbarians rising upon all sides from places where they had lain concealed, assailed them in front and rear, in close and in distant fight, rolling down also huge rocks on the troops. The most numerous body pressed on the rear. There, the main force of infantry was ready to oppose them; but had not that been very strong, it must undoubtedly, in such a difficult pass, have suffered very great loss; even as the case stood, it was brought to the extremity of danger, and almost to destruction. For whilst Hannibal hesitated to lead down his horsemen into the narrow road, though he had left no kind of support at the back of the infantry, the mountaineers, rushing across and breaking through between the two divisions of the army, took possession of the pass, and Hannibal spent one night separated from his cavalry and baggage.

XXXV. Next day, the barbarians having relaxed the violence of their attacks in the centre, the troops were re-united, and carried through the defile, but not without loss; the destruction, however, was greater among the beasts of burthen than among the men. Thenceforward, the mountaineers made their attacks in smaller parties, more like robbers than an army; at one time, on the van; at another, on the rear; just as the ground happened to afford them an advantage, or as stragglers advancing before the rest, or staying behind, gave them an opportunity. As the driving the elephants through the narrow roads, even with all the haste that could be made, occasioned much loss of time, so wherever they went, they effectually secured the troops from the enemy, Edition: current; Page: [438] who being unaccustomed to such creatures, dared not to come near them. On the ninth day the army completed the ascent to the summit of the Alps, mostly through pathless tracts and wrong roads, into which they had been led, either by the treachery of their guides, or, when these were not trusted, rashly, on the strength of their own conjectures, following the courses of the vallies. On the summit they remained encamped two days, in order to refresh the soldiers, who were spent with toil and fighting; and, in this time, several of the beasts, which had fallen among the rocks, following the tracts of the army, came into the camp. Tired as the troops were, of straggling so long with hardships, they found their terrors very much increased by a fall of snow, this being the season of the setting of the constellation of the Pleiades*. The troops were put in motion with the first light; and as they marched slowly over ground which was entirely covered with snow, dejection and despair being strongly marked in every face, Hannibal went forward before the standards, and ordering the soldiers to halt on a projecting eminence from which there was a wide-extended prospect, made them take a view of Italy, and of the plains about the Po, stretching along the foot of the mountains; then told them, that “they were now sealing the walls, not only of Italy, but of the city of Rome. That all the rest would be plain and smooth, and after one, or, at most, a second battle, they would have the bulwark and capital of Italy in their power and disposal.” The army then began to advance, the enemy now desisting from any farther attempts on them, except by trifling parties for pillaging, as opportunity offered. But the way was much more difficult than it had been in the ascent; the declivity, on the Italian side of the Alps, being, in most places, shorter, and consequently Edition: current; Page: [439] more perpendicular; while the whole way was narrow and slippery, so that the soldiers could not prevent their feet from sliding, nor if they made the least false step, could they, on falling, stop themselves in the place; and thus men and beasts tumbled promiscuously over one another.

XXXVI. They then came to a ridge much narrower than the others, and composed of rock so upright, that a light-armed soldier, making the trial, could with much difficulty, by laying hold of bushes and roots, which appeared here and there, accomplish the descent. In this place the precipice, originally great, had, by a late falling away of the earth, been increased to the depth of at least one thousand feet. Here the cavalry stopped, as if at the end of their journey, and Hannibal, wondering what could be the cause of the troops halting, was told that the cliff was impassable. Then going up himself to view the place, it seemed clear to him that he must lead his army in a circuit, though ever so great, and through tracts never trodden before. That way, however, was found to be impracticable. The old snow, indeed, had become hard, and being covered with the new of a moderate depth, the men found good footing as they walked through it; but when that was dissolved by the treading of so many men and beasts, they then trod on the naked ice below. Here they were much impeded, because the foot could take no hold on the smooth ice, and was besides the more apt to slip, on account of the declivity of the ground; and whether they attempted to rise, either by the aid of hands or knees, these slipping, they fell again; add to this, that there were neither stumps nor roots within reach, on which they could lean for support; so that they wallowed in the melted snow on one entire surface of slippery ice. This the cattle sometimes penetrated as soon as their feet reached the lower bed, and sometimes, when they lost their footing, by striking more strongly with their hoofs in striving to keep themselves up, Edition: current; Page: [440] they broke it entirely through; so that the greatest part of them, as if caught in traps, stuck fast in the hard and deep ice.

XXXVII. At length, after men and beasts were heartily fatigued to no purpose, they fixed a camp on the summit, having with very great difficulty cleared even the ground which that required, so great was the quantity of snow to be dug and carried off. The soldiers were then employed to make a way down the steep, through which alone it was possible to effect a passage; and, as it was necessary to break the mass, they felled and lopped a number of huge trees which stood near, which they raised into a vast pile, and as soon as a smart wind arose, to forward the kindling of it, set it on fire, and then, when the stone was violently heated, made it crumble to pieces by pouring on vinegar. When the rock was thus disjointed, by the power of the heat, they opened a way through it with iron instruments, and inclined the descents in such a manner, that not only the beasts of burthen, but even the elephants, could be brought down. Four days were spent about this rock, during which the cattle were nearly destroyed by hunger, for the summits are, for the most part, bare, and whatever little pasture there might have been, was covered by the snow. In the lower parts are vallies and some hills, which enjoying the benefit of the sun, with rivulets at the side of the woods, are better suited to become the residence of human beings. There the horses were sent out to pasture, and the men, fatigued with their labour on the road, allowed to rest for three days. They then descended into the plains, where the climate, and likewise the temper of the inhabitants, were of a still milder cast.

XXXVIII. In this manner, as nearly as can be ascertained, they accomplished their passage into Italy, in the fifth month, according to some authors, after leaving New Carthage, having spent fifteen days in crossing the Alps. As to what number Edition: current; Page: [441] of forces Hannibal had when he arrived in Italy, writers by no means agree. Those who state them at the highest, make them amount to one hundred thousand foot, and twenty thousand horse; while those who state them at the lowest, say twenty thousand foot, and six of horse. The authority of Lucius Cincius Alimentus, who writes that he was taken prisoner by Hannibal, would have the greatest weight with me, did he not confound the number, by adding the Gauls and Ligurians. He says that, including these, (who it is more probable however flocked to him afterwards, and so some writers assert,) there were brought into Italy eighty thousand foot, and ten thousand horse; and that he heard from Hannibal himself, that from the time of his passing the Rhone, he had lost thirty-six thousand men, together with a vast number of horses, and other beasts of burthen, before he left the country of the Taurinians, the next nation to the Gauls, as he went down into Italy. That he came through this state, is agreed on by all; I am therefore the more surprised at its remaining doubtful by what road he crossed the Alps; and that the opinion should commonly prevail, that he passed over the Pennine hill, and that from thence that summit of these mountains got its name. Cœlius says, that he passed over the hill of Cremo. Either of these passes would have led him not into the territory of the Taurinians, but through that of the mountaineers, called Salassians, to the Libuan Gauls. Nor is it probable, that those roads into hither Gaul should, at that time, have been open; those, especially, which lead to the Pennine hill, would have been blocked up by nations half German. And besides, if the assertions of the inhabitants be admitted as an argument of any weight, it must be allowed, that the Veragrians, the inhabitants of that very hill, deny that the name was given to these mountains from any passage of the Carthaginians, and allege that it was so named Edition: current; Page: [442] from a person, called by the mountaineers Penninus, worshipped as a divinity on the highest top.

XXXIX. Hannibal had now a favourable opportunity for commencing his operations; the Taurinians, the nation lying nearest in his way, being at war with the Insubrians. But he could not put his forces under arms to assist either party, because they now felt most sensibly, while endeavouring to remedy them, the maladies which they had before contracted. For rest after toil, plenty after scarcity, and care of their persons after a course of filth and nastiness, produced little effect in the various disorders of those whose bodies were grown squalid and filthy to a degree of brutality. This consideration induced the consul Publius Cornelius, as soon as he arrived with the fleet at Pisæ, though the army which he received from Manlius and Atilius was composed of raw troops, and dispirited by their late disgraces, to hasten to the Po, in order that he might engage the enemy before he should recover his vigour. But by the time the consul came to Placentia, Hannibal had moved from his post, and had taken by storm a city of the Taurinians, the metropolis of the nation, because it had refused an offer of his friendship; and he would have drawn over to his side, either by their fears or inclinations, all the Gauls dwelling near the Po, had not the sudden arrival of Cornelius, when they were watching for an occasion of revolting, put a stop to their measures. Hannibal likewise advanced towards them from the country of the Taurinians, in expectation that, as they had not yet resolved what party they would join, his presence might determine them in his favour. The armies were now almost within view of each other, and the leaders, though not yet thoroughly acquainted, brought with them a degree of mutual admiration: for the name of Hannibal, even before the destruction of Saguntum, was highly famed among the Romans; and the very circumstance of Scipio having been particularly Edition: current; Page: [443] chosen for the command, supposed him a person of extraordinary merit. They were exalted still higher in each other’s opinion; Scipio, by the celerity with which, though left behind in Gaul, he had met Hannibal at his coming down into Italy: Hannibal, by having not only formed, but executed, the daring design of passing over the Alps. Scipio, however, first crossed the Po, and removed his camp to the river Ticinus; where, wishing to encourage his soldiers before he led them out to battle, he addressed them in a speech to this effect.

XL. “Soldiers, if I were marching to battle at the head of the army which I had with me in Gaul, I should have thought it needless to use any words to you: for why exhort either those horsemen, who, without difficulty, defeated the enemy’s cavalry at the river Rhone; or those legions, with whom I pursued this same enemy, and obtained, by their refusing to fight, and actually flying before us, an acknowledgment of victory? in the present state of things, as that army, which was enlisted for the province of Spain, is employed with my brother Cneius Scipio, under my auspices, in the place where it was the will of the senate and people of Rome, that it should be employed; and that I, in order that you might have a consul to lead you against Hannibal and the Carthaginians, have taken a voluntary part in this contest; as a new commander, I think it requisite to speak a few words to soldiers who are new to me. Now, that you should not be unacquainted either with the nature of the war, or with the enemy, know, soldiers, that you are to fight against men whom, in the former war, you conquered both on land and sea; from whom you have exacted tribute, for twenty years past; from whom you took, and still hold, Sicily and Sardinia, the prizes of your victory. In the present dispute, consequently, the spirit of the parties will be—yours, that of conquerors; theirs, that of men conquered. Nor is it confidence, Edition: current; Page: [444] but necessity, which now prompts them to fight: unless you suppose, that those who avoided fighting, when their force was entire, have acquired greater confidence after the loss of two-thirds of their infantry and cavalry, in the passage over the Alps; after greater numbers have perished than survive. But it may be said, they are few indeed, but vigorous in mind and body, having a power and strength no force can withstand. On the contrary, they are but the resemblance, mere shadows of men, rendered lifeless by hunger, cold, filth, and nastiness; battered and disabled among the rocks and precipices. Add to this, their joints benumbed, their sinews stiffened, their limbs shrivelled by the frost, their armour shattered and broken, their horses lamed and enfeebled. Such is the infantry, such the cavalry, with whom you are to fight. You will have to deal, not with enemies, but the remains of enemies. And nothing do I fear more, than, lest, before you come to a battle, the Alps may appear to have conquered Hannibal. But perhaps it was right that it should be so; that, against a nation and commander, guilty of a breach of treaties, the Gods themselves should commence the war, and break the force of the enemy; and that we who, next to the gods, were the party injured, should then take it up, and carry it on to a conclusion.

XLI. “In what I say on this head, I am not afraid of being suspected of ostentatious boasting, for the purpose of encouraging you, while my real sentiments are different. I might have proceeded with my army into Spain, my own province, to which I had gone part of the way; where I should have had my brother to assist me in council, and to share the danger; and, instead of Hannibal, I should have had Hasdrubal to contend with; and, certainly, a less difficult war to manage. Nevertheless, as I sailed along the coast of Gaul, having heard of the approach of this enemy, I landed, sent forward my cavalry, and moved my camp to the Rhone. In Edition: current; Page: [445] a battle, fought by the cavalry, the only part of my forces which had an opportunity of fighting, the enemy was routed; and because I could not, on land, overtake their body of infantry, which was carried away with all the rapidity of flight, I returned to my ships, and with the utmost expedition that I could make, through such a long circuit by sea and land, I have met him at the foot of the Alps. Now, whether do I appear to have fallen in unawares with this formidable foe, while I wished to decline a contest with him, or to have designedly thrown myself in the way of his route, to challenge and force him to a trial of strength? I feel a strong desire to try whether, in these twenty years past, the earth has all at once produced a new breed of Carthaginians; or whether they are the same with those who fought at the islands Ægates, whom you ransomed at Eryx at a valuation of eighteen denari* a head; and whether this Hannibal be, as he represents himself, another Hercules, equally renowned for his expeditions; or one left by his father, a subject, a tributary, and slave to the Roman people; who, if he were not struck with madness, as a punishment for the guilt of his behaviour at Saguntum, would reflect, if not on the conquest of his country, at least on the acts of his own family; on his father, on the treaties written by the hand of Hamilcar; who, in obedience to the commands of our consul, withdrew his forces from Eryx; who, agitated with extreme sorrow, accepted the burthensome conditions imposed on the conquered Carthaginians, and signed an engagement to evacuate Sicily, and to pay tribute to the Roman people. Wherefore, soldiers, I wish that you may fight, not only with the same spirit which you usually show against other foes, but with a degree of resentment and indignation, as if you saw your own slaves suddenly taking arms against you. We Edition: current; Page: [446] might have kept them shut up at Eryx, until they perished with hunger, the severest suffering that man can undergo; we might have carried over our victorious fleet to Africa; and, in the space of a few days, without opposition, have demolished Carthage. At their supplications, we granted pardon: we gave them liberty to depart from the place where we held them confined; after conquering them, we made peace with them; afterwards, when they were distressed by a war in Africa, we considered them as entitled to our protection. In return for these favours, they follow the lead of a hot-brained youth, and come to invade our country. I wish, that on our side, this contest was merely for glory, and not for safety. We are not to fight about the possession of Sicily and Sardinia, the subjects of the former dispute, but in defence of Italy; neither is there another army behind us, which, if we fail to conquer, might withstand the enemy; nor are there other Alps, during his passage over which new forces might be procured. Here, soldiers, we must make a stand, as if we were fighting under the walls of Rome. Let every one persuade himself that he is protecting, with his arms, not only his own person, but his wife, and his infant children. Nor let him consider, solely, his own domestic concerns, but frequently reflect, that the senate and people of Rome look for safety at our hands; that our strength and our courage are now to determine, what will henceforth be the condition of that city and of the Roman empire.”

XLII. Thus, on the side of the Romans, was the consul employed. Hannibal, choosing to rouse the courage of his soldiers by the exhibition of facts before he made use of words, formed his troops in a circle, and then placed in the middle the prisoners taken on the mountains, bound in fetters; when, such arms as are used by the Gauls being thrown at their feet, he ordered an interpreter to ask, whether any of them were willing, on the condition of being released from Edition: current; Page: [447] bonds,—and, in case of proving victorious, of receiving each a horse and armour,—to hazard his life in a combat? They all, to a man, called for arms and the combat; and when lots were cast, to single out the parties, every one wished himself to be the fortunate person who should be chosen for the trial: while he on whom it had fallen, dancing according to their custom, eagerly snatched up the arms, full of spirit, and exulting with joy, his companions congratulating him on his good fortune. While they were fighting, such were the sensations excited in the breasts, not only of their comrades, but of the spectators in general, that the fate of those who died bravely, was deemed not less happy than that of the successful combatants.

XLIII. The minds of his men being thus affected by the sight of several pairs of combatants, he dismissed the remainder; and then, summoning an assembly, addressed them, it is said, in the following manner: “If, soldiers, you form a judgment of your own circumstances, on the same principles which actuated you just now, on the exhibition of a case wherein others were concerned, we are conquerors. For that spectacle was not intended as a gratification to you, but a picture, in some sort, of your own situation. Indeed, I know not whether fortune has not imposed on you still stronger bonds, and a more powerful necessity, for using arms than on your prisoners. You are inclosed, on the right and left, by two seas, without so much as even a single ship to aid an escape: hemmed in on the front by the Po, a river larger and more violent than the Rhone; and behind by the Alps, which in your full strength and vigour you passed, not without the utmost difficulty. Here, soldiers, where you have first met the enemy, you must conquer or die: and the same fortune which compels you to fight, holds out to you prizes of victory; greater than which, men seldom wish for at the hands of the immortal gods. Were we, by our bravery, to Edition: current; Page: [448] recover only Sicily and Sardinia, ravished from our fathers, these would be a very ample recompense. But whatever the Romans have acquired and amassed, in consequence of their numerous triumphs, the whole of this, together with the owners, is to become your property. Animated then, by the prospect of so rich a spoil, take arms, with the favour of the gods. You have been, hitherto, employed in the pursuit of cattle, through the waste mountains of Lusitania and Celtiberia, without any prospect of emolument from so many toils and dangers. It is now time to make profitable and rich campaigns; and that, after measuring such a length of way, through so many mountains and rivers, and so many armed nations, you be at last abundantly rewarded for your labour. Here fortune has fixed the period of your toils; here, on your finishing your course of service, will she give you ample retribution. And do not imagine the victory to be as difficult, as the character of the war is important. Often has a despised enemy maintained a bloody contest, and renowned nations and kings been vanquished by exertions of very moderate force. For, setting aside singly the present splendour of the Roman name, in what one particular are they to be compared with you? Not to mention your service, for the last twenty years, performed with so great bravery, and so great success, you have effected a march to this place from the pillars of Hercules, from the ocean, and the remotest limits of the world; opening your way, with your victorious arms, through so many of the fiercest nations of Spain and Gaul. You will now fight with an army of raw troops, who, during this very summer, were beaten, routed, and besieged by the Gauls; who, as yet, neither know, nor are known by, their commanders. Ought I, if not born, at least educated, in the very tent of that most illustrious general my father; I who have subdued both Spain and Gaul; the conqueror, likewise, not only of the Alpine tribes, but what is much Edition: current; Page: [449] more, of the Alps themselves; ought I to put myself in comparison with such a commander as theirs? a general of six months standing, who ran away from his own army; to whom, if any one, taking away the ensigns from both, should show this day the Carthaginians, and the Romans, I am confident that he would not know of which army he was consul. On my part, soldiers, I esteem it a circumstance of no trivial import, that there is not one of you who has not often been an eye-witness of my performing some military exploit; and to whom, on the other hand, I cannot, as having been a spectator and witness of his bravery, recount his own honourable acts, with the marks of time and place. At the head of troops whom I have a thousand times honoured with praises and presents, I, who have been a pupil to you all, before I became your commander, shall enter the field against men unknowing and unknown to each other.

XLIV. “On whatever side I turn my eyes, I see spirit and firmness; a veteran body of infantry, cavalry composed of the most gallant nations; you our most brave and faithful allies, and you, Carthaginians, ready to fight in the cause of your country, and at the same time with the justest resentment. We are the assailants in the war, and are carrying an invasion into Italy; we shall fight therefore with so much the greater boldness and courage, as he who makes the attack has ever more confidence and spirit, than he who stands on the defensive. Besides, we are inflamed and stimulated by reflections on past sufferings, by injuries and indignities: for, first, they insisted, that I, your leader, should be delivered up to punishment, with every one concerned in the siege of Saguntum. Had we been put into their hands, there is no degree of torture which they would not have made us suffer. That nation, so unbounded are its cruelty and arrogance, would have the whole world at its disposal; thinks it has a right to impose regulations on us, and to prescribe with whom Edition: current; Page: [450] we are to have peace, with whom war; circumscribes, and shuts us up within boundaries of mountains and rivers, which we must not pass; yet observes not itself the limits which it establishes. You must not pass the Iberus; you must not meddle with the Saguntines: Saguntum is on our side of the Iberus; you must not stir a foot. Is it not enough that you take Sicily and Sardinia, provinces which have been mine from the earliest times? Will you take Spain also? when I shall have retired thence, you will pass over into Africa. Will pass, did I say! of the two consuls of the present year they have sent one to Africa, the other to Spain. There is nothing left to us any where, unless we make good our claim by arms. They may be timid and dastardly, who can look for refuge behind them, who can fly through safe and quiet roads, and be received into their own territories and their own lands. For your part, necessity obliges you to be brave; and, since every mean between victory and death is sunk out of reach, you must resolve to conquer, or should fortune be unfavourable, to meet death in battle rather than in flight. If this determination be firmly fixed in every one of your breasts, I affirm again, you are conquerors. The immortal gods never gave to man a more invigorating incentive to conquest.”

XLV. The courage of the soldiers on both sides being animated to the contest by these exhortations, the Romans threw a bridge over the Ticinus, and erected a fort on it for its security. While they were employed in this work, the Carthaginian sent Maharbal, with a squadron of five hundred Numidian horse, to ravage the lands of the allies of the Roman people. He ordered him to spare the Gauls, as much as possible, and to endeavour, by persuasion, to bring over their chiefs to his side. When the bridge was finished, the Roman army marched over into the country of the Insubrians, and sat down at the distance of five miles from Victumviæ. Edition: current; Page: [451] At this place lay Hannibal’s camp, who, perceiving the approach of a battle, hastily recalled Maharbal and the horsemen, and thinking that he could never apply too many arguments and encouragements to inspirit his soldiers, called them to an assembly, with promises of several kinds of rewards to be conferred on them, that the certain hope of these might animate their exertions in the fight. “He would give them land,” he told them, “in Italy, Africa, or Spain, wherever they should choose; exempt from all charges, to the person who should receive it, and to his children. Should any prefer money to land, he would give him an equivalent in silver. To such of the allies, as wished to become citizens of Carthage, that privilege should be granted. With regard to those who chose rather to return to their native homes, he would take care that they should not have cause to wish for an exchange of situation with any one of their countrymen.” To the slaves also who attended their masters he promised liberty, engaging to give the owners two slaves, in the room of each of these. Then, to give them full security for the performance of all this, holding in his left hand a lamb, and in his right a flint stone, he prayed to Jupiter and the rest of the gods, that if he did not fulfil these engagements, they would slay him, in like manner as he slew that lamb; and after this imprecation, he broke the animal’s head with the stone. This had such an effect, that all the soldiers, as if they had now received the surety of the gods for the ratification of their hopes, and thinking that nothing delayed the enjoyment of their wishes, but the battle not being begun, with one mind, and one voice, demanded the fight.

XLVI. Nothing like the same alacrity appeared among the Romans, who, besides other matters, were dispirited by some late prodigies. A wolf had entered the camp, and after tearing such as he met, made his escape unhurt. A Edition: current; Page: [452] swarm of bees also had pitched on a tree, which hung over the general’s tent. After expiating these prodigies, Scipio, at the head of his cavalry, and light spearmen, set out toward the camp of the enemy, in order to discover, by a near view of their forces, how great and of what kind they were; and was met by Hannibal, who had likewise advanced with his cavalry to reconnoitre the adjacent grounds. For some time neither party descried the other. Afterwards the dust, being raised in thicker clouds by the moving of so many men and horses, gave notice of approaching enemies, both detachments halted, and made ready for battle. Scipio placed his spearmen and Gallic cavalry in front, keeping the Romans and the body of allies which accompanied him, as a reserve. Hannibal drew the bridled cavalry into the centre, strengthening his wings with the Numidians. The shout was scarcely raised, before the spearmen fled to the second line; then the battle was maintained by the cavalry, for a considerable time with doubtful success, but afterwards, in consequence of the confusion caused among the horses, by the footmen being intermixed with them, many of the riders fell from their seats, and others, on seeing their friends surrounded and distressed, dismounted to assist them; so that the fight was now carried on mostly on foot, until the Numidians, posted on the wings, taking a small compass, showed themselves on the rear. This terrified and dismayed the Romans, whose fears were augmented by a wound received by the consul, who was rescued from farther danger by the speedy intervention of his son, just arrived at the age of maturity. This is the same youth, who is afterwards to enjoy the renown of terminating this war, and to receive the title of Africanus, on account of his glorious victory over Hannibal and the Carthaginians. However, very few fled precipitately, except the spearmen, on whom the Numidians made the first charge. The rest formed a compact body of cavalry; Edition: current; Page: [453] who, taking the consul into their centre, and covering him, not only with arms, but with their bodies, without any disorder or precipitation in their retreat, brought him back to the camp. Cœlius attributes the honour of saving the consul to a slave, by nation a Ligurian: but I rather wish the account to be true which gives it to his son; and so the fact is represented by most authors, and generally believed.

XLVII. Such was the first battle with Hannibal, in which it manifestly appeared that the Carthaginian was superior in cavalry; and, consequently, that open plains, such as those between the Po and the Alps, were unfavourable to the Romans in their operations. Wherefore the consul, on the night following, ordering his men to prepare in silence for a march, decamped from the Ticinus, and hastened to the Po, in order that, before the rafts should be loosened, of which he had formed the bridge over that river, he might carry over his forces without tumult or interruption from the enemy’s pursuit. They got as far as Placentia, before Hannibal received any certain information of their departure from the Ticinus. Nevertheless, he made prisoners six hundred men, who delayed on the hither bank, spending too much time in unbinding the raft. He could not pass over the bridge, because, as soon as the extremities were untied, the whole collection of rafts floated down with the current. Cœlius relates, that Mago, with the cavalry, and the Spanish infantry, immediately swam over the river; and that Hannibal himself led over the rest of the army, through fords somewhat higher up, forming the elephants in a line, above them, to break the force of the current. These accounts can hardly gain credit with people acquainted with the river Po: for it is not credible, that the cavalry could stem such a violent current, without losing their arms and horses, even allowing that all the Spaniards were conveyed over on leathern bags inflated; besides, that it would have cost a circuit of many days march Edition: current; Page: [454] to find fords in the Po, through which an army, heavily encumbered with baggage, could make a passage. Those authors seem to me more worthy of credit, who relate, that, with difficulty, after two days search, a place was found where a bridge of rafts could be constructed; and that, over this, the cavalry and light-armed Spaniards were sent forwards under Mago. While Hannibal, who waited on the same side of the river to give audience to embassies from the Gauls, was bringing over the heavy troops, Mago and his horsemen, in one day’s march after passing the river, came up with the enemy at Placentia. In a few days after, Hannibal fortified a camp within six miles of Placentia, and next day, drawing up his forces in the enemy’s view, offered them battle.

XLVIII. On the night following, there was a violent outrage committed in the Roman camp, by the auxiliary Gauls; which, however, was attended with greater tumult, than loss of lives. A number of them, amounting to two thousand foot and two hundred horse, killing the guards at the gates, deserted to Hannibal. The Carthaginian received them with expressions of much kindness, and after animating their zeal by prospects of vast rewards, dismissed them to their respective states, to engage the rest of their countrymen in his interest. Scipio, apprehending that this outrage was a signal for a general revolt of the Gauls; and that, infected with the same treacherous spirit, they would run like madmen to arms, though still very ill of his wound, marched away in silence, at the fourth watch of the following night, toward the river Trebia, and removed his camp to higher grounds, and hills less advantageous to the operations of cavalry. His departure was not so secret as at the Ticinus; Hannibal, therefore, sending on first the Numidians, afterwards all his cavalry, would have caused great disorder, at least in the rear of the army, had not the Numidians, out of their greediness Edition: current; Page: [455] for plunder, turned aside into the forsaken camp of the Romans. While searching narrowly every part of it, without finding any prize to compensate for the loss of time, they let the enemy slip out of their hands. Afterwards, coming within sight of the Romans, when they had already passed the Trebia, and were pitching their camp, they cut off a few, who loitered behind the rest on that side of the river. Scipio, unable to endure any longer the pain of his wound, which was exasperated by the rough motion in travelling, and at the same time judging it prudent to wait for his colleague, (for he had by this time heard that he was recalled from Sicily,) chose a spot near the river, which seemed the safest for a fixed station, and there fortified his camp. Hannibal took post at a small distance; and though he felt much joy at the success of his cavalry, yet finding no less cause of anxiety in the scarcity of necessaries, daily increasing as he marched through an enemy’s country without magazines prepared, he sent a detachment to the small town of Clastidium, where the Romans had collected a large store of corn. Here, while the troops were preparing for an assault, a prospect offered of the town being betrayed to them, and accordingly the commander of the garrison, one Dasius, a Brundusian, for a bribe of no great amount, only four hundred pieces of gold*, surrendered Clastidium to Hannibal. This served the Carthaginians as a granary, while they lay encamped on the Trebia. The prisoners, who fell into his hands on the surrender of the garrison, he treated without severity, being desirous that, at the commencement of his proceedings, a good opinion should be conceived of his clemency.

XLIX. While the operations of the land-forces on the Trebia were at a stand, much was effected by land and sea, in and round Sicily, and the other islands adjacent to Italy, Edition: current; Page: [456] both by Sempronius the consul, and before his arrival. Of twenty quinqueremes, sent by the Carthaginians with one thousand soldiers, to ravage the coast of Italy, nine arrived at Liparæ, eight at the island of Vulcan, and three were driven by the current into the streight. As soon as these were seen from Messana, twelve ships were despatched by Hiero, King of Syracuse, who happened to be then in that city waiting for the Roman consul, and these took them without opposition, and brought them into port to Messana. From the prisoners it was discovered that, besides the fleet of twenty ships to which they belonged, and which had been sent against Italy, another of thirty-five quinqueremes was on its way to Sicily, to rouse their ancient allies in their cause; that their principal object was the getting possession of Lilybæum, and it was the opinion of the prisoners that the same storm by which they had been dispersed, had driven the other fleet to the islands Ægates. This intelligence, just as he received it, the King despatched in a letter to Marcus Æmilius, the prætor, whose province Sicily was, and cautioned him to secure Lilybæum with a strong garrison. Immediately the lieutenants-general and tribunes, who were with the prætor, were sent off to the several states, with orders to keep their men attentive and alert in guarding their posts; and that, above all things, Lilybæum should be effectually secured. A proclamation was also published, that besides every warlike preparation, the mariners* should bring on board the ships provisions for ten days ready dressed, so that no one should have any delay to prevent his embarking the moment the signal should be given; and that, through the whole extent of the coast, those Edition: current; Page: [457] stationed at the watch-towers should be vigilant in looking out for the approach of the enemy’s fleet. In consequence of these precautions, notwithstanding that the Carthaginians purposely slackened the course of their ships, designing to reach Lilybæum a little before day, they were observed on their approach; for the moon shone through the whole night, and they came with their sails aloft: in the same instant the signal was made on the watch-towers, the alarm given in the town, and the men embarked in the ships; one-half of the soldiers mounted guard on the walls and at the gates, the other were on board the fleet. On the other hand, the Carthaginians perceiving that preparations were made for their reception, remained until day-break at the mouth of their harbour, employing the intermediate time in taking down their rigging, and fitting their ships for action. When day appeared, they drew back their fleet into the open sea, in order that they might have room for fighting, and give the enemy’s ships free egress from the harbour. Nor did the Romans decline an engagement, being emboldened by the recollection of their former successes near that very spot, and by confidence in the number and bravery of their men.

L. When they got into the open sea, the Romans showed a desire of coming up with the enemy, and trying their strength with them in close fight. The Carthaginians, on the contrary, wished to elude their attacks, to effect the business by skill, not by force, and to make it a contest of ships, not of men or arms: for there was on board their fleet an abundance of mariners, but a scarcity of soldiers, and when a ship was grappled, their number of fighting men to defend it was by no means equal to that of the enemy. This circumstance being discovered, the Romans assumed additional courage from the fulness of their numbers; and while the others were dispirited by their deficiency in that respect, Edition: current; Page: [458] seven Carthaginian ships were quickly surrounded, and the rest betook themselves to flight. In the captured ships, there were of soldiers and mariners one thousand seven hundred, among whom were three Carthaginian nobles. The Roman fleet without loss returned into the harbour, one ship only being bulged, and even that brought into port. Very soon after this battle, before those who were at Messana had heard of it, Tiberius Sempronius, the consul, came to that city. On his entering the streight, King Hiero, with a fleet completely equipped, sailed to meet him, and going from the royal galley on board that of the consul, congratulated him on his safe arrival with his ships and army. After praying for a successful and happy issue to his expedition into Sicily, he represented to him the state of the island and the attempt lately made by the Carthaginians, assuring him that, as he had, in the early part of his life, supported the Roman people in the former war, so would he now, advanced as he was in years, support them still with the same degree of spirit; that he would, at his own expense, furnish the consul’s legions, and the crews of his ships, with corn and clothing; and then, acquainting him that Lilybæum and all the maritime states were exposed to imminent danger, he informed him that there were many to whom a revolution would be highly agreeable. For these reasons the consul judged that he ought, without making any delay, to sail on directly to Lilybæum, whither he was accompanied by the King and his fleet. On their passage, they received the news of the fight of Lilybæum, of the discomfiture of the enemy, and the capture of their ships.

LI. From Lilybæum, the consul, after dismissing King Hiero with his fleet, and leaving the prætor to defend the coast of Sicily, sailed over to the island of Melita, which was in the possession of the Carthaginians. Immediately on his arrival, Hamilcar, son of Gisgo, commander of the garrison, Edition: current; Page: [459] and somewhat less than two thousand soldiers, together with the town and the island, were surrendered into his hands. From thence he returned in a few days to Lilybæum, where all the prisoners taken by the consul, and by the prætor, except those who were of distinguished birth, were sold by public auction. When the consul thought that side of Sicily sufficiently secured, he sailed over to the islands of Vulcan, because there was a report that the Carthaginian fleet lay there; but he met with none at those islands, for it happened that they had already passed over to ravage the coast of Italy, and, after laying waste the territory of Vibo, were now threatening that city. When he was on his return to Sicily, he was informed of the descent made by the enemy on the territory of Vibo. Letters were, at the same time, delivered to him from the senate, containing an account of Hannibal’s having entered Italy, and, also, orders to come to the support of his colleague with all possible expedition. So many objects demanding his attention at once, he instantly embarked his troops, and sent them by the upper sea to Ariminum; appointed Sextus Pomponius lieutenant-general, with twenty ships of war, to defend the territory of Vibo and the sea-coast of Italy; made up a fleet of fifty sail for the prætor Marcus Æmilius; and, after settling the affairs of Sicily, sailed himself with ten ships along the coast of Italy to Ariminum, from whence he marched his army to the river Trebia, and formed a junction with his colleague.

LII. And now, both the consuls and the whole of the Roman strength being opposed to Hannibal, afforded sufficient reason to suppose either that the Roman empire would be effectually protected by that force, or that there would be no room for any farther hopes. Nevertheless, Scipio, dispirited by the event of the battle between the cavalry, and by his own wound, wished to defer coming to action; while Sempronius, whose spirit had vet met no check, and who, Edition: current; Page: [460] therefore, possessed the greater confidence, was impatient of any delay. The lands between the Trebia and the Po were at that time inhabited by Gauls, who, during this struggle between two such potent nations, showed no partiality to either party, evidently intending to court the favour of the conqueror. With this conduct the Romans were well satisfied, provided they kept themselves entirely quiet; but the Carthaginian was highly displeased, giving out that he had come thither on an invitation from the Gauls, to set them at liberty. In order to gratify his resentment on that account, and at the same time to maintain his troops with plunder, he ordered two thousand foot and one thousand horse, mostly Numidians, with some Gauls intermixed, to ravage the whole country, from thence onward to the banks of the Po. The Gauls, destitute of support, though they had hitherto kept their inclinations doubtful, being now compelled by necessity, declared against the authors of their sufferings in favour of those who were to avenge them; and sent ambassadors to the consul to implore the aid of the Romans for a country which was suffering severely, in consequence of the too faithful attachment of its inhabitants to the people of Rome. Scipio approved not either of the cause or of the season for undertaking it; for he doubted the sincerity of that people, both on account of many instances of treacherous behaviour, and particularly, though the others through length of time might have been forgotten, on account of the recent perfidy of the Boians. Sempronius, on the contrary, was of opinion, that it would be the strongest tie on the fidelity of the allies, to let them see that the first who stood in need of aid had found protection. He then, while his colleague hesitated, despatched his own cavalry, joined by one thousand foot, mostly light spearmen, over the Trebia, to protect the lands of the Gauls. These falling unexpectedly on the enemy, while they were straggling in disorder, and most of them Edition: current; Page: [461] loaded with spoil, caused great consternation, slew many, and drove the rest flying before them to their camp. Though repulsed by the multitude which sallied out, yet, as soon as the rest of their party came up, they again renewed the fight. Success afterwards remained doubtful; sometimes they retreated, sometimes pursued; but though, at last, the advantages were equal on both sides, yet the honour of the victory was more generally attributed to the Romans.

LIII. But to no one did it appear more important and complete, than to the consul himself. He was transported with joy, at having obtained a victory with that part of the troops, which, under his associate, had been defeated. “The spirits of the soldiers,” he said, “were now revived; nor was there any one, except his colleague, who wished a delay of action. He, more disordered in mind than in body, and reflecting on his wound, shuddered at the thoughts of fighting and of arms. But others ought not to sink into feebleness along with a sick man. For to what purpose was farther delay, or waste of time? What third consul or what other army was to be waited for? The Carthaginians were encamped in Italy, almost within sight of the city. Their designs did not aim at Sicily and Sardinia, which were taken from them, nor at the parts of Spain on this side of the Iberus, but at the expulsion of the Romans from the land of their fathers, from the soil in which they were born. What sighs would it draw from these,” said he, “who were accustomed to carry war to the very walls of Carthage, if they were to see us, their offspring, at the head of consular armies, skulking within our camp in the heart of Italy; and a Carthaginian possessed of the dominion over the whole extent of country between the Alps and the Apennine?” In this manner did he argue, sitting with his colleague, and also at the head quarters, as if he were haranguing an assembly. He was, besides, incited to expeditious measures by the approach of the time of the Edition: current; Page: [462] elections, for he feared lest the war should be protracted until the new consuls came into office; wishing, likewise, to secure the present opportunity, and while his colleague was indisposed, of engrossing to himself the whole of the glory. For these reasons, while Scipio remonstrated in vain, he issued orders to the soldiers to be ready for battle at a short warning. Hannibal, plainly perceiving what line of conduct would be more advantageous to the enemy, scarcely entertained any distant hope that the consuls would enter on any action without caution and foresight: but understanding, first from report, and afterwards from experience, that the temper of one of them was fiery and presumptuous, and supposing his presumption augmented by the success of the battle with the plundering party, he then made little doubt but that he should soon have an opportunity of coming to action—an occasion which he was earnestly solicitous to improve, while the troops of the enemy were raw, while the more able of their commanders was, by his wound, rendered incapable of exertion, and while the Gauls were disposed to act with vigour; for he well knew that these, whose number was very great, would follow him with the less zeal, in proportion as they were drawn away to a greater distance from home. Thus wishing for a speedy engagement, he intended, should any delay be given, to use every means to bring it about. The Gauls, whom he employed as spies, (because they were the better fitted for it, especially as men of that nation served in both camps,) brought intelligence that the Romans were prepared for battle; on which, the Carthaginian began to look about for a place where he might form an ambuscade.

LIV. In the middle, between the camps, ran a rivulet, whose banks were uncommonly steep; the adjacent ground was covered with such herbs as grow in marshes, with bushes and brambles, which usually overspread uncultivated ground. On examining the place himself, and finding it to be capable Edition: current; Page: [463] of concealing even horsemen, he said to Mago, his brother, “This is the spot which you must occupy. Choose out from the whole number of horse and foot a hundred men of each, and come with them to me at the first watch. It is now time to take refreshment.” Thus, the attending officers were dismissed. In some little time Mago came with his chosen band, and Hannibal said, “I see you are very able men; but that you may be strong, not only in spirit, but in number, let each of you choose nine like yourselves out of the troops and companies; Mago will shew you the place where you are to lie in wait. You will have to deal with an enemy who is blind with respect to these stratagems of war.” Having thus sent off this detachment of one thousand horse and one thousand foot under Mago, Hannibal ordered the Numidian cavalry to cross the river Trebia at the first light; to ride up to the enemy’s gates, and, discharging their weapons against their men on guard, to draw them out to battle, and then, as soon as the fight should be commenced, to retreat leisurely, and by that means draw them on to the other side of the river. These were his orders to the Numidians. To the other officers, both of cavalry and infantry, he gave directions to cause their men to take refreshment; and then, under arms, and with their horses accoutered, to wait the signal. On the alarm first given by the Numidians, Sempronius, eager for action, led out, first, all the cavalry, being full of confidence in that part of his force; then six thousand foot, and at last the whole body of infantry, to the ground previously fixed upon in the plan which he had adopted. It was then winter, and the weather snowy, in those places which lie between the Alps and the Apennine, and the cold was rendered exceedingly intense by the proximity of rivers and marshes. Besides this, both men and horses being drawn out in a hurry, without having first taken food, or used any precaution to guard against the intemperature of the air, were quite chilled, and as they approached Edition: current; Page: [464] the river, the more piercing were the blasts which assailed them. But having, in pursuit of the flying Numidians, entered the river, which by rain in the night was swelled so high as to reach their breasts, their bodies, on coming out, were all so perfectly benumbed, that they were scarcely capable of holding their arms, and, as the day advanced, they also grew faint through hunger.

LV. Meanwhile Hannibal’s soldiers had fires made before their tents; oil was distributed to every company to lubricate their joints, and they had at leisure refreshed themselves with food. As soon, therefore, as intelligence was brought, that the enemy had passed the river, they took arms with sprightly vigour both of mind and body, and thus advanced to battle. Hannibal placed in the van the Balearians and light-armed troops, amounting to about eight thousand; and, in a second line, his heavier-armed infantry, the main power and strength of his army. The flanks he covered with ten thousand cavalry, and dividing the elephants, placed half of them on the extremity of each wing. The consul seeing his cavalry, who pressed the pursuit with disorderly haste, taken at a disadvantage by the Numidians, suddenly turning upon them, recalled them by the signal for retreat, and posted them on the flanks of the foot. His army consisted of eighteen thousand Romans, twenty thousand of the allies and Latine confederates, beside the auxiliary troops of the Cenomanians, the only Gallic state that continued faithful to their cause. This was the force employed in that engagement. The battle was begun by the Balearians, who being too powerfully opposed by the legions, the light-armed troops were hastily drawn off to the wings; which circumstance proved the cause of the Roman cavalry being quickly overpowered: for being in number but four thousand, they had before been hardly able to maintain their ground against ten thousand; especially as they were fatigued, and the others mostly fresh; but Edition: current; Page: [465] now they were overwhelmed under a cloud as it were of javelins thrown by the Balearians. Besides this, the elephants advancing on the extremities of the wings, so terrified the horses, as to occasion a general rout. The fight between the infantry was maintained by an equality of spirit rather than of strength: for, with respect to the latter, the Carthaginians had brought theirs fresh into the battle, invigorated by food; the Romans, on the contrary, were enfeebled by fasting and fatigue, and their limbs stiffened and benumbed with cold. They would, notwithstanding, have maintained their ground by dint of courage, had the conflict rested solely between them and the infantry. But the Balearians, after the discomfiture of the cavalry, poured darts on their flanks, and the elephants had now made their way to the centre of the line of the infantry; while Mago, with his Numidians, as soon as the army had passed by their lurking place without observing them, started up at once, and caused dreadful confusion and terror in the rear.

LVI. Encompassed by so many perils, the line, notwithstanding, stood for a long time unbroken, even (which was most surprising to all) by the attack of the elephants. The light infantry, stationed for that purpose, plying these briskly with iron javelins, made them turn back; and then, following them behind, darted their weapons into them, under the tails, in which part, the skin being softest, it is easy to wound them. When they were by these means put into disorder, and ready to vent their fury on their own party, Hannibal ordered them to be driven away from the centre towards the extremity of the left wing, against the auxiliary Gauls. These they instantly put to open flight, which spread new terror among the Romans. They were now obliged to fight in the form of a circle; when about ten thousand of them, having no other means of escape, forced their way, with great slaughter, through the centre of the African line, which was composed Edition: current; Page: [466] of the Gallic auxiliaries; and, as they could neither return to their camp, from which they were shut out by the river, nor, by reason of the heavy rain, discover in what part they could assist their friends, they proceeded straight to Placentia. After this, several similar irruptions were made from all quarters, and those who pushed towards the river were either drowned in the eddies, or, hesitating to enter the water, were cut off. Some, who, in their flight, dispersed themselves over the country, falling in with the tracks of the body of troops which had retreated, followed them to Placentia; others, from their fears of the enemy, assumed boldness to attempt the stream, and, accomplishing their passage, arrived at the camp. The rain, mixed with snow, and the intolerable severity of the cold, destroyed great numbers of men and horses, and almost all the elephants. The Carthaginians continued the pursuit no farther than the river Trebia, and returned to their camp so benumbed with the cold, as to be scarcely capable of feeling joy for the victory; insomuch that though, during the following night, the guard of the Roman camp, and a great part at least of their soldiers, passed the Trebia on rafts, the Carthaginians either perceived nothing of the matter through the noise made by the rain, or being, by weariness and wounds, disabled to move, pretended that they did not perceive it; and the enemy lying quiet, the consul Scipio led the troops in silence to Placentia, and thence across the Po to Cremona, lest the two armies, wintering in one colony, should be too great a burthen.

LVII. The news of this disaster caused such consternation in Rome, that people supposed the enemy would come directly to attack the city; and they could see no hope nor aid to enable them to repel an assault from the walls and gates. One consul had been defeated at the Ticinus, the other recalled from Sicily; and now that both the consuls, and two consular armies, had been defeated, what other commanders, Edition: current; Page: [467] what other legions were there whom they could call to their support? While they were possessed by such desponding fears, the consul Sempronius arrived; for though the enemy’s cavalry were scattered over the whole face of the country in search of plunder, yet he had passed through the midst of them with the utmost hazard, and with a greater degree of boldness than of prudence, or of hope, either of escaping notice, or of being able to make resistance in case he were discovered. After holding the election of consuls, the only business which rendered his presence particularly necessary at the time, he returned to his winter-quarters. The consuls elected were Cneius Servilius and Caius Flaminius. Even in their winter-quarters the Romans were not allowed to rest, the Numidian cavalry spreading themselves round on every side; the Celtiberians and Lusitanians doing the same, where the ground was too difficult for the horse; so that no provisions of any kind could be brought in, except what were conveyed on the Po in ships. There was, near Placentia, a magazine fortified with strong works, and supplied with a numerous garrison. In hopes of gaining possession of this strong hold, Hannibal marched at the head of his cavalry and light infantry; and judging that the success of the enterprize would depend, principally, on the design being kept secret, made the attack by night; but he did not escape the vigilance of the guards, as a shout was instantly raised so loud that it was heard even at Placentia. In consequence of this, the consul came to the spot before day with his cavalry, having ordered the legions to follow in order of battle.* Meanwhile, the action began between the cavalry, in which Hannibal, being wounded, and retiring from the Edition: current; Page: [468] fight, his men became dispirited; and the defence of the fortress was effectually maintained. After this, taking but a few days to rest, and scarcely allowing time for his wound to be thoroughly healed, he set out to lay siege to Victumviæ. This had been fortified by the Romans for a magazine, in the time of the Gallic war. Afterward, numbers of people, from all the neighbouring states, fixing their residence round it, made it a populous place, and at this juncture, fear of the enemy’s depredations had driven into it the greater part of the country people. The multitude, thus composed, being excited to a warmth of courage by the report of the gallant defence made by the garrison near Placentia, snatched up arms, and marched out to meet Hannibal. The parties engaged on the road, in the order of march rather than of battle, and as there was, on one side, nothing more than a disorderly crowd, on the other a leader confident of his soldiers, and a soldiery confident of their leader, a number, not less than thirty-five thousand, was routed by a small party. Next day they capitulated, and received a garrison within their walls. They were then ordered to deliver up their arms, with which they had no sooner complied, than a signal was suddenly given to the conquerors to sack the city, as if taken by storm. Nor have writers, in cases of the like nature, mentioned any one calamity which was not suffered on this occasion: every outrage, which lust, cruelty, and inhuman insolence could dictate, being practised on those wretched people. Such were Hannibal’s enterprizes during the winter.

LVIII. After this he gave rest to his troops, but not for any great length of time, only while the cold was intolerable. Upon the first, and even uncertain appearances of spring, he left his winter-quarters, and marched towards Etruria, determined, either by force or persuasion, to prevail on that nation to join him, as he had already managed the Gauls Edition: current; Page: [469] and Ligurians. As he was attempting to cross the Apennine, he was encountered by a storm so furious, that its effects almost equalled in severity the disasters of the Alps. The rain, which was attended with a high wind, being driven directly into the men’s faces, they at first halted, because they must either have cast away their arms, or, if they persisted to struggle forward, would be whirled round by the hurricane, and thrown on the ground. Afterwards, scarcely able to respire, they turned their backs to the wind, and for awhile sat down. But now, the whole atmosphere resounded with loud thunder, and lightnings flashed between the tremendous peals, by which all were stunned, and reduced, by terror, nearly to a state of insensibility. At length the violence of the rain abating, and the fury of the wind increasing, the more necessary it was judged to pitch their camp on the very spot, where they had been surprised by the tempest. But this was, in a manner, beginning their toils anew. For neither could they well spread their canvass, nor fix the poles; and such tents as they did get raised, they could not keep standing, the wind tearing and sweeping off every thing in its way. And soon after, the water, being raised aloft by the force of the wind, and congealed by the cold which prevailed above the summits of the mountains, came down in such a torrent of snowy hail, that the men, giving over all their endeavours, threw themselves flat on their faces, buried under, rather than protected by, their coverings. This was followed by cold so intense, that when they wished to rise from among the wretched crowd of prostrated men and cattle, they were for a long time unable to effect it, their sinews being so stiffly frozen that they were scarcely able to bend their joints. In some time, when, after many efforts, they at length regained the power of motion, and recovered some degree of spirits, and when fires began to be kindled in a few places, every one who was unable to assist himself had recourse Edition: current; Page: [470] to the aid of others. Two days they remained in that spot, as if pent up by an enemy. Great numbers of men and cattle perished, and likewise seven of the elephants, which had survived the battle at the Trebia.

LIX. Descending therefore from the Apennine, he directed his route back towards Placentia; and, having marched ten miles, pitched his camp. Next day he led out against the enemy twelve thousand foot, and five thousand horse. Nor did the consul Sempronius (for he had by this time returned from Rome) decline a battle; and, during that day, the armies lay encamped within three miles of each other. On the following, they fought with the greatest bravery, and with variable success. At the first onset, the superiority was so great on the side of the Romans, that they not only had the better in the fight, but drove the enemy from their ground, pursued them to their camp, and presently attacked the camp itself. Hannibal, after posting a few to defend the rampart and gates, collected the rest in close order, in the middle of the camp, ordering them to watch attentively the signal for sallying forth. It was now near the ninth hour of the day, when the Roman, having fatigued his troops without effect, and seeing no prospect of success, gave the signal for retreat. As soon as Hannibal perceived that they slackened their efforts, and were retiring from the camp, he instantly sent out his cavalry against them, on the right and left; and he himself, at the head of the main body of infantry, rushed out in the middle. Seldom has there been a fight more desperate, and never, perhaps, one more remarkable for the loss on both sides than this would have been, had the day-light allowed it to continue; but night put a stop to the battle, while its fury was at the highest. The numbers slain, therefore, were not great, in proportion to the violence of the conflict; and as both parties had met nearly equal success, so they separated with equal loss. On neither side fell more Edition: current; Page: [471] than six hundred foot, and half that number of horse. But the loss of the Romans was more considerable in regard of the quality, than of the number of their slain; for among the killed were several of equestrain rank, five military tribunes, and three præfects of the allies. Immediately after this battle, Hannibal removed into Liguria; Sempronius, to Luca. On Hannibal’s arrival among the Ligurians, that people, in order to convince him of their sincerity in the treaty of peace and alliance which they had concluded, delivered into his hands two Roman quæstors, Caius Fulvius and Lucius Lucretius, with two military tribunes, and five persons of equestrian rank, mostly the sons of senators, all of whom they had seized in a treacherous manner.

LX. While these transactions passed in Italy, Cneius Cornelius Scipio, who was sent with the fleet and army into Spain, after his departure from the mouth of the Rhone, sailing round the Pyrenean mountains, put into Emporiæ, where he disembarked his army; and beginning with the Lacetans, partly by re