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. 363.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 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. 362. whose loss, though at an advanced period of life, was much to be regreted: 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. 361.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 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 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. 360. 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 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. 359. and Lucius Genucius a second time, being consuls, a criminal prosecution was commenced against Manlius, by Marcus 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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. 358.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 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 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 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 of carrying on the war, and received from them liberal supplies of provisions.Y.R.395. 357. 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 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. 356. 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, 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. 355. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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. 354.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, 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 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. 353.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 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 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. 352. 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 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 who remained,Y.R.401. 351. 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, and Caius Sulpicius Pæticus a fourth time, and Marcus Valerius Publicola a second time, were elected.Y.R.402. 350. 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 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 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 became so wearied,Y.R.403. 349. 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 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. 348. 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, 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. 347.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 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 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 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. 346. 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; 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 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 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, 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. 345. 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. 344. The only business which occurred out of course, was, that the interest of money, instead of 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. 343. 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 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. 342.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 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. 341. 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. 340. 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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, 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, 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. 339. 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 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 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 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 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; 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 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 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 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.
* Satura signified a dish filled with a variety of fruits, and other kinds of food, offered to Ceres, at the time of her festival, and was used to denote a poetic medley, comprising a variety of topics and matter. Livius Andronicus, a freed man of Marcus Livius Salinator, began to write about the year of Rome 512.
† It was customary, at the end of every act, to chaunt a set of verses, accompanied by the music, and with correspondent gesticulations.
* The Atellan farces were borrowed from Atella, a town in Oscia, which was a district of Campania, comprehending the two states of the Auruncians and Sidicinians.
* 321. 5s. 10d.
† The method of emancipating a son was this: the father made a fictitious sale of his son to a person, who then manumitted, i. e. gave him his freedom in due form; and this process, being performed thrice, released the son from the jurisdiction of the father. It has been already mentioned, that fathers had an entire property in, and jurisdiction, even to life and death, over their sons, who were in a condition little, if at all, better than that of slaves. One sale and manumission released a daughter, or a grand child.
* In this place, and in the sixteenth chapter, Livy uses the expressions unciarum, and semunciarum fænus, in a sense very different from the common acceptation. In general, as was considered as the integer, consequently, unciarum should mean as 1-12th per month, one per cent. for the year. But he here considers uncia as the integer, meaning one per cent. per month, 12 per cent. by the year.
* The common method of communicating the watch-word, and such orders as required expedition, was, to write them on a small tablet or ticket, tessera, which the tribunes sent to the first centurion, by whom it was sent on to the next; and thus it passed to all the centurions in order, until it came to the last, who returned it to the tribune.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:10