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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VI Chapter 22: Wars with the Volscians and Latins. Velitrae.[382-1 BC]
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Spurius and Lucius Papirius, the new consular tribunes marched with the legions to Velitrae. Their four colleagues, Servius Cornelius Maluginensis, Quintus Servilius, Gaius Sulpicius, and Lucius Aemilius were left to defend the City and to meet any fresh movement in Etruria, for danger was suspected everywhere on that side. At Velitrae, where the auxiliaries from Praeneste were almost more numerous than the colonists themselves, an engagement took place in which the Romans soon won the day, for as the city was so near, the enemy took to flight early in the battle and made for the city as their one refuge. The tribunes abstained from storming the place, for they were doubtful of success and did not think it right to reduce the colony to ruin. The dispatches to the senate announcing the victory were more severe on the Praenestines than on the Veliternians. Accordingly, by a decree of the senate confirmed by the people, war was declared against Praeneste. The Praenestines joined forces with the Volscians and in the following year took by storm the Roman colony of Satricum, after an obstinate defence, and made a brutal use of their victory. |
This incident exasperated the Romans. They elected Marcus Furius Camillus as consular tribune for the sixth time, and gave him four colleagues, Aulus and Lucius Postumius Regillensis, Lucius Furius, Lucius Lucretius, and Marcus Fabius Ambustus. By a special decree of the senate the war with the Volscians was entrusted to Marcus Furius Camillus; the tribune chosen by lot as his coadjutor was Lucius Furius, not so much, as it turned out, in the interest of the State, as in the interest of his colleague, for whom he served as the means of gaining fresh renown. He gained it on public grounds by restoring the fortunes of the State which had been brought low by the other's rashness, and on private grounds, because he was more anxious to win the other's gratitude after retrieving his error than to win glory for himself. Camillus was now advanced in age, and after being elected was prepared to make the usual affidavit declining office on the grounds of health, but the people refused to allow him. His vigorous breast was still animated by an energy unweakened by age, his senses were unimpaired, and his interest in political affairs was lost in the prospect of war.
Four legions were enrolled, each consisting of 4000 men. The army was ordered to muster the next day at the Esquiline Gate and at once marched for Satricum. Here the captors of the colony awaited him, their decided superiority of numbers inspiring them with complete confidence. When they found that the Romans were approaching they advanced at once to battle, anxious to bring matters to a decisive issue as soon as possible. They imagined that this would prevent the inferiority in numbers of their opponents from being in any way aided by the skill of their commander, which they looked upon as the sole ground of confidence for the Romans.
|Insequenti anno Sp. et L. Papirii noui tribuni militum consulari potestate Velitras legiones duxere, quattuor collegis Ser. Cornelio Maluginensi tertium Q. Seruilio C. Sulpicio L. Aemilio quartum tribunis ad praesidium urbis et si qui ex Etruria noui motus nuntiarentur—omnia enim inde suspecta erant—relictis. ad Velitras aduersus maiora paene auxilia Praenestinorum quam ipsam colonorum multitudinem secundo proelio pugnatum est ita ut propinquitas urbis hosti et causa maturioris fugae et unum ex fuga receptaculum esset. oppidi oppugnatione tribuni abstinuere, quia et anceps erat nec in perniciem coloniae pugnandum censebant. litterae Romam ad senatum cum uictoriae nuntiis acriores in Praenestinum quam in Veliternum hostem missae. itaque ex senatus consulto populique iussu bellum Praenestinis indictum; qui coniuncti Volscis anno insequente Satricum, coloniam populi Romani, pertinaciter a colonis defensam, ui expugnarunt foedeque in captis exercuere uictoriam. eam rem aegre passi Romani M. Furium Camillum sextum tribunum militum creauere. additi collegae A. et L. Postumii Regillenses ac L. Furius cum L. Lucretio et M. Fabio Ambusto. Volscum bellum M. Furio extra ordinem decretum; adiutor ex tribunis sorte L. Furius datur, non tam e re publica quam ut collegae materia ad omnem laudem esset et publice, quod rem temeritate eius prolapsam restituit et priuatim, quod ex errore gratiam potius eius sibi quam suam gloriam petiit. exactae iam aetatis Camillus erat, comitiisque iurare parato in uerba excusandae ualetudini solita consensus populi restiterat; sed uegetum ingenium in uiuido pectore uigebat uirebatque integris sensibus, et ciuiles iam res haud magnopere obeuntem bella excitabant. quattuor legionibus quaternum milium scriptis, exercitu indicto ad portam Esquilinam in posteram diem ad Satricum profectus. ibi eum expugnatores coloniae haudquaquam perculsi, fidentes militum numero quo aliquantum praestabant, opperiebantur. postquam appropinquare Romanos senserunt, extemplo in aciem procedunt nihil dilaturi quin periculum summae rerum facerent: ita paucitati hostium nihil artes imperatoris unici, quibus solis confiderent, profuturas esse.|