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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 3: War of Aequi and Volscians (Cont.)[465 BC]
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Accordingly, leaving a detachment to guard the camp, they sallied forth, and made such devastating forays in the Roman territory that the terror they caused extended even to the City. The alarm was all the greater because such proceedings were quite unexpected. For nothing was less to be feared than that an enemy who had been defeated and almost surrounded in his camp should think of predatory incursions, whilst the panic-stricken country people, pouring in at the gates and exaggerating everything in their wild alarm, exclaimed that they were not mere raids or small bodies of plunderers, entire armies of the enemy were near, preparing to swoop down on the City in force. Those who were nearest carried what they heard to others, and the vague rumours became still more exaggerated and false. The running and clamour of men shouting "To arms!" created nearly as great a panic as though the City was actually taken. Fortunately the consul Quinctius had returned to Rome from Algidus. This relieved their fears, and after allaying the excitement and rebuking them for being afraid of a defeated enemy, he stationed troops to guard the gates. The senate was then convened, and on their authority he proclaimed a suspension of all business; after which he set out to protect the frontier, leaving Quintus Servilius as prefect of the City. He did not, however, find the enemy. |
The other consul [Note 1] achieved a brilliant success. He ascertained by what routes the parties of the enemy would come, attacked each while laden with plunder and therefore hampered in their movements, and made their plundering expeditions fatal to them. Few of the enemy escaped; all the plunder was recovered. The consul's return put an end to the suspension of business, which lasted four days.
Then the census was made and the lustrum closed by Quinctius. The numbers of the census are stated to have been one hundred and four thousand seven hundred and fourteen, exclusive of widows and orphans.
Nothing further of any importance occurred amongst the Aequi. They withdrew into their towns and looked on passively at the rifling and burning of their homesteads. After repeatedly marching through the length and breadth of the enemies' territory and carrying destruction everywhere, the consul returned to Rome with immense glory and immense spoil.
Note 1: other consul = Quinctius Fabius
Event: War with Aequi and Volscians
Lustrum:Lustrum, or expiation. The last act of the censors during their period of office was to offer an expiatory sacrifice for the whole people. On the appointed day the citizens assembled in military formation in the Campus Martius. The victims, a boar, a ram, and a bull -- hence the name of the sacrifice, suovetaurilia" -- were carried thrice round the assembled host, who were then declared "purified," and whilst the animals were being offered on the altar, the censor to whom the lot had fallen of conducting the ceremony recited a traditional form of prayer for the strengthening and extension of the might of the Roman people. As the censor's office was originally fixed for five years, "lustrum" was used to denote that period of time.