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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VI Chapter 10: War with the Volscians and Etruscans. Nepete.[386 BC]
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It looked as if the capture of that city would give more trouble, not only because the whole of it was in the hands of the enemy, but also because the surrender had been effected through the treachery of some of the townsfolk. Camillus, however, determined to send a message to their leaders requesting them to withdraw from the Etruscans and give a practical proof of that loyalty to allies which they had implored the Roman to observe towards them. Their reply was that they were powerless; the Etruscans were holding the walls and guarding the gates. At first it was sought to intimidate the townsmen by harrying their territory. As, however, they persisted in adhering more faithfully to the terms of surrender than to their alliance with Rome, fascines of brushwood were collected from the surrounding country to fill up the fosse, the army advanced to the attack, the scaling ladders were placed against the walls, and at the very first attempt the town was captured. Proclamation was then made that the Nepesines were to lay down their arms, and all who did so were ordered to be spared. The Etruscans, whether armed or not, were killed, and the Nepesines who had been the agents of the surrender were beheaded; the population who had no share in it received their property back, and the town was left with a garrison. |
After thus recovering two cities in alliance with Rome from the enemy, the consular tribunes led their victorious army, covered with glory, home.
During this year satisfaction was demanded from the Latins and Hernici; they were asked why they had not for these last few years furnished a contingent in accordance with the treaty. A full representative assembly of each nation was held to discuss the terms of the reply.
This was to the effect that it was through no fault or public act of the State that some of their men had fought in the Volscian ranks; these had paid the penalty of their folly, not a single one had returned. The reason why they had supplied no troops was their incessant fear of the Volscians; this thorn in their side they had not, even after such a long succession of wars, been able to get rid of.
The senate regarded this reply as affording a justifiable ground for war, but the present time was deemed inopportune.