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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VIII Chapter 3: The Revolt of the Latins and Campanians.[341-0 BC]
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With this reply the Samnites were dismissed, quite uncertain as to what the Romans were going to do. But its effect was to completely estrange the Campanians, who now feared the worst, and it made the Latins more determined than ever, since the Romans refused any further concessions. Under the pretext of making preparations for a Samnite war, they held frequent meetings of their national council, and in all the consultations of their leaders they hatched plans in secret for war with Rome. The Campanians also took part in this movement against their preservers. But in spite of the careful secrecy with which everything was being conducted -- for they wanted the Samnites to be dislodged from their rear before the Romans made any movement -- some who had friends and relatives in Rome sent hints about the league which was being formed. The consuls were ordered to resign before the expire of their year of office in order that the new consuls might be elected at an earlier date in view of such a formidable war. There were religious difficulties in the way of the elections being held by those whose tenure of office had been curtailed, and so an interregnum commenced. There were two interreges, Marcus Valerius and Marcus Fabius. The latter elected Titus Manlius Torquatus (for the third time) and Publius Decius Mus as consuls.
It was in this year (341 B.C.), it appears, that Alexander, King of Epirus, landed in Italy, and there is no doubt that had he been fairly successful at first that war would have extended to Rome. This, too, was about the time of the achievements of Alexander the Great, the son of this man's sister, [Note 1] who, after proving himself invincible in another region of the globe, was cut off, whilst a young man, by disease.
Although there could be no doubt as to the revolt of their allies -- the Latin league -- still, as though they were concerned for the Samnites and not for themselves, the Romans invited the ten chiefs of the league to Rome to give them instructions as to what they wanted. Latium at that time had two praetors, Lucius Annius of Setia and Lucius Numisius, of Cerceii, both belonging to the Roman colonists. Through these men not only had Signia and Velitrae, themselves Roman colonies, but the Volsci also been instigated to take up arms. It was decided that they should be particularly invited by name. No one had the slightest doubt as to the reason for this invitation. A meeting of their council was accordingly held prior to their departure; they informed those present that they had been asked by the senate to go to Rome, and they requested them to decide as to what reply they should give with reference to the matters which they had reason to suppose would be discussed.
Note 1: sister = Olympias