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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VIII Chapter 13: The Revolt of the Latins and Campanians. Pedum[338 BC]
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The consuls for the next year were Lucius Furius Camillus and Gaius Maenius. In order to bring more discredit upon Aemilius for his neglect of his military duties the previous year, the senate insisted that no expenditure of arms and men must be spared in order to reduce and destroy Pedum. The new consuls were peremptorily ordered to lay aside everything else and march at once. The state of affairs in Latium was such that they would neither maintain peace nor undertake war. For war their resources were utterly inadequate, and they were smarting too keenly under the loss of their territory to think of peace. They decided, therefore, on a middle course, namely, to confine themselves to their towns, and if they were informed of any town being attacked, to send assistance to it from the whole of Latium . The people of Tibur and Praeneste, who were the nearest, reached Pedum, but the troops from Aricium, Lanuvium, and Veliternae, in conjunction with the Volscians of Antium, were suddenly attacked and routed by Maenius at the river Astura. Camillus engaged the Tiburtines who were much the strongest force, and, though with greater difficulty, achieved a similar success. During the battle the townsmen made a sudden sortie, but Camillus, directing a part of his army against them, not only drove them back within their walls, but stormed and captured the town, after routing the troops sent to their assistance, all in one day. After this successful attack on one city, they decided to make a greater and bolder effort, and to lead their victorious army on to the complete subjugation of Latium. They did not rest until, by capturing or accepting the surrender of one city after another, they had effected their purpose. Garrisons were placed in the captured towns, after which they returned to Rome to enjoy a triumph which was by universal consent accorded to them. An additional honour was paid to the two consuls in the erection of their equestrian statues in the Forum, a rare incident in that age. |
Before the consular elections for the following year were held, Camillus brought before the senate the question of the future settlement of Latium. " senators," he said, " our military operations in Latium have by the gracious favour of the gods and the bravery of our troops been brought to a successful close. The hostile armies were cut down at Pedum and the Astura, all the Latin towns and the Volscian Antium have either been stormed or have surrendered and are now held by your garrisons. We are growing weary of their constant renewal of hostilities, it is for you to consult as to the best means of binding them to a perpetual peace. The immortal gods have made you so completely masters of the situation that they have put it into your hands to decide whether there shall be henceforth a Latium or not. So far, then, as the Latins are concerned, you can secure for yourselves a lasting peace by either cruelty or kindness. Do you wish to adopt ruthless measures against a people that have surrendered and been defeated? It is open to you to wipe out the whole Latin nation and create desolation and solitude in that country which has furnished you with a splendid army of allies which you have employed in many great wars. Or do you wish to follow the example of your ancestors and make Rome greater by conferring her citizenship on those whom she has defeated? The materials for her expansion to a glorious height are here at hand. That is assuredly the most firmly-based empire, whose subjects take a delight in rendering it their obedience. But whatever decision you come to, you must make haste about it You are keeping so many peoples in suspense, with their minds distracted between hope and fear, that you are bound to relieve yourselves as soon as possible from your anxiety about them, and by exercising either punishment or kindness to pre-occupy minds which a state of strained expectancy has deprived of the power of thought. Our task has been to put you in a position to take the whole question into consultation, your task is to decree what is best for yourselves and for the republic."