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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VIII Chapter 16: War with the Ausonians.[336-4 BC]
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The consuls for the following year were Lucius Papirius Crassus and Caeso Duillius. There was war with the Ausonians; the fact that it was against a new enemy rather than a formidable one made it noticeable. This people inhabited the city of Cales, and had joined arms with their neighbours, the Sidicines. The combined army of the two cities was routed in a quite insignificant engagement; the proximity of their cities made them all the sooner seek a safety in flight which they did not find in fighting. The senate were none the less anxious about the war, in view of the fact that the Sidicines had so frequently either taken the aggressive themselves or assisted others to do so, or had been the cause of hostilities. They did their utmost, therefore, to secure the election of Marcus Valerius Corvus, the greatest commander of his day, as consul for the fourth time. Marcus Atilius Regulus was assigned to him as his colleague. To avoid any chance of mistake, the consuls requested that this war might be assigned to Corvus without deciding it by lot. |
After taking over the victorious army from the previous consuls, he marched to Cales, where the war had originated. The enemy were dispirited through the remembrance of the former conflict, and he routed them at the very first attack. He then advanced to an assault upon their walls . Such was the eagerness of the soldiers that they were anxious to bring up the scaling ladders and mount the walls forthwith, but Corvus perceived the difficulty of the task and preferred to gain his object by submitting his men to the labours of a regular siege rather than by exposing them to unnecessary risks. So he constructed an agger and brought up the vineae and the turrets close to the walls, but a fortunate circumstance rendered them unnecessary. Marcus Fabius, a Roman prisoner, succeeded in eluding his guards on a festival, and after breaking his chains fastened a rope from a battlement of the wall and let himself down amongst the Roman works. He induced the commander to attack the enemy while they were sleeping off the effects of their wine and feasting, and the Ausonians were captured, together with their city, with no more trouble than they had previously been routed in the open field. The booty seized was enormous, and after a garrison was placed in Cales the legions were marched back to Rome. The senate passed a resolution allowing the consul to celebrate a triumph, and in order that Atilius might have a chance of distinguishing himself, both the consuls were ordered to march against the Sidicines. Before starting they nominated, on the resolution of the senate, Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus as dictator, for the purpose of conducting the elections; he named Quintus Publilius Philo as his Master of the Horse. The consuls elected were Titus Veturius and Spurius Postumius. Although there was still war with the Sidicines, they brought forward a proposal to send a colony to Cales in order to anticipate the wishes of the plebs by a voluntary act of kindness. The senate passed a resolution that 2500 names should be enrolled, and the three commissioners appointed to settle the colonists and allocate the holdings were Caeso Duillius, Titus Quinctius, and Marcus Fabius.
Event: War with the Ausonians.
Vineae:Movable shelters, open at both ends, pushed along on wheels, and made of stout wattling, covered with leather. As the name suggests, the earliest were probably constructed of interlaced vine stems. Under their protection battering-rams could be worked, mines commenced, and other siege operations conducted.
Triumph:The highest honour to a general: clad like Jupiter he drove in a chariot drawn by four white horses. Before him walked the prisoners taken in the war, and the spoils of the captured cities, and in later times pictures of the conquered territories were carried before the general's chariot. He was followed by his troops, who sung songs, often extempore effusions, in honour of their commander.