The next night the Volsci, relying on the1
lack of harmony among the Romans, attacked their camp on the chance that the darkness might encourage desertions or treachery. But the sentries perceived them, the army was roused, and, the signal being given, rushed to arms.
Thus the design of the Volsci came to naught, and the remainder of the night was devoted by both armies to sleeping. On the following day at dawn the Volsci filled up the trenches and assaulted the rampart, and soon they were everywhere pulling down the palisades.
On every side the consul's men were clamouring for the signal —none more loudly than the debtors. He waited a moment, to test the temper of the soldiers. When there could no longer be any doubt of their great ardour, he finally gave the command for a sortie and released them, eager for the fray. At the very first onset the enemy were routed.
While they ran, the foot-soldiers struck at them from behind as long as they could keep up the pursuit; then the horsemen drove them panic-stricken clear to their camp. Soon the camp itself had been surrounded by the legions, and when the Volsci had fled from it in terror, it was taken and plundered.
Next day Servilius led his forces to Suessa Pometia, where the enemy had taken refuge, and within a few days took the town and gave it up to be sacked.2
This yielded some slight relief to the soldiers, who needed it
badly. The consul led his army back to Rome, with great honour to himself. As he was setting out on his return thither ambassadors approached him from [p. 301]
the Volsci of Ecetra, who were alarmed at their own3
prospects, in view of the capture of Pometia. A decree of the senate granted them peace, but took away their land.