Domestic strife was at an end; but war broke out with the Veientes, with whom the Sabines had united their arms. Publius Valerius the consul was [p. 399]
dispatched to Veii with an army to which had been1
added auxiliaries from the Latins and the Hernici. He at once advanced upon the Sabine camp, which had been established in front of the walls of their allies, and threw the enemy into such confusion that, while they were running out in small groups, some one way and some another, to repel the attack of the Romans, he captured the gate against which he had directed his first assault.
What followed within the stockade was a massacre rather than a battle. The sounds of confusion in the camp penetrated even to the city, and the frightened inhabitants ran hastily to their weapons, as though Veii had been surprised.
Some went to the rescue of the Sabines, others assailed the Romans, who were wholly preoccupied with the camp. For a moment the Romans were disconcerted and thrown into disorder; then they, too, faced both ways and made a stand, and the horse which the consul sent into the fight dispersed and routed the Etruscans.
In one and the same hour two armies, two of the greatest and most powerful neighbouring nations, were defeated.
While these victories were being won at Veii, the Volsci and the Aequi had encamped on Latin soil, and had laid waste the country. These the Latins, acting independently, with the assistance of the Hernici, but without either general or aid from Rome, despoiled of their camp.
Immense booty, in addition to property of their own which they recovered, fell into their hands. Nevertheless a consul, Gaius Nautius, was sent from Rome against the Volsci. The precedent, I suppose, of allies waging wars, without a Roman commander and army, by means of their own forces and their own strategy, was not welcome.
There was no species of disaster or indignity which2
was not visited upon the Volsci, yet they could not be forced into giving battle.