Having left therefore a guard on the camp, they marched out and attacked the Roman frontiers with such fury, as to [p. 161]
carry terror even to the city:
the unexpected nature of the thing also caused more alarm, because nothing could be less apprehended, than that an enemy, vanquished and almost besieged in their camp, should entertain a thought of depredation:
and the peasants, in a panic pouring in at the gates, cried out, that it was not mere plundering, nor small parties of depredators, but, exaggerating every thing through groundless fear, that whole armies and legions of the enemy were advancing, and that they were pushing forward to the city determined for an assault.
Those who were nearest (the gates) carried to others the accounts heard from these, uncertain as they were, and therefore the more groundless; and the hurry and confused clamour of those calling to arms bore no distant resemblance to the panic of a city taken by storm.
It so happened that the consul Quintius had returned to Rome from Algidum; this was some relief for their terror; and the tumult being calmed, and after chiding them for being in dread of a vanquished enemy, he posted a guard on the gates.
Then having convened the senate, when he set out to defend the frontiers, a suspension1
of civil business having been proclaimed by a decree of the senate, leaving Quintus Servilius behind as prefect of the city, he found no enemy in the
country. Matters were conducted with distinguished success by the other consul; who having attacked the enemy, wherever he knew that they were to come, laden with booty, and proceeding therefore with their army the more encumbered, made their depredation prove fatal to
them. Few of the enemy escaped from the ambuscade; all the booty was recovered; thus the return of the consul Quintius to the city put a termination to the justitium, which lasted only four
days. A census was then held, and the lustrum was closed by Quintius: the number of citizens rated are said to have been one hundred and twenty-four thousand two hundred and fourteen, besides orphans of both
sexes. Nothing memorable occurred afterwards among the Aequans; they betook themselves into their towns, suffering their possessions to be consumed by fire and to be devastated. The consul, after he had repeatedly carried depredation through the entire country of the enemy, returned to Rome with great glory and booty. [p. 162]