While this was going on in Macedonia, the consuls departed for their provinces.
Marcellus sent a messenger ahead to the proconsul Lucius Porcius, ordering him to move the legions to the new town of the Gauls.1
On the arrival of the consul the Gauls surrendered. There were twelve thousand armed men: most of them had weapons picked up in the country;
these were taken from them, to their great displeasure, and whatever else they had either carried off while ravaging the fields or had brought with them. They sent ambassadors to Rome to complain of this treatment.
Introduced to the senate by Gaius Valerius the praetor, they explained that since the population of Gaul was too great, compelled by poverty and the unproductiveness of the soil, they had crossed the Alps in search of a home, and when they found a region which was untilled for lack of settlers, there they established themselves without injuring anyone.
They had even, they said, begun to build a town, which was an indication that they had come with no design to harm either farm or city. Recently Marcus Claudius had sent a message to them that he would make war upon them if they did-not surrender.
Preferring an assured though unattractive peace to the uncertainties of war, they had entrusted [p. 393]
themselves to the good faith rather than to the power of2
the Roman people.3
When, a few days later, they were ordered to leave the town and the country as well, they had planned to go away in silence, wherever in the world they could. Then, they went on to say, their arms were taken from them, and finally everything else which they were carrying or
driving. They begged the senate and the Roman people not to treat innocent persons who had surrendered more harshly than
enemies. The senate ordered the reply to be given to this appeal, that neither had they acted properly when they came into Italy and attempted to build a town on others' land, without the permission of any Roman magistrate who was in charge of that province;4
nor did it please the senate to despoil men who had
surrendered. Accordingly, the senate would send with them ambassadors to the consul who would direct him, on condition that they would return whence they had come, to give back all their property, and who would then cross the Alps and warn the Gallic tribes to keep their population at home: the Alps were an almost insuperable boundary between
them: in any case they would fare no better than those who had first made them passable.5
The ambassadors who were sent were Lucius Furius Purpurio,6
Quintus Minucius, Lucius Manlius
Acidinus. The Gauls, having recovered all the property which they acquired without injuring anyone, left Italy.