Next year the consuls Gaius Sulpicius and1
Gaius Licinius Calvus led an army against the [p. 383]
Hernici, and not finding the enemy abroad, captured2
their city of Ferentinum by assault. As they were returning thence, the men of Tibur closed their gates against them.
Many complaints had before this been bandied back and forth between the two peoples, but this new offence made the Romans finally determine that after sending the fetials to demand redress they would declare war on the Tiburtine people.
It is well established that Titus Quinctius Poenus was dictator that year and that Servius Cornelius Maluginensis was master of the horse.
states that the appointment was for the purpose of holding an election and was made by Licinius the consul, who, because his colleague was in haste to hold the election before the campaign, so that he might succeed himself in the consulship, felt obliged to thwart his evil designs.
But the praise which he seeks to bestow on his own family makes the testimony of Licinius less weighty, and since I find no mention of the circumstance in the older annals, I am more disposed to think that it was a Gallic war which occasioned the appointment of a dictator.
In any case, this was the year in which the Gauls encamped at the third milestone on the Salarian road, beyond the bridge over the Anio.
The dictator having, by reason of the Gallic rising, proclaimed a suspension of the courts, administered the oath to all of military age. Then marching out of the City with a great army he pitched his camp on the hither bank of the stream.
The bridge lay between, and neither side would break it down, lest it be regarded as a sign of fear. There were frequent skirmishes for the possession of the bridge, and yet, so evenly matched were their forces, it could not be [p. 385]
determined who were masters of it.
Then a Gaul4
of extraordinary size advanced upon the empty bridge, and making his voice as loud as possible, cried out, “Let him whom Rome now reckons her bravest man come out and fight, that we two may show by the outcome which people is the superior in war.”