Titus Aemilius the praetor laid the petition of the Samnites before the senate, and the Fathers voted to renew the treaty with them.
The praetor then replied to the ambassadors that the Roman People had not been to blame for the interruption of the friendship, and that, since the Samnites were themselves grown weary of a war contracted through [p. 7]
their own fault, they had no objection to renewing1
as for the Sidicini, the Romans would not interfere with the free judgment of the Samnite People regarding peace and war.
on the ratification of the treaty, the ambassadors went home, and the Roman army was at once recalled, after receiving a year's pay and rations for three months, which the consul had stipulated should be the price of a truce, to last until the envoys should return.
The Samnites marched against the Sidicini with the same forces which they had employed in the war with Rome, and were confidently hoping to capture the city of their enemies in a little while, when the Sidicini attempted to anticipate them by surrendering to the Romans.
then, after the Fathers had rejected their offer, on the ground that it came too late and had been wrung from them only by the direst necessity, they carried it to the Latins, who had already risen in arms on their own account.
even the Campanians —so much more vivid was their recollection of the injury done them by the Samnites than of the kindness of the Romans —could not refrain from joining in this expedition.
one great army, gathered out of all these nations, invaded the borders of the Samnites, under a Latin general, but wrought more havoc by pillage than in battle; and although the Latins came off best in all encounters, they were not unwilling to retire from the enemy's country, that they might not have to fight so often.
The Samnites thus had time to send ambassadors to Rome. appearing before the senate, they complained that they were suffering the same treatment as allies that they had experienced while enemies, and besought the Romans, with the utmost humility, [p. 9]
would be satisfied to have snatched from2
the grasp of the Samnites a victory over their Campanian and Sidicinian foes, and not suffer them actually to be conquered by the most cowardly of nations.
if the Latins and Campanians were subject to the Roman People, let the Romans use their authority and keep them from invading Samnium; but if they rejected that authority, let them hold them in check by force of arms.
to this plea the Romans returned an ambiguous reply, since they were loath to confess that the Latins were no longer under their control, and feared to estrange them if they censured them.
The Campanians, they said, were upon a different footing, having come under their protection not by treaty but by surrender; accordingly the Campanians, whether willing or not, should keep the peace; but there was nothing in their treaty with the Latins which entitled them to prevent their going to war with whom they chose.