The following year, when Publius Plautius1
Proculus and Publius Cornelius Scapula were consuls, was not signalised by any military or domestic event, except that a colony was sent out to Fregellae —the
territory had belonged to the people of Signia, and afterwards to the Volsci —and a dole of meat was given to the people by Marcus Flavius, at the funeral of his mother.
some thought that under colour of honouring his mother he had paid a price that he owed the people, because they had acquitted him, when brought to trial by the aediles, of the charge of corrupting a married woman.
though the dole was made for the past favour shown him in the trial, it was also the cause of his receiving an office; and at the next election he was chosen tribune of the plebs in his absence, in preference to some who canvassed.
there was a city called Palaepolis, not far from the spot where Neapolis is now, and the two cities were inhabited by one people. Cumae was their mother city, and the Cumani derive their origin [p. 87]
from Chalcis in Euboea.
thanks to the fleet in2
which they had sailed from their home, they enjoyed much power on the coast of that sea by which they dwell; having landed first on the island of Aenaria and the Pithecusae,3
they afterwards ventured to transfer their seat to the mainland.
this nation, relying in part on its own strength, in part on the faithlessness shown by the Samnites in their alliance with the Romans, or perhaps on the plague which was reported as having assailed the City of Rome, committed many hostile acts against the Romans dwelling in the districts of Campania and Falerii.
when therefore Lucius Cornelius Lentulus and Quintus Publilius Philo (for the second time) were consuls, fetials were dispatched to Palaepolis to demand redress; and on their bringing back a spirited answer from the Greeks — a race more valiant in words than in deeds —the people acted upon a resolution of the senate and commanded that war be made upon Palaepolis.
by the division of the commands between the consuls, the war with the Greeks fell to Publilius; Cornelius, with another army, was ordered to be ready for the Samnites, in case they should take the field;
and since it was rumoured that they were only waiting to bring up their army the moment the Campanians began a revolt, that seemed to be the best place for the permanent encampment of Cornelius.