this answer, as it left the Samnites quite at1
a loss to forecast the Roman policy, so it alienated the Campanians with fear, while it persuaded the Latins that there was no longer any concession the Romans would not make them, and rendered them yet more audacious.
accordingly their leaders, under colour of forwarding the war against the Samnites, appointed numerous councils, and in all their deliberations secretly concocted war with Rome. in this war, too, the Campanians took part, against their preservers.
but though all their measures were sedulously concealed —for they wished to shake off the Samnite foe behind them before the Romans should take the alarm —yet through certain persons connected by private ties of hospitality and kinship, [p. 11]
information of the conspiracy leaked out and was2
brought to Rome.
The consuls were commanded, before their time was up, to resign their office, in order that new consuls might the sooner be chosen to confront so momentous an invasion; but a scruple arose at allowing the election to be held by those whose authority had been abridged, and so they had an interregnum.
there were two interreges, Marcus Valerius and Marcus Fabius: the latter announced the election to the consulship of Titus Manlius Torquatus (for the third time) and Publius Decius Mus.
it is believed to have been in this year that Alexander, king of Epirus, sailed with a fleet to Italy —a war which, had it prospered in its beginning, would doubtless have extended to the Romans.3
this was also the era of the exploits of Alexander the Great, who was the son of this man's sister,4
and was doomed to be cut off by sickness while a young man, in another quarter of the world, after proving himself to be invincible in war.
but the Romans, though quite certain that the allies and all the Latins were going to revolt, nevertheless, as if concerned not for themselves but for the Samnites, summoned to Rome the ten chief men of the Latins, that they might give them such commands as they might wish.
Latium at that time had two praetors, Lucius Annius Setinus and Lucius Numisius Circeiensis, both from Roman colonies, through whose contrivance, besides Signia and Velitrae —likewise Roman colonies —even the Volsci had been induced to draw the sword.
it was determined to summon these men by name. nobody could be in doubt why they were sent for; [p. 13]
accordingly, before setting out for Rome the praetors held5
a council, and explaining how they had been summoned by the Roman senate, asked instructions touching the answers they should give to the questions which they supposed would be put to them.