War was prepared for on both sides with the utmost vigour, very like to a civil war, in a manner between parents [p. 31]
and children: both being Trojan offspring; for from Troy came Lavinium, from Lavinium Alba, and the Romans were descended from the race of Alban kings.
But the result of the war rendered the quarrel less distressing, for they never came to any action; and, when the houses only of one of the cities had been demolished, the two states were incorporated into one.
The Albans first made an irruption into the Roman territories with a large army. They pitch their camp not above five miles from the city, and surround it with a trench, which, for several ages, was called the Cluilian trench, from the name of the general, till, in process of time, the name, together with the thing itself, were both forgotten.
In that camp Cluilius, the Alban king, dies; the Albans create Mettus1
Fuffetius dictator. In the mean time, Tullus being in high spirits, especially on the death of the king, and giving out that the supreme power of the gods, having begun at the head, would take vengeance on the whole Alban nation for this impious war, having passed the enemy's camp in the night-time, marches with a hostile army into the Alban territory.
This circumstance drew out Mettus from his camp likewise; he leads his forces as near as he can to the enemy; from thence he commands a herald, despatched by him, to tell Tullus that a conference was expedient before they came to an engagement; and that if he would give him a meeting, he was certain he should adduce matters which concerned the interest of Rome not less than that of Alba.
Tullus not slighting the proposal, though the advances made were of little avail, draws out his men in order of battle; the Albans on their part come out also.
As both armies stood in battle-array, the chiefs, with a few of the principal officers, advance into the middle between them. Then the Alban commences thus:2
“That injuries and the non-restitution of property according to treaty, when demanded, were the cause of this war, methinks I both heard our King Cluilius (assert), and I doubt not, Tullus, but that you state the same thing. But if the truth is to be told, rather than that which is plausible, the [p. 32]
desire of dominion stimulates two kindred and neighbouring states to arms.
Nor do I take upon myself to determine whether rightly or wrongly: be that his consideration who commenced the war. The Albans have made me their leader for carrying on the war. Of this, Tullus, I would wish to warn you; how powerful the Etruscan state is around us, and round you particularly, you know better (than we), inasmuch as you are nearer them. They are very powerful by land, extremely so by sea.
Recollect that, when you shall give the signal for battle, these two armies will presently be a spectacle to them; and they may fall on us wearied and exhausted, victor and vanquished together. Therefore, in the name of heaven, since, not content with certain liberty, we are incurring the dubious risk of sovereignty and slavery, let us adopt some method, whereby, without much loss, without much blood of either nation, it may be decided which shall rule the other.”
—The proposal is not displeasing to Tullus, though both from the natural bent of his mind, as also from the hope of victory, he was rather inclined to violence. After some consideration, a plan is adopted on both sides, for which Fortune herself afforded the materials.