Whilst these things are going on among the Volsci, the dictator routs, puts to flight, and strips of their camp, the Sabines, where by far the most serious part of the war lay.
By a charge of his cavalry he had thrown into confusion the centre of the enemy's line, where, by the wings extending themselves too far, they had not strengthened their line by a suitable depth of files.1
The infantry fell upon them in this confusion, by one and the same charge their camp was taken and the war concluded. There was no other battle in those times more memorable than this since the action at the lake Regillus. The dictator is borne into the city in triumph.
Besides the usual honours, a place in the circus was assigned to him and his descendants, to see the public games; a curule chair was fixed in that place. The lands of Velitrae were taken from the conquered Volsci: colonists were sent from the city to Velitrae, and a colony planted there. Soon after there was an engagement with the Aequi, but contrary to the wish of the consul, because they had to approach the enemy by disadvantageous ground.
But the soldiers complaining that the war was on purpose spun out, that the dictator might resign his office before they returned home to the city, and so his promises might fall to the ground without effect, as those of the consul had done before, forced him at all hazards to march his army up the hill.
This imprudent step, by the cowardice of the enemy, turned out successfully; for before the Romans came [p. 116]
within reach of a dart, the Aequi, quite amazed at their boldness, abandoned their camp, which was situated in a very strong position, and ran down into the valleys on the opposite side.2
In it abundance of booty was found, and the victory was a bloodless one. Matters being thus successfully managed in war in three different directions, anxiety respecting the event of their domestic differences had left neither the senators nor the people. With such powerful influence, and with such art
also, had the money-lenders made their arrangements, so as to disappoint not only the people, but even the dictator himself. For Valerius, after the return of the consul Vetusius, first of all matters brought before the senate that relating to the victorious
people, and proposed the question, what it was their determination should be done with respect to those confined for debt. And when this motion was rejected, “I am not acceptable,” says he, “as an adviser of concord. You will ere long wish, depend on it, that the commons of Rome had patrons similar to me. For my part, I will neither further disappoint my fellow citizens,
nor will I be dictator to no purpose. Intestine dissensions, foreign wars, caused the republic to require such a magistrate. Peace has been secured abroad, it is impeded at home. I will be a witness to disturbance as a private citizen rather than as dictator.” Then quitting the senate-house, he abdicated his
dictatorship. The case appeared to the commons, that he had resigned his office indignant at the treatment shown to them. Accordingly, as if his engagements to them had been fully discharged, since it had not been his fault that they were not made good, they attended him when returning to his home with approbation and applause.