At the election of military tribunes the patricians succeeded by their utmost exertions in having Marcus Furius Camillus elected. They pretended that he was wanted as a commander on account of the wars; but he was intended as an opponent to the tribunes in their profusion.
The military tribunes with consular authority elected with Camillus were, Lucius Furius Medullinus a sixth time, Caius Aemilius, Lucius Valerius Publicola, Spurius Postumius, Publius Cornelius a second time.
At the commencement of the year the tribunes of the commons took not a step until Marcus Furius Camillus should set out to the Faliscians, as that war had been assigned to him. Then by delaying the project cooled; and [p. 356]
Camillus, whom they chiefly dreaded as an antagonist, acquired an increase of glory among the Faliscians.
For when the enemy at first confined themselves within the walls, considering it the safest plan, by laying waste their lands and burning their houses, he compelled them to come forth from the city; but their fears prevented them from proceeding to any considerable length.
At about a mile from the town they pitch their camp; trusting that it was sufficiently secure from no other cause, than the difficulty of the approaches, the roads around being rough and craggy, in some parts narrow, in others steep.
But Camillus having followed the direction of a prisoner belonging to the country as his guide, decamping at an advanced hour of the night, at break of day shows himself on ground considerably higher [than theirs]. The Romans worked at the fortifications in three divisions: the rest of the army stood prepared for battle.
There he routs and puts to flight the enemy when they attempted to interrupt his works; and such terror was struck into the Faliscians in consequence, that, in their precipitate flight passing by their own camp which lay in their way, they made for the city. Many were slain and wounded, before that in their panic they could make their way through the gates.
Their camp was taken; the spoil was given up to the quaestors, to the great dissatisfaction of the soldiers; but overcome by the strictness of his authority, they both hated and admired the same firmness of conduct.
Then a regular siege of the city took place, and the lines of circumvallation were carried on, and sometimes occasional attacks were made by the townsmen on the Roman posts, and slight skirmishes took place: and the time was spent, no hope [of success] inclining to either side, whilst corn and other provisions were possessed in much greater abundance by the besieged than the besiegers from [the store] which had been previously laid in.
And their toil appeared likely to prove just as tedious as it had at Veii, had not fortune presented to the Roman general at once both an opportunity for displaying his virtuous firmness of mind already tested in warlike affairs, and a speedy victory.