It appeared probable, that there would be more of labour in recovering the city, not only for this reason, be- [p. 403]
cause it was all in possession of the enemy, but also because the surrender had been made in consequence of a party of the Nepesinians having betrayed the state.
It was determined, however, that a message should be sent to their leading men, to separate themselves from the Etrurians, and that they themselves should evince that strict fidelity, which they had implored from the Romans.
Whence as soon as an answer was brought that there was nothing in their power, that the Etrurians occupied the walls and the guards of the gates, first, terror was struck into the townsmen by laying waste their land;
then, when the faith of the capitulation was more religiously observed than that of the alliance, the army was led up to the walls with fascines of bushes collected from the fields, and the ditches being filled, the scaling ladders were raised, and the town was taken at the first shout and attack.
Proclamation was then made to the Nepesinians, that they should lay down their arms, and orders were given that the unarmed should be spared. The Etrurians, armed and unarmed, were put to the sword without distinction: of the Nepesinians also the authors of the surrender were beheaded.
To the unoffending multitude their property was restored, and the town was left with a garrison. Thus having recovered two allied cities from the enemy, the tribunes marched back their victorious army to Rome. During the same year restitution was demanded from the Latins and Hernicians, and the cause was asked why they had not during some years supplied soldiers according to stipulation.
An answer was given in a full assembly of both nations, “that neither the blame was public, nor was there any design in the circumstance of some of their youth having served among the Volscians.
That these individuals, however, suffered the penalty of their improper conduct, and that none of them had returned. But that the cause of their not supplying the soldiers had been their continual terror from the Volscians, which pest adhering to their side, had not been capable of being destroyed by so many successive wars.”
Which answer being reported to the senate, they decided that there was wanting rather a seasonable time for declaring war than sufficient grounds for it.