The pestilence was succeeded by a scarcity of the fruits of the earth, and the report of both calamities by spreading [was followed] by a variety of wars in the following year, Lucius Valerius a fourth time, Aulus Manlius a third time, Servius Sulpicius a third time, Lucius Lucretius, Lucius Aemilius a third time, Marcus Trebonius, being military tribunes with consular power.
Besides the Volscians, assigned by some fatality to give eternal employment to the Roman soldiery, and the colonies of Circeii and Velitrae, long meditating a revolt, and Latium which had been suspected, new [p. 418]
enemies suddenly sprung up in the people of Lanuvium, which had been a most faithful city.
The fathers, considering that this arose from contempt, because the revolt of their own citizens, the people of Velitrae, had been so long unpunished, decreed that a proposition should be submitted to the people at the earliest opportunity on the subject of declaring war against them:
and in order that the commons might be the more disposed for that service, they appointed five commissioners for distributing the Pomptine land, and three for conducting a colony to Nepete.
Then it was proposed to the people that they should order a declaration of war; and the plebeian tribunes in vain endeavouring to dissuade them, all the tribes declared for war.
That year preparations were made for war; the army was not led out into the field on account of the pestilence. And that delay afforded full time to the colonists to deprecate the anger of the senate;
and a great number of the people were disposed that a suppliant embassy should be sent to Rome, had not the public been involved, as is usual, with the private danger, and the abettors of the revolt from the Romans, through fear, lest they, being alone answerable for the guilt, might be given up as victims to the resentment of the Romans, dissuaded the colonies from counsels of peace.
And not only was the embassy obstructed by them in the senate, but a great part of the commons were excited to make predatory excursions into the Roman territory.
This new injury broke off all hope of peace. This year a report first originated regarding a revolt of the Praenestines; and the people of Tusculum, Gabii and Lavici, into whose territories the incursions had been made, accusing them of the fact, the senate returned so placid an answer, that it became evident that less credit was given to the charges, because they wished them not to be true.