Two wars were conducted with success on that year: and they forced the Tiburtians by force of arms to a surrender. The city of Sassula was taken from them; and the other towns would have shared the same fate, had not the entire nation laid down their arms, and put themselves under the protection of the consul.
A triumph was obtained by him over the Tiburtians: in other respects the victory was a mild one. Rigorous severity was practised against the Tarquinians. A great many being slaughtered in the field, out of a great number of prisoners three hundred and fifty-eight were selected, all of the highest rank, to be sent to Rome; the rest of the multitude were put to the sword.
Nor were the people more merciful towards those who had been sent to Rome. They were all beaten with rods and beheaded in the middle of the forum. That was the punishment retaliated on the enemy for their butchering the Romans in the forum of Tarquinii.
The successes in war induced the Samnites to seek their friendship. A courteous answer was returned to their ambassadors by the senate: they were received into an alliance by a treaty.
The Roman commons had not the same success at home as in war. For though the burden of interest money had been relieved by fixing the rate at one to the hundred, the poor were overwhelmed by the principal alone, and submitted to confinement. On this account, the commons took little heed either of the two consuls being patricians, or the management of the elections, by reason of their private [p. 470]
distresses. Both consulships therefore remained with the patricians.
The consuls appointed were Caius Sulpicius Paeticus a fourth time, Marcus Valerius Publicola a second time. Whilst the state was occupied with the Etrurian war, [entered into] because a report prevailed that the people of Caere had joined the Tarquinians through compassion for them from their relationship, ambassadors from the Latins drew their attention to the Volscians, bringing tidings that an army enlisted and fully armed was now on the point of attacking their frontiers; from thence that they were to enter the Roman territory in order to commit depredations.
The senate therefore determined that neither affair should be neglected; they ordered that troops should be raised for both purposes, and that the consuls should cast lots for the provinces.
The greater share of their anxiety afterwards inclined to the Etrurian war; after it was ascertained, from a letter of the consul Sulpicius, to whom the province of Tarquinii had fallen, that the land around the Roman Salinae had been depopulated, and that part of the plunder had been carried away into the country of the people of Caere, and that the young men of that people were certainly among the depredators.
The senate therefore, having recalled the consul Valerius, who was opposed to the Volscians, and who had his camp on the frontiers of Tusculum, ordered him to nominate a dictator.
He nominated Titus Manlius, son of Lucius. He, after he had appointed Aulus Cornelius Cossus his master of the horse, content with the consular army, declared war against the Caeritians by order of the people, with the sanction of the senate.