The armies being disbanded, whilst there was both peace abroad, and tranquillity at home by reason of the concord of the different orders, lest matters might be too happy, a pestilence having attacked the state, compelled the senate to order the decemvirs to inspect the Sibylline books, and by their suggestion a lectisternium took place.
The same year a colony was led to Satricum by the Antians, and the city, which the Latins had demolished, was rebuilt. And a treaty was concluded at Rome with the Carthaginian ambassadors, they having come to request friendship and an alliance.
The same tranquillity continued at home and abroad, during the consulate of Titus Manlius Torquatus and Caius Plautius. [p. 480]
Only the interest of money from twelve was reduced to six per cent; and the payment of the debts was adjusted into equal portions of three years, on condition that the fourth payment should be made at the present time.
And then also, though a portion of the commons were distressed, still public credit engrossed the attention of the senate in preference to the difficulties of private individuals. Their circumstances were relieved most effectually, because a cessation was introduced of the taxes and levy.
On the third year after Satricum was rebuilt by the Volscians, Marcus Valerius Corvus having been elected consul for the second time with Caius Poetelius, when news had been brought from Latium, that ambassadors from Antium were going round the states of the Latins to excite a war, being ordered to attack the Volscians, before greater numbers of the enemy should be assembled, proceeds to Satricum with his army ready for action.
And when the Antians and other Volscians met him, their forces being previously prepared, in case any movement should be made on the part of Rome, no delay of engaging took place between the two parties incensed with long pent-up hate.
The Volscians, a nation more spirited to renew hostilities than to carry on war, being defeated in the fight, make for the walls of Satricum in a precipitate flight; and their reliance in their walls not being sufficiently strong, when the city, encompassed by a continuous line of troops, was now on the point of being taken by scalade, they surrendered to the number of four thousand soldiers, besides the unarmed multitude.
The town was demolished and burnt; only they kept the fire from the temple of Mother Matuta. The entire plunder was given up to the soldiers. The four thousand who had surrendered were considered exclusive of the spoil; these the consul when triumphing drove before his chariot in chains; afterwards by selling them he brought a great sum of money into the treasury.
There are some who state that this body of captives consisted of slaves; and this is more probable than that persons who had surrendered were exposed to sale.