On the following year, Lucius Furius Camillus and Caius Maenius were consuls, in order that the neglect of his duty by Aemilius, the consul of the preceding year, might be rendered more markedly reproachful, the senate loudly urge that Pedum should be assailed with arms, men, and every kind of force, and be demolished; and the new consuls, being forced to give that matter the precedence of all others, set out on that expedition.
The state of affairs was now such in Latium, that they could no longer submit to either war or peace.
For war they were deficient in resources; they spurned at peace through resentment for the loss of their land. It seemed necessary therefore to steer a middle course, to keep within their towns, so that the Romans by being provoked might have no pretext for hostilities;
and that if the siege of any town should be announced to them, aid should be sent from every quarter from all the states. And still the people of Pedum were aided by only a very few stated.
The Tiburtians and Praenestines, whose territory lay nearest, came to Pedum. Maenius suddenly making an attack, defeated the Aricinians, and Lanuvians, and Veliternians, at the river Astura, the Volscians of Antium forming a junction with them.
The Tiburtian, far the strongest body, Camillus engages at Pedum, encountering much greater difficulty, though with a result equally successful.
A sudden sally of the townsmen during the battle chiefly occasioned confusing: Camillus, turning on these with a part of his army, not only drove them within their walls, but on the very same day, after he had discomfited themselves and their auxiliaries, he took the town by scalade.
It was then-resolved to lead round with greater energy and spirit his victorious army from the storming of a single city to the entire conquest of Latium. Nor did they stop until they reduced all Latium, either by storming, or by becoming masters of the cities one after the other by capitulation.
Then, disposing garrisons in the towns which they had taken, they departed to Rome to a triumph [p. 522]
universally admitted to be due to them. To the triumph was added the honour of having equestrian statues erected to them in the forum, a compliment very unusual at that period.
Before they commenced holding the meeting for the election of the consuls for the ensuing year, Camillus moved the senate concerning the Latin states, and spoke thus:
“Conscript fathers, that which was to be done by war and arms in Latium has now been fully accomplished by the bounty of the gods and the valour of the soldiers. The armies of the enemy have been cut down at Pedum and the Astura.
All the Latin towns, and Antium belonging to the Volscians, either taken by storm, or received into surrender, are occupied by your garrisons.
It now remains to be considered, since they annoy us by their repeated rebellions, how we may keep them in quiet submission and in the observance of perpetual peace.
The immortal gods have put the determination of this matter so completely in your power, that they have placed it at your option whether Latium is to exist henceforward or not. Ye can therefore insure to yourselves perpetual peace, as far as regards the Latins, either by adopting severe or lenient measures. Do ye choose to adopt cruel conduct towards people who have surrendered and have been conquered?
Ye may destroy all Latium, make a vast desert of a place whence, in many and serious wars, ye have often made use of an excellent army of allies. Do you wish, according to the example of your ancestors, to augment the Roman state by admitting the vanquished among your citizens?
Materials for extending your power by the highest glory are at hand. That government is certainly by far the most secure, which the subjects feel a pleasure in obeying.
But whatever determination ye wish to come to, it is necessary that it be speedy. So many states have ye in a state of suspense between hope and fear; and it is necessary that you be discharged as soon as possible of your solicitude about them, and that their minds, whilst they are still in a state of insensibility from uncertainty, be at once impressed either by punishment or clemency.
It was our duty to bring matters to such a pass that you may have full power to deliberate on every matter; yours to decide what is most expedient to yourselves and the commonwealth.”