The following year, Lucius Papirius Crassus and Kaeso Duilius being consuls, was distinguished by a war with the Ausonians, as being new rather than important.
This people inhabited the city Cales; they had united their arms with their neighbours the Sidicinians;
and the army of the two states being defeated in one battle scarcely worthy of record, was induced to take to flight the earlier in consequence of the proximity of the cities, and the more sheltered on their flight. Nor did the senate, however, discontinue their attention to that war, because the Sidicinians had now so often taken up arms either as principals, or had afforded aid to those who did so, or had been the cause of hostilities.
Accordingly they exerted themselves with all their might, to raise to the consulship for the fourth time, Marcus Valerius Corvus, the greatest general of that day.
To Corvus was added Marcus Atilius Regulus as colleague; and lest any disappointment might by any chance occur, a request was made of the consuls, that, without drawing lots, that province might be assigned to Corvus.
Receiving the victorious army from the former consuls, proceeding to Cales, whence the war had originated, after he had, at the first shout and onset, routed the enemy, who were disheartened by the recollection also of the former engagement, he set about attacking the town itself.
And such was the ardour of the soldiers, that they wished to advance immediately up to the walls, and strenuously asserted that they would scale them.
Corvus, because that was a hazardous undertaking, wished to accomplish his object rather by the labour than the risk of his men. Accordingly he formed a rampart, prepared his vineae and advanced towers up to the walls; but an opportunity which accidentally presented itself, prevented the occasion for them.
For Marcius Fabius, a Roman prisoner, when, having broken his chains during the inattention of his guards on a festival day, suspending himself by means of a rope which was fastened to a battlement of the wall, he let himself down by the hands, persuaded the general to make an assault on the enemy whilst stupified by wine and feasting; nor were the Ausonians, together with their city, captured with greater difficulty than they had been routed in the field.
A great amount of booty was obtained; and a garrison being stationed at Cales, [p. 526]
the legions were marched back to Rome.
The consul triumphed in pursuance of a decree of the senate; and that Atilius might not be without a share of glory, both the consuls were ordered to lead the army against the Sidicinians.
But first, in conformity with a decree of the senate, they nominated as dictator for the purpose of holding the elections, Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus; he named Quintus Publilius Philo his master of the horse. The dictator presiding at the elections, Titus Veturius and Spurius Postumius were elected consuls.
Though a part of the war with the Sidicinians still remained; yet that they might anticipate, by an act of kindness, the wishes of the commons, they proposed about sending a colony to Cales;
and a decree of the senate being passed that two thousand five hundred men should be enrolled for that purpose, they appointed Kaeso Duilius, Titus Quinctius, and Marcus Fabius commissioners for conducting the colony and distributing the land.