The year following, in which the consuls were Publius Plautius Proculus and Publius Cornelius Scapula, was re- markable for no one transaction, civil or military, except the sending of a colony to Fregellae, a district which had belonged to the Sidicinians, and afterwards to the Volscians;
and a distribution of meat to the people, made by Marcus Flavius, on occasion of the funeral of his mother.
There were many who represented, that, under the appearance of doing honour to his parent, a deserved recompence was made to the people, for having acquitted him, when prosecuted by the aediles on a charge of having debauched a married woman.
This distribution of meat intended as a return for favours shown on the trial, proved also the means of procuring him the honour of a public office; for, at the next election, though absent, he was preferred before the candidates who solicited in person the tribuneship of the commons.
The city of Palaepolis was situated at no great distance from the spot where Neapolis now stands.
The two cities were inhabited by one people: these came from Cumae, and the Cumans derive their origin [p. 533]
from Chalcis in Eubœa. By means of the fleet in which they had been conveyed hither, they possessed great power on the coast of the sea, near which they dwelt. Having first landed on the islands of Aenaria, and the Pithecusae, they afterwards ventured to transfer their settlement to the continent.
This state, relying both on their own strength, as well as on the treacherous nature of the alliance of the Samnites with the Romans; or, encouraged by the report of a pestilence having attacked the city of Rome, committed various acts of hostility against the Romans settled in the Campanian and Falernian territories.
Wherefore, in the succeeding consulate of Lucius Cornelius, and Quintus Publilius Philo a second time, heralds being sent to Palaepolis to demand satisfaction, when a haughty answer was returned by these Greeks, a race more mag- nanimous in words than in action, the people, in pursuance of the direction of the senate, ordered war to be declared against the Palaepolitans.
On settling the provinces between the consuls, the war against the Greeks fell to Publilius. Cor- nelius, with another army, was appointed to watch the Sam- nites if they should attempt any movement;
but a report pre- vailed that they, anxiously expecting a revolt in Campania, intended to march their troops thither; that was judged by Cornelius the properest station for him.