At the same time also, Nymphius, on his part, artfully addressing himself to the commander of the Samnites, prevailed upon him, as all the troops of the Romans were employed either about Palaepolis or in Samnium, to allow him to sail round with the fleet to the territory of Rome, where he undertook to ravage, not only the sea-coast, but the country adjoining the very city.
But, in order to avoid observation, it was necessary, [p. 539]
he told him, to set out by night, and to launch the ships imme- diately. That this might be effected with the greater despatch, all the young Samnites, except the necessary guards of the city, were sent to the shore.
While Nymphius wasted the time there, giving contradictory orders, designedly, to create confu- sion, which was increased by the darkness, and by the crowd, which was so numerous as to obstruct each other's operations, Charilaus, according to the plan concerted, was admitted by his associates into the city; and have filled the higher parts of it with Roman soldiers, he ordered them to raise a shout; on which the Greeks, who had received previous directions from their leaders, kept themselves quiet.
The Nolans fled through the opposite part of the town, by the road leading to Nola. The flight of the Samnites, who were shut out from the city, was easier, but had a more disgraceful appearance; for they re- turned to their homes without arms, stripped, and destitute of every thing; all, in short, belonging to them being left with their enemies;
so that they were objects of ridicule, not only to foreigners, but even to their own countrymen.
I know that there is another account of this matter, according to which the town is represented to have been betrayed by the Samnites; but I have this account on the authority most worthy of credit; besides, the treaty of Neapolis, for to that place the seat of government of the Greeks was then transferred, renders it more probable that the renewal of friendship was voluntary on their side.
A triumph was decreed to Publilius, because people were well convinced that the enemy, reduced by the siege, had adopted terms of submission. These two extraordi- nary incidents, which never before occurred in any case, befell this man: a prolongation of command never before granted to any one; and a triumph after the expiration of his office.