Which answer, whilst it sent away the Samnites uncertain [p. 506]
as to what conduct they were to think that the Romans would pursue, it further estranged the Campanians through fear; it rendered the Samnites more presuming, they considering that there was nothing which the Romans would now refuse them.
Wherefore, proclaiming frequent meetings under the pretext of preparing for war against the Samnites, their leading men, in their several deliberations among themselves, secretly fomented the plan of a war with Rome. In this war the Campanians too joined against their preservers.
But though all their schemes were carefully concealed, and they were anxious that their Samnite enemy should be got rid of in their rear before the Romans should be aroused, yet through the agency of some who were attached [to the latter] by private
friendships and other ties, information of their conspiracy made its way to Rome, and the consuls being ordered to resign their office before the usual time, in order that the new consuls might be elected the sooner to meet so important a war, a religious scruple entered their minds at the idea of the elections being held by persons whose time of office had been cut short.
Accordingly an interregnum took place. There were two interreges, Marcus Valerius and Marcus Fabius.
The consuls elected were Titus Manlius Torquatus a third time, and Publius Decius Mus. It is agreed on that, in this year, Alexander, king of Epirus, made a descent on Italy with a fleet. Which war, if the first commencement had been sufficiently successful, would unquestionably have extended to the Romans.
The same was the era of the exploits of Alexander the Great, whom, being son to the other's sister, in another region of the world, having shown himself invincible in war, fortune cut short in his youth by disease.
But the Romans, although the revolt of their allies and of the Latin nation was now no matter of doubt, yet as if they felt solicitude regarding the Samnites, not for themselves, summoned ten of the leading men of the Latins to Rome, to whom they wished to issue such orders as they might wish.
Latium had at that time two praetors, Lucius Annius, a native of Setia, and Lucius Numisius of Circeii, both from the Roman colonists; through whose means, be- sides Signia and Velitrae, also Roman colonies, the Volscians too had been stirred up to arms.
It was determined that these two should be summoned specially; it was a matter of [p. 507]
doubt to no one, on what matter they were sent for. Accordingly the praetors, having held an assembly, before they set out for Rome, inform them, that they were summoned by the Roman senate, and consult them as to what answer it was their wish should be given on those subjects which they thought would be discussed with them.