Both these arguments, and, still more, the author of them, powerfully affected the senators; as they did likewise every one, not excepting even the tribunes of the commons, [p. 573]
who declared, that they would be directed by the senate.
They then instantly resigned their office, and were delivered, together with the rest, to the heralds, to be conducted to Caudium.
On passing this decree of the senate, it seemed as if some new light had shone upon the state: Postumius was in every mouth: they extolled him to heaven; and pronounced his conduct as equal even to the devoting act of the consul Publius Decius, and to other illustrious acts.
“Through his counsel, and exertions,” they said, “the state had raised up its head from an ignominious peace. He now offered himself to the enemy's rage, and to torments; and was suffering, in atonement for the Roman people.”
All turned their thoughts towards arms and war, [and the general cry was,] “When shall we be permitted with arms in our hands to meet the Samnites?”
While the state glowed with resentment and rancour, the levies were composed almost entirely of volunteers. New legions, composed of the former soldiers, were quickly formed, and an army marched to Caudium.
The heralds, who went before, on coming to the gate, ordered the sureties of the peace to be stripped of their clothes, and their hands to be tied behind their backs. As the apparitor, out of respect to his dignity, was binding Postumius in a loose manner, “Why do you not,” said he, “draw the cord tight, that the surrender may be regularly performed?”
Then, when they came into the assembly of the Samnites, and to the tribunal of Pontius, Aulus Cornelius Arvina, a herald, pronounced these words:
“Forasmuch as these men, here present, without orders from the Roman people, the Quirites, entered into surety, that a treaty should be made, and have thereby rendered themselves criminal; now, in order that the Roman people may be freed from the crime of impiety, I here surrender these men into your hands.”
On the herald saying thus, Postumius gave him a stroke on the thigh with his knee, as forcibly as he could, and said with a loud voice, that “he was now a citizen of Samnium, the other a Roman ambassador; that the herald had been, by him, violently ill-treated, contrary to the law of nations; and that his people would therefore have the more justice on their side, in waging war.”