As this wickedness prevailed more and more against the best citizens, the people were grieved because they were deprived all at once of so many men who had rendered such great services. When the Italians learned of the killing of Drusus and of the reason alleged for banishing the others, they considered it no longer bearable that those who were laboring for their political advancement should suffer such outrages, and as they saw no other means of acquiring citizenship they decided to revolt from the Romans altogether, and to make war against them with all their might. They sent envoys to each other secretly, formed a league, and exchanged hostages as a pledge of good faith. The Romans were in ignorance of these facts for a long time, being preoccupied by the judicial proceedings and the seditions in the city. When they heard what was going on they sent men around to the towns, choosing those who were best acquainted with each, to collect information quietly. One of these saw a young man who was being taken as a hostage from the town of Asculum to another town, and informed Servilius, the proconsul in those parts. (It appears that there were proconsuls at that time governing the various parts of Italy; Hadrian revived the custom a long time afterward when he held the supreme power, but it did not long survive him.) Servilius hastened to Asculum and indulged in very menacing language to the people, who were celebrating a festival, and they put him to death, supposing that the plot was discovered. They also killed Fonteius, his legate (for so they call those of the senatorial order who accompany the governors of provinces as assistants). After these were slain none of the other Romans in Asculum were spared. The inhabitants fell upon them, slaughtered them all, and plundered their goods.