After bringing to a victorious close the war which had been allotted to his colleague, Fabius returned to his own sphere of action.
As he had conducted operations with such success the senate followed the precedent set by the people in the previous year and extended his command for a third year in spite of the strenuous opposition of Appius Claudius who was now consul, the other consul being L. Volumnius.
I find in some annalists that Appius was a candidate for the consulship while he was still censor, and that L. Furius, a tribune of the plebs, stopped the election until he had resigned his censorship.
A new enemy, the Sallentines, had appeared, and the conduct of this war was assigned to his colleague; Appius himself remained in Rome with the view of strengthening his influence by his domestic administration, as the attainment of military glory was in other hands.
Volumnius had no cause to regret this arrangement, he fought many successful actions and took some of the enemy's cities by storm.
He was lavish in distributing the spoil, and this generosity was rendered still more pleasing by his frank and cordial manner; by qualities such as these he made his men keen to face any perils or labours.
Q. Fabius, as proconsul, fought a pitched battle with the Samnites near the city of Allifae. There was very little uncertainty as to the result; the enemy were routed and driven to their camp, and they would not have held that had more daylight been left.
Before night, however, their camp was completely invested, so that none could escape. On the morrow while it was still twilight they made proposals for surrender, and their surrender was accepted on condition that the Samnites should be dismissed with one garment apiece after they had all passed under the yoke.
No provision had been made for their allies, and as many as 7000 of them were sold into slavery.
Those who declared themselves Hernicans were separated and placed under guard; subsequently Fabius sent them all to the senate in Rome.
After inquiries had been made as to whether they had fought for the Samnites against Rome as conscripts or as volunteers, they were committed to the custody of the Latin cities. The new consuls, P. Cornelius Arvina and Q. Marcius Tremulus, were ordered to bring the whole question of the prisoners before the senate.
The Hernicans resented this, and a national council was held at Anagnia in what they call the Maritime Circus; the whole nation thereupon, with the exception of Aletrium, Ferentinae, and Verulae, declared war against Rome.