But beyond all the evils of siege and war, famine distressed both armies;
pestilence, moreover, [oppressed] the Gauls, both as being encamped in a place lying between hills, as well as heated by the burning of the houses, and full of exhalations, and sending up not only ashes but embers also, whenever the wind rose to any degree;
and as the nation, accustomed to moisture and cold, is most intolerant of these annoyances, and, suffering severely from the heat and suffocation, they were dying, the diseases spreading as among cattle, now becoming weary of burying separately, they heaped up the bodies promiscuously and burned them; and rendered the place remarkable by the name of Gallic piles.
A truce was now made with the Romans, and conferences were held with the permission of the commanders; in which when the Gauls frequently alluded to the famine, and referred to the urgency of that as a further motive for their surrendering, for the purpose of removing that opinion, bread is said to have been thrown in many places from the Capitol, into the advanced posts of the enemy.
But the famine could neither be dissembled nor endured any longer. Accordingly, whilst the dictator is engaged in person in holding a levy, in ordering his [p. 382]
master of the horse, Lucius Valerius, to bring up the troops from Veii, in making preparations and arrangements, so that he may attack the enemy on equal terms, in the mean time the army
of the Capitol, wearied out with keeping guard and with watches, having surmounted all human sufferings, whilst nature would not suffer famine alone to be overcome, looking forward from day to day, to see whether any succour would come from the dictator,
at length not only food but hope also failing, and their arms weighing down their debilitated bodies, whilst the guards were being relieved, insisted that there should be either a surrender, or that they should be bought off, on whatever terms were possible, the Gauls intimating in rather plain terms, that they could be induced for no very great compensation to relinquish the siege.
Then the senate was held and instructions were given to the military tribunes to capitulate. Upon this the matter was settled between Quintus Sulpicius, a military tribune, and Brennus, the chieftain of the Gauls, and one thousand pounds' weight of gold was agreed on as the ransom of a people, who were soon after to be the rulers of the world.
To a transaction very humiliating in itself, insult was added. False weights were brought by the Gauls, and on the tribune objecting, his sword was thrown in in addition to the weight by the insolent Gaul, and an expression was heard intolerable to the Romans, “Woe to the vanquished!”