When the new consuls had, by order of the people, sent persons to declare war against the Samnites, and they themselves were making all preparations with greater energy than against the Greeks, a new accession of strength also came to them when expecting no such thing.
The Lucanians and Apulians, nations who, until that time, had no kind of intercourse with the Roman people, proposed an alliance with them, promising a supply of men and arms for the war: a treaty of friendship was accordingly concluded.
At the same time, their affairs went on successfully in Samnium.
Three owns fell into their hands, Allifae, Callifae, and Ruffrium; and the adjoining country to a great extent was, on the first arrival of the consuls, laid entirely waste. Whilst the war on this side was commenced with so much success, so the war in the other quarter where the Greeks were held besieged, now drew towards a conclusion.
For, besides the communication between the two posts of the enemy being cut off, by the besiegers having possession of part of the works through which it had been carried on, they now suffered within the walls hardships far [p. 538]
more grievous than those with which the enemy threatened them, and as if made prisoners by their own garrison, they were now subjected to
the greatest indignities in the persons of their wives and children, and to such extremities as are generally felt on the sacking of cities.
When, therefore, intelligence arrived that reinforcements were to come from Tarentum and from the Samnites, all agreed that there were more of the latter already within the walls than they wished;
but the young men of Tarentum, who were Greeks as well as themselves, they earnestly longed for, as they hoped to be enabled by their means to oppose the Samnites and Nolans, no less than to resist their Roman enemies. At last a surrender to the Romans appeared to be the lightest evil.
Charilaus and Nymphius, the two principal men in the state, consulting together on the subject, settled the part which each was to act; it was, that one should desert to the Roman general, and the other stay behind to manage affairs in the city, so as to facilitate the execution of their plan.
Charilaus was the person who came to Publilius Philo; he told him that “he had taken a resolution, which he hoped would prove advantageous, fortunate, and happy to the Palaepolitans and to the Roman people, of delivering the fortifications into his hands.
Whether he should appear by that deed to have betrayed or preserved his country, depended on the honour of the Romans.
That for himself in particular, he neither stipulated nor requested any thing; but, in behalf of the state, he requested rather than stipulated, that in case the design should succeed, the Roman people would consider more especially the zeal and hazard with which it sought a renewal of their friendship, than its folly and rashness in deviating from its duty.”
He was commended by the general, and received a body of three thousand soldiers, with which he was to seize on that part of the city which was possessed by the Samnites; this detachment was commanded by Lucius Quinctius, military tribune.