In the course of this year, while the war with the Samnites was sufficient in itself to give full employment to the senate, besides the sudden defection of the Lucanians, and the Tarentines, the promoters of the defection, [another source of uneasiness] was added in a union formed by the state of the Vestinians with the Samnites.
Which event, though it con- tinued, during the present year, to be the general subject of con- versation, without coming under any public discussion, appeared so important to the consuls of the year following, Lucius Fu- rius Camillus a second time, and Junius Brutus Scaeva, that it [p. 542]
was the first business which they proposed to the consideration of the state.
And though the matter was still recent, still great perplexity seized the senate, as they dreaded equally the consequences, either of passing it over, or of taking it up; lest, on the one hand, impunity might stir up the neighbouring states with wantonness and arrogance; and, on the other, punishment inflicted on them by force of arms, and dread of immediate danger, might produce the same effect by exciting resentment.
And the whole body, too, was in every way equal in strength to the Samnites, being composed of the Marsians, the Pelignians, and the Marrusinians;
all of whom would have to be encountered as enemies, if the Vestinians were to be interfered with.
However, that side prevailed which might, at the time, seem to have more spirit than prudence; but the event proved that fortune assists the brave.
The people, in pursuance of the direction of the senate, ordered war against the Vestinians; that province fell by lot to Junius, Samnium to Camillus.
Armies were led to both places, and by carefully guarding the frontiers, the enemy were prevented from joining their forces.
But the other consul, Lucius Furius, on whom the principal weight of the business rested, was withdrawn by chance from the war, being seized with a severe sickness. Being therefore ordered to nominate a dictator to conduct the business, he nominated Lucius Papirius Cursor, the most celebrated general, by far, of any in that age, who appointed Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus master of the horse:
a pair of commanders distinguished for their exploits in war; more so, however, for a quarrel between themselves, and which proceeded almost to violence.
The other consul, in the territory of the Vestinians, carried on operations of various kinds; and, in all, was uniformly successful. For he both utterly laid waste their lands, and, by spoiling and burning their houses and corn, compelled them to come to an engagement;
and, in one battle, he reduced the strength of the Vestinians to such a degree, though not without loss on his own side, that the enemy not only fled to their camp, but, fearing even to trust to the rampart and trench, dispersed from thence into the several towns, in hopes of finding security in the situation and fortifications of their cities.
At last, having undertaken to reduce their towns by force, amid the great ardour of the soldiers, and their resentment for the wounds which they [p. 543]
had received, (hardly one of them having come out of the battle unhurt,) he took Cutina by scalade, and afterwards Cingilia.
The spoil of both cities he gave to the soldiers, in consideration of their having bravely surmounted the obstruction both of gates and walls.