The dictator, having appointed Lucius Papirius Crassus, as master of the horse, to the command of the city, and prohibited Quintus Fabius from acting in any case as magistrate, returned to the camp;
where his arrival brought neither any great joy to his countrymen, nor any degree of terror to the enemy: for on the day following, either not knowing that the dictator had arrived, or little regarding whether he were present or absent, they approached his camp in order of battle.
Of such importance, however, was that single man, Lucius Papirius, that had the zeal of the soldiers seconded the dispositions of the commander, no doubt was entertained that an end might have been put that day to the war with the Samnites;
so judiciously did he draw up his army with respect to situation and reserves, in such a manner did he strengthen them with every advantage of military skill: but the soldiers exerted no vigour; and designedly kept from conquering, in order to injure the reputation of their leader. Of the Sam- nites, however, very many were slain; and great numbers of the Romans wounded.
The experienced commander quickly perceived the circumstance which prevented his success, and that it would be necessary to moderate his temper, and to mingle mildness with austerity.
Accordingly, attended by the lieutenants-general, going round to the wounded soldiers, thrusting his head into their tents, and asking them, one by one, how they were in health; then, mentioning them by name, he gave them in charge to the officers, tribunes, and praefects.
This behaviour, popular in itself, he maintained with such dexterity, that by his attention to their recovery he gradually gained their affection; nor did any thing so much contribute towards their recovery as the circumstance of this attention being received with gratitude.
The army being restored to health, he came to an engagement with the enemy; and both himself and the troops, being possessed with full confidence of success, he so entirely defeated and dispersed the [p. 553]
Samnites, that that was the last day they met the dictator in the field.
The victorious army, afterwards, directed its march wherever a prospect of booty invited, and traversed the enemies' territories, encountering not a weapon, nor any opposition, either openly or by stratagem.
It added to their alacrity, that the dictator had, by proclamation, given the whole spoil to the soldiers; so that they were animated not only by the public quarrel, but by their private emolument.
Reduced by these losses, the Samnites sued to the dictator for peace, and, after they had engaged to supply each of his soldiers with a suit of clothes
and a year's pay, being ordered to apply to the senate, they answered, that they would follow the dictator, committing their cause wholly to his integrity and honour. On this the troops were withdrawn out of Samnium.