Some writers affirm, that this war was conducted by the consuls, and that they triumphed over the Samnites and also, that Fabius advanced into Apulia, and carried off from thence abundance of spoil. But that Aulus Cornelius was dictator that year is an undisputed fact.
Th question then is, whether he was appointed for the purpose of conducting the war, or on occasion of the illness of Lucius Plautius, the praetor; in order that there might be a magistrate to give the signal for the starting of the chariots at the Roman games.
This latter is asserted of him; and that after performing the business, which in truth reflected no great lustre on his office, [p. 558]
he resigned the dictatorship. It is not easy to determine between either the facts or the writers, which of them deserves the preference:
I am inclined to think that history has been much corrupted by means of funeral panegyrics and false inscriptions on statues; each family striving by false representations to appropriate to itself the fame of warlike exploits and public honours.
From this cause, certainly, both the actions of individuals and the public records of events have been confused. Nor is there extant any writer, contemporary with those events, on whose authority we can with certainty rely.