A treaty was this year concluded at Rome with the Vestinians, who solicited friendship.
Various causes of apprehension afterwards sprung up. News arrived, that Etruria was in rebellion; the insurrection having arisen from the dissensions of the Arretians; for the Cilnian family having grown exorbitantly powerful, a party, out of envy of their wealth, had attempted to expel them by force of arms. [Accounts were also received] that the Marsians held forcible possession of the lands to which the colony of Carseoli, consisting of four thousand men, had been sent.
By reason, therefore, of these commotions, Marcus Valerius Maximus was nominated dictator, and chose for his master of the horse Marcus Aemilius Paullus.
This I am inclined to believe, rather than that Quintus Fabius, at such an age as he then was, and after enjoying many honours, was placed in a station subordinate to Valerius: but I think it not unlikely that the mistake arose from the surname Maximus.
The dictator, having set out at the head of an army, in one battle utterly defeated the Marsians, drove them into their fortified towns, and afterwards, in the course of a few days, took Milionia, Plestina, and Fresilia; and then finding Marsians in a part of their lands, granted them a renewal of the treaty.
The war was then directed against the Etrurians;
and when the dictator had gone to Rome, for the purpose of renewing the auspices, the master of the horse, going out to forage, was surrounded by an ambuscade, and obliged to fly shamefully into his camp, after losing several standards and many of his men.
The occurrence of which discomfiture to Fabius is exceedingly improbable; not only because, if in any particular, certainly, above all, in the qualifications of a commander, he fully merited his surname; but besides, mindful of Papirius's severity, he never could have been tempted to fight, without the dictator's orders.