In Samnium also, in consequence of the departure of Fabius, new commotions arose. Calatia and Sora, and the Roman garrisons stationed there, were taken, and extreme cruelty was exercised towards the captive soldiers: Publius Cornelius was therefore sent thither with an army.
The command against the new enemy (for by this time an order had passed for declaring war against the Anagnians, and the rest of the Hernicians) was decreed to Marcius.
These, in the beginning, secured all the passes between the camps of the consuls, in such a manner, that no messenger, however expert, could make his way from one to the other;
and each [p. 621]
consul spent several days in absolute uncertainty regarding every matter and in anxious suspense concerning the state of the other. Apprehensions for their safety spread even to Rome; so that all the younger citizens were compelled to enlist, and two regular armies were raised, to answer sudden emergencies.
The conduct of the Hernicians during the progress of the war afterwards, showed nothing suitable to the present alarm, or to the ancient renown of that nation.
Without ever venturing any effort worth mentioning, being stripped of three different camps within a few days, they stipulated for a truce of thirty days, during which they might send to Rome, to the senate, on the terms of furnishing two months' pay, and corn, and a tunic to every soldier.
They were referred back to Marcius by the senate, whom by a decree they empowered to determine regarding the Hernicians, and he accepted their submission. Meanwhile, in Samnium, the other consul, though superior in strength, was very much embarrassed by the nature of his situation; the enemy had blocked up all the roads, and seized on the passable defiles, so that no provisions could be conveyed;
nor could the consul, though he daily drew out his troops and offered battle, allure them to an engagement.
It was evident, that neither could the Samnites support an immediate contest, nor the Romans a delay of action.
The approach of Marcius, who, after he had subdued the Hernicians, hastened to the succour of his colleague, put it out of the enemy's power any longer to avoid fighting:
for they, who had not deemed themselves a match in the field, even for one of the armies, could not surely suppose that if they should allow the two consular armies to unite, they could have any hope remaining: they made an attack therefore on Marcius, as he was approaching in the irregular order of march.
The baggage was hastily thrown together in the centre, and the line formed as well as the time permitted. First the shout which reached the standing camp of Cornelius, then the dust observed at a distance, excited a bustle in the camp of the other consul.
Ordering his men instantly to take arms, and leading them out to the field with the utmost haste, he charged the flank of the enemy's line, which had enough to do in the other dispute, at the same time
exclaiming, that “it would be the height of infamy if they suffered Marcius's army to monopolize the honour of both victories, and did not assert [p. 622]
their claim to the glory of their own war.”
He bore down all before him, and pushed forward, through the midst of the enemy's line, to their camp, which, being left without a guard, he took and set on fire;
which when the soldiers of Marcius saw in flames, and the enemy observed it on looking about, a general flight immediately took place among the Samnites. But they could not effect an escape in any direction; in every quarter they met death.
After a slaughter of thirty thousand men, the consuls had now given the signal for retreat; and were collecting, into one body, their several forces, who were employed in mutual congratulations, when some new cohorts of the enemy, which had been levied for a reinforcement, being seen at a distance, occasioned a renewal of the carnage.
On these the conquerors rushed, without any order of the consuls, or signal received, crying out, that they would make these Samnites pay dearly for their introduction to service.
The consuls indulged the ardour of the legions, well knowing that the raw troops of the enemy, mixed with veterans dispirited by defeat, would be incapable even of attempting a contest.
Nor were they wrong in their judgment: all the forces of the Samnites, old and new, fled to the nearest mountains. These the Roman army also ascended, so that no situation afforded safety to the vanquished; they were beaten off, even from the summits which they had seized. And now they all, with one voice, supplicated for a suspension of arms.
On which, being ordered to furnish corn for three months, pay for a year, and a tunic to each of the soldiers, they sent deputies to the senate to sue for peace. Cornelius was left in Samnium.
Marcius returned into the city, in triumph over the Hernicians; and a decree was passed for erecting to him, in the forum, an equestrian statue, which was placed before the temple of Castor.
To three states of the Hernicians, (the Alatrians, Verulans, and Ferentines,) their own laws were restored, because they preferred these to the being made citizens of Rome; and they were permitted to intermarry with each other, a privilege which they alone of the Hernicians, for a long time after, enjoyed.
To the Anagnians, and the others, who had made war on the Romans, was granted the freedom of the state, without the right of voting; public assemblies, and intermarriages, were not allowed them, and their magistrates were prohibited from acting except in the ministration of public worship.
During this year, Caius Junius Bubulcus, censor, contracted for the building of a temple to Health, which he had vowed during his consulate in the war with the Samnites. By the same person, and his colleague, Marcus Valerius Maximus, roads were made through the fields at the public expense.
During the same year the treaty with the Carthaginians was renewed a third time, and ample presents made to their ambassadors who came on that business.