The consuls of the next year, Opiter1
Verginius and Spurius Cassius, attempted to capture Pometia, first by assault and then by the use of mantlets and other engines.
Against their besiegers the Aurunci, rather of an implacable hatred than for any hope or opportunity offered, rushed out, armed with firebrands for the most part, instead of swords, and carried death and flames in all directions.
The mantlets were burned, many of their enemies were wounded or slain, and one of the consuls —which one the historians do not add —was seriously wounded, thrown from his horse, and almost killed.
The Romans then marched home, defeated. Amongst the many wounded they brought the consul, hovering betwixt life and death. When a short time had elapsed, long enough for healing wounds and recruiting the army, they returned, with heightened resentment and also with augmented forces, to the attack of Pometia.
They had repaired their mantlets and the rest of their equipment, and they were already upon the [p. 275]
point of sending their men against the walls when2
the town capitulated.
But the fate of the Aurunci was no less awful from their having surrendered their city than if it had been stormed. Their chief men were beheaded, and the rest of the colonists were sold as slaves.3
The town was razed; its land was sold.
The consuls obtained a triumph, more because they had heavily avenged Rome's wrongs than because of the magnitude of the war which they had successfully concluded.