The Volscian commander, who had maintained his men up to that time not out of a store provided in advance, but with corn taken from day to day in pillaging the country-side, was no sooner shut in by the rampart than he found himself all at once destitute of everything. He therefore invited the consul to a parley, and said that if the Roman general had come for the purpose of raising the siege, he would lead the Volscians off.
The consul replied that it was for the conquered to accept terms, not to make them; the Volsci had consulted their own pleasure in coming to attack the allies of the Roman People; it would be otherwise with their departure.
He ordered them to surrender their general, to lay down their arms, and, confessing themselves defeated, to yield to his authority; if they did not, he would be their determined enemy, whether they attempted to go or to stay, and would rather bring back to Rome a victory over the Volsci than a treacherous peace with them.
The Volsci, testing the small hope that arms held out to them —for all other hope had been cut off —fought, not to speak of other disadvantages, in a position that was unfavourable for battle and still more unfavourable [p. 293]
for flight; and being cut to pieces on every side,1
left off fighting and fell to entreaties; and after giving up their general and handing over their weapons, were sent under the yoke, with a single garment each, and so dismissed, overwhelmed with shame and disaster.
But on their encamping not far from the city of Tusculum, the Tusculans, upon an old grudge, attacked them in their defenseless state, and exacted so heavy a penalty that they scarce left any to report the massacre.
The Roman commander, finding Ardea distracted by sedition, composed its troubles by beheading the ringleaders of the revolt and confiscating their property to the public treasury of the Ardeates. The townsmen thought that the great service which the Roman People had thus rendered them had cancelled the injustice of the judgment,2
but the Roman senate felt that something still remained to do in order to wipe out that reminder of the national greed.
The consul returned to the City and triumphed, making Cluilius, the leader of the Volsci, walk before his chariot, and displaying the spoils which he had taken from the hostile army, before sending them under the yoke.
It is no easy thing to do, but the consul Quinctius equalled in civil life the fame of his armed colleague; for so well did he maintain domestic peace and concord, by tempering the law to high and low, that the Fathers regarded him as a strict consul, and the plebs as mild enough.
He held his own, too, with the tribunes, more by his personal influence than by contending with them. Five consulships administered on the self-same principles, and a life which had been throughout of consular [p. 295]
dignity, made the man himself almost more revered3
than his office. Hence there was no talk of military tribunes while these men were consuls.