Anxur of the Volsci was speedily recaptured, a holiday having relaxed the vigilance of their guard. This year was remarkable for so cold and snowy a winter, that the roads were blocked and the Tiber became unnavigable. The price of corn, owing to the supply which they had brought in before, did not go up.
Publius Licinius had obtained his magistracy without any disorders, rejoicing the commons more than he offended the patricians, and in the same spirit he conducted it; the people therefore became desirous of returning plebeians at the next election of consular tribunes.
Marcus Veturius was the sole patrician candidate to get in; all the other military tribunes with consular authority were commoners, as the result of an all but unanimous vote of the centuries. Their names were Marcus Pomponius, Gnaeus Duillius, Volero Publilius, Gnaeus Genucius, Lucius Atilius
The severe winter was succeeded, whether in consequence of the sudden change from such inclement weather to the opposite extreme, or for some other reason, by a summer that was noxious and baleful to all living creatures.
Unable to discover what caused the incurable ravages of this distemper, or would put an end to them, the senate voted to consult the Sibylline Books.
The duumvirs [p. 49]
in charge of the sacred rites then celebrated the1
ever held in Rome, and for the space of eight days sacrificed to Apollo, to Latona and Diana, to Hercules, to Mercury and to Neptune, spreading three couches for them with all the splendour then attainable.
They also observed the rite in their homes. All through the City, they say, doors stood wide open, all kinds of viands were set out for general consumption, all comers were welcomed, whether known or not, and men even exchanged kind and courteous words with personal enemies; there was a truce to quarrelling and litigation;
even prisoners were loosed from their chains for those days, and they scrupled thenceforth to imprison men whom the gods had thus befriended.
Meantime alarms were multiplied at Veii, where three wars were rolled into one.
For, precisely as before, the Capenates and the Faliscans came suddenly to raise the siege, and the Romans fought about their works against three armies, which attacked them on both sides. What helped them most, was the recollection how Sergius and Verginius had been condemned.
And so from the principal camp, where the delay had occurred on the former occasion, troops were dispatched by a short circuit and fell upon the Capenates in the rear, as they faced the rampart of the Romans.
Beginning there, the battle carried terror even among the Faliscans, who were wavering, when a timely sally from the camp put them to flight. Then, as they retreated, the victors pursued them with great slaughter;
and not long after a party that was raiding the territory of the Capenates happened to fall in with them and destroyed such as had survived the battle.
Of the [p. 51]
Veientes likewise, many, as they fled back to the3
town, were slain before the gates, when their friends, fearing lest the Romans should burst in along with them, had closed the portals, and barred out the hindmost of their own people.