It was customary amongst the Faliscans to employ the same person as teacher and attendant of their children, and they used to intrust a number of lads at the same time to the care of one man, a practice which still obtains in Greece.
The children of the chief men, as is commonly the case, were under the tuition of one who was regarded as their foremost scholar. This man had in time of peace got into the way of leading the boys out in front of the city for play and exercise, and during the war made no change in his routine, but would draw them sometimes a shorter, sometimes a longer distance from the gate, with this and that game and story, until being farther away one day than usual, he seized the opportunity
to bring them amongst the enemy's outposts, and then into the Roman camp, to the headquarters of Camillus.
He then followed up his villainous act with an even more villainous speech, saying that he had given Falerii into the hands
of the Romans, having delivered up to them the children of those whose fathers were in power there.
On hearing this Camillus answered: “Neither the people nor the captain to whom you are come, you scoundrel, with your scoundrel's gift, is like yourself. Between us and the Faliscans is no [p. 95]
fellowship founded on men's covenants; but the fellowship1
which nature has implanted in both sides is there and will abide.
There are rights of war as well as of peace, and we have learnt to use them justly no less than bravely. We bear no weapons against those tender years which find mercy even in the storming of a city, but against those who are armed themselves, who, without wrong or provocation at our hands, attacked the Roman camp at Veii.
Those people you have done your best to conquer by an unheard-of crime. I shall conquer them, as I conquered Veii, in the Roman way, by dint of courage, toil, and arms.”
He then had the fellow stripped, his hands bound behind his back, and gave him up to the boys to lead back to Falerii, providing them with rods to scourge the traitor as they drove him into town.
To behold this spectacle, there was at first a great gathering together of the people, and presently the magistrates called a meeting of the senate about the strange affair, and men underwent such a revulsion of feeling, that those who a short time before, in the fury of their hate and resentment would almost have preferred the doom of Veii to the peace of Capena, were now calling for peace, with the voice of an entire city.
The honesty of the Romans, and the justice of their general, were praised in market-place and senate-house, and, with the consent of all, envoys proceeded to Camillus in his camp, and thence, by his permission, to the Roman senate, to surrender Falerii.
Being introduced into the Curia they are said to have spoken as follows: “Conscript Fathers, you and your general have won a victory over us which no one, whether God or man, could begrudge you, and we [p. 97]
give ourselves into your hands, believing (than which2
nothing can be more honourable to a victor) that we shall be better off under your government than under our own laws.
The outcome of this war has afforded the human race two wholesome precedents: you have set fair-dealing in war above immediate victory; and we, challenged by your fair-dealing, have freely granted you that victory.
We are under your sway; send men to receive our arms and hostages, and our city, the gates of which stand open.
Neither shall you be disappointed in our fidelity nor we in your rule.” Camillus was thanked both by his enemies and by his fellow citizens. The Faliscans were commanded to pay the soldiers for that year, that the Roman People might be exempted from the war tax. Peace being granted, the Roman army was led home.