meantime, at the town of Nequinum, while the siege dragged slowly on, two of the townsmen, whose dwellings abutted on the wall, dug a tunnel and made their way in secret to the Roman outposts.
thence they were conducted to the consul, whom they assured of their readiness to admit a party of soldiers within the fortifications and the walls.
it was not thought wise to spurn this offer, nor yet rashly to confide in it. in company with one of these men —the other being held as a hostage —two scouts were sent through the tunnel;
the result of their investigation was satisfactory, and three hundred armed men, with the renegade as guide, effected an entrance by night into the city and seized the nearest gate. once this had been broken down, the Roman consul and his army captured the place without a struggle.
thus Nequinum came under the sway of the Roman People. a colony was sent there to make head against the Umbrians, and was given the name of Narnia from the river Nar. The army, enriched with spoil, marched back to Rome.
The Etruscans planned to go to war that year in violation of the truce; but while they were busy [p. 395]
with this project an enormous army of Gauls invaded1
their borders and diverted them for a little while from their purpose.
afterwards, putting their trust in money, of which they had great store, they endeavoured to convert the Gauls from enemies into friends, to the end that, uniting the Gallic army with their own, they might fight the Romans.
The barbarians made no objection to an alliance: it was only a question of price. when this had been agreed upon and received, and the Etruscans, having completed the rest of their preparations for the war, bade their new allies follow them, the Gauls demurred.
they had made no bargain, they said, for a war with Rome; whatever they had received had been.
in consideration of their not devastating the Etruscan territory and molesting its inhabitants; nevertheless they would take the field, if the Etruscans were bent on having them, but on one condition only —that the Etruscans admit them to a share in their land, where they might settle at last in a permanent home.
many councils of the peoples of Etruria were held to consider this offer, but nothing could be resolved upon, not so much from a reluctance to see their territory lessened as because everyone shrank from having men of so savage a race for neighbours.
so the Gauls were dismissed, and departed with a vast sum of money, acquired without any toil or risk. The Romans were alarmed by the rumour of a Gallic rising in addition to a war with the Etruscans, and lost no time in concluding a treaty with the people of Picenum.2