The Apulians would have joined the Samnites1
before the battle had not Publius Decius the consul encamped over against them at Maleventum,2
and then drawn them into an engagement and defeated them.
in this instance also the rout was greater than the slaughter: two thousand Apulians were killed, and Decius, scorning such an enemy, led his legions into Samnium.
there the two consular armies, overrunning the land in different directions, had laid all waste within four months' time.
there were forty —five places in Samnium where Decius had encamped; the other consul had encamped in eighty —six.
nor did they leave behind them only the traces of their ramparts and their trenches, but other much more conspicuous memorials, in the havoc and devastation of the country round about. Fabius also captured the city of Cimetra.
in this siege two thousand nine hundred men —at —arms were taken and some nine hundred and thirty were slain fighting.
after this he set out for Rome for the election, which he made haste to call. The centuries that voted first were all naming Quintus Fabius for consul, when Appius Claudius, who was a
candidate for that post and a pushing and ambitious man, but no more eager to gain the honour for himself than to have the patricians recover two consular places, exerted his own strength and that of the whole nobility to induce them to elect him as Fabius's [p. 415]
Fabius would not have it so, raising3
virtually the same objections he had raised in the previous year. The nobles all thronged about his seat, and besought him to lift up the consulship out of the plebeian mire and restore both to the office and to the aristocratic families their old —time dignity.
obtaining silence, Fabius soothed their excited feelings with a temperate speech, in which he said that he would have done as they desired and have received the names of two patricians, if he had seen another than himself being made consul;
as it was, he would not entertain his own name at an election, for to do so would violate the laws and establish a most evil precedent.
so Lucius Volumnius, a plebeian, was returned, together with Appius Claudius, with whom he had also been paired in an earlier consulship.4
The nobles taunted Fabius with having avoided Appius Claudius for a colleague, as a man clearly his superior in eloquence and statecraft.