Quintus Fabius and Publius Decius were1
succeeded in the consulship by Lucius Postumius Megellus and Marcus Atilius Regulus.
Samnium was assigned them both for their province, in consequence of a report that the enemy had raised three armies, with one of which they meant to return into Etruria, with another to resume the devastation of Campania, while the third was making ready for the defence of their frontiers.
Postumius was detained in Rome by ill health: Atilius marched out at once, that he might put down the enemy in Samnium —for such was the senate's plan —ere they could cross the border.
as though it had been prearranged, they encountered the foe in a place where they themselves were prevented from laying waste the territory of their enemies, while they prevented the Samnites from coming out into the district which had been pacified and the territory of the allies of the Roman People.
on the camps being established over against each other, what the Romans would hardly have dared to do, victorious as they had so often been, the Samnites ventured —such temerity does utter hopelessness beget, —that is, to assault the enemy's camp; and although their desperate enterprise did not fully succeed, still, it was not altogether futile.
there was a fog which lasted well on into the day, so dense as to shut out the light and [p. 483]
render it impossible to see, not only beyond the2
rampart, but even at a little way off, when people approached each other.
relying on this, as on a screen for their operations, the Samnites came up, when day had scarcely dawned, and even so was hidden behind the murk, to the Roman outpost that was negligently standing guard before the gate.
falling upon them unawares they encountered neither courage nor strength sufficient to hold them in check.
they charged in by the decuman gate in the rear of the camp, captured the quaestor's tent,3
and slew the quaestor, Lucius Opimius Pansa; whereupon a general alarm was cried.