The other consul, Postumius, in default of enemies in Samnium, transferred his army to [p. 501]
there he first devastated the lands of the1
Volsinienses, and then, when they came out to defend their territory, defeated them at no great distance from their own walls. two thousand eight hundred Etruscans were slain; the rest were saved by their nearness to the city.
The army was then led into the territory of Rusellae. there not only were the fields laid waste, but the town was captured too. more than two thousand were made prisoners and somewhat fewer were killed in the fighting about the walls.
yet a peace was made that year in Etruria that was more glorious and of more importance than the fighting had been. three very powerful cities, the chief places in that country, namely Volsinii, Perusia, and Arretium, made overtures of peace, and arranged with the consul, in return for clothing and corn for his troops, to be permitted to send ambassadors to Rome, who obtained a truce for forty years.
a fine of five hundred thousand asses,
to be paid at once, was assessed upon each state.
in view of these achievements, the consul asked the senate for a triumph, more as a matter of custom than with any hope of obtaining his request.
when he perceived that some were for denying him on the ground of his tardiness in leaving the City, and others because he had gone over without the authorization of the senate from Samnium into Etruria —a part of these critics being his personal enemies, and the rest friends of his colleague, who were minded to console the latter for his rebuff by denying a triumph to Postumius also —seeing,
I say, how matters stood, he spoke as follows: “i shall not be so mindful, Conscript Fathers, of your dignity as to forget that I am consul. in virtue of the same authority with [p. 503]
which I conducted my wars, I intend, now that those2
wars are happily concluded with the subjugation of Samnium and Etruria and the winning of victory and peace, to celebrate a triumph.”
so saying he left the senate. a dispute then arose amongst the tribunes of the plebs; some declared that they would interpose their veto to prevent this unprecedented kind of triumph, others that they would support his claims against the opposition of their colleagues.
The question was discussed in an assembly and the consul was asked to speak. he reminded them that Marcus Horatius and Lucius Valerius, the consuls, and lately Gaius Marcius Rutulus, father of him who was then censor, had triumphed not by authorization of the senate but by command of the people;
and he added that he, too, would have referred the question to the people, had he not known that there were tribunes who were owned by the nobles and would obstruct the law3
; but the wishes and approbation of the
people when they were of one accord had all the binding force with him —and ever would have of any orders whatsoever.
and so, on the following day, with the support of three tribunes of the plebs, against the opposition of seven who forbade the proceedings and a unanimous senate, Postumius triumphed, with the people thronging in attendance.
of this year, too, the tradition is uncertain.4
Postumius, if we follow Claudius,5
after capturing several cities in Samnium, was defeated in Apulia and put to flight, and, being wounded himself, was forced to take refuge with a few followers in Luceria; while Atilius campaigned in Etruria and obtained a triumph.
writes that both consuls fought in Samnium and at Luceria; that the army was led [p. 505]
over into Etruria —by which consul he does not state7
that at Luceria both sides suffered heavy losses; in the course of the battle a temple was vowed to Jupiter Stator, as Romulus had vowed one before; but only the fanum,
or place set apart for the temple, had been consecrated;
this year, however, their scruples demanded that the senate should order the erection of the building, since the state had now been obligated for the second time by the same vow.