The following year, being the consulship of1
Lucius Papirius Crassus and Caeso Duillius, was remarkable for a war more novel than important,
to wit with the Ausonians, who inhabited the city of Cales.
they had joined forces with their neighbours, the Sidicini, and the army of the two peoples having suffered a defeat in one —by no means memorable — [p. 65]
battle, was by the nearness of their cities not only2
the more disposed to flight, but found in that same flight the readier safety. The senators, however, did not cease to be concerned over this war, so many times before had the Sidicini either drawn the sword themselves, or lent aid to those who were drawing it, or been the occasion of hostilities.
they accordingly bent every effort to elect to his fourth consulship the greatest soldier of that age, Marcus Valerius Corvus.
to be his colleague, they gave him Marcus Atilius Regulus; and lest there should by chance be some miscarriage, they requested of the consuls that Corvus be given the command, without the drawing of lots.
taking over the victorious army from the previous consuls, he marched on Cales, where the war had originated, and routing the enemy —who had as yet not even recovered from the panic of the earlier encounter —at the first cheer and onset, he attacked the town itself.
The soldiers, for their part, were so eager that they wished to attempt the walls at once with scaling —ladders, and insisted that they could carry the place; but Corvus, since this would have been an arduous achievement, preferred to accomplish his purpose at the cost of labour rather than of danger to his men.
he therefore constructed a terrace and brought up mantlets, and moved his towers close to the walls, but a fortunate circumstance made it unnecessary to employ them.
for Marcus Fabius, a Roman prisoner, being neglected by his guards on a day of merrymaking, broke his bonds, let himself down by the wall, hand over hand, into the Roman works, by a rope which he had made fast to a battlement, and induced the general to attack the enemy while they [p. 67]
were overcome with feasting and drinking.
was that the Ausonians and their city were captured with no greater effort than they had been defeated in the field. huge spoils were taken, a garrison was established in the town, and the legions were led back to Rome.
The consul triumphed,4
in pursuance of a senatorial decree, and lest Atilius should go without his meed of glory, both consuls were directed to march against the Sidicini.
but first —being so instructed by the senate —they named a dictator to preside at the elections, their choice falling on Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus, who selected Quintus Publilius Philo to be master of the horse. under the presidency of the dictator, Titus Veturius and Spurius Postumius were chosen consuls.
These men, although a half of the war —with the Sidicini —yet remained, nevertheless, in order to anticipate the desires of the plebs by doing them a service, brought in a proposal for sending out a colony to Cales.
The senate resolved that twenty —five hundred men should be enrolled for it, and appointed Caeso Duillius, Titus Quinctius, and Marcus Fabius a commission of three to conduct the settlers to the land and apportion it amongst them.