The Samnites now perceived that instead of their domineering peace they were confronted with the renewal of a most bitter war, and not only imagined but almost saw all the consequences which afterwards proceeded from it.
too late and all in vain did they praise the alternative policies suggested by the aged Pontius, between which they had fallen, and exchanged a victory already in their possession for an uncertain peace; they had let slip the opportunity both of doing good and of doing harm, and were going to fight with men whom they might permanently have removed from their path, as enemies, or have made their permanent friends.
and though there had so far been no battle since the Caudine Peace to give an advantage to either side, yet such a change of feeling had come about that Postumius enjoyed more fame among the Romans for his surrender than did Pontius among the Samnites for his bloodless victory;
and while the Romans regarded their being able to make war as certain victory, the Samnites felt that the Romans had at one and the same moment renewed the war and won it.
meanwhile the Satricans revolted to the Samnites,1
and the colony of Fregellae, in a surprise attack by the Samnites —accompanied, it would seem, by people from Satricum —was seized during the night.
mutual fear then caused both sides to remain quiet until the morning, when the light ushered in a battle which for a long time was equally sustained —for the townsfolk were fighting for their hearths and altars and a throng of those unfit for arms gave them assistance from the housetops, —still,
the people of Fregellae held their own, until presently a ruse decided the victory; for they permitted a herald to be heard, who promised safety to any who laid down his arms.
The hope of this relaxed the tension of their courage and on every side they began throwing their arms away. The more determined portion of them retained their weapons and burst out by the opposite gate, and their boldness stood them in better stead than did their too credulous timidity the others; for these the Samnites compassed about with fire, and, despite their appeals to Heaven and to the promise of their captors, burnt them alive.
The consuls having divided the provinces between them, Papirius took his way into Apulia towards Luceria, where the Roman knights given up at Caudium for hostages were being guarded, while Publilius stopped behind in Samnium to oppose the Caudine legions.
this plan distracted the minds of the Samnites, since they neither dared move towards Luceria, lest they should bring the enemy down upon their rear, nor remain where they were, for fear that Luceria would meanwhile be lost.
The best course seemed to be to entrust their cause to [p. 209]
Fortune and fight it out with Publilius. they2
accordingly formed up in line of battle.