After this speech of the consul the legates were dismissed, and on their way home Vibius Virrius, one of them, said the time had come when the Campanians could not only recover the territory formerly taken from them unjustly by the Romans, but could also gain authority over Italy. For they would make a treaty with Hannibal on their own terms.
And there would be no doubt that, when Hannibal, upon the completion of the war, retired as victor to Africa and removed his army, authority over Italy would be left to the Campanians.
Having agreed unanimously with these words of Virrius, they [p. 19]
made such a report of their embassy that the Roman1
name seemed to all to have been blotted out.2
At once the populace and most of the senate were aiming to revolt.
But action was postponed for a few days by the weighty advice of the older men. Finally the view of the majority prevailed, that the same legates who had gone to the Roman consul should be sent to Hannibal.
Before they went to him and' before the plan to revolt was settled upon, I find in some of the annals that legates were sent to Rome by the Campanians with the demand that, if they wished' them to aid the Roman state, one of the consuls should be a Campanian;3
that resentment was aroused and the legates were ordered to be removed from the Senate House, and that a lictor was sent to lead them out of the city and bid them lodge that night outside of Roman territory.
Because there was once a suspiciously similar demand made by the Latins,4
and Coelius and other historians had not without reason omitted the matter, I have been afraid to set this down as established.