5. L. Papirius
Cursor, likewise a son of No. 3, was no less distinguished as a general than his father.
He was made consul in B. C. 293 with Sp. Carvilius Maximus, at the time of the third Samnite war. The Samnites, after having made immense efforts, had invaded Campania; but the consuls, instead of attacking them there, penetrated into their unprotected country, and thus compelled them to retreat. Papirius took the town of Duronia, and he as well as his colleague ravaged Samnium, especially the territory of Antium.
He then pitched his camp opposite the Samnite army near Aquilonia, at some distance from the camp of Carvilius. Several days passed before Papirius attacked the enemy, and it was agreed that Carvilius should make an attack upon Cominium on the same day that Papirius offered battle to the Samnites, in order to prevent the Samnites from obtaining any succour from Cominium. Papirius gained a brilliant victory, which he owed mainly to his cavalry, and the Samnites fled to their camp without being able to maintain it. They however still continued to fight against the two consuls, and even beat Carvilius near Herculaneum; but it was of no avail, for the Romans soon after again got the upper hand. Papirius continued his operations in Samnium till the beginning of winter, and then returned to Rome, where he and his colleague celebrated a magnificent triumph.
The booty which Papirius exhibited on that occasion was very rich; but his troops, who were not satisfied with the plunder they had been allowed, murmured because he did not, like Carvilius, distribute money among them, but delivered up everything to the treasury.
He dedicated the temple of Quirinus, which his father had vowed, and adorned it with a solarium horologium,
or a sun-dial, the first that was set up in public at Rome.
He was raised to the consulship again in B. C. 272, together with his former colleague, Carvilius, for the exploits of their former consulship had made such an impression upon the Romans, that they were looked up to as the only men capable of bringing the wearisome struggle with the Samnites to a close. They entirely realized the hopes of their nation, for the Samnites, Lucanians, and Bruttians were compelled to submit to the majesty of Rome.
But we have no account of the manner in which those nations were thus reduced. On his return to Rome, Papirius celebrated his second triumph, and after this event we hear no more of him. (Liv. 10.9
; Zonar. 8.7
; Oros. 3.2
; Frontin, de Aquaed. 1.6, Strateg.
3.3; Plin. Nat. 7.60
; Niebuhr, iii. pp. 390, &c., 524, &c.)