This was the first ground of complaint against him which was laid hold of by those of the Volscians who had long been jealous of him, and uneasy at the influence which he had acquired. Among these was Tullus also, not because he had been personally wronged at all by Marcius, but because he was only too human. For he was vexed to find his reputation wholly obscured and himself neglected by the Volscians, who thought that Marcius alone was everything to them, and that their other leaders should be content with whatever share of influence and authority he might bestow upon them.
This was the reason why the first seeds of denunciation were sown in secret, and now, banding together, the malcontents shared their resentment with one another, and called the withdrawal of Marcius a betrayal, not so much of cities and armies, as of golden opportunities, which prove the salvation or the loss of these as well as of everything else; for he had granted a respite of thirty days from war, although in war the greatest changes might occur in much less time than this.
And yet Marcius did not spend this time in idleness, but fell upon the enemy's allies, harassed and ravaged their territories, and captured seven of their large and populous cities.1
And the Romans did not venture to come to their aid, but their spirits were full of hesitation, and their attitude toward the war was that of men who are completely benumbed and paralyzed.
And when the time had passed, and Marcius was at hand again with his entire force, they sent out another embassy to entreat him to moderate his wrath, withdraw the Volscian army from the country, and then make such proposals and settlements as he thought best for both nations; for the Romans would make no concessions through fear, but if he thought that the Volscians ought to obtain certain favours, all such would be granted them if they laid down their arms.
Marcius replied that, as general of the Volscians, he would make no answer to this, but as one who was still a citizen of Rome, he advised and exhorted them to adopt more moderate views of what justice required, and come to him in three days with a ratification of his previous demands; but if they should decide otherwise, they must know well that it was not safe for them to come walking into his camp again with empty phrases.