With the Volscian race there had been during the Latin war neither peace nor open hostilities; for while the Volsci had raised levies to send to the aid of the Latins, had the Roman dictator not moved quickly, yet the Romans did move quickly, that they might not have to fight both nations in the same battle Upon this quarrel the consuls led their legions into the country of the Volsci, who, not expecting to be held to account for their design, were surprised and overwhelmed.
They had no thought of resisting, and surrendered as hostages three hundred children of the nobility of Cora and Pometia, and so the legions were withdrawn without a conflict.
Yet it was not long before the Volsci, being relieved of their alarm, resumed their native duplicity; again they made secret preparations for war, and formed a military alliance with the Hernici, while they also sent out envoys, this [p. 289]
way and that, to instigate the Latins to rebellion.1
But the disaster which had recently befallen the Latins at Lake Regillus so filled them with rage and hate against anyone who advised them to go to war, that they did not even abstain from violating an embassy, but seized the Volsci and brought them to Rome. There they delivered them up to the consuls with the information that the Volsci and the Hernici were preparing to attack the Romans.
When this service had been reported to the senate the Fathers were so grateful that they released to the Latins six thousand captives, and referred the question of a treaty, which they had all but refused in perpetuity, to the incoming magistrates.2
Then, indeed, the Latins rejoiced at the action they had taken, and the advocates of peace were in great repute. They sent a golden crown as a gift to the Capitoline Jupiter. With the envoys who brought the gift came the captives who had been restored to their friends, a vast attendant multitude.
Proceeding to the homes of those whom they had severally served, they thanked them for the liberality and consideration which had been shown them in their adversity, and entered into covenants of hospitality with them. Never before had there been so close a union, both official and personal, between the Latin name and the Roman state.