when the dictator had set Lucius Papirius Crassus over the City and had forbidden Quintus Fabius, the master of the horse, to exercise his magistracy in any way, he returned to the camp, where his arrival occasioned no great satisfaction to the Romans nor the slightest apprehension to their enemies.
for on the following day, whether unaware that the dictator was come or caring little [p. 141]
whether he were there or not, the Samnites formed1
in order of battle and approached the camp.
so great however was the importance of one man, Lucius Papirius, that if the goodwill of the soldiers had seconded the measures taken by their general, it was held as certain that the war with Samnium might that day have been brought to a successful termination —so
skilfully did he dispose his army, so well secure it with every advantage of position and reserves, and with every military art. but the men were listless, and, on purpose to discredit their commander, threw away the victory. there were more Samnites killed, more Romans wounded.
The experienced general perceived what stood in the way of his success: he must qualify his native disposition, and mingle geniality with his sternness.
so, calling together his lieutenants, he made the round of his wounded soldiers in person, and putting his head into their tents and asking each how he was doing, he commended them by name to the care of the lieutenants, the tribunes, and the prefects.
this of itself was a popular thing to do, and Papirius managed it with such tact, that in healing their bodies he gained their affections much more rapidly; and indeed there was nothing that more promoted their recovery than the pleasurable feelings with which they accepted these attentions.
when the army was restored, he met the enemy, with no doubt as to the result, either on his own part or on that of his soldiers, and so routed and dispersed the Samnites that this was the last time they joined battle with the dictator.
The victorious army then marched on where the prospect of booty beckoned them, and traversed the territories of the [p. 143]
enemy without encountering any armed resistance2
whatsoever, either face to face or from an ambush.
The dictator had increased the alacrity of his troops by proclaiming that the booty should all be theirs, and private gain did as much as the public resentment to whet their zeal against the enemy.
discouraged by these reverses, the Samnites sought peace of Papirius, and agreed with him to give every soldier a garment and a year's pay.
he directed them to go before the senate, but they replied that they would attend him thither, committing their cause wholly to his honour and integrity. so the army was withdrawn from Samnium.