Vestinians had requested to be placed on the footing of a friendly State, and a treaty was made with them this year.
Subsequently several incidents created alarm in Rome.
Intelligence was received of the renewal of hostilities by the Etruscans, owing to disturbances in Arretium. The powerful house of the Cilnii2
had created widespread jealousy through their enormous wealth, and an attempt was made to expel them from the city.
The Marsi also were giving trouble, for a body of 4000 colonists had been sent to Carseoli, and they were prevented by force from occupying the place.
In view of this threatening aspect of affairs, M. Valerius Maximus was nominated Dictator, and he named M. Aemilius Paulus Master of the Horse.
I think that this is more probable than that Q. Fabius was made Master of the Horse and, therefore, in a subordinate position to Valerius, in spite of his age and the offices he had held;
but I am quite prepared to admit that the error arose from the cognomen Maximus, common to both men.3
The Dictator took the field and routed the Marsi in one battle. After compelling them to seek shelter in their fortified cities, he took Milionia, Plestina, and Fresilia within a few days.
The Marsi were compelled to surrender a portion of their territory, and then the old treaty with Rome was renewed.
The war was now turned against the Etruscans, and an unfor- tunate incident occurred during this campaign.
The Dictator had left the camp for Rome to take the auspices afresh, and the Master of the Horse had gone out to forage. He was surprised and surrounded, and after losing some standards and many of his men, he was driven in disgraceful flight back to his camp.
Such a precipitate flight is contradictory to all that we know of Fabius; for it was his reputation as a soldier that more than anything else justified his epithet of Maximus, and he never forgot the severity of Papirius towards him, and could never have been tempted to fight without the Dictator's orders.