Accordingly, leaving a detachment to guard the camp, they sallied forth, and made such devastating forays in the Roman territory that the terror they caused extended even to the City.
The alarm was all the greater because such proceedings were quite unexpected. For nothing was less to be feared than that an enemy who had been defeated and almost surrounded in his camp should think of
predatory incursions, whilst the panic-stricken country people, pouring in at the gates and exaggerating everything in their wild alarm, exclaimed that they were not mere raids or small bodies of plunderers, entire armies of the enemy were near, preparing to swoop down on the City in force.
Those who were nearest carried what they heard to others, and the vague rumours became still more exaggerated and false. The running and clamour of men shouting ‘To arms!’ created nearly as great a panic as though the City was actually taken.
Fortunately the consul Quinctius had returned to Rome
from Algidus. This relieved their fears, and after allaying the excitement and rebuking them for being afraid of a defeated enemy, he stationed troops to guard the gates.
The senate was then convened, and on their authority he proclaimed a suspension of all business; after which he set out to protect the frontier, leaving Q. Servilius as prefect of the City.
He did not, however, find the enemy.
The other consul achieved a brilliant success. He ascertained by what routes the parties of the enemy would come, attacked each while laden with plunder and therefore hampered in their movements, and made their plundering expeditions fatal to them.
Few of the enemy escaped; all the plunder was recovered. The consul's return put an end to the suspension of business, which lasted four days.
Then the census was made and the ‘lustrum’ closed by Quinctius.1
The numbers of the census are stated to have been one hundred and four thousand seven hundred and fourteen, exclusive of widows
Nothing further of any importance occurred amongst the Aequi. They withdrew into their towns and looked on passively at the rifling and burning of their homesteads. After repeatedly marching through the length and breadth of the enemies' territory and carrying destruction everywhere, the consul returned to Rome
with immense glory and immense spoil.