on the punishment of the Capuan senators there was no kind of agreement between Fulvius and Claudius.
ready to hear a plea for pardon was Claudius; more inflexible was Fulvius' opinion. accordingly Appius was inclined to refer the entire decision of the case to the senate at Rome.
furthermore he thought it right that the fathers should be given authority to enquire of these men whether they had shared their plans with some of the Latin allies, and whether they had been helped by them in the war.
but Fulvius said that they must on no account run the risk of troubling the feelings of faithful allies by unsubstantiated charges and of exposing them to informers, who never had had any scruple as to what they were saying or what they were doing; hence he would quash and suppress that investigation.
when they had separated directly after this speech, Appius had no doubt that his colleague, in spite of his fierce words, would wait, however, for a letter from Rome on a matter of such importance.
but Fulvius for fear that very thing might hinder his project, dismissed the council, and ordered the tribunes of the soldiers and the prefects of allies to instruct two thousand picked cavalry —to be ready at the bugle —call of the third watch.
setting out by night for Teanum with this cavalry, he entered the gate at dawn and proceeded to the forum.
at the first entry of the horsemen a crowd [p. 59]
gathered, and he bade that the Sidicinian1
be summoned, and ordered him to bring out the Capuans whom he had under arrest.
all were brought out, scourged with rods and beheaded.3
thence he hastened at full speed to Cales. there, after he had taken his seat on the tribunal and the Capuans were brought out and were being bound to stakes, came a horseman post haste from Rome and handed to Fulvius a letter from Gaius Calpurnius, the praetor, and a decree of the senate.
beginning at the tribunal a rumour spread through the whole assembly that the case of the Capuans was reserved for decision by the senators. Fulvius also thought that was the case, took the letter, but without breaking the seal, and having placed it in his bosom, commanded a herald to order the lictor to carry out the legal punishment. Thus was punishment visited upon those also who were at Cales.
then the letter was read and the decree of the senate, too late to prevent an action which had been hastened by every means, that prevention might be impossible.
just as Fulvius was rising from his seat, Taurea Vibellius the Capuan, striding through the middle of the crowd, called him by name, and when Flaccus, wondering what he wished of him, had sat down again, Vibellius said
“order me also to be slain, that you may be able to boast that a much braver man than you are yourself has been slain by you.”
when Flaccus said that the man was doubtless of unsound mind, and then added that, if he wished to do so, he was forbidden by the decree of the senate, thereupon Vibellius said “since indeed, although my native city has been taken, my relatives and friends lost, and
with my own hand I have killed my wife and [p. 61]
children, that they might suffer no indignity, for4
myself there is not the same possibility even to die that these my fellow —citizens have had, let courage give me a release from this odious life.”
and so with a sword which he had concealed under his clothing he ran himself directly through the breast and fell dying at the feet of the general.