The Volscian general, who up to that period had maintained his army, not out of provisions which had been previously provided, but with corn brought in daily from the plunder of the country, when now encompassed by a rampart he perceives himself suddenly destitute of every thing, calling the consul to a conference, says, that “if the Roman came for the purpose of raising the siege, he would withdraw the Volscians from thence.”
To this the consul made answer, that “the vanquished had to accept terms, not to dictate them; and as the Volscians came at their own discretion to attack the allies of the Roman people, they should not go off in the same same way.”
He orders, “that their general be given up, their arms laid down, acknowledging themselves vanquished, and ready to submit to his further orders: otherwise, whether they went away or stayed, that he would prove a determined enemy, and would prefer to carry to Rome a victory over the [p. 262]
Volscians than an insidious peace.”
The Volscians, determined on trying the slender hope they had in arms, all other being now cut off, besides many other disadvantages, having come to an engagement in a place unfavourable for fighting, and still more so for retreat, when they were being cut down on every side, from fighting have recourse to entreaties; having given up their general and surrendered their arms, they are sent under the yoke and dismissed full of disgrace and suffering, with one garment each.
And when they halted not far from the city of Tusculum, in consequence of an old grudge of the Tusculans they were surprised, unarmed as they were, and suffered severe punishment, a messenger being scarcely left to bring an account of their defeat.
The Roman general quieted the disturbed state of affairs at Ardea, beheading the principal authors of that commotion, and confiscating their effects to the public treasury of the Ardeans; the Ardeans considered the injustice of the decision completely repaired by such kindness on the part of the Roman people; it seemed to the senate, however, that something remained to be done to obliterate the remembrance of public avarice.
The consul returns to the city in triumph, Clalius, the general of the Volscians, being led before his chariot, and the spoils being carried before him, of which he had stripped the enemy's army after he had sent them under the yoke.
Quintius the consul, by his civil administration, equalled, which is no easy matter, the glory attained by his colleague in war; for he so regulated the domestic care of harmony and peace, by dispensing justice with moderation to the highest and the lowest, that both the patricians considered him a strict consul, and the commons, as one sufficiently lenient.
Against the tribunes too he carried his measures more by his influence than by striving against them. Five consulships conducted with the same even tenor of conduct, and every part of his life being passed in a manner worthy of the consular dignity, rendered himself almost more venerable than the high office itself. On this account no mention was made of the military tribunes during this consulate.