some writers hold that this war was waged by the consuls, and that it was they who triumphed over the Samnites; they say that Fabius even advanced into Apulia and thence drove off much booty.
but that Aulus Cornelius was dictator in that year is not disputed, and the doubt is only whether he was appointed to administer the war, or in order that there might be somebody to give the signal to the chariots at the Roman Games1
the praetor, Lucius Plautius, happened to be very sick —and whether, having discharged this office, [p. 157]
which is, to be sure, no very noteworthy exercise of2
power, he resigned the dictatorship. it is not easy to choose between the accounts or the authorities.
The records have been vitiated, I think, by funeral eulogies and by lying inscriptions under portraits, every family endeavouring mendaciously to appropriate victories and magistracies to itself —a practice which has certainly wrought confusion in the achievements of individuals and in the public memorials of events.
nor is there extant any writer contemporary with that period, on whose authority we may safely take our stand. [p. 159]