The consuls then went to confer with Pontius. The victor proposed a treaty, but they declared that a treaty could not be made without the authorization of the people, nor without fetials and the rest of the customary ceremonial.
consequently the Caudine [p. 179]
Peace was not entered into by means of a treaty, as1
people in general believe and as Claudius2
actually states, but by a guarantee.3
for what need would there have been for guarantors or for hostages in a treaty, where the agreement is concluded with a prayer that the nation responsible for any departure from the recited terms may be smitten by Jupiter even as the swine is smitten by the
The guarantors were the consuls, the lieutenants, the quaestors, and the tribunes of the soldiers, and the names of all who gave the guarantee are extant, whereas, if the agreement had been entered into as in making a treaty, none would be preserved except those of the two
fetials; and because of the inevitable postponement of the treaty, hostages were also required to the number of six hundred knights, whose lives were to be forfeit if the Romans should fail to keep the
terms. a time was then set for the delivery of the hostages and the dismissal of the army without their arms.
fresh lamentations broke out in the camp when the consuls returned; and the men could hardly keep from laying violent hands on those through whose rashness they had been led into that place, and through whose cowardice they were now to depart more shamefully than they had
come. they bethought them how they had been unprovided either with guides or with patrols, but had been driven blindly, like wild beasts, into a
trap. they looked at one another; they gazed on the arms that they must presently surrender, on the right hands that would be helpless and the bodies that would be at the mercy of the
foe. they pictured to their mind's eye the hostile yoke, the victor's taunts, [p. 181]
and fleering countenance; and how they must pass5
unarmed between the ranks of their armed enemies, and then wend their wretched way, a pitiful band, through the cities of their allies; and finally the return to their own city and their parents, whither they themselves and their ancestors had often returned in
triumph. they alone had been defeated without a wound, without a weapon, without a battle; to them it had not been granted to draw the sword, nor to join in combat with the enemy; on them in vain had arms, in vain had strength, in vain had bravery been
as they uttered these complaints, the fateful hour of their humiliation came, an hour destined to transcend all anticipations in the bitterness of its
reality. to begin with, they were ordered to pass outside the rampart, clad in their tunics and unarmed, and the hostages were at once handed over and led off into
custody. next, the lictors were commanded to forsake the consuls, who then were stripped of their generals' cloaks, —a thing which inspired such compassion in those very men who a little while before had cursed them and had declared that they deserved
to be given up and put to torture, that every man, forgetting his own evil case, averted his eyes from that degradation of so majestic an office, as from a spectacle of horror.