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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VI Chapter 6: Wars with the Volscians and Etruscans.[387 BC]
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The question of the Pomptine territory was again raised by Lucius Sicinius, a tribune of the plebs, and the people attended the Assembly in greater numbers and showed a more eager desire for land than they had done. In the senate the subject of the Latin and Hernican wars was mentioned, but owing to the concern felt about a more serious war, it was adjourned. Etruria was in arms. They again fell back on Camillus. He was made consular tribune, and five colleagues were assigned to him: Servius Cornelius Maluginensis, Quintus Servilius Fidenas (for the sixth time), Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, Lucius Horatius Pulvillus, and Publius Valerius. |
At the beginning of the year public anxiety was diverted from the Etruscan war by the arrival in the City of a body of fugitives from the Pomptine territory, who reported that the Antiates were in arms, and that the Latin cantons sent their fighting men to assist them. The latter explained in their defence that it was not in consequence of a formal act of their government; all they had done was to decline prohibiting any one from serving where he chose as a volunteer.
It was no longer the fashion to think lightly of any wars. The senate thanked heaven that Camillus was in office, for certainly had he been a private citizen he must have been nominated dictator. His colleagues admitted that when any alarm arose of threatened war the supreme direction of everything must be in one man's hands, and they had made up their minds to subordinate their powers to Camillus, feeling assured that to enhance his authority in no way derogated from their own. This action of the consular tribunes met with the hearty approval of the senate, and Camillus, in modest confusion, returned thanks to them.
He went on to say that a tremendous burden had been laid upon him by the people of Rome in making him practically dictator for the fourth time; a heavy responsibility had been put upon him by the senate, who had passed such a flattering judgment upon him; heaviest of all by his colleagues in the honour they had done him. If it were possible for him to show still greater activity and vigilance, he would strive so to surpass himself that he might make the lofty estimation, which his fellow-citizens had with such striking unanimity formed of him, a lasting one. As far as war with the Antiates was concerned, the outlook was threatening rather than dangerous; at the same time he advised them, whilst fearing nothing, to treat nothing with indifference. Rome was beset by the ill-will and hatred of its neighbours, and the interests of the State therefore required several generals and several armies.
He proceeded: "You, Publius Valerius, I wish to associate with myself in counsel and command, and you will lead the legions in concert with me against the Antiates. You, Quintus Servilius, will keep a second army ready for instant service encamped by the City, prepared for any movement, such as recently took place, on the part of Etruria or on the side of the Latins and Hernicans who are causing us this fresh trouble. I am quite certain that you will conduct the campaign in a manner worthy of your father, your grandfather, yourself, and your six tribune- ships. A third army must be raised by Lucius Quinctius from the seniors, and those excused from service on grounds of health, to garrison the defences of the City. Lucius Horatius is to provide armour, weapons corn and everything else required in a time of war. You, Servius Cornelius, are appointed by us your colleagues as president of this Council of State, and guardian of everything pertaining to religion, of the Assembly, the laws, and all matters touching the City."
All gladly promised to devote themselves to the various duties assigned them; Valerius, associated in the chief command, added that he should look upon Marcus Furius as dictator and regard himself as his Master of the Horse, and the estimation in which they held their sole commander should be the measure of the hopes they entertained as to the issue of the war. The senators, in high delight, exclaimed that they at all events were full of hope with regard to war and peace and all that concerned the republic; there would never be any need for a dictator when they had such men in office, with such perfect harmony of feeling, prepared equally to obey or command, conferring glory on their country instead of appropriating their country's glory to themselves.