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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VIII Chapter 2: War of Samnites with Sidicines.[341 BC]
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The praetor, Titus Aemilius, put these demands to the senate, and they decided that the former treaty should be renewed with them. The reply given then by the praetor was to the effect that it was no fault of the Roman people that the friendship with them had not remained unbroken, and there was no objection to its being re-established since they themselves were weary of a war brought on them by their own fault. As to the Sidicines there was nothing to prevent the Samnites from being free to make either peace or war. |
After the treaty was made the Roman army was at once withdrawn. The men had received a year's pay and three months' rations, for which the consul had stipulated, that he might allow time for an armistice until the envoys returned.
The Samnites advanced against the Sidicines with the same troops that they had employed in the war with Rome, and they were very hopeful of effecting an early capture of the city. Then at last the Sidicines took steps to make a surrender of themselves to Rome. The senate rejected it as being made too late and forced from them by extreme necessity. They then made it to the Latins who were already in arms on their own account. Even the Campanians did not refuse to take part in the hostile movement, so much keener was their sense of the injuries inflicted by the Samnites than of the kindness shown them by Rome.
One immense army, composed of these many nationalities and under Latin leadership, invaded the Samnite country and inflicted more disasters by ravages than by actual fighting. Although the Latins proved superior in the various encounters, they were not loath to retire from the enemy's territory lest they might have to fight too often. This allowed the Samnites time to send envoys to Rome. When they were admitted to an audience they complained to the senate that they were suffering more now that they were in treaty with them than they had before, when they were enemies; they very humbly requested them to be satisfied with having snatched from them the victory they had won over the Campanians and the Sidicines, and not permit them, in addition, to be conquered by these most cowardly people. If the Latins and Campanians were really under the suzerainty of Rome they should exert their authority to keep them off the Samnite land, if they renounced that suzerainty they should coerce them by force. They received an ambiguous reply, for the senate shrank from acknowledging that the Latins no longer recognised their authority, and on the other hand they were afraid, if they reprimanded them, that they might alienate them altogether. The circumstances of the Campanians were quite different; they were bound not by treaty but by the terms of surrender, and they must keep quiet whether they would or no. There was nothing in their treaty with the Latins which prevented them from making war with whom they pleased.