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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VIII Chapter 20: Revolt and Recovery of Privernum and Fundi. Privernum[330-29 BC]
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Whilst Privernum was invested by two consular armies one of the consuls was recalled home to conduct the elections. It was in this year that the carceres were erected in the Circus Maximus. |
The trouble of the war with Privernum was not yet over when a most alarming report of a sudden approach of the Gauls reached the senate. Such reports were not often treated lightly. The new consuls, Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus and Gaius Plautius, were immediately ordered to arrange their respective commands on the very day they assumed office, namely July 1. The Gaulish war fell to Mamercinus, and he allowed none of those who were called up for service to claim exemption. It is even asserted that the mob of mechanics and artisans, a class utterly unfit for warfare, were called out. An immense army was concentrated at Veii to check the advance of the Gauls. It was thought better not to march any further in case the enemy took some other route to the City. After a thorough reconnaissance had been made, it was ascertained after a few days that all was quiet as far as the Gauls were concerned, and the whole force was thereupon marched to Privernum.
From this point there is a twofold story. Some state that the city was stormed and Vitrubius taken alive; other authorities aver that before the final assault the townsmen came out with a caduceus and surrendered to the consul, whilst Vitrubius was given up by his own men. The senate, when consulted as to the fate of Vitrubius and the Privernates, instructed the consul to demolish the walls of Privernum and station a strong garrison there, and then to celebrate his triumph. Vitrubius was to be kept in prison until the consul returned and then to be scourged and beheaded; his house on the Palatine was to be razed and his goods devoted to Semo Sancus. The money realised by their sale was melted down into brazen orbs which were deposited in the Chapel of Sancus opposite the temple of Quirinus. With regard to the senate of Privernum, it was decreed that every senator who had remained in that city after its revolt from Rome should be deported beyond the Tiber on the same conditions as those of Velitrae. After his triumph, when Vitrubius and his accomplices had been put to death, the consul thought that as the senate was satisfied with the punishment of the guilty, he might safely refer to the matter of the Privernates. He addressed the House in the following terms:
"Since the authors of the revolt, senators, have been visited by the immortal gods and by you with the punishment they deserved, what is your pleasure with regard to the innocent population? Although it is my duty to ask for opinions rather than to give them, I should like to say that in view of the fact that the Privernates are neighbours of the Samnites, with whom peaceful relations are now upon a most uncertain footing, I am anxious that as few grounds of complaint as possible should exist between us and them."
|Duobus consularibus exercitibus cum obsideretur, alter consul comitiorum causa Romam reuocatus. carceres eo anno in circo primum statuti. nondum perfunctos cura Priuernatis belli tumultus Gallici fama atrox inuasit, haud ferme unquam neglecta patribus. extemplo igitur consules noui, L. Aemilius Mamercinus et C. Plautius, eo ipso die, Kalendis Quinctilibus, quo magistratum inierunt, comparare inter se prouincias iussi, Mamercinus, cui Gallicum bellum euenerat, scribere exercitum sine ulla uacationis uenia; quin opificum quoque uolgus et sellularii, minime militiae idoneum genus, exciti dicuntur; Veiosque ingens exercitus contractus, ut inde obuiam Gallis iretur; longius discedi, ne alio itinere hostis falleret ad urbem incedens, non placuit. paucos deinde post dies satis explorata temporis eius quiete a Gallis Priuernum omnis conuersa uis. duplex inde fama est: alii ui captam urbem Vitruuiumque uiuum in potestatem uenisse: alii priusquam ultima adhiberetur uis, ipsos se in deditionem consuli caduceum praeferentes permisisse auctores sunt Vitruuiumque ab suis traditum. senatus de Vitruuio Priuernatibusque consultus consulem Plautium dirutis Priuerni muris praesidioque ualido imposito ad triumphum accersit: Vitruuium in carcere adseruari iussit quoad consul redisset, tum uerberatum necari: aedes eius, quae essent in Palatio, diruendas, bona Semoni Sango censuerunt consecranda. quodque aeris ex eis redactum est, ex eo aenei orbes facti positi in sacello Sangus aduersus aedem Quirini. de senatu Priuernate ita decretum, ut qui senator Priuerni post defectionem ab Romanis mansisset trans Tiberim lege eadem qua Veliterni habitaret. his ita decretis usque ad triumphum Plauti silentium de Priuernatibus fuit; post triumphum consul necato Vitruuio sociisque eius noxae apud satiatos iam suppliciis nocentium tutam mentionem de Priuernatibus ratus, 'quoniam auctores defectionis' inquit, 'meritas poenas et ab dis immortalibus et a uobis habent, patres conscripti, quid placet de innoxia multitudine fieri? equidem, etsi meae partes exquirendae magis sententiae quam dandae sunt, tamen, cum uideam Priuernates uicinos Samnitibus esse, unde nunc nobis incertissima pax est, quam minimum irarum inter nos illosque relinqui uelim'.|