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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book II Chapter 48: The Fabii and the Veii.[479 BC]
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Consequently the election of Caeso Fabius as consul, together with Titus Verginius, was welcomed by the plebs as much as by the patricians. Now that there was a favourable prospect of concord, he subordinated all military projects to the task of bringing the patricians and the plebs into union at the earliest possible moment. At the beginning of his year of office he proposed that before any tribune came forward to advocate the Agrarian Law, the senate should anticipate him by themselves undertaking what was their own work and distributing the territory taken in war to the plebeians as fairly as possible. It was only right that those should have it by whose sweat and blood it had been won.|
The patricians treated the proposal with scorn, some even complained that the once energetic mind of Caeso was becoming wanton and enfeebled through the excess of glory which he had won. There were no party struggles in the City. The Latins were being harassed by the inroads of the Aequi. Caeso was despatched thither with an army, and crossed over into the territory of the Aequi to ravage it. The Aequi withdrew into their towns and remained behind their walls. No battle of any importance took place.
But the rashness of the other consul incurred a defeat at the hands of the Veientines, and it was only the arrival of Caeso Fabius with reinforcements that saved the army from destruction. From that time there was neither peace nor war with the Veientines, whose methods closely resembled those of brigands. They retired before the Roman legions into their city; then when they found that they were withdrawn they made inroads on the fields, evading war by keeping quiet, and then making quiet impossible by war. So the business could neither be dropped nor completed.
Wars threatening in other quarters also; some seemed imminent as in the case of the Aequi and Volscians, who were only keeping quiet till the effect of their recent defeat should pass away, whilst it was evident that the Sabines, perpetual enemies of Rome, and the whole of Etruria would soon be in motion. But the Veientines, a persistent rather than a formidable foe, created more irritation than alarm because it was never safe to neglect them or to turn the attention elsewhere.
Under these circumstances the Fabii came to the senate and the consul on behalf of his house spoke as follows: "As you are aware senators the Veientine War does not require a large force so much as one constantly in the field. Let the other wars be your care, leave the Fabii to deal with the Veientines. We will guarantee that the majesty of Rome shall be safe in that quarter. We propose to carry on that war as a private war of our own at our own cost. Let the State be spared money and men there." A very hearty vote of thanks was passed; the consul left the House and returned home accompanied by the Fabii, who had been standing in the vestibule awaiting the senate's decision. After receiving instructions to meet on the morrow, fully armed, before the consul's house, they separated for their homes.
Event: War of Rome with Veii
|Igitur non patrum magis quam plebis studiis K. Fabius cum T. Verginio consul factus neque belli neque dilectus neque ullam aliam priorem curam agere quam ut iam aliqua ex parte incohata concordiae spe, primo quoque tempore cum patribus coalescerent animi plebis. Itaque principio anni censuit priusquam quisquam agrariae legis auctor tribunus exsisteret, occuparent patres ipsi suum munus facere; captiuum agrum plebi quam maxime aequaliter darent; uerum esse habere eos quorum sanguine ac sudore partus sit. Aspernati patres sunt; questi quoque quidam nimia gloria luxuriare et euanescere uiuidum quondam illud Caesonis ingenium. Nullae deinde urbanae factiones fuere; uexabantur incursionibus Aequorum Latini. Eo cum exercitu Caeso missus in ipsorum Aequorum agrum depopulandum transit. Aequi se in oppida receperunt murisque se tenebant; eo nulla pugna memorabilis fuit. At a Veiente hoste clades accepta temeritate alterius consulis, actumque de exercitu foret, ni K. Fabius in tempore subsidio uenisset. Ex eo tempore neque pax neque bellum cum Veientibus fuit; res proxime formam latrocinii uenerat. Legionibus Romanis cedebant in urbem; ubi abductas senserant legiones, agros incursabant, bellum quiete, quietem bello in uicem eludentes. Ita neque omitti tota res nec perfici poterat; et alia bella aut praesentia instabant, ut ab Aequis Volscisque, non diutius quam recens dolor proximae cladis transiret quiescentibus, aut mox moturos esse apparebat Sabinos semper infestos Etruriamque omnem. Sed Veiens hostis, adsiduus magis quam grauis, contumeliis saepius quam periculo animos agitabat, quod nullo tempore neglegi poterat aut auerti alio sinebat. Tum Fabia gens senatum adiit. Consul pro gente loquitur: "adsiduo magis quam magno praesidio, ut scitis, patres conscripti, bellum Veiens eget. Vos alia bella curate, Fabios hostes Veientibus date. Auctores sumus tutam ibi maiestatem Romani nominis fore. Nostrum id nobis uelut familiare bellum priuato sumptu gerere in animo est; res publica et milite illic et pecunia uacet." Gratiae ingentes actae. Consul e curia egressus comitante Fabiorum agmine, qui in uestibulo curiae senatus consultum exspectantes steterant, domum redit. Iussi armati postero die ad limen consulis adesse; domos inde discedunt.|