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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VIII Chapter 27: Revolt of the Lucanians.[326 BC]
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This was followed almost immediately by a war with the Greeks on the eastern coast. The Tarentines had encouraged the people of Palaeopolis through their long resistance with vain hopes of succour, and when they heard that the Romans had got possession of the place they severely blamed the Palaeopolitans for leaving them in the lurch, as though they were quite guiltless of having behaved in a similar manner themselves. They were furious with the Romans, especially after they found that the Lucanians and Apulians had established friendly relations with them -- for it was in this year that the alliance had been formed -- and they realised that they would be the next to be involved. They saw that it must soon become a question of either fighting Rome or submitting to her, and that their whole future in fact depended upon the result of the Samnite war. That nation stood out alone, and even their strength was inadequate for the struggle, now that the Lucanians had abandoned them. They believed, however, that these could still be brought back and induced to desert the Roman alliance, if sufficient skill were shown in sowing the seeds of discord between them. |
These arguments found general acceptance among a people who were fickle and restless, and some young Lucanians, distinguished for their unscrupulousness rather than for their sense of honour, were bribed to make themselves tools of the war party. After scourging one another with rods they presented themselves with their backs exposed, in the popular Assembly, and loudly complained that after they had ventured inside the Roman camp, they had been scourged by the consul's orders and were within an ace of losing their heads. The affair had an ugly look, and the visible evidence removed any suspicion of fraud. The Assembly became greatly excited, and amidst loud shouts insisted upon the magistrates convening the senate. When it assembled the senators were surrounded by a crowd of spectators who clamoured for war with Rome, whilst others went off into the country to rouse the peasantry to arms. Even the coolest heads were carried away by the tumult of popular feeling; a decree was passed that a fresh alliance should be made with the Samnites, and negotiations were opened with them accordingly. The Samnites did not feel much confidence in this sudden and apparently groundless change of policy, and the Lucanians were obliged to give hostages and allow the Samnites to garrison their fortified places. Blinded by the imposition that had been practised on them and by their furious resentment at it, they made no difficulty about accepting these terms. Shortly afterwards, when the authors of the false charges had removed to Tarentum, they began to see how they had been hoodwinked, but it was then too late, events were no longer in their power, and nothing remained but unavailing repentance.
Event: Revolt of the Lucanians.
|Aliud subinde bellum cum alterius orae Graecis exortum. namque Tarentini cum rem Palaepolitanam uana spe auxilii aliquamdiu sustinuissent, postquam Romanos urbe potitos accepere, uelut destituti ac non qui ipsi destituissent, increpare Palaepolitanos, ira atque inuidia in Romanos furere, eo etiam quod Lucanos et Apulos + nam utraque eo anno societas coepta est + in fidem populi Romani uenisse allatum est: quippe propemodum peruentum ad se esse iamque in eo rem fore ut Romani aut hostes aut domini habendi sint. discrimen profecto rerum suarum in bello Samnitium euentuque eius uerti; eam solam gentem restare nec eam ipsam satis ualidam, quando Lucanus defecerit; quem reuocari adhuc impellique ad abolendam societatem Romanam posse, si qua ars serendis discordiis adhibeatur. haec consilia cum apud cupidos rerum nouandarum ualuissent, ex iuuentute quidam Lucanorum pretio adsciti, clari magis inter populares quam honesti, inter se mulcati ipsi uirgis, cum corpora nuda intulissent in ciuium coetum, uociferati sunt se, quod castra Romana ingredi ausi essent, a consulibus uirgis caesos ac prope securi percussos esse. deformis suapte natura res cum speciem iniuriae magis quam doli prae se ferret, concitati homines cogunt clamore suo magistratus senatum uocare; et alii circumstantes concilium bellum in Romanos poscunt, alii ad concitandam in arma multitudinem agrestium discurrunt, tumultuque etiam sanos consternante animos decernitur ut societas cum Samnitibus renouaretur, legatique ad eam rem mittuntur. repentina res quia quam causam nullam tam ne fidem quidem habebat, coacti a Samnitibus et obsides dare et praesidia in loca munita accipere, caeci fraude et ira nihil recusarunt. dilucere deinde breui fraus coepit postquam criminum falsorum auctores Tarentum commigrauere; sed amissa omni de se potestate nihil ultra quam ut paeniteret frustra restabat.|