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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book X Chapter 12: Commencement of the Third Samnite War.[298 BC]
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The discussion in the senate was brief. The members unanimously decided that a treaty of close alliance should be made with the Lucanians and satisfaction demanded from the Samnites. When the envoys were readmitted, they received a favourable reply and a treaty was concluded with them. The fetials were sent to insist upon the evacuation by the Samnites of the territories of the allies of Rome and the withdrawal of their forces from the Lucanian frontiers. They were met by emissaries from the Samnites, who warned them that if they appeared in any of the Samnite councils their inviolability would be no longer respected. On this being reported in Rome, the Assembly confirmed the resolution passed by the senate and ordered war to be made upon the Samnites. |
Scipio, who was anticipating a tedious campaign similar to the one of the previous year, was met by the enemy in battle formation at Volaterrae. The contest lasted the greater part of the day, with heavy loss on both sides. Night came on whilst they were still uncertain with whom the victory lay; the following morning made it clear, for the Etruscans had abandoned their camp in the dead of the night. When the Romans marched out to battle and saw that the enemy had by their action admitted their defeat, they went on to the deserted camp. This they took possession of, and as it was a standing camp and had been hurriedly abandoned, they secured a considerable amount of booty. The troops were marched back into the neighbourhood of Falerii, and after leaving the baggage with a small escort there they proceeded, in light marching order, to harry the Etruscan land. Everything was laid waste with fire and sword; prey was driven in from all sides. Not only was the soil left an absolute waste for the enemy, but their fortified posts and villages were burnt. The Romans refrained from attacking the cities in which the terrified Etruscans had sought shelter.
Event: Fourth war with Samnites