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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IV Chapter 58: War with Veii. Disaster at Verrugo.[407-6 BC]
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During this year the armistice with Veii expired, and ambassadors and fetials were sent to demand satisfaction. When they reached the frontier they were met by a deputation from Veii, who begged them not to go there before they themselves had an audience of the Roman senate. They obtained from the senate the withdrawal of the demand for satisfaction, owing to the internal troubles from which Veii was suffering. So far were the Romans from seeking their opportunity in the misfortunes of others! |
A disaster was incurred on Volscian ground in the loss of the garrison at Verrugo. So much depended here upon a few hours that the soldiers who were being besieged by the Volscians and begging for assistance could have been relieved if prompt measures had been taken. As it was, the relieving force only arrived in time to surprise the enemy, who, fresh from the massacre of the garrison, were scattered in quest of plunder. The responsibility for the delay rested more with the senate than with the consular tribunes. They heard that the garrison were offering a most determined resistance, and they did not reflect that there are limits to human strength which no amount of courage can transcend. The gallant soldiers were not unavenged either in their lives or their deaths.
The following year the consular tribunes were Publius Cornelius Cossus, Gnaeus Cornelius Cossus, Numerius Fabius Ambustus, and Lucius Valerius Potitus. Owing to the action of the senate of Veii, a war with that city was threatened. The envoys whom Rome had sent to demand satisfaction received the insolent reply that unless they speedily departed from the city and crossed the frontiers the Veientines would give them what Lars Tolumnius had given. The senate were indignant and passed a decree that the consular tribunes should bring before the people at the earliest possible day a proposal to declare war against Veii.