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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 4: War of Aequi and Volscians (Cont.)[464 BC]
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The next consuls were Aulus Postumius Albus and Spurius Furius Fusus. Some writers call the Furii, Fusii. I mention this in case any one should suppose that the different names denote different people. |
It was pretty certain that one of the consuls would continue the war with the Aequi. They sent, accordingly, to the Volscians of Ecetra for assistance. Such was the rivalry between them as to which should show the most inveterate enmity to Rome, that the assistance was readily granted, and preparations for war were carried on with the utmost energy. The Hernici became aware of what was going on and warned the Romans that Ecetra had revolted to the Aequi. The colonists of Antium were also suspected, because on the capture of that town a large number of the inhabitants had taken refuge with the Aequi, and they were the most efficient soldiers throughout the war. When the Aequi were driven into their walled towns, this body was broken up and returned to Antium. There they found the colonists already disaffected, and they succeeded in completely alienating them from Rome. Before matters were ripe, information was laid before the senate that a revolt was in preparation, and the consuls were instructed to summon the chiefs of the colony to Rome and question them as to what was going on. They came without any hesitation, but after being introduced by the consuls to the senate, they gave such unsatisfactory replies that heavier suspicion attached to them on their departure than on their arrival.
War was certain. Spurius Furius, the consul to whom the conduct of the war had been assigned, marched against the Aequi and found them committing depredations in the territory of the Hernici. Ignorant of their strength, because they were nowhere all in view at once, he rashly joined battle with inferior forces. At the first onset he was defeated, and retired into his camp, but he was not out of danger there. For that night and the next day the camp was surrounded and attacked with such vigour that not even a messenger could be despatched to Rome. The news of the unsuccessful action and the investment of the consul and his army was brought by the Hernici, and created such an alarm in the senate that they passed a decree in a form which has never been used except under extreme emergencies. They charged Postumius to "see that the common-wealth suffered no hurt."
It was thought best that the consul himself should remain in Rome to enrol all who could bear arms whilst Titus Quinctius was sent as his representative (1) to relieve the camp with an army furnished by the allies. This force was to be made up of the Latins and the Hernici, whilst the colony at Antium was to supply "subitary" troops -- a designation then applied to hastily raised auxiliary troops.
(1): representative -- He was invested with consular authority to conduct the campaign, the consul himself being detained in Rome. Livy's phrase is Pro Consule" (in the consul's stead), whence the governors-general of the provinces of the empire were designated proconsuls.
Event: War with Aequi and Volscians
|Consules inde A. Postumius Albus Sp. Furius Fusus. Furios Fusios scripsere quidam; id admoneo, ne quis immutationem uirorum ipsorum esse quae nominum est putet. Haud dubium erat quin cum Aequis alter consulum bellum gereret. Itaque Aequi ab Ecetranis Volscis praesidium petiere; quo cupide oblato—adeo ciuitates hae perpetuo in Romanos odio certauere—bellum summa ui parabatur. Sentiunt Hernici et praedicunt Romanis Ecetranum ad Aequos descisse. Suspecta et colonia Antium fuit, quod magna uis hominum inde, cum oppidum captum esset, confugisset ad Aequos; isque miles per bellum Aequicum uel acerrimus fuit; compulsis deinde in oppida Aequis, ea multitudo dilapsa cum Antium redisset, sua sponte iam infidos colonos Romanis abalienauit. Necdum matura re cum defectionem parari delatum ad senatum esset, datum negotium est consulibus ut principibus coloniae Romam excitis quaererent quid rei esset. Qui cum haud grauate uenissent, introducti a consulibus ad senatum ita responderunt ad interrogata ut magis suspecti quam uenerant dimitterentur. Bellum inde haud dubium haberi. Sp. Furius consulum alter cui ea prouincia euenerat profectus in Aequos, Hernicorum in agro populabundum hostem inuenit, ignarusque multitudinis, quia nusquam uniuersa conspecta fuerat, imparem copiis exercitum temere pugnae commisit. Primo concursu pulsus se intra castra recepit. Neque is finis periculi fuit; namque et proxima nocte et postero die tanta ui castra sunt circumsessa atque oppugnata ut ne nuntius quidem inde mitti Romam posset. Hernici et male pugnatum et consulem exercitumque obsideri nuntiauerunt, tantumque terrorem incussere patribus ut, quae forma senatus consulti ultimae semper necessitatis habita est, Postumio, alteri consulum, negotium daretur uideret ne quid res publica detrimenti caperet. Ipsum consulem Romae manere ad conscribendos omnes qui arma ferre possent optimum uisum est: pro consule T. Quinctium subsidio castris cum sociali exercitu mitti; ad eum explendum Latini Hernicique et colonia Antium dare Quinctio subitarios milites—ita tum repentina auxilia appellabant—iussi.|