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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 7: War against Aequi and Volscians (Cont.)[463 BC]
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The helpless common-wealth, deprived of its head and all its strength, was saved by its guardian deities and the fortune of the City, who made the Volscians and Aequi think more of plunder than of their enemy. For they had no hope of even approaching the walls of Rome, still less of effecting its capture. The distant view of its houses and its hills, so far from alluring them repelled them. Everywhere throughout their camp angry remonstrances arose: "Why were they idly wasting their time in a waste and deserted land amid plague stricken beasts and men while they could find places free from infection in the territory of Tusculum with its abundant wealth?" They hastily plucked up their standards, and by cross-marches through the fields of Labici they reached the hills of Tusculum. All the violence and storm of war was now turned in this direction. |
Meantime the Hernici and Latins joined their forces and proceeded to Rome. They were actuated by a feeling not only of pity but also of the disgrace they would incur if they had offered no opposition to their common foe while he was advancing to attack Rome, or had brought no succour to those who were their allies. Not finding the enemy there, they followed up their traces from the information supplied them, and met them as they were descending from the hills of Tusculum into the valley of Alba. Here a very one-sided action was fought, and their fidelity to their allies met with little success for the time.
The mortality in Rome through the epidemic was not less than that of the allies through the sword. The surviving consul died. Amongst other illustrious victims were Marcus Valerius and Titus Verginius Rutilus, the augurs, and Servius Sulpicius, the Curio Maximus. Amongst the common people the violence of the epidemic made great ravage. The senate, deprived of all human aid, bade the people betake themselves to prayers; they with their wives and children were ordered to go as suppliants and entreat the gods to be gracious. Summoned by public authority to do what each man's misery was constraining him to do, they crowded all the temples. Prostrate matrons, sweeping with their dishevelled hair the temple floors, were everywhere imploring pardon from offended heaven, and entreating that an end might be put to the pestilence.
Event: War with Aequi and Volscians
|Deserta omnia, sine capite, sine uiribus, di praesides ac fortuna urbis tutata est, quae Volscis Aequisque praedonum potius mentem quam hostium dedit. Adeo enim nullam spem non potiundi modo sed ne adeundi quidem Romana moenia animus eorum cepit tectaque procul uisa atque imminentes tumuli auertere mentes eorum, ut totis passim castris fremitu orto quid in uasto ac deserto agro inter tabem pecorum hominumque desides sine praeda tempus tererent, cum integra loca, Tusculanum agrum opimum copiis, petere possent, signa repente conuellerent transuersisque itineribus per Labicanos agros in Tusculanos colles transirent. Eo uis omnis tempestasque belli conuersa est. Interim Hernici Latinique pudore etiam, non misericordia solum, moti si nec obstitissent communibus hostibus infesto agmine Romanam urbem petentibus nec opem ullam obsessis sociis ferrent, coniuncto exercitu Romam pergunt. Vbi cum hostes non inuenissent, secuti famam ac uestigia obuii fiunt descendentibus ab Tusculana in Albanam uallem. Ibi haudquaquam aequo proelio pugnatum est, fidesque sua sociis parum felix in praesentia fuit. Haud minor Romae fit morbo strages quam quanta ferro sociorum facta erat. Consul qui unus supererat moritur; mortui et alii clari uiri, M. Valerius, T. Verginius Rutulus augures, Ser. Sulpicius curio maximus; et per ignota capita late uagata est uis morbi, inopsque senatus auxilii humani ad deos populum ac uota uertit. Iussi cum coniugibus ac liberis supplicatum ire pacemque exposcere deum, ad id quod sua quemque mala cogebant auctoritate publica euocati omnia delubra implent. Stratae passim matres, crinibus templa uerrentes, ueniam irarum caelestium finemque pesti exposcunt.|