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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book V Chapter 8: War with Veii. Disaster incurred before Veii.[402 BC]
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The consular tribunes for the following year were Gaius Servilius Ahala -- for the third time -- Quintus Servilius, Lucius Verginius, Quintus Sulpicius, Aulus Manlius -- for the second time -- and Manius Sergius -- also for the second time. During their term of office, whilst every one was preoccupied with the Veientine war Anxur was lost. The garrison had become weakened through the absence of men on furlough, and Volscian traders were admitted indiscriminately, with the result that the guard before the gates were surprised and the fortified post taken. The loss in men was slight, as with the exception of the sick, they were all scattered about the fields and neighbouring towns, driving bargains like so many camp-followers.

At Veii, the chief point of interest, things went no better. Not only were the Roman commanders opposing one another more vigorously than they opposed the enemy, but the war was rendered more serious by the sudden arrival of the Capenates and the Faliscans. As these two States were nearest in point of distance, they believed that if Veii fell they would be the next on whom Rome would make war. The Faliscans had their own reasons for fearing hostilities, since they were mixed up in the previous war against Fidenae. So both States, after mutually despatching commissioners for the purpose, swore alliance with each other, and their two armies arrived unexpectedly at Veii. It so happened that they attacked the entrenchments on the side where Manius Sergius was in command, and they created great alarm, for the Romans were convinced that all Etruria had risen and was present in great force. The same conviction roused the Veientines in the city to action, so the Roman lines of investment were attacked from within and from without. Rushing from side to side to meet first the one attack, then the other, they were unable to confine the Veientines sufficiently within their fortifications or repel the assault from their own works and defend themselves from the enemy outside. Their only hope was if help came from the main camp so that the legions might fight back to back, some against the Capenates and Faliscans, and others against the sortie from the town. But Verginius was in command of that camp, and he and Sergius mutually detested each other. When it was reported to him that most of the forts had been attacked and the connecting lines surmounted, and that the enemy were forcing their way in from both sides, he kept his men halted under arms, and repeatedly declared that if his colleague needed assistance he would send to him. This selfishness on his part was matched by the other's obstinacy, for Sergius, to avoid the appearance of having sought help from a personal foe, preferred defeat at the hands of the enemy rather than owe success to a fellow-countryman. For some time the soldiers were being slaughtered between the two attacking forces; at last a very small number abandoned their lines and reached the main camp; Sergius himself, with the greatest part of his force, made his way to Rome. Here he threw all the blame on his colleague, and it was decided that Verginius should be summoned from the camp and his lieutenants put in command during his absence. The case was then discussed in the senate; few studied the interests of the republic, most of the senators supported one or other of the disputants as their party feeling or private sympathy prompted them.

Event: Siege of Veii, 402 BC

Insequens annus tribunos militum consulari potestate habuit C. Seruilium Ahalam tertium Q. Seruilium L. Verginium Q. Sulpicium A. Manlium iterum M'. Sergium iterum. His tribunis, dum cura omnium in Veiens bellum intenta est, neglectum Anxuri praesidium uacationibus militum et Volscos mercatores uolgo receptando, proditis repente portarum custodibus oppressum est. Minus militum periit, quia praeter aegros lixarum in modum omnes per agros uicinasque urbes negotiabantur. Nec Veiis melius gesta res, quod tum caput omnium curarum publicarum erat; nam et duces Romani plus inter se irarum quam aduersus hostes animi habuerunt, et auctum est bellum aduentu repentino Capenatium atque Faliscorum. Hi duo Etruriae populi, quia proximi regione erant, deuictis Veiis bello quoque Romano se proximos fore credentes, Falisci propria etiam causa infesti quod Fidenati bello se iam antea immiscuerant, per legatos ultro citroque missos iure iurando inter se obligati, cum exercitibus necopinato ad Veios accessere. Forte ea regione qua M'. Sergius tribunus militum praeerat castra adorti sunt ingentemque terrorem intulere, quia Etruriam omnem excitam sedibus magna mole adesse Romani crediderant. Eadem opinio Veientes in urbe concitauit. Ita ancipiti proelio castra Romana oppugnabantur; concursantesque cum huc atque illuc signa transferrent, nec Veientem satis cohibere intra munitiones nec suis munimentis arcere uim ac tueri se ab exteriore poterant hoste. Vna spes erat, si ex maioribus castris subueniretur, ut diuersae legiones aliae aduersus Capenatem ac Faliscum, aliae contra eruptionem oppidanorum pugnarent; sed castris praeerat Verginius, priuatim Sergio inuisus infestusque. Is cum pleraque castella oppugnata, superatas munitiones, utrimque inuehi hostem nuntiaretur, in armis milites tenuit, si opus foret auxilio collegam dictitans ad se missurum. Huius adrogantiam pertinacia alterius aequabat, qui, ne quam opem ab inimico uideretur petisse, uinci ab hoste quam uincere per ciuem maluit. Diu in medio caesi milites; postremo desertis munitionibus, perpauci in maiora castra, pars maxima atque ipse Sergius Romam pertenderunt. Vbi cum omnem culpam in collegam inclinaret, acciri Verginium ex castris, interea praeesse legatos placuit. Acta deinde in senatu res est certatumque inter collegas maledictis. Pauci rei publicae, [plerique] huic atque illi ut quosque studium priuatim aut gratia occupauerat adsunt.