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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book V Chapter 27: The Master of Falerii.[394 BC]
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It was the custom of the Faliscans to employ the same person as the master and also as the attendant of their children, and several boys used to be entrusted to one man's care; a custom which prevails in Greece at the present time. Naturally, the man who had the highest reputation for learning was appointed to instruct the children of the principal men. This man had started the practice, in the time of peace, of taking the boys outside the gates for games and exercise, and he kept up the practice after the war had begun, taking them sometimes a shorter, sometimes a longer distance from the city gate. Seizing a favourable opportunity, he kept up the games and the conversations longer than usual, and went on till he was in the midst of the Roman outposts. He then took them into the camp and up to Camillus in the head-quarters tent. There he aggravated his villainous act by a still more villainous utterance. He had, he said, given Falerii into the hands of the Romans, since those boys, whose fathers were at the head of affairs in the city, were now placed in their power. On hearing this Camillus replied, "You, villain, have not come with your villainous offer to a nation or a commander like yourself. Between us and the Faliscans there is no fellowship based on a formal compact as between man and man, but the fellowship which is based on natural instincts exists between us, and will continue to do so. There are rights of war as there are rights of peace, and we have learnt to wage our wars with justice no less than with courage. We do not use our weapons against those of an age which is spared even in the capture of cities, but against those who are armed as we are, and who without any injury or provocation from us attacked the Roman camp at Veii. These men you, as far as you could, have vanquished by an unprecedented act of villainy; I shall vanquish them as I vanquished Veii, by Roman arts, by courage and strategy and force of arms." He then ordered him to be stripped and his hands tied behind his back, and delivered him up to the boys to be taken back to Falerii, and gave them rods with which to scourge the traitor into the city. The people came in crowds to see the sight, the magistrates thereupon convened the senate to discuss the extraordinary incident, and in the end such a revulsion of feeling took place that the very people who in the madness of their rage and hatred would almost sooner have shared the fate of Veii than obtained the peace which Capena enjoyed, now found themselves in company with the whole city asking for peace. The Roman sense of honour, the commander's love of justice, were in all men's mouths in the forum and in the senate, and in accordance with the universal wish, ambassadors were despatched to Camillus in the camp, and with his sanction to the senate in Rome, to make the surrender of Falerii|
On being introduced to the senate, they are reported to have made the following speech: senators! vanquished by you and your general through a victory which none, whether god or man, can censure, we surrender ourselves to you, for we think it better to live under your sway than under our own laws, and this is the greatest glory that a conqueror can attain. Through the issue of this war two salutary precedents have been set for mankind. You have preferred the honour of a soldier to a victory which was in your hands; we, challenged by your good faith, have voluntarily given you that victory. We are at your disposal; send men to receive our arms, to receive the hostages, to receive the city whose gates stand open to you. Never shall you have cause to complain of our loyalty, nor we of your rule." Thanks were accorded to Camillus both by the enemy and by his own countrymen. The Faliscans were ordered to supply the pay of the troops for that year, in order that the Roman people might be free from the war-tax. After the peace was granted, the army was marched back to Rome.
|Mos erat Faliscis eodem magistro liberorum et comite uti, simulque plures pueri, quod hodie quoque in Graecia manet, unius curae demandabantur. principum liberos, sicut fere fit, qui scientia uidebatur praecellere erudiebat. Is cum in pace instituisset pueros ante urbem lusus exercendique causa producere, nihil eo more per belli tempus intermisso, [dum] modo breuioribus modo longioribus spatiis trahendo eos a porta, lusu sermonibusque uariatis, longius solito ubi res dedit progressus, inter stationes eos hostium castraque inde Romana in praetorium ad Camillum perduxit. Ibi scelesto facinori scelestiorem sermonem addit, Falerios se in manus Romanis tradidisse, quando eos pueros quorum parentes capita ibi rerum sint in potestatem dediderit. Quae ubi Camillus audiuit, "non ad similem" inquit, "tui nec populum nec imperatorem scelestus ipse cum scelesto munere uenisti. Nobis cum Faliscis quae pacto fit humano societas non est: quam ingenerauit natura utrisque est eritque. Sunt et belli, sicut pacis, iura, iusteque ea non minus quam fortiter didicimus gerere. Arma habemus non aduersus eam aetatem cui etiam captis urbibus parcitur, sed aduersus armatos et ipsos qui, nec laesi nec lacessiti a nobis, castra Romana ad Veios oppugnarunt. Eos tu quantum in te fuit nouo scelere uicisti: ego Romanis artibus, uirtute opere armis, sicut Veios uincam". Denudatum deinde eum manibus post tergum inligatis reducendum Falerios pueris tradidit, uirgasque eis quibus proditorem agerent in urbem uerberantes dedit. Ad quod spectaculum concursu populi primum facto, deinde a magistratibus de re noua uocato senatu, tanta mutatio animis est iniecta ut qui modo efferati odio iraque Veientium exitum paene quam Capenatium pacem mallent, apud eos pacem uniuersa posceret ciuitas. Fides Romana, iustitia imperatoris in foro et curia celebrantur; consensuque omnium legati ad Camillum in castra, atque inde permissu Camilli Romam ad senatum, qui dederent Falerios proficiscuntur. Introducti ad senatum ita locuti traduntur: "patres conscripti, uictoria cui nec deus nec homo quisquam inuideat uicti a uobis et imperatore uestro, dedimus nos uobis, rati, quo nihil uictori pulchrius est, melius nos sub imperio uestro quam legibus nostris uicturos. Euentu huius belli duo salutaria exempla prodita humano generi sunt: uos fidem in bello quam praesentem uictoriam maluistis; nos fide prouocati uictoriam ultro detulimus. Sub dicione uestra sumus; mittite qui arma, qui obsides, qui urbem patentibus portis accipiant. Nec uos fidei nostrae nec nos imperii uestri paenitebit." Camillo et ab hostibus et a ciuibus gratiae actae. Faliscis in stipendium militum eius anni, ut populus Romanus tributo uacaret, pecunia imperata. Pace data exercitus Romam reductus.|