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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VIII Chapter 19: Revolt and Recovery of Privernum and Fundi.[330 BC]
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Lucius Papirius Crassus and Lucius Plautius Venox were thereupon elected consuls, the former for the second time. At the beginning of the year deputations came from Fabrateria and Luca, places belonging to the Volscians, with a request to be received into the protection at Rome, whose overlordship they would faithfully and loyally acknowledge if they would undertake to defend them from the Samnites. The senate acceded to their request, and sent to warn the Samnites against violating the territory of these two cities. The Samnites took the warning, not because they were anxious for peace, but because they were not yet ready for war. |
This year a war commenced with Privernum and its ally, Fundi; their commander was a Fundan, Vitrubius Baccus, a man of great distinction not only in his own city but even in Rome, where he had a house on the Palatine, which was afterwards destroyed and the site sold, the place being thenceforth known as the Bacci Prata. Whilst he was spreading devastation far and wide through the districts of Setia, Norba, and Cora, Lucius Papirius advanced against him and took up a position not far from his camp. Vitrubius had neither the prudence to remain within his lines in presence of an enemy stronger than himself nor the courage to fight at a distance from his camp. He gave battle whilst his men were hardly clear of their camp, and thinking more of retreating back to it than of the battle or the enemy, was with very little effort put to a decisive defeat. Owing to the proximity of the camp retreat was easy, and he had not much difficulty in protecting his men from serious loss; hardly any were killed in the actual battle, and only a few in the rear of the crowded fugitives as they were rushing into their camp. As soon as it grew dark they abandoned it for Privernum, trusting to stone walls for protection rather than to the rampart round their camp.
The other consul, Plautius, alter ravaging the fields in all directions and carrying off the plunder, led his army into the territory of Fundi. As he was crossing their frontier the senate of Fundi met him and explained that they had not come to intercede for Vitrubius and those who had belonged to his party, but for the people of Fundi. They pointed out that Vitrubius himself had cleared them from all responsibility by seeking shelter in Privernum and not in Fundi, though it was his city. At Privernum, therefore, the enemies of Rome were to be looked for and punished, for they had been faithless both to Fundi and Rome. The men of Fundi wished for peace; their sympathies were wholly Roman, and they retained a grateful sense of the boon they received when the rights of citizenship were conferred upon them. They besought the consul to abstain from making war upon an unoffending people; their lands, their city, their own persons and the persons of their wives and children were and would continue to be at the disposal of Rome. The consul com- mended them for their loyalty and sent despatches to Rome to inform the senate that the Fundans were firm in their allegiance, after which he marched to Privernum. Claudius gives a different account. According to him the consul first proceeded against the ringleaders of the revolt, of whom three hundred and fifty were sent in chains to Rome. He adds that the senate refused to receive the surrender because they considered that the Fundans were anxious to escape with the punishment of poor and obscure individuals.
|Creati consules L. Papirius Crassus iterum L. Plautius Venox; cuius principio anni legati ex Volscis Fabraterni et Lucani Romam uenerunt, orantes ut in fidem reciperentur: si a Samnitium armis defensi essent, se sub imperio populi Romani fideliter atque oboedienter futuros. missi tum ab senatu legati denuntiatumque Samnitibus, ut eorum populorum finibus uim abstinerent; ualuitque ea legatio, non tam quia pacem uolebant Samnites quam quia nondum parati erant ad bellum. Eodem anno Priuernas bellum initum, cuius socii Fundani, dux etiam fuit Fundanus, Vitruuius Vaccus, uir non domi solum sed etiam Romae clarus; aedes fuere in Palatio eius, quae Vacci prata diruto aedificio publicatoque solo appellata. aduersus hunc uastantem effuse Setinum Norbanumque et Coranum agrum L. Papirius profectus haud procul castris eius consedit. Vitruuio nec ut uallo se teneret aduersus ualidiorem hostem sana constare mens, nec ut longius a castris dimicaret animus suppetere; uix tota extra portam castrorum explicata acie, fugam magis retro quam proelium aut hostem spectante milite, sine consilio, sine audacia depugnat. ut et leui momento nec ambigue est uictus, ita breuitate ipsa loci facilique receptu in tam propinqua castra haud aegre militem a multa caede est tutatus; nec fere quisquam in ipso certamine, pauci in turba fugae extremae, cum in castra ruerent, caesi; primisque tenebris Priuernum inde petitum agmine trepido, ut muris potius quam uallo sese tutarentur. a Priuerno Plautius alter consul peruastatis passim agris praedaque abacta in agrum Fundanum exercitum inducit. ingredienti fines senatus Fundanorum occurrit; negant se pro Vitruuio sectamque eius secutis precatum uenisse sed pro Fundano populo; quem extra culpam belli esse ipsum Vitruuium iudicasse, cum receptaculum fugae Priuernum habuerit non patriam [Fundanos]. Priuerni igitur hostes populi Romani quaerendos persequendosque esse, qui simul a Fundanis ac Romanis utriusque patriae immemores defecerint: Fundis pacem esse et animos Romanos et gratam memoriam acceptae ciuitatis. orare se consulem ut bellum ab innoxio populo abstineat; agros, urbem, corpora ipsorum coniugumque ac liberorum suorum in potestate populi Romani esse futuraque. conlaudatis Fundanis consul litterisque Romam missis in officio Fundanos esse ad Priuernum flexit iter. prius animaduersum in eos qui capita coniurationis fuerant a consule scribit Claudius: ad trecentos quinquaginta ex coniuratis uinctos Romam missos eamque deditionem ab senatu non acceptam, quod egentium atque humilium poena defungi uelle Fundanum populum censuerint. Priuernum.|