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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IX Chapter 25: Suppression of Movements in Ausonia, Campania, and Apulia.[314 BC]
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| After leaving Sora the consuls extended the war to the cities and fields of Ausonia, for the whole country had become restless owing to the presence of the Samnites after the battle of Lautulae. Plots were being hatched everywhere throughout Campania, even Capua was not free from disaffection, and it was found upon investigation that the movement had actually reached some of the principal men in Rome. It was, however, as in the case of Sora, through the betrayal of her cities that Ausonia fell under the power of Rome. |
There were three cities -- Ausonia, Menturnae, and Vescia -- which some twelve young men belonging to the principal families there had mutually agreed to betray to the Romans. They came to the consuls and informed them that their people had long been looking forward to the arrival of the Samnites, and after they had heard of the Battle of Lautulae, they looked upon the Romans as vanquished and many of the younger men had volunteered to serve with the Samnites. After the Samnites, however, had been driven out of their country they were wavering between peace and war, afraid to close their gates to the Romans lest they should provoke a war and yet determined to close them if a Roman army approached their city. In this state of indecision they would fall an easy prey. Acting on their advice, the Romans moved their camp into the neighbourhood of these cities, and at the same time soldiers were despatched, some fully armed, to occupy concealed positions near the walls, others in ordinary dress, with swords hidden under their togas, were to enter the cities through the open gates at the approach of daylight. As soon as the latter began to attack the guards the signal was given for the others to rush from their ambush. Thus the gates were secured, and the three towns were captured at the same time and by the same stratagem. As the generals were not there to direct the attack, there was no check upon the carnage which ensued, and the nation of the Ausonianswas exterminated, just as if they had been engaged in an internecine war, though there was no certain proof of their having revolted.
|Consules ab Sora profecti in agros atque urbes Ausonum bellum intulerunt. Mota namque omnia aduentu Samnitium cum apud Lautulas dimicatum est fuerant, coniurationesque circa Campaniam passim factae nec Capua ipsa crimine caruit; quin Romam quoque et ad principum quosdam inquirendo uentum est. Ceterum Ausonum gens proditione urbium sicut Sora in potestatem uenit. Ausona et Minturnae et Vescia urbes erant, ex quibus principes iuuentutis duodecim numero in proditionem urbium suarum coniurati ad consules ueniunt. Docent suos iam pridem exoptantes Samnitium aduentum, simul ad Lautulas pugnatum audierint, pro uictis Romanos habuisse, iuuentute, armis Samnitem iuuisse; fugatis inde Samnitibus incerta pace agere nec claudentes portas Romanis, ne arcessant bellum, et obstinatos claudere si exercitus admoueatur; in ea fluctuatione animorum opprimi incautos posse. His auctoribus mota propius castra missique eodem tempore circa tria oppida milites, partim armati qui occulti propinqua moenibus insiderent loca, partim togati tectis ueste gladiis qui sub lucem apertis portis urbes ingrederentur. Ab his simul custodes trucidari coepti, simul datum signum armatis ut ex insidiis concurrerent. Ita portae occupatae triaque oppida eadem hora eodemque consilio capta; sed quia absentibus ducibus impetus est factus, nullus modus caedibus fuit deletaque Ausonum gens uix certo defectionis crimine perinde ac si interneciuo bello certasset.|