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THE

HISTORY OF ROME.

BOOK IX.

Titus Veturius 'and Spurius Postumius, with their army, surrounded by

the Samnites at the Caudine forks ; enter into a treaty, give six hundred hostages, and are sent under the yoke. The treaty declared invalid ; the tro generals and the other sureties sent back to the Samnites, but are not accepted. Not long after, Papirius Cursor obliterates this disgrace, by vanquishing the Samnites, sending them under the yoke, and recovering the hostages. Two tribes added. Appius Claudius, censor, constructs the Claudian aqueduct, and the Appian road; admits the sons of freedom into the senate. Successes against the Apulians, Etruscans, Umbrians, Marsians, Pelignians, Æquans, and Samnites. Mention made of Alexander the Great, who flourished at this time; a comparative estimate of his strength, and that of the Roman people, tending to show, that if he had carried his arms into Italy, he would not have been as successful there as he had been in the Eastern countries.

1. This year is followed by the convention of Caudium, so memorable on account of the misfortune of the Romans, the consuls being Titus Veturius Calvinus and Spurius Postumius. The Samnites had 'as their commander that year Caius Pontius, son to Herennius, born of a father most highly renowned for wisdom, and himself a consummate warrior and commander. When the ambassadors, who had been sent to make restitution, returned, without concluding a peace, he said, “ That ye may not think that no purpose has been effected by this embassy, whatever degree of anger the deities of heaven had conceived against us, on account of the infraction of the

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VOL. II.

treaty, has been hereby expiated. I am very confident, that whatever deities they were, whose will it was that you

should be reduced to the necessity of making the restitution, which had been demanded according to the treaty, it was not agreeable to them, that our atonement for the breach of treaty should be so haughtily spurned by the Romans. For what more could possibly be done towards appeasing the gods, and softening the anger

of
men,

than we have done? The effects of the enemy, taken among the spoils, which appeared to be our own by the right of war, we restored : the authors of the war, as we could not deliver them up alive, we delivered to them dead : their goods we carried to Rome, lest by retaining them, any degree of guilt should remain among us. What more, Roman, do I owe to thee ? what to the treaty ? what to the gods, the guarantees of the treaty ? What umpire shall I call in to judge of your resentment, and of my punishment? I decline none ; neither nation nor private person. But if nothing in human law is left to the weak against a stronger, I will appeal to the gods, the avengers of intolerable arrogance, and will beseech them to turn their wrath against those for whom neither the restoration of their own effects, nor additional heaps of other men's property, can suffice whose cruelty is not satiated by the death of the guilty, by the surrender of their lifeless bodies, nor by their goods accompanying the surrender of the owner ; who cannot be appeased otherwise than by giving them our blood to drink, and our entrails to be torn. Samnites, war is just to those for whom it is necessary, and arms are clear of impiety for those who have no hope left but in arms. Wherefore, as in every

human undertaking, it is of the utmost importance what matter men may set about with the favour, what under the displeasure of the gods, be assured that the former wars ye waged in opposition to the gods more than to men; in this, which is now impending, ye will act under the immediate guidance of the gods themselves.”

2. After uttering these predictions, not more cheering than true, he led out the troops, and placed his camp about Caudium, as much out of view as possible. From thence he sent to Calatia, where he heard that the Roman consuls were encamped, ten soldiers, in the habit of shepherds, and ordered them to keep some cattle feeding in several different places, at a small

;

distance from the Roman posts ; and that, when they fell in with any of their foragers, they should all agree in the same story, that the legions of the Samnites were then in Apulia, that they were besieging Luceria with their whole force, and very near taking it by storm. Such a rumour had been industriously spread before, and had already reached the Romans ; but these prisoners increased the credit of it, especially as they all concurred in the same report. | There was no doubt but that the Romans would carry succour to the Lucerians, as being good and faithful allies ; and for this further reason, lest all Apulia, through apprehension of the impending danger, might go over to the enemy. The only point of deliberation was, by what road they should go. There were two roads leading to Luceria, one along the coast of the upper sea, wide and open ; but, as it was the safer, so it was proportionably longer: the other, which was shorter, through the Caudine forks. The nature of the place is this : there are two deep glens, narrow and covered with wood, connected together by mountains ranging on both sides from one to the other ; between these lies a plain of considerable extent, enclosed in the middle, abounding in grass and water, and through the middle of which the passage runs : but before you can arrive at it, the first defile must be passed, while the only way back is through the road by which you entered it ; or if in case of resolving to proceed forward, you must go by the other glen, which is still more narrow and difficult. Into this plain the Romans, having marched down their troops by one of those passes through the cleft of a rock, when they advanced onward to the other defile, found it blocked up by trees thrown across, and a mound of huge stones lying in their way. When the stratagem of the enemy now became apparent, there is seen at the same time a body of troops on the eminence over the glen. Hastening back, then, they proceed to retrace the road by which they had entered ; they found that also shut up by such another fence, and men in arms. Then, without orders, they halted ; amazement took possession of their minds, and a strange kind of numbness seized their limbs : they then remained a long time motionless and silent, each looking to the other, as if each thought the other more capable of judging and advising than himself., After some time, when they saw that the consul's pavilions were being erected, and that some were getting ready the implements for throwing up works, although they were sensible that it must appear ridiculous, the attempt to raise a fortification in their present desperate condition, and when almost every hope was lost

, would be an object of necessity, yet, not to add a fault to their misfortunes, they all, without being advised or ordered by any one, set earnestly to work, and enclosed a camp with a rampart, close to the water, while themselves, besides that the enemy heaped insolent taunts on them, seemed with melancholy to acknowledge the apparent fruitlessness of their toil and labour. The lieutenants-general and tribunes, without being summoned to consultation, (for there was no room for either consultation or remedy,) assembled round the dejected consul ; while the soldiers, crowding to the general's quarters, demanded from their leaders that succour, which it was hardly in the power of the immortal gods themselves to afford them.

3. Night came on them while lamenting their situation, rather than consulting, whilst they urged expedients, each according to his temper; one crying out, “ Let us go over those fences of the roads;" others, “ over the steeps; through the woods ; any way, where arms can be carried. Let us be but permitted to come to the enemy, whom we have been used to conquer now near thirty years. All places will be level and plain to a Roman, fighting against the perfidious Samnite.” Another would say, “ Whither, or by what way can we go ? Do we expect to remove the mountains from their foundations ? While these cliffs hang over us, by what road will you reach the enemy? Whether armed or unarmed, brave or dastardly, we are all, without distinction, captured and vanquished. The enemy will not even show us a weapon, by which we might die with honour. He will finish the war, without moving from his seat.” In such discourse, thinking of neither food nor rest, the night was passed. Nor could the Samnites, though in circumstances so joyous, instantly determine how to act : it was therefore universally agreed, that Herennius Pontius, father of the general, should be consulted by letter. He was now grown feeble through age, and had withdrawn himself, not only from all military, but also from all civil occupations; yet, notwithstanding the decline of his bodily strength, his mind retained its full vigour. When he heard that the Roman armies were shut up at the Caudine

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