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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 bad been demanded according to the treaty, it was not agreeable to them, that oyr, atonement for the breach of treaty should be.sö hğughtily:spurned by the Romans. For what niore 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 R 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 apprehensior, 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 sarne tiine 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 2 strange kind of numbness seized their limbs : they then re mained a long time motionless and silent. each looking to the ther, 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, th-y 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 acknow.. ledge the apparent fruitlessness of their toil and labour. The lieutenants-general and tribunes, without being suminoned 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 SamAnother 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
forks between the two glens, being consulted by his son's messenger,
gave his opinion, that they should all be immediately dismissed from thence unhurt. On this counsel being rejected, and the same messenger returning a second time, he recommended that they should all, to a man, be put to death. When these answers, so opposite to each other, like those of an ambiguous oracle, were given, although his son in particular considered that the powers of his father's mind, together with those of his body, had been impaired by age, was yet prevailed on, by the general desire of all, to send for him to consult him. The old man, we are told, complied without reluctance, and was carried in a waggon to the camp, where, when summoned to give his advice, he spoke in such a way as to make no alteration in his opinions; he only added the reasons for them. That “ by his first plan, which he esteemed the best, he meant, by an act of extraordinary kindness, to establish perpetual peace and friendship with a most powerful nation: by the other, to put off the return of war to the distance of many ages, during which the Roman state, after the loss of those two armies, could not easily recover its strength. A third plan there was not. When his son, and the other chiefs, went on to ask him if “ a plan of a middle kind might not be adopted ; that they both should be dismissed unhurt, and, at the same time, by the right of war, terms imposed on them as vanquished ?" "That, indeed," said he, “is a plan of such a nature, as neither procures friends nor removes enemies. Only preserve those whom ye would irritate by ignominious treatment. The Romans are a race who know not how to sit down quiet under defeat; whatever that is which the present necessity shall brand will rankle in their breasts for ever, and will not suffer them to rest, until they have wreaked manifold vengeance on your heads.” Neither of these plans was approved, and Herennius was carried home from the camp.
4. In the Roman camp also, when many fruitless efforts to force a passage had been made, and they were now destitute of every means of subsistence, forced by necessity, they send ambassadors, who were first to ask peace on equal terms; which, if they did not obtain, they were to challenge the enemy to battle. To this Pontius answered, that “the war was at an end; and since, even in their present vanquished
and captive state, they were not willing to acknowledge their situation, he would send them under the yoke unarmed, each with a single garment; that the other conditions of peace should be such as were just between the conquerors and the conquered. If their troops would depart, and their colonies be withdrawn out of the territories of the Samnites ; for the future, the Romans and Samnites, under a treaty of equality, shall live according to their own respective laws. On these terms he was ready to negotiate with the consuls : and if any of these should not be accepted, he forbade the ambassadors to come to him again.” When the result of this embassy was made known, such general lamentation suddenly arose, and such melancholy took possession of them, that had they been told that all were to die on the spot, they could not have felt deeper affliction. After silence continued a long time, and the consuls were not able to utter a word, either in favour of a treaty so disgraceful, or against a treaty so necessary ; at length, Lucius Lentulus, who was the first among the lieutenants-general, both in respect of bravery, and of the public honours which he had attained, addressed them thus : Consuls, I have often heard my father say, that he was the only person in the Capitol who did not advise the senate to ransom the state from the Gauls with gold; and these he would not concur in, because they had not been enclosed with a trench and rampart by the enemy, (who were remarkably slothful with respect to works and raising fortifications, and because they might sally forth, if not without great danger, yet without certain destruction. Now if, in like manner as they had it in their power to run down from the Capitol in arms against their foe, as men besieged have often sallied out on the besiegers, it were possible for us to come to blows with the enemy, either on equal or unequal ground, I would not be wanting in the high quality of my father's spirit in stating my advice. I acknowledge, indeed, that death, in defence of our country, is highly glorious ; and I am ready, either to devote myself for the Roman people and the legions, or to plunge into the midst of the enemy. But in this spot I behold my country: in this spot, the whole of the Roman legions : and unless these choose to rush on death in defence of their own individual characters, what have they which can be preserved by their death? The houses of the city, some may