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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Roman Antiquities

Dionysius of Halicarnassus

published in Vol. V
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1940

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(Vol. V) Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Roman Antiquities

 p3  (Book VIII, beginning)

1 1 The consuls​1 who were chosen after these were Gaius Julius Iulus and Publius Pinarius Rufus, who entered upon their magistracy in the seventy-third Olympiad​2 (the one in which Astylus of Croton won the foot-race), when Anchises was archon at Athens. These magistrates, who were not in the least warlike men and for that reason chiefly had obtained the consul­ship from the people, were involved against their will in many great dangers, a war having broken out as a result of their rule​3 which came near destroying the commonwealth from its foundations. 2 For Marcius Coriolanus, the man who had been accused of aiming at tyranny and condemned to perpetual banishment,​4 resented his misfortune and at the same time desired to avenge himself upon his enemies; and considering in what manner and with the aid of what forces he might accomplish this, he found that  p5 the only army which was then a match for the Romans was that of the Volscians, if these would agree together and make war upon them under an able general. 3 He reasoned, therefore, that if he could prevail on the Volscians to receive him and to entrust to him the command of the war, his purpose could easily be accomplished. On the other hand, he was disturbed by the consciousness that he had often brought calamities upon them in battle and had forced many cities to forsake their alliance with them. However, he did not desist from the attempt because of the greatness of the danger, but resolved to encounter these very perils and suffer whatever might be the consequence. 4 Having waited, therefore, for a night — and a dark one — he went to Antium, the most important city of the Volscians, at the hour when the inhabitants were at supper; and going to the house of an influential man named Tullus Attius, who by reason of his birth, his wealth and his military exploits had a high opinion of himself and generally led the whole nation, he became his suppliant by sitting down at his hearth. 5 Then, having related to him the dire straits which had forced him to take refuge with his enemies, he begged of him to entertain sentiments of moderation and humanity toward a suppliant and no longer to regard as an enemy one who was in his power, nor to exhibit his strength against the unfortunate and the humbled, bearing in mind that the fortunes of men are subject to change. 6 "And this," he said, "you may learn most clearly from my own case. For though I was once looked upon as the most powerful of all men in the greatest city, I am now cast aside, forsaken, exiled and abased,  p7 and destined to suffer any treatment you, who are my enemy, shall think fit to inflict upon me. But I promise you that I will perform as great services for the Volscians, if I become their friend, as I occasioned calamities to them when I was their enemy. However, if you have any other purpose concerning me, let loose your resentment at once and grant me the speediest death by sacrificing the suppliant with your own hand and at your own hearth."

2 1 While he was yet speaking these words Tullus gave him his hand and, raising him for the hearth, bade him be assured that he should not be treated in any manner unworthy of his valour, and said he felt himself under great obligations to him for coming to him, declaring that he looked upon even this as no small honour. He promised him also that he would make all the Volscians his friends, beginning with those of his own city; and not one of his promises did he fail to make good. 2 Soon afterwards Marcius and Tullus conferred together in private and came to a decision to begin war against the Romans. Tullus proposed to put himself immediately at the head of all the Volscians and march on Rome while the Romans were still at odds and had generals averse to war. But Marcius insisted that they ought first to establish a righteous and just ground for war; for he pointed out that the gods take a hand in all actions, and especially in those relating to war, in so far as these are of greater consequence than any others and their outcome is generally uncertain. It happened that there was at that time an armistice and a truce existing between the Romans and the Volscians and  p9 also a treaty for two years which they had made a short time before: 3 "If, therefore, you make war upon them inconsiderately and hastily," he said, "you will be to blame for the breaking of the treaty, and Heaven will not be propitious to you; whereas, if you wait till they do this, you will seem to be defending yourselves and coming to the aid of a broken treaty. How this may be brought about and how they may be induced to violate the treaty first, while we shall seem to be waging a righteous and just war against them, I have discovered after long consideration. It is necessary that the Romans should be deceived by us, in order that they may be the first to commit unlawful acts. 4 The nature of this deceit,​5 which I have hitherto kept secret while awaiting the proper occasion for its employment, but am now forced, because of your eagerness for action, to disclose sooner than I wished, is as follows. The Romans are intending to perform sacrifices and exhibit very magnificent games at vast expense, at which great numbers of strangers will be present as spectators. 5 Wait for this occasion, and then not only go thither yourself, but engage as many of the Volscians as you can to go also and see the games. And when you are in Rome, bid one of your closest friends go to the consuls and inform them privately that the Volscians are intending to attack the city by night and that it is for this purpose that they have come to Rome in so great numbers. For you may be assured that if they hear this they will expel you Volscians from the city without further hesitation and furnish you with a ground for just resentment."

3 1 When Tullus heard this, he was highly pleased, and letting that opportunity for his expedition pass,  p11 employed himself in preparing for the war. When the time for the beginning of the festival had come, Julius and Pinarius having already succeeded to the consul­ship, the flower of the Volscian youth came from every city, as Tullus requested, to see the games; and the greater part of them were obliged to quarter themselves in sacred and public places, as they could not find lodgings in private houses and with friends. And when they walked in the streets, they went about in small groups and companies, so that there was already talk about them in the city and strange suspicions. 2 In the mean time the informer suborned by Tullus, pursuant to the advice of Marcius, went to the consuls, and pretending that he was going to reveal a secret matter to his enemies against his own friends, bound the consuls by oaths, not only to insure his own safety, but also to insure that none of the Volscians should learn who had given the information concerning the alleged plot. 3 The consuls believed his story and immediately convened the senate, summoning the members individually; and the informer, being brought before them and receiving their assurances, gave to them also the same account. The senators even long before this had looked upon it as a circumstance full of suspicion that such numbers of young men should come to see the games from a single nation which was hostile to them, and now that information too was given, the duplicity of which they did not perceive, their opinion was turned into certainty. It was their unanimous decision, therefore, to send the men out of the city  p13 before sunset and to order proclamation to be made that all who did not obey should be put to death; and they decreed that the consuls should see to it that their departure took place without insult and in safety.

4 1 After the senate had passed this vote some went through the streets making proclamation that the Volscians should depart from the city immediately and that they should all go out by a single gate, the one called the Capuan gate,​6 while others together with the consuls escorted them on their departure. And then particularly, when they went out of the city at the same time and by the same gate, it was seen how numerous they were and how fit all were for service. First of them to depart was Tullus, who went out in haste, and taking his stand in a suitable place not far from the city, picked up those who lagged behind. 2 And when they were all gathered together, he called an assembly and inveighed at length against the Roman people, declaring that it was an outrageous and intolerable insult that the Volscians had received at their hands in being the only strangers to be expelled from the city. He asked that each man should report this treatment in his own city and take measures to put a stop to the insolence of the Romans by punishing them for their lawless behaviour. After he had spoken thus and sharpened the resentment of the Volscians, who were already exasperated at the usage they had met with, he dismissed the assembly. 3 When they returned to their several cities and each related to his fellow citizens the insult they had received, exaggerating what had occurred, every city was angered and unable to restrain its resentment; and sending ambassadors  p15 to one another, they demanded that all the Volscians should meet together in a single assembly in order to adopt a common plan concerning war. 4 All this was done chiefly at the instigation of Tullus. And the authorities from every city together with a great multitude of other people assembled at Ecetra; for this city seemed the most conveniently situated with respect to the others for a general assembly. After many speeches had been made by the men in power in each city, the votes of all present were taken; and the view which carried was to begin war, since the Romans had first transgressed in the matter of the treaty.

5 1 When the authorities had proposed to the assembly to consider in what manner they ought to carry on the war against them, Tullus came forward and advised them to summon Marcius and inquire of him how the power of the Romans might be overthrown, since he knew better than any man both the weakness and the strength of the commonwealth. This met with their approval, and at once they all cried out to summon the man. Then Marcius, having found the opportunity he desired, rose up with downcast looks and with tears in his eyes and after a brief pause spoke as follows:

2 "If I thought you all entertained the same opinion of my misfortune, I should not think it necessary to make any defence of it; but when I consider that, as is to be expected among many men of different characters, there are some to whom will occur the notion, neither true nor deserved by me, that the  p17 people would not have banished me from my country without a real and just cause, I think it necessary above all things first to clear myself publicly before you all in the matter of my banishment. 3 But have patience with me, I adjure you by the gods, even those of you who are best acquainted with the facts, while I relate what I have suffered from my enemies and show that I have not deserved this misfortune which has befallen me; and do not be anxious to hear what you must do before you have inquired what sort of man I am who am now going to express my opinion. The account I shall give of these matters will be brief, even though I begin from far back.

4 "The original constitution of the Romans was a mixture of monarchy and aristocracy. Afterwards Tarquinius, their last king, thought fit to make his government a tyranny; for which reason the leading men of the aristocracy, combining against him, expelled him from the state, and taking upon themselves the administration of public affairs, formed such a system of government as all men acknowledge to be the best and wisest. Not long ago, however, but only two or three years since, the poorest and idlest of the citizens, having bad men as their leaders, not only committed many other outrages, but at last endeavoured to overthrow the aristocracy. 5 At this all the leaders of the senate were grieved and thought they ought to consider how the insolence of these disturbers of the government could be stopped; but more active in this regard than the other aristocrats, were, of the older senators, Appius, a man deserving of praise on many accounts, and,  p19 of the younger men, I myself. And the speeches which on every occasion we made before the senate were frank, not by way of making war upon the populace, but from a suspicion we had of government by the worst elements; nor again from a wish to enslave any of the Romans, but from a desire that the liberty of all might be preserved and the management of public affairs be entrusted to the best men.

6 1 "This being observed by those most unprincipled leaders of the populace,​7 they resolved to remove first out of their way the two of us who most openly opposed them — not, however, by attacking us both at once, lest the attempt should appear invidious and odious, but beginning with me who was the younger and the easier to be dealt with. In the first place, then, they endeavoured to destroy me without a trial; and after that they demanded that I be delivered up by the senate in order to be put to death. But having failed of both purposes, they summoned me to a trial in which they themselves were to be my judges, and charged me with aiming at tyranny. 2 They had not learned even this much — that no tyrant makes war upon the populace by allying himself with the best men,​8 but, on the contrary, destroys the best element in the state with the aid of the populace. And they did not give me the tribunal that was traditional, by summoning the centuriate assembly, but rather a tribunal which all admit to be most unprincipled — one set up in my case and mine alone — in which the working class and vagabonds and those who plot against the possessions of others were sure to prevail over good and just men and such as desire the safety of the commonwealth. 3 This profit, then, and no more did I gain from my  p21 innocence, that, though tried by the mob, of which the greater part were haters of the virtuous and for that reason hostile to me, I was condemned by two votes only, even though the tribunes threatened to resign their power if I were acquitted, alleging that they expected to suffer the worst at my hands, and though they displayed all eagerness and zeal against me during the trial. 4 After meeting with such treatment at the hands of my fellow citizens I felt that the rest of my life would not be worth living unless I took revenge upon them; and for this reason, when I was at liberty to live free from vexations either in any of the Latin cities I pleased, because of our ties of kinship, or in the colonies lately planted by our fathers, I was unwilling to do so, but took refuge with you, though I knew you had suffered ever so many wrongs at the hands of the Romans and had conceived the greatest resentment against them, in order that in conjunction with you I might take revenge upon them to the utmost of my power, both by words where words were wanted, and by deeds, where deeds were wanted. And I feel very grateful to you for receiving me, and still more for the honour you show me, without either resenting or taking into account the injuries which you received from me, your erstwhile enemy, during the wars.

7 1 "Come now, what kind of man should I be if, deprived as I am of the glory and honours I ought to be receiving from my fellow citizens to whom I have rendered great services, and, in addition to this, driven away from my country, my family, my friends, from the gods and sepulchres of my ancestors and  p23 from every enjoyment, and if, finding all these things among you against whom I made war for their sake, I should not become harsh toward those whom I have found enemies instead of fellow citizens, and helpful to those whom I have found friends instead of enemies? For my part, I could not count as a real man anyone who feels neither anger against those who make war upon him nor affection for those who seek his preservation. And I regard as my fatherland, not that state which has renounced me, but the one of which I, an alien, have become a citizen; and as a friendly land, not the one in which I have been wronged, but that in which I find safety. 2 And if Heaven lends a hand and your assistance is as eager as I have reason to expect, I have hopes that there will be a great and sudden change. For you must know that the Romans, having already had experience of many enemies, have feared none more than you, and that there is nothing they continue to seek more earnestly than the means of weakening your nation. 3 And for this reason they hold a number of your cities which they have either taken by war or deluded with the hope of their friendship, in order that you may not all unite and engage in a common war against them. If, therefore, you will strive unceasingly to counteract their designs and will all be of one mind about war, as you are now, you will easily put an end to their power.

8 1 "As to the manner in which you will wage the contest and how you will handle the situation, since you ask me to express my opinion — whether this be a tribute to my experience or to my goodwill or to both — I shall give it without concealing anything. In the first place, therefore, I advise you to  p25 consider how you may provide yourselves with a righteous and just pretext for the war. And what pretext for war will be not only righteous and just but also profitable to you at the same time, you shall now learn from me. 2 The land which originally belonged to the Romans is of small extent and barren, but the acquired land which they possess as a result of robbing their neighbours is large and fertile; and if each of the injured nations should demand the return of the land that is theirs, nothing would be so insignificant, so weak, and so helpless as the city of Rome. In doing this I think you ought to take the lead. 3 Send ambassadors to them, therefore, to demand back your cities which they are holding, to ask that they evacuate all the forts they have erected in your country, and to persuade them to restore everything else belonging to you which they have appropriated by force. But do not begin war till you have received their answer. For if you follow this advice, you will obtain one of two things you desire: you will either recover all that belongs to you without danger and expense or will have found an honourable and a just pretext for war. For not to covet the possessions of others, but to demand back what is one's own and, failing to obtain this, to declare war, will be acknowledged by all men to be an honourable proceeding. 4 Well then, what do you think the Romans will do if you choose this course? Do you think they will restore the places to you? And if they do, what is to hinder them from relinquishing everything that belongs to others? For the Aequians, the Albans, the Tyrrhenians, and many others will come each to get back their own land. Or do you think they will retain these places and refuse all your just demands?  p27 That is my opinion. Protesting, therefore, that they wronged you first, you will of necessity have recourse to arms, and you will have for your allies all who, having been deprived of their possessions, despair of recovering them by any other means than by war. 5 This is a most favourable and a unique opportunity which Fortune has provided for the wronged nations, an opportunity for which they could not even have hoped, of attacking the Romans while they are divided and suspicious of one another and while they have generals who are inexperienced in war. These, then, are the considerations which it was fitting to suggest in words and urge upon friends, and I have offered them in all goodwill and sincerity. But when it comes to the actual deeds, what it will be necessary to foresee and contrive upon each occasion, leave the consideration of those matters to the commanders of the forces. 6 For my zeal also shall not be wanting in whatever post you may place me, and I shall endeavour to do my duty with no less bravery than any common soldier or captain or general. Pray take me and use me wherever I may be of service to you, and be assured that if, when I fought against you, I was able to do you great mischief, I shall also be able, when I fight on your side, to be of great service to you."

9 1 Thus Marcius spoke. And the Volscians not only made it clear while he was yet speaking that they were pleased with his words, but, after he had done, they all with a great shout signified that they found his advice most excellent; and permitting no one else to speak, they adopted his proposal. After the decree had been drawn up they at once chose the most important men out of every city and sent them  p29 to Rome as ambassadors. As for Marcius, they voted that he should be a member of the senate in every city and have the privilege of standing for the magistracies everywhere, and should share in all the other honours that were most highly prized among them. 2 Then, without waiting for the Romans' answer, they all set to work and employed themselves in warlike preparations; and all of them who had hitherto been dejected because of their defeats in the previous battles now took courage, feeling confident that they would overthrow the power of the Romans. 3 In the mean time the ambassadors they had sent to Rome, upon being introduced into the senate, said that the Volscians were very desirous that their complaints against the Romans should be settled and that for the future they should be friends and allies without fraud or deceit. And they declared that it would be a sure pledge of friendship if they received back the lands and the cities which had been taken from them by the Romans; otherwise there would be neither peace nor secure friendship between them, since the injured party is always by nature an enemy to the aggressor. And they asked the Romans not to reduce them to the necessity of making war because of their failure to obtain justice.

10 1 When the ambassadors had thus spoken, the senators ordered them to withdraw, after which they consulted by themselves. Then, when they had determined upon the answer they ought to make, they called them back into the senate and gave this decision: "We are not unaware, Volscians, that it is not friendship you want, but that you wish to find a specious pretext for war. For you well know that you will never obtain what you have come to demand  p31 of us, since you desire things that are unjust and impossible. 2 If, indeed, having made a present to us of these places, you now, having changed your minds, demand them back, you are suffering a wrong if you do not recover them; but if, having been deprived of them by war and no longer having any claim to them, you demand them back, you are doing wrong in coveting the possessions of others. As for us, we regard as in the highest degree our possessions those that we gain through victory in war. We are not the first who have established this law, nor do we regard it as more a human than a divine institution. Knowing, too, that all nations, both Greeks and barbarians, make use of this law, we will never show any sign of weakness to you or relinquish any of our conquests hereafter. 3 For it would be great baseness for one to lose through folly and cowardice what one has acquired by valour and courage. We neither force you to go to war against your will nor deprecate war if you are eager for it; but if you begin it, we shall defend ourselves. Return this answer to the Volscians, and tell them that, though they are the first to take up arms, we shall be the last to lay them down."

11 1 The ambassadors,​9 having received this answer, reported it to the Volscian people. Another assembly was accordingly called and a decree of the whole nation was passed to declare war against the Romans. After this they appointed Tullus and Marcius generals for the war with full power and voted to levy troops, to raise money,​10 and to prepare everything else they thought would be necessary for the war, 2 When the assembly was about to be dismissed, Marcius rose up  p33 and said: "What your league has voted is all well and good; and let each provision be carried out at the proper season. But while you are planning to enrol your armies and making other preparations which, in all probability, will involve some trouble and delay, let Tullus and me set to work. As many of you, therefore, as wish to plunder the enemy's territory and to gain much booty, come with us. I undertake, with the assistance of Heaven, to give you many rich spoils. 3 For the Romans, observing that your forces have not yet been assembled, are as yet unprepared; so that we shall have an opportunity of overrunning as large a part of their country as we please without molestation."

12 1 The Volscians having approved of this proposal also, the generals marched out in haste at the head of a numerous army of volunteers before the Romans were informed of their plans. With a part of this force Tullus invaded the territory of the Latins, in order to cut off from the enemy any assistance from that quarter; and with the remainder Marcius marched against the Romans' territory. 2 As the calamity fell unexpectedly upon the inhabitants of the country, many Romans of free condition were taken and many slaves and no small number of oxen, beasts of burden, and other cattle; as for the cornº that was found there, the iron tools and the other implements with which the land is tilled, some were carried away and others destroyed. For at the last the Volscians set fire to the country-houses, so that it would be a long time before those who had lost  p35 them could restore them. 3 The farms of the plebeians suffered most in this respect, while those of the patricians remained unharmed, or, if they received any damage, it seemed to fall only on their slaves and cattle. For Marcius thus instructed the Volscians, in order to increase the suspicion of the plebeians against the patricians and to keep the sedition alive in the state; and that is just what happened. 4 For when this raid upon the country was reported to the Romans and they learned that the calamity had not fallen upon all alike, the poor clamoured against the rich, accusing them of bringing Marcius against them, while the patricians endeavoured to clear themselves by declaring that this was some malicious trick on the part of the general. But neither of them, because of mutual jealousy and fear of treachery, thought fit either to come to the rescue of what was being destroyed or to save what was left; so that Marcius had full liberty to withdraw his army and to bring all his men home after they had done as much harm as they pleased, while suffering none themselves, and had enriched themselves with much booty. 5 Tullus also arrived a little later from the territory of the Latins, bringing with him many spoils; for there too the inhabitants had no army with which to engage the enemy, since they were unprepared and the calamity fell upon them unexpectedly. As a result of this every city of the Volscians was buoyed up with hope, and more quickly than anyone would have expected not only were the troops enrolled, but everything else was supplied that the generals needed.

13 1 When all their forces were now assembled,  p37 Marcius took counsel with his colleague how they should conduct their future operations; and he said to him: "In my opinion, Tullus, it will be best for us to divide our army into two bodies; then one of us, taking the most active and eager of the troops, should engage the enemy, and if they can bring themselves to come to close quarters with us, should decide the contest by a single battle, or, if they hesitate, as I think they will, to stake their all upon a newly raised army and inexperienced generals, then he should attack and lay waste their country, detach their allies, destroy their colonies, and do them any other injury he can. 2 And the other should remain here and defend both the country and the cities, lest the enemy fall upon these unawares, if they are unguarded, and we ourselves suffer the most shameful of all disgraces in losing what we have while endeavouring to gain what we have not. But it is necessary that the one who remains here should at once repair the walls of the cities that have fallen in ruin, clear out the ditches, and strengthen the fortresses to serve as places of refuge for the husbandmen. He should also enrol another army, supply the forces that are in the field with provisions, forge arms, and speedily supply anything else that shall be necessary. 3 Now I give you the choice whether you will command the army that is to take the field, or the one which is to remain here." While he was speaking these words Tullus was greatly delighted with his proposal, and knowing the man's energy and good fortune in battle, yielded to him the command of the army that was to take the field.

 p39  14 Marcius,​11 without losing any more time, came with his army to the city of Circeii, in which there were Roman colonists living intermingled with the native residents; and he took possession of the town as soon as he appeared before it. For when the Circeians saw their country in the power of the Volscians and their army approaching the walls, they opened their gates, and coming out unarmed to meet the enemy, asked them to take possession of the town — a course which saved them from suffering any irreparable mischief. 2 For the general put none of them to death nor expelled any from the city; but having taken clothing for his soldiers and provisions sufficient for a month, together with a moderate sum of money, he withdrew his forces, leaving only a small garrison in the town, not only for the safety of the inhabitants, lest they should suffer some harm at the hands of the Romans, but also to restrain them from beginning any rebellion in the future.

3 When news of what had happened was brought to Rome, there was much greater confusion and disorder than before. The patricians reproached the populace with having driven from the state a man who was a great warrior, energetic, and full of noble pride, by involving him in a false charge and having thus caused him to become general of the Volscians; 4 and the leaders of the populace in turn inveighed against the senate, declaring that the whole affair was a piece of treachery devised by them and that the war was being directed, not against all the Romans in common, but against the plebeians only; and the most evil-minded element among the populace sided with them. But neither party gave so much as a  p41 thought to raising armies, summoning the allies, or making the necessary preparations, by reason of their mutual hatreds and their accusations of one another in the meetings of the assembly.

15 1 This being observed by the oldest of the Romans, they joined together and sought to persuade the most seditious of the plebeians both in public and in private to put a stop to their suspicions and accusations against the patricians. If, they argued, by the banishment of one man of distinction the commonwealth had been brought into so great danger, what were they to expect if by their abusive treatment they forced the greater part of the patricians to entertain the same sentiments? Thus these men appeased the disorderliness of the populace. 2 After the great tumult had been suppressed, the senate met and gave the following answer to the ambassadors who had come from the Latin League to ask for armed assistance: That it was not easy for them to send assistance for the time being; but that they gave the Latins leave to enrol their own army themselves and to send out their own generals in command of their forces until the Romans should send out a force; for by the treaty of friendship they had made with the Latins both these things were forbidden. 3 The senate also ordered the consuls to raise an army by levy, to guard the city, and to summon the allies, but not to take the field with their forces till everything was in readiness. These resolutions were ratified by the people. Only a short time now remained of the consuls' term of office, so that they were unable to carry to completion any of the measures that had been voted,  p43 but handed over everything half finished to their successors.

16 1 Those who assumed office after them, Spurius Nautius and Sextus Furius,​12 raised as large an army as they could from the register of citizens, and placed beacons and lookouts in the most convenient fortresses, in order that they might not be unaware of anything that passed in the country. They also got ready a great quantity of money, corn and arms in a short time. 2 These preparations at home, then, were made in the best manner possible, and nothing now seemed to be wanting; but the allies did not all obey their summons with alacrity nor were they disposed to assist them voluntarily in the war, so that the consuls did not think fit to use compulsion either with them, for fear of treachery. Indeed, some of the allies were already openly revolting from them and aiding the Volscians. 3 The Aequians had begun the revolt by going at once to the Volscians as soon as the war arose and entering into an alliance with them under oath; and these sent to Marcius a very numerous and zealous army. After these had taken the lead, many of the other allies also secretly assisted the Volscians and sent them reinforcements, though not in pursuance of any votes or general decree, but if any of their people desired to take part in the campaign of Marcius, they not only did not attempt to dissuade them, but even encouraged them. 4 Thus in a short time the Volscians had got so large an army as they had never possessed when their cities had been in the most flourishing state. At the head of this  p45 army Marcius made another irruption into the territory of the Romans, and encamping there for many days, laid waste all the country which he had spared in his former incursion. 5 He did not, it is true, capture many persons of free condition on this expedition; for the inhabitants had long since fled, after getting together everything that was most valuable, some to Rome and others to such of the neighbouring fortresses as were most capable of defence; but he took all the cattle they had not been able to drive away, together with the slaves who tended them, and carried off the corn, that still lay upon the threshing-floors, and all the other fruits of the earth, whether then gathering or already gathered. 6 Having ravaged and laid everything waste, as none dared to come to grips with him, he led homeward his army, which was now heavily burdened with the great amount of its spoils and was proceeding in leisurely fashion.

17 1 The Volscians, seeing the vast quantity of booty that was being brought home and hearing reports of the craven spirit of the Romans who, though they had hitherto been wont to ravage their neighbours' country, could now bear to see their own laid waste with impunity, were filled with great boastfulness and entertained hopes of the supremacy, looking upon it as an easy undertaking, lying ready to their hands, to overthrow the power of their adversaries. They offered sacrifices of thanksgiving to the gods for their success and adorned their temples and market-places with dedications of spoils, and all passed their time in festivals and rejoicings; while as for Marcius, they continued to admire and celebrate him as the ablest of all men in warfare and a general  p47 without an equal either at Rome or in the Greek or barbarian world. 2 But above all they admired him for his good fortune, observing that everything he undertook easily succeeded according to his desire; so that there was no one of military age who was willing to be left behind by him, but all were eager to share in his exploits and flocked to him from every city. 3 The general, after he had strengthened the zeal of the Volscians and reduced the manly fortitude of the enemy to a helplessness that was abject and anything but manly, led his army against the cities of their allies that still remained faithful to them; and having promptly prepared everything that was necessary for a siege, he marched against the Tolerienses, who belonged to the Latin nation. 4 These, having long before made the necessary preparations for war and transported all the effects they had in the country into the city, withstood his attack and held out for some time, fighting from their walls and wounding many of the enemy; then, after being driven back by the slingers and enduring hardships till the late afternoon, they abandoned many parts of the wall. 5 When Marcius was informed of this, he ordered some of the soldiers to plant ladders against those parts of the wall that were left unprotected, while he himself with the flower of his army hastened to the gates amid a shower of spears that were hurled at him from the towers; and breaking the bars asunder, he was the first to enter the city. Close to the gates stood a large and strong body of the enemy's troops, who stoutly withstood his attack and continued to fight for a long time; but  p49 when many of them had been killed, the rest gave way and, dispersing themselves, fled through the streets. 6 Marcius followed, putting to death all whom he overtook except those who threw away their arms and had recourse to supplications. In the meantime the men who had ascended by the ladders were making themselves masters of the wall. The town being taken in this manner, Marcius set aside such of the spoils as were to be consecrated to the gods and to adorn the cities of the Volscians, and the rest he permitted the soldiers to plunder. 7 Many prisoners were taken there, also a great deal of money and much corn, so that it was not easy for the victors to remove everything in one day, but they were forced to consume much time while, working in relays, they drove or carried away the booty, either on their own backs or using beasts of burden.

18 1 The general, after all the prisoners and effects had been removed out of the city, left it desolate and drew off his forces to Bola, another town of the Latins. The Bolani also, as it chanced, had been apprised of his intended attack and had prepared everything necessary for the struggle. Marcius, who expected to take the town by storm, delivered his attacks upon many parts of the wall. But the Bolani, after watching for a favourable opportunity, opened their gates, and sallying out in force in regular array, engaged the front ranks of the enemy; then, after killing many of them and wounding still more and after forcing the rest to a shameful flight, they  p51 retired into the city. 2 When Marcius learned of the rout of the Volscians — for it chanced that he was not present in the place where this defeat occurred — he came up in haste with a few of his men, and rallying those who were dispersed in the flight, he formed them into a body and encouraged them. Then, having got them back in their ranks and indicated what they were to do, he ordered them to attack the town at the same gates. 3 When the Bolani once more tried the same expedient, sallying out in force, the Volscians did not await them, but gave way and fled down hill, as their general had instructed them to do; and the Bolani, ignorant of the ruse, pursued them a considerable way. Then, when they were at a distance from the town, Marcius fell upon them with a body of chosen youth; and many of the Bolani fell, some while defending themselves and others while endeavouring to escape. 4 Marcius pursued those who were being pushed back toward the town and forced his way inside the walls before the gates could be slammed shut. When the general had once made himself master of the gates, the rest of the Volscian host followed, and the Bolani, abandoning the walls, fled to their houses. Marcius, having possessed himself of this city also, gave leave to the soldiers to make slaves of the inhabitants and to seize their effects; and after carrying away all the booty at his leisure and with full liberty, as before, he set fire to the town.

19 1 From there he took his army and marched against the place called Labici. This city too belonged then to the Latins and was, like the others, a  p53 colony of the Albans. In order to terrify the inhabitants, as soon as he entered their territory he set fire to the part of the country from which the flames would most clearly be seen by them. But the Labicani, since they had well-constructed walls, neither became terrified at his invasion nor showed any sign of weakness, but made a brave resistance and often repulsed the enemy as they were attempting to scale the walls. 2 Notwithstanding this, they were not able to resist to the end, fighting as they were few against many and without the least respite. For many attacks were made upon all parts of the city by the Volscians, who fought in shifts, those who were fatigued continually retiring and other forces that were fresh taking their place; and the inhabitants, contending against these all day, without any respite even at night, were forced through exhaustion to abandon the walls. Marcius, having taken this city also, made slaves of the inhabitants and allowed his soldiers to divide the spoils. 3 Thence he marched to Pedum — this also was a city of the Latins — and advancing with his army in good order, he took the town by storm as soon as he came near the walls. And having treated it in the same manner as the cities he had captured earlier, he led his forces at break of day against Corbio. 4 When he was near its walls, the inhabitants opened their gates and came to meet him, holding out olive-branches instead of weapons and offering to surrender their walls without striking a blow. Marcius, after commending them  p55 for adopting the course that was to their best interest, ordered them to come out bringing whatever his army required, both money and corn; and having obtained what he demanded, he led his forces to Corioli.​13 When the inhabitants of this place also surrendered it without resistance and very readily supplied his army with provisions and money and everything else that he ordered, he led the army away through their territory as through a friendly land. 5 For this too was a matter about which he always took great care — that those who surrendered their cities to him should suffer none of the ills incident to war, but should get back their lands unravaged and recover all the cattle and slaves they had left behind on their farms; and he would not permit his army to quarter itself in the cities, lest some mischief should result from their plundering or stealing, but he always encamped near the walls.

20 1 Departing from this city, he led his army to Bovillae, which was then a city of note and counted as one of the very few leading cities of the Latin nation. When the inhabitants would not receive him, but trusted in their ramparts, which were very strong, and in the multitude of defenders who would fight from them, Marcius exhorted his men to fight ardently, promising great rewards to those who should first mount the walls, and then set to work; and a sharp battle took place for this city.  p57 2 For the Bovillani not only repulsed the assailants from the walls, but even threw open their gates, and sallying out in a body, forcibly thrust back down hill those who opposed them. Here the Volscians suffered very heavy losses and the battle for the walls continued a long time, so that all despaired of taking the town. But the general caused the loss of those who were slain to pass unnoticed by replacing them with others, and inspired with fresh courage those who were spent with toil by pressing forward himself to that part of the army which was in distress. Thus not only his words, but his actions also were incentives to valour; for he faced every danger and was not found wanting in any attempt till the walls were taken. 3 When at length he had made himself master of this city also and had summarily put to death some of the inhabitants and made prisoners of the rest, he withdrew his forces, having won a most glorious victory and carrying off great quantities of the finest spoils, besides enriching his army with vast amounts of money he had got possession of in this city, where it was found in greater quantity than in any of the places he had captured.

21 1 After this all the country he marched through submitted to him and no city made any resistance but Lavinium, which was the first city built by the Trojans who landed in Italy with Aeneas, and the one from which the Romans derive their origin, as I have shown earlier.​14 The inhabitants of this city thought they  p59 ought to suffer any extremity rather than fail to keep faith with their descendants. 2 Here, therefore, some stubborn fighting took place upon the walls and some sharp engagements before the ramparts; nevertheless, the walls were not carried by storm at the first assault, but their capture seemed to require time and unhurried persistence. Marcius accordingly gave over the attack on the walls and undertook to construct a ditch and a palisade around the town, while guarding all the roads so that neither provisions nor reinforcements might come to the inhabitants from outside.

3 The Romans, being informed both of the destruction of the cities that were already taken and of the exigency which had influenced those who had joined Marcius, and importuned by the embassies which came to them daily from those who continued firm in their friendship and besought their aid, and being alarmed, moreover, by the investment of Lavinium then in progress and believing that if this stronghold should be taken the war would promptly come to their own gates, thought the only remedy for all these evils would be to pass a vote for the return of Marcius. 4 The entire populace shouted for this and the tribunes too wished to introduce a law for the annulment of his condemnation; but the patricians opposed them, being determined not to reverse any part of the sentence which had been pronounced. And as no preliminary decree was passed by the senate, the tribunes too no longer thought fit to propose the matter to the populace. 5 It may well excite wonder what the motive was that led the senate, which hitherto had  p61 so warmly espoused the cause of Marcius, to oppose the populace on this occasion when they wished to recall him — whether they were sounding out the sentiment of the populace and arousing them to greater zeal by their own reluctance to yield to them, or whether they wished to clear themselves of the accusations brought against them so that they might not be held to be either responsible for or accomplices in any of the acts of Marcius. For as their purpose was kept secret, it was difficult to conjecture what it was.

22 1 Marcius,​15 being informed of these events by some deserters, was so angry that he broke camp at once and marched on Rome, leaving a sufficient force to keep guard over Lavinium; and he straightway encamped at the place called the Cluilian Ditches,​16 at a distance of forty stades from the city. 2 When the Romans heard of his presence there, such confusion fell upon them, in their belief that the war would at once come to their walls, that some seized their arms and ran to the walls without orders, others went in a body to the gates without anyone to command them, some armed their slaves and took their stand on the roofs of their houses, and still others seized the citadel and the Capitol and the other strong places of the city; and the women, with their hair dishevelled, ran to the sanctuaries and to the temples, lamenting and praying to the gods to avert the danger that threatened. 3 But when the night had passed, as well as most of the following day, and none of the evils they had feared befell them, but Marcius remained  p63 quiet, all the plebeians flocked to the Forum and called upon the patricians​17 to assemble in the senate-house, declaring that if they would not pass the preliminary decree for the return of Marcius, they themselves, as men who were being betrayed, would take measures for their own protection. 4 Then at last the senators met in the senate-house and voted to send to Marcius five of their oldest members who were his closest friends, to treat for reconciliation and friendship. The men chosen were Marcus Minucius, Postumus Cominius, Spurius Larcius, Publius Pinarius and Quintus Sulpicius, all ex-consuls. 5 When they came to the camp and Marcius was informed of their arrival, he seated himself in the midst of the most important of the Volscians and their allies, where very many would hear all that was said, and then ordered the envoys to be summoned. When these came in, Minucius, who during his consul­ship had been most active in his favour and had distinguished himself by his opposition to the plebeians, spoke first, as follows:

23 1 "We are all sensible, Marcius, that you have suffered injustice at the hands of the populace in having been banished from your country under a foul accusation, and we do not regard it as anything strange on your part if you feel anger and resentment at your misfortunes. For common to the nature of all men is this law — that the injured party is an enemy to the aggressor. 2 But that you do not examine in the light of sober reason who those are whom you ought to requite and punish, nor show any moderation in exacting that punishment, but class together  p65 the innocent with the guilty and friends with enemies, and that you violate the inviolable laws of Nature, confound the duties of religion, and, even as to yourself, no longer remember from whom you are sprung and what sort of man you are — that has seemed strange to us. 3 We have come now, the oldest of the patricians and the most zealous of your friends, sent by the commonwealth to present our defence mingled with entreaty, and to bring word upon what conditions we ask you to lay aside your enmity toward the populace; and furthermore, to advise you of the course which we believe will be the most honourable and advantageous for you.

24 1 "Let me speak first concerning the point of justice. The plebeians, inflamed by the tribunes, conspired against you and came with the intention of putting you to death without a trial, because they feared you. This attempt we of the senate prevented, and we permitted you to suffer no injustice on that occasion. Afterwards the same men who had been prevented from destroying you summoned you to trial, charging you with having uttered malicious words about them in the senate. 2 We opposed this too, as you know, and would not permit you to be brought to trial either for your opinion or for your words. Disappointed in this also, they came to us at last, accusing you of aiming at tyranny. This charge you yourself consented to answer, since you were far from guilty of it, and you permitted the plebeians to give their votes concerning you. 3 The senate was present on this occasion also and made many pleas in your behalf. Of which of the misfortunes, then, that have befallen you have we  p67 patricians been the cause? And why do you make war upon us who showed so much goodwill toward you during that contest? But, for that matter, not even all the plebeians were found to desire your banishment; at any rate, you were condemned by two votes only, so that you could not with justice be an enemy to those plebeians, either, who acquitted you as guilty of no wrongdoing. 4 I will assume, however, if you wish, that it was pursuant to the vote of all the plebeians and the judgement of the entire senate that you suffered this misfortune, and that your hatred against us all is just; but the women, Marcius, what wrong have they done to you that you should make war upon them? By what vote did they condemn you to banishment, or what malicious words did they utter against you? 5 And our children, what wrong have they done or contemplated doing that they should be exposed to captivity and to all the other misfortunes which they would presumably suffer if the city should be taken? You are not just in your judgements, Marcius; and if you think you ought to hate those who are guilty and your enemies in such a manner as not to spare even those who are innocent and your friends, then your way of thinking is not such as becomes a good man. 6 But, to omit all these considerations, what, in Heaven's name, could you answer if anyone should ask you what injury you have received from your ancestors to induce you to destroy their sepulchres and to deprive them of the honours they receive from men? Or resentment at what injury has led you to despoil, burn and demolish the altars of the gods, their shrines and their temples, and to prevent them from receiving their customary worship? What could you say in answer to this?  p69 For my part, I see nothing that you could say. 7 Let these considerations of justice suffice, Marcius, both in behalf of us of the senate and of the other citizens whom you are eager to destroy, even though you have suffered no wrong at their hands, and in behalf of the sepulchres, the sanctuaries and the city to which you owe both your birth and your rearing.

25 1 "Come now, even if it were fitting that all men, even those who have not wronged you at all, together with their wives and children should make atonement to you, and that all the gods, the heroes and the lesser divinities, the city and the country, should reap the benefit of the tribunes' folly, and that nothing whatever should be exempted, nothing go unrevenged by you, have you not already exacted sufficient punishment from us all by slaying so many people, ravaging so much territory by fire and sword, razing to the ground so many cities, and doing away in many places with the festivals, the sacrifices and the worship of the gods and other divinities and compelling them to go without their festivals and sacrifices and to have no part in their customary honours? 2 For my part, I should have refused to believe that a man who had the least regard for virtue would either destroy his friends along with his enemies or show himself harsh and inexorable in his anger toward those who offend him in any way, especially after he has already exacted from them many severe retributions. 3 These, then, are the considerations we had to offer you by way of both clearing ourselves and asking to be lenient toward the plebeians; and the advice which we, your most valued friends, were ready to give you out of goodwill if you were bent on  p71 strife, and the promises we could make if you were ready to be reconciled to your country, are as follows: While your power is greatest and Heaven still assists you, we advise you to act with moderation and to husband your good fortune, bearing in mind that all things are subject to change and that nothing is apt to continue long in the same state. All things that wax too great, when they reach the peak of eminence, incur the displeasure of the gods and are brought to naught again. And this is the fate which comes especially to stubborn and haughty spirits and those that overstep the bounds of human nature. 4 It is in your power now to put an end to the war on the best possible terms; for the whole senate is eager to pass a vote for your return, and the populace is ready by a law ratifying the senate's vote to annul your sentence of perpetual banishment. What is there, then, to prevent you any longer from enjoying once more the most dear and precious sight of your nearest of kin, from recovering your fatherland that is so well worth fighting for, from ruling, as you ought, over rulers and commanding those who command others, and from bequeathing to children and descendants the greatest glory? 5 Moreover, we are the sureties that all these promises will be performed forthwith. For though at present it would not be well for the senate or the people to pass any mild or lenient vote in your favour while you are encamped against us and are committing hostile acts, yet if you lay down your arms, the decree for your return will soon come to you, brought by us.

26 1 "These, then, are the advantages you will reap by becoming reconciled; whereas, if you persist in your resentment and do not give up your  p73 hatred toward us, many disagreeable things will befall you, of which I shall now mention two as the most important and the most obvious. The first is that you have an evil passion for a thing that is difficult of accomplishment, or rather, impossible — the overthrow of the power of Rome, and that too by the arms of the Volscians; the second is that, alike if you succeed and if you fail, it will be your lot to be looked upon as the most unfortunate of all men. Hear now, Marcius, the reasons that induce me to entertain this opinion concerning you, and take no offence at my frankness of speech. 2 Consider, first, the impossibility of the thing. The Romans, as you yourself know, have a numerous body of youth of their own nation, whom, if the sedition is once banished from among them — and banished it will now inevitably be by this war, since a common fear is wont to reconcile all differences — surely not the Volscians, nay, no other Italian nation either, will ever overcome. Great also is the power of the Latins and of our other allies and colonies, and that power, be assured, will soon come to our assistance. We have generals too of the same ability as yourself, both older men and young, in greater number than are to be found in any other states. 3 But the greatest assistance of all, and one which in times of danger has never betrayed our hopes, and better too than all human strength combined, is the favour of the gods, by whom this city which we inhabit not only continues to this day to preserve her liberty for already the eighth generation, but is also flourishing and the ruler over many nations. 4 And do not liken us to the  p75 Pedani, the Tolerienses, or the peoples of the other petty towns you have seized; for a general less able than yourself and with a smaller army than this great host of yours could have reduced small garrisons and slight defences. But consider the greatness of our city, the brilliance of her achievements in war, and the good fortune that abides with her through the favour of the gods, by which she has been raised from a small beginning to her present grandeur. 5 As for your own forces, at the head of which you are undertaking so great an enterprise, do not imagine that they have changed, but bear clearly in mind that you are leading against us an army of mere Volscians and Aequians, whom we here who are still living were wont to defeat in many battles, yes, as often as they dared to come to an engagement with us. Know, then, that you are going to fight with inferior troops against those that are superior to them, and with troops that are accustomed to defeat every time against those that are always victorious. 6 Yet even if the contrary of this were true, it would still be a matter for wonder how you, who are experienced in warfare, could have failed to observe that courage in the face of danger is not apt to be felt in equal measure by those who fight for their own blessings and by those who set out after what belongs to others. For the latter, if they do not succeed, suffer no loss, whereas the others, if they are defeated, have nothing left. And this is the chief reason why large armies have often been beaten by smaller ones and superior forces by inferior ones. For necessity is formidable, and a struggle in which life itself is at stake is capable of inspiring boldness in a man which was not already his by nature. I had many other things to  p77 say concerning the impossibility of your undertaking, but this is enough.

27 1 "I still have one argument left which, if you will judge of it by reason rather than in anger, will not only seem to you to have been well made, but will also cause you to repent of what you are doing. What is this argument? That the gods have not given it to any mortal creature to possess sure knowledge of future events, and you will not find in all past time a man for whom all his undertakings succeeded according to his plan and whom Fortune thwarted in none. 2 For this reason alone those who excel others in prudence — the fruit of a long life and many lessons from experience — think that they ought, before beginning any enterprise whatever, first to consider its possible outcome — not only the one which they desire for themselves, but also the one which will be contrary to their judgement. And this is particularly true of commanders in wars, the more so because the affairs of which they have charge are of greater importance and because everybody imputes to them the responsibility for both victories and defeats. Then, if they find that no loss inheres in failure, or few and small losses, they set about their undertakings, but if the losses might be many and serious, they abandon them. 3 Do you too, then, follow their example, and before you resort to action, consider what it will be your fate to suffer if you fail in this war and all conditions do not favour you. You will be reproached by those who have received you and you will also blame yourself for having undertaken greater things than are possible; and when our army in turn marches into their territory and lays it waste  p79 — for we shall never submit to such injuries without avenging ourselves on our aggressors — you will not be able to avoid one of these two fates: you will be put to death in a shameful manner either by those very men, in whose eyes you will be to blame the great misfortunes, or by us, whom you came to slay and to enslave. 4 But perhaps those others, before they become involved in any misfortune, may, in the attempt to effect an accommodation with us, think fit to deliver up to us to be punished — a course to which many, both barbarians and Greeks, have been obliged to submit when reduced to such extremities. Do you look upon these as small matters unworthy of your consideration and believe that you ought to overlook them, or rather as the worst evils of all to suffer?

28 1 "Come now, if you do succeed, what wonderful, what enviable advantage will be yours, or what glory will you gain? For this also you must consider. In the first place, it will be your fate to be deprived of those who are dearest and nearest of kin to you — of an unhappy mother, to whom you are making no honourable return for your birth and rearing and for all the hardships she underwent on your account; and again, of a faithful wife, who through yearning for you sits in solitude and widowhood, lamenting every day and night your banishment; and furthermore of two sons who ought, being descendants of worthy ancestors, to benefit from their honours by being held in high esteem in a flourishing fatherland. 2 But you will be forced to behold the pitiable and unhappy deaths of all these if you dare to bring the war to our walls. For surely no mercy will be shown to any of your family by those  p81 who are in danger of losing their own and are treated by you with the same cruelty. On the contrary, they will proceed to inflict on them dreadful tortures, pitiless indignities and every other kind of abuse, if they are forced thereto by their calamities. And for all these things it will not be those who do them that are to blame, but you, who impose the necessity upon them. 3 Such will be the pleasures you will reap if this enterprise of yours succeeds; but as for praise and emulation and honours, which good men ought to strive for, consider of what nature they will be. You will be called the slayer of your mother, the murderer of your children, the assassin of your wife, and the evil genius of your country; wherever you go, no man who is pious and just will be willing to let you partake with him in sacrifices or libations or in the hospitality of his home; and even by those for whom out of friendliness you perform these services you will not be held in honour, but every one of them, after reaping some advantage from your impious actions, will detest your arrogant manner. 4 I forbear to add that, besides the hatred which you will encounter on the part of the most fair-minded men, you will have to face much envy from your equals and fear from your inferiors and, in consequence of both the envy and the fear, plots and many other disagreeable things which are likely to befall a man destitute of friends and living in a foreign land. I say nothing, indeed, of the Furies sent by the gods and other divinities to punish those who have been guilty of impious and dreadful deeds — those Furies tormented by whom in both soul and body they drag out a miserable life while awaiting a pitiable death. Bearing these things in mind,  p83 5 Marcius, repent of your purpose and give up your grudge against your country; and regarding Fortune as having been the cause of all the evils you have suffered at our hands or have inflicted on us, return with joy to your family, receive a mother's most affectionate embraces, a wife's sweetest welcome, and give yourself back to your country as a most honourable repayment of the debt you owe to her for having given birth and rearing to so great a man."

29 1 Minucius having spoken in this manner, Marcius after a short pause replied:

"To you, Minucius, and to all others who have been sent here with him by the senate I am a friend and am ready to do you any service in my power, because not only earlier, when I was your fellow citizen and had a share in the administration of public affairs, you assisted me in many times of need, but also after my banishment you did not turn from me in contempt of my then unhappy fate, as if I were no longer able either to serve my friends or to hurt my enemies, but you continued to show yourselves good and staunch friends by taking care of my mother, my wife and my children, and alleviating their misfortune by your personal attentions. 2 But to the rest of the Romans I am as hostile as I can be and am at war with them, and I shall never cease to hate them; for they, in return for the many glorious achievements for which I deserved honour, drove me out of my country with ignominy, as being guilty of the most grievous crimes against the commonwealth, and showed neither respect for my mother, nor compassion  p85 for my children, nor any other humane feeling in view of my misfortunes. 3 Now that you have been informed of this, if you desire anything from me for yourselves, declare it without hesitation, in the assurance that you shall fail of naught that is in my power; but as regards friendship and a reconciliation, which you desire me to enter into with the populace in the hope that they will let me return, discuss it no more. Great indeed would be the satisfaction with which I should accept restoration to a city like this, in which vice receives the rewards of virtue and the innocent await the punishment of criminals! 4 For come, tell me, in Heaven's name, with what crime am I charged that I should have experienced this misfortune? Or what course have I pursued that is unworthy of my ancestors? I made my first campaign when I was very young, at the time we fought against the kings who were endeavouring to bring about their restoration by force. As a result of that battle I was crowned by the general with a wreath of valour for having saved a citizen and slain an enemy.​18 5 After that, in every other action I was engaged in, whether of the horse or foot, I distinguished myself in all and from all received the rewards for valour. And there was neither any town taken by storm whose walls I was not the very first or among the first few to mount, nor any flight of the enemy from the field of battle where all who were present did not acknowledge that I had been the chief cause of it, nor any other signal or brave action performed in war without the assistance of either my valour or my good fortune.

30 1 "These are exploits, it is true, that some  p87 other brave man also might perhaps be able to cite in his favour, even if not so many of them; but what general or captain could boast of capturing an entire city, as I captured Corioli, and also of putting to flight the enemy's army on that very same day, as I did that of the Antiates when it came to the assistance of the besieged?​19 2 I refrain from adding that after I had given such proofs of my valour, when I might have received out of the spoils a large amount of gold and silver, as well as slaves, beasts of burden and cattle, and much fertile land, I refused, but desiring to secure myself as far as possible against envy, took only a single war-horse out of the spoils and my personal friend from among the captives, and all the rest of the wealth I brought and turned over to the state. 3 Did I, then, for these actions deserve to suffer punishments, or to receive honours? To become subject to the basest of the citizens, or myself to issue orders to my inferiors? Or perhaps it was not for these reasons that the populace banished me, but rather because in my private life I was unrestrained, extravagant and lawless? And yet who can point to anyone who because of my lawless pleasures has either been banished from his country, or lost his liberty, or been deprived of his money, or met with any other misfortune? On the contrary, no one even of my enemies ever accused or charged me any of these things, but all bore witness that even my daily life was irreproachable. 4 'But, great heavens, man,' some one may say, 'it was your political principles that aroused hatred and brought this misfortune upon you. For when you had it in your power to choose the better side, you chose the  p89 worse, and you continued to say and do everything calculated to effect the overthrow of the established aristocracy and to put the whole power of the commonwealth into the hands of an ignorant and base multitude.' But I, Minucius, pursued a course the very reverse of that, and sought to provide that the senate should always administer the public business and that the established constitution should be maintained. 5 In return, however, for these honourable principles, which our forefathers thought worthy of emulation, I have received this happy, this blessed reward from my country — to have been banished, not by the populace alone, Minucius, but, long before that, by the senate, which encouraged me at first with vain hopes while I was opposing the tribunes in their efforts to establish a tyranny, promising that it would itself provide for my security, and then, upon the first suspicion of any danger from the plebeians, abandoned me and delivered me up to my enemies! 6 But you yourself were consul at the time, Minucius, when the senate passed the preliminary decree concerning my trial and when Valerius, who advised delivering me up to the populace, gained great applause by his speech, and I, fearing that, if the question were put, I should be condemned by the senators, acquiesced and promised to appear voluntarily for trial.

31 1 "Come, answer me, Minucius, did I seem to the senate also to deserve punishment for having promoted and pursued the best measures, or to the populace only? For if you were all of the same opinion at that time and if all of you banished me, it is plain that all of you who were of this mind hate virtue and that there is no place in your city for  p91 loyalty to principle. But if the senate was forced to yield to the populace and its action was the result of compulsion, not of conviction, you senators admit, I take it, that you are governed by the baser element and that the senate has not the power to act in any matter as it thinks fit. 2 After this do you ask me to return to such a city, in which the better element is governed by the worse? Then you have judged me capable of an act of sheer madness! But come, suppose that I have been persuaded, and having put an end to the war as you desire, have returned home; what sentiments shall I entertain after this, and what manner of life shall I live? Shall I choose the safe and secure course, and, in order to obtain magistracies, honours and the other advantages of which I think myself worthy, consent to court the mob which has the power of bestowing them? In that case I shall change from a worthy to a base citizen and shall reap no benefit from my former virtue. 3 Or, maintaining the same character and observing the same political principles, shall I oppose those who do not make the same choice? Then is it not obvious that the populace will again make war upon me and insist on exacting fresh penalties, making this very point their first charge against me, that after obtaining my return at their hands I do not humour them in the measures I pursue? You cannot deny it. 4 Then some other bold demagogue, an Icilius or a Decius, will appear who will accused me of setting the citizens at variance with one another, of forming a plot against the populace, of betraying the commonwealth to the enemy, or of aiming at tyranny, even as Decius charged me, or of any other crime that may occur to him; for hatred will never be at a loss to find an  p93 accusation. 5 And, besides the other charges, there will also be brought up presently all the things I have done in this war — that I have laid waste your country, driven off booty, taken your towns, slain some of those who defended them and delivered up others to the enemy. If my accusers charge me with these things, what shall I say to them in my defence, or on what assistance shall I rely?

32 1 "Is it not therefore plain, Minucius, that your envoys are indulging in fair words and dissimulation, cloaking with a specious name a wicked design? For surely it is not my restoration that you are offering me, but you are taking me back to the populace as a sacrificial victim, perhaps because you have actually planned to do this (for it no longer occurs to me to hold any good opinion of you); 2 but if you wish it so — I am merely assuming this — that it is because you do not foresee any of the things that I shall suffer, what advantage shall I gain from your ignorance or folly, since you will not be able to prevent anything even if you are so disposed, but are compelled to gratify the populace in this too, as in everything else? Now to show that from the point of view of my safety there will be no gain to me in this — 'restoration,' as you call it, but I a quick road to destruction, not many more words are called for, I think; but to prove that I will not enhance my reputation, either, or my honour, or my piety — for you, Minucius, asked me to take these into consideration, and rightly — but that, on the contrary, I shall be acting in a most shameful and impious manner if I follow your advice, pray hear in turn what I have to say. 3 I became an enemy to these men here and did them many injuries during the war while I  p95 was acquiring sovereignty, power and glory for my country. Was it not fitting, therefore, that I should be honoured by those I had benefited and hated by those I had injured? Certainly, if what one could reasonably expect had happened. But Fortune upset both these expectations and reversed the two principles. For you Romans, on whose account I was an enemy to these men, deprived me of all my possessions, and making a nobody of me, cast me off; while they, who had suffered those dire evils at my hands, received me into their cities, the resourceless, homeless, humbled outcast. 4 And not content with doing this only, an action so splendid and magnanimous, they also conferred on me citizen­ship in all their cities, as well as the magistracies and honours that in their country are highest. To omit the rest, they have now appointed me supreme commander of the expeditionary force and have committed to me alone all the interests of their state. 5 Look you, with what heart would I now betray these men by whom I have been decked with such honours, when I have suffered no injury, great or small, at their hands? Unless, indeed, their favours are injurious to me, as mine are to you! A fine reputation forsooth, throughout all the world will such double treachery bring me, when it shall be known! Who would not praise me on hearing that when I found my friends, from whom I had the right to expect kindness, to be my enemies, and my foes, by whom I should have been put to death, to be my friends, instead of hating those who hate me and loving those who love me, I took the opposite view!

33 1 "Come now, Minucius, consider next  p97 the matter of the gods' treatment of me, what it has shown itself to be at present and, if I do let you persuade me to betray the trust reposed in me by these people, what it will be for the rest of my life. At present they assist me in every enterprise I undertake against you and in no attempt am I unsuccessful. 2 And how weighty a testimony to my piety do you consider that? For surely, if I had undertaken an impious war against my country, the gods ought to have opposed me in everything; but since I enjoy the favouring breeze of Fortune in the wars I wage and everything that I attempt goes steadily forward for me, it is evident that I am a pious man and that my choice of conduct has been honourable. 3 What, then, will be my fate if I change my course and endeavour to increase your power and humble theirs? Will it not be just the reverse, and shall I not incur the dire wrath of Heaven which avenges the injured, and just as by the help of the gods I from a low estate have become great, shall I not in turn from a great be brought again to a low estate, and my sufferings become lessons to the rest of the world? 4 These are the thoughts that occur to me concerning the gods; and I am persuaded that those Furies you mentioned, Minucius, so frightful and inexorable toward those who have committed any impious deed, will dog my steps and torment both my soul and body only when I abandon and betray those who preserved me after you had ruined me, and, at the same time as they preserved me, conferred upon me many fine marks of their favour, and to whom I gave the gods as guarantors of my pledge that I had not come among them with the purpose of doing them any injury and  p99 that I would keep with them the faith which I have hitherto preserved pure and untarnished.

34 1 "When you call those still my friends, Minucius, who banished me and that nation my country which has renounced me, when you appeal to the laws of Nature and discuss the obligations of religion, you seem to me to be ignorant of the most common facts, of which no one but you is ignorant — namely, that a friend or an enemy is not determined either by the lineaments of a face or by the giving of a name, but both are made manifest by their services and by their deeds, and that we all love those who do us good and hate those who do us harm. No men laid down this law for us nor will men ever annul it if the opposite course seems to them better; on the contrary, it has been enacted from the beginning of time by the universal nature for all creatures endowed with sense, a heritage of man to remain in force forever. 2 For this reason we renounce our friends when they injure us and make friends of our enemies when some kindly service is done for us by them; and we cherish the country that gave us birth when it helps us, but abandon it when it harms us, since our affection is based, not on the place, but on the benefit it confers. 3 These are the sentiments not merely of individual persons in private life, but of whole cities and nations. Consequently, whoever applies this principle demands nothing not sanctioned by religious usage and does nothing that contravenes the common judgement of all mankind. I, therefore, consider that in doing these things I am doing what is just, advantageous  p101 and honourable, and at the same time what is most holy in the eyes of the gods; and I do not care to take as judges of my conduct mere men who infer the truth from guesswork and opinion, since the gods are pleased with what I do. Nor do I agree that I am undertaking impossible things when I have the gods as my guides therein — not, at least, if one is to judge of the future by the past.

35 1 "As regards the moderation which you recommend to me and your plea that I should not utterly destroy the Roman race or overthrow the city from its foundations, I might answer, Minucius, that this is not in my power to decide, nor should your plea be addressed to me. No, I am general of the army, but as to war and peace these men here have the decision; so apply to them for a truce as a step toward reconciliation, and not to me. 2 Nevertheless, because I revere the gods of my fathers and respect the sepulchres of my ancestors and the land which gave me birth, and feel compassion for your wives and children, on whom, though undeserving, will fall the errors of their fathers and husbands, and, not least of all, on account of you men, Minucius, who have been chosen envoys by the commonwealth,​20 I answer as follows: If the Romans will return to the Volscians the land they have taken from them and the cities they hold, first recalling their colonists, and if they will enter into a league of perpetual friendship with them and give them equal rights of citizen­ship,  p103 as they have done in the case of the Latins, confirming their covenant by oaths and by imprecations against those who may violate it, I will put an end to the war against them, and not until then. 3 So carry this report back to them, and discuss very earnestly with them also, in the same way as you have with me, these considerations of justice — how fine a thing it is for everyone to enjoy his own possessions and to live in peace, but how disgraceful it is for a people, by clinging to the possessions of others, to expose themselves to an unnecessary war, in which they will run the hazard of losing even all their own blessings. Point out to them also how unequal are the prizes that reward success and failure when men covet the territory of others. Add too, if you please, that people who desire to seize the cities of those they have wronged, if they do not overcome them, are deprived of both their own territory and city, and in addition to this see their wives suffer the greatest indignities, their children led away to contumely, and their parents upon the threshold of old age become slaves instead of free men. 4 And at the same time point out to the senators that they would not be able to impute the blame for these evils to Marcius, but to their own folly; for though they have it in their power to practise justice and to incur no disaster, they will hazard their all by their continual fondness for the possessions of others.

5 "You have my answer, and you will get nothing  p105 further from me. Depart, then, and consider what you must do. I will allow you thirty days for your deliberation. In the meantime, to show my regard for you, Minucius, as well as for the rest of you envoys, I will withdraw my army from your territory, since it would cause you great injury if it remained here. And on the thirtieth day expect my return in order to receive your answer."

36 1 Having thus spoken, Marcius rose up and dismissed the conference; and the following night he broke camp about the last watch and led his army against the rest of the Latin cities, either having actually learned that some reinforcements were to come from them to the Romans, as he declared at the time in his harangue to the Romans, or having invented the report himself, in order that he might not seem to have given up the war to gratify the enemy. 2 And attacking the place called Longula, he gained possession of it without any difficulty, and treated it in the same manner as he had treated the others, by making slaves of the inhabitants and plundering the town. Then he marched to the city of Satricum, and having taken this also, after a short resistance by the townspeople, and ordered a detachment of his army to convey the booty taken in these two towns to Ecetra, he marched with the rest of his forces to another town, called Cetia.​21 After gaining possession of this place also and pillaging it, he made an irruption into the territory of the Poluscini; and when these were unable to withstand him, he took their city also by  p107 storm, and then proceeded against the others in order: the Albietes and the Mugillani he took by assault and the Chorielani by capitulation.​22 3 Having thus made himself master of seven cities in thirty days, he returned toward Rome with an army much larger than his former force, and encamped at a distance of a little more than thirty stades from the city, on the road that leads to Tusculum

When Marcius was capturing or conciliating the cities of the Latins, the Romans, after long deliberation over his demands, resolved to do nothing unworthy of the commonwealth, but if the Volscians would depart from their territory and from that of their allies and subjects and, putting an end to the war, send ambassadors to treat for friendship, the senate would pass a preliminary vote fixing the terms on which they should become friends and would lay its resolution before the people; but as long as the Volscians remained in their territory and in that of their allies committing hostile acts they would pass no friendly vote. 4 For the Romans always made it a great point never to do anything at the dictation of an enemy or to yield to fear of him, but when once their adversaries had made peace and acknowledged themselves their subjects, to gratify them and concede  p109 anything in reason that they asked. And this proud spirit the commonwealth had continued to preserve down to our own time amid many great dangers in both their foreign and their domestic wars.

37 1 The senate,​23 having passed this decree, chosen ten other men from among the ex-consuls as envoys to ask Marcius not to make any demand that was severe or unworthy of the commonwealth, but laying aside his resentment and withdrawing his forces from their territory, to endeavour to obtain his demands by persuasion and conciliatory language, if he wished to make the compact between the two states firm and enduring, since all concessions made either to individuals or to states under compulsion of some necessity or crisis become void at once when the crisis or the necessity changes. The envoys appointed by the senate, as soon as they were informed of the arrival of Marcius, repaired to him and used many tempting arguments, preserving also in their discussions, however, the dignity of the commonwealth. 2 But Marcius gave them no answer except to advise them to reach some better decision and then return within three days; for they should have a truce from war for that period only. And when the envoys desired to make some answer to this, he would not permit it, but ordered them to quit the camp immediately, threatening, if they refused, to treat them as spies. Thereupon they at once withdrew in silence. 3 The senators, upon being informed by the envoys of the haughty answer and  p111 threats of Marcius, did not even then vote to send out an expeditionary force, either because they feared the inexperience of their troops, most of whom were new recruits, or because they regarded the timidity of the consuls — there was indeed no boldness for action in them at all — as a serious risk in undertaking so great a struggle, or perhaps too because Heaven opposed their expedition by means of auspices, Sibylline oracles, or some traditional religious scruple — warnings which the men of that age did not think fit to neglect as do those of to‑day. However, they resolved to guard the city with greater diligence and to repel from their ramparts any who should attack them.

38 1 While they were so engaged and were making their preparations, and were not yet ready to give up all hope, believing that Marcius could still be persuaded to relent if they sent a larger and more dignified embassy to intercede with him, they voted to send the pontiffs, the augurs, and all the others who were invested with any sacred dignity or public ministry relating to divine worship (there are among them large numbers of priests and ministers of religion, these also being distinguished beyond their fellows not only for their ancestry, but for their reputation for personal merit as well), and that these, carrying with them the symbols of the gods whose rites and worship they performed, and wearing their priestly robes, should go in a body to the enemy's camp bearing the same message as the former envoys. 2 When they arrived and delivered the message with which the senate had charged them, Marcius returned no other answer even to them concerning their demands, but advised them either to depart and do  p113 as he commanded, if they wished to have peace, or to expect the war to come to their very gates; and he forbade them to attempt any negotiations with him for the future. 3 When the Romans failed in this attempt also, they gave up all hope of reconciliation and prepared for a siege, disposing the ablest of their men beside the moat and at the gates, and stationing upon the walls those who had been discharged from military service but whose bodies were still capable of enduring hardships.

The Editor's Notes:

1 For chaps. 1‑2.3 Cf. Livy II.35.6‑8.

2 487 B.C.

3 Or, following Kiessling's emendation, "in their consul­ship."

4 See VI.92‑94, VII.21‑64.

5 For chaps. 2.4‑4.4 cf. Livy II.37 f.

6 The Porta Capena. The real etymology of the name Capena is not known.

Thayer's Note: For fuller details and sources, see the article Porta Capena in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

7 The tribunes.

8 The aristocracy.

9 For chaps. 11‑13 cf. Livy II.39.1 f.

10 That is, by war taxes (εἰσφοραί).

11 For chaps. 14‑21 cf. Livy II.39.2‑4.

12 Cf. Livy II.39.9.

13 "The city of the Coriolani" is the reading of the later MSS. in place of "the city of the Copiolani," given by A and B. The latter name is certainly false. But if Coriolani is the correct form here, some other name almost certainly underlies the corrupt spelling Choreilani in chap. 36.2. Livy (II.39.2 f.) names Corioli as one of the cities taken by Coriolanus for the Volscians, but his list does not follow the same order as that of Dionysius.

14 I.45.1; III.11.2.

15 For chaps. 22‑36 cf. Livy II.39.4‑11.

16 The fossae Cluiliae; see III.4.1.

17 "patricians" is here used for "senators."

18 The corona civica, which bore the simple inscription OB CIVEM SERVATUM. The slaying of the foe is not expressly mentioned, as a rule.

19 See VI.92 ff.

20 Or, following Kiessling's emendation, "by the senate."

21 A name otherwise unknown.

22 At least two of the names are corrupt. For the strange form ΑΛΒΙΕΤΑϹ (Albeites or Albietae) Sylburg proposed to read ΛΑΒΙΝΙΑΤΑϹ (Lavinienses), an emendation that is very attractive both palaeographically and also because Lavinium has already been mentioned as undergoing siege (chap. 21) and Livy names it among the cities taken by Coriolanus. The form Chorielani at once suggests Coriolani; but that name seems to have been used already in chap. 19. Mugilla is not otherwise known to us, though the Roman cognomen Mugillanus may well be derived from a place name. Gronovius on the basis of our passage substituted Mugillam for the adjective novella(m) in Livy's list of captured cities (II.39.3), but some recent editors have not followed him in this.

23 For chaps. 37 f. cf. Livy II.39.12.

Page updated: 2 Jun 08