a.u.c. 433I. Sequitur hunc annum nobilis clade Romana Caudina pax T. Veturio Calvino Sp. Postumio consulibus. 2Samnites eo anno imperatorem C. Pontium Herenni filium habuerunt, patre longe prudentissimo natum, primum ipsum bellatorem ducemque. 3Is, ubi legati qui ad dedendas res missi erant pace infecta redierunt, “Ne nihil actum” inquit “hac legatione censeatis, expiatum est quidquid ex foedere 4rupto irarum in nos caelestium fuit. Satis scio quibuscumque dis cordi fuit subigi nos ad necessitatem dedendi res quae ab nobis ex foedere repetitae fuerant, iis non fuisse cordi tam superbe ab Romanis 5foederis expiationem spretam. Quid enim ultra fieri ad placandos deos mitigandosque homines potuit quam quod nos fecimus? Res hostium in praeda captas, quae belli iure nostrae videbantur, remisimus; 6auctores belli, quia vivos non potuimus, perfunctos iam fato dedidimus; bona eorum, ne quid ex contagione noxae remaneret penes nos, Romam portavimus. 7Quid ultra tibi, Romane, quid foederi, quid dis arbitris foederis debeo? Quem tibi tuarum
I. In the following year came the Caudine Peace, b.c. 321the notorious sequel of a disaster to the Roman arms. Titus Veturius Calvinus and Spurius Postumius were consuls.1 The Samnites had that year for their general Gaius Pontius, whose father Herennius far excelled them all in wisdom, while the son was their foremost warrior and captain. When the envoys who had been dispatched to make restitution returned without having achieved a peace, Pontius said: “You must not think that this embassy has been of no avail: whatever divine resentment we incurred by breaking the treaty2 has been appeased. Well do I know that whatever gods desired that we might be compelled to restore the spoils which had been demanded again of us in accordance with the treaty did not desire that our expiation of the treaty should be so scornfully rejected by the Romans. For what more could have been done to mollify the gods and to placate men than we have done? The goods of the enemy which we had taken as booty, and regarded as our own by the laws of war, we restored to them; the authors of the war, whom we could not surrender living, we surrendered dead; their possessions—that no guilt might remain with us from touching them—we carried to Rome. What more do I owe to you, Romans, or to the treaty, or to the gods, its witnesses? Whom can I proffer as umpire betwixt
- 1For the second time, having held the office together thirteen years before.
- 2The reference is to events described at viii. xxxvii. 3.