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of justice or the passion for depredation. Yet, in sad distrust of their various motives and their common fidelity, the confederate states were bound from the beginning to furnish hostages, one to another, that they would be stanch in upholding the cause they were quick to join. It was some information concerning a youth surrendered by the town of Asculum to one of its allies that alarmed the officer 41 stationed in the district, and brought him, hasty and insolent, to Asculum, where he and all the Romans in the town were put to death with horrid fury. The news was transmitted to Rome, where the quarrels and the seditions of the various parties amongst the citizens had for some time drowned the rumors of insurrection amongst their allies. Had the earth swallowed the seven hills, or the Tiber swept the city down its swollen stream, the surprise would hardly have been more terrible. On the other hand, the league, with one bound, was up in arms. The massacre at Asculum,42 reported with frenzy throughout the land, was the signal to all Italy that the time was come when the blood-stains upon her children should be washed out in fresh torrents from Roman veins, and, if need were, from their own. It was a fearful way of seeking liberty.
A town in the mountain country of the Pelignians was selected for the capital of the league, and called
41 The Proconsul, according to Vell. Pat., II. 15. So App., Bell. App., Bell. Civ., I. 38.
Civ., I. 39. 42 “ Malum ab Asculanis ortum.” VOL. II.
by a new name, Italica.43 The strength of its position and its fortifications was enhanced by its central situation, open on all sides to the contributions, and on all sides protected by the forces of the confederates. It was not difficult to raise or equip an army. No hut was so poor as to be without its weapon; and the richer men, whose interests were most at stake, had undoubtedly begun to collect a stock of arms some years or months before; while neither they nor their retainers would now be backward to join the companies mustering in the name of Italy. The more hazardous operation was to form some common government; but this, too, was rapidly achieved under the first impulses to unanimity and carefulness. A Senate of five hundred members from the various states met at Italica to preside over the administration of general affairs, leaving each district or town, as is probable, in full control of its separate concerns.44 Out of this body, apparently, or by its votes, two Consuls or Prætors were chosen, together with twelve Lieutenants or Sub-Prætors, to conduct the forces. The whole country of the allied people was marked out in two military divisions, the direction of which was intrusted separately to the Prætors. 45 Pompædius Silo and Papius Mutilus, a Samnite, being elected to the chief authority, assumed the command of their respective divisions without delay, and urged the necessary preparations with so much vigor, that one hundred thousand troops were soon collected, besides the garrisons in charge of the different cities.46 A Senate-house and other public buildings were as speedily erected about a Forum at Italica ; 47 and the league was no longer a conspiracy, but a national war. 48
43 Strabo, V. 4. 2. It was pre- Prosper Mérimée " sur la Guerre viously and afterwards called Cor- Sociale," Tom. I. p. 139. finium.
45 Diod. Sic., Reliq., XXXVII. 2. 44 See the spirited “ Essai” of
Meanwhile, the Senators, the Knights, and the populace of Rome were recovering from their first alarm, and uniting themselves against their daring allies. The charge of the impending campaigns was necessarily given to the newly elected Consuls, Lucius Julius Cæsar and Rutilius Lupus; but as neither the one nor the other was any match for the fiery foes they would encounter, their lieutenants were chosen with peculiar care from amongst the ablest and the most zealous citizens. Marius, now sixty-seven years of age, and Pompeius Strabo served with others under Rutilius Lupus; and Sulla, of whose character and enmity to Marius we shall soon hear but too much, was amongst the number attached to Julius Cæsar.49 The entire people, however, turned out to bear every man his part; 50 and in addition to their own numbers, the faithful Italians, who could be spared from defending their various towns, were impressed into service, all deficiencies in forces or supplies being quickly repaired by exactions from the provinces. The great advantage of the Romans lay
46 App., Bell. Civ., I. 39. 50 “Saga populus sumpsit.” 47 Diod. Sic., Reliq., XXXVII. 2. Liv., Epit. LXXII. 48 A. C. 90.
51 Ibid. 49 App., Bell. Civ., I. 40.
in their confidence and pride; not, indeed, because these are solid defences in themselves, but because there was neither room for doubts nor need of hostages on their part; the arms they bore being the same that had conquered the world, and the Forum whence they marched being that of their fathers, freemen and conquerors. An embassy from Italica to propose the complaints and the resolutions of the league was not even heard. “If the allies repent of their deeds," was the answer of the Senate to the application for an audience, “ they may send us ambassadors: otherwise, not." 52 The people would have made the same reply, had the embassy addressed itself to the Tribes, or even to the mob alone; for wrath now fortified the old opinion, that their city was the nation, and that the Italians were not its members, but its lawful prey.
The arms which had been carried side by side against the stranger and the barbarian beyond the sea were now turned against one another, almost in sight of Rome. The war was called the Social, or . that of the Allies; and if the name alone fail to unfold its horrors,53 then the simple thought of the close connections long existing in public service and in private life between the disdainful citizens and the outraged people must explain how their rupture led straight to hatred the most bitter, and to bloodthirstiness the most insane. To relate in full the frightful
52 App., Bell. Civ., I. 39.
53 “Sociale bellum vocetur licet," says Florus (III. 18), “ ut extenue
mus invidiam : si verum tamen volumus, illud civile bellum fuit.”
crimes and sufferings on either side would be like covering these pages with handfuls of mire and gore; yet as the struggle of the Italians to gain their independence, and that of the Romans to refuse it them, is a very principal feature in the aspect of liberty at Rome, the cruelty and the heartlessness of the conflict cannot be concealed.
One narrative of dreary terror is to be briefly told. As the first year of the contest was closing, a powerful division of Italian troops, commanded by Vettius Scato, one of their most noted generals, marched northwards to gather some reinforcements in Etruria.54 Disappointed, however, in their expectations, in consequence of the adhesion of the Etruscans to the cause of Rome, the allies turned into Picenum, where their forces were, at that time, most numerous. Across their line of march there lay a Roman army of seventy thousand men, under the command of Pompeius Strabo, then at the beginning of his consulship; but the Italians were nearly as strong in numbers,55 and the eagerness of Vettius Scato to engage in battle, whetted by the endeavours of Pompeius to make some truce or terms of peace, was shared by every soldier of his army. Notwithstanding, their spirit failed them in the midst of slaughter; and when their best men were stretched upon the field, the rest fled, disheartened and disordered, amongst the mountains.56 It was midwinter,