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Etruria and in Samnium; and while the campaign in the former country fell to the charge of Appius, Volumnius was intrusted with that against the Samnites. He began his operations with great brilliancy;28 but Appius lost ground in Etruria, and brought his army into a miserable plight of uncertainty and ill-will, foreboding the worst results, when Volumnius suddenly appeared with a large force before the camp of his colleague, by whom, he said, he had been hastily summoned. Of this there could be no doubt; but Appius, as if to escape the imputation of alarm or mismanagement, denied that he had sent for Volumnius, and so slighted him, indeed, in return for his friendliness or his activity, that Volumnius would have straightway returned to Samnium, had not the soldiers besought him to remain until a nearly impending engagement should be fought and won. Most men, most Romans at least, would have left their colleagues, if like Appius, to their fate; but Volumnius stayed to lead the charge in the battle, which soon became a victory; and then marched back to his province, returning, at the proper season, to hold the elections at Rome for the ensuing year.
The story of his moderation and his bravery had prepared his welcome and confirmed his fame. Before calling the Centuries, in form, he addressed the people upon the magnitude of the wars in which they were involved, and the necessity of choosing
28 Liv., X. 18.
their best generals to the consulship; hinting, besides, that he would have named a Dictator beforehand, had he not been confident in the good judg. ment of his countrymen.29 Fabius Rullianus, whom all understood to be the intended Dictator, and whom Volumnius very likely designated by gesture, if not by name, was speedily returned Consul by the votes of the Centuries, Volumnius himself being chosen for his colleague. 30 Fabius, now far advanced in years, first simply desired to be excused from service, and on this being refused, he declared his inability to do any good to the Commonwealth, unless Decius Mus, his former associate,31 who was familiar with his ways, and in whose capacities he was himself confident, should be given him for a colleague, instead of the one already elected, with whom he had never served. Far from being angered at the slight he did not deserve, Volumnius seconded the proposal of Fabius with so much zeal, that Decius was appointed in his stead; his own authority being then extended to him as Proconsul for another year. It would have been well, for the sake of Rome merely, had such a consulship as that of Volumnius been extended for centuries.
The next scene to be rescued from the wars was the exact counterpart of another we have already witnessed. Fabius and Decius, the Consuls whom
29 Liv., X. 21.
and twice in the consulship. Fa30 Ibid., X. 22.
bius had been four times, and De31 They had thrice been col- cius three times, Consul. leagues; once in the censorship,
Lucius Volumnius himself may be said to have elected, took the field against the enemies collected in the North, where, at Sentinum, they shortly encountered the forces of the Samnites united with some Gauls whom their pay32 had induced to take up arms. The soldiers under the command of Fabius fought vigorously and successfully; but those of Decius gave way, almost before engaging with the enemy. He, however, remembering his father's example and excited by various preceding omens, devoted himself to death, together with the hostile army, into the midst of which he plunged to die. Victory followed; and the name of Decius the son was added to the list of the battle-martyrs whom such a destiny as that of Rome required as her sacrifice.
The great Fabius Rullianus had a son, Fabius Gurges, who was elected to the consulship a year or two after the death of Decius.33 On taking the field against the Samnites, the new Consul proved so unsuccessful and appeared so incompetent, that it was proposed in the Senate to remove him from his command. The proposal would probably have been carried, but for the elder Fabius, who, with an humbler manner than he used in the defence of his son-in-law, Calatinus, before the Centuries,34 entreated the Senate to spare him the shame of his son's disgrace, to whom he, aged as he was, would hasten as a simple lieutenant, if he were allowed, and help him to re
33 Liv., X. 21, 28.
33 For the year A. C. 292. Liv.,