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laws; but there was neither a people, nor a town, nor a hamlet, over which the superior power of Rome did not extend. The struggles which such a supremacy must have cost, and the trials to which it must have been exposed, are perfectly obvious.
Such, however, being the strength of the Commonwealth, it but obeyed its natural principles of growth in subduing the rest of Italy. The decisive period of the conflict between the Italians and their conquerors began, the very year of the unknown insurrection at Rome, with hostilities on the part of the Etruscans and the Southern Lucanians. The Northern Gauls who joined the Etruscans were the first to be overthrown; but a host of other enemies was gathered from Tarentum, the Greek cities of the Southern coasts, the Bruttians, the Lucanians, a part of the Apulians, and the relics of the Samnite nation. The arrival of Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus, and the best warrior of the times, who came to lead the forces of free Italy against those whom Rome had conquered and forced to become her allies, bade fair to prove the turning point in the destiny of many nations and of the world. But the time was past when a Grecian hero could prevail upon the earth ; and the triumph of the Western nation, ordained on high, was only deferred, as it seems, by dangers through which its ultimate security was prepared. The victories of Pyrrhus at Heraclea and at Asculum were scarcely worthy of the name; and when he was but once defeated at Beneventum, he withdrew in haste from the country, which he saw was doomed
to another rule than that he had hoped to found.3 Before his final departure, Etruria had already made its submission; and within three years from the action at Beneventum, the Samnites, Apulians, Lucanians, Bruttians, and Tarentines were all overpowered. An outbreak of the people of Picenum, on the Adriatic, was speedily crushed; and a war with the Umbrians in the North, and the Sallentinians in the extreme Southeast of the peninsula, completed the subjugation of Italy, from the lowest promontory up to the rivers Macra and Rubicon.
When the philosopher Cineas, the favorite attend. ant of Pyrrhus, appeared in Rome after the first of his master's victories, bearing the offer of peace on condition that the freedom of the Italian Greeks and the Southern nations generally of Italy should be recognized, his attentions to the leading men were so artfully plied, and the faimess of the terms he brought was so eloquently urged, that the Romans were said to have hesitated whether to send him back with an answer of defiance or with one of submission. If there really were in such a case a doubt, inconsistent as it would be with the ambition and the resolution of the people to whom it is imputed,
3 His purposes, as related by twelfth to the fifteenth inclusive. All Plutarch, throw a singular light the events occurred A. C. 286-266. upon his defeat, when we remember Pyrrhus came to Italy in 281, and the objects for which the Romans departed (having been in Sicily from triumphed. See the Life of Pyr- 278 to 276) in 275. rhus, 14.
5 Appian., De Reb. Samnit., 4 This sketch is chiefly taken Fragm. X. 1. from the Epitomes of Livy, the VOL. II.
it soon vanished. The Senate, before which Cineas had already made his proposals, was again assembled ; 6 when its deliberations were interrupted by the appearance of Appius Claudius, who, on account of infirmities and blindness, had been for some time secluded from the scenes in which he had formerly been conspicuous. The same spirit which had braved the opposition of his antagonists, and, as in the instance of Volumnius, flung back their offered aid, burned in the words? with which the old man seemed to see, as well as to address, his fellow-Senators; and Cineas was soon dismissed, to report to his master that the Senate was an assembly of kings, and that the people of Rome were like a hydra, which no man and no nation could overcome. The formal answer to Pyrrhus, that the war would be continued so long as he remained in Italy,' was followed up, not only by his expulsion, but by the utter overthrow of the nations whose interests he had adventurously, yet selfishly, espoused. And if the history of the conquest of Italy could be written out in full from the accounts, whose loss, however, is by no means lamentable, it would undoubtedly prove the history of an enterprise conceived and fulfilled by a young and vigorous nation, invincible, if not invulnerable, in the panoply of freshly riveted freedom.
6 Liv., Epit. XIII.
report (Pyrrh., 19) be more credible 7 Of which, however, nothing than it seems. now remains but the mention of 8 Plut., Pyrrh., 19. them and their effect, as in Liv., 9 Ibid. Epit. XIII. ; Cic., De Senect., 6; 10 So the conclusion to the first Brut., 14, 16 ; unless Plutarch's book of Florus :-“ Talis domi ac foris, talis pace belloque, populus fought with Pyrrhus, at Asculum ; Romanus fretum illud adolescentiæ, but this is wholly doubtful. Cf. id est, secundam imperii ætatem Zonaras, VIII. 5, with Cic., De habuit, in qua totam inter Alpes Fin. Bon. et Mal., III. 19. fretumque Italiam armis subegit.” 13 He was Cornelius Rufinus ;
Not yet, on the other hand, were the Romans so borne away by energy and excitement as to forget their habitual discipline. The same reverence with which they had clung to their laws through the boisterous morning of their existence endured when the fiery sun began to shine full upon them as at noon; and the great names of the times, as well the new, like those of Æmilius Papus, Fabricius Luscinus," and Tiberius Coruncanius, as the old ones of Curius Dentatus, Decius Mus,12 and Marcius Rutilus, were illustrious amongst posterity, because they belonged to men who had obeyed the laws as steadfastly as they faced the enemies of their country. Fabricius and Æmilius Papus, Censors together in the year of the battle at Beneventum, expelled a Patrician, who had been twice Consul and once Dictator, from the Senate, on account of his ostentation.13 When Curius Dentatus, in his second consulship, was holding a levy, preparatory to meeting Pyrrhus in the field, and a momentary hesitation about enlistment was manifest amongst the people, he ordered the name of a Tribe to be taken by lot, and then the name of one of its members, also drawn by lot, to be called. The man thus summoned not appearing, Curius directed his property to be seized and publicly sold; and on the delinquent's hastening forward to appeal to the Tribunes against the Consul, the latter commanded him, too, to be sold, together with his possessions, declaring that the Commonwealth had no need of a citizen who would not submit to its demands.14 Such an extremity in maintaining order was more characteristic than justifiable; but it would not often happen that the letter of the law was violated where its spirit was almost unbrokenly observed. Marcius Rutilus, son of the great Plebeian whom we some time since encountered, was, after being Consul, Pontiff, and Censor, again elected Censor in his old age. He rose in the assembly to reprove the people for having chosen him a second time to an office, of which their fathers had found it necessary to reduce the limits even in its single term; and though he did not refuse the post for himself, he urged a law to prevent the reëlection of any succeeding Censor. 15 If such were the disposition of the foremost, the mass of the citizens must have still more profoundly bowed before the majesty of the laws to which rank, authority, and even liberty could thus be sacrificed.
11 Concerning whose sedate in- the particular charge against him tegrity Plutarch is somewhat credu- consisting in the show of silver lous. See the Life of Pyrrhus, 20 plate at his banquets. Aul. Gell., et seq., and compare Aul. Gell., I. XVII. 21. Dion. Hal., Exc., XX. 14,
1. See the earlier story, in which 12 Who was said to have sacri- Fabricius and Rufinus were conficed himself, like his father and nected. Aul. Gell., IV. 8, grandfather, in the second battle
14 “ Non opus esse eo cive rei- up: -“ Uterque recte, et Censoripublicæ qui parere nesciret.” Val. nus et populus ; alter enim ut moMax., VI. 3, sect. 4.
derate honores crederent præcepit ; 15 Val. Max., IV. 1, sect. 3; alter se moderato credidit." The law where the account is thus wound is mentioned in Plut., Coriol., 1.