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The Story of Rome by  Mary Macgregor

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THE DISGRACE OF THE CAUDINE FORKS AVENGED

[129] A YEAR after the Romans had been, as they felt, disgraced at the Caudine Forks, they determined to blot out their humiliation.

The old annalists, whose one desire was to increase the glory of Rome, wrote of great victories and marvellous deeds achieved by the legions, but historians of a later day say that not all the stories told by these ancient writers are true.

It is one of these old annalists who tells that in 320 B.C. Papirius Cursor marched with an army into Apulia. He did not venture through the fatal pass of the Caudine Forks, but took his men along the coast. If this was a longer way it was at least safer than through the valley.

Reaching Luceria, Papirius took it from the Samnites, and not only so, but he recaptured all the arms and standards which the Romans had lost at the Caudine Forks. The hostages too, who had been taken to Luceria by the Samnites, the Consul found and set free.

Then, that the enemy might never dare to boast of the victory which they had won over the Romans, Papirius made seven thousand Samnite soldiers pass beneath the yoke.

And, by the favour of the gods, Pontius was commander of the city, so that the humiliation he had erstwhile forced upon the Romans he had now himself to endure.

After this victory, the Consul returned to Rome and enjoyed a triumph.

The chief object of the war was to secure Campania. [130] After many battles, in which now one army, now the other was victorious, a decisive one was fought in 314 B.C., when the Romans utterly defeated the Samnites. The whole of Campania was now in the hands of Rome.

So as to protect her new possessions, the Romans sent a colony to Ponza, an island lying off the Campanian and Latin coasts. A new interest thus arose in the sea: in 312 B.C. commissioners were appointed to look after the ships of Rome and see that they were in good repair. The following year the Romans had a small fleet ready to sail along the coast of Campania.

Rome was not yet prepared to test her fleet by fighting at sea, but she was now able to send troops to the coast towns of her enemies.

It was about this time that the Consul Appius Claudius began to build the great road between Rome and Capua, which was called the Appian Way.


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