SULLA SAVES ROME FROM THE SAMNITES
 SULLA returned to Italy three years after the death of
Marius. During that time the popular party had been in
power. But now it feared that its reign was nearly at
an end, for Sulla was in Italy, and was coming to Rome,
and coming not alone, but with his army.
Carbo was the leader of Sulla's enemies. He had
gathered together a large army, but it was scattered
over Italy, under his lieutenants. Pompey, who was
soon to be known as Pompey the Great, was fighting for
Sulla, and he, with three legions, kept Carbo's forces
from uniting. This made Sulla's victory the easier.
But while Romans fought with Romans, a new danger
threatened the city. An army of Samnites, under a
leader named Pontius, slipped past both the army of
Sulla and the scattered troops of Carbo, and marched
straight toward Rome.
The citizens were in despair. They remembered the
Samnites who long ago had entrapped their army at the
pass of the Caudine Forks, and their leader Pontius,
who had made Roman officers and soldiers pass beneath
the yoke, and they trembled. What if the enemy proved
as powerful as of old?
Private quarrels were forgotten, while all those of
military age in the city armed for her defence.
In their walls the people had no confidence, for here
and there they were broken down and unfit to stand a
So out of the city to meet the terrible foe marched the
 valiant band of Romans, only to find the enemy too
strong for it.
When it was known in the city that the army so hastily
enrolled had been defeated, the despair was profound.
Women ran about the streets crying aloud to their gods
and shrieking in terror. At any moment, they believed,
the Samnites might enter their city.
Then, just when hope of relief was faintest, a large
company of cavalry was seen approaching the gates. It
was the vanguard of Sulla's army, and he himself was
close behind with the main body of his troops.
For the time a feeling of immense relief was felt in
the city. At least the Samnites would not enter Rome
Sulla's officers begged him to allow his troops to rest
before attacking the enemy. But he refused, ordering
the trumpets at once to sound for battle.
Crassus commanded Sulla's right wing, and, unknown to
the general, beat the enemy. The left wing of the
Romans was all but repulsed, when Sulla rode to its
help, mounted on a swift white steed.
He was recognised by the Samnites, and two of them
prepared to fling their darts at the great Roman
general. They thought that if he were slain the battle
would soon be at an end.
But Sulla's servant saw his master's danger, and gave
his steed a touch that made him start suddenly forward.
The darts fell harmless to the ground close to the
horse's tail, so that the servant had just succeeded in
saving his master's life.
Darkness fell, and the battle was still undecided. But
during the night messengers from Crassus stole into
Sulla's camp for provisions, and the general heard that
the enemy had been driven to Antemnæ, three miles
away, and that Pontius, the Samnite leader, had been
slain. He at once resolved to join Crassus. In the
morning the Samnites
 were surprised to find a large army ready to attack
them. But their leader was dead, so they were afraid
to fight, and three thousand offered to submit to
The general promised these their lives on one
condition—that they should attack their own comrades.
This the Samnites actually agreed to do, and a large
number were killed in the unnatural struggle.
Six thousand who survived were taken to Rome, and by
Sulla's orders cut to pieces. The cruelty of the Roman
commander seemed to increase the nearer he drew to