CHAPTER VIII. THE SOCIAL WAR
[Revolt of the Umbrians and Etruscans.] It was probably at the close of this year that the revolt of the Umbrians and Etruscans took place, and that Plotius defeated the Umbrians, and Porcius Cato the Etruscans. On a general review of this piecemeal campaign it is plain that the Romans had been worsted. On the main scene of war, Campania, they had been decisively defeated, and the country was in the enemy's power. In Picenum and the Marsian territory the balance was more even; but Lupus and Caepio had been slain, Perperna and Pompeius had been defeated, and on the whole the confederates had carried off the honours of the war. [Results of the first year of the war.] Now Umbria was in insurrection, Mithridates was astir in Asia, and there were symptoms of revolt in Transalpine Gaul. A selfish intriguer like Marius might very likely have thought of throwing in his lot with the Italians, for theirs seemed to be the winning side. But on honester men such considerations produced quite another effect. [The party of Drusus revives.] The party of Drusus took heart again, and appealed to the results of the war as a proof of his patriotic foresight and of the moderation of his counsels. They got the administration of the Varian Law into their own hands, and turned it against its authors, Varius himself being exiled. The consul Caesar had personal reasons for being disquieted with the war, if the story of Orosius be true, that, when he asked for a triumph for his victory at Acerrae, the Senate sent him a mourning robe as a sign of what they thought of his request. [The Lex Julia.] In any case he was the author of that Lex Julia which really terminated the Social War. [Various accounts of the law.] There are different accounts given of this law. According to Gellius it enfranchised all Latium, by which he must mean to include all the Latin colonies. According to Cicero it enfranchised all Italy except Cisalpine Gaul. According to Appian it enfranchised all the Italians still faithful. In any case those enfranchised were not to be enrolled in the old tribes lest they should swamp them by their votes, but in eight new ones, which were to vote only after the others. [The Lex Plautia Papiria.] The Lex Julia was immediately followed by the Lex Plautia Papiria, framed by the tribunes M. Plautius Silvanus and C. Papirius Carbo. This law seems to have been meant to supplement the other. The Lex Julia rewarded the Italians who had remained faithful. The Lex Plautia Papiria held out the olive branch to the Italians who had rebelled. It enfranchised any citizen of an allied town who at the date of the law was dwelling in Italy, and made a declaration to the praetor within sixty days. In the same year, and in connexion no doubt with these measures, the Jus Latii was conferred on a number of towns north of the Po, by which every magistrate in his town might, if he chose, claim the franchise. Some of the free allies of Rome did not look upon the Lex Julia as a boon. Heracleia and Neapolis hesitated to accept it, the latter having special privileges, such as exemption from service by land, which it valued above the franchise. Probably these towns and Rhegium made a special bargain, and, while accepting the franchise, retained their own language and institutions. [Effects of these laws.] The general result of the legislation was this. All Italy and all Latin colonies in Cisalpine Gaul, together with all allied communities in Cisalpine Gaul south of the Po, received the franchise. All the other Cisalpine towns north of the Po received the Jus Latii. A general amnesty was in fact offered; and though the provisions as to the new tribes were unsatisfactory, its effect was soon apparent.
[B.C. 89 The second year of the war.] [Successes of Pompeius in the north.] The consuls for 89 were Lucius Porcius Cato, who took command of the army in the Marian district, and Cnaeus Pompeius, who retained the command in Picenum. Caesar was succeeded in Campania by Sulla. Flushed with hope, the confederates opened the campaign by despatching 15,000 men across the Apennines to join the Etruscan insurgents. But Pompeius intercepted and slew 5,000 of them, and dispersed the rest, who, even if they had reached Etruria, would have found that they had come on a bootless errand. He followed up this success by blow after blow. One of his lieutenants, Sulpicius, crushed the Marrucini at Teate. Another, Q. Metellus Piso, subdued the Marsi. Pompeius in person fought a great battle before Asculum, as before related, and captured the town; and in the following year the Peligni and Vestini submitted to him.
[Successes of Cosconius in the south-east.] In the south-east of Italy, Cosconius, the praetor, burnt Salapia in Apulia, received the submission of Cannae, and besieged Canusium. Marius Egnatius came to its aid; but though he at first drove back Cosconius to Cannae, he or his successor was defeated and slain in another fight, and Cosconius became master of all Apulia and the Iapygian peninsula, which he laid waste with fire and sword.
[Successes of Sulla in the south-west.] While the Roman supremacy was thus re-established all along the east coast, Sulla, in Campania, was equally triumphant. He recovered Stabiae in April, and his lieutenant, T. Didius, took Herculaneum in June. Didius, however, lost his life in the assault. Sulla next besieged Pompeii, defeated Cluentius who came to its aid, again defeated him between Pompeii and Nola, and a third time at the gates of Nola, where Cluentius was slain. About this time Aulus Postumius Albinus, while in charge of the fleet, was murdered by his own men, recruits probably whom he was bringing from Rome to Sulla's army. Sulla pardoned the mutineers, saying that he knew they would wipe out their crime by their bravery, and they did so in the fights with Cluentius. By such politic clemency and never-varying good fortune Sulla bound the army to his own interests.