IX. HOW THE REPUBLIC OVERCAME ITS NEIGHBORS.
We have now reached the time when Rome had brought under her sway all the country towards Naples as far as the river Liris, and, gaining strength, she is about to add materially to her territory and to lay the foundation for still more extensive conquests. During the century that we are next to consider, she conquered her immediate neighbors, and was first noticed by that powerful city which was soon to become her determined antagonist, Carthage. It was the time when the great Macedonian conqueror, Alexander, finished his war in Persia, and the mention of his name leads Livy to pause in his narrative, and, reflecting that the age was remarkable above others for its conquerors, to enquire what would have been the consequences if Alexander had been minded to turn his legions against Rome, after having become master of the Eastern world. Alexander died, however, before he had an opportunity to get back from the East; but, as the old historian says, it is entertaining and relaxing to the mind to digress from weightier considerations and to embellish historical study with variety, and he decides that if the great Eastern conqueror had marched against Rome, he would have been defeated. While Livy was probably influenced in this decision by that desire to magnify the prowess of his country which is plainly seen throughout his work, we may agree with him without fear of being far from correct, especially when we remember that Alexander achieved his great success against peoples that had not reached the stage of military science that Rome had by this time attained. "The aspect of Italy," Livy says, "would have appeared to him quite different from that of India, which he traversed in the guise of a reveller at the head of a crew of drunkards * * * Never were we worsted by an enemy's cavalry, never by their infantry, never in open fight, never on equal ground," but our army "has defeated and will defeat a thousand armies more formidable than those of Alexander and the Macedonians, provided that the same love of peace and solicitude about domestic harmony in which we now live continue permanent." This is what patriotism says for Rome, and we can hardly say less, when we remember that when she came into conflict with great Carthage, led by diplomatic and scientific Hannibal, she proved the victor. We are, however, more interested now in what the Roman arms actually accomplished than in enquiries, however interesting, about what they might have done. They subjugated the world, and that is enough for us.
One of the most favored and celebrated families in the history of Rome for a thousand years was that called Valerian, and at the time to which our thoughts are now directed, one of the members comes into prominence as the most illustrious general of the era. Marcus Valerius Corvus was born at about the time when the rogations of Licinius Stolo became laws, and in early life distinguished himself as a soldier in an assault made on the Romans by the Gauls, who seem not to have all been swept away for a long time. It was in the year 349. The dreaded enemy rushed upon Rome, and the citizens took up arms in a mass. One soldier, Titus Manlius, met a gigantic Gaul on a bridge over the Anio, and after slaying him, carried off a massy chain that he bore on his neck. Torquatus in Latin means "provided with a chain," and this word was added to the name of Manlius ever after. It was at the same time that Marcus Valerius encountered another huge Gaul in single combat, and overcame him, though he was aided by a raven which settled on his helmet, and in the contest picked at the eyes of the barbarian. Corvus is the Latin word for raven, and it was added to the other names of Valerius. A golden crown and ten oxen were presented to him, and the people chose him consul.