In a previous chapter the relations now existing between Rome and her dependents have been described. For two centuries the Italians had remained faithful to Rome through repeated temptations, and even through the fiery trial of Hannibal's victorious occupation. But the loyalty, which no external or sudden shock could snap, had been slowly eaten away by corrosives, which the arrogance or negligence of the government supplied. [Interests of Italian capitalists and Italian farmers opposed.] It is clear from the episode of Drusus that there was as wide a breach between Italian capitalists and cultivators, as there had been between Roman occupiers and the first clamourers for agrarian laws. So, at the outbreak of the war, Umbria and Etruria, whence Philippus had summoned his supporters, because the farmer class had been annihilated and large land-owners held the soil, remained faithful to Rome. But where the farmer class still flourished, as among the Marsi, Marrucini, and the adjacent districts, discontent had been gathering volume for many years. No doubt the demoralisation of the metropolis contributed to this result; and, as intercourse with Rome became more and more common, familiarity with the vices of their masters would breed indignation in the minds of the hardier dependents. Who, they would ask themselves, were these Scauri, these Philippi, men fit only to murder patriots and sell their country and themselves for gold, that they should lord it over Italians? Why should a Roman soldier have the right of appeal to a civil tribunal, and an Italian soldier be at the mercy of martial law? Why should two Italians for every one Roman be forced to fight Rome's battles? Why should insolent young Romans and the fine ladies of the metropolis insult Italian magistrates and murder Italians of humbler rank? This was the reward of their long fidelity. If here and there a statesman was willing to yield them the franchise, the flower of the aristocracy, the Scaevolae and the Crassi, expelled them by an Alien Act from Rome. They had tried all parties, and by all been disappointed, for Roman factions were united on one point, and one only - in obstinate refusal to give Italians justice. The two glorious brothers had been slain because they pitied their wrongs. So had Scipio. So had the fearless Saturninus. And now their last friend, this second Scipio, Drusus, had been struck down by the same cowardly hands. Surely it was time to act for themselves and avenge their benefactors. They were more numerous, they were hardier than their tyrants; and if not so well organized, still by their union with Drusus they were in some sort welded together, and now or never was the time to strike. For the friends of Drusus were marked men. Let them remain passive, and either individual Italians would perish by the dagger which had slain Drusus, or individual communities by the sentence of the Senate which had exterminated Fregellae.

[Outbreak of the Social War.] The revolt broke out at Asculum. Various towns were exchanging hostages to secure mutual fidelity. Caius Servilius, the Roman praetor, hearing that this was going on at Asculum, went there and sharply censured the people in the theatre. He and his escort were torn to pieces, the gates were shut, every Roman in the town was slain, and the Marsi, Peligni, Marrucini, Frentani, Vestini, Picentini, Hirpini, the people of Pompeii and Venusia, the Iapyges, the Lucani, and the Samnites, and all the people from the Liris to the Adriatic, flew to arms; [The allies who remained faithful to Rome.] and though here and there a town like Pinna of the Vestini, or a partisan like Minutius Magius of Aeclanum, remained loyal to Rome, all the centre and south of Italy was soon in insurrection. Perhaps at Pinna the large land-owners or capitalists were supreme, as in Umbria and Etruria, which sided with Rome, as also did most of the Latin towns, the Greek towns Neapolis and Rhegium, and most of Campania, where Capua became an important Roman post during the war. [The rebels demand the franchise.] The insurgents, emboldened by the swift spread of the rebellion, sent to demand the franchise as the price of submission. But the old dogged spirit which extremity of danger had ever aroused at Rome was not dead. [Sidenote: Rage of the equites. The law of Varius.] The offer was sternly rejected, and the equites turned furiously on the optimates, or the Italianising section of the optimates, to whose folly they felt that the war was due. With war the hope of their gains was gone; and, enraged at this, they took advantage of the outbreak to repay the Senate for its complicity in the attempt of Drusus to deprive them of the judicia. Under a law of Varius, who is said by Cicero to have been the assassin of Drusus and Metellus, Italian sympathisers were brought to trial, and either convicted and banished, or overawed into silence. Among the accused was Scaurus. But now, as ever, that shifty man emerged triumphant from his intrigues. He aped the defence of Scipio, and retired not only safe, but with a dignity so well studied that but for his antecedents it might have seemed sincere. A Spaniard accused him, he said, and Scaurus, chief of the Senate, denied the accusation. Whether of the twain should the Romans believe?

[Perils of the crisis.] For such prosecutions there was indeed some excuse, for the prospect was threatening. Mithridates might at any moment stop the supplies from Asia. The soldiers of the enemy were men who had fought in Roman armies and been trained to Roman discipline; they were led by able captains, and were more numerous than the forces opposed to them. And yet the war must be a war of detachments, where numbers were all-important. It was no time for hesitation about purging out all traitors or waverers. But the courts that tried other cases were closed for the time. The distributions of grain were curtailed. The walls were put in order. Arms were prepared as fast as possible. A fleet was collected from the free cities of Greece and Asia Minor. Levies were raised from the citizens, from Africa, and from Gaul. Lastly, in view of the inevitably scattered form which the fighting would take, each consul was to have five lieutenants. [Generals of Rome.] Lupus was to command in the northern district, from Picenum to Campania. Among the generals who acted under him were the father of Pompeius Magnus, and Marius. Samnium, Campania, and the southern district fell to Lucius Julius Caesar, and among the five officers who went with him were also two men of mark, Publius Licinius Crassus and Sulla. We shall see how by an exhaustive process the Romans, after a series of defeats, were at last driven to employ as generals-in-chief the two rivals who were now subordinates and were thus carefully kept aloof.

[Corfinium the capital of the confederates.] The confederates on their part were equally energetic. They had chosen as their capital Corfinium, on the river Aternus (Pescara), because of its central position with reference to the insurrection, and soon made it evident that the Roman franchise was no longer the limit to their aspirations, but that they aimed at the conquest of Rome herself. [Measures of the confederates.] They called their capital Italica. In it they built a forum, and fortified its walls. They issued a new coinage. They chose two consuls, twelve praetors, and a senate of five hundred, and gave the franchise to every community in arms on their side. They mustered an army of 100,000 men, and entrusted the command against Lupus in the north and west to Pompaedius Silo, with six lieutenants under him; the command against Caesar in the south and east was given to a noted Samnite, named Caius Papius Mutilus.

It is easier to get a general idea of the war than of its details, though the latter are not without interest. The results of the first year were, in spite of some victories, most unfavourable to Rome. The insurgents were encouraged. The insurrection had spread to Umbria and Etruria, and the Romans had at one time almost despaired. [Sidenote: General survey of the war.] But in council they retrieved what they had lost in the camp. A most politic concession of the franchise checked all further disaffection in the very nick of time. The revolt in Umbria and Etruria was speedily suppressed, and at the close of the second year of the war, B.C. 89, the insurrection itself was virtually at an end. For, though the Sulpician revolution at Rome prevented its absolute extinction, and some embers of it still lingered for five years more, and though Roman forces were still required after 89 B.C. among the Sabines in Samnium, in Lucania, and at Nola, the war as a war ended in that year. [Twofold division of the war.] Consequently we may divide it into two periods, each well defined and each consisting of a year, the first in which the confederate cause triumphed and Marius lost credit; the second in which the cause of Rome triumphed, and Sulla enhanced his reputation and became the foremost man at Rome.

[B.C. 90. First year of the war. Attempt on Asculum by Pompeius.] The war began, as was natural, with an attempt to take Asculum. But the townsmen, manning the walls with the old men past service, surprised Cnaeus Pompeius by a sally, and defeated him. [Pompeius defeated and driven into Firmum.] Subsequently he was again defeated at Faleria and driven into Firmum, a Latin colony which held out for Rome. There he stayed till Servius Sulpicius came to his help. [Pompeius, relieved by Sulpicius, besieges Asculum.] On the approach of Sulpicius he sallied out. The enemy, taken in front and rear, was routed, and Pompeius began the siege of Asculum. It was not taken till the next year, 89, and only after a desperate battle before its walls. Judacilius, who had come to relieve the town of which he was a native, though the day was lost, forced his way inside the walls, and held out for several months longer. Finally, when it was impossible to protract the defence, he had a pile of wood made, and a table placed on it at which he feasted with friends. Then, taking poison, he had the pile fired. When the Romans got in they took fearful vengeance, slaying all the officers and men of position, expelling the rest of the inhabitants, and confiscating their property. Such was the fate of the ringleaders of the rebellion.

[The confederates assail the towns which cling to Rome.] As Asculum was the first object of Roman vengeance, so the confederates directed their first efforts against the towns in their neighbourhood which refused to join them. Silo assailed Alba and Mutilus Aesernia. The consul Caesar, sending ahead Marcellus and Crassus into Samnium and Lucania, followed in person as soon as he could. Put he was beaten by Vettius Scato in Samnium with the loss of 2,000 men. [They take Aesernia and are joined by Venafrum.] Venafrum thereupon revolted; and, though one account says that Sulla relieved Aesernia, it was at best only a partial or a temporary relief, for it capitulated before the close of the year. How the siege of Alba ended we do not know. Defeat after defeat was now announced at Rome. [Perperna defeated.] Perperna lost 4,000 men, and most of his other soldiers threw away their arms on the battlefield. For this Lupus deprived him of his command and attached his troops to those of Marius. [Sidenote: Crassus defeated. Grumentum taken by the confederates.] Crassus was beaten in Lucania and shut up in Grumentum, which was besieged and taken. [Story of the generosity of some slaves.] A pleasant story is told about some slaves of this town. They had deserted to the confederates, and when the town was taken made straight for the house where they had lived and dragged their mistress away, telling people they were going to have their revenge on her at last. And so they saved her. [Nola taken by the confederates.] While the troops of Crassus were cooped up in Grumentum Mutilus descended into Campania and obtained possession of Nola by treason. Two thousand soldiers also went over to him. The officers remained loyal and were starved to death. [Town after town won by the confederates.] Stabiae, Salernum, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and probably Nuceria were taken in quick succession; and, with his army swollen by deserters and recruits from the neighbourhood, Mutilus laid siege to Acerrae. Caesar hastened to relieve it. But Canusium and Venusia had joined the insurgents, and in Venusia Oxyntas, son of Jugurtha, had been kept prisoner by the Romans. Mutilus now put royal robes on him, and the Numidians in Caesar's army, when they saw him, deserted in troops, so that Caesar was forced to send the whole corps home.

[Caesar gains the first success for Rome; but is afterwards defeated.] But out of this misfortune came the first gleam of success which had as yet shone on the Roman arms. Mutilus ventured to attack Caesar's camp, was driven back; and in the retreat the Roman cavalry cut down 6,000 of his men. Though Marius Egnatius soon afterwards defeated Caesar, this victory in some sort dissipated the gloom of the capital; and while the two armies settled again into their old position at Acerrae, the garb of mourning was laid aside at Rome for the first time since the war began. Lupus and Marius meanwhile had marched against the Marsi. Marius, in accordance with his old tactics against the Cimbri, advised Lupus not to hazard a battle. But Lupus thought that Marius wanted to get the consulship next year and reserve for himself the honours of the war. So he hastened to fight, and, throwing two bridges over the Tolenus, crossed by one himself, leaving Marius to cross by the other. [Lupus defeated by the Marsi.] As soon as the consul had reached the opposite bank, an ambuscade set by Vettius Scato attacked him, and slew him and 8,000 of his men. Their bodies, floating down the river, told Marius what had happened. Like the good soldier that he was, he promptly crossed and seized the enemy's camp. This disaster happened June 11, B.C. 90, and caused great consternation in Rome. But at Rome small merit was now discerned in any success gained by the veteran general, and Caepio, who had opposed Drusus and was therefore a favourite with the equites, was made joint commander in the north. It was a foolish choice. The prudence of Marius and a victory over the Peligni gained by Sulpicius were neutralised by the new general's rashness. Pompaedius Silo, who must have been a thoroughly gallant man, came in person to the Roman camp, bringing two young slaves whom he passed off as his own children and offered as hostages for the sincerity of the offer he made, which was to place his camp in Caepio's hands. [Caepio defeated and slain by Silo.] Caepio went with him, and Pompaedius, running up a hill to look out, as he said, for the enemy, gave a signal to men whom he had placed in ambush. Caepio and many of his men were slain, and at last Marius was sole commander. He advanced steadily but warily into the Marsian country. Silo tauntingly told him to come down and fight, if he was a great general. [Prudence of Marius.] 'Nay,' replied Marius, 'if you are a great general, do you make me.' At length he did fight; and, as he always did, won the day. In another battle the Marrucinian leader, and 6,000 of the Marsi were slain. [Success of Sulla.] But Sulla was at that time co-operating with Marius, having apparently, when the Romans evacuated most of Campania, marched north to form a junction with him; and beside his star that of Marius always paled. Marius had shrunk from following the enemy into a vineyard. Sulla, on the other side of it, cut them off. Not that Marius was always over-cautious. Once in this war he said to his men, 'I don't know which are the greatest cowards, you or the enemy, for they dare not face your backs, nor you theirs.' But everything he now did was distrusted at home; and while some men disparaged his successes, and said that he was grown old and clumsy, others were more afraid of him than of the enemy, with whom indeed there was some reason to think that he had too good an understanding. [A secret understanding, possibly, between Marius and the confederates.] For once, when his army and Silo's were near each other, both generals and men conversed, cursing the war, and with mutual embraces adjuring each other to desist from it. If the story be true, it is a sufficient reason for the Senate's conduct, inexplicable except by political reasons, in not employing Marius at all in the following year.

[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.

Leaving Nola behind him, he crossed the Hirpinian frontier and marched on Aeclanum. The townsmen, who were expecting a Lucanian reinforcement that day, asked for time to deliberate. Sulla gave them an hour, and occupied the hour in heaping vine osiers round the wooden walls. Not choosing to be burnt the townsmen surrendered, and Sulla sacked the place. He then marched northwards into Samnium. The mountain-passes were held by Mutilus, who hemmed in Sulla near Aesernia. Sulla pretended to treat for peace, and, when the enemy were off their guard, marched away in the night, leaving a trumpeter to sound all the watches as if the army was still in position. He seems to have defeated Mutilus after this, and, leaving Aesernia behind as he had left Nola, finally, before going home to sue for the consulship of 88 B.C., stormed Bovianum. He had managed the campaign in a bold and able way, where less daring generalship might have failed.

[First Bovianum, and then Aesernia, becomes the confederate capital.] As the insurrection was thus being stamped out on either coast, Bovianum had become the capital of the insurgents instead of Corfinium. Now Bovianum was taken, and Aesernia became its centre. The occupation of the Hirpinian territory cut off the Samnites from the South of Italy, where the Lucanians and Bruttians remained in arms. Except for some trifling operations, which Pompeius had to carry out in order to complete the pacification of his district, all that was now left for the commanders of 88 was to crush the rebels in these two isolated divisions, and the war would be at an end. [B.C. 88. Desperation of the confederates.] The rebels indeed prepared for a desperate resistance. Five generals were appointed, Pompaedius Silo, the Marsian, at their head; and, by enrolling slaves and calling out fresh levies, the Samnites mustered an army of 50,000 men. Once more, almost single-handed, they prepared to strive with their old enemy for the sovereignty of Italy. The gallant Silo signalised his appointment by recovering Bovianum, but he was soon afterwards slain. He is said to have been defeated in a great battle by Mamercus Aemilius, and to have fallen in it. Appian says that Metellus defeated him in Iapygia; Orosius, that Sulpicius defeated him in Apulia. However that may be, with him the last gleam of hope for the Samnite cause faded away. They made, it is said, a treaty with Mithridates; but long before that king could have reached Italy, if he had been able to make the attempt, there would have been no allies to support him. In Lucania Aulus Gabinius, made rash by some successes, assaulted the confederate camp, but was repulsed and slain. Lamponius, the Lucanian general, remained master of the country, and attempted to take Rhegium, with the view of crossing over to Sicily and renewing the rebellion there. But the attempt failed. [Revolution at Rome, and the part taken by the insurgents in it.] Nola, however, still held out in Campania; and now there occurred a revolution at Rome which postponed the final subjugation of the insurgents till after the battle of the Colline Gate. For convenience and clearness the part taken by them in this revolution may be here summarised. Sulla, as consul, was besieging Nola when he was recalled to Rome by the Sulpician revolution and his election to the command against Mithridates. A Samnite army had come to relieve it, but had been defeated by Sulla. Three Roman corps still remained to keep the Samnites in check and besiege Nola, under Claudius, Metellus, and Plotius. It was to Nola that Cinna came, and seduced a large portion of the besiegers to follow him to Rome. Upon this the insurgents suddenly found themselves, instead of hunted desperadoes, courted as allies by two parties. The Senate again offered the terms of the Lex Plautia Papiria to all in arms, and some accepted them. But the Nolans, when Metellus was recalled and the long siege was then raised in 87 B.C., marched out and burnt Abella. The Samnites demanded, as the price of their assistance, that the prisoners, spoils, and deserters should be restored, and that they and the Romans who had joined them should receive the franchise. The Senate refused, and the Samnites at once joined Cinna and Marius, who were pledged not only to give the franchise, but also to enrol all the new voters in the old tribes; a measure which was ratified by the Senate in the year of Cinna's last consulship, 84 B.C. On Sulla's return to Italy they with the Lucanians, who had meanwhile been practically independent, were the most eager supporters of Marius's son. [Pontius of Telesia.] In 82 Pontius of Telesia, at the head of a Samnite force, with the desperate hardihood inspired by centuries of hatred, marched straight on Rome, and the city was saved only by Sulla's victory at the Colline Gate. Three days after the battle Sulla massacred all his prisoners. He knew that death alone could disarm such implacable foes. The Samnite name, he said, with his cold ferocity, must be erased from the earth, or Rome could never rest. The Samnites evacuated Nola in the year 80 B.C., and then their last great leader, C. Papius Mutilus, having fled in disguise to his wife at Teanum, was disowned by her and slew himself. [Fate of Samnium.] Sulla carried his threats into effect. He captured Aesernia, and spread a desolation all around, from which the country has never recovered to this day. Then, and not till then, the stubborn resistance of the most relentless foes of Rome was finally suppressed.

       * * * * *