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Luceria was soon taken and occupied by a Roman garrison. The Samnites were

reduced to such straits that they eagerly sought for an alliance. Meanwhile a

forty year truce, which the Etruscans had made with Rome, had expired, and they

lent a willing ear to the petition of Samnium. A league was effected tween the

two peoples, and the Etruscans attacked the fortress of Sutrium. The consul

Fabius Maximus Rullianus thereupon led an army through the Samnian forest, and in

B. C. 310, inflicted a severe defeat on the Etruscans in a battle at the

Vadimonian Lake.

The Samnites were also defeated in several engagements. The capital, Bovianum,

was taken, and the authorities were obliged a second time to sue for peace. The

Romans compelled them to give up all their conquests and colonies outside of

Samnium, and to accept an alliance with their conquerors. Out of the population

thus added, four new tribes were formed. Eight Roman colonies were established

within the conquered territory, and the influence of Rome was thus extended

through the greater part of Central and Southern Italy. It was no longer doubtful

that the city of the Tiber was in influence and power the first in the whole


It was during the progress of these events that Alexander, king of Epirus, uncle

to Alexander of Macedon, began to make his influence felt in the West. As early

as the year 332 he landed an army in Southern Italy, near the city of Paestum,

invited, as was said, to such a step by the people of Tarentum. The Romans, now

engaged in suppressing the revolt of the Latin league, were well pleased to see

their Samnite rivals pressed by a new foe from the south. They accordingly

entered into an alliance with Alexander, and gave him assurances of friendship,

while prosecuting his plans in the southern part of the peninsula. It was not

long, however, until the king of Epirus was slain, and the Romans were left to

carry out their schemes of conquest without his aid.

In the course of the last war between Rome and Samnium, the people of Lucania

became divided into parties, the one siding with their neighbors and the other

with the Romans. Samnite influence was at this time predominant among the

Lucanians, and was maintained by garrisons established in the country. This gave

cause to the anti-Samnite party to make an appeal to Rome, and this was

accordingly done. The request was gladly complied with, and the Romans were thus

again, by becoming a party in the domestic broils of Lucania, brought into

conflict with the Samnites. In the interval, however, the Etruscans had been at

war with Rome, but had entered into negotiations for peace. The consuls were thus

enabled to withdraw their army from Etruria and concentrate their forces for the

final subjugation of Samnium. It thus became important for the Samnites to induce

the Etruscans to continue the struggle. The Samnian general, Gellius Egnatius,

displayed great abilities and skill in preventing a peace between Rome and

Etruria. Three Samnite armies were thrown into the field: the first, to invade

Campania; the second, to aid the Etruscans, and the third, to protect the home

country from the inroads of the consular armies. The efforts of the Romans to

divide her northern and southern enemies-to pacify the one and overthrow the

other-were completely frustrated. Besides a large body of Gauls, now in the pay

of the Etruscans, hovered on the northern frontier, threatening an invasion of


But the Romans were undaunted. It was emergencies such as these that brought out

those qualities of resolution and heroism for which the race is so justly

celebrated. The struggle which now ensued, and which was to determine finally

whether Rome was to attain the mastery of Central Italy, extended from B. C. 298

to 290, and is known as the Third Samnite War. In the course of the conflict both

sides displayed the greatest bravery; but superior generalship and persistency at

last __________________________________ king Pontius, he still thought to do

something to please his countrymen. He accordingly turned about to the pater

patratus, and said: "I am now no longer a Roman, but a Samnite like the rest." He

then struck the fecial officer a blow with his fist, and exclaimed: "See, Romans,

I have violated the sacred person of your herald; it now remains for you to

avenge the insult." And Rome considered it a valid cause for war.