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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.

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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.
page 72



to this very day the town of Samnium is sought for in the district, and cannot easily be found. And so the war, which had been carried on against the Samnites for forty-nine years, was put an end to, nor was there any enemy left in Italy to give any more trouble to the Roman valour. About the same time war was declared against the Tarentines, who are a people at the extreme end of Italy, because they had insulted the ambassadors of the Romans. They entreated the aid of Pyrrhus, king of Epirue, who traced his descent from Achilles, against the Romans. He immediately invaded Italy, and that was the first occasion on which the Romans fought with an enemy from beyond the sea. Against Pyrrhus was sent the Consul Publius Valerius Lssvinus ; who, when he had taken Pyrrhus's spies, ordered them to be led through the camp, and desired all the Roman army to be shown to them, in order that they might tell Pyrrhus what was being done by the Romans. Afterwards a battle took place, and Pyrrhus, when on the point of being routed, restored the battle, and defeated the Romans by the aid of his elephants, of whom the Romans were afraid, because they were quite strange to them. But night put an end to the battle : and during the night, Lasvinus retreated. But Pyrrhus took eighteen hundred Romans prisoners, and treated them with great honour, burying the dead : and when he saw the corpses with all their wounds in front, lying, even after death, with fierce countenances, he is said to have raised his hands to heaven, with these words, " That he could become the master of the world if he had such soldiers as them." After that Pyrrhus marched towards Rome, and laid the whole country waste with fire and sword, ravaged Campania, and came to Prssneste, which is only eighteen miles from the city. But presently, from fear of the army, with which the consul was pursuing him, he retreated into Campania. The ambassadors who were sent to him to treat about ransoming the prisoners, were honourably treated by him, and he restored the captives to the Romans without any payment ; one of the ambassadors of the Romans, by name Fabricius, he admired so greatly, that, knowing him to be a poor man, he sought to tempt him by the offer of a fourth part of his kingdom, to come over to him, but his offers were despised by the Roman, and at last, as on all these accounts, he was possessed by a great admiration for


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