In 321 BC, during the Second Samnite War, the Romans were trapped in a narrow defile after receiving false news of a Samnite attack near the city of Lucera, from which they could not escape. The commander of the Samnite armies, Gaius Pontius, asked his father Herennius what he should do with the Romans. Herennius gave 2 conflicting replies, asking to either let the Romans go, or slaughter them all. He later explained that in the case of the former, friendship with the Romans would be gained, while in the latter, Rome would be severely weakened. Gaius Pontius chose a middle road, choosing to let the Romans pass under a yoke, humiliated. The war would resume shortly after, and Pontius was eventually executed. What if he had listened to his father and slaughtered the entire Roman army, or starved them out? Could the Samnites win the Second Samnite War? Does this have a chance at stunting or preventing Rome's rise? How does this affect the Italian peninsula, and beyond?