Etruscans are often portrayed as greedy, effeminate, and cruel in Roman literature – but they can also be an example to follow when it comes to religious piety. It is generally thought that Livy portrays the Romans’ successful siege of the Etruscan city of Veii with much approval in his fifth book, but I argue that this text alludes to ambivalence around that nation. I propose a reading of the text which says that Camillus, the very pious-looking Roman leader, in fact reacts impiously to this dilemma when destroying an old city with immediate cultural and religious ties to Rome. Moreover, he does so against pious warnings of the Roman plebs, who, in turn, are likely to be seen as impious at first reading. This layer of meaning is probably most tangible in Livy’s equivocal use of Homeric epic here: the indignant speeches of the people’s tribunes show as much motivic affinity to Achilles’ speeches in the Iliad as to those of Thersites, the seemingly obvious parallel character. All this (along with other factors pointing in this direction) can also have an effect on the political reading of the text, especially if one has in mind the war of Perusia, with its merciless destruction of an ancient city, and its masses of Etruscan victims.