Disturbances about the agrarian laws. The Capitol surprised by exiles and slaves. Quintius Cincinnatus called from the cultivation of his farm in the country, made dictator, and appointed to conduct the war against the Æquans. He conquers the enemy, and makes them pass under the yoke. The number of the tribunes increased to ten. Decemvirs, appointed for the purpose of digesting and publishing a body of laws. These having promulgated a code of laws contained in ten tables, obtain a continuation of their authority for another year, during which they add two more to the former ten tables. Refusing to resign their office, they retain it a third year. Their conduct at first equitable and just; afterwards arbitrary and tyrannical. The commons, in consequence of the base attempt of Appius Claudius, one of them, to debauch the daughter of Virginius, seize on the Aventine mount, and oblige them to resign. Appius and Oppius, two of the most obnoxious, are thrown into prison, where they put an end to their own lives; the rest are driven into exile. War with the Sabines, Volscians, and Æquans.--Unfair decision of the Roman people, who being chosen arbitrators between the people of Ardea and Aricia concerning some disputed lands, adjudge them to themselves.
1. After the taking of Antium, Titus Æmilius and Quintus Fabius are elected consuls. This was the Fabius Quintus who alone had survived the family cut off at Cremera. Already, in his former consulate, Æmilius had been an adviser of giving land to the people. Accordingly in his second consulate also both the abettors of the agrarian law had raised themselves to the hope of carrying the measure, and the tribunes, supposing that a matter frequently attempted in opposition to both consuls might be obtained with the assistance at least of one consul, take it up, and the consul remained steadfast in his sentiments. The possessors and a considerable part of the patricians complaining that a person at the head of the state was recommending himself by his tribunitial proceedings, and that he was making himself popular by giving away other persons' property, had transferred the odium of the entire affair from the tribunes to the consul.
A violent contest was at hand, had not Fabius set the matter straight, by an expedient disagreeable to neither party, "that under the conduct and auspices of Titus Quintius, there was a considerable tract of land taken the preceding year from the Volscians; that a colony might be sent to Antium, a neighboring, convenient, and maritime city; that the commons might come in for lands without any complaints of the present occupiers, that the state might remain in quiet." This proposition was accepted. He appoints as triumvirs for distributing the land, Titus Quintius, Aulus Virginius, and Publius Furius: those who wished to obtain land were ordered to give in their names. The gratification of their aim begat disgust, as usually happens; so few gave in their names that Volscian colonists were added to fill up the number: the rest of the people preferred clamoring for land in Rome, rather than receive it elsewhere. The Æquans sued for peace from Quintus Fabius, (he was sent thither with an army,) and they themselves broke it by a sudden incursion into the Latin territory.
2. In the following year Quintus Servilius, (for he was consul with Spurius Posthumius,) being sent against the Æquans, fixed his camp in the Latin territory: inaction necessarily kept the army within the camp, involved as they were in a distemper. The war was protracted to the third year, Quintus Fabius and Titus Quintius being consuls. To Fabius, because he, as conqueror, had granted peace to the Æquans, that province was assigned by an extraordinary commission: who, setting out with certain hope that the fame of his name would reduce the Æquans to submission, sent ambassadors to the council of the nation, and ordered them to say "that Quintus Fabius, the consul, stated that he had brought peace to Rome from the Æquans, that from Rome he now brought war to the Æquans, that same right hand being armed, which he had formerly given to them in amity; that the gods were now witnesses, and would presently be avengers of those by whose perfidy and perjury that was brought to pass. That he, however, be matters as they might, would even now prefer that the Æquans should repent of their own accord than be subject to the vengeance of an enemy. If they repent, that there would be a safe retreat in that clemency already experienced; but if they still delighted in perjury, they would wage war with the angry gods rather than with enemies." This statement had so little effect on any of them, that the ambassadors were near being ill-treated, and an army was sent to Algidum against the Romans.
When these tidings were brought to Rome, the indignity of the affair, rather than the danger, called out the other consul from the city; thus two consular armies advanced against the enemy in order of battle, so that they might at once engage. But as it so happened that much of the day did not now remain, a person from the advanced guard of the enemy cries out, "This is making a display of war, Romans, not waging it; you draw up your army in line of battle, when night is at hand; we require a greater length of day-light for the contest which is to come on. To-morrow by sun-rise return to the field: you shall have an opportunity of fighting, never fear." The soldiers, stung by these threats, are marched back into the camp till the following day; thinking that the approaching night was tedious, which would cause delay to the contest. Then indeed they refresh their bodies with food and sleep: on the following day, when it was light, the Roman army took their post considerably sooner. At length the Æquans also came forward.
The battle was obstinate on both sides, because both the Romans fought under the influence of resentment and hatred; and a consciousness of danger brought on by misconduct, and despair of obtaining future confidence afterwards, obliged the Æquans to exert and have recourse to the most desperate efforts. The Æquans however did not withstand the Roman troops, and when on being beaten they had betaken themselves to their own territories, the outrageous multitude, with dispositions not at all more disposed to peace, began to chide their leaders: "that their interest was committed to the hazard of a pitched battle, in which mode of fighting the Romans were superior. That the Æquans were better fitted for depredations and incursions, and that several parties acting in different directions conducted wars more successfully than the unwieldy mass of one single army."
3. Having left therefore a guard on the camp, they marched out and attacked the Roman frontiers with such fury, as to carry terror even to the city: the unexpected nature of the thing also caused more alarm, because nothing could be less apprehended, than that an enemy, vanquished and almost besieged in their camp, should entertain a thought of depredation: and the peasants, in a panic pouring in at the gates, cried out, that it was not mere plundering, nor small parties of depredators, but, exaggerating every thing through groundless fear, that whole armies and legions of the enemy were advancing, and that they were pushing forward to the city determined for an assault. Those who were nearest (the gates) carried to others the accounts heard from these, uncertain as they were, and therefore the more groundless; and the hurry and confused clamor of those calling to arms bore no distant resemblance to the panic of a city taken by storm.
It so happened that the consul Quintius had returned to Rome from Algidum; this was some relief for their terror; and the tumult being calmed, and after chiding them for being in dread of a vanquished enemy, he posted a guard on the gates. Then having convened the senate, when he set out to defend the frontiers, a suspension of civil business having been proclaimed by a decree of the senate, leaving Quintus Servilius behind as prefect of the city, he found no enemy in the country. Matters were conducted with distinguished success by the other consul; who having attacked the enemy, wherever he knew that they were to come, laden with booty, and proceeding therefore with their army the more encumbered, made their depredation prove fatal to them. Few of the enemy escaped from the ambuscade; all the booty was recovered; thus the return of the consul Quintius to the city put a termination to the justitium, which lasted only four days.
A census was then held, and the lustrum was closed by Quintius: the number of citizens rated are said to have been one hundred and twenty-four thousand two hundred and fourteen, besides orphans of both sexes. Nothing memorable occurred afterwards among the Æquans; they betook themselves into their towns, suffering their possessions to be consumed by fire and to be devastated. The consul, after he had repeatedly carried depredation through the entire country of the enemy, returned to Rome with great glory and booty.
4. Then Aulus Posthumius Albus and Spurius Furius Fusus were consuls. Furii some writers have written Fusii; this I mention, lest any one may imagine that the change, which is only in the names, may be in the persons themselves. There was no doubt but that one of the consuls would commence hostilities against the Æquans. The Æquans accordingly sought aid from the Volscians of Ecetra; which being granted readily, (so keenly did these states vie in inveterate hatred against the Romans,) preparations for war were made with the utmost vigor. The Hernicians came to the knowledge of it, and warned the Romans that the Ecetrans had revolted to the Æquans; the colony of Antium also was suspected, because when the town was taken, a great number of the inhabitants had fled thence for refuge to the Æquans: and these proved the bravest soldiers during the war with the Æquans. Afterwards the Æquans being driven into the towns, this rabble withdrawing privately, when they returned to Antium, seduced from the Romans the colonists who were already disposed to treachery of their own accord. The matter not being yet ripe, when it was announced to the senate that a defection was intended, the consuls were charged to inquire into the business by summoning to Rome the leading men of the colony. When those persons attended without reluctance, being conducted to the senate by the consuls, they so answered to the questions put to them, that they were dismissed more suspected than they had come.
Upon this war was considered as inevitable. Spurius Fusius, one of the consuls to whom that province had fallen, having marched against the Æquans, found the enemy committing depredations in the country of the Hernicians; and being ignorant of their numbers, because they had never been seen all together, he rashly hazarded an engagement with an army not a match for their forces. Being beaten from his ground at the first onset, he betook himself to his camp: nor was that an end of the danger: for both on the next night and the following day, his camp was beset and assaulted with such vigor, that not even a messenger could be sent from thence to Rome. The Hernicians brought an account both that a defeat had taken place, and that the army was besieged: and they struck such terror into the senate, that a charge was given to the other consul Posthumius, that he should "take care that the commonwealth sustained no injury," which form of a decree has ever been deemed to be one of extreme exigency. It seemed most advisable that the consul himself should remain at Rome to enlist all who were able to bear arms: that Titus Quintius should be sent as pro-consul to the relief of the camp with the army of the allies: to complete that army the Latins and Hernicians, and the colony of Antium, were ordered to supply Quintius with subitary soldiers (so they then called auxiliaries raised for sudden emergencies).
5. During those days many movements and many attempts were made on either side, because the enemy, having the advantage in numbers, attempted to weaken the Roman strength by dividing it into many parts, as not being likely to suffice for all points of attack. At the same time the camp was besieged, at the same time a part of the army was sent to devastate the Roman territory, and to attempt the city itself, if fortune should favor. Lucius Valerius was left to guard the city: the consul Postumius was sent to repel the attacks on the frontiers. There was no abatement in any part either in vigilance or activity; watches in the city, out-posts before the gates, and guards stationed along the walls: and a justitium was observed for several days (a thing which was necessary in such general confusion). In the mean time the consul Furius, after he had at first passively endured the siege in his camp, burst forth from the Decuman gate on the enemy when off their guard; and though he might have pursued them, he stopped through fear, lest an attack should be made on the camp from the other side.
The lieutenant-general Furius (he was the consul's brother) was carried away too far by his ardor; nor did he, from his eagerness to pursue, observe his own party returning, nor the attack of the enemy on his rear: thus being shut out, after repeatedly making many unavailing efforts to force his way to the camp, he fell, fighting bravely. And the consul, turning about to renew the fight, on hearing the account that his brother was surrounded, rushing into the thick of the fight rather rashly than with sufficient caution, received a wound, and was with difficulty rescued by those around him. This both damped the courage of his own men, and rendered the enemy more daring; who, being encouraged by the death of the lieutenant-general, and by the consul's wound, could not afterwards be withstood by any force, so as to prevent the Romans from being driven within their camp and again submitting to a siege, as being a match for them neither in hopes nor in strength; and every thing would have been endangered, had not T. Quintius come to their relief with foreign troops from the Latin and Hernician army. He attacked the Æquans on their rear whilst intent on the Roman camp, and insultingly displaying the head of the lieutenant-general, and, a sally being made at the same time from the camp on a signal given at a distance by him, he surrounded a great number of the enemy. Of the Æquans on the Roman territory the slaughter was less, their dispersion was more complete. On these as they straggled in different directions, and were driving plunder before them, Postumius made an attack in several places, where he had posted convenient detachments; these straying about and pursuing their flight in great disorder, fell in with the victorious Quintius as he was returning with the wounded consul.
Then did the consular army by their distinguished bravery take ample vengeance for the consul's wound, and for the death of the lieutenant-general and the cohorts; heavy losses were both inflicted and received on both sides during those days. In a matter of such antiquity it is difficult to state with certainty the exact number of those who fought or fell: Antias Valerius, however, ventures to sum them up; that in the Hernician territory there fell five thousand three hundred Romans; that of the predatory parties of the Æquans, who strayed through the Roman frontiers for the purpose of plundering, two thousand four hundred were slain by the consul Postumius; that the rest of the body that were driving booty before them, and which fell in with Quintius, by no means got off with so light a loss: that of these four thousand, and by way of stating the number exactly, two hundred and thirty, were slain. After this they returned to Rome; the order for the justitium was discharged. The sky seemed to be all on fire; and other prodigies either actually presented themselves to their sight, or exhibited imaginary appearances to their affrighted minds. To avert these terrors, a solemn festival of three days was proclaimed, during which, all the temples were filled with a crowd of men and women, earnestly imploring the protection of the gods. After this the Latin and Hernician cohorts were sent back to their respective homes, thanks having been returned to them for their spirited military services. The thousand soldiers from Antium were dismissed almost with disgrace, because they had come after the battle with assistance then too late.
6. The elections were then held: Lucius Æbutius and Publius Servilius being elected consuls, enter on their office on the calends of August, which was then considered as the commencement of the year. This was a distressing time, and it so happened that the season was pestilential to the city and country, and not more to men than to cattle; and they increased the malignity of the distemper, by admitting the cattle and the peasants into the city through dread of devastation. This collection of animals of every kind mixed together, distressed both the citizens by the unusual stench, and the peasants crowded together into their close apartments, with heat, want of sleep, and their attendance on each other, and contact itself propagated the disease. Whilst with difficulty sustaining these calamities, ambassadors from the Hernicians suddenly bring word that the Æquans and Volscians, having united their forces, had pitched their camp in their territory, that from thence they were depopulating their frontiers with an immense army. Besides that the thinness of the senate was a proof to the allies that the state was prostrated by the pestilence, they further received this melancholy answer: "That the Hernicians, with the Latins, must now defend their possessions by their own exertions. That the Roman city, through the sudden anger of the gods, was now depopulated by disease. If any respite from that calamity should come, that they would afford aid to their allies, as they had done the year before, and always on other occasions."
The allies departed, carrying home, instead of the melancholy news (they had brought), news still more melancholy, as being persons who were now obliged to sustain by their own means a war, which they had sustained with difficulty when backed by the power of Rome. The enemy did not confine themselves any longer to the Hernician territory. They proceed thence with determined hostility into the Roman territories, which were already devastated without the injuries of war. Where, when there was no one to meet them, not even an unarmed person, and they passed through every place destitute not only of troops, but even of the cultivation of the husbandman, they reached as far as the third stone on the Gabinian road. Æbutius, the Roman consul, was dead; his colleague, Servilius, was dragging out life with slender hope of recovery; most of the leading men, the chief part of the patricians, all of the military age, were lying sick, so that strength was wanting not only for the expeditions, which, amid such an alarm the conjuncture required, but scarcely had they sufficient even for quietly mounting guard. The senators whose age and health permitted them, discharged personally the duty of sentinels. The going around and attending to these was assigned to the ædiles of the people; on them devolved the chief administration of affairs and the majesty of the consular authority.
7. The commonwealth thus desolate, without a head, without strength, the guardian gods and good fortune of the city saved, which inspired the Volscians and Æquans with the disposition of banditti rather than of enemies; for so far was any hope not only of taking but even of approaching the walls of Rome from taking possession of their minds, and so thoroughly did the sight of the houses in the distance, and the adjacent hills, divert their thoughts, (from such an attempt,) that, a murmur having arisen in every direction throughout the entire camp, "why they should waste time in indolence without booty in a wild and desert land, amid the putrid decay of cattle and of human beings, when they might repair to places uninjured by infection, the Tusculan territory abounding in wealth?" they suddenly tore up their standards, and by journeys across the country, they passed through the Lavican territory to the Tusculan hills; and to that quarter was the whole violence and storm of the war directed.
In the mean time the Hernicians and Latins, influenced not only by compassion but by shame, if they neither gave opposition to the common enemy, when making for the city of Rome with a hostile army, nor afforded any aid to their allies when besieged, march to Rome with their forces united. Where, when they did not find the enemy, following their tracks as indicated by rumor, they meet them as they are coming down from the Tusculan territory into the Alban valley: there a battle was fought under circumstances by no means equal; and their fidelity proved by no means favorable to the allies for the present. The mortality at Rome by disease was not less than that of the allies by the sword (of the enemy); the only surviving consul dies; other eminent characters also died, Marcus Valerius, Titus Virginius Rutilus, the augurs; Servius Sulpicius, principal curio; and through persons of inferior note the virulence of the disease spread extensively: and the senate, destitute of human aid, directed the people's attention to the gods and to prayers; they were ordered to go to supplicate with their wives and children, and earnestly to implore the protection of heaven. Besides that their own sufferings obliged each to do so, when called on by public authority, they fill all the shrines; the prostrate matrons in every quarter sweeping the temples with their hair, beg for a remission of the divine displeasure, and a termination to the pestilence.
8. From this time, whether it was from the favor of the gods being obtained, or that the more unhealthy season of the year was now passed, the bodies of the people having shaken off disease, gradually began to be more healthy, and their attention being now directed to public concerns, when several interregna had expired, Publius Valerius Publicola, on the third day after he had entered on his office of interrex, causes Lucretius Tricipitinus, and Titus Veturius Geminus, (or Velusius,) to be elected consuls. They enter on their consulship on the third day of the Ides of August, the state being now sufficiently strong, not only to repel a hostile attack, but even to act itself on the offensive. Therefore when the Hernicians brought an account that the enemy had made an incursion into their frontiers, assistance was readily promised; two consular armies were enlisted. Veturius was sent against the Volscians to carry on an offensive war. Tricipitinus being appointed to protect the territory of the allies from devastation, proceeds no further than into the country of the Hernicians.
Veturius routs and puts to flight the enemy in the first engagement. A party of plunderers which had marched over the Prænestine mountains, and from thence descended into the plains, escaped the notice of Lucretius, whilst he lay encamped amongst the Hernicians. These laid waste all the country around Præneste and Gabii: from the Gabinian territory they turn their course towards the heights of Tusculum; great alarm was excited in the city of Rome also, more from the suddenness of the affair, than that there was not sufficient strength to repel violence. Quintus Fabius had the command in the city; he, by arming the young men and posting guards, rendered things secure and tranquil. The enemy therefore carrying off plunder from the adjacent places, not venturing to approach the city, when they were returning by a circuitous route, their caution being now more relaxed, in proportion as they removed to a greater distance from the enemy's city, fall in with the consul Lucretius, who had already explored their motions, drawn up in battle-array and determined on an engagement. Accordingly having attacked them with predetermined resolution whilst struck with sudden panic, though considerably fewer in numbers, they rout and put to flight their numerous army, and having driven them into the deep valleys, when an egress from thence was not easy, they surround them. There the Volscian nation was almost entirely cut off. In some histories I find that thirteen thousand four hundred and seventy fell in the field and in the pursuit, that one thousand two hundred and fifty were taken alive, that twenty-seven military standards were carried off; where, though there may have been some exaggeration in the number, there certainly was great slaughter. The victorious consul having obtained immense booty returned to the same standing camp. Then the consuls join their camps. The Volscians and Æquans also unite their shattered strength. This was the third battle on that year; the same good fortune gave them victory; the enemy being beaten, their camp was also taken.
9. Thus affairs at Rome returned to their former state; and successes abroad immediately excited commotions in the city. Caius Terentillus Arsa was tribune of the people in that year: he, considering that an opportunity was afforded for tribunitian intrigues during the absence of the consuls, after railing against the arrogance of the patricians for several days before the people, inveighed chiefly against the consular authority, as being exorbitant and intolerable in a free state: "for that, in name only, it was less invidious, in reality almost more oppressive than that of kings. For that two masters had been adopted instead of one, with unbounded, unlimited power; who, themselves unrestrained and unbridled, directed all the terrors of the law, and all kinds of severity against the commons." Now, in order that this licentious power might not continue perpetual, he would propose a law, that five persons be appointed to draw up laws regarding the consular power. That the consul should use that right which the people may give him over them; that they should not hold their own caprice and licentiousness as law.
This law being published, when the patricians became afraid, lest, in the absence of the consuls, they should be subjected to the yoke, the senate is convened by Quintus Fabius, præfect of the city, who inveighed so vehemently against the bill and the author of it, that nothing was omitted of threats and intimidation, even though both the consuls in all their exasperation surrounded the tribune, "that he had lain in wait, and, watching his opportunity, he made an attack on the commonwealth. If the gods in their anger had given them any tribune like him on the preceding year, during the pestilence and war, he could not have been withstood. Both the consuls being dead, and the exhausted state lying enfeebled in universal confusion, that he would have proposed laws to abolish the consular government altogether from the state; that he would have headed the Volscians and Æquans to attack the city.
"What? if the consuls adopted any tyrannical or cruel proceedings against any of the citizens, was it not competent to him to appoint a day of trial for him; to arraign him before those very judges against any one of whom severity may have been exercised? That it was not the consular authority but the tribunitian power that he was rendering hateful and insupportable: which having been peaceable and reconciled to the patricians, was now about to be brought back anew to its former mischievous habits. Nor would he entreat him not to go on as he commenced. Of you, the other tribunes, says Fabius, we request, that you will first of all consider that that power was provided for the aid of individuals, not for the ruin of the community: that you were created tribunes of the commons, not enemies of the patricians. To us it is distressing, to you a source of odium, that the republic, now bereft of its chief magistrates, should be attacked; you will diminish not your rights, but the odium against you. Confer with your colleague, that he may postpone this business till the arrival of the consuls; even the Æquans and the Volscians, when our consuls were carried off by pestilence last year, did not press on us with a cruel and tyrannical war." The tribunes confer with Terentillus, and the bill being to all appearance deferred, but in reality abandoned, the consuls were immediately sent for.
10. Lucretius returned with immense spoil, and much greater glory; and this glory he increased on his arrival, by exposing all the booty in the Campus Martius, so that each person might, during three days, recognize his own and carry it away; the remainder was sold, for which no owners appeared. A triumph was by universal consent due to the consul: but the matter was deferred, the tribune still pressing his law; this to the consul seemed of greater importance. The business was discussed for several days, both in the senate and before the people: at length the tribune yielded to the majesty of the consul, and desisted; then the due honor was rendered to the general and his army. He triumphed over the Volscians and Æquans: his troops followed him in his triumph. The other consul was allowed to enter the city in ovation without his soldiers. On the following year the Terentillian law having been taken up by the entire college, assailed the new consuls; the consuls were Publius Volumnius and Servius Sulpicius.
On that year the sky seemed to be on fire; a violent earthquake also occurred; it was now believed that an ox spoke, which circumstance had not obtained credit on the year before; among other prodigies it rained flesh also; which shower a great number of birds is reported to have carried off by flying so as to intercept it; that which did fall, is said to have lain scattered about for several days, so that its smell evinced no change. The books were consulted by the duumviri for sacred rites: dangers of attacks being made on the highest parts of the city, and of bloodshed thence resulting, were predicted as about to come from an assemblage of strangers; among other things, an admonition was given that all intestine disturbances should be abandoned. The tribunes alleged that that was done to obstruct the law, and a desperate contest was at hand. Lo! (that the same circle of events may revolve every year) the Hernicians bring word that the Volscians and the Æquans, though their strength was much impaired, were recruiting their armies: that their chief dependence was Antium; that the inhabitants of Antium openly held councils at Ecetra: that that was the source--there the strength--for the war. As soon as this announcement was made in the senate, a levy was ordered: the consuls were commanded to divide the management of the war between them; that the Volscians should be the province of the one, the Æquans that of the other.
The tribunes cried out to their faces in the forum, "That the Volscian war was all a concerted farce: that the Hernicians were instructed to act their parts; that the liberty of the Roman people was now no longer crushed by manly efforts, but that it was baffled by cunning; because all probability was now gone that the Volscians, who were almost exterminated, and the Æquans, would of themselves commence hostilities, new enemies were sought for: that a loyal colony, and one in their very vicinity, was being rendered infamous: that war was proclaimed against the unoffending people of Antium, and in reality waged with the commons of Rome, which after loading them with arms they were determined to drive out of the city with precipitous haste, wreaking their vengeance on the tribunes, by the exile and expulsion of their fellow-citizens. That by these means, and let them not think that there was any other object contemplated, the law was defeated; unless, whilst the matter was still in abeyance, whilst they were still at home and in the garb of citizens, they would take precaution that they may not be driven out of possession of the city, and be subjected to the yoke. If they only had spirit, that support would not be wanting; that all the tribunes were unanimous; that there was no apprehension from abroad, no danger. That the gods had taken care, on the preceding year, that their liberty could now be defended with safety." Thus far the tribunes.
11. But, on the other side, the consuls, having placed their chairs within view of them, were proceeding with the levy; thither the tribunes hasten, and draw the assembly along with them; a few were cited, by way of making an experiment, and instantly violence commenced. Whomsoever the lictor laid hold of by order of the consul, him the tribune ordered to be discharged; nor did his own proper jurisdiction set a limit to each, but whatever you set your mind upon, was to be attained by the hope of strength and by force. Just as the tribunes had behaved in impeding the levy, in the same manner did the consuls conduct themselves in obstructing the law which was brought on every assembly day. The commencement of the riot was, when the tribunes ordered the people to proceed to the vote, because the patricians refused to withdraw. The elder citizens scarcely attended the contest, inasmuch as it was one likely not to be directed by prudence, but abandoned to temerity and daring. The consuls also generally kept out of the way, lest in the general confusion they should expose their dignity to any insult. There was a young man, Cæso Quintius, a daring youth, as well by the nobility of his descent, as by his personal size and strength; to those endowments granted by the gods he himself had added many military honors, and eloquence in the forum; so that no person in the state was considered more efficient either in speaking or in acting.
When this person took his place in the center of a body of the patricians, conspicuous above the rest, carrying as it were in his eloquence and bodily strength dictatorships and consulships combined, he alone withstood the storms of the tribunes and the populace. Under his guidance the tribunes were frequently driven from the forum, the commons routed and dispersed; such as came in his way, went off after being ill-treated and stripped; so that it became sufficiently evident, that, if he were allowed to proceed in this way, the law would be defeated. Then the other tribunes being now almost thrown into despair, Aulus Virginius, one of the college, institutes a criminal prosecution on a capital charge against Cæso. By this proceeding he rather irritated than intimidated his violent temper: so much the more vigorously did he oppose the law, annoyed the commons, and persecuted the tribunes, as it were by a regular war. The prosecutor suffered the accused to rush on headlong, and to heighten the charges against him by the flame and material of the popular odium thus incurred: in the mean time he proceeded with the law, not so much in the hope of carrying it through, as to provoke the temerity of Cæso.
There many inconsiderate expressions and actions passing among the young men, are charged on the temper of Cæso, through the prejudice raised against him; still the law was resisted. And Aulus Virginius frequently remarks to the people, "Are you even now sensible that you cannot have Cæso, as a fellow-citizen, with the law which you desire? Though why do I say law? he is an opponent of your liberty; he surpasses all the Tarquins in arrogance. Wait till he is made consul or dictator, whom, though but a private citizen, you now see exercising kingly sway over you by his strength and audacity." Many assented, complaining that they had been beaten by him: and strongly urged on the tribune to go through with the prosecution.
12. The day of trial now approached, and it was evident that persons in general considered that their liberty depended on the condemnation of Cæso: then, at length being forced to it, he addressed the commons individually, though with a strong feeling of indignation; his relatives followed him, the principal members of the state. Titus Quintius Capitolinus, who had been thrice consul, after he recounted many splendid achievements of his own, and of his family, stated, that neither in the Quintian family, nor in the Roman state, had there appeared such promising genius of such early valor. "That he had first been his soldier, that he had often in his sight fought against the enemy." Spurius Furius declared, that "he having been sent to him by Quintius Capitolinus, had come to his aid when in the midst of danger; that there was no individual by whose exertions he considered the common weal more effectually re-established."
Lucius Lucretius, the consul of the preceding year, in the full splendor of recent glory, shared his own services with Cæso; he recounted his battles, detailed his distinguished exploits, both on expeditions and in the field; he advised and recommended that they would prefer this extraordinary young man, endowed with all the advantages of nature and of rank, and (one who would prove) of the utmost importance to the interest of that state into which he should come, to be their fellow-citizen, rather than the citizen of a foreign state. "That with respect to that which may be offensive in him, heat and vehemence, time would diminish daily; that the prudence, which may be wanting in him, was increasing daily; that as his faults were declining and his virtues ripening to maturity, they should allow so distinguished a man to become old in their state." Among these his father, Lucius Quintius, who bore the surname of Cincinnatus, without dwelling on his merits, lest he should heighten public hatred, but soliciting pardon for his errors and his youth, implored of them to forgive his son for his sake, who had not given offense to any one by either word or deed. But some, through respect or fear, turned away from listening to his entreaties; others complaining that themselves and their friends had been ill-treated, by the harshness of their answer declared their sentence beforehand.
13. Independently of the general odium, one charge bore heavily on the accused; that Marcus Volscius Fictor, who some years before had been tribune of the people, had come forward as a witness: "that not long after the pestilence had been in the city, he had fallen in with a party of young men rioting in the Suburra; that a scuffle arose there; and that his elder brother, not yet perfectly recovered from his illness, had fallen down almost dead, being struck with the fist by Cæso; that he was carried home between the hands of some persons, and that he considered that he died from that blow; and that it had not been permitted to him by the consuls of former years to follow up the matter." In consequence of Volscius vociferating these charges, the people became so excited, that Cæso was near being killed through the violence of the people. Virginius orders him to be seized and carried to prison. The patricians oppose force to force. Titus Quintius exclaims, "that a person for whom a day of trial for a capital offense has been appointed, and whose trial was now at hand, ought not to be outraged before trial and without sentence being passed." The tribune says, "that he would not inflict punishment on him before condemnation, that he would however keep him in prison until the day of trial; that the Roman people may have an opportunity of inflicting punishment on one who had killed a man."
The tribunes being appealed to, secure their prerogative by adopting a middle course; they forbid his being thrown into confinement, and declare it to be their wish that the accused should appear on his trial, and that a sum of money should be promised to the people, in case he should not appear. How large a sum of money ought to be promised, came under discussion: that is referred to the senate. The accused was detained in the public assembly, until the patricians should be consulted: it was determined that he should give bail: each bail they bound to the amount of three thousand asses; how many should be given, was left to the tribunes; they limited the number to ten; for ten sureties the prosecutor discharged the accused. He was the first who gave public sureties. Being discharged from the forum, he went the following night into exile among the Etrurians. When on the day of trial it was pleaded that he had quitted his home in order to go into exile, Virginius notwithstanding holding the comitia, his colleagues when appealed to dismissed the assembly: the fine was rigorously exacted from the father; so that after selling all his effects, he lived for a considerable time in a solitary cottage on the other side of the Tiber, as if in exile. This trial and the proposing of the law gave full employment to the state: there was quiet from foreign arms.
14. When the tribunes, flushed as it were with victory, imagined that the law was in a manner passed, the patricians being now dismayed by the banishment of Cæso, and when, with respect to the seniors of the patricians, they had relinquished all share in the administration of the commonwealth; the juniors, more especially those who were the intimate friends of Cæso, redoubled their resentful feelings against the commons, and suffered not their spirits to droop; but the greatest improvement was made in this particular, that they tempered their animosity by a certain degree of moderation. When for the first time after Cæso's banishment the law began to be brought forward, arrayed and well prepared with a numerous body of clients, they attacked the tribunes, on their affording a pretext for it by attempting to remove them, in such a manner, that no one individual carried home from thence any prominent share either of glory or ill-will; the people complained that for one Cæso a thousand had started up.
During the intermediate days, when the tribunes made no stir regarding the law, nothing could be more mild or peaceable than those same persons; they saluted the plebeians courteously, entered into conversation, and invited them home; they attended the forum, and suffered the tribunes themselves to hold their meetings without interruption: they never were uncivil to any one either in public or in private, unless when the business respecting the law began to be agitated. On other occasions the young men were popular. And not only did the tribunes transact all their other affairs without disturbance, but they were even re-elected for the following year, without one offensive expression, much less any violence being employed. By soothing and managing the commons they gradually rendered them tractable. By these methods the law was evaded for the entire year.
15. The consuls Caius Claudius, the son of Appius, and Publius Valerius Publicola, found the state in a more tranquil condition. The new year had brought with it nothing new; the thoughts about carrying the law, or submitting to it, engrossed all the members of the state. The more the younger members of the senate endeavored to insinuate themselves into favor with the commons, the more strenuously did the tribunes strive to thwart them, so that they rendered them suspicious in the eyes of the commons by alleging: "that a conspiracy was formed; that Cæso was in Rome; that plans were concerted for assassinating the tribunes, and butchering the commons. That the commission assigned by the elder members of the patricians was, that the young men should abolish the tribunitian power from the state, and the form of government should be the same as it had been before the sacred mount had been taken possession of."
Both a war from the Volsci and Æqui, which was now a stated thing, and one that was a regular occurrence for almost every year, was apprehended, and another evil nearer home started up unexpectedly. The exiles and slaves to the number of four thousand and five hundred men took possession of the Capitol and citadel during the night, under the command of Appius Herdonius, a Sabine. Immediately a massacre took place in the citadel of those who had evinced an unwillingness to enter into the conspiracy and to take up arms. Some, during the alarm, run down to the forum, driven precipitately through the panic; the cries, "to arms," and "the enemy are in the city," were heard alternately. The consuls were both afraid to arm the commons, and to suffer them to remain unarmed; uncertain what sudden calamity had assailed the city, whether external or intestine, whether from the hatred of the commons or the treachery of the slaves: they were for quieting the tumults, by such endeavors they sometimes exasperated them; for the populace, panic-stricken and terrified, could not be directed by authority. They give out arms, however, not indiscriminately; only so that, the enemy being still uncertain, there might be a protection sufficient to be relied on for all emergencies.
The remainder of the night they passed in posting guards through proper places through the entire city, anxious and uncertain, as to who the persons might be, and how great the number of the enemy was. Day-light then disclosed the war and the leader of the war. Appius Herdonius summoned the slaves to liberty from the Capitol: "that he had espoused the cause of every most unfortunate individual, in order to bring back to their country those driven out by oppression, and to remove the grievous yoke from the slaves. That he had rather that were done under the authority of the Roman people. If there be no hope in that quarter, that he would rouse the Volscians and Æqui, and would try all extremities."
16. The matter began to disclose itself more clearly to the patricians and the consuls; besides those things, however, which were openly declared, they dreaded lest this might be a scheme of the Veientes or Sabines; and, as there were so many of the enemy in the city, lest the Sabine and Etrurian troops might come on according to a concerted plan; and then lest their eternal enemies, the Volscians and Æqui, should come, not to ravage their territories, as before, but to their very city, already in part taken. Many and various were their fears; among others, the most prominent was their dread of the slaves, lest each might harbor an enemy in his own house, one whom it was neither sufficiently safe to trust, nor to deny confidence to him lest, by not trusting him, he might become more incensed.
And (the evil) seemed scarcely capable of being resisted by perfect harmony (between the different orders of the state); only no one apprehended the tribunes or commons, other evils predominating and constantly starting up; that appeared an evil of a mild nature, and one always arising during the cessation of other evils, and it then appeared to be lulled to rest by external terror. Yet that was almost the only one that most aggravated their distressing circumstances: for such madness took possession of the tribunes, that they contended that not war, but the empty appearance of war had taken possession of the Capitol, to avert the people's minds from attending to the law; that these friends and clients of the patricians would depart in greater silence than they came, if they once perceived that, by the law being passed, they had raised these tumults in vain. They then held a meeting for passing the law, having called away the people from their arms. In the mean time, the consuls convene the senate, another dread presenting itself on the part of the tribunes, greater than that which the nightly foe had occasioned.
17. When it was announced that their arms were being laid aside, and that the men were quitting their posts, Publius Valerius, his colleague still detaining the senate, hastens from the senate-house; he comes thence into the meeting to the tribunes: "What is all this," says he, "tribunes? Are you determined to overthrow the commonwealth under the guidance and auspices of Appius Herdonius? Has he been so successful in corrupting you, who, by his authority, has not influenced your slaves? When the enemies are over our heads, is it your pleasure that arms should be given up, and laws be proposed?" Then directing his discourse to the populace: "If, Romans, no concern for your city, for yourselves, moves you, at least revere the gods of your country, now made captive by the enemy. Jupiter, the best and greatest, Queen Juno, and Minerva, the other gods and goddesses, are besieged; the camp of slaves now holds the tutelary gods of the state. Does this seem to you the form of a state in its senses? Such a crowd of enemies is not only within the walls, but in the citadel, commanding the forum and senate-house: in the mean while meetings are being held in the forum; the senate is in the senate-house, just as when perfect tranquillity prevails; the senator gives his opinion, the other Romans give their votes. Would it not behove all the patricians and commons, consuls, tribunes, citizens, and all classes of persons, to bring aid with arms in their hands, to run into the Capitol, to liberate and restore to peace that most august residence of Jupiter, the best and greatest? O Father Romulus! do thou infuse into thy progeny that determination of thine, by which you once recovered from these same Sabines the citadel, when obtained by gold. Order them to pursue this same path, which thou, as leader, and thy army, pursued. Lo! I, as consul, shall be the first to follow thee and thy footsteps, as far as a mortal can follow a god."
The close of his speech was: "That he would take up arms, that he invited every citizen of Rome to arms; if any one should oppose, that he, forgetful of the consular authority, the tribunitian power, and the devoting laws, would consider him as an enemy, whoever he may, wheresoever he may, in the Capitol, or in the forum. That the tribunes might order arms to be taken up against Publius Valerius the consul, since they forbid it against Appius Herdonius; that he would venture to act in that manner in the case of the tribunes, in which the founder of his family had ventured to act in the case of kings." It now became apparent that extreme violence was about to take place, and that a disturbance among the Romans would be exhibited as a sight to the enemy; the law, however, could neither be prepared, nor could the consul proceed to the Capitol: night quashed the contest that had commenced; the tribunes yielded to the night, dreading the arms of the consuls. The fomenters of the disturbances being removed from thence, the patricians went about among the commons, and introducing themselves into their circles of conversation, they introduced observations suited to the occasion: they advised them "to beware into what hazard they were bringing the commonwealth; that the contest was not between the patricians and commons, but that patricians and commons together, the fortress of the city, the temples of the gods, the guardian gods of the state and of private families, were being delivered up to the enemy." Whilst these affairs are going on in the forum for the purpose of appeasing the disturbances, the consuls in the mean time had armed the several gates and the walls, lest the Sabines or the Veientian enemy should make any move.
18. On the same night, messengers come to Tusculum announcing that the citadel was taken, and the Capitol seized, and the other state of disturbance in the city. Lucius Mamilius was at that time dictator at Tusculum; he, having immediately convoked the senate and introduced the messengers, earnestly advises: "That they should not wait until ambassadors came from Rome, suing for assistance; that the very danger and risk, and the social gods, and the faith of treaties, demanded it; that the gods would never afford them an equal opportunity of obliging so powerful a state and so near a neighbor." It is determined that assistance should be sent: the young men are enrolled; arms are given to them. Coming to Rome at break of day, they at a distance exhibited the appearance of enemies. The Æqui or Volscians appeared to be coming. Then when the groundless alarm was removed, they are admitted into the city, and descend in a body into the forum. There Publius Valerius, having left his colleague to guard the gates, was now drawing up in order of battle. The great influence of the man had produced an effect, when he affirmed that, "the Capitol being recovered, and the city restored to peace, if they would allow themselves to be convinced what lurking fraud was concealed under the law proposed by the tribunes, that he would offer no obstruction to the meeting of the people, mindful of his ancestors, mindful of his surname, and that the province of protecting the people had been handed down to him as hereditary by his ancestors."
Following him as their leader, notwithstanding the tribunes cried out against it, they direct their march up the Capitoline hill. The Tusculan troops also joined them. Allies and citizens vied with each other which of them should appropriate to themselves the honor of recovering the citadel. Each leader encourages his own men. Then the enemy became terrified, and placed no dependence on any but the place. The Romans and allies advance on them whilst in this state of alarm. They had now broken into the porch of the temple, when Publius Valerius is slain animating the fight at the head of his men. Publius Volumnius, a man of consular rank, saw him falling. Having directed his men to cover the body, he rushes forward to the place and office of consul. Through their ardor and impetuosity the perception of so heavy a blow did not reach the soldiers; they conquered before they perceived that they conquered without a leader. Many of the exiles defiled the temple with their blood; many were taken alive; Herdonius was slain. Thus the Capitol was recovered. With respect to the prisoners, punishment was inflicted on each according to his station, whether he was a freeman or a slave. The commons are stated to have thrown farthings into the consul's house, that he might be buried with greater solemnity.
19. Peace being established, the tribunes then pressed on the patricians to fulfill the promise of Publius Valerius; they pressed on Claudius, to free the shade of his colleague from breach of faith, and to allow the business of the law to proceed. The consul asserted that he would suffer the discussion on the law to go on, till he had a colleague appointed in the room of the deceased. These disputes held on until the elections for substituting a consul. In the month of December, by the most zealous exertions of the patricians, Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus, Cæso's father, is elected consul to enter on his office without delay. The commons were dismayed at their being about to have as consul a man incensed against them, powerful by the support of the patricians, by his own merit, and by three sons, not one of whom yielded to Cæso in greatness of spirit; "whilst they were superior to him by their exercising prudence and moderation, when the occasion required."
When he entered on his office, in his frequent harangues from the tribunal, he was not more vehement in restraining the commons than in reproving the senate, "by the listlessness of which body the tribunes of the commons, now become perpetual, by means of their tongues and prosecutions exercised regal authority, not as in a republic of the Roman people, but as if in an ill-regulated family. That with his son Cæso, fortitude, constancy, all the splendid qualifications of youth in war or in peace, had been driven and exiled from the city of Rome: that talkative and turbulent men, sowers of discord, twice and even thrice re-elected tribunes, lived in the most destructive practices with regal tyranny. Did that Aulus Virginius," says he, "deserve less punishment than Appius Herdonius, because he was not in the Capitol? considerably more, by Jove, (in the mind of any one) who would judge the matter fairly. Herdonius, if nothing else, by avowing himself an enemy, in a manner gave you notice to take up arms: this man, by denying the existence of war, took arms out of your hands, and exposed you defenseless to your slaves and exiles. And did you, (without any offense to Caius Claudius and to Publius Valerius, now no more let me say it,) did you advance against the Capitoline hill before you expelled those enemies from the forum. It is shameful before gods and men. When the enemy were in the citadel, in the very Capitol, when the leader of the exiles and slaves, after profaning every thing, took up his residence in the shrine of Jupiter, the best and greatest, arms were taken up in Tusculum sooner than in Rome. It was a matter of doubt whether Lucius Mamilius, the Tusculan leader, or Publius Valerius and Caius Claudius, the consuls, recovered the Roman citadel, and we, who formerly did not suffer the Latins to touch arms, even in their own defense, when they had the enemy in their very frontiers, should have been taken and destroyed now, had not the Latins taken up arms of their own accord. Tribunes, is this bringing aid to the commons, to expose them in a defenseless state to be butchered by the enemy.
"Now, if any one, even the humblest individual of your commons, (which portion you have as it were broken off from the rest of the state, and made it your country and peculiar commonwealth,) if any one of these persons were to bring word that his house was beset by an armed band of slaves, you would think that assistance should be afforded to him. Was Jupiter, the best and greatest, when surrounded by the arms of exiles and of slaves, deserving of no human aid? And do these persons require that they be considered sacred and inviolable, with whom the gods themselves are neither sacred nor inviolable? But, steeped as ye are in crimes against both gods and men, do ye say that you will pass your law this year? Verily then the day on which I was created consul was a disastrous day for the commonwealth, much more so even than that on which Publius Valerius the consul fell, if ye should carry it. Now, first of all," says he, "Romans, it is the intention of myself and of my colleague to march the legions against the Volsci and the Æqui. I know not by what fatality we find the gods more propitious when we are at war than in peace. How great the danger from those states would have been, had they known that the Capitol was besieged by exiles, it is better to conjecture from the past, than to feel from actual experience."
20. The consul's harangue had a great effect on the commons; the patricians, recovering their spirits, considered the state as re-established. The other consul, more eager as a seconder than as the first mover (of a measure), readily suffering his colleague to take the first lead in a matter of so much importance, claimed to himself his share of the consular duty in executing the plan. Then the tribunes, mocking these declarations as empty, went on inquiring "by what means the consuls would lead out the army, as no one would allow them to hold a levy?" "But," says Quintius, "we have no occasion for a levy; since at the time Publius Valerius gave arms to the commons to recover the Capitol, they all took an oath to him, that they would assemble on an order from the consul, and would not depart without an order. We therefore publish our order that all of you, who have sworn, attend to-morrow under arms at the lake Regillus." The tribunes then began to cavil, and wished to absolve the people from their obligation; that Quintius was a private person at the time at which they were bound by the oath.
But that disregard of the gods which prevails in the present age had not yet arrived; nor did every one, by his own interpretation, accommodate oaths and laws to his own purposes, but rather adapted his conduct to them. Wherefore the tribunes, as there was no hope of obstructing the matter, attempted to delay the departure (of the army) the more earnestly on this account, because a report had gone out "both that the augurs had been ordered to attend at the lake Regillus, and to consecrate a place, where business might be transacted with the people with the benefit of auspices; that whatever had been passed at Rome by tribunitian violence, might be repealed there in an assembly. That all would agree to that which the consuls wished; for that there was no appeal at a distance greater than that of a mile from the city: and that the tribunes, if they should come there, would, among the rest of the crowd, be subjected to the consular authority." These matters alarmed them; but the greatest terror which acted on their minds was, that Quintius frequently said, "that he would not hold an election of consuls. That the state was affected with such a disease, as could not be stopped by the ordinary remedies. That the commonwealth required a dictator, so that whoever should stir a step to disturb the peace of the state, might feel that the dictatorship was without appeal."
21. The senate was assembled in the Capitol. Thither the tribunes come with the commons in great consternation: the populace, with loud clamors, implore the protection now of the consuls, now of the patricians: nor could they make the consul recede from his determination, until the tribunes promised that they would be under the direction of the patricians. Then on the consul's laying before them the demands of the tribunes and commons, decrees of the senate are passed, "That neither the tribunes should propose the law during that year, and that the consuls should not lead the army from the city--that for the time to come, the senate decided that it was to the injury of the commonwealth, that the same magistrates should be continued, and the same tribunes be re-appointed." The consuls conformed to the authority of the senate, the tribunes were re-appointed notwithstanding the remonstrances of the consuls. The patricians also, that they might not yield to the commons in any particular, re-elected Lucius Quintius consul. No proceeding of the consul was urged with more warmth during the entire year.
"Can I be surprised," says he, "if your authority is of little weight, conscript fathers? yourselves are disparaging it. Forsooth, because the commons have violated a decree of the senate, by re-appointing their magistrates, you yourselves also wish it to be violated, lest ye should yield to the populace in rashness; as if to possess greater power in the state consisted in having more of inconstancy and irregularity; for it is certainly more inconstant and greater folly, to do away with one's own decrees and resolutions, than those of others. Imitate, conscript fathers, the inconsiderate multitude; and ye, who should be an example to others, transgress by the example of others, rather than others should act correctly by yours, provided I imitate not the tribunes, nor suffer myself to be re-elected consul, contrary to a decree of the senate. But I advise you, Caius Claudius, that both you on your part restrain the Roman people from this licentiousness, and that you be persuaded of this on my part, that I shall so take it, as not to consider that my honor has been obstructed by you, but that the glory of declining the honor has been augmented, and the odium, which would hang over me from its being continued, has been lessened." Upon this they issue this order jointly: "That no one should attempt to make Lucius Quintius consul: if any one should do so, that they would not allow that vote."
22. The consuls elected were Quintus Fabius Vibulanus, a third time, and Lucius Cornelius Maluginensis. The census was performed that year; it was a matter of religious scruple that the lustrum should be closed, on account of the Capitol having been taken and the consul slain. In the consulate of Quintus Fabius and Lucius Cornelius, disturbances broke out immediately at the commencement of the year. The tribunes were urging on the commons. The Latins and Hernici brought word that a formidable war was in preparation on the part of the Volscians and Æqui; that the troops of the Volscians were now at Antium. Great apprehension was also entertained, that the colony itself would revolt: and with difficulty were the tribunes prevailed on to allow the war to take precedence. The consuls then divided the provinces between them. It was assigned to Fabius to march the legions to Antium; to Cornelius, to protect the city; lest any part of the enemy, as was the practice of the Æqui, should come to commit depredations. The Hernici and Latins were ordered to supply soldiers in conformity to the treaty; and in the army two parts consisted of allies, one part of natives. When the allies came to the day already appointed, the consul pitches his camp outside the Capuan gate.
Then, after the army was purified, he set out for Antium, and encamped not far from the town, and standing camp of the enemy. Where, when the Volscians, not venturing to risk an engagement, were preparing to protect themselves quietly within their ramparts, on the following day Fabius drew up not one mixed army of allies and citizens, but three separate bodies of the three states around the enemy's works. He himself was in the center with the Roman legions. He ordered them to watch for the signal from thence, so that the allies might both commence the action together, and retire together, if he should sound a retreat. He placed their cavalry in the rear of each division. Having thus assailed the camp in three different points, he surrounds it; and when he pressed on from every side, he dislodges from the rampart the Volscians, not able to sustain his attack. Having then crossed the fortifications, he expels from the camp the crowd who were dismayed and inclining towards one direction. Upon this the cavalry, who could not easily pass over the rampart, having stood by up to that period mere spectators of the fight, having come up with them whilst flying in disorder on the open plain, enjoys a share of the victory, by cutting down the affrighted troops. The slaughter of them as they fled was great, both in the camp and outside the lines; but the booty was still greater, because the enemy were scarcely able to carry off their arms with them; and their entire army would have been destroyed, had not the woods covered them in their flight.
23. Whilst these transactions are taking place at Antium, the Æqui, in the mean while, sending forward the main strength of their youth, surprise the citadel of Tusculum by night, and with the rest of their army they sit down at no great distance from the walls of Tusculum, so as to divide the forces of the enemy. This account being quickly brought to Rome, and from Rome to Antium, affect the Romans not less than if it was told them that the Capitol was taken; so recent were both the services of the Tusculans, and the very similitude of the danger seemed to require a return of the aid that had been afforded. Fabius, giving up every other object, removes the booty hastily from the camp to Antium. Having a small garrison there, he hurries on his army by forced marches to Tusculum. The soldiers were allowed to carry nothing but their arms, and whatever dressed provision was at hand. The consul Cornelius sends provisions from Rome.
The war was carried on at Tusculum for several months. With one part of his army the consul assailed the camp of the Æqui; a part he had given to the Tusculans to recover their citadel. They never could have made their way to it by force. Famine at length withdrew the enemy from it. And when they came to this at last, they were all sent under the yoke by the Tusculans, unarmed and naked. These, when betaking themselves home by an ignominious flight, were overtaken by the Roman consul on Algidum and cut off to a man. After this victory, having marched back his army to Columen, (that is the name of the place,) he pitches his camp. The other consul also, as soon as the Roman walls ceased to be in danger, the enemy being defeated, set out from Rome. Thus the consuls, having entered the territories of the enemies on two different sides, strenuously vie with each other in depopulating the Volscians on the one hand, the Æqui on the other. I find in some writers that the people of Antium revolted the same year. That Lucius Cornelius, the consul, conducted that war and took the town, I would not venture to affirm for certain, because no mention is made of the matter among the older writers.
24. This war being concluded, a tribunitian war at home alarms the senate. They exclaim, "that the detaining the army abroad was done for a fraudulent motive: that such frustration was for the purpose of doing away with the law; that they, however, would go through with the matter undertaken by them." Publius Lucretius, however, the præfect of the city, so far prevailed that the proceedings of the tribunes were postponed till the arrival of the consuls. A new cause of disturbance also arose. Aulus Cornelius and Quintus Servilius, quæstors, appoint a day of trial for Marcus Volscius, because he had come forward as a manifestly false witness against Cæso. For it appeared by many proofs, that the brother of Volscius, from the time he first became ill, not only never appeared in public, but that he had not even arisen from his sick bed, and that he died of an illness of several months' standing; and that at the time to which the witness had referred the commission of the crime, Cæso had not been seen at Rome: those who served in the army with him, positively stating that at that time he had constantly attended at his post with them without any leave of absence.
Many persons proposed on their own private responsibility to Volscius to have a judicial decision on the matter. As he would not venture to go to trial, all these matters coinciding rendered the condemnation of Volscius no less certain than that of Cæso had been on the testimony of Volscius. The tribunes occasioned a delay, who said that they would not suffer the quæstors to hold the assembly concerning the accused, unless it was first held concerning the law. Thus both matters were spun out till the arrival of the consuls. When they entered the city in triumph with their victorious army, because silence was (observed) with regard to the law, many thought that the tribunes were struck with dismay. But they, (for it was now the close of the year,) desirous of obtaining a fourth tribuneship, had turned away their efforts from the law to canvassing for the elections; and when the consuls strove with no less strenuousness than if the law in question were proposed for the purpose of lessening their own dignity, the victory in the contest was on the side of the tribunes.
On the same year peace was granted to the Æqui on their suing for it. The census, a matter commenced on the preceding year, is completed. The number of citizens rated were one hundred and seventeen thousand three hundred and nineteen. The consuls obtained great glory this year both at home and in war, because they both re-established peace abroad and at home; though the state was not in a state of absolute concord, yet it was less disturbed than at other times.
25. Lucius Minucius and Caius Nautius being next elected consuls, took up the two causes which lay over since the preceding year. The consuls obstructed the law, the tribunes the trial of Volscius in the same manner: but in the new quæstors there was greater power, and greater influence. With Marcus Valerius, son of Valerius and grandson of Volesus, Titus Quintius Capitolinus, who had been thrice consul, was appointed quæstor. Since Cæso could neither be restored to the Quintian family, nor could he, though a most promising young man, be restored to the state, he justly, and as in duty bound, prosecuted the false witness who had deprived an innocent person of the power of pleading his cause. When Virginius in particular and the (other) tribunes were promoting the passing of the law, the space of two months was allowed to the consuls to examine into the law: so that, when they had satisfied the people, as to what secret designs were concealed under it, they should then allow them to give their votes.
The granting this respite established tranquillity in the city. The Æqui however did not allow them long rest; who, in violation of the treaty which had been made with the Romans the year before, confer the chief command on Gracchus Clælius. He was then the leading man amongst the Æqui. Under the command of Gracchus they carry hostile depredations into the district of Lavici, from thence into that of Tusculum, and laden with booty they pitch their camp at Algidum. To that camp Quintus Fabius, Publius Volumnius, Aulus Posthumius, come to complain of the wrongs committed, and to demand restitution in accordance with the treaty. The general of the Æqui commands them "to deliver to the oak whatever instructions they brought from the Roman senate; that he in the mean time should attend to other matters."
A large oak tree hung over the prætorium, the shade of which constituted a pleasant seat. Then one of the ambassadors, when departing, says, "Let both this consecrated oak and all the gods hear the treaty violated by you, and favor both our complaints now, and our arms presently, when we shall simultaneously avenge the rights of gods and men as violated by you." As soon as the ambassadors returned to Rome, the senate ordered one of the consuls to lead his army against Gracchus at Algidum, to the other they assigned as his province the laying waste of the country of the Æqui. The tribunes, according to their practice, attempted to obstruct the levy; and probably would have eventually prevented it, but a new cause of alarm was suddenly added.
26. A large body of Sabines, committing dreadful devastation, approached very close to the walls of the city. The fields were laid waste, the city was struck with terror. Then the commons cheerfully took up arms; two large armies were raised, the tribunes remonstrating to no purpose. Nautius led the one against the Sabines; and having pitched his camp at Eretum, by small detachments, generally by nightly incursions, he effected such desolation in the Sabine land, that, when compared to it, the Roman territories seemed intact by an enemy. Minucius had neither the same success nor the same energy of mind in conducting his business; for after he had pitched his camp at no great distance from the enemy, without having experienced any considerable loss, he kept himself through fear within the camp. When the enemy perceived this, their boldness increased, as sometimes happens, from others' fears; and having attacked his camp by night, when open force did not succeed well, they on the following day drew lines of circumvallation around it. Before these could close up all the passes, by a vallum being thrown up on all sides, five horsemen being dispatched between the enemies' posts, brought the account to Rome, that the consul and his army were besieged.
Nothing could have happened so unexpected, nor so unlooked-for. Accordingly the panic and the alarm was as great as if the enemy besieged the city, not the camp. They send for the consul Nautius; in whom when there seemed to be but insufficient protection, and they were determined that a dictator should be appointed to retrieve their embarrassed affairs, Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus is appointed by universal consent. It is worth those persons' while to listen, who despise all things human in comparison with riches, and who suppose "that there is no room for exalted honor, nor for virtue, unless where riches abound in great profusion." Lucius Quintius, the sole hope of the Roman people, cultivated a farm of four acres, at the other side of the Tiber, which are called the Quintian meadows, opposite to the very place where the dock-yard now is. There, whether leaning on a stake in a ditch which he was digging, or in the employment of ploughing, engaged at least on some rural work, as is certain, after mutual salutations had passed, being requested by the ambassadors to put on his gown, and listen to the commands of the senate, (with wishes) that it might be happy both to him and to the commonwealth, being astonished, and asking frequently "whether all was safe," he bids his wife Racilia immediately to bring his toga from his hut. As soon as he put this on and came forward, after first wiping off the dust and sweat, the ambassadors, congratulating him, unite in saluting him as dictator: they call him into the city; explain to him what terror now exists in the army.
A vessel was prepared for Quintius by order of government, and his three sons having come out to meet him, receive him on his landing at the other side; then his other relatives and friends; then the greater part of the patricians. Accompanied by this numerous attendance, and the lictors going before him, he was conducted to his residence. There was a numerous concourse of the commons also; but they by no means looked on Quintius with equal pleasure, considering both the extent of his authority as too great, and the man vested with such authority rather arbitrary. And during that night indeed nothing was done in the city besides posting guards.
27. On the next day the dictator, after he had come into the forum before day-light, names a master of the horse, Lucius Tarquitius, a man of patrician family, but one who, though he had served his campaigns among the foot by reason of his scanty means, was yet considered by many degrees the first in military skill among the Roman youth. With his master of the horse he came into the assembly, proclaims a suspension of civil business, orders the shops to be closed throughout the city, and forbids any one to attend to any private affairs. Then he commands that all, whoever were of the military age, should attend under arms, in the Campus Martius, before sun-set, with dressed provisions for five days and twelve palisades, and he commanded that whose age was too far advanced for military service, should dress their victuals for the soldiers in their vicinity, whilst the latter were preparing arms, and procuring the palisade. Accordingly, the young men run in different directions to procure the palisades; they took them wherever they were nearest to them; no one was prevented, and they all attended punctually according to the dictator's order.
Then the troops being formed, not more fitted for the march than for an engagement, should the occasion require it, the dictator himself marches at the head of the legions, the master of the horse at the head of his cavalry. In both bodies there were such exhortations as the juncture itself required; that "they should quicken their pace; that there was need of expedition, that they might reach the enemy by night; that the consul and the Romans were besieged; that they had been shut up now three days: that it was uncertain what each day or night might bring with it; that the issue of the most important affairs often depended on a moment of time." They, to please their leaders, exclaimed among themselves, "Standard-bearer, hasten on; follow, soldier." At midnight they reach Algidum: and, as soon as they perceived that they were near the enemy, they halted.
28. There the dictator, having rode about, and having observed, as far as could be ascertained by night, what the situation of the camp was, and what its form, commanded the tribunes of the soldiers to order the baggage to be thrown into one place, and that the soldiers with their arms and palisades should return to their ranks. What he commanded was executed. Then, with the regularity which they had observed on the march, he draws the entire army in a long column around the enemies' camp, and directs that, when the signal was given, they should all raise a shout; and that on the shout being raised, each man should throw up a trench before his post, and fix his palisade. The orders being issued, the signal followed: the soldiers perform what they were commanded; the shout resounds around the enemy: it then passes beyond the camp of the enemy, and reaches the consul's camp: it occasions panic in one place, great joy in another. The Romans, observing to each other with exultation, "that this was the shout of their countrymen, and that aid was at hand," from their watch-guards and out-posts intimidate the enemy on their part. The consul says, that there must be no delay: "that by that shout not only their arrival was intimated, but that proceedings were already commenced by their friends; and that it would be a wonder if the enemies' camp were not attacked on the outside." He therefore orders his men to take up arms and follow him.
The battle was commenced by the legions during the night: they give notice to the dictator by a shout, that on that side also the action was commenced. The Æquans were now preparing to prevent the works from being brought around them, when, the battle being commenced by the enemy from within, turning their attention from those employed on the fortifications to those who were fighting on the inside, lest a sally should be made through the center of their camp, they left the night to remain without interruption for the finishing of the work; and they continued the fight with the consul till daylight. At the break of day they were now encompassed by the dictator's works, and were scarcely able to maintain the fight against one army.
Then their lines were attacked by Quintius's army, who immediately after completing their work returned to their arms. Here a new fight pressed on them: the former one had suffered no relaxation. Then the twofold peril pressing hard on them, turning from fighting to entreaties, they implored the dictator on the one hand, the consul on the other, not to make the victory consist in their general slaughter, that they would suffer them to depart without arms. When they were bid by the consul to go to the dictator, he, incensed against them, added ignominy (to defeat). He orders Gracchus Cloelius, their general, and other leaders to be brought to him in chains, and that they should evacuate the town of Corbio; "that he wanted not the blood of the Æquans: that they were allowed to depart; but that the confession may be at length extorted, that their nation was defeated and subdued, that they should pass under the yoke." The yoke is formed with three spears, two fixed in the ground, and one tied across between the upper ends of them. Under this yoke the dictator sent the Æquans.
29. The enemy's camp being taken, which was full of every thing, (for he had sent them away naked,) he distributed all the booty among his own soldiers only: chiding the consul's army and the consul himself, he says, "Soldiers, ye shall do without any portion of the spoil taken from that enemy to which you were well nigh becoming a spoil: and you, Lucius Minutius, until you begin to assume the spirit of a consul, shall command these legions as lieutenant-general." Minutius accordingly resigns his office of consul, and remains with the army, as he had been commanded. But so meekly obedient were the minds of men at that time to authority combined with superior merit, that this army, mindful of the kindness (conferred) rather than of the slur (cast on them), both voted a golden crown of a pound weight to the dictator, and saluted him as their patron when setting out. The senate at Rome, being convened by Quintus Fabius, præfect of the city, ordered Quintius to enter the city in triumph, in the order of march in which he was coming. The leaders of the enemy were led before his car: the military standards were carried before him: his army followed laden with spoil.
Tables with provisions are said to have been laid out before the houses of all, and (the soldiers) partaking of the entertainment, followed the car with the triumphal hymn and the usual jests, after the manner of revellers. On that day the freedom of the state was granted to Lucius Mamilius of Tusculum, with universal approbation. The dictator would have laid down his office, had not the assembly for the trial of Marcus Volscius, the false witness, detained him; the fear of the dictator prevented the tribunes from obstructing it. Volscius was condemned and went into exile to Lanuvium. Quintius laid down his dictatorship on the sixteenth day, having received it for six months. During those days the consul Nautius engages the Sabines at Eretum with distinguished success. Besides the devastation of their lands, this additional blow also befell the Sabines. Fabius Quintus was sent to Algidum as successor to Minucius. Towards the end of the year the tribunes began to agitate the question of the law; but because two armies were abroad, the patricians carried the point, that no business should be proposed to the people. The commons succeeded in electing the same tribunes for the fifth time. They report that wolves seen in the Capitol were driven away by dogs; that on account of that prodigy the Capitol was purified. Such were the transactions in that year.
30. Quintus Minucius and Caius Horatius Pulvillus follow as the next consuls. At the commencement of this year, when there was peace abroad, the same tribunes and the same law occasioned disturbances at home; and parties would have proceeded further, (so highly were their passions inflamed,) had not, as if for the very purpose, news been brought, that by an attack of the Æquans the garrison at Corbio had been cut off. The consuls convene the senate; they are ordered to raise a hasty levy and to proceed to Algidum. Then the contest about the law being given up, a new dispute arose regarding the levy. And the consular authority was about to be overpowered by tribunitian influence, when an additional cause of alarm comes on them: that the Sabine army had made a descent into the Roman lands to commit depredations; that from thence they were advancing to the city.
This fear influenced the tribunes to allow the levy to proceed, not without a stipulation, however, that since they had been foiled for five years, and as that was but little protection to the commons, ten tribunes of the people should henceforward be elected. Necessity wrung this from the patricians; this exception only they made, that they should not hereafter re-elect the same tribunes. The election for the tribunes was held immediately, lest that measure also, like others, might prove a delusion after the war. On the thirty-sixth year after the first tribunes, ten were elected, two from each class; and provision was made that they should be elected in this manner for the future. The levy being then held, Minucius marched out against the Sabines, and found no enemy. Horatius, after the Æquans, having put the garrison at Corbio to the sword, had taken Ortona also, fights a battle at Algidum; he slays a great number; drives the enemy not only from Algidum, but from Corbio and Ortona also. Corbio he razed to the ground for their having betrayed the garrison.
31. Marcus Valerius and Spurius Virginius are next elected consuls. Quiet prevailed at home and abroad. They labored under a scarcity of provisions on account of the excessive rains. A law was proposed regarding the making Mount Aventine public property. The same tribunes of the people being re-elected on the following year, Titus Romilius and Caius Veturius being consuls, strongly recommended the law in all their harangues, "That they were ashamed of their number increased to no purpose, if that question should lie for their two years in the same manner as it had lain for the whole preceding five." Whilst they were most busily employed in these matters, an alarming account comes from Tusculum, that the Æquans were in the Tusculan territory. The recent services of that state made them ashamed of delaying relief. Both the consuls were sent with an army, and find the enemy in their usual post in Algidum.
A battle was fought there; upwards of seven thousand of the enemy were slain; the rest were routed; immense booty was obtained. This the consuls sold on account of the low state of the treasury; the proceeding was the cause of dissatisfaction to the army, and it also afforded to the tribunes materials for bringing a charge against the consuls before the commons. Accordingly, as soon as they went out of office, in the consulship of Spurius Tarpeius and Aulus Aterius, a day was appointed for Romilius by Caius Claudius Cicero, tribune of the people; for Veturius, by Lucius Alienus, plebeian ædile. They were both condemned, to the great mortification of the patricians; Romilius to pay ten thousand asses; Veturius, fifteen thousand. Nor did this misfortune of their predecessors render the new consuls more remiss. They said that they too might be condemned, and that the commons and tribunes could not carry the law.
Then having thrown up the law, which, in its repeated publication, had now grown old, the tribunes adopted a milder mode of proceeding with the patricians. "That they should at length put an end to their disputes. If plebeian laws displeased them, at least they should suffer legislators (chosen) in common, both from the commons and from the patricians, who would propose measures advantageous to both parties, and such as might tend to the equalization of liberty." This proposal the patricians did not reject. They said that "no one should propose laws, except some of the patricians." When they agreed with respect to the laws, and differed only with respect to the proposer; ambassadors were sent to Athens, Spurius Posthumius Albus, Aulus Manlius, Publius Sulpicius Camerinus; and they were ordered to copy out the celebrated laws of Solon, and to become acquainted with the institutions, customs, and laws of the other states of Greece.
32. The year was undisturbed by foreign wars; the following one was still more quiet, Publius Curiatius and Sextus Quintilius being consuls, the tribunes observing uninterrupted silence, which was occasioned in the first place by their waiting for the ambassadors who had gone to Athens, and for the foreign laws; in the next place, two heavy calamities arose at the same time, famine and pestilence, (which proved) destructive to man, and equally so to cattle. The lands were left desolate; the city exhausted by a constant succession of deaths. Many and illustrious families were in mourning. The Flamen Quirinalis, Servilius Cornelius, died; as also the augur, Caius Horatius Pulvillus; into whose place the augurs elected Caius Veturius, the more eagerly, because he had been condemned by the commons.
The consul Quintilius died, and four tribunes of the people. The year was rendered a melancholy one by these manifold disasters; but from an enemy there was perfect quiet. Then Caius Menenius and Publius Sestius Capitolinus were elected consuls. Nor was there in that year any external war: disturbances arose at home. The ambassadors had now returned with the Athenian laws; the tribunes pressed the more urgently, that a commencement should at length be made of compiling the laws. It was resolved that decemvirs should be elected without appeal, and that there should be no other magistrate during that year. There was, for a considerable time, a dispute whether plebeians should be admitted among them: at length the point was given up to the patricians, provided that the Icilian law regarding the Aventine and the other devoting laws were not repealed.
33. In the three hundred and first year after Rome was built, the form of the government was a second time changed, the supreme power being transferred from consuls to decemvirs, as it had passed before from kings to consuls. The change was less remarkable, because not of long duration; for the joyous commencement of that government became too licentious. So much the sooner did the matter fall, and (the usage) was recurred to, that the name and authority of consuls was committed to two persons. The decemvirs appointed were, Appius Claudius, Titus Genucius, Publius Sestius, Lucius Veturius, Caius Julius, Aulus Manlius, Servius Sulpicius, Publius Curiatius, Titus Romilius, Spurius Postumius. On Claudius and Genucius, because they had been elected consuls for that year, the honor was conferred in compensation for the honor (of the consulate); and on Sestius, one of the consuls of the former year, because he had proposed that matter to the senate against the will of his colleague
Next to these were considered the three ambassadors who had gone to Athens; at the same time that the honor might serve as a recompense for so distant an embassy; at the same time they considered that persons acquainted with the foreign laws would be of use in digesting the new code of regulations. Other persons made up the number. They say that persons advanced in years were appointed by the last suffrages, in order that they might oppose with less warmth the opinions of others. The direction of the entire government was rested in Appius through the favor of the commons, and he had assumed a demeanor so new, that from a severe and harsh reviler of the people, he became suddenly a protector of the commons, and a candidate for popular favor. They administered justice to the people one every tenth day.
On that day the twelve fasces attended the præfect of justice; one beadle attended each of his nine colleagues, and in the singular harmony among themselves, which unanimity might sometimes prove prejudicial to private persons, the strictest equity was shown to others. It will suffice to adduce a proof of their moderation by instancing one matter. Though they had been appointed without (the privilege of) appeal, yet a dead body having been found buried in the house of Publius Sestius, a man of patrician rank, and this having been brought forward in an assembly, in a matter equally clear and atrocious, Caius Julius, a decemvir, appointed a day of trial for Sestius, and appeared before the people as prosecutor (in a matter) of which he was legally a judge; and relinquished his right, so that he might add what had been taken from the power of the office to the liberty of the people.
34. Whilst the highest and lowest alike experienced from them this prompt administration of justice, impartial, as if from an oracle, then their attention was devoted to the framing of laws; and the ten tables being proposed amid the intense expectation of all, they summoned the people to an assembly: and "what may prove favorable, advantageous, and happy to the commonwealth themselves, and to their children, ordered them to go and read the laws that were exhibited." "That they had equalized the rights of all, both the highest and the lowest, as far as could be devised by the abilities of ten men; that the understanding and counsels of a greater number might prove more successful; that they should turn in their minds each particular within themselves, canvass it in conversation; and bring together under public discussion whatever might seem an excess or deficiency under each particular. That the Roman people should have such laws, as the general consent might appear not so much to have ratified when proposed, as to have proposed from themselves."
When they appeared sufficiently corrected according to public opinion (as expressed) regarding each chapter of the laws as it was published, the laws of the ten tables were passed at the assembly voting by centuries; which, even at the present time, amid this immense heap of laws crowded one upon the other, still remain the source of all public and private jurisprudence. A rumor was then spread that two tables were wanting; on the addition of which a body, as it were, of the whole Roman law might be completed. The expectation of this, as the day of election approached, created a desire to appoint decemvirs again. The commons now, besides that they detested the name of consuls as much as that of kings, required not even the tribunitian aid, as the decemvirs in turn submitted to appeal.
35. But when the assembly for electing decemvirs was proclaimed for the third market-day, so strong a flame of ambition blazed forth, that the first men of the state began to canvass individuals, (through fear, I suppose, lest the possession of such high authority might become accessible to persons not sufficiently worthy, if the post were left unoccupied by themselves,) suppliantly soliciting for an honor, which had been opposed by them with all their might, from that commons with whom they had so often contended. Their dignity now lowered to the risk of a contest, at such an age, and after passing through such honors, stimulated the exertions of Appius Claudius. You would not know whether to reckon him among the decemvirs or the candidates; he resembled more closely one canvassing for the office than one invested with it; he aspersed the nobility, extolled every most insignificant and humble candidate; surrounded by the Duilii and Icilii who had been tribunes, he bustled about the forum, through their means he recommended himself to the commons; until his colleagues even, who till then had been extremely devoted to him, turned their eyes on him, wondering what he meant. It was evident to them, that there was no sincerity in it; "that certainly such affability amid such pride would not be for nothing. That this excessive lowering of himself, and putting himself on a level with private citizens, was not so much the conduct to be expected from one hastening to go out of office, as of one seeking the means of continuing that office."
Not daring openly to oppose his wishes, they set about baffling his ardor by humoring it. They by common consent confer on him, as being the youngest, the office of presiding at the elections. This was an artifice, that he might not appoint himself; which no one ever did, except the tribunes of the people, and that too with the very worst precedent. He, however, declaring that with the favor of fortune he would preside at the elections, seized on the (intended) obstacle as a happy occasion; and having by a coalition foiled the two Quintii, Capitolinus and Cincinnatus, and his own uncle, Caius Claudius, a man most steadfast in the interest of the nobility, and other citizens of the same eminence, he appoints as decemvirs men by no means equal in rank of life: himself in the first instance, which proceeding honorable men disapproved so much the more, as no one had imagined that he would have the daring to act so. With him were elected Marcus Cornelius-Maluginensis, Marcus Sergius, Lucius Minutius, Quintus Fabius Vibulanus, Quintus Poetelius, Titus Antonius Merenda, Cæso Duilius, Spurius Oppius Cornicen, Manius Rabuleius.
36. This was the end of Appius's assumption of a character not his own. Henceforward he began to live according to his own natural disposition, and to mold to his own temper his new colleagues before they should enter on their office. They held daily meetings remote from witnesses: then, furnished with their schemes of tyranny, which they digested apart from others, no longer dissembling their arrogance, difficult of access, morose to all who addressed them, they carried out the matter to the ides of May. The ides of May were at that time the usual period for commencing office. At the commencement then of their magistracy, they rendered the first day of their office remarkable by making an exhibition of great terror. For when the preceding decemvirs had observed the rule, that only one should have the fasces, and that this emblem of royalty should pass through all in rotation, to each in his turn, they all suddenly came forth with the twelve fasces.
One hundred and twenty lictors filled the forum, and carried before them the axes tied up with the fasces: and they explained that it was of no consequence that the axe should be taken away, as they had been appointed without the privilege of appeal. There was the appearance of ten kings, and terrors were multiplied not only in the humblest individuals, but even in the principal men among the patricians, who thought that a pretext and commencement of bloodshed were sought for; so that if any one should utter a word favorable to liberty, either in the senate or in a meeting of the people, the rods and axes would be instantly brought forward, even to intimidate the rest. For besides that there was no protection in the people, the right of appeal being done away with, they had also by mutual consent prohibited interference with each other: whereas the preceding decemvirs had allowed the points of law decided by themselves to be amended by appeal to a colleague, and had referred to the people some points which might seem to come within their own jurisdiction.
For a considerable time the terror seemed equalized among all ranks; gradually it began to turn entirely on the commons. They spared the patricians; arbitrary and cruel treatment was shown to the humbler classes: they were wholly respective of the person, not of the cause: as being persons with whom interest usurped the force of justice. Their decisions they concerted at home, and pronounced in the forum. If any person appealed to a colleague, he left the one to whom he had appealed in such a manner as to regret that he had not abided by the sentence of the former. An opinion also had gone abroad without an authority, that they had conspired in their tyranny not only for the present time, but that a clandestine league had been struck among them (accompanied) with an oath, that they would not hold the comitia, and that by perpetuating the decemvirate they would retain the power now in their possession.
37. The plebeians then began to watch narrowly the countenances of the patricians, and (hoped) to catch the breeze of liberty from that quarter, by apprehending slavery from which, they had brought the republic into its present condition. The leading members of the senate detested the decemvirs, detested the commons; they neither approved of what was going on, and they considered that what befell the latter was not without their deserving it. They were unwilling to assist men who, by rushing too eagerly towards liberty, had fallen into slavery: they even heaped injuries on them, that, from their disgust at the present state of things, two consuls and the former mode of government may at length become desirable. The greater part of the year was now passed, and two tables of laws had been added to the ten tables of the former year; and if these laws also were once passed in an assembly of the centuries, there now remained no reason why the republic should require that form of government.
They were anxiously waiting to see how soon the assembly would be proclaimed for the election of consuls. The commons were only devising by what means they should re-establish the tribunitian power, that bulwark of their liberty, a thing now so long discontinued. When in the mean time no mention was made of the elections, and the decemvirs, who had at first exhibited themselves to the people, surrounded by men of tribunitian rank, because that was deemed popular, now guarded themselves by collecting young patricians; troops of these beset the tribunals. These seized and drove about the commons, and the effects of the commons; when success attended the more powerful individual, as far as obtaining any thing he might covet. And now they spared not even their backs. Some were beaten with rods; others had to submit to the axe; and lest such cruelty might go for nothing, a grant of his effects followed the punishment of the owner. Corrupted by such bribes, the young nobility not only made no opposition to oppression, but openly avowed their preference of their own gratification to the general liberty.
38. The ides of May came. No new election of magistrates having taken place, private persons came forth as decemvirs, without any abatement either in their determination to enforce their authority, or any diminution in the emblems employed to make a parade of their station. This indeed seemed to be regal tyranny. Liberty is now deplored as lost for ever; nor does any champion stand forth, or appear likely to do so. And not only they themselves sunk into despondence, but they began to be looked down upon by the neighboring states; and they felt indignant that dominion should exist where liberty was lost. The Sabines with a numerous body of men made an incursion on the Roman territory; and having committed extensive devastations, after they had driven with impunity booty of men and cattle, they recalled their troops which had been dispersed in different directions to Eretum, and pitch their camp there, grounding their hopes on the dissensions at Rome; (and trusting) that they would prove an obstruction to the levy. Not only the couriers, but the flight of the country people through the city, occasioned alarm. The decemvirs consult what should be done.
Whilst they were thus left destitute between the hatred of the patricians and people, fortune added, moreover, another cause of alarm. The Æquans on the opposite side pitch their camp at Algidum; and ambassadors from Tusculum, imploring relief, bring accounts that the Tusculan land was ravaged by detachments from thence. The panic occasioned hereby urged the decemvirs to consult the senate, two wars at the same time surrounding the city. They order the patricians to be summoned into the senate-house, well aware what a storm of resentment was ready to break upon them; that all would heap on them the causes of the land laid waste, and of the dangers which threatened them; and that that would occasion an attempt to abolish their office, if they did not unite in resisting, and by enforcing their authority with severity on a few of an intractable spirit repress the efforts of others. When the voice was heard in the forum of the crier summoning the senators into the senate-house before the decemvirs; as a matter altogether new, because they had long since laid aside the custom of consulting the senate, it attracted the attention of the people, who expressed their surprise: "What could have happened, that after so long an interval they should revive a practice now discontinued. That they had reason to return thanks to the enemy and to war, that any thing was done that used to be done when their state was free."
They looked around for a senator through all parts of the forum, and seldom recognized one any where: they then directed their attention to the senate-house, and to the solitude around the decemvirs: whilst both they themselves referred the non-assembling of the patricians to their own universally detested government, and the commons (would have it, that the cause of the non-assembling was) because, being but private citizens, they (the decemvirs) had no right to convene the senate; "that a head was now formed of those who would demand back their liberty, if the commons would but accompany the senate, and as the patricians, when summoned, did not attend the senate, so the commons also should refuse to enlist." Such were the remarks of the commons. There was scarcely any of the patricians in the forum, and but very few in the city. In disgust with the state of affairs, they had retired into the country, and were attending to their own affairs, renouncing all public concerns, considering that they themselves were aloof from ill-treatment in proportion as they should remove themselves from the meeting and converse of their imperious masters.
When those who had been summoned did not assemble, apparitors were dispatched to their houses, both to levy the penalties, and to ascertain whether they declined attendance through design? They bring back word that the senate was in the country. This was more pleasing to the decemvirs, than if they brought word that they were present and refused obedience to their commands. They command them all to be sent for, and proclaim a meeting of the senate for the following day; which congregated together in much greater numbers than they themselves had expected. By which proceeding the commons considered that their liberty was betrayed by the patricians, because the senate had obeyed those persons, as if they had a right to compel them, who had already gone out of office; and were but private individuals, were it not for the violence employed by them.
39. But they showed more obedience in coming into the senate than servility in the sentiments expressed by them, as we have learned. It is recorded that, after Appius's stating the subject of the meeting, and before the opinions were demanded in order, Lucius Valerius Potitus excited a commotion, by demanding permission to express his sentiments concerning the state, and when the decemvirs were prohibiting him with threats, declaring that he would present himself before the people. (We have also heard) that Marcus Horatius Barbatus entered the lists with no less boldness, calling them "ten Tarquins," and reminding them, "that under the leadership of the Valerii and Horatii the kings had been expelled. Nor was it of the mere name that men were then tired, it being that by which it was usual to style Jupiter, and by which Romulus, the founder of the city, and his successors were also styled; a name too which has been retained even in the ceremonies of religion, as a solemn one; that it was the tyranny and arrogance of a king they then detested, which if they were not to be tolerated in one who was both a king himself and the son of a king, who was to tolerate it in so many private citizens? that they should beware lest, by preventing persons from speaking their sentiments freely in the senate, they might oblige them to raise their voice outside the senate-house. Nor could he see how it was less allowable for him, a private citizen, to summon the people to an assembly, than for them to convene the senate.
They might try, whenever they pleased, how much more determined a sense of wrong will be found to be in vindicating one's own liberty, than ambition in (vindicating) usurped domination. That they proposed the question concerning the Sabine war, as if the Roman people had any more important war on hand, than that against those who, having been elected for the purpose of framing laws, had left no law in the state; who had abolished elections, annual magistrates, the regular change of rulers, which was the only means of equalizing liberty; who, though private citizens, still possess the fasces and regal dominion. That on the expulsion of the kings, patrician magistrates were appointed, and subsequently, after the secession of the people, plebeian magistrates. To which party, he asked, did they belong? To the popular party? What had they ever done with the concurrence of the people? were they nobles? who for now nearly an entire year have not held a meeting of the senate; and then hold one in such a manner, that they actually prevent numbers from expressing their sentiments regarding the commonwealth; that they should not place too much hope in the fears of others; that the grievances which they are suffering now appear to men more oppressive than any they may have to apprehend."
40. Whilst Horatius was exclaiming in this manner, "and the decemvirs could not discover any limit either to their anger or forbearance, nor could they see to what the thing would come, Caius Claudius, who was uncle to Appius the decemvir, delivered an address more like entreaties than reproach, beseeching him by the shade of his own brother and of his father, that he would hold in recollection the civil society in which he had been born rather than the confederacy nefariously entered into with his colleagues; that he besought this much more on Appius's own account, than for the sake of the commonwealth. For that the commonwealth would assert its rights in spite of them, if it could not obtain them with their consent. But that from great contests great animosities arise; the result of the latter he dreads." Though the decemvirs forbad them to speak on any other subject than that which they had submitted to them, they felt too much respect for Claudius to interrupt him. He therefore concluded his address by moving that it was their wish that no decree of the senate should be passed.
And all understood the matter thus, that they were judged by Claudius to be private citizens; and many of the men of consular standing expressed their assent. Another measure proposed, more harsh in appearance, possessed much less efficacy; one which ordered the patricians to assemble to elect an interrex; for by passing any resolution they judged, that those persons who convened the senate were magistrates of some kind or other, whilst the person who recommended that no decree of the senate should be passed, had thereby declared them private citizens. When the cause of the decemvirs was now sinking, Lucius Cornelius Maluginensis, brother of Marcus Cornelius the decemvir, having been purposely reserved from among the consular men to close the debate, by affecting an anxiety about the war, defended his brother and his colleagues thus: saying, "he wondered by what fatality it had occurred, that those who had been candidates for the decemvirate, should attack the decemvirs, either as secondaries, or as principals: or when no one disputed for so many months whilst the state was disengaged, whether legal magistrates had the management of affairs, why do they now sow discord, when the enemies are nearly at the gate; unless that in a state of confusion they think that what they are aiming at will be less seen through."
But that it was not just that any one should prejudice so important a cause, whilst our minds are occupied with a more momentous concern. It was his opinion, that the point which Valerius and Horatius urged, viz. that the decemvirs had gone out of office before the ides of May, should be discussed in the senate, when the wars which are now impending are over, and the commonwealth has been restored to tranquillity: and that Appius Claudius should now prepare to take notice that an account is to be rendered by him of the comitia which he himself held for electing decemvirs, whether they were elected for one year, or until the laws which were wanting were ratified. It was his opinion that all other matters should be laid aside for the present, except the war; and if they thought that the reports regarding it were propagated without foundation, and that not only the couriers, but the ambassadors of the Tusculans also had stated what was false, he thought that scouts should be dispatched to bring back more certain information; but if credit were given both to the couriers and the ambassadors, that the levy should be held at the very earliest opportunity; that the decemvirs should lead the armies, whither it may seem proper to each; and that no other matter should take precedence.
41. The junior patricians succeeded in having this opinion carried. Valerius and Horatius rising again with greater vehemence demanded aloud, "that it should be allowed them to express their sentiments concerning the republic; that they would address the people, if by a faction they were not allowed to do so in the senate. For that private individuals, either in the senate or in a general assembly, could not prevent them; nor would they yield to their imaginary fasces." Appius then considering that the crisis was now nigh at hand, when their authority would be overpowered, unless their violence were resisted with equal boldness: "It will be better," says he, "not to utter a word on any subject, except that which we are now considering: and to Valerius, when he refused to be silent for a private individual, he commands a lictor to proceed." When Valerius, on the threshold of the senate-house, now craved the protection of the citizens, Lucius Cornelius, embracing Appius, put an end to the dispute, not consulting the interest of him whose interest he affected to consult; and permission to speak his sentiments being obtained for Valerius through Cornelius, when this liberty did not extend beyond words, the decemvirs obtained their object. The consulars also and senior members, from the hatred of tribunitian power still rankling in their bosoms, the desire of which they considered was much more keenly felt by the commons than that of the consular power, almost had rather that the decemvirs themselves should voluntarily resign their office at some future period, than that the people should rise once more into consequence through their unpopularity.
If the matter, conducted with gentleness, should again return to the consuls without popular turbulence, that the commons might be induced to forget their tribunes, either by the intervention of wars or by the moderation of the consuls in exercising their authority. A levy is proclaimed amid the silence of the patricians; the young men answer to their names, as the government was without appeal. The legions being enrolled, the decemvirs set about arranging among themselves who should set out to the war, who command the armies. The leading men among the decemvirs were, Quintus Fabius and Appius Claudius. There appeared a more serious war at home than abroad. They considered the violence of Appius as better suited to suppress commotions in the city; that Fabius possessed a disposition rather inconstant in good pursuits than strenuous in bad ones. For this man, formerly distinguished at home and abroad, his office of decemvir and his colleagues had so changed, that he chose rather to be like to Appius than like himself. To him the war against the Sabines was committed, his colleagues, Manius Rabuleius and Quintus Pætelius, being sent with him. Marcus Cornelius was sent to Algidum with Lucius Menucius and Titus Antonius, and Cæso Duilius and Marcus Sergius: they determine on Spurius Oppius as an assistant to Appius Claudius to protect the city, their authority being equal to that of all the decemvirs.
42. The republic was managed with no better success in war than at home. In this the only fault in the generals was, that they had rendered themselves objects of hatred to their fellow citizens: in other respects the whole fault lay with the soldiers; who, lest any enterprise should succeed under the conduct and auspices of the decemvirs, suffered themselves to be beaten, to their own disgrace, and that of them (the generals). Their armies were routed by the Sabines at Eretum, and in Algidum by the Æquans. Having fled from Eretum during the silence of the night, they fortified their camp nearer to the city, on an elevated situation between Fidenæ and Crustumeria; no where encountering the enemy, who pursued them, on equal ground, they protected themselves by the nature of the place and a rampart, not by valor or arms.
Greater disgrace and greater loss were sustained in Algidum, their camp also was lost; and the soldiers, stripped of all their utensils, betook themselves to Tusculum, determined to procure the means of subsistence from the good faith and compassion of their hosts; which, however, did not disappoint them. Such alarming accounts were brought to Rome, that the patricians, having laid aside their hatred of the decemvirs, passed an order that watches should be held in the city; commanded that all who were able by reason of their age to carry arms, should mount guard on the walls, and form out-posts before the gates; they also voted arms to be sent to Tusculum, besides a reinforcement; that the decemvirs also should come down from the citadel of Tusculum and keep their troops encamped; that the other camp should be removed from Fidenæ into the Sabine territory; and that the enemy might be deterred, by thus attacking them first, from entertaining any intentions of attacking the city.
43. To the calamities received from the enemy, the decemvirs add two flagitious deeds, one abroad, and the other in the city. In the Sabine district, Lucius Siccius, who, during the unpopularity of the decemvirs, introduced, in secret conversation with the common soldiers, mention of electing tribunes and of a secession, was sent forwards to select a place for a camp: instructions were given to the soldiers whom they had sent to accompany him in that expedition, to attack him in a convenient place and slay him. They did not kill him with impunity; for several of the assassins fell around him resisting them, whilst, possessing great personal strength and with a courage equal to that strength, he was defending himself against them, now surrounded as he was. The rest bring an account into the camp that Siccius, when fighting bravely, had fallen into an ambush, and that some soldiers were lost with him.
At first the narrators were believed; afterwards a cohort, which went by permission of the decemvirs to bury those who had fallen, when they observed that none of the bodies there were stripped, that Siccius lay in the middle with his arms, all the bodies being turned towards him, whilst there was neither any body of the enemy, nor even any traces of them as going away; they brought back his body, saying, that he had certainly been slain by his own men. The camp was now filled with indignation, and it was being determined that Siccius should be forthwith brought to Rome, had not the decemvirs hastened to perform a military funeral for him at the public expense. He was buried amid the great grief of the soldiery, and with the worst possible reputation of the decemvirs among the common people.
44. Another atrocious deed follows in the city, originating in lust, attended with results not less tragical than that deed which drove the Tarquins from the city and the throne through the injured chastity and violent death of Lucretia: so that the decemvirs not only had the same end as the kings had, but the same cause also of losing their power. Appius Claudius was seized with a criminal passion for violating the person of a young woman of plebeian condition. Lucius Virginius, the girl's father, held an honorable rank among the centurions at Algidum, a man of exemplary good conduct both at home and in the service. His wife had been educated in a similar manner, as also were their children. He had betrothed his daughter to Lucius Icilius, who had been a tribune, a man of spirit and of approved zeal in the interest of the people. This young woman, in the bloom of youth, distinguished for beauty, Appius, burning with desire, attempted to seduce by bribes and promises; and when he perceived that all the avenues (to the possession of her) were barred by modesty, he turned his thoughts to cruel and tyrannical violence.
He instructed a dependent of his, Marcus Claudius, to claim the girl as his slave, and not to yield to those who might demand her interim retention of liberty; considering that, because the girl's father was absent, there was an opportunity for committing the injury. The tool of the decemvir's lust laid hands on the girl as she was coming into the forum (for there in the sheds the literary schools were held); calling her "the daughter of his slave and a slave herself," he commanded her to follow him; that he would force her away if she demurred. The girl being stupefied with terror, a crowd collects at the cries of the girl's nurse, who besought the protection of the citizens. The popular names of her father, Virginius, and of her spouse, Icilius, are in the mouths of every one. Their regard for them gains over their acquaintances, whilst the heinousness of the proceeding gains over the crowd. She was now safe from violence, when the claimant says, "that there was no occasion for raising a mob; that he was proceeding by law, not by force." He cites the girl into court. Those who stood by her advising her to follow him, they now reached the tribunal of Appius.
The claimant rehearses the farce well known to the judge, as being the author of the plot, "that a girl born in his house, and clandestinely transferred from thence to the house of Virginius, had been fathered on the latter." That he stated a thing ascertained by certain evidence, and would prove it to the satisfaction even of Virginius himself, whom the principal portion of that loss would concern. That it was but just that in the interim the girl should accompany her master. The advocates for Virginia, after they had urged that Virginius was absent on business of the state, that he would be here in two days if word were sent to him, that it was unfair that in his absence he should run any risk regarding his children, demand that he adjourn the whole matter till the arrival of the father; that he should allow the claim for her interim liberty according to the law passed by himself, and not allow a maiden of ripe age to encounter the risk of her reputation before that of her liberty.
45. Appius prefaced his decree by observing that the very law, which Virginius's friends were putting forward as the ground of their demand, clearly showed how much he favored liberty. But that liberty would find secure protection in it on this condition, that it varied neither with respect to cases or persons. For with respect to those individuals who were claimed as free, that point of law was good, because any person may proceed by law (and act for them); with respect to her who is in the hands of her father, that there was no other person (than her father) to whom her master need relinquish his right of possession. That it was his determination, therefore, that her father should be sent for: in the mean time, that the claimant should suffer no loss of his right, but that he should carry off the girl with him, and promise that she should be produced on the arrival of him who was called her father. When many rather murmured against the injustice of this decision than any one individual ventured to protest against it, the girl's uncle, Publius Numitorius, and her betrothed spouse, Icilius, just come in; and way being made through the crowd, the multitude thinking that Appius might be most effectually resisted by the intervention of Icilius, the lictor declares that "he had decided the matter," and removes Icilius, when he attempted to raise his voice. Injustice so atrocious would have fired even a cool temper.
"By the sword, Appius," says he, "I must be removed hence, that you may carry off in silence that which you wish to be concealed. This young woman I am about to marry, determined to have a lawful and chaste wife. Wherefore call together all the lictors even of your colleagues; order the rods and axes to be had in readiness; the betrothed wife of Icilius shall not remain without her father's house. Though you have taken from us the aid of our tribunes, and the power of appeal to the commons of Rome, the two bulwarks for maintaining our liberty, absolute dominion has not therefore been given to you over our wives and children. Vent your fury on our backs and necks; let chastity at least be secure. If violence be offered to her, I shall implore the protection of the citizens here present in behalf of my spouse; Virginius will implore that of the soldiers in behalf of his only daughter; we shall all implore the protection of gods and men, nor shall you carry that sentence into effect without our blood. I demand of you, Appius, consider again and again to what lengths you are proceeding. Let Virginius, when he comes, consider what conduct he should pursue with respect to his daughter. Let him only be assured of this, that if he yield to the claims of this man, he will have to seek out another match for his daughter. As for my part, in vindicating the liberty of my spouse, life shall leave me sooner than my honor."
46. The multitude was now excited, and a contest seemed likely to ensue. The lictors had taken their stand around Icilius; nor did they, however, proceed beyond threats, when Appius said, "that it was not Virginia that was defended by Icilius, but that, being a restless man, and even now breathing the spirit of the tribuneship, he was seeking an occasion for a disturbance. That he would not afford him material on that day; but in order that he may now know that the concession has been made not to his petulance, but to the absent Virginius, to the name of father and to liberty, that he would not decide the cause on that day, nor interpose a decree: that he would request of Marcus Claudius to forego somewhat of his right, and suffer the girl to be bailed till the next day. But unless the father attended on the following day, he gave notice to Icilius and to men like Icilius, that neither the founder would be wanting to his own law, nor firmness to the decemvir; nor would he assemble the lictors of his colleagues to put down the promoters of sedition; that he would be content with his own lictors."
When the time of this act of injustice was deferred, and the friends of the maiden had retired, it was first of all determined, that the brother of Icilius and the son of Numitorius, both active young men, should proceed thence straightforward to the gate, and that Virginius should be brought from the camp with all possible haste. That the safety of the girl depended on his being present next day at the proper time, as her protector from injury. They proceed according to directions and with all speed carry the account to her father. When the claimant of the maiden was pressing Icilius to become defendant, and give sureties, and Icilius said that that was the very thing he was doing, designedly spinning out the time, until the messengers sent to the camp might gain time for their journey, the multitude raised their hands on all sides, and every one showed himself ready to go surety for Icilius. And he with tears in his eyes says, It is very kind of you; on to-morrow I will avail myself of your assistance; at present I have sufficient sureties.
Thus Virginia is bailed on the security of her relations. Appius having delayed a short time, that he might not appear to have sat on account of the present case, when no one applied, all other concerns being given up by reason of their solicitude about the one, betook himself home, and writes to his colleagues to the camp, "not to grant leave of absence to Virginius, and even to keep him in confinement." This wicked scheme was late, as it deserved to be; for Virginius, having already obtained his leave, had set out at the first watch, while the letter regarding his detention was delivered on the following morning to no purpose.
47. But in the city, when the citizens were standing in the forum erect with expectation, Virginius, clad in mourning, by break of day conducts his daughter, also attired in weeds, attended by some matrons, into the forum, with a considerable body of advocates. He then began to go round and to solicit individuals; and not only to entreat their aid as a boon to his prayers, but demanded it as due to him: "that he stood daily in the field of battle in defense of their children and wives, nor was there any other man, to whom a greater number of brave and intrepid deeds in war can be ascribed than to him. What availed it, if, whilst the city was still secure, their children would be exposed to suffer the severest hardships which would have to be dreaded if it was taken?" Delivering these observations like one haranguing in an assembly, he solicited them individually.
Similar arguments were used by Icilius: the female attendants produced more effect by their silent tears than any language. With a mind utterly insensible to all this, (such, a paroxysm of madness, rather than of love, had perverted his mind,) Appius ascended the tribunal; and when the claimant began to complain briefly, that justice had not been administered to him on the preceding day through a desire to please the people, before either he could go through with his claim, or an opportunity of reply was afforded to Virginius, Appius interrupts him. The preamble with which he prefaced the sentence, ancient authors may have handed down perhaps with truth; because I no where find any one that was likely (to have been used) on so scandalous a business, it seems, that the naked fact should be stated as being a point which is agreed on, viz. that he passed a sentence consigning her to slavery.
At first all were astounded with amazement at so heinous a proceeding; then silence prevailed for some time. Then when Marcus Claudius proceeded to seize the maiden, the matrons standing around her, and was received with piteous lamentation of the women, Virginius, menacingly extending his hands towards Appius, says, To Icilius, and not to you, Appius, have I betrothed my daughter, and for matrimony, not prostitution, have I brought her up. Do you wish men to gratify their lust promiscuously, like cattle and wild beasts? Whether these persons will endure such things, I know not; I hope that those will not who have arms in their hands. When the claimant of the girl was repulsed by the crowd of women and advocates who were standing around her, silence was commanded by the crier.
48. The decemvir, engrossed in mind by his lustful propensities, states that not only from the abusive language of Icilius yesterday, and the violence of Virginius, of which he had the entire Roman people as witnesses, but from authentic information also he ascertained, that cabals were held in the city during the whole night to stir up a sedition. Accordingly that he, being aware of that danger, had come down with armed soldiers; not that he would molest any peaceable person, but in order to punish suitably to the majesty of the government persons disturbing the tranquillity of the state. It will, therefore, be better to remain quiet. Go, lictor, says he, remove the crowd; and make way for the master to lay hold of his slave. When, bursting with passion, he had thundered out these words, the multitude themselves voluntarily separated, and the girl stood deserted a prey to injustice.
Then Virginius, when he saw no aid any where, says, I beg you, Appius, first pardon a father's grief, if I have said any thing too harsh against you: in the next place, suffer me to question the nurse before the maiden, what all this matter is? that if I have been falsely called her father, I may depart hence with a more resigned mind. Permission being granted, he draws the girl and the nurse aside to the sheds near the temple of Cloacina, which now go by the name of the new sheds: and there snatching up a knife from a butcher, "In this one way, the only one in my power, do I secure to you your liberty." He then transfixes the girl's breast, and looking back towards the tribunal, he says, "With this blood I devote thee, Appius, and thy head." Appius, aroused by the cry raised at so dreadful a deed, orders Virginius to be seized. He, armed with the knife, cleared the way whithersoever he went, until, protected by the crowd of persons attending him, he reached the gate. Icilius and Numitorius take up the lifeless body and exhibit it to the people: they deplore the villainy of Appius, the fatal beauty of the maiden, and the dire necessity of the father.
The matrons who followed exclaim, "Was this the condition of rearing children? were these the rewards of chastity?" and other things which female grief on such occasions suggests, when their complaints are so much the more affecting, in proportion as (their grief) is more intense from the natural tenderness of their minds. The voice of the men, and more especially of Icilius, entirely turned on the tribunitian power, on the right of appeal to the people which had been taken from them, and on the indignities thrown upon the state.
49. The multitude was excited partly by the atrocious nature of the deed, partly by the hope of recovering their liberty through a favorable opportunity. Appius now orders Icilius to be summoned before him, now on refusing to come to be seized; at length, when an opportunity of approaching him was not afforded to the beadles, he himself proceeding through the crowd with a body of young patricians, orders him to be taken into confinement. Now not only the multitude, but Lucius Valerius and Marcus Horatius, the leaders of the multitude, stood around Icilius: who, having repulsed the lictor, stated, that "if he meant to proceed by law, they would protect Icilius from one who was but a private citizen; if he desired to employ force, that they would be no bad match for him even then." Hence arises a furious scuffle. The decemvir's lictor attacks Valerius and Horatius: the fasces are broken by the people. Appius ascends the tribunal; Horatius and Valerius follow him.
To them the assembly pays attention, they drown with clamor the voice of the decemvir. Now Valerius authoritatively ordered the lictors to depart from one who was but a private citizen: when Appius, whose spirits were now broken, being alarmed for his life, betook himself into a house in the vicinity of the forum, unknown to his enemies, with his head covered up. Spurius Oppius, in order to assist his colleague, rushes into the forum from the opposite side; he sees their authority overpowered by force. Distracted then by various counsels between which he wavered, by assenting to several advisers from every side, he eventually ordered the senate to be convened. Because the proceedings of the decemvirs seemed to be displeasing to the greater portion of the patricians, this step quieted the people with the hope that the government would be abolished through the senate. The senate gave their opinion that neither the commons should be exasperated, and much more that care should be taken that the arrival of Virginius should not occasion any commotion in the army.
50. Accordingly some of the junior patricians, being sent to the camp which was at that time on Mount Vecilius, announce to the decemvirs "that by every means in their power they should keep the soldiers from mutinying." Where Virginius occasioned greater commotion than he had left behind him in the city. For besides that he was seen coming with a body of near four hundred men, who, fired at the heinous enormity of the occurrence, had accompanied him from the city; the unsheathed weapon and himself besmeared with blood, attracted to him the entire camp; and the gowns seen in the different parts of the camp, had caused the number of people from the city to appear much greater than it really was. When they asked him what was the matter, in consequence of his weeping he uttered not a word. At length, as soon as the crowd of those running together became still, and silence took place, he related every thing in order as it occurred. Then extending his hands towards heaven, addressing his fellow soldiers, he begged of them, "not to impute to him that which was the crime of Appius, not to abhor him as the murderer of his children."
To him the life of his daughter was dearer than his own, if she had been allowed to live in freedom and chastity. When he beheld her dragged to prostitution as if a slave, thinking it better that his child should be lost by death than by dishonor, through compassion for her he fell into an appearance of cruelty. Nor would he have survived his daughter, had he not placed hope of avenging her death in the aid of his fellow soldiers. For that they too had daughters, sisters, and wives; nor was the lust of Appius Claudius extinguished with his daughter; but in proportion as it escaped with impunity, so much the more unbridled would it be. That in the calamities of others a warning was given to them to guard against a similar injury. That for his own part, his wife had been taken from him by fate; his daughter, because she no longer could live in chastity, died an unfortunate but honorable death; that there was no longer in his house an opportunity for Appius's lust; that from any other violence of his he would defend his person with the same spirit with which he vindicated that of his daughter. That others should take care of themselves and of their children. To Virginius, uttering these words in a loud voice, the multitude responded with a shout, "that they would not be backward, with respect either to his wrongs or their own liberty. And the gown-men mixing with the crowd of soldiers, both by narrating with sorrow those same circumstances, and by showing how much more shocking they must have appeared when seen than when merely heard, and also by telling them that matters were now desperate at Rome; those also who followed (the persons that accompanied Virginius from Rome) and alleged that Appius, having with difficulty escaped with life, had gone into exile; all these individuals so far influenced them that there was a general cry to arms, they snatched up their standards, and set out for Rome."
The decemvirs, being alarmed at the same time both by what they now saw, as well as by those things which they had heard had taken place at Rome, ran about to different parts of the camp to quell the commotion. Whilst they proceeded with mildness no answer was returned to them. If any of them attempted to exert authority over them, the answer given was, that "they were men and had arms." They go in a body to the city and post themselves on the Aventine; encouraging the commons, according as each person met them, to reassume their liberty, and elect tribunes of the people; no other violent expression was heard. Spurius Oppius holds a meeting of the senate; it is resolved that no harsh proceedings should be adopted, as occasion for the sedition had been given by themselves. Three men of consular rank, Spurius Tarpeius, Caius Julius, Publius Sulpicius, are sent as ambassadors, to inquire, in the name of the senate, by whose orders they had deserted the camp? or what they intended in posting themselves on the Aventine in arms, and in turning away their arms from the enemy and taking their own country? They were at no loss for an answer; they wanted some one to give the answer, there being as yet no certain leader, and individuals not being forward enough to expose themselves to the invidious office. The multitude only called out with one voice, that they should send Lucius Valerius and Marcus Horatius to them: that to them they would give their answer.
51. The ambassadors being dismissed, Virginius reminds the soldiers "that a little time before they had been embarrassed in a matter of no very great difficulty, because the multitude was without a head; and that the answer given, though not inexpedient, was the result rather of an accidental concurrence than of a concerted plan. His opinion was, that ten persons be elected, who should preside in the management of their affairs, and, in the style of military dignity, that they should be called tribunes of the soldiers." When that honor was offered to himself in the first instance, he replied, "Reserve for an occasion more favorable to you and to me those your kind opinions of me. My daughter being unavenged, neither allows any honor to be satisfactory to me, nor in the disturbed state of things is it useful that those should be at your head who are most obnoxious to party malice. If there will be any use of me, such use will be derived not in a less degree from me in a private station." They then elect military tribunes ten in number.
Nor was the army among the Sabines inactive. There also, at the instance of Icilius and Numitorius, a secession from the decemvirs took place, the commotion of men's minds on recollecting the murder of Siccius being not less than that, which the recent account of the barbarous attempt made on the maiden to gratify lust had enkindled. When Icilius heard that tribunes of the soldiers were elected on Mount Aventine, lest the election-assembly in the city might follow the precedent of the military assembly, by electing the same persons tribunes of the commons, being well versed in popular intrigues and having an eye to that office, he also takes care, before they proceeded to the city, that the same number be elected by his own party with an equal power. They entered the city through the Colline gate in military array, and proceeded in a body to the Aventine through the middle of the city. There, joined to the other army, they commissioned the twenty tribunes of the soldiers to select two out of their number, who should hold the command in chief. They choose Marcus Oppius and Sextus Manilius. The patricians, alarmed for the general safety, though there was a meeting every day, waste the time in wrangling more frequently than in deliberation.
The murder of Siccius, the lust of Appius, and the disgraces incurred in war were urged as charges against the decemvirs. It was resolved that Valerius and Horatius should proceed to the Aventine. They refused to go on any other conditions, than that the decemvirs should lay down the badges of that office, which had expired the year before. The decemvirs, complaining that they were now being degraded, stated that they would not resign their office, until those laws were passed on account of which they had been appointed.
52. The people being informed through Marcus Duilius, who had been tribune of the people, that by reason of their continual contentions no business was transacted, passes from the Aventine to the Sacred mount; Duilius affirming that serious concern for business would not enter the minds of the patricians, until they saw the city deserted. That the Sacred mount would remind them of the people's firmness; that they would then know, that matters could not be restored to concord without the restoration of (the tribunitian) power. Having set out along the Nomentan way, which was then called the Ficulnean, they pitched their camp on the Sacred mount, imitating the moderation of their fathers by committing no violence. The commons followed the army, no one whose age would permit him declining to go. Their wives and children attended their steps, piteously asking to whom would they leave them, in a city in which neither chastity nor liberty were respected?
When the unusual solitude rendered every place in Rome void; when there was in the forum no one but a few old men; when, the patricians being convened into the senate, the forum appeared deserted; more now besides Horatius and Valerius began to exclaim, "What will ye now wait for, conscript fathers? If the decemvirs do not put an end to their obstinacy, will ye suffer all things to go to wreck and ruin? What power is that, decemvirs, which ye embrace and hold so firmly? do you mean to administer justice to walls and mere houses? Are you not ashamed that an almost greater number of your lictors is to be seen in the forum than of the other citizens? What are ye to do, in case the enemy should approach the city? What, if the commons should come presently in arms, if we seem not to be moved by their secession? do you mean to conclude your power by the fall of the city? But (the case is this,) either we must not have the commons, or they must have their tribunes.
"We would sooner dispense with our patrician magistrates, than they with their plebeian. That power, when new and untried, they wrested from our fathers; much less will they, now that they have tested the sweets of it, endure its loss: more especially since we make not a moderate use of our power, so that they may not stand in need of (tribunitian) aid." When these arguments were thrown out from every quarter, the decemvirs, overpowered by the united opinions of all, declare that, since such seems to be the feeling, they would submit to the authority of the patricians. All they ask is, that they may be protected from popular rage; they give a warning, that they should not through shedding their blood habituate the people to inflict punishment on the patricians.
53. Then Valerius and Horatius, having been sent to bring back the people on such terms as might seem fit, and to adjust all differences, are directed to make provision also for the decemvirs from the resentment and violence of the multitude. They set forward and are received into the camp with great joy by the people, as being their liberators beyond all doubt, both at the commencement of the disturbance and at the termination of the matter. In consideration of these things, thanks were returned to them on their arrival. Icilius speaks in the name of the people. When the terms came to be considered, the ambassadors inquiring what were the demands of the people, the same individual, having already concerted the plan before the arrival of the ambassadors, stated demands of such a nature, that it became evident, that more hope was placed in the justice of their case than in arms. For they demanded back the tribunitian office and the right of appeal, which, before the appointment of decemvirs, had been the props of the people, and that it should not be visited with injury to any one, to have instigated the soldiers or the commons to seek back their liberty by a secession.
Concerning the punishment only of the decemvirs was their demand immoderate; for they thought it but just that they should be delivered up to them; and they threatened that they would burn them alive. In answer the ambassadors say, the demands which have been the result of deliberation are so reasonable, that they should be voluntarily offered to you; for you seek them as safeguards to your liberty, not as means of licentious power to assail others. Your resentment we must rather pardon than indulge; seeing that from your hatred of cruelty ye rush into cruelty, and almost before you are free yourselves, you wish already to lord it over your enemies. Shall our state never enjoy rest from punishments, either of the patricians on the Roman commons, or of the commons on the patricians? you have occasion for a shield rather than for a sword. He is sufficiently and abundantly humble, who lives in a state on an equal footing, neither inflicting nor suffering injury. Moreover, "should you feel disposed to render yourselves formidable, when, having recovered your magistrates and laws, decisions on our lives and fortunes shall be in your hands; then you shall determine according to the merits of each case; now it is sufficient that your liberty be restored."
54. All permitting them to act just as they think proper, the ambassadors assure them that they would speedily return, having completed every matter. When they went and laid before the patricians the message of the commons, the other decemvirs, since, contrary to their own expectation, no mention was made of their punishment, raised no objection. Appius, being of a truculent disposition and a particular object of detestation, measuring the rancor of others towards him by his own towards them, says, "I am aware of the fate which hangs over me. I see that the contest against us is deferred, until our arms are delivered up to our adversaries. Blood must be offered up to popular rage. Not even do I demur to resign my decemvirate." A decree of the senate is then passed, "that the decemvirs should without delay resign their office; that Quintus Furius, chief pontiff, should hold an election of plebeian tribunes, and that the secession of the soldiers and commons should not be visited on any one."
These decrees being finished, the senate being dismissed, the decemvirs come forth into the assembly, and resign their office, to the great joy of all. News of this is carried to the commons. All the people remaining in the city escort the ambassadors. This crowd was met by another joyous body from the camp; they congratulate each other on the restoration of peace and concord to the state. The deputies address the assembly: "Be it advantageous, fortunate, and happy for you and the republic, return into your country to your household gods, your wives and children; but carry into the city the same modesty which you observed here, where, amid the consumption of so many matters necessary for so large a number of persons, no man's field has been injured. Go to the Aventine, whence ye set out. In that auspicious place, where ye took the first step towards liberty, ye shall elect tribunes of the people. The chief pontiff will be at hand to hold the elections."
Great was their assent and joy, as evinced in their approbation of every measure. They then hastily raise their standards, and having set out for Rome, vie in exultation with all they met. There, the chief pontiff holding the meeting for the elections, they elected as their tribunes of the people, first of all A. Virginius, then Lucius Icilius, and Publius Numitorius the uncle of Virginia, the advisers of the secession. Then Caius Sicinius, the offspring of him who is recorded to have been elected first tribune of the commons on the Sacred mount; and Marcus Duilius, who had passed through a distinguished tribuneship before the creation of the decemvirs, and was never wanting to the commons in their contests with the decemvirs. Marcus Titinius, Marcus Pomponius, Caius Apronius, Publius Villius, and Caius Oppius, were elected more from hope (entertained of them) than from any services (performed). When he entered on his tribuneship, Lucius Icilius proposed to the commons, and the commons ordered, that the secession from the decemvirs which had taken place should not prove detrimental to any individual. Immediately after Duilius carried a proposition for electing consuls, with right of appeal. All these things were transacted in an assembly of the commons in the Flaminian meadows, which they now call the Flaminian circus.
55. Then through an interrex Lucius Valerius and Marcus Horatius were elected consuls, who immediately entered on their office; whose consulship was popular without any actual injury to the patricians, though not without their displeasure; for whatever provision was made for securing the liberty of the commons, that they considered to be a diminution made in their own power. First of all, when it was as it were a point in controversy, whether patricians were bound by regulations enacted in an assembly of the commons, they proposed a law in the assembly of the centuries, that whatever the commons ordered collectively, should bind the entire people; by which law a most keen-edged weapon was given to motions introduced by tribunes. Then another law made by a consul concerning the right of appeal, a singular security to liberty, and subverted by the decemviral power, they not only restore, but guard it also for the time to come, by enacting a new law, "that no one should appoint any magistrate without a right of appeal; if any person should so elect, it would be lawful and right that he be put to death; and that such killing should not be deemed a capital offense."
And when they had sufficiently secured the commons by the right of appeal on the one hand, by tribunitian aid on the other, they renewed for the tribunes themselves (the privilege) that they should be held sacred and inviolable, the memory of which matter had now been almost lost, reviving certain ceremonies which had been long disused; and they rendered them inviolable both by the religious institution, as well as by a law, enacting, that "whoever should offer injury to tribunes of the people, ædiles, judges, decemvirs, his person should be devoted to Jupiter, and his property be sold at the temple of Ceres, Liber and Libera." Commentators deny that any person is by this law sacrosanct; but that he who may do an injury to any of them, is deemed to be devoted; therefore that an ædile may be arrested and carried to prison by superior magistrates, which, though it be not expressly warranted by law, for an injury is done to a person to whom it is not lawful to do an injury according to this law, yet it is a proof that an ædile is not considered as sacred; that the tribunes were sacred and inviolable by an ancient oath of the commons, when first they created that office.
There have been persons who supposed that by this same Horatian law provision was made for the consuls also and the prætors, because they were elected under the same auspices as the consuls; for that a consul was called a judge. Which interpretation is refuted, because at this time it was not yet the custom for the consul to be styled judge, but the prætor. These were the laws proposed by the consuls. It was also regulated by the same consuls, that decrees of the senate should be deposited with the ædiles of the commons in the temple of Ceres; which before that used to be suppressed and altered at the pleasure of the consuls. Marcus Duilius then, tribune of the commons, proposed to the people, and the people ordered, that "whoever left the people without tribunes, and whoever caused a magistrate to be elected without the right of appeal, should be punished with stripes and beheaded." All these matters, though against the feelings of the patricians, passed off without opposition from them, because no severity was aimed at any particular individual.
56. Then both the tribunitian power and the liberty of the commons being firmly established, the tribunes now deeming it both safe and seasonable to attack individuals, single out Virginius as the first prosecutor and Appius as defendant. When Virginius appointed a day for Appius, and Appius came down to the forum, accompanied by some young patricians, the memory of his most profligate exercise of power was instantly revived in the minds of all, as soon as they beheld himself and his satellites. Then Virginius says, "Long speeches have been invented for matters of a doubtful nature. Accordingly I shall neither waste time in dwelling on the guilt of this man before you, from whose cruelty ye have rescued yourselves by force of arms, nor shall I suffer him to add impudence to his other enormous crimes in defending himself. Wherefore, Appius Claudius, I remit to you the accumulated impious and nefarious deeds you have had the effrontery to commit for the last two years; with respect to one charge only, unless you will appoint a judge, (and prove) that you have not, contrary to the laws, sentenced a free person to be a slave, I order that you be taken into custody." Neither in the aid of the tribunes, nor in the judgment of the people, could Appius place any hope: still he both appealed to the tribunes, and, when no one regarded him, being seized by the bailiff, he exclaims, "I appeal."
The hearing of this one expression, that safeguard of liberty, uttered from that mouth by which a free citizen was so recently consigned to slavery, occasioned general silence. And, whilst they observe to each other, that "at length there are gods, and that they do not disregard human affairs; and that punishments await tyranny and cruelty, which, though late, are still by no means light; that he now appealed, who had abolished all right of appeal; and that he implored the protection of the people, who had trampled down all the rights of the people; and that he was dragged off to prison, destitute of the rights of liberty, who had doomed a free person to slavery." Amid the murmurs of the assembly, the voice of Appius was heard imploring the protection of the Roman people. He enumerated the services of his ancestors to the state, at home and abroad; his own unfortunate zeal towards the Roman commons; that he had resigned the consulship, to the great displeasure of the patricians, for the purpose of equalizing the laws; (he then mentioned) his laws; which, though they still remained in force, the framer of them was dragged to a prison. But the peculiar advantages and disadvantages of his case he would then make trial of, when an opportunity would be afforded him of stating his defense.
At present, he, a Roman citizen, demanded, by the common right of citizenship, that he be allowed to speak on the day appointed, and to appeal to the judgment of the Roman people. That he did not dread popular rage so much as not to place any hope in the equity and compassion of his fellow citizens. But if he were led to prison without being heard, that he once more appealed to the tribunes of the people, and warned them not to imitate those whom they hated. But if the tribunes acknowledge themselves bound in the same confederacy for abolishing the right of appeal, which they charged the decemvirs with having formed, then he appealed to the people: he implored the benefit of the laws passed that very year, both by the consuls and tribunes, regarding the right of appeal. For who would appeal, if this were not allowed a person as yet uncondemned, whose case has not been heard? what plebeian and humble individual would find protection in the laws, if Appius Claudius could not? that he would afford a proof, whether tyranny or liberty was established by the new laws; and whether the right of appeal and of challenge against the injustice of magistrates was only held out in empty words, or effectually granted.
57. Virginius, on the other hand, affirmed that Appius Claudius was the only person not entitled to a participation in the laws, nor in civil or human society. That men should look to the tribunal, the fortress of all villainies; where that perpetual decemvir, venting his fury on the properties, backs, and blood of the citizens, threatening all with his rods and axes, a despiser of gods and men, attended with executioners, not lictors, changing his mind from rapine and murder to lust, before the eyes of the Roman people, tore a free-born maiden, as if a prisoner of war, from the embraces of her father, and gave her as a present to a dependant, the pander to his secret pleasures. Where by a cruel decree, and by a most villainous decision, he armed the right hand of the father against the daughter: where he ordered the spouse and uncle, on their raising the lifeless body of the girl, to be taken off to a prison; moved more at the interruption to his sensual gratification than at her untimely death. That the prison was built for him also, which he used to call the domicile of the Roman commons. Wherefore, though he may appeal again and oftener, he would as frequently refer him to a judge, on the charge of having sentenced a free person to slavery; if he would not go before a judge, that he ordered him to be taken to prison as one condemned.
He was thrown into prison, and though without the disapprobation of any individual, yet not without considerable emotions of the public mind, when, in consequence of the punishment of so distinguished a man, their own liberty began to appear to the commons themselves as excessive. The tribune deferred the day of trial. Whilst these matters are going on, ambassadors from the Hernicians and Latins came to Rome to present their congratulations on the harmony subsisting between the patricians and commons; and as an offering on that account to Jupiter, the best and greatest, they brought into the Capitol a golden crown, of small weight, as riches at that time did not abound, and the duties of religion were performed rather with piety than magnificence.
From the same source it was ascertained that the Æquans and Volscians were preparing for war with the utmost energy. The consuls were therefore ordered to divide the provinces between them. The Sabines fell to the lot of Horatius, the Æquans and Volscians to that of Valerius. On their proclaiming a levy for these wars, through the good wishes of the commons, not only the younger men, but of those who had served out their time, a considerable portion as volunteers, attended to give in their names: and hence the army was stronger not only by the number, but also by the kind of soldiers, veterans being mixed with them. Before they marched out of the city, they engraved on brass, and fixed up in public view, the decemviral laws, which have received the name of "the twelve tables." There are some who state that the ædiles discharged that office by order of the tribunes.
58. Caius Claudius, who, detesting the crimes of the decemvirs and, above all, incensed at the arrogant conduct of his brother's son, had retired to Regillum, the country of his forefathers, having returned, though now advanced in years, to deprecate the dangers impending over that man, whose vices he had shunned, now clad in a mourning garment, with the members of his family and his clients, went about the forum, and solicited the interest of the citizens individually, "That they would not cast such a stain on the Claudian family, as to consider them deserving of imprisonment and chains; that a man whose image would be most highly honored with posterity, the framer of their laws and the founder of Roman jurisprudence, lay in chains amongst nightly thieves and robbers. (He begged) that they would turn away their minds from resentment for a while to examination and reflection; and rather pardon one at the intercession of so many members of the Claudian family, than through a hatred of one spurn the entreaties of many; that he himself also paid this tribute to the family and the name; nor had he been reconciled to him, whose unfortunate situation he wished to relieve; that by fortitude liberty had been recovered; by clemency the harmony of the several orders might be established."
Some there were whom he influenced more by his warm attachment to his family than for the sake of him for whom he interceded. But Virginius begged that "they would rather pity him and his daughter; and that they would listen to the entreaties, not of the Claudian family, which had assumed a sort of sovereignty over the commons, but those of the near friends of Virginia and of the three tribunes; who having been created for the aid of the commons, were now themselves imploring the protection and aid of the commons." These tears appeared more just. Accordingly, all hope being cut off, Appius put a period to his life, before the day arrived appointed for his trial. Soon after, Spurius Oppius, the next object of public indignation, as having been in the city when the unjust decision was given by his colleague, was arraigned by Publius Numitorius.
However, an act of injustice committed by Oppius brought more odium on him, than the not preventing one (in the case of Appius). A witness was brought forward, who, after reckoning up twenty campaigns, after having been particularly honored eight different times, and wearing these honors in the sight of the Roman people, tore open his garment and exhibited his back torn with stripes, asking no other conditions but "that, if the accused could name any one guilty act of his, he might, though a private individual, once more repeat his severity on him." Oppius was also thrown into prison, where he put a period to his life before the day of trial. The tribunes confiscated the property of Appius and Oppius. Their colleagues left their homes to go into exile; their property was confiscated. Marcus Claudius, the claimant of Virginia, being condemned on the day of his trial, was discharged and went away into exile to Tibur, Virginius himself remitting the penalty as far as it affected his life; and the shade of Virginia, more fortunate after death than when living, after having roamed through so many families in quest of vengeance, at length rested in peace, no guilty person being left unpunished.
59. Great alarm seized the patricians, and the countenances of the tribunes were now the same as those of the decemvirs had been, when Marcus Duilius, tribune of the people, having put a salutary check to their immoderate power, says, "There has been both enough of liberty on our own part, and of vengeance on our enemies; wherefore for this year I will neither suffer a day of trial to be appointed for any one, nor any person to be thrown into prison. For it is neither pleasing to me that old crimes now forgotten should be again brought forward, seeing that the recent ones have been atoned for by the punishment of the decemvirs; and the unremitting care of both the consuls in defending your liberties, is ample security that nothing will be committed which will call for tribunitian interference."
This moderation of the tribune first relieved the patricians from their fears, and at the same time increased their ill-will towards the consuls; for they had been so devoted to the commons, that even a plebeian magistrate took an earlier interest in the safety and liberty of the patricians, than one of patrician rank; and their enemies would have been surfeited with inflicting punishments on them, before the consuls, to all appearance, would have resisted their licentious career. And there were many who said that a want of firmness was shown, inasmuch as the fathers had given their approbation to the laws proposed; nor was there a doubt, but that in this troubled state of public affairs they had yielded to the times.
60. The business in the city being settled, and the rights of the commons being firmly established, the consuls departed to their respective provinces. Valerius prudently deferred all warlike operations against the armies of the Æquans and the Volscians, which had now formed a junction at Algidum. But if he had immediately committed the result to fortune, I know not but that, such were the feelings both of the Romans and of their enemies since the unfavorable auspices of the decemvirs, the contest would have stood them in a heavy loss. Having pitched his camp at the distance of a mile from the enemy, he kept his men quiet. The enemy filled the space lying between the two camps with their army in order of battle, and not a single Roman made them any answer when they challenged them to battle. At length, wearied from standing and from waiting in vain for a contest, the Æquans and Volscians, considering that the victory was in a manner conceded to them, go off, some to the Hernicians, some to the Latins, to commit depredations. There was left in the camp rather a garrison for its defense than sufficient force for a contest. When the consul perceived this, he retorted the terror previously occasioned to his men, and drawing up his troops in order of battle, he now in his turn provokes the enemy to fight. When they, from a feeling of the absence of their forces, declined battle, the courage of the Romans immediately increased, and they considered as vanquished those who stood panic-stricken within their rampart.
After having stood for the entire day prepared for the contest, they retired at night. And the Romans, now full of hope, set about refreshing themselves. The enemy, in by no means equal spirits, being now in trepidation, dispatch messengers in every direction to call back the plundering parties. Those in the nearest places return thence; those who were farther off were not found. When the day dawned, the Romans leave the camp, determining on assaulting the rampart unless an opportunity of fighting were afforded; and when the day was now far advanced, and no movement was made by the enemy, the consul orders them to advance; and the troops being put in motion, the Æquans and the Volscians became indignant, that victorious armies were to be defended by a rampart rather than by valor and arms. Wherefore they also earnestly demanded the signal for battle from their generals, and received it. And now half of them had got out of the gates, and the others in succession were observing order, marching down each to his own post, when the Roman consul, before the enemy's line could be drawn up, supported by their entire strength, advanced on them; and having attacked them before they were all as yet led forth, and when those who were so had not their ranks sufficiently arranged, he falls on the unsteady crowd of them, running in trepidation from one place to another, and throwing around their eyes on themselves and on their friends, a shout and violent onset adding to the already confused state of their minds. The enemy at first gave way; then, when they had rallied their spirits, and their generals on every side reprovingly asked them, whether they were about to yield to their vanquished foes, the battle was restored.
61. On the other side, the consul desired the Romans to remember that "on that day, for the first time, they fought as free men in defense of Rome, now a free city. That it was for themselves they were to conquer, and not that they should be the prize of the decemvirs, after conquering. That it was not under the command of Appius that the action was being conducted, but under their consul Valerius, descended from the liberators of the Roman people, himself too a liberator. That they should show that in former battles it had been the fault of the generals, and not of the soldiers, that they did not conquer. That it was shameful to have had more courage against their own countrymen than against their enemies, and to have dreaded slavery more at home than abroad. That Virginia was the only person whose chastity was in danger in time of peace: that Appius was the only citizen of dangerous lust. But if the fortune of war should turn against them, all their children would be in danger from so many thousands of enemies. That he would not, on account of the omen, mention things which may neither Jupiter nor their father Mars suffer to befall a city built under such auspices." He reminded them of the Aventine and the Sacred mount; and "that they should bring back dominion unimpaired to that spot, where their liberty had been established but a few months before: and that they should show that the Roman soldiers retained the same abilities after the expulsion of the decemvirs, which they had possessed before they were appointed; and that the valor of the Roman people was not deteriorated after the laws were equalized."
After he uttered these words among the battalions of the infantry, he flies from them to the cavalry. "Come, young men, surpass in valor the infantry, as you already surpass them in honor and in rank. The infantry at the first onset have made the enemy give way: now that they have given way, do you give reins to your horses and drive them from the field. They will not stand your charge: even now they rather hesitate than resist." They spur on their horses, and drive in amongst the enemy who were already thrown into confusion by the attack of the infantry; and having broken through the ranks, and pushed on to the rear of their line, a part wheeling round in the open space, turn most of them away from the camp to which they were now flying from all sides, and by riding on before they deter them from that direction. The line of infantry, and the consul himself, and the main body of the army make for the camp, and having taken it with considerable slaughter, they get possession of a great quantity of booty. The fame of this battle was carried not only to the city, but to the other army also among the Sabines.
In the city it was celebrated only with public rejoicing; in the camp it fired the courage of the soldiers to emulate such glory. Horatius, by training them in excursions, and making trial of them in slight skirmishes, had accustomed them to trust in themselves rather than to remember the ignominy incurred under the command of the decemvirs, and these little encounters had now gone so far as to insure to them the consummation of all their hopes. The Sabines, elated at their success on the preceding year, ceased not to provoke and urge them (to fight,) constantly asking them why they wasted time, sallying forth in small numbers and returning like marauders, and why they parcelled out the grand effort of a single war on a number of insignificant skirmishes? why did they not engage them in the field, and consign the result to fortune to be determined at once?
62. Besides that they had already of themselves recovered a sufficient degree of courage, the Romans were fired with exasperation "that the other army would soon return victorious to the city; that the enemy were now wantonly insulting them by contumelies; when would they be a match for the enemy, if they were not so then?" When the consul ascertained that the soldiers gave expression to these sentiments in the camp, having summoned an assembly: "How matters have gone on in Algidum," says he, "I suppose that you, soldiers, have already heard. As became the army of a free people to behave, so have they behaved: through the judicious conduct of my colleague and the valor of the soldiers, the victory has been gained. For my part, the plan and determination which I am to maintain, you yourselves shall suggest. The war may be both prolonged with advantage, and be brought to a speedy conclusion. If it is to be prolonged, I shall take care by the same discipline with which I have commenced, that your hopes and your valor may increase every day. If you have now sufficient courage, and it is your wish that the matter be decided, come on, raise here that shout such as you will raise in the field of battle, the index at once of your inclination and your valor." When the shout was raised with great alacrity, he assures them "that with the good favor of heaven, he would comply with their wishes and lead them next day to the field."
The remainder of the day is spent in preparing their arms. On the following day, as soon as the Sabines saw the Roman army being drawn up in order of battle, they too, as being long since eager for the encounter, come forward. The battle was such a one as may be expected between two armies confident in themselves, the one animated by the glory of former and uninterrupted glory, the other lately so by an unusual instance of success. The Sabines aided their strength by stratagem also; for having formed a line equal (to that of the enemy,) they kept two thousand men in reserve, to make an attack on the left wing of the Romans in the heat of the battle. When these, by an attack in flank, were overpowering that wing, now almost surrounded, about six hundred of the cavalry of two legions leap down from their horses, and rush forward in front of their men, now giving way; and they at the same time both oppose the progress of the enemy, and incite the courage of the infantry, first sharing the danger equally with them, and then by arousing in them a sense of shame. It was a matter of shame that the cavalry should fight in their own proper character and in that of others; and that the infantry should not be equal to the cavalry even when dismounted.
63. They press forward therefore to the fight, which had been suspended on their part, and endeavor to regain the ground which they had lost, and in a moment not only is the battle restored, but one of the wings of the Sabines gives way. The cavalry, covered between the ranks of the foot, return to their horses; they then gallop across to the other division to announce their success to their party; at the same time also they make a charge on the enemy, now disheartened by the discomfiture of their stronger wing. The valor of none shone more conspicuous in that battle. The consul provided for all emergencies; he applauded the brave, rebuked wherever the battle seemed to slacken. When reproved, they displayed immediately the energy of brave men; and a sense of shame stimulated them as much as praises excited the others. The shout being raised anew, and making a united effort, they drive the enemy back; nor could the Roman power be any longer resisted. The Sabines, driven in every direction through the country, leave behind them their camp as plunder for the enemy. There the Roman recovers the effects not of the allies, as at Algidum, but his own property, which had been lost by the devastations of their lands. For this double victory, obtained in two battles, in two different places, the senate through jealousy decreed merely supplications in the name of the consuls for one day only.
The people went, however, on the second day also in great numbers of their own accord to offer thanksgiving; and this unauthorized and popular supplication was even more zealously attended. The consuls by concert came to the city within the same two days, and called out the senate to the Campus Martius. Where, when they were relating the services performed by themselves, the chiefs of the patricians complained that the senate was convened among the soldiers designedly for the purpose of intimidation. The consuls therefore, lest there might be any foundation for such a charge, called away the senate to the Flaminian meadows, where the temple of Apollo now is (even then they called it Apollinaris). Where, when a triumph was refused by a large majority of the patricians, Lucius Icilius, tribune of the commons, proposed to the people regarding the triumph of the consuls, many persons coming forward to argue against the measure, but in particular Caius Claudius, exclaiming, "That it was over the senate, not over the enemy, the consuls wished to triumph; and that it was intended as a return for a private service to a tribune, and not as an honor due to valor. That never before was the matter of a triumph managed through the people; but that the consideration concerning the honor and the disposal of it, always lay with the senate; that not even the kings had infringed on the majesty of this highest order. That the tribunes should not thus occupy every department with their own authority, so as to allow the existence of no public council; that the state would be free, and the laws equalized by these means only, if each rank would retain its own rights, its own dignity." Though much had been said by the other senior patricians also to the same purpose, all the tribes approved that proposition. Then for the first time a triumph was celebrated by order of the people, without the authority of the senate.
64. This victory of the tribunes and people was well nigh terminating in an extravagance of a by no means salutary tendency, a conspiracy being formed among the tribunes to have the same tribunes re-elected, and in order that their ambition might be the less conspicuous, to continue their office to the consuls. They pleaded, as a cause, the combination of the patricians by which the privileges of the commons were attempted to be undermined by the affronts thrown upon the consuls. What would be the consequence, before the laws are yet firmly established, if consuls should through their factions attack the new tribunes. For that Horatii and Valerii would not always be consuls, who would postpone their own interest to the liberty of the people. By some concurrence of circumstances, useful at the time, it fell by lot to Marcus Duilius above any one else to preside at the elections, a man of prudence, and who perceived the storm of public odium that was hanging over them from the continuance of their office.
And when he stated that he would take no notice of the former tribunes, and his colleagues strenuously insisted that he should allow the tribes to be at liberty to vote, or should give up the office of presiding at the elections to his colleagues, who would hold the election according to law rather than according to the pleasure of the patricians; a contention being now excited, when Duilius had sent for the consuls to his seat and asked them what they contemplated doing with respect to the consular elections, and they answered that they would appoint new consuls, having found popular supporters of a measure by no means popular, he proceeded with them into the assembly. Where, when the consuls, being brought forward before the people, and asked, whether if the Roman people, mindful of their liberty recovered at home through them, mindful also of their military services, should again elect them consuls, what they would do, made no change in their sentiments; he held the election, after eulogizing the consuls, because they persevered to the last in being unlike the decemvirs; and five tribunes of the people being elected, when, through the zealous exertions of the nine tribunes who openly pushed their canvass, the other candidates could not make up the required number of tribes, he dismissed the assembly; nor did he hold one after for the purpose of an election.
He said that he had fulfilled the law, which without any where specifying the number of tribunes, only enacted that tribunes should be left; and recommended that colleagues be chosen by those who had been elected. And he recited the terms of the law, in which (it is said,) "If I shall propose ten tribunes of the commons, if you elect this day less than ten tribunes of the people, then that those whom they may have chosen as colleagues for themselves be legitimate tribunes of the people, by the same law as those whom you have this day elected tribunes of the people." When Duilius persevered to the last, stating that the republic could not have fifteen tribunes of the people, after baffling the ambition of his colleagues, he resigned his office, being equally approved by the patricians and people.
65. The new tribunes of the people in electing their colleagues evinced a disposition to gratify the wishes of the patricians; they even elected two who were patricians, and even consulars, Spurius Tarpeius and Aulus Aterius. The consuls then elected, Largius Herminius, Titus Virginius Cælimontanus not very much inclined to the cause either of the patricians or commons, had perfect tranquillity both at home and abroad. Lucius Trebonius, tribune of the commons, incensed against the patricians, because, as he said, he was imposed on by them in the affair of choosing colleagues, and betrayed by his colleagues, carried a proposal, "that whoever took the votes of the commons in electing tribunes of the people, he should go on taking the votes, until he elected ten tribunes of the people;" and he spent his tribuneship in worrying the patricians, whence the cognomen of Asper was given him. Next Marcus Geganius Macerinus, and Caius Julius, being elected consuls, quieted some combinations of the tribunes against the youth of the nobility, without any harsh proceeding against that power, and still preserving the dignity of the patricians; by proclaiming a levy for the war against the Volscians and Æquans, they kept the people from riots by keeping matters in abeyance; affirming, that every thing was quiet abroad, there being harmony in the city, and that through civil discord the enemies assumed new courage.
Their anxiety for peace was also the cause of concord at home. But each of the orders ever took advantage of moderation in the other. Acts of injustice began to be committed by the younger patricians on the commons when perfectly quiet. When the tribunes would assist the weaker party, at first it was of little use; then not even themselves escaped being ill-treated; particularly in the latter months, when injustice was committed through the combinations among the more powerful, and the vigor of every magistracy becomes considerably more lax in the latter part of the year; and now the commons placed hopes in the tribuneship, only on the condition that they had tribunes like Icilius; that for the last two years they had had only mere names. On the other hand, the elder members of the patrician order, though they considered their young men to be too overbearing, yet would rather, if bounds were to be exceeded, that a redundancy of spirit should exist in their own order than in their adversaries. So difficult a thing is moderation in maintaining liberty, whilst by pretending to desire equalization, every person raises himself in such a manner as to depress another; and men, by their very precautions against fear, cause themselves to become objects of dread; and we saddle on others injustice thrown off from ourselves, as if it were actually necessary either to commit injustice or to submit to it.
66. Titus Quintius Capitolinus, for the fourth time, and Agrippa Furius being then elected consuls, found neither disturbance at home nor war abroad; both, however, were impending. The discord of the citizens could now no longer be checked, both tribunes and commons being exasperated against the patricians, when a day of trial being appointed for any of the nobility always embroiled the assemblies with new contests. On the first noise of which the Æquans and Volscians, as if they had received a signal, took up arms; at the same time because their leaders, desirous of plunder, had persuaded them that the levy proclaimed two years previously could not be proceeded with, the commons now refusing obedience; that on that account no armies were sent against them; that military discipline was subverted by licentiousness; and that Rome was no longer considered as their common country; that whatever resentment and animosity they may have entertained against foreigners, was now turned against each other; that now an occasion offered for destroying those wolves blinded by intestine rage. Having united their forces, they first laid waste the Latin territory: when no resistance was found there, then indeed, to the great exultation of the advisers of the war, they approached the very walls of Rome, carrying their depredations into the district around the Esquiline gate, pointing out to the city the devastation of the land by way of insult. Whence when they marched back to Corbio unmolested, and driving the prey before them, Quintius the consul summoned the people to an assembly.
67. There I find that he spoke to this purport: "Though I am conscious to myself of no fault, Romans, yet with the greatest shame I have come forward to your assembly. That you should know this; that this should be handed down on record to posterity, that the Æquans and Volscians, a short time since scarcely a match for the Hernicians, have with impunity come with arms in their hands to the walls of Rome, in the fourth consulate of Titus Quintius. Had I known that this ignominy was reserved for this particular year, (though we are now long living in such a manner, such is the state of affairs, that my mind could augur nothing good,) I would have avoided this honor either by exile or by death, if there were no other means of escaping it. Then if men of courage had those arms, which were at our gates, could Rome be taken in my consulate? I have had sufficient honors, enough and more than enough of life: I should have died in my third consulate. Whom did these most dastardly enemies despise? us, consuls, or you, citizens?
"If the fault is in us, take away the command from us as unworthy persons; and if that is insufficient, further inflict punishment on us. If in you, may there be none of gods or men who will punish your offenses; do you only repent of them. It is not your cowardice they have despised, nor their own valor they have confided in; for having been so often routed and put to flight, stripped of their camp, amerced in their land, sent under the yoke, they know both themselves and you. The discord among the several orders is the bane of this city; the contests of the patricians and commons have raised their spirits; whilst we have neither bounds in the pursuit of power, nor you in that of liberty, whilst you are tired of patrician, these of plebeian magistrates. In the name of heaven, what would ye have? You coveted tribunes of the commons; we conceded them for the sake of concord. Ye longed for decemvirs; we suffered them to be created. Ye became weary of decemvirs; we compelled them to resign the office. Your resentment against these same persons when they became private citizens still continuing, we suffered men of the highest families and rank to die or go into exile.
"Ye wished again to create tribunes of the commons; ye created them. Though we saw that it was unjust to the patricians to create consuls in your own interest, we have even seen a patrician magistracy conceded as an offering to the people. The aid of tribunes, right of appeal to the people, the acts of the commons made binding on the patricians under the pretext of equalizing the laws, the subversion of our privileges, we have borne and still bear. What termination is there to be to our dissensions? when shall it be allowed us to have a united city? when to have one common country? When defeated we submit with more resignation than you when victorious. Is it enough for you, that you are objects of terror to us? The Aventine is taken against us; against us the Sacred mount is seized. When the Esquiliæ is almost taken by the enemy, and when the Volscian foe is scaling your rampart, there is no one to dislodge him: against us ye are men, against us ye take up arms.
68. "Come, when ye have blockaded the senate-house here, and have made the forum the seat of war, and filled the prison with the leading men of the state, march forth through the Esquiline gate, with that same determined spirit; or if ye do not even venture thus far, behold from your walls the lands laid waste with fire and sword, booty driven off, the houses set on fire in every direction and smoking. But (I may be told) it is the public weal that is in a worse condition through these results: the land is burned, the city is besieged, all the glory of the war is centered in the enemy. What in the name of heaven? in what state is your own private interest? just now his own private losses were announced to each of you from the lands. What, pray, is there at home, whence you may recruit them? Will the tribunes restore and compensate you for what ye have lost? Of sound and words they will heap on you as much as ye please, and of charges against the leading men, and laws one upon another, and of public meetings.
But from these meetings never has one of you returned home more increased in substance or in fortune. Has any one ever brought back to his wife and children aught save hatred, quarrels, grudges public and private? from which (and their effects) you have been ever protected, not by your own valor and integrity, but by the aid of others. But, when you served under the guidance of us consuls, not under your tribunes, and the enemy trembled at your shout in the field of battle, not the Roman patricians in the assembly, booty being obtained, land taken from the enemy, with a plentiful stock of wealth and glory, both public and private, you used to return home to your household gods in triumph: now you allow the enemy to go off laden with your property. Continue immovably tied to your assemblies, live in the forum; the necessity of taking the field, which ye avoid, still follows you. Was it too hard on you to march against the Æquans and the Volscians? The war is at your gates: if it is not repelled from thence, it will soon be within your walls, and will scale the citadel and Capitol, and follow you into your very houses. Two years ago the senate ordered a levy to be held, and the army to march to Algidum; yet we sit down listless at home, quarrelling with each other like women; delighting in present peace, and not seeing that after that short-lived intermission complicated wars are sure to return.
That there are other topics more pleasing than these, I well know; but even though my own mind did not prompt me to it, necessity obliges me to speak that which is true instead of that which is pleasing. I would indeed be anxious to please you, Romans; but I am much more anxious that ye should be preserved, whatever sentiments ye shall entertain towards me. It has been so ordained by nature, that he who addresses a multitude for his own private interest, is more pleasing than the man whose mind has nothing in view but the public interest. Unless perhaps you suppose that those public sycophants, those flatterers of the commons, who neither suffer you to take up arms nor to live in peace, incite and work you up for your own interests. When excited, you are to them sources either of honor or of profit: and because, during concord between the several orders, they see that themselves are of no importance on any side, they wish to be leaders of a bad cause rather than of no cause whatever, of tumults, and of sedition. Of which state of things, if a tedium can at length enter your minds, and if ye are willing to resume the modes of acting practiced by your forefathers, and formerly by yourselves, I submit to any punishment, if I do not rout and put to flight, and strip of their camp, those ravagers of our lands, and transfer from our gates and walls to their cities this terror of war, by which you are now thrown into consternation."
69. Scarcely ever was the speech of a popular tribune more acceptable to the commons, than was this of a most strict consul on that occasion. The young men also, who during such alarming emergencies had been accustomed to employ the refusal to enlist as the sharpest weapon against the patricians, began to direct their thoughts to war and arms: and the flight of the rustics, and those who had been robbed on the lands and wounded, announcing matters more revolting even than what was exhibited to view, filled the whole city with a spirit of vengeance. When the senate assembled, these all turning to Quintius, looked on him as the only champion of Roman majesty; and the leading senators declared "his harangue to be worthy of the consular authority, worthy of so many consulships formerly borne by him, worthy of his whole life, which was full of honors frequently enjoyed, more frequently deserved. That other consuls had either flattered the commons by betraying the dignity of the patricians, or by harshly maintaining the rights of their order, had rendered the multitude more difficult to subdue: that Titus Quintius had delivered a speech mindful of the dignity of the patricians, of the concord of the different orders, and above all, of the times. They entreated him and his colleague to take up the interest of the commonwealth; they entreated the tribunes, that by acting in concert with the consuls they would join in repelling the war from the city and the walls, and that they would induce the commons to be obedient to the senate in so perilous a conjuncture: that, their lands being devastated, and their city in a manner besieged, their common country appealed to them as tribunes, and implored their aid."
By universal consent the levy is decreed and held. When the consuls gave public notice "that there was no time for examining into excuses, that all the young men should attend on the following morning at the first dawn in the Campus Martius; that when the war was over, they should afford time for inquiring into the excuses of those who had not given in their names; that the man should be held as a deserter, with whose excuse they might not be satisfied;" the entire youth attended on the following day. The cohorts chose each their centurions: two senators were placed at the head of each cohort. We have heard that all these measures were perfected with such expedition, that the standards, having been brought forth from the treasury on that very day by the quæstors and conveyed to the Campus, began to move from thence at the fourth hour; and the newly raised army halted at the tenth stone, followed by a few cohorts of veteran soldiers as volunteers. The following day brought the enemy within view, and camp was joined to camp near Corbio. On the third day, when resentment urged on the Romans, a consciousness of guilt for having so often rebelled, and despair (of pardon) urged them on the other side, there was no delay made in coming to an engagement.
70. In the Roman army, though the two consuls were invested with equal authority, the supreme command was by the concession of Agrippa resigned to his colleague, a thing which is most salutary in the management of matters of great importance; and he who was preferred politely responded to the ready condescension of him who lowered himself, by communicating to him all his measures and sharing with him his honors, and by equalizing himself to him no longer his equal. On the field of battle Quintius commanded the right, Agrippa the left wing; the command of the central line is entrusted to Spurius Postumius Albus, as lieutenant-general. Servius Sulpicius, the other lieutenant-general, they place over the cavalry. The infantry on the right wing fought with distinguished valor, with stout resistance from the Volscians. Servius Sulpicius broke with his cavalry through the center of the enemy's line; whence though he might have returned in the same way to his own party, before the enemy could have restored their broken ranks, it seemed more advisable to attack the enemy's rear, and by attacking the rear he would in a moment have dispersed the enemy by the twofold attack, had not the cavalry of the Volscians and Æquans intercepted him and kept him engaged by a mode of fighting similar to his own. Then indeed Sulpicius asserted that "there was no time for delaying," crying out that "they were surrounded and cut off from their own friends, unless they united all their efforts and dispatched the engagement with the cavalry. Nor was it enough to rout the enemy without disabling them; that they should slay horses and men, lest any might return to the fight or renew the battle; that they could not resist them, before whom a compact body of infantry had given way."
His orders were addressed to by no means deaf ears; by one charge they routed the entire cavalry, dismounted great numbers, and killed with their javelins both the men and the horses. This put a termination to the battle with the cavalry. Then attacking the enemy's line, they send an account to the consuls of what they had done, where the enemy's line was now giving way. The news both gave new spirits to the Romans who were now conquering, and dismayed the Æquans as they were beginning to give way. They first began to be beaten in the center, where the charge of the cavalry had broken their ranks. Then the left wing began to lose ground before the consul Quintius; there was most difficulty on the right. Then Agrippa, buoyed up by youth and vigor, on seeing matters going more favorably in every part of the battle than in his own quarter, took some of the standards from the standard-bearers and carried them on himself, some even he began to throw into the thick of the enemy. The soldiers, urged on by the fear of this disgrace, attacked the enemy; thus the victory was equalized in every quarter. News then came from Quintius that he, being now victorious, was about to attack the enemy's camp; that he was unwilling to break into it before he learned that they were beaten in the left wing also. If he had routed the enemy, that he should now join him, that all the army together might take possession of the booty.
Agrippa being victorious came with mutual congratulations to his victorious colleague and to the enemy's camp. There being but few to defend it, and these being routed in a moment, they break into the fortifications without a struggle; and they march back the army after it obtained a large share of spoil, having recovered also their own effects, which had been lost by the devastation of the lands. I have not ascertained that either they themselves demanded a triumph, nor that such was conferred on them by the senate; nor is any cause assigned for the honor being either overlooked or not hoped for. As far as I can conjecture at so great a distance of time, when a triumph had been refused to the consuls Horatius and Valerius, who, in addition to the Æquans and Volscians, had gained the glory of finishing the Sabine war, the consuls were ashamed to demand a triumph for one half of the services done by them; lest if they even should obtain it, regard of persons rather than of merit might appear to have been entertained.
71. A disgraceful decision of the people regarding the boundaries of their allies disgraced the honorable victory obtained over their enemies. The states of Aricia and of Ardea, having frequently contended in arms concerning a disputed piece of land, and being wearied out by many mutual losses, appointed the Roman people as arbitrators. When they came to support their claims, an assembly of the people being granted them by the magistrates, a debate ensued conducted with great warmth. And the witnesses being now produced, when the tribes were to be called, and the people were to give their votes, Publius Scaptius, a plebeian advanced in years, rises up and says; "Consuls, if it is permitted me to speak on the public interest, I will not suffer the people to be led into a mistake in this matter." When the consuls said that he, as unworthy of attention, was not to be heard and, on his exclaiming "that the public interest was being betrayed," ordered him to be put aside, he appeals to the tribunes.
The tribunes, as they are always directed by the multitude, rather than they direct them, indulged the people, who were anxious to hear him, in granting Scaptius leave to say what he pleased. He then commences: "That he was in his eighty-third year, and that he had served in that district which was now in dispute, not even then a young man as he was serving his twentieth campaign, when operations were going on at Corioli. He therefore adduced a fact forgotten by length of time, but one deeply fixed in his own memory: the district now in dispute had belonged to the territory of Corioli, and after the taking of Corioli, it became by right of war the public property of the Roman people. That he was surprised how the states of Ardea and Aricia should hope to intercept from the Roman people, whom from being the right owners they made arbitrators, a district the right to which they never claimed whilst the state of Corioli subsisted. That he for his part had but a short time to live; he could not however bring himself, old as he now was, to decline claiming by his voice, the only means he now had, a district which, as a soldier, he had contributed to acquire, as far as an individual could. That he strenuously advised the people not to damn their own interest by an improper feeling of delicacy."
72. The consuls, when they perceived that Scaptius was listened to not only in silence, but even with approbation, appealing to gods and men, that an enormous and disgraceful act was being committed, send for the principal senators: with these they went around to the tribunes; entreated, "that, as judges, they would not be guilty of a most heinous crime, with a still worse precedent, by converting the dispute to their own interest, more especially when, even though it may be lawful for a judge to protect his own emolument, so much would by no means be acquired by keeping the land, as would be lost by alienating the affections of their allies by injustice; for that the losses of character and of reputation were greater than could be estimated. Were the ambassadors to carry home this answer; was this to go out to the world; were their allies to hear this; were their enemies to hear it--with what sorrow the one--with what joy the other party? Could they suppose, that the neighboring states would impute this proceeding to Scaptius, an old babbler at assemblies? that Scaptius would be rendered distinguished by this statue: that the Roman people would assume the character of a usurper and intercepter of the claims of others. For what judge in a private cause ever acted in this way, so as to adjudge to himself the property in dispute? That even Scaptius himself would not act so, though he has now outlived all sense of shame."
Thus the consuls, thus the senators exclaimed; but covetousness, and Scaptius, the adviser of that covetousness, had more influence. The tribes, when convened, decided that the district was the public property of the Roman people. Nor is it denied that it might have been so, if they had gone to other judges; now the disgrace of the decision is certainly not at all diminished by the fairness of the title: nor did it appear more disgraceful or more hideous to the people of Aricia and of Ardea, than it did to the Roman senate. The remainder of the year continued free from either city or foreign commotions.
A law was passed concerning the intermarriage of the patricians and plebeians, after strong resistance on the part of the patricians. Military tribunes with consular power. Censors created. Restoration of the lands unjustly taken from the people of Ardea. Spurius Melius, suspected of aiming at regal power, is slain by C. Servilius Ahala by order of Quintius Cincinnatus, dictator. Cornelius Cossus, having killed Tolumnius, king of the Veientes, offers the second spolia opima. Duration of the censorship, originally five years, limited to one year and a half. Fidenæ reduced, and a colony settled there. The colonists destroyed by the Fidenatians, who are subsequently conquered by Mamercus Æmilius, dictator. A conspiracy of the slaves put down. Postumius, a military tribune, slain by the army for his cruelties. Pay from the treasury first given to the soldiers. Operations against the Volscians, Fidenatians, and Faliscians.
1. Marcus Genucius and Caius Curtius followed these as consuls. The year was disturbed both at home and abroad. For at the commencement of the year Caius Canuleius, tribune of the people, proposed a law concerning the intermarriage of the patricians and commons; by which the patricians considered that their blood would be contaminated, and the privileges of birth would be confounded; and a hint at first lightly suggested by the tribunes, that it should be lawful that one of the consuls should be elected from the commons, afterwards proceeded so far, that the nine tribunes proposed a bill, "that the people should have the power of electing the consuls, whether they wished, from the commons or the patricians. But they thought that if that were done, the supreme authority would not only be shared with the lowest ranks, but be wholly transferred from the nobility to the commons.
With joy therefore the patricians heard that the people of Ardea had revolted in consequence of the injustice of the taking away their land, and that the Veientians had laid waste the frontiers of the Roman territory, and that the Volscians and Æquans murmured on account of the fortifying of Verrago; so much did they prefer an unsuccessful war to an ignominious peace." These tidings therefore being received and with exaggerations, in order that during the din of so many wars the tribunitian proceedings might be suspended, they order the levies to be held, preparations to be made for war and arms with the utmost activity; with more energy, if possible, than had been used in the consulship of Titus Quintius. Then Caius Canuleius declared aloud in brief terms in the senate, that "the consuls wished in vain to divert the commons from attention to the new laws; that they never should hold a levee while he lived, before the commons had first ratified the laws proposed by him and his colleagues;" and he instantly summoned them to an assembly.
2. Both the consuls incited the senate against the tribune, and the tribune the people against the consuls at one and the same time. The consuls denied "that tribunitian frenzies could any longer be endured; that they were now come to a crisis; that more hostilities were being stirred up at home than abroad. That this happened not more through the fault of the commons than of the patricians; nor more through that of the tribunes than of the consuls. That the matter for which there was a reward in the state thrived always with the greatest proficiency; that thus it was that men became meritorious in peace, thus in war. That at Rome the highest reward was for sedition; that had ever been the source of honor both to individuals and to collective bodies. They should remember in what condition they had received the majesty of the senate from their forefathers, in what condition they were about to transmit it to their children; that, like the commons, they should have it in their power to boast that it was improved in degree and in splendor. That there was no end, nor would there be, so long as the promoters of sedition were rewarded with honor in proportion as sedition was successful.
What and how important schemes Caius Canuleius had set on foot! that he was introducing confounding of family rank, a disturbance of the auspices both public and private, that nothing may remain pure, nothing uncontaminated; that, all distinction being abolished, no one might know either himself or those he belonged to. For what other tendency had those promiscuous intermarriages, except that intercourse between commons and patricians might be made common after the manner of wild beasts; so that of the offspring each may be ignorant of what blood he may be, of what form of religion he was; that he may belong half to the patricians, half to the commons, not being homogeneous even with himself? That it appeared not enough, that all things divine and human should be confounded; that those disturbers of the common people were now preparing to (seize) the consulship; and first that they sounded people's sentiments in mere conversation on the project of having one consul appointed from the commons; that now the proposition was brought forward, that the people may appoint the consuls, whether they pleased from the patricians or from the people; and that they would appoint no doubt every most turbulent person.
The Canuleii, therefore, and the Icilii would be consuls. (They expressed a hope) that Jupiter, the best and greatest, would not suffer the imperial majesty of the sovereign power to descend to that; and that they would certainly die a thousand deaths rather than such a disgrace should be incurred. They were certain that their ancestors, could they have divined that the commons would become not more placable to them, but more intractable, by making successive demands still more unreasonable, after they had obtained the first, would have rather submitted to any struggle, than have suffered such laws to be saddled on them. Because it was then conceded to them with respect to tribunes, the concession was made a second time.
There was no end to it; tribunes of the commons and patricians could not subsist in the same state; either the one order or the other office must be abolished; and that a stop should be put to presumption and temerity rather late than never. (Was it right) that they, by sowing discord, should with impunity stir up the neighboring states against us? and then prevent the state from arming and defending itself against those evils which they may have brought on us? and after they have almost sent for the enemy, not suffer the armies to be levied against the enemies? But Canuleius may have the audacity to declare openly in the senate that, unless the patrician suffer the laws proposed by himself as victorious, to be enacted, he would prevent the levy from being held. What else was this, but threatening that he would betray his country; that he would suffer it to be attacked and captured? What courage would that expression afford, not to the Roman commons, but to the Volscians, Æquans, and the Veientians! would they not hope that, under the generalship of Canuleius, they should be able to scale the Capitol and citadel, if with the deprivation of privilege and majesty, the tribunes should rob the patricians of their courage also? That the consuls were prepared to act against the wicked schemes of their countrymen, before they would act against the arms of the enemy."
3. Just when these matters were going on in the senate, Canuleius thus declaimed in favor of his laws and against the consuls: "Frequently even before now I think I have observed how much the patricians despised you, Romans, how unworthy they deemed you to dwell in the one city and within the same walls with them; but on the present occasion most clearly, in their having risen up so determinedly in opposition to those propositions of ours: in which what else do we do, but remind them that we are their fellow citizens, and that though we possess not the same power, we inhabit the same city? In the one we demand intermarriage, a thing which is usually granted to neighbors and foreigners: we have granted even to vanquished enemies the right of citizenship, which is more than the right of intermarriage. In the other we propose nothing new; we only reclaim and demand that which is the people's; that the Roman people may confer honors on whomsoever they may please. And what in the name of goodness is it for which they embroil heaven and earth? why was almost an attack made on me just now in the senate? why do they say that they will not restrain themselves from violence, and threaten that they will insult an office, sacred and inviolable?
"Shall this city no longer be able to stand, and is the empire at stake, if the right of free suffrage is granted to the Roman people, to confer the consulship on whomsoever they may please, and if a plebeian, though he may be worthy of the highest honor, is not precluded from the hope of attaining that honor? and is this of the same import, whether a plebeian be made a consul, as if any one were to propose a slave or the son of a slave to be consul? Do you perceive in what contempt you live? they would take from you a participation in this light, if it were permitted them. That you breathe, that you enjoy the faculty of speech, that you possess the forms of human beings, excites their indignation. Nay even, as I hope for mercy, they say that it is contrary to religion that a plebeian should be made consul. I pray, though we are not admitted to the annals, nor to the commentaries of the pontiffs, do we not know even those things which strangers know? that consuls have succeeded kings? and that they possess no privilege, no majesty which was not formerly inherent in kings? Do you suppose that we ever heard it mentioned that Numa Pompilius, who not only was not a patrician, but not even a citizen of Rome, was sent for from the country of the Sabines by order of the people, with the approbation of the senate, and that he was made king at Rome? that afterwards Lucius Tarquinius, who was not only not of Roman, but not even of Italian extraction, the son of Damaratus of Corinth, an emigrant from Tarquinii, was made king, even whilst the sons of Ancus still lived? that after him Servius Tullius, the son of a captive woman of Corniculum, with his father unknown, his mother a slave, attained the throne by his ability and merit? For what shall I say of Titus Tatius the Sabine, whom Romulus himself, the founder of our city, admitted into partnership of the throne?
"Accordingly, whilst no class of persons is disdained, in whom conspicuous merit may be found, the Roman dominion increased. You do well to be dissatisfied now with a plebeian consul, when your ancestors disdained not foreigners as kings, and when, even after the expulsion of kings, the city was not shut against foreign merit. After the expulsion of the kings, we certainly admitted the Claudian family from the Sabine country not only into citizenship, but even into the number of the patricians. Can a man from a foreigner be made a patrician, then a consul? shall a Roman citizen, if he belong to the commons, be precluded from all hope of the consulate? Do we then deem it impossible that a man of the commons can be a person of fortitude and activity, qualified to excel both in peace and war, tyke to Numa, Lucius Tarquinius, and Servius Tullius? Or, should such appear, shall we not suffer him to meddle with the helm of government? or shall we have consuls like the decemvirs, the most abandoned of mortals, who were, however, all patricians, rather than like the best of kings, though new men?
4. "But (I may be told) no commoner has been consul since the expulsion of the kings. What then? ought no innovation to be introduced? and what has not yet been practiced, (and in a new state there are many things not yet practiced,) ought not even such measures, even though they be useful, be adopted? During the reign of Romulus there were no pontiffs, nor augurs: they were appointed by Numa Pompilius. There was no census in the state, nor the distribution of centuries and classes; it was introduced by Servius Tullius: there never had been consuls; they were created after the expulsion of the kings. Of a dictator neither the office nor the name had existed; it commenced its existence among the senators. There were no tribunes of the people, ædiles, nor quæstors: it was resolved that those officers should be appointed. Within the last ten years we both created decemvirs for compiling laws, and we abolished them.
"Who can doubt but that in a city doomed for eternal duration, increasing to an immense magnitude, new civil offices, priesthoods, rights of families and of individuals, may be established? This very matter, that there should not be the right of intermarriage between patricians and commons, did not the decemvirs introduce within the last few years to the utmost injury of the commons, on a principle most detrimental to the public? Can there be a greater or more marked insult, than that one portion of the state, as if contaminated, should be deemed unworthy of intermarriage? What else is it than to suffer exile within the same walls, actual rustication? They wish to prevent our being mixed with them by affinity or consanguinity; that our blood be not mingled with theirs. What? if this cast a stain on that nobility of yours, which most of you, the progeny of Albans or Sabines, possess, not in right of birth or blood, but by co-optation into the patricians, having been elected either by the kings, or after the expulsion of kings, by order of the people, could ye not keep it pure by private regulations, by neither marrying into the commons, and by not suffering your daughters or sisters to marry out of the patricians. No one of the commons would offer violence to a patrician maiden; such lust as that belongs to the patricians. None of them would oblige any man against his will to enter into a marriage contract. But really that such a thing should be prevented by law, that the intermarriage of the patricians and plebeians should be interdicted, that it is which is insulting to the commons.
"Why do you not combine in enacting a law that there shall be no intermarriage between rich and poor? That which has in all places and always been the business of private regulations, that a woman might marry into whatever family she has been engaged to, and that each man might take a wife out of whatever family he had contracted with, that ye shackle with the restraints of a most tyrannical law, by which ye sever the bonds of civil society and split one state into two. Why do ye not enact a law that a plebeian shall not dwell in the neighborhood of a patrician? that he shall not go the same road with him? that he shall not enter the same banquet with him? that he shall not stand in the same forum? For what else is there in the matter, if a patrician man wed a plebeian woman, or a plebeian a patrician? What right, pray, is thereby changed? the children surely go with the father. Nor is there any thing which we seek from intermarriage with you, except that we may be held in the number of human beings and fellow citizens; nor is there any reason why ye contest the point, except that it delights you to strive for insult and ignominy to us.
5. "In a word, whether is the supreme power belonging to the Roman people, or is it yours? Whether by the expulsion of kings has dominion been acquired for you or equal liberty for all? It is fitting that the Roman people should be allowed to enact a law, if it please. Or will ye decree a levy by way of punishment, according as each bill shall be proposed? and as soon as I, as tribune, shall begin to call the tribes to give their votes, will you, forthwith, as consul, force the younger men to take the military oath, and lead them out to camp? and will you threaten the commons? will you threaten the tribune? What, if you had not already twice experienced how little those threats availed against the united sense of the people? Of course it was because you wished to consult for our interest, that you abstained from force. Or was there no contest for this reason, that the party which was the stronger was also the more moderate? Nor will there be any contest now, Romans: they will try your spirit; your strength they will not make trial of.
"Wherefore, consuls, the commons are prepared to accompany you to these wars, whether real or fictitious, if, by restoring the right of intermarriage, you at length make this one state; if they can coalesce, be united and mixed with you by private ties; if the hope, if the access to honors be granted to men of ability and energy; if it is lawful to be in a partnership and share of the government; if, what is the result of equal freedom, it be allowed in the distribution of the annual offices to obey and to govern in their turns. If any one shall obstruct these measures, talk about wars, multiply them by report; no one will give in his name, no one will take up arms, no one will fight for haughty masters, with whom there is no participation of honors in public, nor of intermarriage in private."
6. When both the consuls came forward into the assembly, and the matter had changed from a long series of harangues to altercation, the tribune, on asking why it was not right that a plebeian should be made a consul, an answer was returned truly perhaps, though by no means expediently for the present contest, "that no plebeian could have the auspices, and for this reason the decemvirs had prohibited the intermarriage, lest from uncertainty of descent the auspices might be vitiated." The commons were fired with indignation at this above all, because, as if hateful to the immortal gods, they were denied to be qualified to take auspices. And now (as the commons both had a most energetic supporter in the tribune, and they themselves vied with him in perseverance) there was no end of the contentions, until the patricians, being at length overpowered, agreed that the law regarding intermarriage should be passed, judging that by these means most probably the tribunes would either give up altogether or postpone till after the war the question concerning the plebeian consuls; and that in the mean time the commons, content with the intermarriage-law (being passed,) would be ready to enlist.
When Canuleius was now in high repute by his victory over the patricians and by the favor of the commons, the other tribunes being excited to contend for their bill, set to work with all their might, and, the accounts regarding the war augmenting daily, obstruct the levy. The consuls, when nothing could be transacted through the senate in consequence of the opposition of the tribunes, held meetings of the leading men at their own houses. It was becoming evident that they must concede the victory either to the enemies or to their countrymen. Valerius and Horatius alone of the consulars did not attend the meetings. The opinion of Caius Claudius was for arming the consuls against the tribunes. The sentiments of the Quintii, both Cincinnatus and Capitolinus, were averse to bloodshed, and to violating (persons) whom by the treaty concluded with the commons they had admitted to be sacred and inviolable. Through these meetings the matter was brought to this, that they suffered tribunes of the soldiers with consular authority to be elected from the patricians and commons without distinction; that with respect to the election of consuls no change should be made; and with this the tribunes were content, as were also the commons.
An assembly is now proclaimed for electing three tribunes with consular power. This being proclaimed, forthwith whoever had contributed to promote sedition by word or deed, more particularly men who had been tribunes, began to solicit support and to bustle about the forum as candidates; so that despair, in the first instance, of obtaining the honor, by reason of the irritated state of the people's mind, then indignation at having to hold the office with such persons, deterred the patricians; at length however, being forced, they stood as candidates, lest they might appear to have relinquished all share in the government. The result of this election showed that the sentiments of persons in the struggle for liberty and dignity are different from those they feel when the contest is laid aside, the judgment being unbiased; for the people elected all patricians as tribunes, content with this, that the plebeians had been taken into account. Where could you now find in an individual such moderation, disinterestedness, and elevation of mind, as was then displayed by the entire people?
7. In the three hundred and tenth year after the city of Rome was built, for the first time military tribunes in the room of consuls enter into office, Aulus Sempronius Atratinus, Lucius Atilius, Titus Clælius; in whose office the concord prevailing at home afforded peace also abroad. There are some who, without mentioning the proposal of the law concerning the election of consuls from among the commons, say that three military tribunes were elected on account of the Veientian war being added to the war of the Æquans and the Volscians and to the revolt of the Ardeates, because two consuls could not execute so many wars together, these tribunes being invested also with the authority and insignia of consuls. The jurisdiction of that office however did not stand on a firm footing, because the third month after they entered on the office, they resigned the honor, in pursuance of a decree of the augurs, as if unduly elected; because Caius Curtius, who had presided at the election, had not selected his tent with due regard to ceremony. Ambassadors came to Rome from Ardea complaining of the injustice in such a manner, that it appeared that, if it were redressed, they would continue in amity and the observance of the treaty, on the restitution of their land.
The answer returned by the senate was: "that the judgment of the people could not be rescinded by the senate, besides such a measure could not be adopted on precedent or with justice;, as an additional reason also for the purpose of preserving concord between the several orders of the state. If the Ardeans were willing to abide a seasonable conjuncture, and leave to the senate the mode of redressing the injustice done to them, that the consequence would be that they would rejoice for having moderated their resentment, and that they should be convinced that the patricians were equally anxious that no injustice should arise against them, and that any which may have arisen should not be lasting." Thus the ambassadors, saying that they should lay the whole matter anew before their friends, were dismissed courteously. The patricians, now that the republic was without any curule magistrate, assembled together and elected an interrex. The contest whether consuls or military tribunes should be elected, kept the matter for several days in a state of interregnum. The interrex and senate strive that the elections of consuls be held; the tribunes of the people, and the people themselves, that elections of the military tribunes be held.
The patricians succeeded, because both the commons, sure to confer the one or the other honor on patricians, gave up a needless contest, and the leaders of the commons preferred those elections at which no account was to be taken of them (as candidates) to those at which they should be passed by as unworthy. The tribunes of the commons also gave up the contest without a decision, as a compliment to the chiefs of the patricians. Titus Quintius Barbatus, the interrex, elects consuls Lucius Papirius Mugillanus, Lucius Sempronius Atratinus. During their consulship, the treaty was renewed with the Ardeans; and that is a record to prove, that they were consuls in that year, though they are not to be found among the ancient annals, nor in the books of the magistrates. I suppose because military tribunes existed at the commencement of the year, on that account, though these consuls were substituted, the names of the consuls were left out, just as if the military tribunes were the entire year in office. Licinius Macer states, that they were found both in the Ardean treaty and in the linen books at the temple of Moneta. There was tranquillity both at home and abroad, though so many alarms were held out by the neighboring states.
8. This year (whether it had tribunes only, or consuls substituted in the room of tribunes) is followed by a year when there were undoubtedly consuls, scil. Marcus Geganius Macerinus a second time, Titus Quintius Capitolinus a fifth time. This same year was the commencement of the censorship, a thing which arose from an humble origin, which afterwards increased so much in importance, that in it was vested the regulation of the morals and discipline of Rome, the senate and the centuries of the knights, the distinction of honor and of ignominy were under the sway of that office, the legal right to public and private places, the revenues of the Roman people fell under their beck and jurisdiction. The institution of the thing originated in this, that the people not having been subjected to a survey for several years, the census could neither be deferred, nor had the consuls leisure to discharge their duty, when wars impended from so many states.
An observation was made by the senate, "that an office laborious in itself, and one little suited to the consular office, required a magistrate for itself, to whose authority should be submitted the duties of the several scribes, the custody and care of the records, as well as the adjustment of the form to be adopted in the census." And inconsiderable though the proposal might be, still the senate received it with great pleasure, because it increased the number of patrician magistrates in the state, judging also that that would come to pass, which really did occur, viz. that the influence of those who should preside, and the honor of the office would derive on it additional authority and dignity. The tribunes also, considering the discharge of the duty (as was really the case) as necessary rather than the duty itself, as being attended with luster, did not indeed offer opposition, lest they should through perverseness show a disposition to thwart them even in trifles. After the honor was rejected by the leading men of the state, the people by their suffrages appointed to the office of conducting the census Papirius and Sempronius, concerning whose consulate doubts are entertained, that in that magistracy they might have some recompense for the incompleteness of their consulate. They were called censors from the nature of their office.
9. Whilst these matters are transacting at Rome, ambassadors come from Ardea, imploring aid for their city, which was nearly destroyed, in consideration of their very ancient alliance, and of the treaty recently renewed. For by intestine wars they were not allowed to enjoy the peace with Rome, which they had by the soundest policy preserved; the cause and origin of which is said to have arisen from a struggle between factions; which have proved and ever will prove more a cause of destruction to several states, than foreign wars, famine, or disease, or any of the other evils which men refer to the anger of heaven, as the severest of public calamities. Two young men courted a maiden of a plebeian family, highly distinguished for beauty: one of them on a level with the maid in point of birth, and favored by her guardians, who were themselves of the same rank; the other of noble birth, captivated by nothing but her beauty. The latter was aided by the good wishes of the nobles, through which party disputes made their way even into the girl's family. The nobleman was preferred in the judgment of the mother, who was anxious that her daughter should have the most splendid match possible: the guardians, mindful of party even in that transaction, strove for the person of their own order.
As the matter could not be settled within the walls of the house, they proceeded to a court of justice. On hearing the claim of the mother and of the guardians, the magistrate decides the right of marriage in conformity with the wish of the mother. But violence was the more powerful. For the guardians, having harangued openly in the forum among persons of their own faction, on the injustice of the decree, collected a party and carry off the girl from her mother's house: against whom a body of nobles having arisen more incensed than before, attends the young man rendered furious by the outrage. A desperate battle takes place; the commons in no respect like to the Roman commons were worsted, and having set out from the city in arms, and taken possession of a hill, make excursions into the lands of the nobles with fire and sword. The city too, which had been previously free from all contest, they set about besieging, having induced, by the hope of plunder, a multitude of artisans to join them: nor was any appearance or calamity of war absent; as if the whole state were infested by the mad rage of the two young men, who sought the accomplishment of the fatal match through their country's ruin.
The arms and war at home seemed insufficient to both parties. The nobles called in the Romans to the relief of their besieged city; the commons called upon the Volscians to join them in storming Ardea. The Volscians, under the command of Clælius, an Æquan, came first to Ardea, and drew a line of circumvallation around the enemy's walls. When news of this was brought to Rome, Marcus Geganius, the consul, having set out immediately at the head of an army, selected a place for his camp about three miles from the enemy; and the day being now fast declining, he orders his soldiers to refresh themselves; then at the fourth watch he puts his troops in motion; and the work, once commenced, was expedited in such a manner, that at sun-rise the Volscians found themselves enclosed by the Romans with stronger works than the city was by themselves. The consul had also at another place connected an arm to the wall of Ardea, through which his friends might pass to and from the town.
10. The Volscian general, who up to that period had maintained his army, not out of provisions which had been previously provided, but with corn brought in daily from the plunder of the country, when now encompassed by a rampart he perceives himself suddenly destitute of every thing, calling the consul to a conference, says, that "if the Roman came for the purpose of raising the siege, he would withdraw the Volscians from thence." To this the consul made answer, that "the vanquished had to accept terms, not to dictate them; and as the Volscians came at their own discretion to attack the allies of the Roman people, they should not go off in the same same way." He orders, "that their general be given up, their arms laid down, acknowledging themselves vanquished, and ready to submit to his further orders: otherwise, whether they went away or stayed, that he would prove a determined enemy, and would prefer to carry to Rome a victory over the Volscians than an insidious peace."
The Volscians, determined on trying the slender hope they had in arms, all other being now cut off, besides many other disadvantages, having come to an engagement in a place unfavorable for fighting, and still more so for retreat, when they were being cut down on every side, from fighting have recourse to entreaties; having given up their general and surrendered their arms, they are sent under the yoke and dismissed full of disgrace and suffering, with one garment each. And when they halted not far from the city of Tusculum, in consequence of an old grudge of the Tusculans they were surprised, unarmed as they were, and suffered severe punishment, a messenger being scarcely left to bring an account of their defeat. The Roman general quieted the disturbed state of affairs at Ardea, beheading the principal authors of that commotion, and confiscating their effects to the public treasury of the Ardeans; the Ardeans considered the injustice of the decision completely repaired by such kindness on the part of the Roman people; it seemed to the senate, however, that something remained to be done to obliterate the remembrance of public avarice.
The consul returns to the city in triumph, Clælius, the general of the Volscians, being led before his chariot, and the spoils being carried before him, of which he had stripped the enemy's army after he had sent them under the yoke. Quintius the consul, by his civil administration, equalled, which is no easy matter, the glory attained by his colleague in war; for he so regulated the domestic care of harmony and peace, by dispensing justice with moderation to the highest and the lowest, that both the patricians considered him a strict consul, and the commons, as one sufficiently lenient. Against the tribunes too he carried his measures more by his influence than by striving against them. Five consulships conducted with the same even tenor of conduct, and every part of his life being passed in a manner worthy of the consular dignity, rendered himself almost more venerable than the high office itself. On this account no mention was made of the military tribunes during this consulate.
11. They appoint as consuls Marcus Fabius Vibulanus, Publius Æbutius Cornicen. Fabius and Æbutius, the consuls, inasmuch as they perceived that they succeeded to a greater glory of achievements performed at home and abroad, (the year was rendered particularly remarkable among the neighboring states, both friendly and hostile, because relief had been afforded to the Ardeans in their perilous situation with so much zeal,) the more strenuously exerted themselves in obtaining a decree of the senate, that they might completely efface the infamy of the decision from the memory of men, to the effect that since the state of the Ardeans had been reduced to a few by intestine war, a colony should be sent thither as a protection against the Volscians.
This is what was stated publicly on the tables, that the intention entertained of rescinding the decision might escape the knowledge of the commons and tribunes. But they had agreed that, a much greater number of Rutulian colonists being enrolled than of Romans, no land should be distributed, except that which had been intercepted by the infamous decision; and that not a sod of it should be assigned to any Roman, until all the Rutulians had had their share. In this way the land returned to the Ardeans. The commissioners appointed to transplant the colony to Ardea were Agrippa Menenius, Titus Clælius Siculus, and Marcus Æbutius Elva. When they, in the discharge of their by no means popular office, had given offense to the commons by assigning to the allies the land which the Roman people had decided to be their own, and were not even much supported by the patricians, because they had not deferred in any way to the influence of any one, a day having been appointed for them by the tribunes to appear before the people, they escaped all vexatious annoyance by enrolling themselves as settlers and remaining in the colony, which they now had as a testimony of their integrity and justice.
12. There was peace at home and abroad both this and the following year, Caius Furius Pacilus and Marcus Papirius Crassus being consuls. The games which had been vowed by the decemvirs, in pursuance of a decree of the senate on occasion of the secession of the commons from the patricians, were performed this year. An occasion for sedition was sought in vain by Pætelius, who, having been made a tribune of the commons a second time, by denouncing these same threats, could neither prevail on the consuls to submit to the senate the questions concerning the division of the lands among the people; and when, after a hard struggle, he had succeeded so far that the patricians should be consulted as to whether it was their pleasure that an election should be held of consuls or of tribunes, consuls were ordered to be elected; and the menaces of the tribune were now laughed at, when he threatened that he would stop the levy, inasmuch as the neighboring states being now quiet, there was no occasion either for war or for preparations for war. This tranquil state of things is followed by a year, in which Proculus Geganius Macerinus, Lucius Menenius Lanatus were consuls, remarkable for a variety of disasters and dangers, also for disturbances, famine, for their having almost submitted their necks to the yoke of arbitrary power through the allurement of largesses.
Foreign war alone was wanting, by which if matters had been aggravated, they could scarcely have stood out against them by the aid of all the gods. Their misfortunes began with famine; whether it was that the season was unfavorable to the crops, or that the cultivation of the land was relinquished for the allurements of the city, and of public harangues; for both causes are assigned. And the patricians accused the commons as being idle; the tribunes of the commons complained sometimes of the fraud, at other times of the negligence of the consuls. At length the commons prevailed, without opposition on the part of the senate, that Lucius Minutius should be appointed president of the market; doomed to be more successful in that office in preserving liberty than in the discharge of his own peculiar province: although in the end he bore away the well-earned gratitude of the people as well as the glory of having lowered the price of provisions. When he had made but slight advance in relieving the markets by sending embassies around the neighboring states by land and sea to no purpose, except that an inconsiderable quantity of corn was imported from Etruria, and applying himself to the careful dispensations of their scanty stock, by obliging persons to show their supply, and to sell whatever was over and above a month's provision, and by depriving the slaves of one half of their daily allowance; then by censuring and holding up to the resentment of the people the corn-hoarders, he rather discovered the great scarcity of grain than relieved it by this rigorous inquisition. Many of the commons, all hope being lost, rather than be tortured by dragging out existence, muffled up their heads and precipitated themselves into the Tiber.
13. Then Spurius Mælius, of the equestrian order, extremely rich considering these times, set about a project useful in itself, but having a most pernicious tendency, and a still more pernicious motive. For having, by the assistance of his friends and clients, bought up corn from Etruria at his private expense, (which very circumstance, I think, had been an impediment in the endeavor to reduce the price of corn by the exertions of the state,) he set about giving out largesses of corn: and having won over the commons by this munificence, he drew them with him wherever he went, conspicuous and consequential beyond the rank of a private citizen, insuring to him as undoubted the consulship by the favor (they manifested towards him) and the hopes (they excited in him.) He himself, as the mind of man is not to be satiated with that which fortune holds out the hope of, began to aspire to things still higher, and altogether unwarrantable; and since even the consulship would have to be taken from the patricians against their will, he began to set his mind on kingly power;--that that would be the only prize worthy of such grand designs and of the struggle which would have to be endured.
The consular elections were now coming on, which circumstance destroyed him completely, his plans being not yet arranged or sufficiently matured. Titus Quintius Capitolinus was elected consul for the sixth time, a man by no means well suited to answer the views of one meditating political innovations: Agrippa Menenius is attached to him as colleague, who bore the cognomen of Lanatus: and Lucius Minutius as president of the markets, whether he was re-elected, or created for an indefinite period, as long as circumstances should require; for there is nothing certain in the matter, except this, his name was entered as president in the linen books among the magistrates for both years. Here Minucius, conducting the same office in a public capacity which Mælius had undertaken to conduct in a private character, the same class of persons frequenting the houses of both, having ascertained the matter, lays it before the senate, "that arms were collecting in the house of Mælius, and that he held assemblies in his house: and that his designs were unquestionably bent on regal dominion: that the time for the execution of the project was not yet fixed: that all other matters were settled; and that the tribunes were bought over for hire to betray the public liberty, and that the several parts were assigned to the leaders of the multitude. That he laid these things before them almost later than was consistent with safety, lest he might be the reporter of any thing uncertain or ill-grounded."
When these things were heard, the chiefs of the patricians both rebuked the consuls of the former year, for having suffered those largesses and meetings of the people to go on in a private house, as well as the new consuls for having waited until a matter of such importance should be reported to the senate by the president of the markets, which required the consul to be not only the reporter, but the punisher also; then Titus Quintius said, "that the consuls were unfairly censured, who being fettered by the laws concerning appeal, enacted to weaken their authority, by no means possessed as much power in their office as will, to punish that proceeding according to its atrocity. That there was wanting a man not only determined in himself, but one who was unshackled and freed from the fetters of those laws. That he would therefore appoint Lucius Quintius dictator; that in him there would be a determination suitable to so great a power." Whilst all approved, Quintius at first refused; and asked them what they meant, in exposing him in the extremity of age to such a contest. Then when they all said that in that aged mind there was not only more wisdom, but more energy also, than in all the rest, and went on loading him with deserved praises, whilst the consul relaxed not in his original determination; Cincinnatus at length having prayed to the immortal gods, that his old age might not prove a detriment or disgrace to the republic at so dangerous a juncture, is appointed dictator by the consul: he himself then appoints Caius Servilius Ahala his master of the horse.
14. On the next day, having stationed proper guards, when he had gone down to the forum, and the attention of the commons was attracted to him by the strangeness and extraordinary nature of the thing, and Mælius's friends and himself their leader perceived that the power of such high authority was directly aimed at them; when, moreover, those who were not aware of the designs on regal power, went on asking, "what tumult, what sudden war, had called for either the dictatorial authority, or Quintius, after his eightieth year, administrator of affairs," Servilius, master of the horse, being sent by the dictator to Mælius, says, "The dictator summons you."
When he, being alarmed, asked what he meant, and Servilius stated that "he must stand a trial," and answer the charge brought against him before the senate by Minucius, Mælius drew back into the band of his adherents, and at first, looking around him, he began to skulk off: at length when the beadle, by order of the master of the horse, was bringing him off, being rescued by those present, and running away, he implored the protection of the Roman people, and alleged that he was persecuted by a conspiracy of the patricians because he had acted kindly towards the people: he besought them that they would assist him in this critical emergency, and not suffer him to be butchered before their eyes. Ahala Servilius overtook and slew him whilst exclaiming in this manner; and smeared with the blood of the person so slain, and surrounded by a body of young nobles, he carries back word to the dictator that Mælius having been summoned to him, and commencing to excite the multitude after he had repulsed the beadle, had received condign punishment. "Thou hast acted nobly, Caius Servilius," said the dictator, "in having saved the republic."
15. He then ordered the multitude, who were much agitated, not knowing what judgment to form of the deed, to be called to an assembly: and he openly declared, "that Mælius had been justly put to death, even though he may have been innocent of the charge of aiming at regal power, who, when summoned to attend the dictator by the master of the horse, had not come. That he himself had taken his seat to examine into the case; that, after it had been investigated, Mælius should have met a result corresponding to his deserts; that when employing force, in order that he might not commit himself to a trial, he had been checked by force. Nor should they proceed with him as with a citizen, who, born in a free state amid laws and rights, in a city from which he knew that kings had been expelled, and on the same year the sons of the king's sister and the children of the consul, the liberator of his country, had been put to death by their father, on a plot for readmitting the royal family into the city having been discovered, from which Collatinus Tarquinius the consul, through a hatred of his name, was ordered to resign his office and go into exile; in which capital punishment was inflicted on Spurius Cassius several years after for forming designs to assume the sovereignty; in which the decemvirs were recently punished with confiscation, exile, and death, in consequence of regal tyranny in that city, Spurius Mælius conceived a hope of attaining regal power. And who was this man?
Although no nobility, no honors, no deserts should open to any man the road to domination, yet still the Claudii and Cassii, by reason of the consulates, the decemvirates, the honors of their own and those of their ancestors, and from the splendor of their families, had raised their aspiring minds to heights to which it was impious to raise them: that Spurius Mælius, to whom a tribuneship of the commons should rather be an object of wishes than of hope, a wealthy corn-merchant, had conceived the hope to purchase the liberty of his countrymen for two pounds of corn; had supposed that a people victorious over all their neighbors could be cajoled into servitude by throwing them a morsel of food; so that a person whom the state could scarcely digest as a senator, it should tolerate as king, possessing the ensigns and authority of Romulus their founder, who had descended from and had returned to the gods. This was to be considered not more criminal than it was monstrous: nor was it sufficiently expiated by his blood; unless the roof and walls within which so mad a project had been conceived, should be levelled to the ground, and his effects were confiscated, as being contaminated with the price of purchasing kingly domination. He ordered, therefore, that the quæstors should sell this property and deposit the proceeds in the treasury."
16. He then ordered his house to be immediately razed, that the vacant ground might serve as a monument of nefarious hopes destroyed. This was called Æquimælium. Lucius Minucius was presented with a gilded ox on the outside of the gate Trigemina, and this not even against the will of the commons, because he distributed Mælius's corn, after valuing it at one as per bushel. In some writers I find that this Minucius had changed sides from the patricians to the commons, and that having been chosen as eleventh tribune of the people, he quieted a commotion which arose on the death of Mælius. But it is scarcely credible that the patricians would have suffered the number of the tribunes to be increased, and that such a precedent should be introduced more particularly in the case of a man who was a patrician; or that the commons did not afterwards maintain, or at least attempt, that privilege once conceded to them. But the legal provision made a few years before, viz. that it should not be lawful for the tribunes to choose a colleague, refutes beyond every thing else the false inscription on the statue.
Quintus Cæcilius, Quintus Junius, Sextus Titinius, were the only members of the college of tribunes who had not been concerned in passing the law for conferring honors on Minucius; nor did they cease both to throw out censures one time on Minucius, at another time on Servilius, before the commons, and to complain of the unmerited death of Mælius. They succeeded, therefore, in having an election held for military tribunes rather than for consuls, not doubting but that in six places, for so many were now allowed to be elected, some plebeians also might be appointed, by their professing to be avengers of the death of Mælius. The commons, though they had been agitated that year by many and various commotions, neither elected more than three tribunes with consular power; and among them Lucius Quintius, son of Cincinnatus, from the unpopular nature of whose dictatorship an occasion for disturbance was sought. Mamercus Æmilius, a man of the highest dignity, was voted in, prior to Quintius. In the third place they appoint Lucius Julius.
17. During their office Fidenæ, a Roman colony, revolted to Lars Tolunmius, king of the Veientians, and to the Veientians. To the revolt a more heinous crime was added. By order of Tolumnius they put to death Caius Fulcinius, Clælius Tullus, Spurius Antius, Lucius Roscius, Roman ambassadors, who came to inquire into the reason of this new line of conduct. Some palliate the guilt of the king; that an ambiguous expression of his, during a lucky throw of dice, having been mistaken by the Fidenatians, as if it seemed to be an order for their execution, had been the cause of the ambassadors' death. An incredible tale; that his thoughts should not have been drawn away from the game on the arrival of the Fidenatians, his new allies, when consulting him on a murder tending to violate the law of nations; and that the act was not afterwards viewed by him with horror. It is more probable that he wished the state of the Fidenatians to be so compromised by their participation in so great a crime, that they might not afterwards look to any hope from the Romans. Statues of the ambassadors, who were slain at Fidenæ, were set up in the rostra at the public expense.
A desperate struggle was coming on with the Veientians and Fidenatians, who, besides that they were neighboring states, had commenced the war with so heinous a provocation. Therefore, the commons and their tribunes being now quiet, so as to attend to the general welfare, there was no dispute with respect to the electing of Marcus Geganius Macerinus a third time, and Lucius Sergius Fidenas, as consuls; so called, I suppose, from the war which he afterwards conducted. For he was the first who fought a successful battle with the king of the Veientians on this side of the Anio, nor did he obtain an unbloody victory. Greater grief was therefore felt from the loss of their countrymen, than joy from the defeat of the enemy: and the senate, as in an alarming crisis, ordered Mamercus Æmilius to be appointed dictator. He appointed as his master of the horse from the college of the preceding year, in which there had been tribunes of the soldiers with consular power, Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus, a youth worthy of his parent. To the levy held by the consuls were added the old centurions well versed in war, and the number of those lost in the late battle was made up.
The dictator ordered Lucius Quintius Capitolinus and Marcus Fabius Vibulanus to attend him as his lieutenants-general. Both the higher powers, and the man suitable to such powers, caused the enemy to move from the Roman territory to the other side of the Anio, and continuing their retrograde movement, they took possession of the hills between Fidenæ and the Anio, nor did they descend into the plains until the troops of the Faliscians came to their aid; then at length the camp of the Etrurians was pitched before the walls of Fidenæ. The Roman dictator took his post at no great distance from thence at the conflux on the banks of both rivers, lines being run across between them, as far as he was able to follow by a fortification. Next day he marched out his army into the field.
18. Among the enemy there was a diversity of opinion. The Faliscians, impatient of the hardships of war at a distance from home, and sufficiently confident of their own strength, earnestly demanded battle; the Veientians and Fidenatians placed more hope in protracting the war. Tolumnius, though the measures of his own subjects were more agreeable to him, proclaims that he would give battle on the following day, lest the Faliscians might not brook the service at so great a distance from their home. The dictator and the Romans took additional courage from the fact of the enemy having declined giving battle: and on the following day, the soldiers exclaiming that they would attack the camp and the city, if an opportunity of fighting were not afforded them, the armies advance on both sides into the middle of a plain between the two camps. The Veientians, having the advantage in numbers, sent around a party behind the mountains to attack the Roman camp during the heat of the battle.
The army of the three states stood drawn up in such a manner, that the Veientians occupied the right wing, the Faliscians the left, whilst the Fidenatians constituted the center. The dictator charged on the right wing against the Faliscians, Quintius Capitolinus on the left against the Veientians, and the master of the horse with the cavalry advanced in the center. For a short time all was silence and quiet, the Etrurians being determined not to engage unless they were compelled, and the dictator looking back towards a Roman fort, until a signal should be raised, as had been agreed on, by the augurs, as soon as the birds had given a favorable omen. As soon as he perceived this, he orders the cavalry first to charge the enemy, after raising a loud shout; the line of infantry following, engaged with great fury. In no quarter did the Etrurian legions withstand the shock of the Romans. The cavalry made the greatest resistance; and the king himself, far the bravest of the cavalry, charging the Romans whilst they were pursuing in disorder in every direction, prolonged the contest.
19. There was then among the cavalry, Aulus Cornelius Cossus, a tribune of the soldiers, distinguished for the beauty of his person, and equally so for courage and great strength of body, and mindful of his rank, which, having received in a state of the highest luster, he left to his posterity still greater and more distinguished. He perceiving that the Roman troops gave way at the approach of Tolumnius, wherever he directed his charge, and knowing him as being remarkable by his royal apparel, as he flew through the entire line, exclaims, "Is this the infringer of human treaties and the violator of the law of nations? This victim I shall now slay, (provided the gods wish that there should be any thing sacred on earth,) and shall offer him up to the manes of the ambassadors."
Having clapped spurs to his horse, he advances against this single foe with spear presented; and after having struck and unhorsed him, he immediately, by help of his lance, sprung on the ground. And as the king attempted to rise, he throws him back again with the boss of his shield, and with repeated thrusts pins him to the earth. He then stripped off the spoils from the lifeless body; and having cut off his head and carrying it on the point of his spear, he puts the enemy to rout through terror on seeing their king slain. Thus the line of cavalry, which alone had rendered the combat doubtful, was beaten. The dictator pursues closely the routed legions, and drove them to their camp with slaughter. The greater number of the Fidenatians, through their knowledge of the country, made their escape to the mountains. Cossus, having crossed the Tiber with the cavalry, carried off great plunder from the Veientian territory to the city. During the battle there was a fight also at the Roman camp against a party of the forces, which, as has been already mentioned, had been sent by Tolumnius to the camp. Fabius Vibulanus first defends his lines by a ring; then, whilst the enemy were wholly taken up with the entrenchment, sallying out from the principal gate on the right, he suddenly attacks them with the triarii: and a panic being thus struck into them there was less slaughter, because they were fewer, but their flight was no less disorderly than it had been on the field of battle.
20. Matters being managed successfully in every direction, the dictator, by a decree of the senate and order of the people, returned to the city in triumph. By far the most remarkable object in the triumph was Cossus, bearing the spolia opima of the king he had slain. The soldiers chanted their uncouth verses on him, extolling him as equal to Romulus. With the usual form of dedication, he presented, as an offering, the spoils in the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, near the spoils of Romulus, which, having been the first called opima, were the only ones at that time; and he attracted the eyes of all the citizens from the dictator's chariot to himself, and enjoyed almost solely the honor of that day's solemnity. The dictator offered up to Jupiter in the Capitol a golden crown a pound in weight, at the public expense, by order of the people.
Following all the Roman writers, I have represented Aulus Cornelius Cossus as a military tribune, when he carried the second spolia opima to the temple of Jupiter Feretrius. But besides that those spoils are rightly considered opima, which one general has taken from another; and we know no general but the person under whose auspices the war is conducted, the inscription itself written on the spoils proves, against both me and them, that Cossus was consul when he took them. Having once heard Augustus Cæsar, the founder or restorer of all our temples, on entering the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, which being dilapidated by time he rebuilt, aver that he himself had read the said inscription on the linen breastplate, I thought it would be next to sacrilege to rob Cossus of such a testimony respecting his spoils as that of Cæsar, the renovator of the temple itself. Whether the mistake is chargeable on the very ancient annals and the linen books of the magistrates, deposited in the temple of Moneta, and which Licinius Macer occasionally cites as authorities, which have Aulus Cornelius Cossus consul with Titus Quintius Pennus, in the ninth year after this, every person may form his own opinion.
For there is this additional proof, that a battle so celebrated could not be transferred to that year; that the three years before and after the consulship of Aulus Cornelius were entirely free from war, in consequence of a pestilence and a scarcity of grain; so that some annals, as if in mourning, present nothing but the names of the consuls. The third year from the consulship of Cossus has him as military tribune with consular power; in the same year as master of the horse, in which office he fought another distinguished horse battle. Conjecture is open on the matter; but, as I think, idle surmises may be turned to support any opinion: when the hero of the fight, having placed the recent spoils in the sacred repository, having before him Jove himself, to whom they were consecrated, and Romulus, no contemptible witnesses in case of a false inscription, entitled himself Aulus Cornelius Cossus consul.
21. Marcus Cornelius Maluginensis and Lucius Papirius Crassus being consuls, the armies were led into the territories of the Veientians and Faliscians; numbers of men and cattle were driven off as spoil; the enemy was no where to be found on the land, and no opportunity of fighting was afforded; the cities however were not attacked, because a pestilential disorder ran through the people. Disturbances were also sought at home, but not actually excited, however, by Spurius Mælius, tribune of the people; who thinking that he might create some tumult through the popularity of his name, had both appointed a day of trial for Minucius, and had also proposed a law for confiscating the property of Servilius Ahala: alleging that Mælius had been circumvented through false impeachments by Minucius, charging Servilius with the killing of a citizen on whom no sentence had been passed; charges which, when brought before the people, proved to be more idle than the author himself. But the virulence of the disease now becoming worse, was more an object of concern to them, as also the terrors and prodigies, more especially because accounts were being brought, that houses were falling throughout the country, in consequence of frequent earthquakes.
A supplication was therefore performed by the people, according to the form dictated by the decemvirs. The year being still more pestilential, Caius Julius a second time and Lucius Virginius being consuls, occasioned such dread of desolation through the city and country, that not only no one left the Roman territory for the purpose of committing depredations, and not only did none of the patricians or commons entertain an idea of commencing any military aggressions; but the Fidenatians, who at first had shut themselves up either within their town, or mountains, or fortifications, now descended without provocation to commit depredations on the Roman territory. Then the army of the Veientians being called in to their aid, (for the Faliscians could be induced to renew the war neither by the distresses of the Romans, nor by the remonstrances of their allies,) the two states crossed the Anio; and displayed their ensigns at no great distance from the Colline gate. Great consternation arose therefore, not more in the country than in the city. Julius the consul draws up his troops on the rampart and walls; the senate is consulted by Virginius in the temple of Quirinus. It is determined that Aulus Servilius be appointed dictator, who some say had the cognomen of Priscus, others that of Structus. Virginius having delayed whilst he consulted his colleague, with his permission, named the dictator at night. He appoints Postumus Æbutius Elva his master of the horse.
22. The dictator orders all to attend at break of day outside the Colline gate. All whosoever had sufficient strength to bear arms, attended; the standards were quickly brought forth from the treasury and conveyed to the dictator. Whilst these matters were going on, the enemies retired to the higher grounds; thither the dictator follows them with a determined army; and having come to a general engagement not far from Nomentum, he routed the Etrurian legions; he then drove them into the city of Fidenæ, and surrounded it with a rampart. But neither could the city be taken by storm as being high and well fortified, nor was there any effect in a blockade, because corn was supplied to them in abundance not only for necessary consumption, but for plenty also, in consequence of that previously laid up.
Thus all hope being lost of taking it by assault, or of forcing it to a surrender, the dictator determined on carrying a sap into the citadel in places which were well known to him on account of their near situation on the remote side of the city, as being most neglected because it was best protected by reason of its own nature; he himself by advancing up to the walls in places most remote, with his army divided into four sections, which were to succeed each other in the action, by continuing the fight day and night continuously he prevented the enemy from perceiving the work; until the mountain being dug through from the camp, a passage was opened up into the citadel; and the Etrurians being diverted from the real danger by the idle threats, the shouting of the enemy over their heads proved to them that their city was taken. On that year Caius Furius Pacilus and Marcus Geganius Macerinus, censors, approved of the public edifice in the Campus Martius, and the census of the people was there performed for the first time.
23. That the same consuls were re-elected on the following year, Julius for the third time, Virginius for the second time, I find in Licinius Macer. Valerius Antias and Quintus Tubero state that Marcus Manlius and Quintus Sulpicius were, the consuls for that year. But in representations so different both Tubero and Macer cite the linen books as their authority; neither of them denies that it was said by ancient historians that there were military tribunes on that year. Licinius thinks that we should unhesitatingly follow the linen books; and Tubero is uncertain as to the truth. But this also is left unsettled among other points not ascertained from length of time.
Alarm was raised in Etruria after the capture of Fidenæ, not only the Veientians being terrified by the apprehension of similar ruin, but the Faliscians also, from the recollection of the war having first commenced with them, although they had not joined with those who renewed hostilities. Accordingly when the two nations, having sent ambassadors around to the twelve states, succeeded so far that a general meeting was proclaimed for all Etruria at the temple of Voltumna; the senate, apprehending a great attack threatening from that quarter, ordered Mamercus Æmilius again to be appointed dictator. Aulus Postumius Tubertus was appointed by him as master of the horse; and preparations for war were made with so much the more energy than on the last occasion, in proportion as there was more danger from the whole body of Etruria than from two of its states.
24. That matter passed off much more quietly than any one expected. Therefore when word was brought by certain traders, that aid was refused to the Veientians, and that they were bid to prosecute with their own strength a war entered into on their own separate views, and not to seek out persons as sharers in their distresses, to whom they had not communicated their hopes when flourishing; the dictator, that his appointment might not be in vain, all opportunity of acquiring military glory being now taken from him, desirous of performing during peace some work which might serve as a memorial of his dictatorship, sets about limiting the censorship, either judging its powers excessive, or disapproving of the duration rather than the extent of the office.
Accordingly, having summoned a meeting, he says "that the immortal gods had taken on themselves that the public affairs should be managed externally, and that the general security should be insured; that with respect to what was to be done within the walls, he would provide for the liberty of the Roman people. But that the most effectual guarding of it was, that offices of great power should not be of long continuance; and that a limit of time should be set to those to which a limit of jurisdiction could not be set. That other offices were annual, that the censorship was quinquennial; that it was a grievance to be subject to the same individuals for such a number of years in a considerable part of the affairs of life. That he would propose a law, that the censorship should not last longer than a year and half." Amid the great approbation of the people he passed the law on the following day, and says, "that you may know, Romans, in reality, how little pleasing to me are offices of long duration, I resign the dictatorship." Having laid down his own office, and set a limit to the office of others, he was escorted home with the congratulation and great good will of the people.
The censors resenting Mamercus' conduct for his having diminished the duration of one of the offices of the Roman people, degraded him from his tribe, and increasing his taxes eight-fold, disfranchised him. They say that he bore this with great magnanimity, as he considered the cause of the disgrace, rather than the disgrace itself; that the principal patricians also, though they had been averse to the curtailing the privileges of the censorship, were much displeased at this instance of censorial severity; inasmuch as each saw that he would be longer and more frequently subjected to the censors, than he should hold the office of censor. Certain it is that such indignation is said to have arisen on the part of the people, that violence could not be kept off from the censors through the influence of any person except of Mamercus himself.
25. The tribunes of the people, by preventing the election of consuls by incessant harangues, succeeded at length, after the matter had been well nigh brought to an interregnum, in having tribunes of the soldiers elected with consular authority: as for the prize of their victory, which was the thing sought, scil. that a plebeian should be elected, there was none. All patricians were elected, Marcus Fabius Vibulanus, Marcus Foslius, Lucius Sergius Fidenas. The pestilence during that year afforded a quiet in other matters. A temple was vowed to Apollo for the health of the people. The duumvirs did much, by direction of the books, for the purpose of appeasing the wrath of heaven and averting the plague from the people; a great mortality however was sustained in the city and country, by the death of men and of cattle promiscuously. Apprehending a famine for the agriculturists, they sent into Etruria, and the Pomptine district, and to Cumæ, and at last to Sicily also to procure corn. No mention was made of electing consuls. Military tribunes with consular authority were appointed, all patricians, Lucius Pinarius Mamercinus, Lucius Furius Medullinus, Spurius Postumius Albus. In this year the violence of the distemper abated, nor was there any danger from a scarcity of corn, because provision had been previously made against it.
Schemes for exciting wars were agitated in the meetings of the Æquans and Volscians, and in Etruria at the temple of Voltumna. Here the matter was postponed for a year, and by a decree it was enacted, that no meeting should be held before that time, the Veientian state in vain complaining that the same destiny hung over Veii, as that by which Fidenæ was destroyed. Meanwhile at Rome the chiefs of the commons, who had now for a long time been vainly pursuing the hope of higher dignity, whilst there was tranquillity abroad, appointed meetings to be held in the houses of the tribunes of the commons. There they concerted plans in secret: they complained "that they were so despised by the commons, that though tribunes of the soldiers, with consular authority, were now appointed for so many years, no plebeian ever obtained access to that honor. That their ancestors had shown much foresight in providing that plebeian offices should not be open to any patrician; otherwise they should be forced to have patricians as tribunes of the commons; so despicable were they even with their own party, and were not less despised by the commons than by the patricians."
Others exculpated the commons, and threw the blame on the patricians,--"that by their intriguing and schemes it happened that the road to honor was barred against the commons. If the commons were allowed to breathe from their mixed entreaties and menaces, that they would enter on their suffrages with a due regard to men of their own party; and, assistance being already procured, that they would assume a share in the government also." It is determined that, for the purpose of doing away with all intriguing, the tribunes should propose a law, that no person be allowed to add white to his garment for the purposes of canvassing. The matter may now appear trivial and scarcely deserving serious consideration, which then enkindled such strife between the patricians and commons. The tribunes, however, prevailed in carrying the law; and it appeared evident, that in their present state of irritation, the commons would incline their support to men of their own party; and lest this should be optional with them, a decree of the senate is passed, that the election for consuls should be held.
26. The cause was the rising, which the Hernicians and Latins announced as about to take place on the part of the Æquans and Volscians. Titus Quintius Cincinnatus, son of Lucius, (to the same person the cognomen of Pennus also is annexed,) and Caius Julius Mento were elected consuls: nor was the terror of war longer deferred. A levy being held under the devoting law, which with them is the most powerful instrument of forcing men into service, powerful armies set out from thence, and met at Algidum; and there the Æquans and Volscians fortified their camps separately; and the general took greater care than ever before to fortify their posts and train their soldiers; so much the more terror did the messengers bring to Rome. The senate wished that a dictator should be appointed, because though these nations had been often conquered, yet they renewed hostilities with more vigorous efforts than ever before, and a considerable number of the Roman youth had been carried off by sickness. Above all, the perverseness of the consuls, and the disagreement between them, and their contentions in all the councils, terrified them. There are some who state that an unsuccessful battle was fought by these consuls at Algidum, and that such was the cause of appointing a dictator.
This much is certain, that, though differing in other points, they perfectly agreed in one against the wishes of the patricians, not to nominate a dictator; until when accounts were brought, one more alarming than another, and the consuls would not be swayed by the authority of the senate, Quintus Servilius Priscus, who had passed through the highest honors with singular honor, says, "Tribunes of the people, since we are come to extremities, the senate calls on you, that you would, by virtue of your authority, compel the consuls to nominate a dictator in so critical a conjuncture of the state." On hearing this, the tribunes, conceiving that an opportunity was presented to them of extending their power, retire together, and declare for their college, that "it was their wish that the consuls should be obedient to the instruction of the senate; if they persisted further against the consent of that most illustrious order, that they would order them to be taken to prison."
The consuls were better pleased to be overcome by the tribunes than by the senate, alleging that the prerogatives of the highest magistracy were betrayed by the patricians and the consulship subjugated to tribunitian power, inasmuch as the consuls were liable to be overruled by a tribune in any particular by virtue of his power, and (what greater hardship could a private man have to dread?) even to be carried off to prison. The lot to nominate the dictator (for the colleagues had not even agreed on that) fell on Titus Quintius. He appointed a dictator, Aulus Postumius Tubertus, his own father-in-law, a man of the utmost strictness in command: by him Lucius Julius was appointed master of the horse: a suspension of civil business is also proclaimed; and, that nothing else should be attended to throughout the city but preparations for war, the examination of the cases of those who claimed exemption from the military service is deferred till after the war. Thus even doubtful persons are induced to give in their names. Soldiers were also enjoined of the Hernicians and Latins: the most zealous obedience is shown to the dictator on both sides.
27. All these measures were executed with great despatch: and Caius Julius the consul being left to guard the city, and Lucius Julius master of the horse, for the sudden exigencies of the war, lest any thing which they might want in the camp should cause delay, the dictator, repeating the words after Aulus Cornelius the chief pontiff, vowed the great games on account of the sudden war; and having set out from the city, after dividing his army with the consul Quintius, he came up with the enemy. As they had observed two separate camps of the enemy at a small distance one from the other, they in like manner encamped separately about a mile from them, the dictator towards Tusculum, the consul towards Lanuvium. Thus they had their four armies, as many fortified posts, having between them a plain sufficiently extended not only for excursions to skirmish, but even for drawing up the armies on both sides in battle-array. From the time camp was brought close to camp, they ceased not from light skirmishing, the dictator readily allowing his soldiers, by comparing strength, to entertain beforehand the hope of a general victory, after they had gradually essayed the result of slight skirmishes. Wherefore the enemy, no hope being now left in a regular engagement, attacked the consuls' camp in the night, and bring the matter to the chance of a doubtful result. The shout which arose suddenly awoke not only the consuls' sentinels and then all the army, but the dictator also.
When circumstances required instant exertion, the consul evinced no deficiency either in spirit or in judgment. One part of the troops reinforce the guards at the gates, another man the rampart around. In the other camp with the dictator, inasmuch as there is less of confusion, so much the more readily is it observed, what is required to be done. Dispatching then forthwith a reinforcement to the consuls' camp, to which Spurius Postumius Albus is appointed lieutenant-general, he himself with a part of his forces, making a small circuit, proceeds to a place entirely sequestered from the bustle, whence he might suddenly attack the enemy's rear. Quintus Sulpicius, his lieutenant-general, he appoints to take charge of the camp; to Marcus Fabius as lieutenant he assigns the cavalry, and orders that those troops, which it would be difficult to manage amid a nightly conflict, should not stir before day-light. All the measures which any other prudent and active general could order and execute at such a juncture, he orders and executes with regularity; that was an extraordinary specimen of judgment and intrepidity, and one deserving of no ordinary praise, that he dispatched Marcus Geganius with some chosen troops to attack the enemy's camp, whence it had been ascertained that they had departed with the greater part of their troops. When he fell on these men, wholly intent on the result of the danger of their friends, and incautious with respect to themselves, the watches and advanced guards being even neglected, he took their camp almost before the enemy were perfectly sure that it was attacked. Then when the signal given with smoke, as had been agreed on, was perceived by the dictator, he exclaims that the enemy's camp was taken, and orders it to be announced in every direction.
28. And now day was appearing, and every thing lay open to view; and Fabius had made an attack with his cavalry, and the consul had sallied from the camp on the enemy now disconcerted; when the dictator on the other side, having attacked their reserve and second line, threw his victorious troops, both horse and foot, in the way of the enemy as they turned themselves about to the dissonant shouts and the various sudden assaults. Thus surrounded on every side, they would to a man have suffered the punishment due to their reassumption of hostilities, had not Vectius Messius, a Volscian, a man more ennobled by his deeds than his extraction, upbraiding his men as they were forming a circle, called out with a loud voice, "Are ye about offering yourselves here to the weapons of the enemy, undefended, unavenged? why is it then ye have arms? or why have you undertaken an offensive war, ever turbulent in peace, and dastardly in war? What hopes have you in standing here? do you expect that some god will protect you and bear you hence? With the sword way must be opened. Come on ye, who wish to behold your homes, your parents, your wives, and your children, follow me in the way in which you shall see me lead you on. It is not a wall, not a rampart, but armed men that stand in your way with arms in your hands. In valor you are equal to them; in necessity, which is the ultimate and most effective weapon, superior."
As he uttered these words and was putting them into execution, they, renewing the shout and following him, make a push in that quarter where Postumius Alba had opposed his troops to them: and they made the victor give ground, until the dictator came up, as his own men were now retreating. To that quarter the whole weight of the battle was now turned. On Messius alone the fortune of the enemy depends. Many wounds and great slaughter now took place on both sides. By this time not even the Roman generals themselves fight without receiving wounds, one of them, Postumius, retired from the field having his skull fractured by a stroke of a stone; neither the dictator could be removed by a wound in the shoulder, nor Fabius by having his thigh almost pinned to his horse, nor the consul by his arm being cut off, from the perilous conflict.
29. Messius, with a band of the bravest youths, by a furious charge through heaps of slaughtered foes, was carried on to the camp of the Volscians, which had not yet been taken: the same route the entire body of the army followed. The consul, pursuing them in their disordered flight to the very rampart, attacks both the camp and the rampart; in the same direction the dictator also brings up his forces on the other side. The assault was conducted with no less intrepidity than the battle had been. They say that the consul even threw a standard within the rampart, in order that the soldiers might push on the more briskly, and that the first impression was made in recovering the standard. The dictator also, having levelled the rampart, had now carried the fight into the camp. Then the enemy began in every direction to throw down their arms and to surrender: and their camp also being taken, all the enemy were set up to sale, except the senators. Part of the plunder was restored to the Latins and Hernicians, when they demanded their property; the remainder the dictator sold by auction: and the consul, being invested with the command of the camp, he himself, entering the city in triumph, resigned his dictatorship.
Some writers cast a gloom on the memory of this glorious dictatorship, when they state that his son, though victorious, was beheaded by Aulus Postumius, because, tempted by a favorable opportunity of fighting to advantage, he had left his post without orders. We are disposed to refuse our belief; and we are warranted by the variety of opinions on the matter. And it is an argument against it, that such orders have been entitled "Manlian," not "Postumian," since the person who first set on foot so barbarous a precedent, was likely to obtain the signal title of cruelty. Besides, the cognomen of "Imperiosus" was affixed to Manlius: Postumius has not been marked by any hateful brand. Caius Julius the consul, in the absence of his colleague, without casting lots, dedicated the temple of Apollo: Quintius resenting this, when, after disbanding his army, he returned into the city, made a complaint of it in the senate to no purpose.
To the year marked by great achievements is added an event which seemed to have no relation to the interest of Rome, viz. that the Carthaginians, destined to be such formidable enemies, then, for the first times on the occasion of some disturbances among the Sicilians, transported an army into Sicily in aid of one of the parties.
30. In the city efforts were made by the tribunes of the people that military tribunes with consular power should be elected; nor could the point be carried. Lucius Papirius Crassus and Lucius Junius were made consuls. When the ambassadors of the Æquans solicited a treaty from the senate, and instead of a treaty a surrender was pointed out to them, they obtained a truce for eight years. The affairs of the Volscians, in addition to the disaster sustained at Algidum, were involved in strifes and seditions by an obstinate contention between the advocates for peace and those for war. The Romans enjoyed tranquillity on all sides. The consuls, having ascertained through the information of one of the college, that a law regarding the appraising of the fines, which was very acceptable to the people, was about to be introduced by the tribunes, took the lead themselves in proposing it. The new consuls were Lucius Sergius Fidenas a second time, and Hostus Lucretius Tricipitinus. During their consulate nothing worth mentioning occurred. The consuls who followed them were Aulus Cornelius Cossus and Titus Quintius Pennus a second time.
The Veientians made excursions into the Roman territory. A report existed that some of the youth of the Fidenatians had been participators in that depredation; and the cognizance of that matter was left to Lucius Sergius, and Quintus Servilius and Mamercus Æmilius. Some of them were sent into banishment to Ostia, because it did not appear sufficiently clear why during these days they had been absent from Fidenæ. A number of new settlers was added, and the land of those who had fallen in war was assigned to them. There was very great distress that year in consequence of drought; there was not only a deficiency of rain; but the earth also destitute of its natural moisture, scarcely enabled the rivers to flow. In some places the want of water occasioned heaps of cattle, which had died of thirst, around the springs and rivulets which were dried up; others were carried off by the mange; and the distempers spread by infection to the human subject, and first assailed the husbandmen and slaves; soon after the city becomes filled with them; and not only were men's bodies afflicted by the contagion, but superstitions of various kinds, and most of them of foreign growth, took possession of their minds; persons, to whom minds enslaved by superstition were a source of gain, introducing by pretending to divination new modes of sacrificing; until a sense of public shame now reached the leading men of the state, seeing in all the streets and chapels extraneous and unaccustomed ceremonies of expiation for the purpose of obtaining the favor of the gods.
A charge was then given to the ædiles, that they should see that no other than Roman gods should be worshipped, nor in any other manner, save that of the country. Their resentment against the Veientians was deferred till the following year, Caius Servilius Ahala and Lucius Papirius Mugillanus being consuls. Then also superstitious influences prevented the immediate declaration of war or the armies being sent; they deemed it necessary that heralds should be first sent to demand restitution. There had been battles fought lately with the Veientians at Nomentum and Fidenæ; and after that a truce, not a peace, had been concluded; of which both the time had expired and they had renewed hostilities before the expiration. Heralds however were sent; and when, according to ancient usage, they were sworn and demanded restitution, their application was not listened to. Then arose a dispute whether a war should be declared by order of the people, or whether a decree of the senate would be sufficient. The tribunes, by threatening that they would stop the levy, so far prevailed that the consuls should take the sense of the people concerning the war. All the centuries voted for it. In this particular also the commons showed a superiority by gaining this point, that consuls should not be elected for the next year.
31. Four military tribunes with consular authority were elected--Titus Quintius Pennus, from the consulship, Caius Furius, Marcus Postumius, and Aulus Cornelius Cossus. Of these Cossus held the command in the city. The other three, after the levy was held, set out to Veii, and were an instance how mischievous in military affairs is a plurality of commanders. By insisting each on his own plans, whilst they severally entertained different views, they left an opportunity open to the enemy to take them at advantage. For the Veientians, taking an opportunity, attacked their line whilst still uncertain as to their movements, some ordering the signal to be given, others a retreat to be sounded: their camp, which was nigh at hand, received them in their confusion and turning their backs. There was more disgrace therefore than loss. The state, unaccustomed to defeat, was become melancholy; they hated the tribunes, they insisted on a dictator, the hopes of the state now seemed to rest on him. When a religious scruple interfered here also, lest a dictator could not be appointed except by a consul, the augurs on being consulted removed that scruple. Aulus Cornelius nominated Mamercus Æmilius, and he himself was nominated by him master of the horse. So little did censorial animadversion avail, so as to prevent them from seeking a regulator of their affairs from a family unmeritedly censured, as soon as the condition of the state stood in need of genuine merit.
The Veientians elated with their success, having sent ambassadors around the states of Etruria, boasting that three Roman generals had been beaten by them in an engagement, though they could not effect a public co-operation in their designs, procured volunteers from all quarters allured by the hope of plunder. The state of the Fidenatians alone determined on renewing hostilities; and as if it would be an impiety to commence war unless with guilt, after staining their arms with the blood of the new settlers there, as they had on a former occasion with that of the ambassadors, they join the Veientians. After this the leading men of the two states consulted whether they should select Veii or Fidenæ as the seat of war. Fidenæ appeared the more convenient. Accordingly, having crossed the Tiber, the Veientians transferred the war thither. There was great consternation at Rome. The army being recalled from Veii, and that same army dispirited in consequence of their defeat, the camp is pitched before the Colline gate, and armed soldiers are posted along the walls, and a suspension of all civil business is proclaimed in the forum, and the shops were closed; and every place becomes more like to a camp than a city.
32. Then the dictator, having sent criers through the streets, and having summoned the alarmed citizens to an assembly, began to chide them "that they allowed their minds to depend on such slight impulses of fortune, that, on the receipt of a trifling loss, which itself was sustained not by the bravery of the enemy, nor by the cowardice of the Roman army, but by the disagreement of the generals, they now dreaded the Veientian enemy, six times vanquished, and Fidenæ, which was almost taken oftener than attacked. That both the Romans and the enemies were the same as they were for so many ages: that they retained the same spirits, the same bodily strength, the same arms. That he himself, Mamercus Æmilius, was also the same dictator, who formerly defeated the armies of the Veientians and Fidenatians, with the additional support of the Faliscians, at Nomentum. That his master of the horse, Aulus Cornelius, would be the same in the field, he who, as military tribune in a former war, slew Lar Tolumnius, king of the Veientians, in the sight of both armies, and brought the spolia opima into the temple of Jupiter Feretrius. Wherefore that they should take up arms, mindful that with them were triumphs, with them spoils, with them victory; with the enemy the guilt of murdering the ambassadors contrary to the law of nations, the massacre of the Fidenatian colonists in time of peace, the infraction of truces, a seventh unsuccessful revolt. As soon as they should bring their camp near them, he was fully confident that the joy of these most impious enemies at the disgrace of the Roman army would not be of long continuance, and that the Roman people would be convinced how much better those persons deserved of the republic, who nominated him dictator for the third time, than those who, in consequence of his abolishing the despotism of the censorship, would cast a slur on his second dictatorship."
Having offered up his vows and set out on his march, he pitches his camp fifteen hundred paces on this side of Fidenæ, covered on his right by mountains, on his left by the river Tiber. He orders Titus Quintius Pennus to take possession of the mountains, and to post himself secretly on some eminence which might be in the enemy's rear. On the following day, when the Etrurians had marched out to the field, full of confidence in consequence of their accidental success of the preceding day, rather than of their good fighting, he himself, having delayed a little until the senate brought back word that Quintius had gained an eminence nigh to the citadel of Fidenæ, puts his troops into motion and led on his line of infantry in order of battle in their quickest pace against the enemy: the master of the horse he directs not to commence the fight without orders; that, when it would be necessary, he would give the signal for the aid of the cavalry; then that he would conduct the action, mindful of his fight with the king, mindful of the rich oblation, and of Romulus and Jupiter Feretrius. The legions begin the conflict with impetuosity. The Romans, fired with hatred, gratified that feeling both with deeds and words, calling the Fidenatian impious, the Veientian robbers, truce-breakers, stained with the horrid murder of ambassadors, sprinkled with the blood of their own brother-colonists, treacherous allies, and dastardly enemies.
33. In the very first onset they had made an impression on the enemy; when on a sudden, the gates of Fidenæ flying open, a strange sort of army sallies forth, unheard of and unseen before that time. An immense multitude armed with fire and all blazing with fire-brands, as if urged on by fanatical rage, rush on the enemy: and the form of this unusual mode of fighting frightened the Romans for the moment. Then the dictator, having called to him the master of the horse and the cavalry, and also Quintius from the mountains animating the fight, hastens himself to the left wing, which, more nearly resembling a conflagration than a battle, had from terror given way to the flames, and exclaims with a loud voice, "Vanquished by smoke, driven from your ground as if a swarm of bees, will ye yield to an unarmed enemy? will ye not extinguish the fires with the sword? or if it is with fire, not with weapons, we are to fight, will ye not, each in his post, snatch those brands, and hurl them on them? Come, mindful of the Roman name, of the valor of your fathers, and of your own, turn this conflagration against the city of your enemy, and destroy Fidenæ by its own flames, which ye could not reclaim by your kindness. The blood of your ambassadors and colonists and the desolation of your frontiers suggest this."
At the command of the dictator the whole line advanced; the firebrands that were discharged are partly caught up; others are wrested by force: the armies on either side are now armed with fire. The master of the horse too, on his part, introduces among the cavalry a new mode of fighting; he commands his men to take the bridles off their horses: and he himself at their head, putting spurs to his own, dashing forward, is carried by the unbridled steed into the midst of the fires: the other horses also being urged on carry their riders with unrestrained speed against the enemy. The dust being raised and mixed with smoke excluded the light from the eyes of both men and horses. That appearance which had terrified the soldiers, no longer terrified the horses. The cavalry therefore, wherever they penetrated, produced a heap of bodies like a ruin. A new shout then assailed their ears; and when this attracted the attention of the two armies looking with amazement at each other, the dictator cries out "that his lieutenant-general and his men had attacked the enemy on the rear:" he himself, on the shout being renewed, advances against them with redoubled vigor. When two armies, two different battles pressed on the Etrurians, now surrounded, in front and rear, and there was now no means of flight back to their camp, nor to the mountains, where new enemies were ready to oppose them, and the horses, now freed from their bridles, had scattered their riders in every direction, the principal part of the Veientians make precipitately for the Tiber.
Such of the Fidenatians as survived, bend their course to the city of Fidenæ. Their flight hurries them in their state of panic into the midst of slaughter; they are cut to pieces on the banks; others, when driven into the water, were carried off by the eddies; even those who could swim were weighed down by fatigue, by their wounds, and by fright; a few out of the many make their way across. The other party make their way through the camp into the city. In the same direction their impetuosity carries the Romans in pursuit; Quintius more especially, and with him those who had just come down from the mountain, being the soldiers who were freshest for labor, because they had come up towards the close of the engagement.
34. These, after they entered the gate mixed with the enemy, make their way to the walls, and raise from their summit a signal to their friends of the town being taken. When the dictator saw this, (for he had now made his way into the deserted camp of the enemy,) he leads on the soldiers, who were now anxious to disperse themselves in quest of booty, entertaining a hope of a greater spoil in the city, to the gate; and being admitted within the walls, he proceeds to the citadel, whither he saw the crowds of fugitives hurrying. Nor was the slaughter in the city less than in the battle; until, throwing down their arms, begging nothing but their life, they surrendered to the dictator. The city and camp are plundered.
On the following day, one captive being allotted to each horseman and centurion, and two to those whose valor had been conspicuous, and the rest being sold by auction, the dictator in triumph led back to Rome his army victorious and enriched with spoil; and having ordered the master of the horse to resign his office, he immediately resigned his own on the sixteenth day (after he had obtained it); surrendering in peace that authority which he had received during war and trepidations. Some annals have reported that there was a naval engagement with the Veientians at Fidenæ, a thing as difficult as it was incredible, the river even now not being broad enough for such a purpose; and at that time, as we learn from old writers, being considerably narrower: except that perhaps in disputing the passage of the river, magnifying, as will happen, the scuffle of a few ships, they sought the empty honor of a naval victory.
35. The following year had as military tribunes with consular power Aulus Sempronius Atratinus, Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus, Lucius Furius Medullinus, Lucius Horatius Barbatus. To the Veientians a truce for twenty years was granted, and one for three years to the Æquans, though they had solicited one for a longer term. There was quiet also from city riots. The year following, though not distinguished either by war abroad or by disturbance at home, was rendered celebrated by the games which had been vowed during the war, both through the magnificence displayed in them by the military tribunes, and also through the concourse of the neighboring states. The tribunes with consular power were Appius Claudius Crassus, Spurius Nautilus Rutilus, Lucius Sergius Fidenas, Sextus Julius Iulus. The exhibition, besides that they had come with the public concurrence of their states, was rendered still more grateful to the strangers by the courtesy of their hosts.
After the games seditious harangues were delivered by the tribunes of the commons upbraiding the multitude; "that stupefied with admiration of those persons whom they hated, they kept themselves in a state of eternal bondage; and they not only had not the courage to aspire to the recovery of their hopes of a share in the consulship, but even in the electing of military tribunes, which elections lay open to both patricians and commons, they neither thought of themselves nor of their party. That they must therefore cease feeling surprised why no one busied himself about the interests of the commons: that labor and danger would be expended on objects whence emolument and honor might be expected. That there was nothing men would not attempt if great rewards were proposed for those who make great attempts. That any tribune of the commons should rush blindly at great risk and with no advantage into contentions, in consequence of which he may rest satisfied that the patricians against whom he should strive, will persecute him with inexpiable war, whilst with the commons in whose behalf he may have contended he will not be one whit the more honored, was a thing neither to be expected nor required. That by great honors minds became great. That no plebeian would think meanly of himself, when they ceased to be despised by others. That the experiment should be at length made in the case of one or two, whether there were any plebeian capable of sustaining a high dignity, or whether it were next to a miracle and a prodigy that any one sprung from the commons should be a brave and industrious man. That by the utmost energy the point had been gained, that military tribunes with consular power might be chosen from among the commons also. That men well approved both in the civil and military line had stood as candidates. That during the first years they were hooted at, rejected, and ridiculed by the patricians: that at length they had ceased to expose themselves to insult. Nor did he for his part see why the law itself might not be repealed; by which that was made lawful which never could take place; for that there would be less cause for blushing at the injustice of the law, than if they were to be passed over through their own want of merit."
36. Harangues of this kind, listened to with approbation, induced some persons to stand for the military tribuneship, each avowing that if in office he would propose something to the advantage of the commons. Hopes were held out of a distribution of the public land, of colonies to be planted, and of money to be raised for the pay of the soldiers, by a tax imposed on the proprietors of estates. Then an opportunity was laid hold of by the military tribunes, so that during the absence of most persons from the city, when the patricians who were to be recalled by a private intimation were to attend on a certain day, a decree of the senate might be passed in the absence of the tribunes of the commons; that a report existed that the Volscians had gone forth into the lands of Hernici to commit depredations, the military tribunes were to set out to examine into the matter, and that an assembly should be held for the election of consuls. Having set out, they leave Appius Claudius, son of the decemvir, as prefect of the city, a young man of great energy, and one who had ever from his cradle imbibed a hatred of the tribunes and the commons. The tribunes of the commons had nothing for which they should contend, either with those persons now absent, who had procured the decree of the senate, nor with Appius, the matter being now all over.
37. Caius Sempronius Atratinus, Quintus Fabius Vibulanus were elected consuls. An affair in a foreign country, but one deserving of record, is stated to have happened in that year. Vulturnum, a city of the Etrurians, which is now Capua, was taken by the Samnites; and was called Capua from their leader, Capys, or, what is more probable, from its champaign grounds. But they took possession of it, after having been admitted into a share of the city and its lands, when the Etrurians had been previously much harassed in war; afterwards the new-comers attacked and massacred during the night the old inhabitants, when on a festival day they had become heavy with wine and sleep. After those transactions the consuls whom we have mentioned entered on office on the ides of December. Now not only those who had been expressly sent, reported that a Volscian war was impending; but ambassadors also from the Latins and Hernicians brought word, "that never at any former period were the Volscians more intent either in selecting commanders, or in levying an army; that they commonly observed either that arms and war were to be for ever consigned to oblivion, and the yoke to be submitted to; or that they must not yield to those, with whom they contended for empire, either in valor, perseverance, or military discipline."
The accounts they brought were not unfounded; but neither the senate were so much affected by the circumstance; and Caius Sempronius, to whom the province fell by lot, relying on fortune, as if a most constant object, because he was the leader of a victorious state against one frequently vanquished, executed all his measures carelessly and remissly; so that there was more of the Roman discipline in the Volscian than in the Roman army. Success therefore, as on many other occasions, attended merit. In the first battle, which was entered on by Sempronius without either prudence or caution, they met, without their lines being strengthened by reserves, or their cavalry being properly stationed. The shout was the first presage which way the victory would incline; that raised by the enemy was louder and more continued; that by the Romans, being dissonant, uneven, and frequently repeated in a lifeless manner, betrayed the prostration of their spirits. The enemy advancing the more boldly on this account, pushed with their shields, brandished their swords; on the other side the helmets drooped, as the men looked around, and disconcerted they waver, and keep close to the main body. The ensigns at one time standing their ground are deserted by their supporters, at another time they retreat between their respective companies. As yet there was no absolute flight, nor was there victory. The Romans rather covered themselves than fought. The Volscians advanced, pushed against their line, saw more of the enemy slain than running away.
38. They now give way in every direction, the consul Sempronius in vain chiding and exhorting them; neither his authority nor his dignity availed any thing; and they would presently have turned their backs to the enemy, had not Sextus Tempanius, a commander of a troop of horse, with great presence of mind brought them support, when matters were now desperate. When he called out aloud, "that the horsemen who wished for the safety of the commonwealth should leap from their horses," the horsemen of all the troops being moved, as if by the consul's orders, he says, "unless this cohort by its arms can stop the progress of the enemy, there is an end of the empire. Follow my spear as your standard. Show to the Romans and Volscians, that no cavalry are equal to you as cavalry, nor infantry to you as infantry." When this exhortation was approved by a loud shout, he advances, holding his spear aloft. Wherever they go, they open a passage for themselves; putting forward their targets they force on to the place where they saw the distress of their friends greatest. The fight is restored in every part, as far as their onset reached; nor was there a doubt but that if so few could, accomplish every thing at the same time, the enemy would have turned their backs.
39. And when they could now be withstood in no part, the Volscian commander gives a signal, that an opening should be made for the targeteers, the enemy's new cohort; until carried away by their impetuosity they should be cut off from their own party. When this was done, the horsemen were intercepted; nor were they able to force their way in the same direction as that through which they had passed; the enemy being thickest in that part through which they had made their way; and the consul and Roman legions, when they could no where see that party which had lately been a protection to the entire army, lest the enemy should cut down so many men of distinguished valor by cutting them off, push forward at all hazards. The Volscians, forming two fronts, sustained the attack of the consul and the legions on the one hand, with the other front pressed on Tempanius and the horsemen: and when they after repeated attempts were unable to force their way to their own party, they took possession of an eminence, and defended themselves by forming a circle, not without taking vengeance on their enemies. Nor was there an end of the battle before night. The consul also, never relaxing his efforts as long as any light remained, kept the enemy employed.
The night at length separated them undecided as to victory; and such a panic seized both camps, from their uncertainty as to the issue, that, leaving behind their wounded and a great part of the baggage, both armies, as if vanquished, betook themselves to the adjoining mountains. The eminence, however, continued to be besieged till beyond midnight; but when word was brought to the besiegers that the camp was deserted, supposing that their own party had been defeated, they too fled, each whithersoever his fears carried him in the dark. Tempanius, through fear of an ambush, detained his men till daylight. Then having himself descended with a few men to look about, when he ascertained by inquiring from some of the wounded enemy that the camp of the Volscians was deserted, he joyously calls down his men from the eminence, and makes his way into the Roman camp: where, when he found every thing waste and deserted, and the same unsightliness as with the enemy, before the discovery of this mistake should bring back the Volscians, taking with him all the wounded he could, and not knowing what route the consul had taken, he proceeds by the shortest roads to the city.
40. The report of the unsuccessful battle and of the abandonment of the camp had already reached there; and, above all other objects, the horsemen were mourned not more with private than with public grief; and the consul Fabius, the city also being now alarmed, stationed guards before the gates; when the horsemen, seen at a distance, not without some degree of terror by those who doubted who they were, but soon being recognized, from a state of dread produced such joy, that a shout pervaded the city, of persons congratulating each other on the horsemen having returned safe and victorious; and from the houses a little before in mourning, as they had given up their friends for lost, persons were seen running into the street; and the affrighted mothers and wives, forgetful of all ceremony through joy, ran out to meet the band, each one rushing up to her own friends, and through extravagance of delight scarcely retaining power over body or mind. The tribunes of the people who had appointed a day of trial for Marcus Postumius and Titus Quintius, because of the unsuccessful battle fought near Veii by their means, thought that an opportunity now presented itself for renewing the public odium against them by reason of the recent displeasure felt against the consul Sempronius.
Accordingly, a meeting being convened, when they exclaimed aloud that the commonwealth had been betrayed at Veii by the generals, that the army was afterwards betrayed by the consul in the country of the Volscians, because they had escaped with impunity, that the very brave horsemen were consigned to slaughter, that the camp was shamefully deserted; Caius Julius, one of the tribunes, ordered the horseman Tempanius to be cited, and in presence of them he says, "Sextus Tempanius, I ask of you, whether do you think that Caius Sempronius the consul either commenced the battle at the proper time, or strengthened his line with reserves, or that he discharged any duty of a good consul? or did you yourself, when the Roman legions were beaten, of your own judgment dismount the cavalry and restore the fight? then when you and the horsemen with you were cut off from our army, did either the consul himself come to your relief, or did he send you succor? Then again, on the following day, had you any assistance any where? or did you and your cohort by your own bravery make your way into your camp? Did you find a consul or an army in the camp, or did you find the camp forsaken, the wounded soldiers left behind? These things are to be declared by you this day, as becomes your valor and honor, by which alone the republic has stood its ground on this day. In a word, where is Caius Sempronius, where are our legions? Have you been deserted, or have you deserted the consul and the army? In a word, have we been defeated, or have we gained the victory?"
41. In answer to these questions the language of Tempanius is said to have been entirely devoid of elegance, but firm as became a soldier, not vainly parading his own merits, nor exulting in the inculpation of others: "How much military skill Caius Sempronius possessed, that it was not his business as a soldier to judge with respect to his commander, but the business of the Roman people when they were choosing consuls at the election. Wherefore that they should not require from him a detail of the plans to be adopted by a general, nor of the qualifications to be looked for in a consul; which matters required to be considered by great minds and great capacities; but what he saw, that he could state. That before he was separated from his own party, he saw the consul fighting in the first line, encouraging his men, actively employed amid the Roman ensigns and the weapons of the enemy; that he was afterwards carried out of sight of his friends. That from the din and shouting he perceived that the contest was protracted till night; nor did he think it possible, from the great numbers of the enemy, that they could force their way to the eminence which he had seized on. Where the army might be, he did not know; he supposed that as he protected himself and his men, by advantage of situation when in danger, in the same way the consul, for the purpose of preserving his army, had selected a more secure place for his camp. Nor did he think that the affairs of the Volscians were in a better condition than those of the Roman people. That fortune and the night had occasioned a multitude of mistakes on both sides:" and then when he begged that they would not detain him, fatigued with toil and wounds, he was dismissed with high encomiums, not more on his bravery than his modesty.
While these things were going on, the consul was at the temple of Rest on the road leading to Lavici. Wagons and other modes of conveyance were sent thither from the city, and took up the army, exhausted by the action and the travelling by night. Soon after the consul entered the city, not more anxious to remove the blame from himself, than to bestow on Tempanius the praises so well deserved. Whilst the citizens were still sorrowful in consequence of their ill success, and incensed against their leaders, Marcus Postumius, being arraigned and brought before them, he who had been military tribune with consular power at Veii, is condemned in a fine of ten thousand asses in weight, of brass. His colleague, Titus Quintius, who endeavored to shift the entire blame of that period on his previously condemned colleague, was acquitted by all the tribes, because both in the country of the Volscians, when consul, he had conducted business successfully under the auspices of the dictator, Postumius Tubertus, and also at Fidenæ, as lieutenant-general of another dictator, Mamercus Æmilius. The memory of his father, Cincinnatus, a man highly deserving of veneration, is said to have been serviceable to him, as also Capitolinus Quintius, now advanced in years, humbly entreating that they would not suffer him who had so short a time to live to be the bearer of such dismal tidings to Cincinnatus.
42. The commons elected as tribunes of the people, though absent, Sextus Tempanius, Aulus Sellius, Sextus Antistius, and Spurius Icilius, whom the horsemen by the advice of Tempanius had appointed to command them as centurions. The senate, inasmuch as the name of consuls was now becoming displeasing through the hatred felt towards Sempronius, ordered that military tribunes with consular power should be elected. Those elected were Lucius Manlius Capitolinus, Quintus Antonius Merenda, Lucius Papirius Mugillanus. At the very commencement of the year, Lucius Hortensius, a tribune of the people, appointed a day of trial for Caius Sempronius, a consul of the preceding year, and when his four colleagues, in sight of the Roman people, entreated him that he would not involve in vexation their unoffending general, in whose case nothing but fortune could be blamed, Hortensius took offense, thinking it to be a trying of his perseverance, and that the accused depended not on the entreaties of the tribunes, which were merely used for show, but on their protection. Therefore now turning to him, he asked, "Where were those patrician airs, where the spirit supported and confiding in conscious innocence; that a man of consular dignity took shelter under the shade of the tribunes?"
Another time to his colleagues, "What do you intend doing, if I go on with the prosecution; will you wrest their jurisdiction from the people and overturn the tribunitian authority?" When they said that, "both with respect to Sempronius and all others, the power of the Roman people was supreme; that they had neither the will nor the power to do away with the judgment of the people; but if their entreaties for their commander, who was to them in the light of a parent, were to prove of no avail, that they would change their apparel along with him:" then Hortensius says, "The commons of Rome shall not see their tribunes in the garb of culprits. To Caius Sempronius I have nothing more to say, since when in office he has attained this good fortune, to be so dear to his soldiers." Nor was the dutiful attachment of the four tribunes more grateful alike to the commons and patricians, than was the temper of Hortensius, which yielded so readily to their just entreaties. Fortune no longer indulged the Æquans, who had embraced the doubtful victory of the Volscians as their own.
43. In the year following, when Numerius Fabius Vibulanus and Titus Quintius Capitolinus, son of Capitolinus, were consuls, nothing worth mentioning was performed under the conduct of Fabius, to whom that province had fallen by lot. When the Æquans had merely showed their dastardly army, they were routed by a shameful flight, without any great honor to the consul; therefore a triumph is refused. However in consequence of having effaced the ignominy of Sempronius's defeat, he was allowed to enter the city with an ovation. As the war was terminated with less difficulty than they had apprehended, so in the city, from a state of tranquillity, an unexpected mass of dissensions arose between the commons and patricians, which commenced with doubling the number of quæstors. When the patricians approved most highly of this measure, (viz. that, besides the two city quæstors, two should attend the consuls to discharge some duties of the military service,) after it was moved by the consuls, the tribunes of the commons contended in opposition to the consuls, that half of the quæstors should be appointed from the commons; for up to that time all patricians were appointed.
Against this proceeding both the consuls and patricians at first strove with all their might; then by making a concession that the will of the people should be equally free in the case of quæstors, as they enjoyed in the election of tribunes with consular power, when they produced but little effect, they gave up the entire matter about increasing the number of quæstors. When relinquished, the tribunes take it up, and other seditious schemes are continually started, among which is that of the agrarian law. On account of these disturbances the senate was desirous that consuls should be elected rather than tribunes, but no decree of the senate could be passed in consequence of the protests of the tribunes; the government from being consular came to an interregnum, and not even that without a great struggle (for the tribunes prevented the patricians from meeting).
When the greater part of the following year was wasted in contentions by the new tribunes of the commons and some interreges, the tribunes at one time hindering the patricians from assembling to declare an interrex, at another time preventing the interrex from passing a decree regarding the election of consuls; at length Lucius Papirius Mugillanus, being nominated interrex, censuring now the patricians, now the tribunes of the people, asserted "that the state, deserted and forsaken by man, being taken up by the providence and care of the gods, subsisted by the Veientian truce and the dilatoriness of the Æquans. From which quarter if any alarm of danger be heard, did it please them that the state, left without a patrician magistrate, should be taken by surprise? that there should be no army, nor general to enlist one? Will they repel a foreign war by an intestine one? And if they both meet, the Roman state can scarcely be saved, even by the aid of the gods, from being overwhelmed. That they, by resigning each a portion of their strict right, should establish concord by a compromise; the patricians, by suffering military tribunes with consular authority to be elected; the tribunes of the commons, by ceasing to protest against the four quæstors being elected promiscuously from the commons and patricians by the free suffrage of the people."
44. The election of tribunes was first held. There were chosen tribunes with consular power, Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus a third time, Lucius Furius Medullinus a second time, Marcus Manlius, Aulus Sempronius Atratinus. On the last-named tribune presiding at the election of quæstors, and among several other plebeians a son of Antistius, a plebeian tribune, and a brother of Sextus Pompilius, also a tribune of the commons, becoming candidates, neither the power nor interest of the latter at all availed so as to prevent those, whose fathers and grandfathers they had seen consuls, from being preferred for their high birth. All the tribunes of the commons became enraged, above all Pompilius and Antistius were incensed at the rejection of their relatives. "What could this mean? that neither through their own kindnesses, nor in consequence of the injurious treatment of the patricians, nor even through the natural desire of making use of their new right, as that is now allowed which was not allowed before, was any individual of the commons elected if not a military tribune, not even a quæstor. That the prayers of a father in behalf of a son, those of one brother in behalf of another, had been of no avail, though proceeding from tribunes of the people, a sacrosanct power created for the support of liberty. There must have been some fraud in the matter, and Aulus Sempronius must have used more of artifice at the elections than was compatible with honor."
They complained that by the unfairness of his conduct their friends had been kept out of office. Accordingly as no attack could be made on him, secured by his innocence and by the office he then held, they turned their resentment against Caius Sempronius, uncle to Atratinus; and, with the aid of their colleague Marcus Cornelius, they entered a prosecution against him on account of the disgrace sustained in the Volscian war. By the same tribunes mention was frequently made in the senate concerning the division of the lands, (which scheme Caius Sempronius had always most vigorously opposed,) they supposing, as was really the case, that the accused, should he give up the question, would become less valued among the patricians, or by persevering up to the period of trial he would give offense to the commons. He preferred to expose himself to the torrent of popular prejudice, and to injure his own cause, than to be wanting to the public cause; and he stood firm in the same sentiment, "that no largess should be made, which was sure to turn to the benefit of the three tribunes; that it was not land was sought for the people, but odium for him. That he too would undergo that storm with a determined mind; nor should either himself, nor any other citizen, be of so much consequence to the senate, that in showing tenderness to an individual, a public injury may be done." When the day of trial came, he, having pleaded his own cause with a spirit by no means subdued, is condemned in a fine of fifteen thousand asses, though the patricians tried every means to make the people relent.
The same year Postumia, a Vestal virgin, is tried for a breach of chastity, though guiltless of the charge; having fallen under suspicion in consequence of her dress being too gay and her manners less reserved than becomes a virgin, not avoiding the imputation with sufficient care. The case was first deferred, she was afterwards acquitted; but the chief pontiff, by the instruction of the college, commanded her to refrain from indiscreet mirth, and to dress with more regard to sanctity than elegance. In the same year Cumæ, a city which the Greeks then occupied, was taken by the Campanians.
45. The following year had for military tribunes with consular power, Agrippa Menenius Lanatus, Publius Lucretius Tricipitinus, Spurius Nautius Rutilus: to the good fortune of the Roman people, the year was remarkable rather by great danger than by losses. The slaves conspire to set fire to the city in several quarters, and whilst the people should be intent in bearing assistance to the houses in every direction, to take up arms and seize the citadel and Capitol. Jupiter frustrated their horrid designs; and the offenders, being seized on the information of two (accomplices), were punished. Ten thousand asses in weight of brass paid out of the treasury, a sum which at that time was considered wealth, and their freedom, was the reward conferred on the parties who discovered. The Æquans then began to prepare for a renewal of hostilities; and an account was brought to Rome from good authority, that new enemies, the Lavicanians, were forming a coalition with the old ones. The state had now become habituated, as it were, to the anniversary arms of the Æquans.
When ambassadors were sent to Lavici and brought back from thence an evasive answer, from which it became evident that neither war was intended there, nor would peace be of long continuance, instructions were given to the Tusculans, that they should observe attentively, lest any new commotion should arise at Lavici. To the military tribunes, with consular power, of the following year, Lucius Sergius Fidenas, Marcus Papirius Mugillanus, Caius Servilius the son of Priscus, in whose dictatorship Fidenæ had been taken, ambassadors came from Tusculum, just as they entered on their office. The ambassadors brought word that the Lavicanians had taken arms, and having ravaged the Tusculan territory in conjunction with the army of the Æquans, that they had pitched their camp at Algidum. Then war was proclaimed against the Lavicanians; and a decree of the senate having been passed, that two of the tribunes should proceed to the war, and that one should manage affairs at Rome, a contest suddenly sprung up among the tribunes.
Each represented himself as a fitter person to take the lead in the war, and scorned the management of the city as disagreeable and inglorious. When the senate beheld with surprise the indecent contention between the colleagues, Quintus Servilius says, "Since there is no respect either for this house, or for the commonwealth, parental authority shall set aside this altercation of yours. My son, without having recourse to lots, shall take charge of the city. I wish that those who are so desirous of managing the war, may conduct it with more consideration and harmony than they covet it."
46. It was determined that the levy should not be made out of the entire body of the people indiscriminately. Ten tribes were drawn by lot; the two tribunes enlisted the younger men out of these, and led them to the war. The contentions which commenced between them in the city, were, through the same eager ambition for command, carried to a much greater height in the camp: on no one point did they think alike; they contended strenuously for their own opinion; they desired their own plans, their own commands only to be ratified; they mutually despised each other, and were despised, until, on the remonstrances of the lieutenant-generals, it was at length so arranged, that they should hold the supreme command on alternate days. When an account of these proceedings was brought to Rome, Quintus Servilius, taught by years and experience, is said to have prayed to the immortal gods, that the discord of the tribunes might not prove more detrimental to the commonwealth than it had done at Veii: and, as if some certain disaster was impending over them, he pressed his son to enlist soldiers and prepare arms. Nor was he a false prophet. For under the conduct of Lucius Sergius, whose day of command it was, being suddenly attacked by the Æquans on disadvantageous ground near the enemy's camp, after having been decoyed thither by the vain hope of taking it, because the enemy had counterfeited fear and betaken themselves to their rampart, they were beaten down a declivity, and great numbers were overpowered and slaughtered by their tumbling one over the other rather than by flight: and the camp, retained with difficulty on that day, was, on the following day, deserted by a shameful flight through the opposite gate, the enemy having invested it in several directions.
The generals, lieutenant-generals, and such of the main body of the army as kept near the colors, made their way to Tusculum; others, dispersed in every direction through the fields, hastened to Rome by different roads, announcing a heavier loss than had been sustained. There was less of consternation, because the result corresponded to the apprehensions of persons; and because the reinforcements, which they could look to in this distressing state of things, had been prepared by the military tribune: and by his orders, after the disturbance in the city was quieted by the inferior magistrates, scouts were instantly dispatched, and brought intelligence that the generals and the army were at Tusculum; that the enemy had not removed their camp. And, what raised their spirits most, Quintus Servilius Priscus was created dictator in pursuance of a decree of the senate; a man whose judgment in public affairs the state had experienced as well on many previous occasions, as in the issue of that war, because he alone had expressed his apprehensions of the result of the disputes among the tribunes, before the occurrence of the misfortune; he having appointed for his master of the horse, by whom, as military tribune, he had been nominated dictator, his own son, as some have stated, (for others mention that Ahala Servilius was master of the horse that year;) and setting out to the war with his newly-raised army, after sending for those who were at Tusculum, chose ground for his camp at the distance of two miles from the enemy.
47. The arrogance and negligence arising from success, which had previously existed in the Roman generals, were now transferred to the Æquans. Accordingly, when in the very first engagement the dictator had thrown the enemy's van into disorder by a charge of his cavalry, he immediately ordered the infantry to advance, and slew one of his own standard-bearers who hesitated in so doing. So great was the ardor to fight, that the Æquans did not stand the shock; and when, vanquished in the field, they made for their camp in a precipitate flight, the taking of it was shorter in time and less in trouble than the battle had been. After the camp had been taken and plundered, and the dictator had given up the spoil to the soldiers, and the cavalry, who had pursued the enemy in their flight, brought back intelligence that all the Lavicanians were vanquished, and that a considerable number of the Æquans had fled to Lavici, the army was marched to Lavici on the following day; and the town, being invested on all sides, was taken by storm and plundered.
The dictator, having marched back his victorious army to Rome, resigned his office on the eighth day after he had been appointed; and before agrarian disturbances could be raised by the tribunes of the commons, allusion having been made to a division of the Lavicanian land, the senate very opportunely voted in full assembly that a colony should be conducted to Lavici. One thousand five hundred colonists were sent from the city, and received each two acres. Lavici being taken, and subsequently Agrippa Menenius Lanatus, and Lucius Servilius Structus, and Publius Lucretius Tricipitinus, all these a second time, and Spurius Rutilius Crassus being military tribunes with consular authority, and on the following year Aulus Sempronius Atratinus a third time, and Marcus Papirius Mugillanus and Spurius Nautius Rutilus both a second time, affairs abroad were peaceable for two years, but at home there was dissension from the agrarian laws.
48. The disturbers of the commons were Spurius Mæcilius a fourth time, and Spurius Mætilius a third time, tribunes of the people, both elected during their absence. And after they had proposed a bill, that the land taken from the enemy should be divided man by man, and the property of a considerable part of the nobles would be confiscated by such a measure; for there was scarcely any of the land, considering the city itself was built on a strange soil, that had not been acquired by arms; nor had any other persons except the commons possession of that which had been sold or publicly assigned, a violent contest between the commons and patricians seemed to be at hand; nor did the military tribunes discover either in the senate, or in the private meetings of the nobles, any line of conduct to pursue; when Appius Claudius, the grandson of him who had been decemvir for compiling the laws, being the youngest senator of the meeting, is stated to have said; "that he brought from home an old and a family scheme, for that his great-grandfather, Appius Claudius, had shown the patricians one method of baffling tribunitian power by the protests of their colleagues; that men of low rank were easily led away from their opinions by the influence of men of distinction, if language were addressed to them suitable to the times, rather than to the dignity of the speakers. That their sentiments were regulated by their circumstances. When they should see that their colleagues, having the start in introducing the measure, had engrossed to themselves the whole credit of it with the commons, and that no room was left for them, that they would without reluctance incline to the interest of the senate, through which they may conciliate the favor not only of the principal senators, but of the whole body."
All expressing their approbation, and above all, Quintius Servilius Priscus eulogizing the youth, because he had not degenerated from the Claudian race, a charge is given, that they should gain over as many of the college of the tribunes as they could, to enter protests. On the breaking up of the senate the tribunes are applied to by the leading patricians: by persuading, admonishing, and assuring them "that it would be gratefully felt by them individually, and gratefully by the entire senate, they prevailed on six to give in their protests." And on the following day, when the proposition was submitted to the senate, as had been preconcerted, concerning the sedition which Mæcilius and Mætilius were exciting by urging a largess of a most mischievous precedent, such speeches were delivered by the leading senators, that each declared "that for his part he had no measure to advise, nor did he see any other resource in any thing, except in the aid of the tribunes. That to the protection of that power the republic, embarrassed as it was, fled for succor, just as a private individual in distress. That it was highly honorable to themselves and to their office that there resided not in the tribuneship more strength to harass the senate and to excite disunion among the several orders, than to resist their perverse colleagues."
Then a shout arose throughout the entire senate, when the tribunes were appealed to from all parts of the house: then silence being established, those who had been prepared through the interest of the leading men, declare that they will protest against the measure which had been proposed by their colleagues, and which the senate considers to tend to the dissolution of the state. Thanks were returned to the protestors by the senate. The movers of the law, having convened a meeting, and styling their colleagues traitors to the interests of the commons and the slaves of the consulars, and after inveighing against them in other abusive language, relinquished the measure.
49. The following year, on which Publius Cornelius Cossus, Caius Valerius Potitus, Quintus Quintius Cincinnatus, Numerius Fabius Vibulanus were military tribunes with consular power, would have brought with it two continual wars, had not the Veientian campaign been deferred by the religious scruples of the leaders, whose lands were destroyed, chiefly by the ruin of the country-seats, in consequence of the Tiber having overflowed its banks. At the same time the loss sustained three years before prevented the Æquans from affording assistance to the Bolani, a state belonging to their own nation. Excursions had been made from thence on the contiguous territory of Lavici, and hostilities were committed on the new colony. As they had expected to be able to defend this act of aggression by the concurrent support of all the Æquans, when deserted by their friends they lost both their town and lands, after a war not even worth mentioning, through a siege and one slight battle. An attempt made by Lucius Sextius, tribune of the people, to move a law by which colonists might be sent to Bolæ also, in like manner as to Lavici, was defeated by the protests of his colleagues, who declared openly that they would suffer no order of the commons to be passed, unless with the approbation of the senate.
On the following year the Æquans, having recovered Bolæ, and sent a colony thither, strengthened the town with additional fortifications, the military tribunes with consular power at Rome being Cneius Cornelius Cossus, Lucius Valerius Potitus, Quintus Fabius Vibulanus a second time, Marcus Postumius Regillensis. The war against the Æquans was entrusted to the latter, a man of depraved mind, which victory manifested more effectually than war. For having with great activity levied an army and marched it to Bolæ, after breaking down the spirits of the Æquans in slight engagements, he at length forced his way into the town. He then turned the contest from the enemy to his countrymen; and when during the assault he had proclaimed, that the plunder should belong to the soldiers, after the town was taken he broke his word. I am more inclined to believe that this was the cause of the displeasure of the army, than that in a city lately sacked and in a colony still young there was less booty found than the tribune had represented. An expression of his heard in the assembly, which was very silly and almost insane, after he returned into the city on being sent for on account of some tribunitian disturbances, increased this bad feeling; on Sextus, a tribune of the commons, proposing an agrarian law, and at the same time declaring that he would also propose that colonists should be sent to Bolæ; for that those who had taken them by their arms were deserving that the city and lands of Bolæ should belong to them, he exclaimed, "Woe to my soldiers, if they are not quiet;" which words, when heard, gave not greater offense to the assembly, than they did soon after to the patricians.
And the plebeian tribune being a sharp man and by no means devoid of eloquence, having found among his adversaries this haughty temper and unbridled tongue, which by irritating and exciting he could urge into such expressions as might prove a source of odium not only to himself, but to his cause and to the entire body, he strove to draw Postumius into discussion more frequently than any of the college of military tribunes. Then indeed, after so brutal and inhuman an expression, "Romans," says he, "do ye hear him threatening woe to his soldiers as to slaves? Yet this brute will appear to you more deserving of so high an honor than those who send you into colonies, after having granted to you cities and lands; who provide a settlement for your old age, who fight against such cruel and arrogant adversaries in defense of your interests. Begin then to wonder why few persons now undertake your cause. What are they to expect from you? is it honors which you give to your adversaries rather than to the champions of the Roman people. You felt indignant just now, on hearing an expression of this man? What matters that, if you will prefer this man who threatens woe to you, to those who are desirous to secure for you lands, settlements, and property?"
50. This expression of Postumius being conveyed to the soldiers, excited in the camp much greater indignation. "Did the embezzler of the spoils and the defrauder threaten woe also to the soldiers?" Accordingly, when the murmur of indignation now became avowed, and the quæstor, Publius Sestius, thought that the mutiny might be quashed by the same violence by which it had been excited; on his sending a lictor to one of the soldiers who was clamorous, when a tumult and scuffle arose from the circumstance, being struck with a stone he retired from the crowd; the person who had given the blow, further observing with a sneer, "That the quæstor got what the general had threatened to the soldiers." Postumius being sent for in consequence of the disturbance, exasperated every thing by the severity of his inquiries and the cruelty of his punishment.
At last, when he set no bounds to his resentment, a crowd collecting at the cries of those whom he had ordered to be put to death under a hurdle, he himself madly ran down from his tribunal to those who were interrupting the execution. There, when the lictors, endeavoring to disperse them, as also the centurions, irritated the crowd, their indignation burst forth to such a degree, that the military tribune was overwhelmed with stones by his own army. When an account was brought to Rome of so heinous a deed, the military tribunes endeavoring to procure a decree of the senate for an inquiry into the death of their colleague, the tribunes of the people entered their protest. But that contention branched out of another subject of dispute; because the patricians had become uneasy lest the commons, through dread of the inquiries and through resentment, might elect military tribunes from their own body: and they strove with all their might that consuls should be elected. When the plebeian tribunes did not suffer the decree of the senate to pass, and when they also protested against the election of consuls, the affair was brought to an interregnum. The victory was then on the side of the patricians.
51. Quintus Fabius Vibulanus, interrex, presiding in the assembly, Aulus Cornelius Cossus, Lucius Furius Medullinus were elected consuls. During their office, at the commencement of the year, a decree of the senate was passed that the tribunes should, at the earliest opportunity, propose to the commons an inquiry into the murder of Postumius, and that the commons should appoint whomsoever they thought proper to conduct the inquiry. The office is entrusted to the consuls by the commons with the consent of the people at large, who, after having executed the task with the utmost moderation and lenity by punishing only a few, who there are sufficient grounds for believing put a period to their own lives, still could not succeed so as to prevent the people from feeling the utmost displeasure. "That constitutions, which were enacted for their advantages, lay so long unexecuted; while a law passed in the mean time regarding their blood and punishment was instantly put into execution and possessed full force."
This was a most seasonable time, after the punishment of the mutiny, that the division of the territory of Bolæ should be presented as a soother to their minds; by which proceeding they would have diminished their eagerness for an agrarian law, which tended to expel the patricians from the public land unjustly possessed by them. Then this very indignity exasperated their minds, that the nobility persisted not only in retaining the public lands, which they got possession of by force, but would not even distribute to the commons the unoccupied land lately taken from the enemy, and which would, like the rest, soon become the prey of a few. The same year the legions were led out by the consul Furius against the Volscians, who were ravaging the country of the Hernicians, and finding no enemy there, they took Ferentinum, whither a great multitude of the Volscians had betaken themselves. There was less plunder than they had expected; because the Volscians, seeing small hopes of keeping it, carried off their effects and abandoned the town. It was taken on the following day, being nearly deserted. The land itself was given to the Hernicians.
52. The year, tranquil through the moderation of the tribunes, was succeeded by one in which Lucius Icilius was plebeian tribune, Quintus Fabius Ambustus, Caius Furius Pacilus being consuls. When this man, at the very commencement of the year, began to excite disturbances by the publication of agrarian laws, as if such was the task of his name and family, a pestilence broke out, more alarming however than deadly, which diverted men's thoughts from the forum and political disputes to their domestic concerns and the care of their personal health; and persons think that it was less mischievous than the disturbance would have proved. The state being freed from this (which was attended) with a very general spread of illness, though very few deaths, the year of pestilence was followed by a scarcity of grain, the cultivation of the land having been neglected, as usually happens, Marcus Papirius Atratinus, Caius Nautius Rutilus being consuls.
The famine would now have proved more dismal than the pestilence, had not the scarcity been relieved by sending envoys around all the states, which border on the Tuscan Sea and the Tiber, to purchase the corn. The envoys were prevented from trading in an insolent manner by the Samnitians, who were in possession of Capua and Cumæ; on the contrary, they were kindly assisted by the tyrants of Sicily. The Tiber brought down the greatest supplies, through the very active zeal of the Etrurians. In consequence of the sickness, the consuls labored under a paucity of hands in conducting the government; when not finding more than one senator for each embassy, they were obliged to attach to it two knights. Except from the pestilence and the scarcity, there was no internal or external annoyance during those two years. But as soon as these causes of anxiety disappeared, all those evils by which the state had hitherto been distressed, started up, discord at home, war abroad.
53. In the consulship of Mamercus Æmilius and Caius Valerius Potitus, the Æquans made preparations for war; the Volscians, though not by public authority, taking up arms, and entering the service as volunteers for pay. When on the report of these enemies having started up, (for they had now passed into the Latin and Hernican land,) Marcus Mænius, a proposer of an agrarian law, would obstruct Valerius the consul when holding a levy, and when no one took the military oath against his own will under the protection of the tribune; an account is suddenly brought that the citadel of Carventa had been seized by the enemy. The disgrace incurred by this event was both a source of odium to Mænius in the hands of the fathers, and it moreover afforded to the other tribunes, already pre-engaged as protestors against an agrarian law, a more justifiable pretext for resisting their colleague. Wherefore after the matter had been protracted for a long time by wrangling, the consuls calling gods and men to witness, that whatever disgrace or loss had either been already sustained or hung over them from the enemy, the blame of it would be imputed to Mænius, who hindered the levy; Mænius, on the other hand, exclaiming "that if the unjust occupiers would yield up possession of the public land, he would cause no delay to the levy:" the nine tribunes interposing a decree, put an end to the contest; and they proclaimed as the determination of their college, "that they would, for the purposes of the levy, in opposition to the protest of their colleague, afford their aid to Caius Valerius the consul in inflicting fines and other penalties on those who refused to enlist."
When the consul, armed with this decree, ordered into prison a few who appealed to the tribune, the rest took the military oath from fear. The army was marched to the citadel of Carventa, and though hated by and disliking the consul, they on their first arrival recovered the citadel in a spirited manner, having dislodged those who were protecting it; some in quest of plunder having straggled away through carelessness from the garrison, afforded an opportunity for attacking them. There was considerable booty from the constant devastations, because all had been collected into a safe place. This the consul ordered the quæstors to sell by auction and carry it into the treasury, declaring that the army should then participate in the booty, when they had not declined the service. The exasperation of the commons and soldiers against the consul was then augmented. Accordingly, when by a decree of the senate the consul entered the city in an ovation, rude verses in couplets were thrown out with military licence; in which the consul was severely handled, whilst the name of Mænius was cried up with encomiums, when at every mention of the tribune the attachment of the surrounding people vied by their applause and commendation with the loud praises of the soldiers. And that circumstance occasioned more anxiety to the patricians, than the wanton raillery of the soldiers against the consul, which was in a manner a usual thing; and the election of Mænius among the military tribunes being deemed as no longer questionable, if he should become a candidate, he was kept out of it by an election for consuls being appointed.
54. Cneius Cornelius Cossus and Lucius Furius Medullinus were elected consuls. The commons were not on any other occasion more dissatisfied at the election of tribunes not being conceded to them. This sense of annoyance they both manifested at the nomination of quæstors, and avenged by then electing plebeians for the first time as quæstors; so that in electing four, room was left for only one patrician; whilst three plebeians, Quintus Silius, Publius Aelius, and Publius Pupius, were preferred to young men of the most illustrious families. I learn that the principal advisers of the people, in this so independent a bestowing of their suffrage, were the Icilii, three out of this family most hostile to the patricians having been elected tribunes of the commons for that year, by their holding out the grand prospect of many and great achievements to the people, who became consequently most ardent; after they had affirmed that they would not stir a step, if the people would not, even at the election of quæstors, the only one which the senate had left open to the commons and patricians, evince sufficient spirit to accomplish that which they had so long wished for, and which was allowed by the laws.
This therefore the people considered an important victory; and that quæstorship they estimated not by the extent of the honor itself; but an access seemed opened to new men to the consulship and the honors of a triumph. The patricians, on the other hand, expressed their indignation not so much at the honors of the state being shared, but at their being lost; they said that, "if matters be so, children need no longer be educated; who being driven from the station of their ancestors, and seeing others in the possession of their dignity, would be left without command or power, as mere salii and flamens, with no other employment than to offer sacrifices for the people." The minds of both parties being irritated, since the commons had both assumed new courage, and had now three leaders of the most distinguished reputation for the popular side; the patricians seeing that the result of all the elections would be similar to that for quæstors, wherever the people had the choice from both sides, strove vigorously for the election of consuls, which was not yet open to them. The Icilii, on the contrary, said that military tribunes should be elected, and that posts of honor should be at length imparted to the commons.
55. But the consuls had no proceeding on hand, by opposing which they could extort that which they desired; when by an extraordinary and favorable occurrence an account is brought that the Volscians and Æquans had proceeded beyond their frontiers into the Latin and Hernican territory to commit depredations. For which war when the consuls commence to hold a levy in pursuance of a decree of the senate, the tribunes then strenuously opposed them, affirming that such a fortunate opportunity was presented to them and to the commons. There were three, and all very active men, and of respectable families, considering they were plebeians. Two of them choose each a consul, to be watched by them with unremitting assiduity; to one is assigned the charge sometimes of restraining, sometimes of exciting, the commons by his harangues. Neither the consuls effected the levy, nor the tribunes the election which they desired.
Then fortune inclining to the cause of the people, expresses arrive that the Æquans had attacked the citadel of Carventa, the soldiers who were in garrison having straggled away in quest of plunder, and had put to death the few left to guard it; that others were slain as they were returning to the citadel, and others who were dispersed through the country. This circumstance, prejudicial to the state, added force to the project of the tribunes. For, assailed by every argument to no purpose that they would then at length desist from obstructing the war, when they yielded neither to the public storm, nor to the odium themselves, they succeed so far as to have a decree of the senate passed for the election of military tribunes; with an express stipulation, however, that no candidate should be considered, who was tribune of the people that year, and that no one should be re-elected plebeian tribune for the year following; the senate undoubtedly pointing at the Icilians, whom they suspected of aiming at the consular tribuneship as the reward of their turbulent tribuneship of the commons.
Then the levy began to proceed, and preparations for war began to be made with the concurrence of all ranks. The diversity of the statements of writers leaves it uncertain whether both the consuls set out for the citadel of Carventa, or whether one remained behind to hold the elections; those facts in which they do not disagree are to be received as certain, that they retired from the citadel of Carventa, after having carried on the attack for a long time to no purpose: that Verrugo in the Volscian country was taken by the same army, and that great devastation had been made, and considerable booty captured both amongst the Æquans and in the Volscian territory.
56. At Rome, as the commons gained the victory so far as to have the kind of elections which they preferred, so in the issue of the elections the patricians were victorious; for, contrary to the expectation of all, three patricians were elected military tribunes with consular power, Caius Julius Julus, Publius Cornelius Cossus, Caius Servilius Ahala. They say that an artifice was employed by the patricians (with which the Icilii charged them even at the time); that by intermixing a crowd of unworthy candidates with the deserving, they turned away the thoughts of the people from the plebeian through the disgust excited by the remarkable meanness of some. Then tidings are brought that the Volscians and Æquans, whether the retention of the citadel of Carventa raised their hopes, or the loss of the garrison at Verrugo excited their resentment, united in making preparations for war with the utmost energy: that the Antians were the chief promoters of the project; that their ambassadors had gone about the states of both these nations, upbraiding their dastardly conduct; that shut up within their walls, they had on the preceding year suffered the Romans to carry their depredations throughout their country, and the garrison of Verrugo to be overpowered. That now not only armed troops but colonies also were sent into their territories; and that not only the Romans distributed among themselves and kept their property, but that they had made a present to the Hernici of Ferentinum what had been taken from them.
After their minds were inflamed by these remonstrances, according as they made applications to each, a great number of young men were enlisted. Thus the youth of all the states were drawn together to Antium: there they pitched their camp and awaited the enemy. When these accounts are reported at Rome with much greater alarm than the circumstance warranted, the senate instantly ordered a dictator to be nominated, which was their last resource in perilous circumstances. They say that Julius and Cornelius were much offended at this proceeding, and that the matter was accomplished with great warmth of temper: when the leading men of the patricians, complaining fruitlessly that the military tribunes would not conform to the judgment of the senate, at last appealed even to the tribunes of the commons, and stated that force had been used even with the consuls by that body on a similar occasion. The plebeian tribunes, overjoyed at the dissension among the patricians, said, "that there was no support in persons who were not held in the rank of citizens, nor even of human beings; if ever the posts of honor were open, and the administration of government were shared, that they should then see that the decrees of the senate should not be invalidated by the arrogance of magistrates; that in the mean while, the patricians, unrestrained as they were by respect for laws or magistrates, must manage the tribunitian office also by themselves."
57. This contention occupied men's thoughts at a most unseasonable time, when a war of such importance was on hand: until when Julius and Cornelius descanted for a long time by turns, on "how unjust it was that a post of honor conferred on them by the people was now to be wrested from them, since they were generals sufficiently qualified to conduct that war." Then Ahala Servilius, military tribune, says, "that he had remained silent for so long a time, not because he was uncertain as to his opinion, (for what good citizen can separate his own interests from those of the public,) but because he wished that his colleagues should of their own accord yield to the authority of the senate, rather than suffer the tribunitian power to be suppliantly appealed to against them. That even then, if circumstances permitted, he would still give them time to retract an opinion too pertinaciously adhered to. But since the exigences of war do not await the counsels of men, that the public weal was of deeper importance to him than the good will of his colleagues, and if the senate continued in the same sentiments, he would, on the following night, nominate a dictator; and if any one protested against a decree of the senate being passed, that he would be content with its authority."
When by this conduct he bore away the well-merited praises and good will of all, having named Publius Cornelius dictator, he himself being appointed by him as master of the horse, served as an instance to those who considered his case and that of his colleagues, how much more attainable public favor and honor sometimes were to those who evinced no desire for them. The war was in no respect a memorable one. The enemy were beaten at Antium in one, and that an easy battle; the victorious army laid waste the Volscian territory; their fort at the lake Fucinus was taken by storm, and in it three thousand men made prisoners; the rest of the Volscians being driven within the walls, and not defending the lands. The dictator having conducted the war in such a manner as to show that he was not negligent of fortune's favors, returned to the city with a greater share of success than of glory, and resigned his office.
The military tribunes, without making any mention of an election of consuls, (through pique, I suppose, for the appointment of a dictator,) issued a proclamation for the election of military tribunes. Then indeed the perplexity of the patricians became still greater, as seeing their cause betrayed by their own party. Wherefore, as on the year before, by bringing forward as candidates the most unworthy individuals from amongst the plebeians, they produced a disgust against all, even those who were deserving; so then by engaging such of the patricians as were most distinguished by the splendor of their character and by their influence to stand as candidates, they secured all the places; so that no plebeian could get in. Four were elected, all of them men who had already served the office, Lucius Furius Medullinus, Caius Valerius Potitus, Numerius Fabius Vibulanus, Caius Servilius Ahala. The last had the honor continued to him by re-election, as well in consequence of his other deserts, as on account of his recent popularity, acquired by his singular moderation.
58. In that year, because the term of the truce with the Veientian nation was expired, restitution began to be demanded through ambassadors and heralds, who on coming to the frontiers were met by an embassy from the Veientians. They requested that they would not proceed to Veii, until they should first have access to the Roman senate. They obtained from the senate, that, because the Veientians were distressed by intestine dissension, restitution would not be demanded from them; so far were they from seeking, in the troubles of others, an opportunity for advancing their own interest. In the Volscian territory also a disaster was sustained in the loss of the garrison at Verrugo; where so much depended on time, that when the soldiers who were besieged there, and were calling for succor, might have been relieved, if expedition had been used, the army sent to their aid only came in time to surprise the enemy, who were straggling in quest of plunder, just after their putting [the garrison] to the sword. The cause of the dilatoriness was less referrable to the tribunes than to the senate, who, because word was brought that they were holding out with the most vigorous resistance, did not duly reflect that there is a limit to human strength, which no bravery can exceed.
These very gallant soldiers, however, were not without revenge, both before and after their death. In the following year, Publius and Cneius Cornelius Cossus, Numerius Fabius Ambustus, and Lucius Valerius Potitus, being military tribunes with consular power, the Veientian war was commenced on account of an insolent answer of the Veientian senate, who, when the ambassadors demanded restitution, ordered them to be told, that if they did not speedily quit the city and the territories, they should give them what Lars Tolumnius had given them. The senate, indignant at this, decreed that the military tribunes should, on as early a day as possible, propose to the people the proclaiming war against the Veientians. When this was first made public, the young men expressed their dissatisfaction. "That the war with the Volscians was not yet over; that a little time ago two garrisons were utterly destroyed, and that [one of the forts] was with great risk retained. That there was not a year in which they had not to fight in the field: and, as if they were dissatisfied at the insufficiency of these toils, a new war was now set on foot with a neighboring and most powerful nation, who were likely to rouse all Etruria."
These discontents, first discussed among themselves, were further aggravated by the plebeian tribunes. These constantly affirm that the war of the greatest moment was that between the patricians and commons. That the latter was designedly harassed by military service, and exposed to be butchered by the enemy; that they were kept at a distance from the enemy, and as it were banished, lest during the enjoyment of rest at home, mindful of liberty and of establishing colonies, they may form plans for obtaining some of the public land, or for giving their suffrages freely; and taking hold of the veterans, they recounted the campaigns of each, and their wounds and scars, frequently asking what sound spot was there on their body for the reception of new wounds? what blood had they remaining which could be shed for the commonwealth? When by discussing these subjects in private conversations, and also in public harangues, they produced in the people an aversion to undertaking a war, the time for proposing the law was adjourned; which would obviously have been rejected, if it had been subjected to the feeling of discontent then prevailing.
59. In the mean time it was determined that the military tribunes should lead an army into the Volscian territory. Cneius Cornelius alone was left at Rome. The three tribunes, when it became evident that the Volscians had not established a camp any where, and that they would not venture an engagement, separated into three different parties to lay waste the country. Valerius makes for Antium, Cornelius for Ecetræ. Wherever they came, they committed extensive devastations on the houses and lands, so as to separate the Volscians: Fabius, without committing any devastation, proceeded to attack Auxur, which was a principal object in view. Auxur is the town now called Tarracinæ; a city built on a declivity leading to a morass: Fabius made a feint of attacking it on that side. When four cohorts sent round under Caius Servilius Ahala took possession of a hill which commanded the city, they attacked the walls with a loud shout and tumult, from the higher ground where there was no guard of defense.
Those who were defending the lower parts of the city against Fabius, astounded at this tumult, afforded him an opportunity of applying the scaling ladders, and every place soon became filled with the enemy, and a dreadful slaughter continued for a long time, indiscriminately of those who fled and those who resisted, of the armed or unarmed. The vanquished were therefore obliged to fight, there being no hope for those who gave way, when a proclamation suddenly issued, that no persons except those with arms in their hands should be injured, induced all the remaining multitude voluntarily to lay down their arms; of whom two thousand five hundred are taken alive. Fabius kept his soldiers from the spoil, until his colleagues should come; affirming that Auxur had been taken by these armies also, who had diverted the other Volscian troops from the defense of that place. When they came, the three armies plundered the town, which was enriched with wealth of many years' accumulation; and this generosity of the commanders first reconciled the commons to the patricians. It was afterwards added, by a liberality towards the people on the part of the leading men the most seasonable ever shown, that before any mention should be made of it by the commons or tribunes, the senate should decree that the soldiers should receive pay out of the public treasury, whereas up to that period every one had discharged that duty at his own expense.
60. It is recorded that nothing was ever received by the commons with so much joy; that they ran in crowds to the senate-house, and caught the hands of those coming out, and called them fathers indeed; acknowledging that the result of such conduct was that no one would spare his person or his blood, whilst he had any strength remaining, in defense of a country so liberal. Whilst the prospect of advantage pleased them, that their private property should remain unimpaired at the time during which their bodies should be devoted and employed for the interest of the commonwealth, it further increased their joy very much, and rendered their gratitude for the favor more complete, because it had been offered to them voluntarily, without ever having been agitated by the tribunes of the commons, or made the subject of a demand in their own conversations. The tribunes of the commons, the only parties who did not participate in the general joy and harmony prevailing through the different ranks, denied "that this measure would prove so much a matter of joy, or so honorable to the patricians, as they themselves might imagine. That the measure at first sight was better than it would prove by experience. For from what source was that money to be raised, except by levying a tax on the people. That they were generous to some therefore at the expense of others; and even though others may endure it, those who had already served out their time in the service, would never endure that others should serve on better terms than they themselves had served; and that these same individuals should have to bear the expense of their own service, and then that of others." By these arguments they influenced a part of the commons.
At last, when the tax was now announced, the tribunes publicly declared, that they would afford protection to any one who should refuse to contribute his proportion for the pay of the soldiers. The patricians persisted in supporting a matter so happily commenced. They themselves were the first to contribute; and because there was as yet no coined silver, some of them conveying their weighed brass to the treasury in wagons, rendered their contribution very showy. After the senate had contributed with the utmost punctuality according to their rated properties, the principal plebeians, friends of the nobility, according to a concerted plan, began to contribute. And when the populace saw these men highly applauded by the patricians, and also looked up to as good citizens by men of the military age, scorning the support of the tribunes, an emulation commenced at once about paying the tax. And the law being passed about declaring war against the Veientians, the new military tribunes with consular power marched to Veii an army consisting in a great measure of volunteers.
61. The tribunes were Titus Quintius Capitolinus, Publius Quintius Cincinnatus, Caius Julius Julus a second time, Aulus Manlius, Lucius Furius Medullinus a second time, and Manius Æmilius Mamercinus. By these Veii was first invested. A little before the commencement of this siege, when a full meeting of the Etrurians was held at the temple of Voltumna, it was not finally determined whether the Veientians were to be supported by the public concurrence of the whole confederacy. The siege was less vigorous in the following year, some of the tribunes and their army being called off to the Volscian war. The military tribunes with consular power in this year were Caius Valerius Potitus a third time, Manius Largius Fidenas, Publius Cornelius Maluginensis, Cneius Cornelius Cossus, Kæso Fabius Ambustus, Spurius Nautius Rutilus a second time. A pitched battle was fought with the Volscians between Ferentinum and Ecetra; the result of the battle was favorable to the Romans. Artena then, a town of the Volscians, began to be besieged by the tribunes. Thence during an attempt at a sally, the enemy being driven back into the town, an opportunity was afforded to the Romans of forcing in; and every place was taken except the citadel.
Into the fortress, well protected by nature, a body of armed men retired. Beneath the fortress many were slain and made prisoners. The citadel was then besieged; nor could it either be taken by storm, because it had a garrison sufficient for the size of the place, nor did it hold out any hope of surrender, all the public corn having been conveyed to the citadel before the city was taken; and they would have retired from it, being wearied out, had not a slave betrayed the fortress to the Romans: the soldiers being admitted by him through a place difficult of access, took it; by whom when the guards were being killed, the rest of the multitude, overpowered with sudden panic, surrendered. After demolishing both the citadel and city of Artena, the legions were led back from the Volscian territory; and the whole Roman power was turned against Veii. To the traitor, besides his freedom, the property of two families was given as a reward. His name was Servius Romanus. There are some who think that Artena belonged to the Veientians, not to the Volscians. What occasions the mistake is that there was a city of the same name between Cære and Veii. But the Roman kings destroyed it; and it belonged to the Cæretians, not to the Veientians. The other of the same name, the demolition of which has been mentioned, was in the Volscian territory.