Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK V. - The History of Rome, Vol. 1
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BOOK V. - Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Vol. 1 [10 AD]
The History of Rome by Titus Livius. Translated from the Original with Notes and Illustrations by George Baker, A.M.. First American, from the Last London Edition, in Six Volumes (New York: Peter A. Mesier et al., 1823). Vol. 1.
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On occasion of the siege of Veii, winter huts erected for the troops; on account of which, being a new plan, the tribunes of the people endeavour to excite discontent, complaining that no repose is given to the soldiers, even in winter. The cavalry, for the first time, serve on horses of their own. Veii, after a siege of ten years, taken by Furius Camillus, dictator. In the character of military tribunes, he lays seige to Falisci; sends back the children of the enemy, who were betrayed into his hands; being charged with criminal conduct, goes into exile. The Senonian Gauls lay siege to Clusium. Roman ambassadors sent to mediate peace, take part with the Clusians; provoked at which, the Gauls march directly against Rome, and, after routing the Romans at the Allia, take possession of the whole city, except the Capitol. Having scaled the Capitol in the night, they are discovered by the cackling of geese, and repulsed, principally by the exertions of Marcus Manlius. The Romans, compelled by famine, agree to ransom themselves. While they are weighing the gold, Camillus arrives with an army, beats off the Gauls, and destroys their army. He prevents the design of moving to Veii.
Y. R. 352. 400.I.Peace now subsisted in all other quarters; but the Romans and Veientians were still in arms, and displayed such violent rancour and animosity as made it evident that utter destruction would be the fate of the party vanquished. The election of magistrates in the two states was conducted in very different methods. The Romans augmented the number of their military tribunes with consular power, electing eight, a number greater than had hitherto been known. These were Manius Æmilius Mamercinus a second time, Lucius Valerius Potitus a third time, Appius Claudius Crassus, Marcus Quintilius Varus, Lucius Julius Iulus, Marcus Postumius, Marcus Furius Camillus, Marcus Postumius Albinus. The Veientians, on the other hand, disgusted at the annual intrigues of candidates, which were sometimes the cause of violent dissensions, elected a king. This step gave great offence to all the states of Etruria, as besides their abhorrence of kingly government, they held the person elected in no less detestation. He, out of the insolence of wealth, and the arrogance of his temper, had before this rendered himself obnoxious to the nation, by violently breaking off the performance of certain annual games, the omission of which was deemed an impiety: for instigated by pique, because another candidate for the office of priest had been preferred before him, by the suffrages of the twelve states, in the middle of the solemnity, he abruptly carried away the performers, of whom a great part were his slaves. That nation, therefore devoted beyond all others to religious performances, the more so, because they excelled in the conduct of them, passed a decree, by which all aid was refused to the Veientians, so long as they should continue under the government of a king. At Veii, all mention of this decree was suppressed by people’s dread of the king, who would have treated any person, reported to have mentioned such a matter, as a leader of sedition, not as the author of an idle rumour. Although the Romans received intelligence that all was quiet in Etruria, yet being also informed that this business was agitated in every one of their meetings, they formed and strengthened their fortifications in such a manner as gave them security on both sides. Some they raised on the part next the town, against the irruptions of the townsmen; others, the side opposite Etruria, so as to guard against any auxiliaries which might come from thence.
II. The Roman generals, conceiving greater hopes from a blockade, than from an assault, resolved to carry on their operations during the whole winter; and accordingly they began to erect huts, a proceeding quite new to Roman soldiers. As soon as an account of this was brought to the plebeian tribunes, who for a long time past found no pretext for starting new disturbances, they flew out to meet the people in assembly, and laboured to inflame the minds of the commons, asserting, that “this was the purpose for which pay for the soldiery had been established; nor had they been so blind, as not to see, that such a present from their enemies was tainted with poison. That the liberty of the commons had been sold; their young men carried away without hope of return, exposed to the severity of winter, excluded from their houses and family affairs. What did they suppose was the reason for keeping the troops on duty without intermission? They would find it, in fact, to be no other than the apprehension, lest in case of the attendance of those youths, in whom the whole strength of the commons consisted, some steps might be taken towards promoting their interests. Besides, the men were more harassed, and subjected to greater hardships than the Veientians. For the latter passed the winter under their own roofs, having their city secured by strong walls, and its natural situation; while the Roman soldiers, in the midst of labour and toils, lay perishing in tents, overwhelmed by snow and frost; never laying their arms out of their hands even in that severe season, which had ever given a respite to all wars either on land or sea. Neither kings nor consuls, overbearing as they were before the institution of the tribunitian office; nor the stern government of a dictator; nor the arbitrary decemvirs; ever imposed such a pain as this of unremitting military service. Yet military tribunes assumed that degree of kingly power over the commons of Rome. What would have been the behaviour of those men, in the office of consul or dictator, who have exhibited a picture of proconsular power in colours of such harshness and cruelty? but this was no worse than what the people deserved. Among eight military tribunes, they did not give room to one plebeian. Till of late, the patricians used to find the utmost difficulty in filling up three places; but, now they march in files, eight deep, to take possession of the posts of government; and even in such a crowd, no plebeian is found intermixed, who, if he served no other purpose, might remind his colleagues, that the army was composed not of slaves but of freemen; of citizens who ought to be brought home, at least in winter, to their habitations, and the comforts of their own roofs, and allowed, at some time of the year, to visit their parents, children, and wives; to exercise the rights of Romans, and to take a part in the election of magistrates.” While they exclaimed in these, and such like terms, they were not unequally matched in an opponent, Appius Claudius, who had been left at home, by his colleagues, for the purpose of repressing the turbulent schemes of the tribunes; a man trained, from his youth, in contentions with the plebeians; who some years before, had recommended, as has been mentioned, the disuniting the power of the tribunes by the protests of their colleagues.
III. Endowed by nature with good abilities, and possessed also of experience, from long practice, he spoke on this occasion in the following manner: “if it ever was a matter of doubt, citizens, whether the motives which led the plebeian tribunes to foment sedition, on every occasion, regarded your interests or their own, I am confident that, in the course of this year, every such doubt must have vanished; and while I rejoice at your being at length undeceived in respect of a mistake of long continuance, I cannot, at the same time, refrain from congratulating you, and on your account, the commonwealth, that the delusion has been removed by a train of prosperous events, rather than by any other means. Is there a person living, who is not convinced that the plebeian tribunes were never so highly displeased and provoked by any instance of the ill treatment felt by you, if any such ever really existed, as by the generosity of the patricians towards the commons, in establishing pay for the army? What other event do ye think they either dreaded then, with so much anxiety; or wish so ardently, at present to obviate, as an union between the orders, which in their opinion would prove the subversion of the tribunitian power? Thus, in fact, as labourers in the field of iniquity, they are at a loss for employment, and even wish, that there may be always some diseased part in the commonwealth, for the cure of which they may be employed by you. For whether, tribunes, are ye at present defending the commons, or making an attack on them? Whether are ye adversaries of the soldiery, or patrons of their cause. Perhaps ye will say thus, whatever the patricians do, we disapprove, whether it be favourable or prejudicial to the commons; and, just as masters forbid their slaves to have any dealings with those belonging to others, and think proper to cut off the commerce between them either of kindness or unkindness, ye, in like manner, interdict us, the patricians, from all intercourse with the commons; lest by our civility and generosity, we should challenge their regard, and they become obedient and willing to be directed as we might see best. Would it not much better become you, if ye had any of the sentiments, or feelings, I say not, of fellow citizens, but of human beings, rather to favour, and, as far as in your power to cherish this kindness of the patricians, and the tractable disposition of the commons? Were such harmony once established, on a permanent footing, who is there that would not venture to engage, that this empire would soon arrive at a height of grandeur far beyond all the neighbouring states?
IV. “I shall hereafter explain to you, not only the expediency, but the necessity, of the plan adopted by my colleagues, of not drawing off the troops from Veii, until the business shall be completed. At present I choose to confine my observations to the state of the soldiery: and if what I shall say on that head were to be spoken, not only before you, but also in the camp, I am persuaded, that it would appear reasonable, to the army themselves. Indeed, if my own understanding were incapable of suggesting any arguments on the subject, I might be well content with those which have been thrown out in the discourses of our adversaries. They lately insisted that pay ought not to be given to the soldiers, because it had never been given before. Upon what grounds, therefore can they now be displeased, if persons who have received an addition of profit, beyond what was usual, are enjoined to perform some additional labour proportioned thereto? In no case is labour to be procured without emolument, nor emolument, in general, without the expense of labour. Toil and pleasure, in their natures opposite, are yet linked together in a kind of necessary connection. Formerly, the soldier deemed it a hardship to give up his labour to the commonwealth, and to bear his own expenses. At the same time, he found pleasure in having it in his power, for a part of the year, to till his own ground, and to acquire the means of supporting himself and his family, at home, and in the field. At present, he has a source of pleasure in the profits set apart for him by the commonwealth, and he no doubt receives his pay with joy. Let him, therefore, bear with resignation the being detained a little longer from his home, and from his family affairs, which are not now burthened with his expenses. Suppose the commonwealth called him to a statement of accounts, might it not justly say, you receive pay by the year, give me your labour by the year. Do you think it just, that for half a-year’s service, you should receive a whole year’s pay? It is disagreeable to me, Romans, to dwell on this topic; for this kind of proceeding suits only those, who employ mercenary soldiers; but we wish to deal, as with our fellow-citizens. Either, then, the war ought not to have been undertaken, or it ought to be conducted in a manner suited to the dignity of the Roman people, and to be brought to a conclusion as soon as possible. Now it will certainly be brought to a conclusion, if we press forward the siege; if we do not retire, until we have attained the object of our hopes, in the capture of Veii. In truth, if there were no other motive, the very discredit of acting otherwise ought to urge us to perseverance. In former times, a city was held besieged for ten years on account of one woman, by the united force of all the Greeks. At what a distance from their homes! What tracts of land and sea lying between! Yet we grumble at the fatigue of a siege of one year’s continuance, within less than twenty miles of us, almost within sight of our city; because, I suppose, the ground of our quarrel is not sufficiently just to stimulate us to persevere. This is the seventh time that the people have rebelled. During peace, they never were faithful to their engagements. They have laid waste our territories a thousand times. They have compelled the Fidenatians to revolt from us; have put to death our colonists in that district; and have been the instigators of the impious murder of our ambassadors, in violation of the laws of nations: they have endeavoured, in short, to stir up all Etruria against us; and, at this day, are busy in the same attempt: and scarcely did they refrain from offering violence to our ambassadors who demanded satisfaction. Against such people, ought war to be waged in a remiss and dilatory manner?
V. “If such just causes of resentment have no weight with us, have, I beseech you, the following considerations none? The city has been inclosed with immense works, by which the enemy are confined within their walls. Of late they have not tilled their lands; and what were cultivated before, have been laid waste in the course of the war. If we withdraw our army, who can doubt that not only through desire of revenge, but even through the necessity imposed on them of plundering the property of others, since they have lost their own, they will make an invasion on our territories? By such conduct, therefore, we should not defer the war, but open it a passage into our own frontiers. What shall we say, as to the circumstances immediately affecting the soldiers, of whose interests your worthy tribunes have, all on a sudden, grown so careful, after having attempted to wrest their pay out of their hands? How do they stand? They have formed a rampart and a trench, both works of immense labour, through so great an extent of ground: they have erected forts, at first only a few, afterwards a great number, when the army was augmented; and they have raised defences, not only on the side next to the city, but also opposite Etruria, against any succours which should arrive from thence. Why need I mention towers, covered approaches, and the like; together with all the various machines used in attacking towns? Now, that such a quantity of labour has been expended, and that they have just come to the finishing of the work, do ye think it would be prudent to abandon all these preparations, that, the next summer, they may be obliged to undergo again the same course of toil and labour in forming them a-new? How much less difficult would it be, to support the works already formed, to press forward, to persevere, and thus at once to be set at rest? The business might soon be accomplished by an uniform course of exertions; for it is certain, that by thus interrupting and suspending all proceedings, we absolutely hinder the attainment of our own hopes. What I have said, regards only the labour, and the loss of time. But let me ask farther, can we disregard the danger which we incur by procrastination, while we see so frequent meetings held by the Etrurians on the subject of sending aid to Veii? As matters stand at present, they are displeased and angry with that people; declare that they will not send them aid; and, for any concern which they take in the affair, we are at liberty to take Veii. But who can promise that if we suspend our operations, they will be in the same temper hereafter? For, if you allow any relaxation, more respectable, and more frequent, embassies will be despatched; and the very circumstance which now disgusts the Etrurians, the establishment of a king at Veii, may, in the interim, be done away, either by the joint determination of the several members of the state, for the sake of recovering the friendship of Etruria, or by a voluntary act of the king himself, who may be unwilling to continue on the throne, when he finds it an obstruction to the welfare of his countrymen. See now how many consequences, and how detrimental, attend that method of proceeding; the loss of works formed with so great labour; the consequent devastation of our frontiers; and, instead of the Veientians, the whole nation of Etruria united against us. These, tribunes, are your plans, much indeed, of the same kind, as if, in the case of a sick person, who by submitting to a regimen with resolution, might quickly recover his health, should render his disorder tedious, and perhaps incurable, for the sake of the present pleasure which eating and drinking would afford him.
VI. “I insist, that, though it were of no consequence, with respect to the present war, yet it is certainly of the utmost importance to military discipline, that our soldiers be accustomed, not only to enjoy the fruits of victory, but, should the business prove tedious, to endure the irksomeness of delay; to wait the issue of their hopes, though tardy; and, if the summer did not finish the war, to try what the winter might produce; and not, like birds of spring, to look about for hiding places and shelter, the moment autumn arrived. Consider, I beseech you, how the pleasure of hunting and eagerness in the chace hurry men through woods and over mountains, in the midst of frost and snow; and shall we not bestow on the necessary exigences of war, the same degree of patience, which is usually called forth, even by sport and amusement? Do we suppose the bodies of our soldiers so effeminate, their minds so feeble, that they cannot for one winter, endure the fatigue of a camp, and absence from home? That, like those who carry on war by sea, they must regulate their operations by taking advantage of the weather, and observing the seasons of the year? That they are incapable of enduring either heat or cold? I am convinced they would blush, if such things were laid to their charge, and would maintain that both their minds and bodies were possessed of manly firmness: that they were able to perform the duties of war, as well in winter as in summer: that they never had commissioned the tribunes to patronize sloth and effeminancy; and remembered very well, that it was not under their own roofs, nor in the shade, that their ancestors established the tribuneship. Such sentiments are worthy of the valour of soldiers, such are worthy of the Roman name; not to consider merely the city of Veii, nor the present war, in which ye are employed, but to seek a reputation which may last during other wars, and among all other nations. Do ye look on the difference between the characters which will be applied to you, according to your conduct in this affair, as a matter of trivial importance? Whether the neighbouring nations deem the Romans to be soldiers of such a kind, that any town which can withstand their first assault, and that of very short continuance, has nothing farther to apprehend; or, whether our name be terrible on this account, that neither the fatigue of a tedious siege, nor the severity of winter, can remove a Roman army from a place, which it has once invested; that it knows no other termination of war, than victory; and that its operations are not more distinguished by briskness of action, than by steady perseverance? a qualification which, as it is highly requisite in every kind of military service, is most particularly so in carrying on sieges of towns; because these being generally, from the nature of their situation, and the strength of their works, impregnable by assault, time alone overpowers and reduces them by means of hunger and thirst, as it will certainly reduce Veii, unless the tribunes of the commons supply aid to the enemy, and the Veientians find in Rome that support, which they seek in vain in Etruria. Could any other event so fully accord to the wishes of the Veientians, as that the city of Rome first, and then, by the spreading of the contagion, the camp, should be filled with sedition? But now, among the enemy, such a temperate disposition prevails, that neither through disgust at the length of the siege, nor even at the establishment of kingly government, has one change of measures been attempted; nor has the refusal of aid, from the Etrurians, soured their temper; because, if any one there proposes seditious measures, he will be instantly put to death; nor will any person be suffered to utter such things, as are uttered among you without any fear of punishment. He deserves the bastinade who forsakes his colours, or quits his post: yet men are heard, openly in public assembly, recommending, not to one or two particular soldiers, but to whole armies, to leave their colours, and desert their camp. With such partiality are ye accustomed to listen to whatever a plebeian tribune advances, although it manifestly tends to the ruin of your country, and the dissolution of the commonwealth; and so captivated are ye by the charms of that office, that, under shelter of it, ye suffer every kind of wickedness to lurk unnoticed. They have but one step farther to take, to engage the soldiers in camp, in the same measures which they urge here with so much clamour, to debauch the troops, and allow them no longer to obey their officers, since liberty, according to the present notion of it at Rome, consists in casting off all reverence for the senate, for the magistrates, for the laws, for the practices of our ancestors, for the institutions of our fathers, and for military discipline.”
VII. Appius was now fully equal to a contention with the plebeian tribunes, even in the assemblies of the people, when a misfortune suffered before Veii, by an effect which no one could have expected, threw the superiority at once on his side, and produced both an unusual harmony between the orders of the state, and a general ardour to push on the siege of Veii with greater vigour. For when the trenches had been advanced almost to the very town, and the machines were just ready to be applied to the walls, the troops, employing greater assiduity in forming their works by day, than in guarding them by night, one of the gates was thrown open on a sudden, and a vast multitude, armed chiefly with torches, sallied forth, and set fire to them on all sides; so that the flames destroyed in an instant both the rampart and the machines, the construction of which had cost so much time; and great numbers of men, attempting, in vain, to save them, perished by fire and the sword. When news of this disaster arrived at Rome, it diffused a general sadness through all ranks of men, and filled the senate also with anxiety and strong apprehensions, lest they should find it impossible to withstand any longer the machinations of the seditious, either in the city or the camp, and lest the tribunes of the commons should insult over the commonwealth, as if it lay vanquished at their feet. At this juncture, those persons who possessed equestrian fortunes, and had not had horses assigned them by the public, after previously consulting together, went in a body to the senate, and having obtained permission to speak, declared their resolution to serve in the army, on horses provided at their own expense. On which the senate returning them thanks, in the most honourable terms, and the report of this proceeding having spread through the Forum, and all parts of the city, there immediately ensued a general concourse of the commons to the senate-house, where they declared, that “they were now the infantry of that army; and that, though it was not their turn to serve, yet they freely engaged in the cause of the commonwealth, whether it should be thought proper to lead them to Veii, or to any other place. If they should be led to Veii,” they affirmed “that they would never return from thence until that city should be taken from the enemy.” The senate now scarce set any bounds to the torrent of joy which flowed in upon them; for they did not, as in the case of the horsemen, pass an order for thanks to be conveyed by the magistrates, neither were the people called into the senate-house to receive an answer; nor did the senators confine themselves within their house; but, from the eminence adjoining, every one of them eagerly, with voice and hands, testified the public satisfaction, to the multitude who stood below in the assembly; declared, that, by such unanimity, the city of Rome was rendered happy, invincible, and everlasting; praised the horsemen, praised the commons; blessed even the day, as a day of happiness, and acknowledged that the courtesy and kindness of the patricians were now outdone, while, through excess of joy, tears flowed in abundance, both from the patricians and commons; until the senators, being called back into their house, passed a decree, that “the military tribunes, summoning an assembly, should give thanks to the infantry, and to the horsemen, and should assure them, that the senate would keep in remembrance the dutiful affection which they had shown towards their country; and had come to a resolution that every one of those who had, out of turn, voluntarily undertaken the service, should enjoy rank and pay from that date.” A certain stipend was also assigned to the horsemen. This was the first instance of the cavalry serving on their own horses. This army of volunteers, being led to Veii, not only restored the works which had been destroyed, but erected new ones. Greater care than ever was used, in sending them supplies from the city, that no kind of accommodation should be wanting to troops who merited so highly.
Y. R. 353. 399.VIII. The ensuing year had military tribunes with consular power, Caius Servilius Ahala a third time, Quintus Servilius, Lucius Virginius, Quintus Sulpicius, Aulus Manlius a second time, Manius Sergius a second time. In their tribunate, whilst all men’s attention was directed to the Veientian war, the security of the garrison at Anxur was neglected, the soldiers obtaining leave of absence, and the Volscian traders being freely admitted: the consequence of which was, that the guards at the gates were suddenly overpowered, and the place taken by surprize. The number of soldiers slain was the less, because, except the sick, they were all employed like suttlers, in trafficking about the country and the neighbouring cities. Nor did better success attend the operations before Veii, which were then the grand object which engrossed all the public solicitude; for the Roman commanders showed a stronger disposition to quarrel among themselves, than to act with spirit against the enemy. Besides, the power of their adversaries received an addition, by the unexpected arrival of the Capenatians and Faliscians. These two states of Etruria, contiguous in situation to Veii, judged that, should that city be conquered, they should be the next exposed to the attacks of the Romans. The Faliscians were farther induced, by a reason particularly affecting themselves, to enter into the quarrel, as having been formerly a party in the war of the Fidenatians: wherefore, after having, by reciprocal embassies, ratified their engagements with an oath, they advanced with their forces to Veii, at a moment when no one thought of their coming. They happened to attack the camp on that quarter, where Manius Sergius, military tribune, commanded, which caused a violent alarm; for the Romans imagined that all Etruria had been set in motion, and had come out in a mass against them. The same opinion roused to action the Veientians in the city. Thus the camp was attacked on both sides; and the troops, in opposing the attempts of the enemy, being obliged to wheel round their battalions from one post to another, could neither effectually confine the Veientians within their fortifications, nor repel the assault from their own works, nor even defend themselves on the outer side. Their only hope was, that they might be reinforced from the greater camp, and then the several different legions would support the different parts of the fight, some against the Capenatians and Faliscians, others against the sallies from the town. But that camp was commanded by Virginius, between whom and Sergius subsisted a personal hatred: on being informed that most of the forts were attacked, the fortifications scaled, and that the enemy poured in on both sides, he kept his men within his own works, under arms, saying, that if there were need of a reinforcement, his colleague would send to him. His arrogance was equalled by the obstinacy of the other; who, rather than appear to have asked any assistance from a person with whom he was at variance, chose to be conquered by the enemy. His troops inclosed on either side, suffered great slaughter for a long time; at last, abandoning the works, a very small part of them made their way to the principal camp; the greater number, with Sergius himself, proceeded to Rome; here, as he threw the entire blame on his colleague, it was determined that Virginius should be called home, and that in the mean time the lieutenant-generals should hold the command. The affair was taken into consideration by the senate, where the dispute between the colleagues was carried on with mutual recriminations. Few of the members regarded the interests of the commonwealth, each adhered to one, or the other, just as he happened to be prejudiced by private regard, or interest.
IX. The principal senators were of opinion, that whether the misconduct, or the misfortune of the commanders, had been the cause of such an ignominious overthrow, they ought not to wait for the regular time of election, but to create immediately new military tribunes, who should enter into office on the calends of October. While the members were proceeding to show their assent to this opinion, the other military tribunes offered no objection; but Sergius and Virginius, to whose behaviour it was evidently owing that men wished to get rid of the magistrates of that year, at first deprecated the ignominy which would hereby be thrown upon them, and afterwards protested against the passing of the decree, and declared that they would not retire from office before the ides of December, the usual day for others entering into office. On this the tribunes of the commons, who, during the general harmony and the prosperity of public affairs, had unwillingly kept silence, at once assuming confidence, threatened the military tribunes, that, unless they submitted to the direction of the senate, they would order them to be carried to prison. Then Caius Servilius Ahala, one of the military tribunes, said, “As to your part, tribunes of the people, I assure you I would with great pleasure put it to the proof, whether your threats are more destitute of authority, or yourselves of spirit. But I consider it as impious to act in opposition to the will of the senate; wherefore on the one hand, I desire that ye may desist from seeking in our disputes for an opportunity of doing mischief; and on the other hand, either my colleagues shall act according to the order of the senate, or if they persist any farther in opposition, I will instantly nominate a dictator, who will compel them to retire from office.” This discourse being received with universal approbation, and the senators rejoicing that another power had been thought of, which, by its superior authority, might reduce the magistrates to order without the terrors of the tribunitian office, those magistrates yielded to the universal desire of the public, and held an election of military tribunes, who were to enter into office on the calends of October; and before that day, they devested themselves of the magistracy.
Y. R. 354. 398.X. This military tribunate with consular power, of Lucius Valerius Potitus a fourth time, Marcus Furius Camillus a second, Manius Æmilius Mamercinus a third, Cneius Cornelius Cossus a second, Cæso Fabius Ambustus and Lucius Julius Iulus, was occupied by a multiplicity of business both civil and military: for the operations of war were to be carried on in many different places at once, at Veii, and at Capena; at Falerii, and among the Volscians for the recovery of Anxur. Then at Rome, there was great uneasiness, occasioned by the levying of troops, and at the same time by the paying in of the tax. There was also a struggle about the appointment of the plebeian tribunes; while the trials of two of those, who had lately been invested with consular power excited no trifling disturbance. The military tribunes applied themselves, first of all, to the raising of troops, and not only the younger men were enlisted, but the elder citizens also were compelled to give in their names, to serve as a garrison to the city. Now, in proportion as the number of soldiers was augmented, so much the more money became necessary for their pay, and this was made up by a tax, which was very unwillingly paid by those who remained at home, because, as the guard of the city lay upon them, they must also perform military duty, and give their labour to the public. These circumstances, grievous in themselves, were set forth in more provoking terms, in the seditious harangues of the plebeian tribunes, who insisted, that “the establishment of pay to the soldiers was intended for the purpose of ruining one-half of the commons, by the fatigues of war, and the other half, by a tax. That one war had now been protracted to the fifth year; and was conducted, without success, designedly, in order that it might afford them the longer employment. Besides armies had been enlisted at one levy for four different expeditions, and even boys and old men dragged from their homes. That no distinction was made between summer and winter, lest any respite should be allowed to the wretched commons; who, now, as the finishing stroke, had been made subject to a tax; so that when they should return, with their bodies wasted through toils, wounds, and even age, and find every thing at home in disorder, from the long absence of the owners, would at the same time be obliged, out of their ruined property, to refund in a manifold proportion, to the state, the money which they had received as pay, as if it had been taken up at usurious interest.” Between the levy, and the tax, and from men’s thoughts being occupied by more important concerns, the number of plebeian tribunes could not be filled up on the day of election. A violent effort was afterwards made to have patricians assumed into the vacant places, but that being found impracticable, another plan was adopted, for the purpose of weakening at least the authority of the Trebonian law, by the assumption of Caius Lacerius and Marcus Acutius as plebeian tribunes; and this was effected evidently by the influence of the patricians.
XI. It so happened, that this year Caius Trebonius was a plebeian tribune: and he considered it as a duty incumbent on his name and family, to patronize the Trebonian law. He therefore complained loudly, that “a measure which had been attempted by some patricians, and in which they were baffled at their first setting out, had been violently carried by the military tribunes:—that the Trebonian law had been subverted, and plebeian tribunes elected, not in conformity to the suffrage of the people, but to the mandate of the patricians. That the matter was brought to this issue, that people must be content to see the office of plebeian tribune filled either by patricians or their dependants:—that all the advantages of the devoting laws were wrested from them, and the tribunitian power forcibly transferred to other hands.” And he insisted, that “this must have been effected, either by some artifices of the patricians, or by the villainy and treachery of his colleagues.” The public being inflamed with an high degree of resentment, not only against the patricians, but the tribunes of the people also; as well those who had been elected, as those who had elected them; three of that body, Publius Curatius, Marcus Metilius, and Marcus Minucius, greatly alarmed for their own interests, made an attack on Sergius and Virginius, military tribunes of the former year, and, by a prosecution which they commenced, turned off upon them the anger of the commons, and the resentment of the public. They desired people to “take notice, that such as felt themselves aggrieved by the levy, by the tax, by long service in the army, and the distance of the seat of war; such as lamented the loss sustained at Veii; such as had their houses in mourning for the loss of children, brethren, kinsmen, and relations; all these had now, by their means, both the right and the power afforded them, of avenging the public and private calamities on the two persons who were the guilty causes of them. For to Sergius and Virginius were owing,” they asserted, “all their misfortunes. And that was not more fully evinced by the charge of the prosecutor, than by the acknowledgment of the defendants; who, being equally conscious of crime, each imputed it to the other; Virginius charging Sergius with cowardice; Sergius, Virginius with treachery. The absurdity of whose conduct was so great, that there was a high degree of probability that the whole affair had been transacted by concert, and according to a wicked design of the patricians, who, for the purpose of protracting the war, first gave the Veientians an opportunity to burn the works, and now, had delivered up an army to the sword of the enemy, and surrendered a Roman camp to the Faliscians. The management of all affairs was directed to one end, that the young men should grow old before Veii; and that the tribunes should be thereby deprived of the power of taking the sense of the people, either concerning the lands, or any other advantages of the commons; of having their plans supported by a numerous attendance of citizens, or of making head against the conspiracy of the patricians. That the cause of the defendants had been already prejudged by the senate, by the Roman people, and by their own colleagues. For, by a decree of the senate, they had been removed from the administration of government; and, refusing to resign their office, had been constrained to submit, by their colleagues, who threatened them with a dictator, and that the Roman people had elected tribunes, who were to assume the government, not on the usual day, the ides of December, but instantly on the calends of October; because the continuance of the former in office was incompatible with the safety of the commonwealth. Yet, after all this, those men, censured, and overwhelmed by so many decisions against them, presented themselves for trial before the people, and imagined that they were discharged, and had undergone sufficient punishment, because they had been reduced to the rank of private citizens, two months sooner than ordinary; never considering, that this was only taking out of their hands the power of doing farther mischief, not inflicting punishment; their colleagues, who were manifestly clear of all share of the blame, being deprived of authority as well as themselves. They requested that the citizens of Rome would resume the same sentiments, which they had felt when the disastrous event was recent, when they beheld the army flying in consternation, covered with wounds, and filled with dismay; pouring into the gates, accusing not fortune, nor any of the gods, but these their comrades. They were confident, that there was not a man present in the assembly who did not, on that day, utter execrations and curses against the persons, the families, and fortunes of Lucius Virginius and Marcus Sergius. And it would be the highest inconsistency if they did not now, when it was not only lawful but their duty, exert their own power against those, on whom each of them had imprecated the vengeance of the gods. The gods themselves never laid their hands on the guilty, it was enough if they armed the injured with power to take revenge.”
XII. Instigated by such discourses, the commons condemned the accused in a fine of ten thousand asses in weight;* while Sergius in vain alleged that the miscarriage was to be imputed to fortune, and the common chance of war; and Virginius made earnest supplications that they would not render him more unfortunate at home, than he had been in the field. The current of popular resentment, having been thus turned against them, almost obliterated the remembrance of the assumption of tribunes, and the fraudulent infraction of the Trebonian law. The victorious tribunes, in order that the commons might reap an immediate advantage from their effort, published a proposal of an agrarian law, and forbade the tax to be paid, since pay was required for such a number of troops, while the success of their arms in any of the wars, had been no more than sufficed to keep their hopes in suspense. At Veii, the camp which had been lost, was recovered, and strengthened with forts and a garrison. Here Marcus Æmilius and Cæso Fabius, military tribunes, commanded. Marcus Furius in the territory of the Faliscians, and Cneius Cornelius in that of the Capenatians, meeting with none of the enemy in the field, drove off the spoil and ravaged the country, burning all the houses and the fruits of the earth. The towns they neither assaulted nor besieged. But in the country of the Volscians, after the lands had been wasted, Anxur was assaulted, though without success. Being seated on a lofty eminence, and force being found ineffectual, it was determined to surround it with a rampart and trench. This province of the Volscians had fallen to Valerius Potitus. While the business of the campaign was in this state, a sedition burst out at home, with more formidable violence than appeared in the operations against the enemy. And as the tribunes would not suffer the tax to be paid, and consequently no remittances were made to the generals for the payment of the troops, and as the soldiers clamorously demanded their due, there was the greatest danger that the contagion of sedition might spread from the city, and the camp also be involved in confusion. Though the commons were so much incensed against the patricians, and though the plebeian tribunes asserted, that the time was now come for establishing liberty, and transferring the supreme dignity from such as Sergius and Virginius, to men of plebeian rank, men of fortitude and industry, yet they proceeded no farther in gratification of their passion,Y. R. 355. 397. than the election of one plebeian, Publius Licinius Calvus, to the office of military tribune with consular power, for the purpose of establishing their right by a precedent. The others elected were patricians, Publius Mænius, Lucius Titinius, Publius Mælius, Lucius Furius Medullinus, and Lucius Publius Volscus. The commons themselves were surprised at having carried such an important point, no less than the man himself who had been elected, a person who had no post of honour before, although a senator of long standing, and now far advanced in years. Nor does it sufficiently appear why he was chosen in preference to others, to taste the first sweets of this new dignity. Some are of opinion, that he was appointed to so high a station by the influence of his brother Cneius Cornelius, who had been military tribune the preceding year, and had given triple pay to the cavalry. Others, that it was owing to a seasonable discourse, made by himself, recommending harmony between the orders of the state, which was equally acceptable to the patricians and plebeians. The plebeian tribunes, filled with exultation by this victory in the election, remitted their opposition with respect to the tax, which was the principal obstruction to the public business. It was then paid in without murmuring, and sent to the army.
XIII. In the country of the Volscians, Anxur was quietly retaken, through the neglect of the guards on a festival day. This year was remarkable for a cold winter and great fall of snow, so that the roads were impassable, and the navigation of the Tiber shut up. There was no change in the price of provisions, considerable stores having been previously collected. As Publius Licinius had obtained his office without any riotous proceeding, to the great joy of the commons, and the no less mortification of the patricians, so the same regularity was preserved through the whole course of his administration. Hence the people became enraptured with the thoughts of choosing plebeians at the next election of military tribunes.Y. R. 356. 396. Of the patrician candidates Marcus Veturius alone carried his election. The centuries almost unanimously appointed the following plebeians military tribunes with consular power: Marcus Pomponius, Caius Duilius, Volero Publilius, Cneius Genutius, and Lucius Atilius. The severe winter, whether from the ill temperature of the air, occasioned by the sudden transition from one extreme to the other, or from some other cause, was succeeded by a sickly summer, fatal to all kinds of animals, and as neither the beginning nor end of the virulence of the disorder could be discovered, the Sibylline books were consulted, in pursuance of a decree of the senate. The decemvirs who had the direction of religious matters, then first introduced the lectisternium* in the city of Rome, and decking out three couches with the utmost magnificence which those times could afford, implored thus the favour of Apollo, Latona, and Diana; and of Hercules, Mercury, and Neptune, for the space of eight days. The same solemn rites were performed by private persons. We are told, that the doors were thrown open in every part of the city; that every thing was exposed in public to be used in common; that passengers, whether known or unknown, were universally invited to lodgings; and even that people at variance, refraining from animosity and ill language, conversed together with camplaisance and kindness. During those days too, such as were in confinement were set at liberty; and that afterwards, people were deterred, by a religious scruple, from imprisoning those persons to whom the gods had brought such deliverance. Meanwhile dangers multiplied at Veii, to which point the operations of three different wars were concentred, for the Capenatians and Faliscians coming up unexpectedly to the relief of the town, the troops were obliged, in the same manner as formerly, to make head against three different armies, on different sides, through the whole extent of their works. What contributed to their safety beyond every thing else, was the recollection of the sentence passed on Sergius and Virginius: so that a reinforcement was quickly led round from the principal camp, where the delay had been made in the former case, and these fell upon the rear of the Capenatians, while their front was engaged against the rampart of the Romans. The fight no sooner began here, than it struck terror into the Faliscians also, and a seasonable sally, made from the camp while they were thus disordered, obliged them to turn their backs. The victors then, pursuing them in their retreat, made vast slaughter among them; and, in a short time after, a party, which had been employed in ravaging the territory of Capena, accidentally meeting them as they fled in confusion, entirely cut off those who had survived the fight. Great numbers of the Veientians also, in their retreat to the city, were slain before the gates; for, dreading lest the Romans should force in along with them, they closed the gates, and shut out the hindmost of their own men. These were the transactions of that year.
XIV. And now approached the election of military tribunes, which seemed to engross a greater share of the attention of the patricians, than even the business of the war: for they saw that the sovereign power was not only shared with the commons, but almost entirely lost to themselves. They therefore, by concert, engaged the most illustrious characters to stand candidates, such as they believed people would be ashamed to pass by; the others, nevertheless, put in practice every possible expedient, as if they had all been aiming at the same object, and endeavoured to draw to their side, not only men, but the gods, representing the election held two years before in a light offensive to religion: that “in the former of those years, a winter came on with intolerable severity, such as bore every appearance of a prodigy sent from the gods. In the following, no longer portents but events ensued; a pestilence fell on both country and city, manifestly displaying the wrath of heaven; whom, as was discovered in the books of the fates, it was necessary to appease, in order to avert that plague. It appears to the immortals as an affront, that, in an election held under their auspices, honours should be prostituted, and the distinctions of birth confounded.” The people being deeply struck, both by the high dignity of the candidates, and also by a sense of religion, chose all the military tribunes with consular power from among the patricians, the greater part of them men who had been highly distinguished by public honours: Lucius Valerius Potitus a fifth time, Marcus Valerius Maximus,Y. R. 357. 395. Marcus Furius Camillus a third time, Lucius Furius Medullinus a third time, Quintus Servilius Fidenas a second time, Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus a second time. During their tribunate, nothing very memorable was performed at Veii: the forces were wholly employed in wasting the country: two commanders of consummate abilities did nothing more than carry off vast quantities of spoil, Potitus from Falerii, and Camillus from Capena, leaving nothing undestroyed that could be injured either by sword or fire.
XV. In the mean time, many prodigies were reported to have happened, the greater part of which met with little credit, and were generally disregarded; partly, because the accounts rested on the testimony of single persons; and partly because, while they were at war with the Etrurians, they could not procure aruspices to perform the expiations. One of them, however, attracted universal attention; the lake in the Alban forest swelled to an unusual height, without any rain or other cause, so that the fact could only be accounted for by a miracle. Commissioners were sent to the oracle at Delphi, to inquire what the gods portended by this prodigy; but an interpreter of the will of the fates was thrown in their way nearer home: a certain aged Veientian, amidst the scoffs thrown out by the Roman and Etrurian soldiers, from the outposts and guards, pronounced, in the manner of one delivering a prophesy, that “the Roman would never be master of Veii, until the water were discharged from the Alban lake.” This, at first, was disregarded, as thrown out at random; afterwards it became the subject of conversation: at length one of the Roman soldiers on guard asked a townsman on the nearest post, as from the long continuance of the war they had come into the practice of conversing with each other, who that person was, that threw out those ambiguous expressions concerning the Alban lake; and, on hearing that he was an aruspex, the man, whose mind was not without a tincture of religion, pretending that he wished to consult him on the expiation of a private portent, enticed the prophet to a conference. When they had proceeded free from any apprehensions, being both without arms, to a considerable distance from their parties, the young Roman, having the superiority in strength, seized the feeble old man in the view of all, and, in spite of the bustle made by the Etrurians, carried him off to his own party. Being conducted to the general, he was sent by him to Rome to the senate; and, on their inquiring the meaning of the information which he had given concerning the Alban lake, he answered, that “certainly the gods had been incensed against the Veientian nation, on that day when they prompted him to disclose the decree of the fates, which doomed his native country to destruction. What, therefore, he had then delivered under the influence of divine inspiration, he could not now recall, so as to render it unsaid; and perhaps the guilt of impiety might be contracted in as high a degree, by concealing what it was the will of the gods should be published, as by publishing what ought to be concealed. Thus, therefore, it was denounced in the books of the fates, and the Etrurian doctrine, that whensoever the Alban water should rise to an unusual height, if the Romans should then discharge it in a proper manner, victory would be granted them over the Veientians; but until that should be done, the gods would never abandon the walls of Veii.” He then gave directions with respect to the proper method of draining it; but the senate, deeming his authority of but little weight, and not to be entirely relied on in a case of such importance, determined to wait for the deputies, with the answer of the Pythian oracle.
Y. R. 358. 394.XVI. Before the commissioners returned from Delphi, or the method of expiating the Alban prodigy was discovered, the new military tribunes with consular power came into office. These were Lucius Julius Iulus, and Lucius Furius Medullinus a fourth time, Lucius Sergius Fidenas, Aulus Postumius Regillensis, Publius Cornelius Maluginensis, and Aulus Manlius. This year there started up a new enemy, the Tarquinians; who, seeing the Romans embroiled in so many wars at once, against the Volscians at Anxur, where the garrison was besieged; at Lavici against the Æquans, who were besieging the colony there; and also against the Veientians and the Faliscians, and the Capenatians, while their affairs within the walls were not less embarrassed by dissensions, thought this a favourable season to attack them with effect. They sent their light-armed cohorts to make depredations on the Roman territories, concluding that the people would either suffer that affront to pass unrevenged, rather than burthen themselves with an additional war, or if they resented it, would send out an army neither numerous nor strong. The Romans felt greater indignation at the affront than concern for the loss sustained by the inroads of the Tarquinians. They, therefore, undertook the business without either much preparation or long delay. Aulus Postumius and Lucius Julius having collected a body of troops, not by a regular levy, for in that they were prevented by the tribunes of the commons, but mostly volunteers, whom by persuasions they had prevailed on to follow them, directed their march by cross roads through the territory of Cære, and came upon the Tarquinians unawares, as they were returning from their depredations, heavily laden with booty: they slew great numbers of their men, got possession of all their baggage; and, having re-taken the spoils of their lands, returned to Rome. The space of two days was allowed to the owners to reclaim their property; on the third, what remained unclaimed, the greatest part of which had belonged to the enemy, was sold by auction, and the produce distributed among the soldiers. The issue of the other wars, particularly that of Veii, still remained doubtful. And now the Romans, despairing of success through human aid, began to look for succour towards the fates and the gods, when the deputies arrived from Delphi, bringing with them the decision of the oracle, which corresponded with the answer of the captive prophet. “Roman, beware lest the Alban water be confined in the lake; beware lest thou suffer it to flow into the sea in a stream. Thou shalt form for it a passage over the fields; and, by dispersing it in a multitude of channels, consume it. Then press thou boldly on the walls of the enemy; assured, that over the city which thou besiegest through so many years, conquest is granted by these orders of the fates, which are now disclosed. The war concluded, do thou, possessed of victory, bring ample offerings to my temples, and renewing the religious rites of thy country, the observation of which has been neglected, perform them in the usual manner.”
XVII. The captive prophet, upon this, began to be held in very high esteem, and the military tribunes, Cornelius and Postumius, thenceforward consulted with him concerning the expiation of the Alban prodigy, and the proper method of appeasing the gods. It was at length discovered what was that neglect of ceremonies, and omission of customary rites, for which they were blamed by the gods. It was, in fact, nothing else than that the magistrates, their election being defective, had not, with due regularity, directed the Latine festival,* and the anniversary solemnities on the Alban mount. The only mode of expiation in this case was, that the military tribunes should resign the government, the auspices be taken anew, and an interregnum appointed. All which was performed, pursuant to a decree of the senate. There were three interreges in succession: Lucius Valerius, Quintus Servilius Fidenas, and Marcus Furius Camillus. In the meantime the city was a scene of unceasing confusion and disorder, the plebeian tribunes refusing to let the elections proceed, unless a previous stipulation were agreed to, that the greater number of the military tribunes should be chosen out of the commons, During these transactions, a general assembly of Etruria was held at the temple of Voltumna, and the Capenatians and Faliscians demanding that all the states of Etruria should unite in the design of raising the siege of Veii, the answer returned was, that “they had formerly given a refusal of the same request to the Veientians, because these ought not to apply for succour, where in a case of such consequence, they had not applied for advice. That at present, though they of themselves would not refuse it, yet the situation of their affairs compelled them so to do: especially, as in that part of Etruria, the Gauls, a race of men with whom they were unacquainted, had lately become their neighbours, and with whom they were not on a footing, either of secure peace, or of determined war. Nevertheless, in consideration of the blood, the name, and the present dangers of their kinsmen, they would go so far, as that if any of their young men chose to go to that war, they would not hinder them.” The arrival of these was announced at Rome, as of a formidable number of enemies; and, through the apprehensions which this excited for the public safety, the violence of their intestine quarrels of course began to subside.
XVIII. Without causing any displeasure to the patricians, the prerogative tribe,* at the election, chose for military tribune Publius Licinius Calvus, although he had not declared himself a candidate; this honour was done him, because in his former administration he had approved himself a man of moderation; but he was now in extreme old age. It was observed, that those who had been his colleagues, in that year, were re-elected in order; Lucius Titinius, Publius Mænius, Publius Mælius, Cneius Genutius, and Lucius Atilius. Before these were proclaimed to the tribes, who were to vote in the ordinary course, Publius Licinius Calvus, with permission of the interrex, spoke to this effect: “I consider it, Romans, as an omen of concord, a thing essentially requisite to the state at the present juncture, that, from the remembrance of our former administration, ye are desirous of re-electing the same colleagues, improved by experience. As to me, ye no longer see me the same, but the shadow and the name of Publius Licinius. The powers of my body are decayed, my senses of sight and hearing are grown dull, my memory falters, and the vigour of my mind is blunted. Behold here a youth,” pursued he, holding his son, “the representation and image of him whom ye formerly made a military tribune, the first plebeian that was ever so honoured. Him, formed under my own discipline, I present and dedicate to the commonwealth as a substitute in my stead. And I beseech you, Romans, that the honour, which of your own motion, ye offered to me, ye will vouchsafe to grant to his petition, and to my prayers, which I add in his behalf.” This request of the father was complied with, and his son Publius Licinius was declared military tribune with consular power, together with those whom we mentioned before.Y. R. 359. 393. The military tribunes, Titinius and Genucius, marched against the Faliscians and Capenatians, and acting with more courage than conduct, fell into an ambush. Genucius atoned for his rashness by an honourable death, falling among the foremost, and in the front of the standards. Titinius after rallying his men, who had been thrown into the utmost confusion, and leading them to a rising ground, formed them again in order of battle; but did not venture to come down and meet the enemy. The disgrace was greater than the loss, and had like to have proved the cause of grievous misfortunes, so great was the alarm which it excited not only at Rome, where it was highly exaggerated by report, but also in the camp before Veii. Here the soldiers were, with difficulty, restrained from flight, on a rumour having spread, that the generals and the army had been cut to pieces; and that the Capenatians and Faliscians, flushed with victory, and all the youth of Etruria, were at no great distance from their posts. Accounts still more dreadful had gained credit at Rome: that the camp at Veii was already attacked, and that part of the enemy were already on their march to the city prepared for an assault. The men ran in crowds to the walls, and the matrons, called out from their houses by the public distraction, offered supplications for protection in all the temples, beseeching the gods to repel destruction from the Roman walls, from the houses of the city, and the temples, and to turn back such terrors on Veii, if the sacred rites had been renewed, and the prodigies expiated in due manner.
XIX. The games and the Latine festival had now been performed anew, the water from the Alban lake* discharged on the fields and the fates demanded the ruin of Veii. Accordingly a general, selected both for the destruction of that city, and the preservation of his native country, Marcus Furius Camillus, was nominated dictator, and he appointed Publius Cornelius Scipio his master of the horse. The change of the commander at once produced a change in every particular: even the fortune of the city seemed to have assumed a new face; so that men felt themselves inspired with different hopes and different spirits. He first of all put in force the rules of military discipline against such as had fled from Veii, on the alarm excited there, and took effectual care that the enemy should not be the principal object of the soldier’s fears. Then having, by proclamation, appointed a certain day for holding a levy of troops, he made, in the mean time, a hasty excursion in person to Veii, in order to strengthen the courage of the soldiers. From thence he returned to Rome to enlist the new army, and not a man declined the service. Young men came even from foreign states, Latines and Hernicians, offering their service in the war: to whom the dictator returned thanks in the senate. And now, having completed all necessary preparations for the campaign, he vowed, in pursuance of a decree of the senate, that he would, on the capture of Veii, celebrate the great games: and would repair and dedicate the temple of Mother Matuta, which had been formerly consecrated by king Servius Tullius. Marching out of the city at the head of his army, while people’s anxiety was stronger than their hopes, he came to the first engagement with the Faliscians and Capenatians, in the district of Nepote, on which occasion every particular was conducted with consummate prudence and skill; success of course ensued. He not only routed the enemy in battle, but took possession of their camp, and seized a vast quantity of spoil, the greatest part of which was put into the hands of the quæstor, and no great share distributed to the soldiers. From thence the troops were led to Veii, where additional forts were erected at smaller distances from each other, and by an edict, forbidding any to fight without orders, the soldiers were taken off from skirmishing, which had hitherto been frequently practised between the walls and the rampart of the camp, and their labour applied to the works. Of these, the greatest by far and most laborious was a mine, which they undertook to carry into the citadel of the enemy. In order that there should be no interruption in this, and at the same time that the same set of persons should not, by unintermitted labour under ground, be spent with fatigue, he formed the whole number of pioneers into six divisions, and six hours were allotted for each division to work in rotation; nor did they stop, either by night or day, until they formed a passage into the citadel.
XX. When the dictator now saw conquest within his reach and that he was on the point of getting possession of a city of the greatest opulence, the spoil of which would exceed in quantity whatever had been obtained in all former wars taken together, fearing lest he might incur either the resentment, of the soldiers, as being too sparing in his distribution of it, or the displeasure of the senators as being profusely lavish, he despatched a letter to the senate, that “through the favour of the immortal gods, his own conduct, and the persevering courage of the troops, Veii would immediately be in the power of the Roman people, and requested their directions with regard to the spoil.” Two opinions divided the senate; one was that of the elder Publius Licinius, who being first called upon by his son, as we are told, proposed a resolution, that public notice should be given to the people by proclamation, that whosoever chose to share in the spoil should retire to the camp before Veii. The other that of Appius Claudius, who censured such profusion as unprecedented, extravagant, and partial; and which would also be productive of ill consequences, if people should once conceive an opinion that it would be criminal to deposit in the treasury, when exhausted by wars, the money taken from the enemy. He therefore recommended it to them to make that a fund for the payment of the soldiers’ wages, to the end that the commons might be eased of part of the tax. For “every man’s family,” he said, “would feel its share of such a bounty in equal proportion, and the hands of the idle city rabble, ever greedy of rapine, would not then snatch away the prizes due to men who had showed their bravery in war: it being generally the case, that the man who is most ready, on every occasion, to undertake the largest share of toil and danger, is the least active in plundering.” Licinius, on the other hand, argued, that in that case the money would be an eternal cause of jealousy and ill-humour, would afford grounds for invidious representations to the commons, and, in consequence, for seditions, and the enacting of new laws. “It was therefore more to be desired,” he said, “that the affection of the commons might be conciliated by a bounty of that kind; that this resource should be afforded them, after they had been exhausted and entirely drained, by the payment of the tax for so many years; and that they should enjoy the fruits arising from a war, in which they had employed, one might say, the better part of their lives. That what a man took with his own hand from the enemy, and brought home with him, would afford him more satisfaction and delight, than a share many times larger conferred on him by another. That the dictator himself was aware of the odium and the disagreeable reflections to which this business might subject him, and had for that reason transferred the determination of it from himself to the senate: and that the senate ought, on their part, since the business had been thus thrown upon them, to hand it over to the commons, and let every man enjoy what the chance of war should give him.” This plan was deemed the safer, as it promised to procure popularity to the senate. Accordingly proclamation was made, that all such as chose might go to the camp of the dictator, to share in the plunder of Veii. The vast multitude who went entirely filled the camp.
XXI. Then the dictator, after taking the auspices, came forth, and having previously ordered the soldiers to take arms, spoke thus: “O Pythian Apollo, under thy guidance, and inspired by thy divinity, I am now proceeding to destroy the city of Veii, and I devote to thee the tenth part of the spoil thereof. Thee also, imperial Juno, who now dwellest in Veii, I beseech, that when we shall have obtained the victory, thou wilt accompany us into our city, soon to be thine own, where a temple shall receive thee, worthy of thy majesty.” After these prayers, having more than a sufficient number of men, he assaulted the city on every quarter; in order to prevent their perceiving the danger which threatened from the mine. The Veientians, ignorant that they had been already doomed to ruin by their own prophets, and likewise by foreign oracles; that the gods had been already invited to a share in their spoil; that some of them, listening to the vows by which they had been solicited to forsake their city, began to look towards the temples of the enemy, and new habitations, and that this was the last day of their existence; fearing nothing less, than their walls being already undermined, and the citadel filled with enemies, ran briskly in arms to the ramparts, wondering what could be the reason, that when for so many days not one Roman had stirred from his post, they should now run up to the walls without apprehension, as if struck with a sudden fit of madness. A fabulous account has been given of an incident happening at this juncture; it is, that while the king of the Veientians was offering sacrifice, the words of the aruspex were heard in the mine, denouncing, that whoever should cut up the entrails of that victim should obtain the victory, and that this incited the Roman soldiers to burst open the mine, seize the entrails, and carry them to the dictator. But in matters of such remote antiquity, I think it enough, if relations which carry a resemblance of truth, be received as true; stories of this kind, better calculated for the extravagant exhibitions of the stage, which delights in the marvellous, than for gaining belief, it is needless either to affirm or refute. The mine at this time, full of chosen men, suddenly discharged its armed bands in the temple of Juno, which stood in the citadel of Veii, some of whom attacked the rear of the enemy on the walls, some tore down the bars of the gates, some set fire to the houses, from the roofs of which stones and tiles were thrown by females and slaves. Every place was filled with confused clamour, composed of the terrifying shouts of the assailants, and the cries of the affrighted joined to the lamentations of the women and children. Those who defended the works were in an instant beaten off, and the gates forced open, where some entering in bodies, others scaling the deserted walls, the town was filled with the enemy, and a fight commenced in every quarter. After great slaughter the ardour of the combatants began to abate, and the dictator, proclaiming orders by the heralds, that no injury should be done to the unarmed, put an end to the effusion of blood. The townsmen then began to lay down their arms and surrender, and the soldiers, with permission of the dictator, dispersed in search of booty. When the spoil was collected before his eyes, far exceeding both in quantity and in the value of the effects all his calculations and hopes, the dictator is said to have raised his hands towards heaven, and prayed, “that if any gods or men looked on his success and that of the Roman people as excessive, such jealousy might be appeased by some calamity peculiar to himself alone, rather than by the slightest detriment to the Roman people.” It is recorded, that as he turned himself about, during this address to the gods, he stumbled and fell; and this was considered afterwards, by such as judged of the matter by the events which followed, to be an omen portending Camillus’s own condemnation, and the disaster of the city of Rome being taken, which happened a few years after. The subduing of the enemy, and the plundering of this very opulent city, employed that whole day.
XXII. Next day the dictator sold the inhabitants of free condition by auction: the money arising from this sale was all that was applied to the use of the public, and even that was resented by the commons. As to what spoil they brought home, they did not think themselves under any obligation, in applying it, either to the general who, with design to procure their countenance to his own parsimony, had referred to the senate a business which properly belonged to his own jurisdiction, or to the senate, but to the Licinian family, of which the son had laid the affair before the senate, and the father first proposed the popular resolution. When the wealth, belonging to the inhabitants, had been carried away from Veii, they then began to remove the treasures of the gods, and the gods themselves, but with the demeanor of worshippers rather than of ravishers: for certain young men selected out of the army, to whom was assigned the charge of conveying imperial Juno to Rome, after thoroughly washing their bodies, and clothing themselves in white garments, entered her temple with tokens of adoration, and approaching, laid hands upon her with religious awe, because, according to the Etrurian rules, no person but a priest of a particular family, had been usually allowed to touch that statue. Afterwards one of them, either prompted by divine inspiration, or in a fit of youthful jocularity, saying, “Juno, art thou willing to go to Rome,” the rest cried out at once, that the goddess had assented. To this fable an addition was made, that she was heard to utter the words, “I am willing.” However we are informed, that she was raised from the place whereon she stood by machines, with slight efforts, and was found light and easy to be removed, as if she accompanied them with her own consent; that she was brought safe to the Aventine, her eternal seat, to which the vows of the Roman dictator had invited her, where the same Camillus who had vowed it afterwards dedicated her temple. Thus fell Veii, the most powerful city of the Etrurian nation, even in its final overthrow demonstrating its greatness; for, after having withstood a siege during ten summers and winters, without intermission, after inflicting on its enemy losses considerably greater than itself had felt; even now, even when fate at last urged its doom, yet still it was vanquished not by force, but by the art of engineers.
XXIII. When the news arrived at Rome that Veii was taken, notwithstanding that the prodigies had been expiated, that the answers of the prophets and the responses of the Pythian oracle were known to all, and that they had used the most effectual means which human wisdom could suggest, for insuring success, in giving the command to Marcus Furius, the greatest general of the age; yet, as they had for so many years experienced such a variety of fortune in that war, and had sustained so many losses, their joy was as unbounded as if they had entertained no hopes of that event. And before the senate passed any decree to the purpose, every temple was filled with the Roman matrons returning thanks to the gods. The senate ordered supplications for the space of four days, a longer term than had ever been appointed in the case of any former war. The dictator also on his arrival was more numerously attended than any general had ever been before; all ranks pouring out to meet him, while the honours, conferred on him in his triumph, far surpassed the compliments usually paid on such occasions. He himself was the most conspicuous object of all, riding through the city in a chariot drawn by white horses, which was deemed unbecoming, not to say a member of a commonwealth, but a human being, people deeming it an affront to religion, that the dictator should emulate the equipage of Jupiter and Apollo; and on account chiefly of that single circumstance, his triumph was more splendid than pleasing. He then contracted for the building of a temple to imperial Juno on the Aventine, and dedicated that of mother Matuta: after performing these services to the gods, and to mankind, he laid down his office of dictator. The offering to be made to Apollo came then under consideration, and Camillus declaring that he had vowed the tenth part of the spoil to that use, and the pontiffs having given their opinion that the people ought to dischage that vow, it was found difficult to strike out a proper mode of obliging them to refund the spoil, in order that the due proportion might be set apart for that religious purpose. At length, recourse was had to a method which seemed least troublesome, that every man who wished to acquit himself and his family of the obligation of the vow, making his own estimate of his share of the spoil, should pay into the treasury the tenth part of the value, in order that a golden offering might be made, worthy of the grandeur of the temple, the divinity of the god, and the dignity of the Roman people: this contribution also helped to alienate the affection of the commons from Camillus. During these transactions, ambassadors had come from the Volscians and Æquans to sue for peace, and peace was granted them rather out of a desire that the state, wearied with so tedious a war, might enjoy some repose, than in consideration of the desert of the persons petitioning.
Y. R. 360. 392.XXIV. The year which followed the taking of Veii had six military tribunes, with consular power, the two Publii Cornelii, Cossus, and Scipio, Marcus Valerius Maximus a second time, Cæso Fabius Ambustus a third time, Lucius Furius Medullinus a fifth time, and Quintus Servilius a third time. The war with the Faliscians fell by lot to the Cornelii; that with the Capenatians to Valerius and Servilius. These latter made no attempt on the towns, either by assault or siege, but spread devastation over the lands, and carried off as spoil every thing found in the country; not a fruit tree, nor any useful vegetable, was left in the whole territory. These losses reduced the people of Capena to submission, and on their suing for peace, it was granted. The war with the Faliscians still continued. Meanwhile seditions multiplied at Rome, and in order to assuage their violence it was resolved, that a colony should be sent to the country of the Volscians, for which three thousand Roman citizens should be enrolled, and the triumvirs, appointed to conduct it, distributed three acres and seven twelths to each man. This donation was looked on with scorn, because they considered the offer as intended to pacify them, on the disappointment of higher expectations: for “why,” said they, “should the commons be sent into exile among the Volscians, when the beautiful city of Veii lay within view, and the territory belonging to it being more fertile and more extensive than the territory of Rome?” This city, too, they extolled as preferable even to that of Rome, both in point of situation, and the magnificence of its edifices and inclosures, both public and private. Nay, they went so far as to propose the scheme which, after the taking of Rome by the Gauls, was more generally adopted, of removing to Veii. But their plan now was, that half of the commons, and half of the senate, should fix their habitations at Veii; and thus two cities, composing one commonwealth, might be inhabited by the Roman people. The nobles opposed these measures with such warmth, as to declare, that they would sooner die in the sight of the Roman people, than that any of those matters should be put to the vote: for, “when one city at present supplied such abundance of dissensions, what would be the case with two? Was it possible that any one could prefer a vanquished, to a victorious city, and suffer Veii, after being captured, to enjoy a greater degree of prosperity than ever it had known in its most flourishing days? In short, they might be forsaken in their native country by their fellow citizens, but no force ought ever to compel them to forsake that country and those citizens, and to follow Titus Sicinius, (for he was the plebeian tribune who had brought forward the proposition,) as a founder to Veii, abandoning the divine Romulus, the son of a god, the parent and founder of the city of Rome.” These disputes proceeded to a shameful height: for the patricians had drawn over one half of the plebeian tribunes to their sentiments; so that no other circumstance obliged the commons to refrain from outrage, but that after a clamour had been set up as the prelude to a riot, the principal members of the senate, throwing themselves foremost in the way of the crowd, desired that they might be the persons attacked, struck, or put to death. On this the populace not only abstained from offering violence to their age, their dignity, and honourable characters, but in respect for their opinions restrained their rage even from any such attempts on others.
XXV. Camillus on every occasion, and in every place, publicly asserted, that “there was nothing surprizing in all these commotions; that the state was actually gone mad; for though it was engaged by a vow, yet it bestowed more concern on every other kind of business, than on acquitting itself of the obligation. He would say nothing of the contribution of an alms in reality, rather than of a tenth. However, as each man had bound himself, in his private capacity, the public was set free. But his conscience would not suffer him to be silent on another head,—that the tenth of that part only of the spoil was set apart, which consisted of moveable effects, and no mention was made of the city, or of the lands, which as well as the rest were comprehended in the vow.” The senate, finding it difficult to come to a determination on this point, referred it to the pontiffs in conjunction with Camillus; and that body gave their opinion, that whatsoever had been the property of the Veientians before the uttering of the vow, and after the vow was made, came into the power of the Roman people; of that the tenth part was sacred to Apollo. Thus the city and the land were brought into the estimate. The money was issued from the treasury, and the consular military tribunes were commissioned to lay it out in the purchase of gold. A sufficient quantity of this metal could not be procured; on which the matrons, after holding some meetings to deliberate on the subject, with unanimous consent, engaged to supply the military tribunes with gold, and actually carried all their ornaments into the treasury. Nothing ever happened which gave greater pleasure to the senate, and it is said, that in return for this generosity, these women were honoured with the privilege of using covered chariots, when going to public worship or games, and open chaises on any day whether festival or common. The gold being received from each by weight, and a valuation being made, in order that the price might be repaid, it was resolved that a golden bowl should be made thereof, to be carried to Delphi as an offering to Apollo. No sooner were men’s minds disengaged from religious concerns, than the plebeian tribunes renewed their seditious practices, stimulating the resentment of the populace against all the nobility, but especially against Camillus; alleging that, “by his confiscations and consecrations, he had reduced the spoils of Veii to nothing;” daringly abusing the nobles, in their absence; yet, on their appearing, as they sometimes threw themselves in the way of their fury, showing them some respect. When they perceived that the business would be protracted beyond the present year, they re-elected for the year following such tribunes of the commons, as had promoted the passing of the law, and the patricians exerted themselves to effect the same with regard to such of them as had protested against it. By these means the same persons mostly were re-elected plebeian tribunes.
Y. R. 361. 391.XXVI. At the election of military tribunes, the patricians, by straining their interest to the utmost, prevailed to have Marcus Furius Camillus chosen. They pretended, that on account of the wars in which they were engaged, they wished to have him as a commander: but, in fact, they wanted him as an antagonist to the tribunes, to check their corrupt profusion. Together with Camillus were elected military tribunes with consular power, Lucius Furius Medullinus a sixth time, Caius Æmilius, Lucius Valerius Poplicola, Spurius Postumius and Publius Cornelius a second time. In the beginning of the year, the plebeian tribunes declined proceeding on the business, until Marcus Furius Camillus should set out against the Faliscians: for he had been appointed to the command in that war. In consequence of this delay, the ardour of the pursuit was cooled, and Camillus, whom they had chiefly dreaded as an opponent, found an increase of glory in the country of the Faliscians: for the enemy at first confining themselves within their walls, which appeared to be the safest plan, he, by ravaging the country and burning the houses, compelled them to come forth from the city. But still their fears prevented them from advancing to any considerable length. At the distance of about a mile from the town, they pitched their camp, for the security of which they confided entirely in the difficulty of the approaches, all the roads on every side being rough and craggy, in some parts narrow, in others steep: but Camillus, following the directions of a prisoner taken in the country, who acted as his guide, decamped in the latter end of the night, and, at break of day, showed himself on ground much higher than theirs. The Romans were formed into three divisions, each of which, in turn, worked on the fortifications of the camp, while the rest of the troops stood in readiness for battle. The enemy then making an attempt to interrupt his works, he attacked and put them to flight; and with such consternation were the Faliscians struck, that in their haste, they passed by their own camp, which lay in their way, and pushed forward to the city. Great numbers were slain and wounded before they reached the gates, through which they rushed in great confusion and dismay. Their camp was taken, and the spoil given up by Camillus to the quæstors, to the great dissatisfaction of the soldiers: but such was the influence of his strictness in discipline, that the same propriety of conduct which excited their resentment, raised also their admiration. The town was then invested, and the approaches carried on, while sometimes occasional attacks were made by the townsmen on the Roman posts, and trifling skirmishes ensued. Thus time was spent without either party gaining a prospect of success, and as the beseiged were more plentifully supplied than the beseigers, with corn and all other necessaries, from magazines which they had formed some time before, the affair, to judge from appearances, would have been as laborious and tedious as at Veii, had not fortune, together with an instance of meritorious conduct, which, in respect of military matters, he had already sufficiently displayed, procured to the Roman commander a speedy victory.
XXVII. It was the custom among the Faliscians, to employ the same person as master and private tutor to their children; and, as it continues to be the practice to this day in Greece, several were intrusted at the same time to the care of one man. The teacher who appeared to have the greater share of knowledge, had of course the instruction of the children of the first rank. The person supposed to possess this knowledge, and now so intrusted, having made it a custom in time of peace, to carry the boys out of the city for the sake of exercise and play, and having never discontinued the practice since the war began, drew them away from the gate, sometimes in shorter, sometimes in longer excursions. At length, he found an opportunity of straying farther than usual; and, by introducing a variety of plays and conversations, he led them on between the advanced guards of the enemy, and then through the Roman camp, into the tent of Camillus; and there, to this atrocious act, added a speech still more atrocious: that “he had delivered Falerii into the hands of the Romans, by putting into their power those boys, whose parents were there at the head of affairs.” On hearing which, Camillus told him, “Neither the people, nor the commander, to whom thou hast come, thou wretch, with thy villainous offer, is like unto thyself. Between us and the Faliscians there subsists not, it is true, that kind of society which is formed by human compact, but that which nature has implanted in both, does, and ever will subsist. War has its laws as well as peace; and we have learned in waging it, to be as observant of those laws, as we are brave. We carry arms, not against persons of such age as these, who, even in the storming of towns, are exempted from injury, but against men who have arms in their hands, as well as ourselves, and who, without being either injured or provoked by us, made an attack on a Roman camp at Veii. Those thou hast conquered as far as in thee lay, by an act of unexampled villainy. I shall conquer them as I conquered Veii, by Roman methods, by valour, by labour, and by arms.” Then ordering him to be stripped naked, and his hands to be tied behind his back, he delivered him to the boys to be conducted back to Falerii, and gave them rods with which they should scourge the traitor, and drive him into the city. Such a spectacle first attracting a concourse of people, and the senate being afterwards summoned by the magistrates on the extraordinary case, so great an alteration was hereby effected in their sentiments, that they, who a short time before were so outrageous in their hatred and anger, as almost to have chosen the catastrophe of the Vientians, rather than the truce obtained by the Capenatians; these same persons now, through every rank in the state, universally called out for peace. The faith of the Romans, and the justice of their general, were extolled by every mouth in the Forum, and in the senate-house: and in compliance with the universal desire, ambassadors went to the camp to Camillus, and from thence, with permission of Camillus, to Rome, to make a surrender of Falerii. On being introduced to the senate, they are said to have spoken in this manner: “Conscript fathers! overcome by you and your general, by a victory of such a kind, as neither God nor man can view with displeasure we surrender ourselves into your hands, and in an expectation which redounds in the highest degree to the honour of the conqueror, that we shall live more happily under your government than under our own laws. In the issue of this war, two salutary examples have been held out to mankind. Ye have preferred good faith in war, to present victory. We, challenged to emulation in the observance of faith, have voluntarily presented you with conquest. We are your subjects: send persons to receive our arms, hostages, and our city, whose gates they will find open. Ye will never have reason to complain of our fidelity, or we of your government.” Camillus received the thanks both of the enemy and of his countrymen. The Faliscians were ordered to furnish that year’s pay for the soldiers, that the Roman people might enjoy a respite from the tax. As soon as peace was acceded to, the troops were brought home to Rome.
XXVIII. Camillus returning home, crowned with honours of far greater value than when white horses had drawn him in triumph through the city, being distinguished by a conquest acquired through the means of justice and good faith, the senate did not conceal their sense of the respectful attention due to his concerns, but hastened the measures for acquitting him of his vow. Lucius Valerius, Lucius Sergius, and Aulus Manlius were sent ambassadors with one ship of war, to carry the golden bowl to Delphi, as an offering to Apollo. These falling in with some Liparensian pirates, not far from the Sicilian streight, were taken and carried to Liparæ. It was the custom of this state, to make a general division of all booty acquired, as if piracy were the public act of the government. It happened that the office of chief magistrate was filled by one Timasitheus, a man more like the Romans than his own countrymen, who, being touched himself with reverence for the character of ambassadors, for the offering, for the god to whom it was sent, and the cause for which it was presented, impressed the multitude likewise, who almost in all cases resemble their ruler, with proper sentiments of religion on the occasion; and, after entertaining the ambassadors at the public expense, convoyed them with some of his own ships to Delphi, and from thence conducted them in safety to Rome. By decree of senate, a league of hospitality was formed with him, and presents were made him by order of the state. During this year, the war with the Æquans was attended with advantages pretty equal on both sides; so that it was a matter of doubt, both at Rome and even among the troops themselves, whether they were victorious or vanquished. The Roman commanders were Caius Æmilius and Spurius Postumius, two of the military tribunes. At first they acted in conjunction, but after having defeated the enemy in the field, they came to a determination that Æmilius, with a sufficient force, should keep possession of Verrugo, and that Postumius should lay waste the country. In performance of this, the latter, since the late success, thinking less caution requisite, and marching in an unguarded manner, was attacked by the Æquans, who threw his troops into confusion, and drove them to the next hills. The panic spread from thence even to Verrugo, to the other part of the army posted there. Postumius having withdrawn his men to a place of safety, called them to an assembly, where he upbraided them with their fright, and with having fled from the field, being routed by an enemy heretofore remarkable for cowardice and running away. On which the whole army cried out together, that they deserved to hear such reproaches, and that they acknowledged the shamefulness of their behaviour; but that they were at the same time determined to make amends for it, and that the conqueror’s joy on the occasion should be but of short duration. They requested earnestly that he would lead them thence directly to the camp of the enemy, which lay in the plain within their view, offering to submit to any punishment if they did not take it before night. After commending their resolution, he ordered them to refresh themselves, and to be in readiness at the fourth watch: the enemy on the other side, with design to prevent the Romans from flying from the hill by night, through the road which led to Verrugo, were there prepared to receive them, and the battle began at the first hour. However, the moon was up through the whole night, so that the fight was managed with as little confusion as it could have been by day. But the shout reaching Verrugo, where it was imagined that the Roman camp had been attacked, the troops were seized with such terror, that in spite of the intreaties of Æmilius, and all his endeavours to detain them, they fled to Tusculum in the utmost disorder. From thence a report was carried to Rome, that Postumius and his army were cut to pieces. However, as soon as day-light had removed the danger of falling into ambuscades, in case of a hasty pursuit, riding through the ranks, and demanding the performance of their promises, the general infused into the men such a degree of ardour, that the Æquans could no longer withstand their efforts, but betook themselves to flight, when a slaughter of them ensued (as in a case where anger was more concerned than courage,) that ended in the entire destruction of their army; and the afflicting news from Tusculum, which had caused a great, though groundless, alarm in the city, were followed by a letter from Postumius decked with laurel,* —that victory had fallen to the Roman people, and that the army of the Æquans was wholly destroyed.
XXIX. As no determination had yet been made, with respect to the plans introduced by the plebeian tribunes, the commons on the one hand laboured to continue in office such of them as had promoted the passing of the law, and the patricians on the other, to procure the re-election of those who had protested against it. But the commons had the superior influence in the election of their own magistrates: for which disappointment the patricians revenged themselves by passing a decree of senate, that consuls (magistrates ever odious to the commons) should be elected. Thus, after an interval of fifteen years, consuls were again appointed, Lucius Lucretius Flavus, and Servius Sulpicius Camerinus.Y. R. 362. 390. In the beginning of this year, while the plebeian tribunes, uniting their efforts, pressed the passing of their law with great confidence, because there was not any of their body who would protest against it, and while the consuls for that very reason were no less active in opposing it, (the whole attention of the public being taken up with this business,) the Æquans made themselves masters of Vitellia, a Roman colony in their territory. The general part of the colonists escaped with safety to Rome; for the town being betrayed to the enemy in the night, there was nothing to hinder their flight from the contrary side of the city. That province fell to the lot of the consul Lucius Lucretius. He marched thither with an army, defeated the enemy in the field, and returned to Rome, where he was to encounter a contest of much greater difficulty. A prosecution had been commenced against Aulus Virginius, and Quintus Pomponius, plebeian tribunes of the two preceding years, whom the senate was bound in honour to defend with the joint exertions of all the patricians; for no one laid any other charge against them, with respect either to their conduct in life, or their behaviour in office, than that, to gratify the nobles, they had protested against the law proposed by the tribunes. However, the resentment of the commons overpowered the influence of the senate, and by a sentence, of most pernicious example, those men, convicted of no crime, were condemned to pay a fine of ten thousand asses in weight.* This highly incensed the patricians: Camillus openly reproached the commons with violating the duty which they owed to their own order, telling them, that “while they thus vented their spleen on their own magistrates, they did not perceive that by their iniquitous sentence they had abolished the privilege of protesting, and by taking away that privilege, had overturned the tribunitian power. For they were much mistaken if they imagined, that the patricians would endure the unbridled licentiousness of that office. If tribunitian violence could not be repelled by tribunitian aid, the patricians would find out a weapon of some other kind. He censured the consuls also, for silently suffering those tribunes, who had complied with the directions of the senate, to be disappointed in their reliance on the faith of the public.” By such discourses, uttered in public, he exasperated people daily more and more against him.
XXX. As to the senate, he never ceased urging them to a vigorous opposition to the passing of the law; exhorting them, that “when the day arrived on which it was to be put to the vote, they should go down to the Forum with no other sentiments than such as became men who knew they were to contend for their religion and liberty; for the temples of their gods, and the soil that gave them birth. As to his own particular part, if it were allowable for him, during a contest wherein the interest of his country lay at stake, to consider the aggrandizement of his own character, it would even redound to the increase of his fame, that a city which he had taken should be filled with inhabitants, that he should every day enjoy that monument of his own glory, and have before his eyes a people whom he himself had led in his triumph, and that all men, at every step they took, should meet with testimonies of his valour. But in his opinion, it would be an impious proceeding, if a city forsaken and abandoned by the immortal gods were to be inhabited; if the Roman people were to reside in a captivated soil, and to exchange a victorious for a vanquished country.” Stimulated by such arguments, uttered by the first man in the state, the patricians, both old and young, when the law was to be debated, came in a body to the Forum, and dispersing themselves through the tribes, each endeavoured to influence the members of his own body; beseeching them, with tears, “not to abandon the country, in defence of which themselves, and their fathers, had fought with the greatest bravery and the greatest success, pointing at the same time to the capitol, the temple of Vesta, and the other temples of the gods which stood within view; that they would not drive the Roman people, as exiles and outcasts, away from their native soil and guardian deities, into a once hostile city, and bring matters to such a conclusion, that it would be better if Veii had never been taken, lest Rome should be abandoned.” As they made use of no violence, but of entreaties only, and among these entreaties made frequent mention of the gods, the greatest part of the people were impressed with an opinion that religion was concerned in the case, and the tribes, by a majority of one, rejected the law. The patricians were so highly gratified by this success, that next day, the consuls holding a meeting for the purpose, a decree of senate was passed, that a distribution should be made to the commons of the Veientian lands, in the proportion of seven acres to each, and that this distribution should be extended not only to the fathers of families, but to every person in their houses of free condition, that they might have satisfaction in rearing children with the hope of such an establishment.
Y. R. 363. 389.XXXI. This generosity had such a conciliatory effect on the minds of the commons, that no opposition was made to the election of consuls. Lucius Valerius Potitus and Marcus Manlius, afterwards surnamed Capitolinus, were appointed to that office. In their consulate were celebrated the great games which Marcus Furius when dictator had vowed, on occasion of the war with the Veientians. In this year also, the temple of imperial Juno, vowed by the same dictator, during the same war, was dedicated, and it is mentioned that the matrons displayed an extraordinary degree of zeal in their attendance on the dedication. In the campaign against the Æquans, the seat whereof was at Algidum. nothing memorable occurred; the enemy scarcely waiting for the engagement to begin, before they betook themselves to flight. To Valerius, because he continued the pursuit and slaughter with great earnestness, a triumph was decreed; to Manlius an ovation. This year there sprung up a new enemy, the Volsinians, against whom no army could be sent on account of a famine and pestilence which raged in the Roman territories, in consequence of extraordinary drought and heat. On these circumstances the Volsinians presumed with such confidence, that, forming a junction with the Salpinians, they made incursions on the lands of the Romans. War was then proclaimed against those two nations. Caius Julius died in the office of censor, and Marcus Cornelius was substituted in his room, which proceeding came afterwards to be considered as displeasing to the gods, because in that lustrum Rome was taken. Nor since that time is a censor ever substituted in the room of one dying. The consuls being seized by the distemper, it was resolved that an interregnum should be constituted, and auspices taken a-new.
Y. R. 364. 388.XXXII. In pursuance therefore of a decree of the senate, the consuls having resigned their office, Marcus Furius Camillus was created interrex, who appointed Publius Cornelius Scipio interrex, and he, afterwards, Lucius Valerius Potitus. By him were elected six military tribunes with consular power, to the end that in case any of them should be disabled by bad health, the commonwealth might still have a sufficient number of magistrates. These were Lucius Lucretius, Servius Sulpicius, Marcus Æmilius, Lucius Furius Medullinus a seventh time, Agrippa Furius, and Caius Æmilius a second time, who entered into office on the calends of July. Of these Lucius Lucretius and Caius Æmilius had the Volsinians as their province; Agrippa Furius and Servius Sulpicius the Salpinians. The first battle happened with the Volsinians. This war, formidable in appearance, from the great number of the enemy, was terminated without any difficulty: at the first onset, their army was put to flight, and eight thousand of their soldiers, being surrounded by the cavalry, laid down their arms, and surrendered. The account which they received of that battle, made the Salpinians determine not to hazard an engagement; their troops secured themselves in the towns. The Romans, meeting no opposition, carried off the spoil from all parts, both of the Volsinian and Salpinian territories, until the Volsinians, becoming weary of the war, had a truce for twenty years granted them, on condition that they should make restitution to the Roman people, and furnish the pay of the army for that year. During this year, Marcus Cædicius, a plebeian, gave information to the tribunes, that “in the new street, where the chapel now stands, above the temple of Vesta, he had heard in the dead of the night, a voice louder than that of a man, ordering notice to be given to the magistrates, that the Gauls were approaching.” This intelligence, on account of the mean condition of the author, was, as frequently happens, disregarded; and also, because that nation, lying at a great distance, was therefore very little known. They not only slighted the warnings of the gods, at this crisis of impending fate, but the only human aid which could have availed them, Marcus Furius, they drove away to a distance from the city: for, having been cited by Apuleius, a plebeian tribune, to answer a charge concerning the plunder of Veii, and having about the same time suffered the loss of a son, who had almost arrived at the years of manhood, he called together to his house the members of his tribe and dependants, who composed a great part of the commons, and asked their sentiments on the occasion; when being told, in answer, that they would make up by a contribution whatever fine he should be condemned to pay, but to effect his acquittal was out of their power, he went into exile, after praying to the immortal gods, that if he was underserving of such injurious treatment, they would speedily give that ungrateful state reason to regret his absence. On his not appearing, he was fined fifteen thousand asses in weight.*
XXXIII. Having thus driven away the citizen, whose presence, if in any case we can pronounce with certainty on human affairs, would have effectually saved Rome from falling into the hands of an enemy, the destined ruin now approached the city with hasty steps: at this time ambassadors arrived from the people of Clusium, soliciting aid against the Gauls. According to some reports, that nation was allured to cross the Alps, and take possession of the country formerly cultivated by the Etrurians, by the deliciousness of its productions, and especially of the wine, a luxury then new to them: and Aruns of Clusium having introduced it into Gaul for the purpose of enticing that people, that he might, by their means, gratify his resentment for his wife’s being debauched by Lucumo, (whose guardian he himself had been,) a young man of overgrown power, on whom it would have been impossible to inflict punishment without foreign assistance. He acted as their guide, in passing the Alps, and advised them to lay siege to Clusium. I do not indeed take upon me to deny, that the Gauls were conducted to Clusium by Aruns, or some other Clusian, but that those who laid siege to Clusium, were not the first who crossed the Alps, is certain; for the Gauls went over into Italy, two hundred years before they besieged that town, and took the city of Rome. Nor were these the first of the Etrurians with whom they waged war; for long before this, the Gallic armies fought many battles with those who dwelt between the Apennines and the Alps. The Tuscans, before the growth of the Roman empire, possessed very extensive sway both by land and sea: how great their power was in the upper and lower seas, by which Italy is almost surrounded, as an island, the names of those seas demonstrate; one being called by the Italian nations, the Tuscan, the general appellation of that people; the other the Adriatic, from Adria, a colony of Tuscans. The Greeks also call those seas the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic. This people inhabited both the tracts of territory which stretch from each side of the mountain, to the two seas, having founded twelve cities on either, first on the hither side towards the lower sea, and afterwards sending to the other side of the Apennines as many colonies as there were capital cities in the mother country. These acquired possession of the whole region beyond the Po, all the way to the Alps, except the corner of the Venetians who dwell round the extreme point of the Adriatic. The Alpine nations also, without doubt, derived their origin from them, particularly the Rhetians, who were rendered savage merely by their situation, so as to retain no mark of their original, except the accent of their language, and not even that without corruption.
XXXIV. Concerning the passage of the Gauls into Italy, what we have learned is this: when Tarquinius Priscus reigned at Rome, the supreme government of the Celts, who composed one-third part of Gaul, lay in the hands of the Biturigians. These gave a king to the Celtic nation. Ambigatus, a man very eminently distinguished by his own merit, and by the extraordinary degree of prosperity which attended him, both in his own private concerns, and in those of the public; in his time Gaul was so fruitful, and so numerously peopled, that it seemed scarcely practicable to retain such an enormous multitude under the direction of one government. Being far advanced in years, and wishing to exonerate his realm of a crowd with which it was overburthened, he declared his intention of sending away his sister’s sons, Bellovesus and Sigovesus, two spirited young men, to whatever settlements the gods should point out by their auguries; and that they should carry with them any number of men, which they themselves should choose; so that no nation which lay in their way should be able to obstruct their course. Sigovesus was then directed by the oracle to the Hercinian forest: to Bellovesus the gods showed a much more delightful route into Italy. He carried with him from the Biturigians, the Arvernians the Senonians, the Æduans, the Ambarrians the Carnutians, and the Aulercians, all their superfluous numbers: and setting out, at the head of an immense body of horse and foot, arrived in the country of the Tricastinians. The Alps then stood in his way, which I do not wonder that these people should consider as impassable, having never been climbed over by any path, at least as far as we have been able to learn, unless we choose to believe the fables told of Hercules. Whilst the height of the mountains kept the Gauls penned up as it were, and while they were looking about for some route between those lofty summits which joined the sky, an ominous incident also gave them some delay; for an account was brought to them, that some strangers, who had come in search of lands, were attacked by the nation of the Salyans: these were the Massilians who had come by sea from Phocea.* The Gauls, considering this as prognostic of their own fortune, gave them their assistance, in fortifying the ground, which they had first seized on their landing, covered with wide extended woods. They themselves climbed over the pathless Alps, through the forest of Taurinum, routed the Tuscans in battle, not far from the river Ticinus; and, hearing that the district in which they had posted themselves, was called Insubria, the same name by which one of the cantons of the Insubrian Æduans was distinguished, they embraced the omen which the place presented, and founded there a city which they called Mediolanum,
XXXV. Some time after, another body, composed of the Cenomanians, under the conduct of Elitovius, following the tracks of the former, made their way over the Alps, through the same forest, Bellovesus favouring their march, and settled themselves where the cities Brixia and Verona now stand, places then possessed by the Libuans. After these, came the Salluvians, who fixed their abode near the ancient canton of the Ligurians, called Lævi, who inhabited the banks of the Ticinus. The next who came over were the Boians and Lingonians, through the Penine pass, who, finding all the space between the Alps and the Po already occupied, crossed the Po on rafts, and drove out of the country, not only the Etrurians, but the Umbrians also. They confined themselves however within the Apennines. After them the Senonians, the latest of these emigrants, possessed themselves of the track which reaches from the river Utens to the Æsis. This latter people, I find, it was, who came to Clusium, and from thence to Rome. But whether alone, or assisted by all the nations of Cisalpine Gauls, is not known with certainty. The Clusians, on observing so great a multitude, the appearance of the men, too, being different from any which they had seen before, and also the kind of arms which they carried, were terrified at the approach of this strange enemy; and having heard that the legions of the Etrurians had been often defeated by them, on both sides of the Po, determined, although they had no claim on the Romans, either in right of alliance or friendship, except that they had not protected their relations the Veientians in opposition to the Roman people, to send ambassadors to Rome, to solicit aid from the senate; which request was not complied with. The three Fabii, sons of Ambustus, were sent to mediate with the Gauls, in the name of the senate and commons of Rome; who recommended to them not to attack the allies and friends of the Roman people, from whom they had received no injury, and whom they would be obliged to support even by force of arms, if matters went so far; but who, at the same time, would be better pleased, that hostile proceedings should be avoided if possible, and that their acquaintance with the Gauls, a nation to whom they were as yet strangers, should commence in an amicable rather than in an hostile manner.
XXXVI. This was an embassy mild in its import, but intrusted to men of tempers too ferocious, more resembling Gauls than Romans. These, having explained their commission in an assembly of the Gauls, received for answer, that although this was the first time that they had heard the name of the Romans, yet they supposed, that they were men of bravery, whose assistance the Clusians had implored in a conjuncture so perilous; and in consideration of their having chosen to interfere between their allies and them, in the way of negociation, rather than that of arms, they would make no objection to the amicable terms which they proposed, provided that the Clusians, who possessed a greater portion of land than they turned to use, would give up a part of it to the Gauls, who wanted it. On no other terms, they said, was peace to be obtained: that they wished to receive an answer in presence of the Romans, and if the land were refused them, would also decide the matter by arms in the presence of the same Romans, that they might inform their countrymen, how far the Gauls excelled the rest of mankind in bravery. The Romans asking, by what right they could demand land from the possessors, and in case of refusal threaten war; and what concern the Gauls had in Etruria? The others fiercely replied, that they carried their right on the points of their swords, and that all things were the property of the brave. Thus, with minds inflamed on both sides, they hastily separated to prepare for battle, which began without delay. Here, fate now pressing the city of Rome, the ambassadors, contrary to the law of nations, took a part in the action; a fact which could not be concealed, for three of the noblest and bravest of the Roman youth fought in the van of the Etrurian army; and the valour of these foreigners was eminently conspicuous. Besides, Quintus Fabius rode forward beyond the line, and slew a general of the Gauls, who was making a furious charge against the standards of the Etrurians, running him through the side with his spear. He was known by the Gauls, while he was stripping him of his spoils; on which notice was conveyed round through the whole army, that he was one of the Roman ambassadors. Dropping therefore their resentment against the Clusians, they sounded a retreat, threatening to wreak their vengeance on the Romans. Some advised that they should march instantly to Rome. But the opinion of the elders prevailed; that ambassadors should first be sent to complain of the ill treatment, which they had received, and to demand that the Fabii should be delivered into their hands as a satisfaction for having violated the law of nations. When the ambassadors of the Gauls had explained those matters according to their commission, the senate were highly displeased at the behaviour of the Fabii, and thought the demand of the barbarians just: but in the case of nobles, of such exalted rank, partial favour prevented their passing a decree conformable to their judgment. Lest, therefore, they might be chargeable with any misfortune, which might perhaps be sustained in a war with the Gauls, they referred the determination, on the demands of the Gauls, to the assembly of the people: where so prevalent was the influence of interest and wealth, that the very persons whose punishment was the subject of deliberation, were appointed military tribunes with consular power for the ensuing year. At which proceeding the Gauls being justly enraged, and openly denouncing war, returned to their countrymen.Y. R. 365. 387. Together with the three Fabii, were appointed military tribunes, Quintus Sulpicius Longus, Quintus Servilius a fourth time, and Servius Cornelius Maluginensis.
XXXVII. When fortune is determined upon the ruin of a people, she can so blind them, as to render them insensible to danger, even of the greatest magnitude: accordingly the Roman state, which, in its wars with the Fidenatians and Veientians and other neighbouring enemies, had left no means untried to procure aid, and had, on many occasions, nominated a dictator; yet now, when an enemy whom they had never met, or even heard of, was, from the ocean and the remotest coasts, advancing in arms against them, they looked not for any extraordinary command or assistance. Tribunes, whose temerity had brought on the troubles, were intrusted with the reins of government, and they used no greater diligence in levying forces, than was usual in case of a rupture with any of their neighbours, extenuating the importance which fame gave to the war. Meanwhile the Gauls, hearing that the violators of the rights of mankind had even been recompensed with honours, and that their embassy had been slighted, inflamed with anger, a passion which that nation knows not how to control, instantly snatched up their ensigns, and began to march with the utmost expedition. When their precipitate movement caused such an alarm wherever they passed, that the inhabitants of the cities ran together to arms, and the peasants betook themselves to flight, they signified to them, by loud shouts, that it was to Rome they were going, while the space covered by their men and horses was immense, the troops spreading widely on every side. But report outstripped them; and messengers also from the Clusian, and from several other states, one after another, and the quickness of the enemy’s proceedings, caused the utmost consternation among the Romans, whose army, composed, in a manner, of tumultuary troops, with all the haste which they could make, scarce advanced so far as the eleventh stone before they met them, where the river Allia, running down from the Crustuminian mountains in a very deep channel, joins the Tiber, a little way below the road. Already every place, in front, and on each side, was occupied by numerous bodies of Gauls; and, as that nation has a natural turn for aggravating terror by confusion, by their harsh music and discordant clamours, they filled the air with a horrible din.
XXXVIII. There the military tribunes, without having previously formed a camp, without the precaution of raising a rampart which might secure a retreat, regardless of duty to the gods, to say nothing of that to man, without taking auspices, without offering a sacrifice, drew up their line, which they extended on towards the flanks, lest they should be surrounded by the numerous forces of the enemy. Still they could not show an equal front, and at the same time thinned their line in such a manner, as weakened the centre, and left it scarce sufficient to fill up the ranks without a breach. There was a small eminence on the right, which they determined to occupy with a body of reserve; which measure, as it gave the first cause to their dismay and desertion of the field, so it proved the only means of safety in their flight. Brennus, the chieftain of the Gauls, thinking, that as his enemies were few, their skill was what he had chiefly to guard against; and supposing, that the eminence had been seized with design, that when the Gauls should be engaged in front with the line of the legions, that reserved body might make an attack on their rear and flank, turned his force against the reserve, not doubting, that if he could dislodge them from their post, his troops, so much superior in number, would find an easy victory in the plain: thus not only fortune, but judgment also stood on the side of the barbarians. In the opposite army there appeared nothing like Romans, either among the commanders, or the soldiers. Terror and dismay had taken possession of their minds, and such a total unconcern for the rest of mankind, that greater numbers by far fled to Veii, a city of their enemy, though the Tiber lay across the way, than by the direct road to Rome, to their wives and children. The situation of the ground for some time defended the reserve: but those who composed the rest of the line, on their flank, and on their rear, no sooner heard the shout, than, not only without attempting to fight, but without even returning the shout, fresh as they were, and unhurt, they ran away from an untried enemy, and at whom they had scarcely ventured to look. Thus, no lives were lost in battle; but their rear was cut to pieces while they crowded on one another, in such hurry and confusion, as retarded their retreat. Great slaughter was made on the bank of the Tiber, whither the whole left wing, after throwing away their arms, had directed their flight; and great numbers who knew not how to swim, or were not very strong, being burthened with their coats of mail and other defensive armour, were swallowed up in the current. However the greatest part escaped safe to Veii, from whence they neither sent any reinforcement to Rome, nor even a courier to give notice of their defeat. Those of the right wing which had been posted at a distance from the river, near the foot of the mountain, all took the way to Rome, and without even shutting the gates of the city, made their way into the citadel.
XXXIX. On the other hand, the attainment of such a speedy, such an almost miraculous victory, astonished the Gauls. At first, they stood motionless through apprehension for their own safety, scarcely knowing what had happened; then, they dreaded some stratagem; at length, they collected the spoils of the slain, and piled the arms in heaps, according to their practice. And now, seeing no sign of an enemy any where, they at last began to march forward, and a little before sun-set arrived near the city of Rome, where receiving intelligence by some horsemen who had advanced before, that the gates were open without any troops posted to defend them, nor any soldiers on the walls, this second incident, not less unaccountable than the former, induced them to halt: and, apprehending danger from the darkness of the night, and their ignorance of the situation of the city, they took post between Rome and the Anio, sending scouts about the walls, and the several gates, to discover what plans the enemy would pursue in this desperate state of their affairs. The Roman soldiers, who were living, their friends lamented as lost; the greater part of them having gone from the field of battle to Veii, and no one supposing that any survived, except those who had come home to Rome. In fine, the city was almost entirely filled with sorrowings. But on the arrival of intelligence that the enemy were at hand, the apprehensions excited by the public danger stifled all private sorrow; soon after, the barbarians patroling about the walls in troops, they heard their yells and the dissonant clangour of their martial instruments. During the whole interval, between this and the next morning, they were held in the most anxious suspense, every moment expecting an assault to be made on the city. At the enemy’s first approach, it was supposed that they would begin the attack as soon as they should arrive at the city, since, if this were not their intention, they would probably have remained at the Allia. Their fears were various and many; first, they imagined that the place would be instantly stormed, because there was not much of the day remaining; then that the design was put off until night, in order to strike the greater terror. At last, the approach of light sunk them in dismay, and the evil itself which they dreaded, closed this scene of unremitted apprehension, the enemy marching through the gates in hostile array. During that night, however, and also the following day, the state preserved a character, very different from that which such a dastardly flight at the Allia had indicated: for there being no room to hope that the city could possibly be defended by the small number of troops remaining, a resolution was taken, that the young men who were fit to bear arms, and the abler part of the senate, with their wives and children, should go up into the citadel and the capitol; and having collected stores of arms and corn, should, in that strong post, maintain the defence of the deities, of the inhabitants, and of the honour of Rome. That the Flamen Quirinalis, and the vestal priestesses, should carry away, far from slaughter and conflagration, all that appertained to the gods of the state; and that their worship should not be intermitted, until there should be no one left to perform it. “If the citadel and the capitol, the mansion of the gods; if the senate, the source of public counsel; if the youth of military age, should survive the ruin which impended over the city, they must deem the loss of the aged light, as of a crowd whom they were under the necessity of leaving behind, though with a certain prospect of their perishing.” That such of this deserted multitude as consisted of plebeians, might bear their doom with the greater resignation, the aged nobles, formerly dignified with triumphal honours and consulships, openly declared, that “they would meet death along with them, and would not burthen the scanty stores of the fighting men, with bodies incapable of carrying arms, and of protecting their country.” Such were the consolations addressed to each other by the aged who were destined to death.
XL. Their exhortations were then turned to the band of young men, whom they escorted to the capitol and citadel, commending to their valour and youthful vigour the remaining fortune of their city, which, through the course of three hundred and sixty years, had ever been victorious in all its wars. When those who carried with them every hope and every resource, parted with the others, who had determined not to survive the capture and destruction of the city, the view which it exhibited was sufficient to call forth the liveliest feelings, the women at the same time running up and down in distraction, now following one party, then the other, asking their husbands and their sons, to what fate they would consign them? All together formed such a picture of human wo as could admit of no aggravation. A great part, however, of the women followed their relations into the citadel, no one either hindering or inviting them; because, though the measure of lessening the number of useless persons in a siege, might doubtless be advisable in one point of view, yet it was a measure of extreme inhumanity. The rest of the multitude, consisting chiefly of plebeians, for whom there was neither room on so small a hill, nor a possibility of support in so great a scarcity of corn, pouring out of the city in one continued train, repaired to the Janiculum. From thence some dispersed through the country, and others made their way to the neighbouring cities, without any leader, or any concert, each pursuing his own hopes and his own plans, those of the public being deplored as desperate. In the mean time, the Flamen Quirinalis, and the Vestal virgins, laying aside all concern for their own affairs, and consulting together which of the sacred deposits they should take with them, and which they should leave behind, for they had not strength sufficient to carry all, and what place they could best depend on for preserving them in safe custody, judged it the most eligible method to inclose them in casks, and to bury them under ground, in the chapel next to the dwelling-house of the Flamen Quirinalis, where at present it is reckoned profane even to spit. The rest they carried, distributing the burthens among themselves, along the road which leads over the Sublician bridge, to the Janiculum. On the ascent of that hill, Lucius Albinius, a Roman plebeian, was conveying away in a wagon his wife and children, but observing them among the crowd of those who being unfit for war were retiring from the city, and retaining, even in his present calamitous state, a regard to the distinction between things divine and human, he thought it would betray a want of respect to religion, if the public priests of the Roman people were to go on foot, thus holily laden, whilst he and his family were seen mounted in a carriage; ordering his wife and children then to alight, he put the virgins and the sacred things into the wagon, and conveyed them to Cære, whither the priests had determined to go.
XLI. Meanwhile, at Rome, when every disposition for the defence of the citadel had been completed, as far as was possible in such a conjuncture, the aged crowd withdrew to their houses, and there, with a firmness of mind not to be shaken by the approach of death, waited the coming of the enemy: such of them as had held curule offices, choosing to die in that garb which displayed the emblems of their former fortune, of their honours, or of their merit, put on the most splendid robes worn, when they draw the chariots of the gods in procession, or ride in triumph. Thus habited, they seated themselves in their ivory chairs at the fronts of their houses. Some say that they devoted themselves for the safety of their country and their fellow citizens; and that they sung a hymn upon the occasion, Marcus Fabius, the chief pontiff, dictating the form of words to them. On the side of the Gauls, as the keenness of their rage, excited by the fight, had abated during the night; and, as they had neither met any dangerous opposition in the field, nor were now taking the city by storm or force; they marched next day, without any anger or any heat of passion, into the city, through the Colline gate, which stood open, and advanced to the Forum, casting round their eyes on the temples of the gods, and on the citadel, the only place which had the appearance of making resistance. From thence, leaving a small guard to prevent any attack from the citadel or capitol, they ran about in quest of plunder. Not meeting a human being in the streets, part of them rushed in a body to the houses that stood nearest; part sought the most distant, as expecting to find them untouched and abounding with spoil. Afterwards, being frightened from thence, by the very solitude, and fearing lest some secret design of the enemy might be put in execution against them, while they were thus dispersed, they formed themselves into bodies, and returned again to the Forum, and places adjoining to it. Finding the houses of the plebeians shut up, and the palaces of the nobles standing open, they showed rather greater backwardness to attack these that were open, than such as were shut: with such a degree of veneration did they behold men sitting in the porches of those palaces, who, beside their ornaments and apparel, more splendid than became mortals, bore the nearest resemblance to gods, in the majesty displayed in their looks, and the gravity of their countenances. It is said, that while they stood gazing as on statues, one of them, Marcus Papirius, provoked the anger of a Gaul, by striking him on the head with his ivory sceptre, while he was stroaking his beard, which at that time was universally worn long; that the slaughter began with him, and that the rest were slain in their seats. The nobles being put to death, the remainder of the people met the same fate. The houses were plundered, and then set on fire.
XLII. However, whether it was, that they were not all possessed with a desire of reducing the city to ruins, or whether the design had been adopted by the chiefs of the Gauls, that some fires should be presented to the view of the besieged, for the purpose of terrifying them, and to try if they could be compelled to surrender, through affection to their own dwellings, or that they had determined that all the houses should not be burned down, because whatever remained, they could hold as a pledge, by means of which they might work upon the minds of the garrison, the fire did not, during the first day, spread extensively, as is usual in a captured city. The Romans, beholding the enemy from the citadel, who ran up and down through every street, while some new scene of horror arose to their view in every different quarter, were scarcely able to preserve their presence of mind. To whatever side the shouts of the enemy, the cries of women and children, the crackling from the flames; and the crash of falling houses called their attention, thither, deeply shocked at every incident, they turned their eyes, their thoughts, as if placed by fortune to be spectators of the fall of their country;—left, in short, not for the purpose of protecting any thing belonging to them, but merely their own persons, much more deserving of commiseration, indeed, than any before who were ever beleaguered; as by the siege which they had to sustain they were excluded from their native city, whilst they saw every thing which they held dear in the power of the enemy. Nor was the night, which succeeded such a shocking day, attended with more tranquillity. The morning appeared with an aspect equally dismal; nor did any portion of time relieve them from the sight of a constant succession of new distresses. Loaded and overwhelmed with such a multiplicity of evils, they notwithstanding remitted nought of their firmness; determined, though they should see every thing in flames, and levelled with the dust, to defend by their bravery the hill which they occupied, small and ill provided as it was, yet being the only refuge of their liberty. And as the same events recurred every day, they became so habituated, as it were, to disasters, that, abstracting their thoughts as much as possible from their circumstances, they regarded the arms, and the swords in their hands, as their only hopes.
XLIII. On the other side, the Gauls, having for several days waged only an ineffectual war against the buildings, and perceiving that among the fires and ruins of the city nothing now remained but a band of armed enemies, who were neither terrified in the least, nor likely to treat of a capitulation unless force were applied, resolved to have recourse to extremities, and to make an assault on the citadel. On a signal given, at the first light, their whole multitude was marshalled in the Forum, from whence, after raising the shout, and forming a testudo,* they advanced to the attack. The Romans in their defence did nothing rashly, nor in a hurry; but having strengthened the guards at every approach, and opposing the main strength of their men on the quarter where they saw the battalions advancing, they suffered them to mount the hill, judging that the higher they should ascend, the more easily they might be driven back, down the steep. About the middle of the ascent they met: and there making their charge down the declivity, which of itself bore them against the enemy, routed the Gauls with such slaughter, and such destruction, occasioned by their falling down the precipice, that they never afterwards, either in parties, or with their whole force, made another trial of that kind of fight. Laying aside therefore the hope of effecting their approaches by force of arms, they resolved to form a blockade, for which, having never until this time thought of making provision, they were ill prepared. With the houses, all was consumed in the city; and in the course of the days they had passed there, the produce of the country round about had been hastily carried off to Veii. Wherefore dividing their forces, they determined that one part should be employed in plundering among the neighbouring nations, while the other carried on the siege of the citadel, in order that the ravagers of the country might supply the besiegers with corn.
XLIV. The party of Gauls, which marched away from the city, were conducted merely by the will of fortune, who chose to make a trial of Roman bravery, to Ardea, where Camillus dwelt in exile, pining in sorrow, and more deeply grieving at the distresses of the public, than at his own; accusing gods and men, burning with indignation, and wondering where were now those men who with him had taken Veii, and Falerii; those men who, in other wars, had ever been more indebted to their own courage, than to chance. Thus pondering, he heard, on a sudden, that the army of the Gauls was approaching, and that the people of Ardea in consternation were met in council on the subject. On which, as if moved by divine inspiration, he advanced into the midst of their assembly, having hitherto been accustomed to absent himself from such meetings, and said, “People of Ardea, my friends of old, of late my fellow-citizens also, a relation encouraged by your kindness, and formed by my fortune; let not any of you imagine, that my coming hither to your council is owing to my having forgotten my situation; but the present case, and the common danger, render it necessary that every one should contribute to the public every kind of assistance in his power. And when shall I repay so great obligations as I owe you, if I am now remiss? On what occasion can I ever be serviceable to you, if not in war? By my knowledge in that line, I supported a character in my native country, and though never overcome by an enemy in war, I was banished in time of peace by my ungrateful countrymen. To you, men of Ardea, fortune has presented an opportunity of making a recompense for all the valuable favours which the Roman people have formerly conferred on you. How great these have been, ye yourselves remember; nor need I, who know you to be grateful, remind you of them. At the same time you may acquire, for this your city, a high degree of military renown, by acting against the common enemy. The nation, which is now approaching, in a disorderly march, is one to whom nature has given minds and bodies of greater size than strength: for which reason, they bring to every contest more of terror, than of real vigour. The disaster of Rome may serve as a proof of this; they took the city, when every avenue lay open; but still a small band in the citadel and capitol are able to withstand them. Already tired of the slow proceedings of the siege, they retire and spread themselves over the face of the country. When gorged by food, and greedy draughts of wine, as soon as night comes on, they stretch themselves promiscuously, like brutes, near streams of water, without intrenchment, and without either guards or advanced posts; using at present, in consequence of success, still less caution than usual. If it is your wish to defend your own walls, and not to suffer all this part of the world to become a province of Gaul, take arms unanimously at the first watch. Follow me, to kill, not to fight. If I do not deliver them into your hands, overpowered with sleep, to be slaughtered like cattle, I am content to meet the same issue of my affairs at Ardea which I found at Rome.”
XLV. Every one who heard him, had long been possessed with an opinion, that there was not any where in that age a man of equal talents for war. The meeting then being dismissed, they took some refreshment, and waited with impatience for the signal being given. As soon as that was done, during the stillness of the beginning of the night, they attended Camillus at the gates: they had not marched far from the city, when they found the camp of the Gauls, as had been foretold, unguarded and neglected on every side, and, raising a shout, attacked it. There was no fight any where, but slaughter every where: being naked, and surprised in sleep, they were easily cut to pieces. However, those who lay most remote, being roused from their beds, and not knowing how or by whom the tumult was occasioned, were by their fears directed to flight, and some of them even into the midst of the enemy, before they perceived their mistake. A great number, flying into the territory of Antium, were attacked on their straggling march by the inhabitants of that city, surrounded and cut off. A like carnage was made of the Tuscans in the territory of Veii: for they were so far from feeling compassion for a city, which had been their neighbour now near four hundred years, and which had been overpowered by a strange and unheard of enemy, that they made incursions at that very time on the Roman territory: and, after loading themselves with booty, purposed even to lay siege to Veii, the bulwark, and the last remaining hope of the whole Roman race. The soldiers there, who had seen them straggling over the country, and also collected in a body, driving the prey before them, now perceived their camp pitched at no great distance from Veii. At first, their minds were filled with melancholy reflections on their own situation; then with indignation, afterwards with rage. “Must their misfortunes, they said, be mocked even by the Etrurians, from whom they had drawn off the Gallic war on themselves?” Scarce could they curb their passions so far as to refrain from attacking them that instant; but, being restrained by Quintus Cædicius, a centurion, whom they had appointed their commander, they consented to defer it until night. The action which ensued wanted nothing to render it equal to the former, except that it was not conducted by a general equal to Camillus: in every other respect the course of events was the same, and the issue equally fortunate. Not content with this blow, but taking, as guides, some prisoners who had escaped the slaughter, and advancing to Salinæ against another body of Tuscans, they surprised them on the night following, slew a still greater number, and then returned to Veii, exulting in their double victory.
XLVI. Meanwhile, at Rome the siege, in general, was carried on slowly, and both parties lay quiet; for the attention of the Gauls was solely employed in preventing any of the enemy from escaping between their posts; when, on a sudden, a Roman youth drew on himself the attention and admiration both of his countrymen and the enemy. There was a sacrifice always solemnized by the Fabian family at stated times, on the Quirinal hill; to perform which, Caius Fabius Dorso having come down from the capitol, dressed in the form called the Gabine cincture, and carrying in his hands the sacred utensils requisite for the ceremony, passed out through the midst of the enemy’s posts, without being moved in the least by any of their calls or threats. He proceeded to the Quirinal hill, and after duly performing there the solemn rites, returned by the same way, preserving the same firmness in his countenance and gait, confident of the protection of the gods, whose worship, even the fear of death, had not power to make him neglect, and came back to his friends in the capitol, while the Gauls were either held motionless with astonishment at his amazing confidence, or moved by considerations of religion, of which that nation is by no means regardless. Meanwhile, those at Veii found not only their courage, but their strength also increasing daily. Not only such of the Romans repaired thither, who, in consequence either of the defeat in the field, or of the disaster of the city being taken, had been dispersed in various parts, but volunteers also flowed in from Latium, with a view to share in the spoil; so that it now seemed high time to attempt the recovery of their native city, and rescue it out of the hands of the enemy. But this strong body wanted a head: the spot where they stood reminded them of Camillus; a great number of the soldiers having fought with success under his banners and auspices. Besides, Cædicius declared, that he would not take any part which might afford occasion, either for god or man, to take away his command; but rather, mindful of his own rank, would himself insist on the appointment of a general. With universal consent it was resolved, that Camillus should be invited from Ardea; but that first the senate at Rome should be consulted: so carefully did they regulate every proceeding by a regard to propriety, and, though in circumstances nearly desperate, maintained the distinctions of the several departments of government. It was necessary to pass through the enemy’s guards, which could not be effected without the utmost danger. A spirited youth, called Pontius Cominius, offered himself for the undertaking, and supporting himself on pieces of cork, was carried down the stream of the Tiber to the city. From thence, where the distance from the bank was shortest, he made his way into the capitol over a part of the rock which was very steep and craggy, and therefore neglected by the enemy’s guards; and being conducted to the magistrates, delivered the message of the army. Then, having received a decree of the senate, that Camillus should both be recalled from exile in an assembly of the Curias, and instantly nominated dictator by order of the people, and that the soldiers should have the general whom they wished, going out of the same way, he proceeded with his despatches to Veii; from whence deputies were sent to Ardea to Camillus, who conducted him to Veii: or else, the law was passed by the Curians, and he was nominated dictator in his absence; for I am inclined to believe, that he did not set out from Ardea until he found, that this was done, because he could neither change his residence without an order of the people, nor hold the privilege of the auspices in the army, until he was nominated dictator.
XLVII. Thus they were employed at Veii, whilst, in the mean time, the citadel and capitol at Rome were in the utmost danger. The Gauls either perceived the track of a human foot, where the messenger from Veii had passed; or, from their own obeservation, had remarked the easy ascent at the rock of Carmentis: on a moon-light night, therefore, having first sent forward a person unarmed to make trial of the way, handing their arms to those before them; when any difficulty occurred, supporting and supported in turns, and drawing each other up according as the ground required, they climbed to the summit in such silence, that they not only escaped the notice of the guards, but did not even alarm the dogs, animals particularly watchful with regard to any noise at night. They were not unperceived however by some geese, which being sacred to Juno, the people had spared, even in the present great scarcity of food; a circumstance to which they owed their preservation; for by the cackling of these creatures, and the clapping of their wings, Marcus Manlius was roused from sleep,—a man of distinguished character in war, who had been consul the third year before; and snatching up his arms, and at the same time calling to the rest to do the same, he hastened to the spot: where, while some ran about in confusion, he by a stroke with the boss of his shield tumbled down a Gaul who had already got footing on the summit; and this man’s weight, as he fell, throwing down those who were next, he slew several others, who in their consternation, threw away their arms, and caught hold of the rocks, to which they clung. By this time many of the garrison had assembled at the place, who by throwing javelins and stones, beat down the enemy, so that the whole band, unable to keep either their hold or footing, were hurled down the precipice in promiscuous ruin. The alarm then subsiding, the remainder of the night was given to repose, as much at least as could be enjoyed after such perturbation, when the danger though past, kept up the agitation of people’s minds. As soon as day appeared, the soldiers were summoned by sound of trumpet, to attend the tribunes in assembly, when due recompense was to be made both to merit and demerit. Manlius was first of all commended for the bravery which he had displayed, and was presented with gifts, not only by the military tribunes, but by the soldiers universally; for every one carried to his house, which was in the citadel, a contribution of half a pound of corn, and half a pint of wine—a present which appears trifling in the relation, yet the scarcity which prevailed rendered it a very strong proof of esteem, since each man contributed, in honour of a particular person, a portion subtracted from his necessary supplies. Those who had been on guard at the place where the enemy climbed up unobserved, were now cited; and though Quintus Sulpicius, military tribune had declared, that he would punish every man according to the rules of military discipline, yet being deterred by the unanimous remonstrances of the soldiers, who threw all the blame on one particular man of the guard, he spared the rest. The one who was manifestly guilty he with the approbation of all threw down from the rock. From this time forth, the guards on both sides became more vigilant: on the side of the Gauls, because a rumour spread that messengers passed between Veii and Rome; and on that of the Romans, from their recollection of the danger to which they had been exposed in the night.
XLVIII. But beyond all the evils of the war and the siege, famine distressed both armies. To which was added on the side of the Gauls, a pestilential disorder, occasioned by their lying encamped in low ground surrounded with hills, which besides having been heated by the burning of the buildings, and filled with exhalations, when the wind rose ever so little, sent up not only ashes but embers. These inconveniencies that nation, of all others, is the worst qualified to endure, as being accustomed to cold and moisture. In a word, they suffered so severely from the heat and suffocation, that they died in great numbers, disorders spreading as among a herd of cattle. And now growing weary of the trouble of burying separately, they gathered the bodies in heaps promiscuously, and burned them, and this rendered the place remarkable by the name of the Gallic piles. A truce was now made with the Romans, and conferences held with permission of the commanders: in which, when the Gauls frequently made mention of the famine to which the former were reduced, and thence inferred the necessity of their surrendering, it is said, that in order to remove this opinion, bread was thrown from the capitol into their advanced posts, though the famine could scarcely be dissembled or endured any longer. But whilst the dictator was employed in person in levying forces at Ardea, in sending his master of the horse, Lucius Valerius, to bring up the troops from Veii, and in making such preparations and arrangements as would enable him to attack the enemy on equal terms, the garrison of the capitol was worn down with the fatigue of guards and watches. They had hitherto stood superior to all evils, yet famine was one which nature would not allow to be overcome, so that looking out day after day for some assistance from the dictator, and at last, not only provisions, but hope failing, their arms in the course of relieving the guards at the same time almost weighing down their feeble bodies, they insisted that either a surrender should be made, or the enemy bought off, on such terms as could be obtained: for the Gauls had given plain intimations, that, for a small compensation, they might be induced to relinquish the siege. The senate then met, and the military tribunes were commissioned to conclude a capitulation. The business was afterwards managed in a conference between Quintus Sulpicius a military tribune, and Brennus the chieftain of the Gauls, and a thousand pounds weight of gold* was fixed as the ransom of that people, who were afterwards to be rulers of the world. To a transaction so very humiliating in itself, insult was added. False weights were brought by the Gauls, and on the tribune objecting to them, the insolent Gaul threw in his sword in addition to the weights, and was heard to utter an expression intolerable to Roman ears, “wo to the vanquished.”
XLIX. But both gods and men stood forth to prevent the Romans living under the disgrace of being ransomed. For, very fortunately, before the abominable payment was completed, the whole quantity of gold being not yet weighed in consequence of the altercation, the dictator came up to the spot, ordered the gold to be carried away from thence, and the Gauls to clear the place. And when they made opposition, and insisted on the agreement, he affirmed that such an agreement could have no validity, being made after he had been created dictator, without his order, by a magistrate of subordinate authority; and he gave notice to the Gauls to prepare for battle. His own men he ordered to throw their baggage in a heap, to get ready their arms, and to recover their country with steel, not with gold; having before their eyes the temples of the gods, their wives and children, the site of their native city, disfigured with rubbish through the calamities of war, and every object which they were bound by the strongest duties to defend, to recover, and to revenge. He then drew up his forces for battle, as far as the nature of the ground would allow, on the site of the half demolished city, which was in itself naturally uneven, having made every previous arrangement and preparation, which could be suggested by knowledge in war, to secure all possible advantages to himself. The Gauls, alarmed at this unexpected event, took up arms, and with more rage than conduct rushed upon the Romans. Fortune had now changed sides; and both divine favour and human wisdom aided the Roman cause. At the first onset, therefore, the Gauls were put to the route with no greater difficulty than they had themselves found, when they gained the victory at the Allia. They were afterwards defeated, under the conduct and auspices of the same Camillus, in a more regular engagement at the eighth stone on the Gabine road, where they rallied after their flight. Here the slaughter was immense; their camp was taken, and not even a single person left to carry the news of the defeat. The dictator, having thus recovered his country from the enemy, returned in triumph, and among the rough jokes which the soldiers throw out on such occasions, received the appellations of a Romulus, a second founder of the city,—praises certainly not unmerited. His country thus saved by arms, he evidently saved it a second time in peace, when he hindered the people from removing to Veii, a scheme pressed by the tribunes with greater earnestness after the burning of the city, and which the commons, of themselves, were then more inclined to pursue; and for that reason he did not resign the dictatorship immediately after his triumph, being entreated by the senate not to leave the commonwealth in that unsettled state.
L. The first business which he laid before the senate was that which respected the immortal gods; for he was remarkably attentive to all matters in which religion was concerned. He procured a decree of senate, that “all the temples having been in possession of the enemy should be restored, their bounds traced, and expiation made for them, and that the form of expiation should be sought in the books by the duumvirs. That a league of hospitality should be formed by public authority with the people of Cære, because they had afforded a reception to the sacred utensils, and to the priests of the Roman people; and because to the kindness of that nation it was owing, that the worship of the immortal gods had not been intermitted; that Capitoline games should be exhibited in honour of Jupiter, supremely good and great, for having, in time of danger, protected his own mansion, and the citadel of Rome; and that a certain number of citizens, for the due performance thereof, should be incorporated by the dictator, out of those who resided in the capitol and fort.” Mention was also introduced of expiating the voice which had been heard by night, giving notice of the calamity before the Gallic war, and which had been neglected; and an order was made that a temple should be erected to Aius Locutius, in the new street. The gold, which had been rescued from the Gauls, and also what had been, during the hurry of the alarm, carried from the other temples into the recess of Jupiter’s temple, was altogether judged to be sacred, and ordered to be deposited under the throne of Jupiter, because no one could recollect to what temples it ought to be returned. The state had, before this, manifested a high regard to religion, in accepting a contribution of gold from the matrons, when the public fund was found insufficient to make up the sum stipulated to be paid to the Gauls, rather than meddle with the sacred gold. To the matrons public thanks were given, and also the privilege of having funeral orations delivered in honour of them on their death, the same as on that of the men. When he had finished such business as respected the gods, and such as could be determined by the authority of the senate, and as the tribunes never ceased teasing the commons in their harangues to abandon the ruins, and remove to Veii, a city ready for their reception, being attended by the whole body of the senate, he mounted the tribunal and spoke to this effect.
LI. “Romans, so strong is my aversion from holding contentions with the tribunes of the people, that while I resided at Ardea, I had no other consolation in my melancholy exile than that I was at a distance from such contests; and, on account of these, I was fully determined never to return, even though ye should recall me by a decree of senate and order of the people. Nor was it any change of my sentiments, which induced me now to revisit Rome, but the situation of your affairs. For the point in question was, not whether I should reside in my native land, but whether that land, (if I may so express myself,) should keep in its own established seat? And on the present occasion most willingly would I remain silent, did not this struggle also affect the essential interests of my country; to be wanting to which, as long as life remains, were base in others, in Camillus infamous. For to what purpose have we laboured its recovery? Why have we rescued it out of the hands of the enemy? After it has been recovered, shall we voluntarily desert it? Notwithstanding that the capitol and citadel continued to be held and inhabited by the gods and the natives of Rome, even when the Gauls were victorious, and in possession of the whole city; notwithstanding that the Romans are now the victors; shall that capitol and citadel be abandoned with all the rest, and our prosperity become the cause of greater desolation, than our adversity was? In truth, if we had no religious institutions which were founded together with the city, and regularly handed down from one generation to another; yet the divine power has been so manifestly displayed at this time in favour of the Roman affairs, that I should think all disposition to be negligent in paying due honour to the gods effectually removed from the minds of men. For, take a review of the transactions of these latter years in order,—prosperous and adverse,—ye will find that in every instance prosperity constantly attended submission to the immortals, and adversity the neglect of them. To begin with the war of Veii: for what a number of years, and with what an immensity of labour, was it carried on? Yet it could not be brought to a conclusion, until, in obedience to the admonition of the gods, the water was discharged from the Alban lake. Consider, did this unparalleled train of misfortunes, which ruined our city, commence until the voice sent from heaven, concerning the approach of the Gauls, had been disregarded; until the laws of nations had been violated by our ambassadors; and until we, with the same indifference towards the deities, passed over that crime which we were bound to punish? Vanquished, therefore, made captives, and ransomed, we have suffered such punishments at the hands of gods and men, as render us a warning to the whole world. After this, our misfortunes again reminded us of our duty to the heavens. We fled for refuge into the capitol, to the mansion of Jupiter, supremely good and great. The sacred utensils, amidst the ruin of our own properties, we partly concealed in the earth, partly conveyed out of the enemy’s sight, to the neighbouring cities. Abandoned by gods and men, yet we did not intermit the sacred worship. The consequence was, they restored us to our country, to victory, and to our former renown in war, which we had forfeited; and on the heads of the enemy, who, blinded by avarice, broke the faith of a treaty in respect to the weight of the gold, they turned dismay, and flight, and slaughter.
LII. “When ye reflect on these strong instances of the powerful effects produced on the affairs of men by their either honouring or neglecting the deity, do ye not perceive, Romans, what an act of impiety we are about to perpetrate, even in the very moment of emerging from the wreck and ruin which followed our former misconduct? We are in possession of a city built under the direction of auspices and auguries, in which there is not a spot but is full of gods and religious rites. The days of the anniversary sacrifices are not more precisely stated, than are the places where they are to be performed. All these gods, both public and private, do ye intend, Romans, to forsake? What similitude does your conduct bear to that, which lately, during the siege, was beheld, with no less admiration by the enemy than by yourselves, in that excellent youth Caius Fabius, when he went down from the citadel through the midst of Gallic weapons, and performed on the Quirinal hill the anniversary rites pertaining to the Fabian family? Is it your opinion that the religious performances of particular families should not be intermitted, though war obstruct, but that the public rites and the Roman gods should be forsaken even in time of peace; and that the pontiffs and flamens should be more negligent of those rites of religion than was a private person? Some, perhaps, may say, we will perform these at Veii; we will send our priests thither for that purpose: but this cannot be done without an infringement of the established forms. Even in the case of the feast of Jupiter, (not to enumerate all the several gods, and all the different kinds of sacred rites,) can the ceremonies of the lectisternium be performed in any other place than the capitol? What shall I say of the eternal fire of Vesta; and of the statue, that pledge of empire, which is kept under the safeguard of her temple? What, O Mars Gradivus, and thou, Father Quirinus, of thy Ancilia?* Is it right that those sacred things, coeval with the city, nay some of them more ancient than the city itself, should all be abandoned to profanation? Now, observe the difference between us and our ancestors. They handed down to us certain sacred rites to be performed on the Alban, and on the Lavinian mounts. Was it then deemed not offensive to the gods, that such rites should be brought to Rome, and from the cities of our enemies; and shall we, without impiety, remove them from hence to an enemy’s city, to Veii? Recollect, I beseech you, how often sacred rites are performed anew, because some particular ceremony of our country has been omitted through negligence or accident. In a late instance, what other matter, after the prodigy of the Alban lake, proved a remedy for the distresses brought on the commonwealth by the war of Veii, but the repetition of them, and the renewal of the auspices? But besides, as if zealously attached to religious institutions, we have brought not only foreign deities to Rome, but have established new ones. It was but the other day that imperial Juno was removed hither from Veii; and with what a crowded attendance was her dedication on the Aventine celebrated? And how greatly was it distinguished by the extraordinary zeal of the matrons? We have passed an order for the erecting of a temple to Aius Locutius in the new street, out of regard to the heavenly voice which was heard there. To our other solemnities we have added Capitoline games, and have, by direction of the senate, founded a new college for the performance thereof. Where was there occasion for any of these institutions, if we were to abandon the city at the same time with the Gauls; if it was against our will that we resided in the capitol for the many months that the seige continued; if it was through a motive of fear that we suffered ourselves to be confined there by the enemy? Hitherto we have spoken of the sacred rites and the temples, what are we now to say of the priests? Does it not occur to you, what a degree of profaneness would be committed with respect to them? For the vestals have but that one residence, from which nothing ever disturbed them, except the capture of the city. It is deemed impious if the Flamen Dialis remain one night out of the city. Do ye intend to make them Veientian priests instead of Roman? And, O Vesta, shall thy virgins forsake thee? And shall the flamen, by foreign residence, draw every night on himself and the commonwealth so great a load of guilt? What shall we say of other kinds of business which we necessarily transact under auspices, and almost all within the Pomœrium? To what oblivion, or to what neglect, are we to consign them? The assemblies of the curias, which have the regulation of military affairs; the assemblies of the centuries, in which ye elect consuls and military tribunes; where can they be held under auspices, except in the accustomed place? Shall we transfer these to Veii? Or shall the people, in order to hold their meetings, lawfully crowd together here, with so great inconvenience, and into a city deserted by gods and men?
LIII. “But it is urged that the case itself compels us to leave a city desolated by fire and ruin, and remove to Veii, where every thing is entire, and not to distress the needy commons by building here. Now, I think, Romans, it must be evident to most of you, though I should not say a word on the subject, that this is but a pretext held out to serve a purpose, and not the real motive. For ye remember, that this scheme of our removing to Veii was agitated before the coming of the Gauls, when the buildings, both public and private, were unhurt, and when the city stood in safety. Observe, then, tribunes, the difference between my way of thinking and yours. Ye are of opinion, that even though it were not advisable to remove at that time, yet it is plainly expedient now. On the contrary, and be not surprised at what I say until ye hear my reasons, even allowing that it had been advisable so to do, when the whole city was in a state of safety, I would not vote for leaving these ruins now. At that time, removing into a captured city from a victory obtained, had been a cause glorious to us and our posterity; but now, it would be wretched and dishonourable to us, while it would be glorious to the Gauls. For we shall appear not to have left our country in consequence of our successes, but from being vanquished; and by the flight at the Allia, the capture of the city, and the blockade of the capitol, to have been obliged to forsake our dwellings, and fly from a place which we had not strength to defend. And have the Gauls been able to demolish Rome, and shall the Romans be deemed unable to restore it? What remains, then, but that ye allow them to come with new forces, for it is certain they have numbers scarcely credible, and make it their choice to dwell in this city, once captured by them, and now forsaken by you? What would you think, if, not the Gauls, but your old enemies the Æquans or Volscians, should form the design of removing to Rome? Would ye be willing that they should become Romans, and you Veientians? Or would ye that this should be either a desert in your possession, or a city in that of the enemy? Any thing more impious I really cannot conceive. Is it out of aversion from the trouble of rebuilding, that ye are ready to incur such guilt and such disgrace? Supposing that there could not be erected a better or more ample structure than that cottage of our founder, were it not more desirable to dwell in cottages, after the manner of shepherds and rustics, in the midst of your sacred places and tutelar deities, than to have the commonwealth go into exile? Our forefathers, a body of uncivilized strangers, when there was nothing in these places but woods and marshes, erected a city in a very short time. Do we, though we have the capitol and citadel safe, and the temples of the gods standing, think it too great a labour to rebuild one that has been burned? What each particular man would have done, if his house had been destroyed by fire, should the whole of us refuse, in the case of a general conflagration?
LIV. “Let me ask you, if, through some ill design or accident, a fire should break out at Veii, and the flames being spread by the wind, as might be the case, should consume a great part of the city: must we seek Fidenæ, or Gabii, or some other city, to remove to? Has our native soil so slight a hold of our affections; and this earth, which we call our mother? Or does our love for our country extend no farther than the surface, and the timber of the houses? I assure you, for I will confess it readily, that during the time of my absence, (which I am less willing to recollect, as the effect of ill treatment from you, than of my own hard fortune,) as often as my country came into my mind, every one of these circumstances occurred to me; the hills, the plains, the Tiber, the face of the country to which my eyes had been accustomed, and this sky, under which I had been born and educated; and it is my wish, Romans, that these may now engage you, by the ties of affection, to remain in your own established settlements, rather than hereafter prove the cause of your pining away in anxious regret at having left them. Not without good reason did gods and men select this spot for the building of Rome, where are most healthful hills, a commodious river, whose stream brings down the produce of the interior countries, while it opens a passage for foreign commerce; the sea, so near as to answer every purpose of convenience, yet at such a distance as not to expose it to danger from the fleets of foreigners: and in the centre of the regions of Italy, a situation singularly adapted by its nature to promote the increase of a city. Of this the very size, as it was, must be held a demonstration. Romans, this present year is the three hundred and sixty-fifth of the city; during so long a time have ye been engaged in war, in the midst of nations of the oldest standing: yet, not to mention single nations, neither the Æquans in conjunction with the Volscians, who possess so many and so strong towns, nor the whole body of Etruria, possessed of such extensive power by land and sea, and occupying the whole breadth of Italy, from one sea to the other, have shown themselves equal to you in war. This being the case, where can be the wisdom in making trial of a change, when, though your valour might accompany you in your removal to another place, the fortune of this spot could not certainly be transferred? Here is the capitol, where a human head being formerly found, it was foretold that in that spot should be the head of the world, and the seat of sovereign empire. Here, when the capitol was to be cleared by the rites of augury, Juventas and Terminus, to the very great joy of our fathers, suffered not themselves to be moved. Here is the fire of Vesta, here the Ancilia sent down from heaven, here all the gods, and they, too, propitious to your stay.” Camillus is said to have affected them much by other parts of his discourse, but particularly by that which related to religious matters. But still the affair remained in suspense, until an accidental expression, seasonably uttered, determined it. For in a short time after this, the senate sitting on this business in the Curia Hostilia, it happened that some cohorts, returning from relieving the guards, passed through the Forum in their march, when a centurion in the Comitium called out, “Standard-bearer, fix your standard. It is best for us to stay here.” On hearing which expression, the senate, coming forth from the Curia, called out with one voice, that “they embraced the omen;” and the surrounding crowd of commons joined their approbation. The proposed law being then rejected, they set about rebuilding the city in all parts at once. Tiles were supplied at the public expense, and liberty granted to hew stones and fell timber, wherever each person chose, security being taken for their completing the edifices within the year. Their haste took away all attention to the regulation of the course of the streets: for setting aside all regard to distinction of property, they built on any spot which they found vacant. And that is the reason that the old sewers, which at first were conducted under the public streets, do now, in many places, pass under private houses, and that the form of the city appears as if force alone had directed the distribution of the lots.
end of vol. i.
[* ]32l. 5s. 10d.
[* ]From lectus, a bed, or rather couch, and sterno, to spread. Upon couches of this kind the Romans reclined at their meals, but especially at entertainments. Upon this occasion these couches were brought out into the streets, and being decorated in the most magnificent manner, the statues of the gods and goddesses were laid thereupon, and sumptuous banquets placed before them. Of these repasts all comers were allowed to partake.
[* ]The Romans, Latines, and some states of the Hernicians and Volscians, met annually on the Alban mount to celebrate this festival, in commemoration of the treaty made with those states by Tarquin the Proud. It was attended by the deputies of forty-seven states, who, under the direction of the Roman consul, or other chief magistrate, offered joint sacrifices to Jupiter, whom they termed Latialis. In particular, they offered a white bull, of which the deputies of each state received a piece. The public festivals, feriæ, were of four kinds: stativæ immoveable; conceptivæ, or indictæ, moveable; imperativæ, commanded on particular occasions; and nundinæ, for holding markets; so called, because the time was fixed by proclamation: they were generally celebrated by the consuls, before departure for their provinces.
[* ]The prerogative tribe was that to which the lot fell to vote first, at the election of magistrates. Anciently, the centuries were called to give their votes according to the order established among them by Servius Tullius, first the equites, then the centuries of the first class, &c. It was afterwards (at what time is not known) determined by lot, sortitio, in what order they should vote.
[* ]The remains of the sewer, a stupendous work, by which the water was discharged, still subsist, at the bottom of the hill on which stands Castel Gandolpho, the elegant country-retirement of the Pope.
[* ]It was the custom when the Roman generals sent intelligence of a victory, to wrap their letters up in laurel.
[* ]32l. 5s. 10d.
[* ]48l. 8s. 3d.
[* ]A city of Asia Minor, built by a colony of Athenians. Being besieged and hard pressed by Harpagus, an officer of Cyrus king of Persia, the inhabitants resolved to abandon the town, and seek another residence. Accordingly, after uttering heavy imprecations on themselves, if they should ever return, they carried their effects on board their ships, and sailing to the coast of Provence, founded the city of Marseilles.
[* ]Forming themselves into a compact body, with their shields joined together, and held over their heads to protect them from the missile weapons of the enemy.
[* ]Ancile, a shield, supposed to be of the god Mars, said to have fallen from heaven in the reign of Numa. It was reposited in the sanctuary, and kept with great care by the priests of Mars, called Salii. Being considered as a symbol of the perpetual duration of the empire to prevent its being stolen, eleven others were made, exactly resembling it, and laid up with it.