Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK VI. - History of Rome, Vol. 2
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BOOK VI. - Titus Livius (Livy), History of Rome, Vol. 2 [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. 2.
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Successful operations against the Æquans, and Volscians, and Prænestines. Four new tribes added. Marcus Manlius, who defended the Capitol, being convicted of aspiring to regal power, is thrown from the Tarpeian rock. A law, proposed by two plebeian tribunes, that consuls might be chosen from among the commons, causes a long and violent contest, during which, for five years, the same set of plebeian tribunes are the only magistrates in the state: is at length passed: and Lucius Sextus, one of the proposers, made the first plebeian consul. A law passed, that no person shall possess more than five hundred acres of land.
I. IN the five preceding books, I have exhibited a view of the affairs of the Romans,Y.R.365. 387. from the building of the city of Rome, until its capture; under the government, first, of kings; then of consuls and dictators, decemvirs, and consular tribunes; their foreign wars, and domestic dissensions: matters involved in obscurity, not only by reason of their great antiquity, like objects placed at such a distance as to be scarcely discernible by the eye; but also because that in those times, the use of letters, the only faithful guardian of the memory of events, was very rare. And besides, whatever information might have been contained in the commentaries of the pontiffs, and other public or private records, it was almost entirely lost in the burning of the city. Henceforward, from the second origin of Rome, from whence, as from its root, receiving new life, it sprung up with redoubled health and vigour, I shall be able to give the relation of its affairs, both civil and military, with more clearness and certainty. Now, after its restoration, it leaned still, for principal support, on the same instrument which had raised it from ruin, Marcus Furius Camillus. Nor did the people suffer him to lay aside the dictatorship before the end of that year. It was judged improper that the tribunes, during whose administration the city had been taken, should preside at the elections for the year ensuing, and an interregnum was resolved on. While the public were kept diligently employed in repairing the city, Quintus Fabius, as soon as he went out of office, had a prosecution instituted against him by Caius Marcius, a tribune of the commons, for having, while in the character of ambassador, contrary to the law of nations, acted in arms against the Gauls, with whom he had been sent as a minister to negotiate: he escaped standing his trial, by a death so opportune, that most people believed it voluntary. The interregnum commenced. Publius Cornelius Scipio was interrex; and, after him, Marcus Furius Camillus a second time.Y.R.366. 386. He elected military tribunes, with consular power, Lucius Valerius Poplicola a second time, Lucius Virginius, Publius Cornelius, Aulus Manlius, Lucius Æmilius, and Lucius Postumius. These, entering on office, immediately on the conclusion of the interregnum, consulted the senate on no other business previous to that which related to religion. They ordered, in the first place, that a collection should be made of the treaties and laws which could be found. The latter consisted of the twelve tables, and some laws enacted by the kings. Some of these were publicly promulgated; but such as related to religious matters were kept secret, chiefly through means of the pontiffs, that they might hold the minds of the multitude in bondage. They next turned their deliberations to those days, which were to be accounted displeasing to the gods; and the fifteenth day of the calends of August was distinguished by an order, that on that unfortunate day no public or private business whatever should be transacted: it was deemed doubly unfortunate: for, on that day, the Fabii were slain at Cremera; and, afterwards, on the same day, the fatal battle of Allia, which effected the destruction of the city, was fought: from the latter disaster, it was denominated the Allian day. Some are of opinion, that, because, on the day following the ides of July, Sulpicius, when military tribune, had neglected to perform the rites of the augury; and, without being assured of the favour of the gods, had, on the third day after, exposed the Roman army to the enemy, it was ordained, that the days following the calends, and the nones, should also be accounted equally inauspicious.
II. But it was not long allowed them to consult, in quiet, on the means of raising up the city, after such a grievous fall. On one side, their old enemy, the Volscians, had taken arms, resolved to extinguish the Roman name; and, on the other, according to intelligence received from certain traders, a conspiracy of the leading men, from all the several states of Etruria, had been formed at the temple of Voltumna, for the purpose of commencing hostilities. To which was added a new cause of apprehension, by the defection of the Latines and Hernicians, who, ever since the battle fought at the lake Regillus, during the course of near an hundred years, had continued in friendship with the Roman people without ever giving reason to doubt their fidelity. Wherefore, when such alarms started up on every side, and all men plainly perceived, that the Roman name was not only loaded with hatred among their enemies, but also with contempt among their allies, it was determined that the defence of the commonwealth should be conducted by the same auspices which had effected its recovery, and that Marcus Furius Camillus should be nominated dictator. On being invested with that office, he appointed Caius Servilius Ahala master of the horse; and, proclaiming a cessation of civil business, made a levy of the younger citizens, at the same time administering the oath of obedience to such of the elders also as retained any considerable degree of strength, and enrolling them among the troops. The army, thus enlisted and armed, he divided into three parts; one division he opposed to the Etrurians, in the Veientian territories; another he ordered to encamp near the city: the latter were commanded by Aulus Manlius, military tribune; those who were sent against the Etrurians, by Lucius Æmilius. The third division he led, in person, against the Volscians, and prepared to assault their camp at a place called Admarcium, near Lanuvium. Their inducement to begin this war was, a belief that almost the whole of the Roman youth were cut off by the Gauls; nevertheless, on hearing that the command was given to Camillus, they were struck with such terror, that they fenced themselves with a rampart, which they further secured with trees piled on each other, that the enemy might find no pass by which they could enter the works. As soon as Camillus saw the nature of this defence, he ordered it to be set on fire: a high wind blowing at the time towards the enemy, the flames quickly opened a passage, which, together with the heat, the smoke, and the cracking of the green timber in burning, filled them with such consternation, that the Romans found less difficulty in climbing over the rampart into the Volscian camp, than they had met in making their way across the fence, after it was consumed by the flames. The enemy being routed and put to the sword, the dictator, as he had taken the camp by assault, gave the spoil to the soldiers; a present the more acceptable to them, the less hopes they had conceived of it, from a commander by no means inclined to profuse generosity. Proceeding then in pursuit of those who fled, by entirely wasting every part of their lands, he at length, in the seventieth year, reduced the Volscians to submission. After subduing the Volscians, he marched against the Æquans, who likewise had begun hostilities; surprised their army at Bolæ, and, having attacked not only their camp, but their city also, carried both at the first onset.
III. While such fortune attended the operations, on that side where Camillus, the life of the Roman affairs, was employed, a violent alarm had fallen on another quarter: for the Etrurians, having taken arms, with almost their entire force, laid siege to Sutrium, a place in alliance with the Roman people, whose ambassadors, having applied to the senate, imploring aid in their distress, obtained a decree, that the dictator should, as soon as possible, carry assistance to the Sutrians. But the circumstances of the besieged not permitting them to wait the issue of their hopes, from that quarter, the townsmen being quite spent with labour, watching, and wounds, which, through the smallness of their number, fell continually on the same persons, they gave up the city to the enemy, by capitulation; and being discharged without arms, with only a single garment each, were leaving their habitations in a miserable train, when, at the very juncture, Camillus happened to come up at the head of the Roman army. The mournful crowd prostrated themselves at his feet, and their leaders addressed him in a speech dictated by extreme necessity, and seconded by the lamentations of the women and children, who were dragged into exile with them: on which he bade the Sutrians cease their lamentations, for he was come “to turn mourning and tears to the side of the Etrurians.” He then ordered the baggage to be deposited, the Sutrians to remain there with a small guard, which he left, and the soldiers to follow him in arms: then, advancing to Sutrium, with his troops freed from incumbrance, he found, as he expected, every thing in disorder, the usual consequence of success; no advanced guard before the walls, the gates open, and the conquerors dispersed, carrying out the booty from the houses of their enemies: Sutrium therefore was taken a second time on the same day. The Etrurians, lately victorious, were cut to pieces in every quarter, by this new enemy; nor was time given them to assemble together, and form a body, or even to take up arms. They then pushed hastily towards the gates, in order, if possible, to throw themselves out into the fields, when they found them shut, for such had been the dictator’s order at the beginning. On this, some took arms; others, who happened to be in arms before the tumult began, called their friends together to make battle, and a warm engagement would have been kindled by the despair of the enemy, had not criers been sent through every part of the city, with orders to proclaim, that “they should lay down their arms; that the unarmed should be spared, and no injury done to any but those who made opposition.” On which, even those who had been most resolutely bent on fighting, when their situation was desperate, now that hopes of life were given, threw down their arms, and surrendered themselves to the enemy; the safest method in their present circumstances. Their number being very great, they were divided under several guards; and the town was, before night, restored to the Sutrians uninjured, because it had not been taken by force, but had surrendered on terms.
IV. Camillus returned to the city in triumph, crowned at once with conquest over three different enemies. By far the greater part of the prisoners, led before his chariot, were Etrurians; and these, being sold by auction, such a vast sum of money was brought into the treasury, that, after payment of the price of their gold to the matrons, there were three golden bowls made out of the surplus, which being inscribed with the name of Camillus, lay, before the burning of the Capitol, as we are well informed, in the recess of Jupiter’s temple, at Juno’s feet. In that year, such of the Veientians, Capenatians, and Faliscians, as had, during the wars with those nations, come over to the Romans, were admitted members of the state, and lands were assigned to these new citizens. Those were also recalled by decree of senate from Veii, who, to avoid the trouble of building at Rome, had betaken themselves thither, and seized on the vacant houses. This produced only murmurs, and they disregarded the order: but afterwards, a certain day being fixed, and capital punishment denounced against those who did not return to Rome, refractory as the whole had been, each particular person was reduced to obedience, through fear for his own safety. And now Rome increased, not only in number of inhabitants, but in buildings, which rose up at the same time in every part; as the state gave assistance in the expences, the ædiles pressed forward the work, as if a public one; and private persons, of themselves, incited by their feeling of the want of accommodations, hastened to finish it; so that within the year, a new city was erected. On the year being ended, an election was held of military tribunes, with consular power.Y.R.367. 385. Those elected were Titus Quintius Cincinnatus, Quintus Servilius Fidenas a fifth time, Lucius Julius Iulus, Lucius Aquilius Corvus, Lucius Lucretius Tricipitinus, and Servius Sulpicius Rufus. They led one army against the Æquans, not to wage war, for that people acknowledged themselves conquered, but, in the warmth of animosity, to lay waste their country, that they might not have strength for any new enterprises; and another, into the territory of Tarquinii. Here Cortuosa and Contenebra, towns belonging to the Etrurians, were taken by storm, and demolished. At Cortuosa there was no contest; attacking it by surprise, they took it at the first onset: the town was then plundered and burnt. Contenebra sustained a siege for a few days, and it was continual labour, unintermitted either by night or by day, which subdued the townsmen; for the Roman army being divided into six parts, each division maintained the fight, for one hour in six, in rotation, whereas the smallness of their number exposed the same townsmen always, fatigued as they were, to a contest with an enemy who were continually relieved. They gave way at length, and made room for the Romans to enter the city. It was agreed between the tribunes, that the spoil should be converted to the use of the public; but the order not being issued in time, during the delay, the soldiers possessed themselves of the spoil, which could not be taken from them, without occasioning general discontent. In the same year, that the additions to the city should not consist of private buildings only, the lower parts of the Capitol were rebuilt with hewn stone; a work deserving notice, even amidst the present magnificence of the city.
V. And now, while the citizens were busily employed in building, the tribunes of the commons endeavoured to draw crowds to their harangues, by proposals of agrarian laws. The Pomptine territory was held out as a lure to their hopes, as the possession of it was then, by the reduction of the Volscian power by Camillus, perfectly secure, which had not been the case before. They laid heavy charges, that “that territory was much more grievously oppressed by the nobility, than it had been by the Volscians; for the latter had only made incursions into it, at such times as they had arms and strength; whereas certain persons of the nobility forcibly usurped possession of land, which was the property of the public: nor, unless there were a division of it now made, would there be any room left for the commons.” They made no great impression on the commons, who were so inintent on building, that they did not much frequent the Forum; and, besides, were so exhausted by their expences in that way, that they were careless about land, which they had not abilities to improve. The state having ever been strongly affected with religious impressions, and even those of the first rank having, at that time, in consequence of the late misfortunes, become superstitious, the government was changed to an interregnum, in order that the auspices might be taken anew. There were interreges in succession, Marcus Manlius Capitolinus, Servius Sulpicius Camerinus, and Lucius Valerius Potitus.Y.R.368. 384. The last held, at length, an election of military tribunes, with consular power; and appointed Lucius Papirius, Caius Cornelius, Caius Sergius, Lucius Æmilius a second time, Lucius Menenius, and Lucius Valerius Poplicola a third time. These entered into office immediately on the expiration of the interregnum. In that year the temple of Mars, vowed during the Gallic war, was dedicated by Titus Quintius, one of the duumvirs appointed for the performance of religious rites. Four new tribes were formed of the new citizens, the Stellatine, the Tromentine, the Sabatine, and the Narnian, which made up the number of twenty-five tribes.
VI. Lucius Sicinius, plebeian tribune, pressed the business of the Pomptine lands in the assemblies of the people, who now attended in greater numbers, and were also more easily led to wish for land than formerly. Mention was introduced, in the senate, of declaring war against the Latines and Hernicians, but that business was postponed, by their attention being called to a more important war, Etruria being in arms.Y.R.369. 383. They had recourse, therefore, to the expedient of electing Camillus a military tribune, with consular power. The five colleagues, joined with him, were Servius Cornelius Maluginensis, Quintus Servilius Fidenas a sixth time, Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus, Lucius Horatius Pulvillus, and Publius Valerius. The cares of the public were, in the very beginning of the year, diverted from the Etrurian war: for a number of fugitives, from the Pomptine district, running hastily into the city, in a body, brought intelligence, that the Antians were in arms, and that the states of the Latines had privately sent their young men to co-operate with them in the war, alleging that the state was not concerned in the business, but only did not hinder volunteers to engage in any service which they chose. It had ceased to be the practice to despise any enemy: the senate therefore thanked the gods that Camillus was in office, because, had he been in a private station, it would have been necessary to have nominated him dictator: his colleagues also agreed, that, when any danger threatened, the entire direction of affairs should be vested in him singly, and determined to consign all their authority into his hands; nor did they think, that any concession which they made, towards exalting his dignity, derogated in the least from their own. After the tribunes had been highly commended by the senate, Camillus too, covered with confusion, returned them his thanks, and proceeded to say, that “a heavy burthen was laid on him by the Roman people, who had created him, in a manner, dictator, now a fourth time; a very great one, by the senate, in such judgments as that body had expressed concerning him; but the greatest of all, by the condescension of colleagues of such eminent distinction. Wherefore, if it were possible to add to his diligence and vigilance, he would vie with himself, and labour earnestly, that the opinion of the state concerning him, so universally conceived, might be as lasting, as it was honourable to him. With respect to the war, and the Antians, there was more of threats in it than of danger; nevertheless his advice was, that, as they should fear nothing, so they should despise nothing. The city of Rome was besieged on all sides, by the ill-will and hatred of its neighbours. The business of the commonwealth would therefore require more generals and more armies than one. It is my design,” said he, “that you, Publius Valerius, as my associate in command and counsel, shall march with me, at the head of the legions, against the enemy at Antium: that you, Quintus Servilius, after forming another army, and putting it in readiness, shall encamp in the city, and be ready to act, in case the Etrurians, as lately, or these new disturbers, the Latines and Hernicians, should, in the mean time, make any attempts: I am perfectly assured, that your conduct will be worthy of your father, of your grandfather, of yourself, and of six tribunates. Let a third army be enlisted by Lucius Quintius, for the guard of the city, out of those excused from service, and those past the military age. Let Lucius Horatius provide arms, weapons, corn, and whatever else the exigencies of war may demand. You, Servius Cornelius, we, your colleagues, appoint the president of this grand council of the state, the guardian of religion, of the assemblies, of the laws, and of every thing else pertaining to the city.” All of them cheerfully promising their best endeavours, in the several departments committed to them, Valerius, whom he had chosen his associate in command, added, that, “he should consider Camillus as dictator, and himself as his master of the horse,” and desired them therefore to “regulate their expectations respecting the war, according to the opinion which they entertained of their sole commander.” The senate, elated with joy, one and all declared, that “they really cherished the best expectations with regard to war and peace, and every branch of public business; nor would the commonwealth ever stand in need of a dictator, if it were to have such men in office, united in such harmony of sentiment, equally ready to obey and to command, and who rather considered fame as their joint stock, than endeavoured to monopolize it, to the exclusion of others.”
VII. A cessation of civil business being proclaimed, and troops levied, Camillus and Valerius marched towards Satricum, to which place the Antians had drawn together not only the youth of the Volscians, chosen from among the new generation, but immense numbers from the Latines and Hernicians, nations who, from a long enjoyment of peace, were in the fullest vigour. This new enemy then being united in addition to the old, shook the resolution of the Roman soldiery: and the centurions reporting to Camillus, while he was employed in forming his line of battle, that “the minds of the soldiers were disturbed; that a backwardness appeared in their taking up arms, and that they went out of the camp with reluctance, and after several halts; nay, that some had been heard to say, that each of them would have to fight against an hundred enemies; that so great a multitude, even if unarmed, could hardly be withstood, much less when they were furnished with arms;” he leaped on his horse, and in the front of the battalions, turning to the line, and riding between the ranks, asked them, “what is the meaning, soldiers, of this dejection, of this unusual backwardness? Are ye unacquainted with the enemy, or with me, or with yourselves? The enemy, what are they, but the continual subject of your bravery and your glory? On the other hand, with me at your head, not to mention the taking of Falerii, and Veii, or the cutting to pieces the Gallic legions, by whom our country was held in captivity, you have lately celebrated a triple triumph, for three several victories gained over these same Volscians, Æquans, and Etrurians. Is it that ye do not recognize me as your leader, because I gave you the signal not in character of dictator, but of tribune? I desire not the highest degree of authority over you; and with respect to me, you ought to regard nothing but myself: for neither did the dictatorship ever add to my courage, nor even exile deprive me of it. We are all therefore the same, and since we bring to this war all the same advantages which accompanied us in the former, let us expect the same issue. Do you once begin the fight, each party will do what they have learned and practised: you will conquer; they will fly.”
VIII. Then, giving the signal, he leaped from his horse, and laying hold of the nearest standard-bearer, hurried him onward against the foe, calling aloud, “Soldier, advance the standard.” On seeing this, that Camillus himself, now unequal, through age, to acts of bodily strength, was advancing against the enemy, they all raised the shout, and rushed forward together, every one crying out eagerly, “Follow the general.” It is said, that the standard was even thrown, by order of Camillus, into the ranks of the enemy, and the van hereby excited to exert themselves for its recovery: that in this spot, the Antians were first compelled to give way, and that the panic spread, not only through the first line, but even to the troops in reserve. Nor was it only the force of the soldiers, animated by the presence of their leader, which disheartened the enemy, the very sight of Camillus struck terror into the Volscians: so that wherever he met their eyes, victory was no longer doubtful. This was particularly evident, when hastily mounting his horse, he rode with a footman’s shield to the left wing, when it was almost driven from its ground, and by his appearance restored the battle, while he pointed to the rest of the line who were fighting with success. The affair was now decided. On the one side the enemy’s disordered numbers impeded their flight; on the other, the wearied soldiers would have had a long and laborious task, in putting to the sword so great a multitude, when heavy rain suddenly falling, attended with a violent storm of wind, prevented the pursuit of the victory, for it was no longer a fight. The signal for retreat was then given, and the following night put an end to the war, without any farther trouble to the Romans: for the Latines and Hernicians abandoning the Volscians, marched away to their homes; having found such an issue of their enterprise as the wickedness of it deserved. The Volscians seeing themselves deserted by those, through reliance on whom they had been induced to revive hostilities, abandoned their camp, and shut themselves up within the walls of Satricum: against these, the first plan of operations, adopted by Camillus, was to inclose them with lines of circumvallation, and to carry on his approaches by mounds, and other works: but finding that no obstruction was ever given to these, by any sally from the town, he judged that the enemy were not possessed of such a degree of spirit, as should induce him, in apprehension thereof, to wait in tedious expectation of victory; and therefore exhorting his men not to waste their strength by a long course of labours, as in the siege of Veii, for victory was within their reach; and the soldiers showing the greatest alacrity, he assailed the walls on all sides by scalade, and made himself master of the town. The Volscians threw down their arms, and surrendered.
IX. But the general’s thoughts were intent on a matter of greater moment, on the city of Antium. That, he knew, was the grand spring which set the Volscians in motion, and had given rise to the last war. But as a city of so great strength could not be taken without great preparations for the siege, and a large train of engines and machines, he left his colleague to command the army, and went to Rome, in hopes of persuading the senate to resolve on the destruction of Antium. In the middle of his discourse on the subject, it being, I suppose, the will of the gods, that the state of Antium should have a longer duration, ambassadors arrived from Nepete and Sutrium, imploring aid against the Etrurians, and urging that the opportunity for assisting them would be quickly lost. Thither did fortune divert the force of Camillus from Antium: for as those places were situated opposite Etruria, and served as barriers, or gates, as it were, on that side, that people, on the one hand, whenever any new enterprise was undertaken, were ever anxious to get possession of them; and the Romans, on the other, to recover and secure them. The senate therefore resolved, that application should be made to Camillus, to drop the design against Antium, and undertake the Etrurian war. The city legions, which had been under the command of Quintius, were decreed to him: although he would have preferred the army which was in the country of the Volscians, of which he had made trials, and which was accustomed to his command, yet he offered no objections; he only insisted on Valerius being associated with him in command. Accordingly Quintius and Horatius were sent to succeed Valerius, in the country of the Volscians. Camillus and Valerius marching from the city to Sutrium, found one part of the town already taken by the Etrurians; and, in the other part, the passages to which were barricaded, the townsmen with great difficulty in repelling the assault of the enemy. The approach of aid from Rome, together with the name of Camillus, universally celebrated among friends and foes, not only gave them respite for the present from the ruin which impended, but also afforded an opportunity of effectuating their relief. Camillus then, dividing his army into two parts, ordered his colleague to lead round his division, to that side which was in possession of the enemy, and to make an assault on the walls; not so much in expectation that the city should be taken by scalade, as that, whilst the enemy should be diverted to that side, the townsmen, now fatigued with fighting, might gain some relaxation, and also that he himself might have an opportunity of entering the city without a dispute: both which consequences taking place, at the same time, and terrifying the Etrurians by the double danger to which they stood exposed, when they saw the walls of one part assailed with the greatest fury, and the enemy within the walls of the other, they were struck with such consternation, that they threw themselves out, in one body, by a gate which alone happened to be unguarded. Great numbers were slain in their flight, both in the city and in the fields: the greatest execution done by the soldiers of Camillus was within the walls: those of Valerius were more alert in the pursuit; nor did they desist from the slaughter, until it was so dark that they could see no longer. Sutrium being thus recovered, and restored to the allies, the army was conducted to Nepete, of which the Etrurians had now the entire possession, having received it by capitulation.
X. It was expected, that the recovery of this city would have been attended with greater difficulty; not only because the whole of it was possessed by the enemy, but also, because it was in consequence of a party of the Nepesinians betraying the public, that the surrender had been made. However, it was thought proper that a message should be sent to their principal men, to separate themselves from the Etrurians, and show on their own part the same faithful attachment, which they had implored from the Romans. But their answer importing, that there was nothing in their power, for that the Etrurians held possession of the walls and the guards of the gates, a trial was first made to terrify the townsmen, by laying waste their lands. But when they were found to adhere more religiously to the terms of the capitulation, than to those of the alliance, the army was led up to the walls, with fascines, made of bushes, collected in the country, with which the ditches being filled, the scaling ladders were raised, and the town taken at the first attack. Proclamation was then made that the Nepesinians should lay down their arms, and that the unarmed should be spared. The Etrurians, armed and unarmed, were put to the sword without distinction: of the Nepesinians, likewise, the authors of the surrender were beheaded. To the guiltless multitude their effects were restored, and a garrison was left in the town. Having thus recovered two allied cities from the enemy, the tribunes, with great glory, led home the victorious army. During this year, satisfaction was demanded from the Latines and Hernicians, and the reason required, of their not having, for some years past, sent the supplies of soldiers stipulated by treaty. An answer was given in full assembly by both nations, that “there was neither design nor blame to be imputed to the public, because some of their young men carried arms in the service of the Volscians. That these, however, had suffered the penalty of their improper conduct; not one of them having returned home. As to the supplies of soldiers, the reason of their not sending them was, their continual apprehensions from the Volscians, that pest still clinging to their side, which so many successive wars had not been able to exhaust.” Which answer being reported to the senate, they were of opinion, that a declaration of war, in consequence of it, would rather be unseasonable than ill-grounded.
XI. In the following year, Aulus Manlius, Publius Cornelius, Titus and Lucius Quintii Capitolini,Y.R.370. 382. Lucius Papirius Cursor a second time, and Caius Sergius a second time, being military tribunes, with consular power, a grievous war broke out abroad, and a more grievous sedition at home: the war was set on foot by the Volscians, assisted by a revolt of the Latines and Hernicians: the sedition, by one, from whom it could, least of all, have been apprehended; a man of patrician birth, and of illustrious character, Marcus Manlius Capitolinus; who, being of a temper too aspiring, while he looked with contempt on the other men of chief distinction, burned with envy of one, who was most eminently distinguished, at the same time, by honours and by merit, Marcus Furius Camillus. It gave him great uneasiness, that “he should be the only man considered among the magistrates, the only man at the head of the armies; that he was now exalted to such eminence, that the persons elected under the same auspices with himself, he used, not as colleagues, but as subordinate officers; while, at the same time, if a just estimate were made, it would have been impossible for Camillus to have recovered their native city from the Gauls who besieged it, if he himself had not first saved the Capitol and citadel. The other indeed attacked the Gauls when, between the receiving of the gold and the expectation of peace, they were off their guard: but he had beaten them off, when armed for fight, and taking possession of the citadel. In the other’s glory, as far as bravery was concerned, every soldier who conquered along with him had a right to share; in his own victory, no man living could claim a part.” Puffed up with such notions as these, and being, besides, of a vicious disposition, vehement and headstrong, when he perceived that his interest had not that prevailing influence among the patricians which he thought his due, he, the first of all the patricians, became a partizan of the plebeians; formed schemes in conjunction with the magistrates of the commons, and, while he criminated the patricians, and allured the commons to his side, he came to be actuated by ambition for popular applause, not by prudence, and to prefer a great to a good character. Not content with agrarian laws, which had ever served the plebeian tribunes as matter of sedition, he attempted to undermine public credit: for debt, he knew, supplied sharper incentives, as it not only threatened poverty and ignominy, but menaced personal freedom with stocks and chains: and the amount of the debts which the people had contracted by building, an undertaking most distressing to the circumstances even of the rich, was immense. The Volscian war therefore, heavy in itself, and charged with additional weight by the defection of the Latines and Hernicians, was held out as a colourable pretext for having recourse to a higher authority; while, in fact, they were the reforming plans of Manlius which obliged the senate to create a dictator. Aulus Cornelius Cossus being created, he nominated Titus Quintius Capitolinus master of the horse.
XII. The dictator, although he perceived that he should have a greater struggle to maintain at home than in the field; yet, either because the war required dispatch, or because he thought that, by a victory and triumph, he might add to the power of the dictatorship itself, as soon as the levies were completed, proceeded to the Pomptine territory; where he was informed, the Volscians had appointed the assembling of their army. To persons reading in so many former books, of wars continually waged with the Volscians, I doubt not that, besides satiety, this difficulty also will occur, whence the Volscians and Æquans, so often vanquished, could procure supplies of soldiers? which having been passed over in silence by the ancient writers, what can I possibly advance, but opinion? and that every one, indeed, can form for himself. It seems probable, however, either that they employed, according to the present practice in the Roman levies, the several different generations of their young men successively, as they sprung up, during the intervals between wars; or, that the troops were not always enlisted out of the states of the nation making war; or, that there was an innumerable multitude of freemen in those places, which, at present, were it not for the Roman slaves, would be a desert, and where scarcely the smallest seminary of soldiers remains. Certain it is, all authors agreeing therein, that notwithstanding their strength had lately been greatly reduced under the conduct and auspices of Camillus, yet the forces of the Volscians were exceedingly numerous; and to them were added the Latines and Hernicians, a number of the Circeians, together with some colonists from Velitræ. The Roman dictator encamped on the first day; and on the following, having taken the auspices before he made his appearance, and sacrificing a victim, implored the favour of the gods. With joy in his countenance, he presented himself to the soldiers, who were now at day-break taking arms, according to orders, on the signal for battle being displayed, and said, “Soldiers, victory is ours, if the gods and their prophets know aught of futurity. Therefore, as becomes men full of well-grounded hopes, and about to engage with their inferiors, let us, fixing our spears at our feet, bear no other arms than our swords. I do not wish that any should even push forward beyond the line; but that standing firm ye receive the enemy’s onset in a steady posture. When they shall have discharged their ineffectual weapons, and, breaking their order, rush against you as ye stand, then let your swords glitter in their eyes, and let every one recollect, that there are gods who support the Roman cause; gods, who have sent us to battle with favourable omens. Do you, Titus Quintius, keep back the cavalry, watching attentively the beginning of the conflict: as soon as you shall see the armies closed foot to foot, then, while their fears are employed on some other object, strike dismay into them with your horsemen; and, by a brisk charge, disperse the ranks that dispute the victory.” As he had ordered, so did the cavalry, so did the infantry manage the fight. Nor did either the general deceive the legions, or fortune the general.
XIII. The enemy, grounding their confidence on no other circumstance than their number, and measuring both armies merely by the eye, entered on the battle inconsiderately, and inconsiderately gave it over. Fierce, only in their shout, and the discharge of their missive weapons at the first onset, they were unable to withstand the swords, the close engagement foot to foot, and the looks of the Romans darting fire through their ardour for the fight. Their first line was driven from its ground; the confusion spread to the troops in reserve; and the charge of the cavalry increasing the disorder, the ranks were quickly broken, so as to resemble the waves of the sea. Thus the foremost fell, and as each saw death approaching, they quickly turned their backs. The Romans followed close, and as long as the enemy retreated in bodies, the trouble of the pursuit fell to the share of the infantry; but when it was perceived, that they every where threw away their arms, and were scattered over the country, then squadrons of horse were sent out, with instructions that they should not, by spending time in attacking single persons, give the multitude an opportunity of escaping: that it would be sufficient if their speed were retarded, and their forces kept employed by frequent skirmishes, until the infantry might overtake them, and complete their destruction. The flight and pursuit did not cease until night came on. The camp of the Volscians was also taken the same day, and plundered, and the whole booty, except the persons of free condition, bestowed on the soldiers. The greatest number of the prisoners were Latines and Hernicians, and these not men of plebeian station, who could be supposed to have served for hire, but many young men of the first rank were found amongst them; an evident proof, that aid had been given to the Volscians by public authority. Several of the Circeians were likewise found there, with colonists from Velitræ, and being all sent to Rome, on being examined by the principal senators, they made a plain discovery, as they had done to the dictator, of the defection of their respective states.
XIV. The dictator kept his army encamped in one post, not doubting that the senate would order war to be made on those states; when more momentous business, arising at home, made it necessary that he should be called back to Rome; this was the sedition which ripened daily, and which was become more than commonly alarming, on account of the person who fomented it. It was now easy to perceive from what motive proceeded the discourses of Manlius, disguised under the veil of popular zeal, but pregnant with mischief. On seeing a centurion, who was highly distinguished for his behaviour in the army, led to prison, in consequence of a judgment given against him for debt, he ran up, with his band of attendants, into the middle of the Forum, and laid hands on him, exclaiming against the tyranny of the patricians, the cruelty of the usurers, the miseries of the commons, and the merits and hard fortune of the man. “Then, indeed, it was in vain,” said he, “that with this right hand I saved the capitol and citadel, if I must see my fellow-citizen and fellow-soldier, as if a prisoner to the victorious Gauls, dragged into slavery.” He then paid the debt to the creditor in the view of the people, and gave the man his liberty, after purchasing him, in the regular form, with the scales and brass, whilst the latter besought both gods and men to grant a recompense to his deliverer, Marcus Manlius, the parent of the Roman commons; and being instantly received into the tumultuous crowd, he himself increased the tumult, shewing the scars of the wounds which he had received in the Veientian, Gallic, and other succeeding wars; telling them, that “his services in the army, and the rebuilding his ruined dwelling, had been the means of overwhelming him with accumulated interest of a debt; the interest always precluding the possibility of discharging the principal, though he had already paid the amount of the first sum many times over. That it was owing to the generosity of Marcus Manlius that he now beheld the light of day, the Forum, and the faces of his fellow-citizens. Every obligation, due to parents, he owed to him; to him, therefore, he devoted whatever remained of his person, his life, and his blood: whatever ties should bind him to his country, to public or private guardian deities, by all these united he was bound to that one man.” While the commons were deeply affected by these expressions, another scheme was introduced, of still greater efficacy, towards promoting a general commotion. A piece of ground in the country of the Veientians, the principal part of Manlius’s patrimony, he ordered to be sold by auction; adding, that “I will not suffer one of you, my fellow-citizens, while I have any property remaining, to have judgments given against him, and to be ordered into custody of a creditor.” This, above all, inflamed their minds to such a degree, that they seemed ready to follow the asserter of their liberty through every measure, whether right or wrong. Besides this, he made speeches at his own house, as if he were haranguing an assembly of the people, full of imputations against the patricians, in which he threw out, among the rest, without regarding any distinction between truth and falsehood, that “treasure, consisting of the gold rescued from the Gauls, was concealed by the patricians; that they were not content, now, with keeping possession of the public lands, unless they converted the public money likewise to their own use; and that if this were brought to light, it would be sufficient to clear the commons of their debts.” On this prospect being presented to them, they at once conceived it to be a scandalous proceeding, that when gold was to be procured for the ransom of the city from the Gauls, the collection had been made by a general contribution, and that the same gold, when taken from the enemy, should become the prey of a few. The next step, therefore, was, to inquire in what place a treasure of such magnitude was kept concealed: to this, he declined giving an answer at present, saying, he would explain that point in due time; on which all other concerns were neglected, and the attention of every man directed solely to this: and it was easy to foresee, that neither people’s gratitude, in case the information were well founded, nor their displeasure, should it prove false, would be confined within the bounds of moderation.
XV. While things were in this state, the dictator, being called home from the army, came into the city. Next day he called a meeting of the senate; when, having made sufficient trial of the people’s inclinations, he forbade the senate to depart from him, and being attended by the whole body, he fixed his throne in the Comitium, and sent a serjeant to Marcus Manlius; who, on being summoned by order of the dictator, after giving the signal to his party, that a contest was at hand, came to the tribunal surrounded by a very numerous band. On one side stood the senate, on the other the commons, as if in order of battle, watching attentively each their own leader. Then silence being made, the dictator said, “I wish that I, and the Roman patricians, may agree with the commons on every other subject, as I am very confident we shall with respect to you, and the business on which I am to interrogate you. I understand that expectations have been raised by you, in the minds of the citizens, that, without injury to credit, their debts may be discharged by means of the Gallic gold secreted by the principal patricians. To which proceeding, so far am I from giving any obstruction, that, on the contrary, I exhort you, Marcus Manlius, to deliver the Roman commons from the burthen of interest, and to tumble from off these heaps of peculated wealth, those men who lie brooding over it. But if you refuse to perform this, either because you wish to be yourself a sharer in the peculation, or because your information is groundless, I shall order you to be led to prison; nor will I suffer the multitude to be any longer disquieted by you with fallacious hopes.” To this Manlius answered, that “it had not escaped his observation that Cornelius was created dictator, not for the purpose of acting against the Volscians, who were enemies as often as it answered any purpose to the patricians, nor against the Latines and Hernicians, whom they were driving into hostilities by false imputations, but against himself and the Roman commons. And now, the war which had been feigned to subsist, being dropped, an assault was made upon him: now the dictator acted as the professed patron of usurers against the commons. Now the favour of the multitude towards him was made a handle for criminal charges, and for effecting his destruction. The crowd that attends my person,” said he, “offends you, Aulus Cornelius, and you, conscript fathers. Why then do ye not draw it away from me by doing acts of kindness? by becoming surety, by delivering your countrymen from the stocks? by hindering them, when cast in suits and ordered into custody of creditors, to be carried to prison? by relieving the necessities of others out of your own superfluities? But why do I exhort you to expend your property? Only fix a new capital, deduct from the principal what has been paid as interest, and then the crowd about me will not be more remarkable than about any other. But why do I, alone, interest myself for my fellow-citizens? To this, I have no other answer to make, than if you should ask why I, alone, saved the capitol and the citadel? I then gave every aid in my power to the whole community, and will do so still to each individual. Now, as to the Gallic treasures, the manner in which I am questioned causes difficulty in a matter which, in itself, has none. Why do ye ask, what ye already know? Why do ye order others to shake out what lies in your own laps, rather than lay it down yourselves, unless to conceal some treacherous scheme? The more carnestness ye shew for inquiry, the more I fear, lest ye should be albe to blind the eyes of the observers. Wherefore compulsion ought not to be used to make me discover your hoard, but to yourselves, to make you produce it to the public.”
XVI. The dictator ordered him to lay aside all evasion, and insisted on his either proving the truth of his information, or acknowledging himself guilty of having charged the senate falsely of a fraudulent concealment; and on his declaring that he would not speak at the pleasure of his enemies, ordered him to be led to prison. Being arrested by the serjeant, he exclaimed, “O Jupiter, supremely good and great, imperial Juno, Minerva, and all ye gods and goddesses who inhabit the capitol and citadel, do ye suffer your soldier and guardian to be harassed in this manner? Shall this hand, with which I beat off the Gauls from your temples, be now loaded with chains?” Neither the eyes nor ears of any present could well endure the indignity offered him: but the people of this state had taught themselves to consider the authority of certain magistrates as indisputable; nor dared either the plebeian tribunes, or the commons themselves, to open their lips, or lift up their eyes, against the dictatorial power. On Manlius being thrown into prison, it appears, that a great part of the commons put on mourning: and that great numbers of the people, neglecting their hair and beard, dejectedly flocked about its gates. The dictator had triumphed over the Volscians; and by that triumph had attracted a greater share of ill-will than of glory: for it was a general murmur, that “he had acquired at home, not in war; and that it was a victory over a citizen, not over an enemy; that only one thing was wanting to complete his arrogance, that Marcus Manlius should be led before his chariot.” And now the affair fell little short of open sedition; when, for the purpose of softening it, the senate, without any solicitation, became suddenly bountiful, ordering a colony of two thousand Roman citizens to be conducted to Sutrium, and two acres and a half of land to be assigned to each; which being represented as trifling in itself, conferred on a few, and that too as a bribe for betraying Marcus Manlius, the sedition was irritated by the intended remedy. The crowd of Manlius’s followers was now become more remarkable by their mourning dress, and the frequent appearance of persons under prosecution: while the dread of the dictator’s power was removed by his resignation; it had set men’s thoughts and tongues at liberty.
XVII. Many were heard, therefore, to speak out freely in public, upbraiding the multitude, that “they always continued their attachment to their defenders, until they raised them to the top of a precipice; and then, in the hour of danger, deserted them. Thus had Spurius Cassius been undone, while he was inviting the citizens to the possession of lands. Thus Spurius Mælius; when, by the expenditure of his own property, he warded off famine: and thus was Marcus Manlius betrayed into the hands of his enemies, and, while drawing forth to liberty and light one half of the state, sunk and buried under usury. That the commons fattened their favourites, in order that they might be slaughtered. Was such a punishment as this to be endured, because a man of consular dignity did not answer at the nod of a dictator? Admitting that what he said before was false, and therefore he had no answer to make, what slave was ever punished with imprisonment for a lie? Had they no recollection of that night, which had so nearly proved fatal, for ever, to the Roman name? None, of the band of Gauls, climbing up the Tarpeian rock? None, of Marcus Manlius himself, such as they had seen him in arms, covered with sweat and blood, after rescuing, in a manner Jove himself, out of the enemy’s hands? Had recompense been made to the saviour of their country by their half pounds of bread? And would they suffer a person, whom they had almost deified, whom, at least with respect to the surname of Capitolinus, they had set on an almost equal footing with Jupiter, to waste his life in chains, in prison, in darkness, subjected to the will of an executioner? That all had found such effectual support from a single person, and now that single person found no support at all from such great numbers.” The crowd did not, even during the night, disperse from the spot; and they threatened to break open the prison, when, conceding what would have been taken by force, the senate, by a decree, discharged Manlius from confinement. But this proceeding, instead of putting an end to the sedition, supplied it with a leader. About the same time the Latines and Hernicians, and also the colonists of the Circeii and Velitræ, endeavouring to clear themselves of the charge of being concerned in the Volscian war, and re-demanding the prisoners, in order to punish them according to their own laws, met with severe replies; the colonists with the severer, because, being Roman citizens, they had framed the abominable design of attacking their own country. They were therefore not only refused with respect to the prisoners, but had notice given them, in the name of the senate (who, however, did not proceed to such a length with regard to the allies,) to depart instantly from the city, from the presence and the sight of the Roman people; lest the privilege of ambassadors, instituted for the benefit of foreigners, not of fellow-citizens, should afford them no protection.
Y.R.371. 381.XVIII. The sedition, headed by Manlius, reassumed its former violence, and on the expiration of the year the election was held, when military tribunes, with consular power, were elected out of the patricians: these were Servius Cornelius Maluginensis, a third time, Publius Valerius Potitus a second time, Marcus Furius Camillus a sixth time, Servius Sulpicius Rufus a second time, Caius Papirius Crassus, and Titus Quintius Cincinnatus a second time. Peace being established with foreign nations, in the beginning of this year, was highly agreeable to both patricians and plebeians; to the latter, because, as they were not called to serve in the army, and had such a powerful leader at their head, they conceived hopes of being able to abolish usury; to the former, because their thoughts would not be drawn away, by any dangers abroad, from applying remedies to the evils subsisting at home. Both parties, therefore, exerting themselves much more strenuously than ever, a decisive contest approached apace. Manlius, on his part, calling together the commons at his house, held consultations, night and day, with the principal persons amongst them, on the methods of effecting a revolution in affairs, being filled with a much higher degree both of courage and resentment, than he had possessed before. The ignominy, recently thrown on him, operating on a mind unaccustomed to affronts, had inflamed his resentment; his courage was augmented by the consideration, that Cossus had not ventured to proceed in the same manner towards him, as Quintius Cincinnatus had done towards Spurius Mælius; and that, besides, not only the dictator had endeavoured, by abdicating his office, to avoid the general odium excited by his imprisonment, but even the senate itself had not been able to withstand it. Elated with these reflections, and exasperated at the same time, he laboured to inflame the spirits of the commons, which, of themselves, were sufficiently heated. “How long,” said he, “will ye continue ignorant of your own strength, a knowledge which nature has not denied even to brutes? Only calculate your numbers, and those of your adversaries. But supposing that, in attacking them, each of you were to meet an antagonist, yet I should imagine, that ye would contend more vigorously in behalf of liberty, than they in behalf of tyranny. For whatever number of clients ye compose round your several respective patrons, so many of you will there be against each single foe. Only make a shew of war, and ye shall have peace. Let them see you ready to make use of force, and they will voluntarily relax their pretensions. All must concur in some effort, or separately submit to every kind of ill-treatment. How long will ye look to me for aid? I certainly will not be wanting to any of you; it is your part to take care that sufficient aid be not wanting to me. Even I, your champion, when my enemies thought proper, was at once reduced to nothing; and ye, all together, beheld the person thrown into chains, who had warded off chains from each individual of you. What am I to hope, if my enemies should attempt something more grievous against me? The fate of Cassius and Mælius? Ye act right, in shewing yourselves shocked even at the mention of this: may the gods avert it. But they will never come down from heaven on my behalf: they must inspire you with proper sentiments, that ye may avert it; as they inspired me, in arms and in peace, to defend you, both from barbarous foes, and from tyrannical fellow-citizens. Has so great a people a spirit so mean as to be always satisfied with being protected against its enemies? And are ye never to know any dispute with the patricians, except about the degree of tyranny which ye are to allow them to exercise over you? Yet this temper is not implanted in you by nature; ye are become their property through habit. For, what is the reason, that towards foreigners ye shew such vigour of mind, as to think yourselves entitled to bear rule over them? Because ye have been accustomed to vie with them for empire. But against the others ye are content to make a few feeble essays towards obtaining liberty, rather than, by manly exertions, to maintain it. Nevertheless, whatever sort of leaders ye have had, and whatever has been your own conduct, ye have hitherto, either by force or good fortune, carried every point, of what magnitude soever, which ye have attempted. It is now time to aim at higher objects. Only make trial of your own good fortune, and of me, whom ye have already tried, I hope to your advantage. Ye will, with less difficulty, raise up one, to rule the patricians, than ye have raised up others, to oppose their rule. Dictatorships and consulships must be levelled to the ground, that the Roman commons may raise up their heads. Give me, therefore, your support; stop all judicial proceedings respecting money. I profess myself the patron of the commons—a title which I am authorized to assume, both by my zeal and my fidelity. If, on your part, ye choose to dignify your leader with any more distinguishing appellation of honour or command, ye will render him the better able to accomplish the objects of your wishes.” This, we are told, was the first introduction of his scheme for attaining regal power; but we have no clear account who were his accomplices, nor to what length the design was carried.
XIX. On the other side, the senate were seen deliberating on the secession of the commons to one particular house, and that, as it happened, standing in the citadel; and on the important danger which threatened the liberty of the public. Great numbers exclaimed that they wanted a Servilius Ahala, who would not irritate a public enemy, by ordering Manlius to be led to prison, but would finish an intestine war with the loss of one citizen. A resolution was at length adopted, comprised in milder terms, but comprehending the same force: that “the magistrates should take care that the commonwealth received no detriment from the pernicious designs of Marcus Manlius.” On this, the consular and plebeian tribunes consulted together on the measures necessary to be pursued in the present exigency; for even these latter magistrates, seeing that their own power must come to an end, as also the liberty of the public, had put themselves under the direction of the senate. And now no other expedient occurring but that of force, and the shedding of blood, Marcus Mænius and Quintus Publius, plebeian tribunes, spoke to this effect: “Why do we make that a contest between the patricians and plebeians, which ought to be between the state and one pestilent citizen? Why do we attack the commons in conjunction with him, whom we could attack, with more safety, through the means of those very commons; so that he should sink under the weight of his own strength? Our recommendation is, to institute a legal prosecution against him. Nothing is less popular than regal power: as soon as the multitude shall perceive that the contest is not with them; and that instead of advocates, they are to be judges; and shall behold the prosecutors, plebeians; the accused, a patrician; and that the charge is, that of aiming at regal power; they will show more zeal in defence of their own liberty, than they will attachment to any person whatever.”
XX. This proposal meeting universal approbation, a prosecution was commenced against Manlius. At first it raised a great ferment among the commons; more especially when they saw the accused in a mourning habit, unaccompanied, not only by any of the patricians, but by those who were connected with him by blood or affinity; nay, even deserted by his own brothers, Aulus and Titus Manlius: and indeed it had never before occurred, on an occasion of such danger, that a man’s nearest relations did not put on a dress of sorrow. It was mentioned, that when Appius Claudius was thrown into prison, Caius Claudius, who was at enmity with him, and the whole Claudian family, appeared in mourning. That a conspiracy was now formed to destroy this favourite of the people, because he was the first who had come over from the patricians to the commons. On the day of trial, I do not find, in any author, what matters were objected to the accused by the prosecutors, reading properly to prove the charge of his aspiring to kingly authority, except this; his assembling the multitude, his seditious expressions, his largesses, and pretended discovery of fraudulent practices: but I have no doubt that they were of importance; since not the merits of the cause, but the place, was what prevented his being immediately condemned by the commons. This I have thought proper to remark, in order to show, that even such great and glorious achievements, as those of this man, were not only stripped of all their merit, but even rendered matter of detestation, by his depraved ambition for regal power. It is said, that he produced near four hundred persons, to whom he had lent money without interest; whose goods he had prevented being sold, or whose persons he had redeemed from confinement, after they had been adjudged to creditors. That, besides this, he not only enumerated the military rewards which he had obtained, but also produced them to view: spoils of enemies slain, to the number of thirty; presents from generals, to the amount of forty; among which were particularly remarkable, two mural, and eight civic crowns* . That he produced also the citizens, whose lives he had saved in battle; and mentioned among them Caius Servilius, when he was master of the horse, now absent. Then, after recounting his exploits in war, in a manner suited to the dignity of the subject, displaying, in a pompous discourse, eloquence equal to the bravery of his actions, he uncovered his breast, marked with an uncommon number of scars from wounds received in battle; and frequently turning his eyes to the Capitol, called down Jupiter, and the other gods, to aid him in his present unhappy situation; and prayed, that the same sentiments with which they had inspired him, while he stood in defence of the fortress, for the preservation of the Roman people, they would now, in the crisis of his fate, infuse into the breasts of that same Roman people; and he besought each person present, in particular, and the whole assembly, that, with their eyes fixed on the Capitol and citadel, and their faces turned to the immortal gods, they would form their judgment concerning him. As the people were summoned by centuries in the field of Mars, and as the accused stretched out his hands to the Capitol, and instead of addressing his intreaties to men, directed them to the gods, the tribunes saw plainly, that unless they removed the multitude from a situation where even their eyes must remind them of such an honourable exploit, the best founded charge would never gain belief in minds so influenced: wherefore, adjourning the trial, they summoned a meeting in the Peteline grove, on the outside of the Nomentan gate, from whence there was no view of the Capitol: there the charge was established; and, people’s minds being unmoved by any foreign or adventitious circumstance, a severe sentence, and which excited horror even in the breasts of his judges, was passed on him. Some authors say, that he was condemned by two commissioners appointed to take cognizance of matters of treason. The tribunes cast him down from the Tarpeian rock: thus the same spot, in the case of one man, became a monument of distinguished glory, and of the cruelest punishment. After his death, marks of infamy were fixed on him: for his house having stood where the temple of Moneta and the mint office now stand, an order was made by the people, that no patrician should dwell in the citadel or Capitol: a decree at the same time being passed, to prohibit any of the Manlian family from ever after bearing the name of Marcus Manlius. Such was the end of a man, who, had he not been born in a free state, would have merited the esteem of posterity. A short time after, the people, recollecting only his virtues, were filled with deep regret for his loss. A pestilence, too, which presently followed, without any apparent cause of so great a malady, was attributed, by most men, to the punishment inflicted on Manlius. “The Capitol,” they observed, “had been polluted with the blood of its preserver; and it had given displeasure to the gods, that the person, by whom their temples had been rescued out of the hands of the enemy, should be brought before their eyes, in a manner, to suffer punishment.”
Y.R.372. 380.XXI. The pestilence was succeeded by a scarcity of the fruits of the earth; and the report of both calamities spreading abroad, a variety of wars ensued in the following year, in which Lucius Valerius a fourth time, Aulus Manlius a third time, Servius Sulpicius a third time, Lucius Lucretius, Lucius Æmilius a third time, and Marcus Trebonius were military tribunes, with consular power. Besides the Volscians, destined by some fatality to give perpetual employment to the Roman soldiery; and the colonies of Circeii and Velitræ, long meditating a revolt; and Latium, whose conduct gave room for suspicion, a new enemy suddenly sprung up in the people of Lanuvium, a city whose fidelity had hitherto been remarkably steady. The senate, judging that this arose from contemptuous notions entertained by that nation, on seeing that the revolt of the people of Velitræ, members of the Roman state, remained so long unpunished, decreed, that an assembly should be held as soon as possible, concerning a declaration of war against that colony: and to induce the commons to engage in that service with the greater readiness, they appointed five commissioners to make a distribution of the Pomptine lands, and three to conduct a colony to Nepete. Then it was proposed to the people, that they should order the declaration of war; and the plebeian tribunes in vain endeavouring to dissuade them, the tribes unanimously passed it. During that year, preparations were made for hostilities, but, on account of the pestilence, the troops were not led into the field. This delay afforded sufficient time to the colonists, to take measures to appease the anger of the senate; and the greater part of their people were inclined to send a suppliant embassy to Rome; which would have taken place, had not, as is often the case, the interest of the public been involved with the danger of individuals; and had not the authors of the revolt, dreading lest themselves only might be considered as answerable for the guilt, and be delivered up as victims to the resentment of the Romans, infused into the colonists an aversion from peaceful councils. They therefore found means, not only to obstruct the proposed embassy in the senate, but to excite a great part of the commons to make predatory excursions into the Roman territory, which new injury broke off all hopes of peace. This year also, a report was first propagated of the Prænestians having revolted; and when the people of Tusculum, and Gabii, and Lavici, on whose lands they had made incursions, brought the charge against them, the senate, in their answer, showed so little resentment, as made it evident, that they gave the less credit to the charges, because they wished them not to be true.
XXII. In the following year, the two Papirii, Spurius and Lucius, new military tribunes, with consular power,Y.R.373. 379. led the legions to Velitræ, leaving their four colleagues in the tribuneship, Servius Cornelius Maluginensis a fourth time, Quintus Servilius, Servius Sulpicius, and Lucius Æmilius a fourth time, to secure the safety of the city, and to be in readiness, in case intelligence of any new commotion should arrive from Etruria; for now every thing was apprehended from that quarter. At Velitræ, they fought a battle with success, in which they were opposed by a number of Prænestine auxiliaries, rather greater than that of the colonists: and here the city being so near, was the reason of the enemy quitting the field the sooner, as it was their only refuge after their flight. The tribunes did not proceed to lay siege to the town, because the issue was uncertain; and besides, they did not think that they ought to push the war to the utter destruction of the colony. The letters sent to Rome to the senate, with news of the victory, expressed greater animosity against the Prænestine enemy, than against those of Velitræ. In consequence of which, by decree of the senate, and order of the people, war was declared against the Prænestians. These, the next year, in conjunction with the Volscians, took Satricum, a colony of the Roman people, by storm, after an obstinate defence made by the colonists, and in their treatment of the prisoners made a barbarous use of their victory.Y.R.374. 378. Incensed thereat, the Romans elected Marcus Furius Camillus a seventh time, military tribune; the colleagues joined with him were the two Postumii Regillenses, Aulus and Lucius, and Lucius Furius, with Lucius Lucretius, and Marcus Fabius Ambustus. The war with the Volscians was decreed to Camillus out of the ordinary course. Lucius Furius was chosen by lot, from among the rest of the tribunes, his assistant, an appointment which proved not so advantageous to the public, as productive of honour to Camillus, in every branch of his conduct: in that which respected the public, as he restored their cause, when nearly ruined by the temerity of Furius; and in that which concerned themselves in particular, as, from the error of that man, he sought the means of engaging his gratitude rather than of augmenting his own glory. Camillus was now far in the decline of life, and had intended at the election to take the usual oath, in order to be excused, on account of his health, but was prevented by the unanimous desire of the people. He retained all his faculties entire; his vigorous genius still bloomed and flourished, in a breast which glowed with youthful ardour; and though he took little share in civil affairs, yet the business of war roused his spirit. Enlisting four legions, of four thousand men each, and ordering the troops to assemble next day at the Esquiline gate, he marched towards Satricum. There the conquerors of the colony waited for him, nowise dismayed, confiding in their number of men, in which they had considerably the advantage: and when they understood that the Romans were approaching, marched out immediately to the field, determined without any delay to put all on the hazard of one decisive effort: which manner of proceeding, they thought, would put it out of the power of the enemy to compensate for the smallness of their number by the skill of their great commander, on which they placed their sole reliance.
XXIII. The same ardour prevailed likewise in the troops of the Romans, and in one of their generals; nor was there any thing which prevented them from hazarding an immediate engagement, but the wisdom and authority of that general, who sought, by protracting the war, to find some opportunity wherein their strength might receive aid from skill. The more on that account did the enemy urge them, and now, not only drew out their troops in order of battle before their own camp, but advanced into the middle of the plain, and throwing up trenches near the Roman battalions, made ostentatious show of boldness derived from their strength. The soldiers were highly provoked at this, and much more highly Lucius Furius, the other military tribune: who, besides a naturally sanguine temper, and his vigorous time of life, was elated with the hopes which he saw possess the multitude, who are ever apt to assume confidence from causes the worst founded. The soldiery, of themselves full of impatience, he instigated still farther, by depreciating his colleague’s judgment on account of his great age, the only point on which he could possibly impeach it, saying, “that war was the province of youth, and that men’s minds flourished, and withered, together with their bodies; that he, who certainly had been a most active warrior, was become a mere drone; and, though it had been his custom, immediately on coming up with an enemy, to snatch from them the possession of their camps and cities at the first onset; yet now he wasted time, lying inactive within the trenches. And what accession to his own strength, or diminution of that of the enemy, did he hope for? What opportunity, what season, what place for practising stratagem? The old man’s schemes were too cold and languid. Camillus, for his own part, had enjoyed a sufficient share both of life and of glory: but where was the propriety of suffering the strength of the state, which ought to be immortal, to sink into the debility of old age together with one mortal body.” By such discourses, he had drawn to himself the attention of the whole camp; and when, in every quarter, they called for battle, he said to his colleague, “Camillus, we cannot withstand the violence of the soldiers; and the enemy, whose courage we have increased by our delays, insults us with arrogance absolutely intolerable. Give up your single judgment to the general one, and suffer yourself to be overcome in counsel, that you may the sooner overcome in battle.” To which Camillus replied, that “in all the wars which, to that day, had been waged under his single auspices, neither himself nor the Roman people had found reason to be displeased, either with his conduct or his fortune: at present, he was sensible, that he had a colleague, in command and authority, equal to himself; in vigour of age, superior: as to what regarded the troops, he had ever hitherto been accustomed to rule, not to be ruled; but his colleague’s right of command he could not call in question. Let him do, with the favour of the gods, what he thought the interest of the common-wealth required. He would even request so much indulgence to his age, as that he should not be in the front line. That what-ever duties in war an old man qualified for, in these he would not be deficient; and that he besought the immortal gods, that no misfortune might give them reason to think his plain the wiser one.” Neither was his salutary advice listened to by men, nor such pious prayers by the gods: the adviser of the fight drew up the first line; Camillus formed the reserve, and posted a strong guard in front of the camp; then, taking his own station on a eminence, as a spectator, he anxiously watched the issue of the other’s plan.
XXIV. As soon as the clash of arms was heard in the first encounter, the enemy, through stratagem, not through fear, began to retire. There was a gentle acclivity in their rear between the army and their camp, and as they had plenty of men, they had left in their camp several strong cohorts, armed and ready for action, who were to sally forth after the battle should begin, and when the enemy approached the rampart. The Romans, eagerly following the retreating army, were drawn into disadvantageous ground, where this sally could be made on them with effect: terror thus reverting on the conqueror, from this new force, the declivity of the ground obliged the Roman line to give way. The Volscians, who had come fresh from their tents to the attack, pressed them close; and those, too, who had counterfeited retreat, now returned to the fight. The Roman soldiers no longer retired in order, but forgetting their late presumption and their former reaction every where turned their backs, and, with utmost speed, ran towards their camp: when Camillus being lifted on his horse by his attendants, and hastily opposing the reserved troops on their way, called out, “Is this, soldiers, the fight that ye demanded? What man, what god can ye blame? The former temerity was all your own; your own this present cowardice. As ye have followed another leader, follow now Camillus; and, as ye are accustomed to do, under my conduct, conquer. Why do ye look towards the rampart and camp? Not a man of you, unless victorious, shall find admittance there.” Shame, at first, stopped their precipitate flight: then, when they saw the standards wheel about, and a line formed to front the enemy; when a leader, who, besides being distinguished by so many triumphs, was venerable even on account of his age, exposed himself in the front of the battalions, where there was the greatest share both of labour and danger; every one began to upbraid both himself and others, and mutual exhortation spread, in a brisk shout, through the whole length of the line. Nor was the other tribune deficient in activity. Being sent to the cavalry by his colleague, while he was reforming the line of infantry, he did not offer to rebuke them; for the share which he had in their fault had rendered any thing he could say of little weight. Instead of command, therefore, he had recourse entirely to intreaties; beseeching each, and and all together, to “redeem him from misconduct, who was answerable for the events of that day. In spite,” said he, “of the advice and endeavours of my colleague, I have associated myself in the rashness of the many, rather than listened to the prudence of one. Camillus sees matter of glory to himself, on either side to which your fortune may incline; but I, unless the fight is restored, shall feel the evil, in common with you all, and shall alone experience all the infamy; the most wretched lot that could befal me.” It was thought best, while the line was still unsteady, that the cavalry should dismount, and charge the enemy on foot. Accordingly, distinguished beyond others by their arms and their spirit, they advanced on the part where they saw the infantry most pressed: nor was there one among them, whether officer or soldier, who did not display the utmost efforts of courage: the aid, therefore, which their vigorous exertions of bravery supplied, soon determined the event. The Volscians were driven headlong in real flight over the same ground, where they had just before retired with counterfeited fear: great numbers of them were slain, both in the battle, and afterwards in the pursuit: of the rest, however, who were found in the camp, which the enemy took before they halted, more were made prisoners than put to death.
XXV. Here, in taking an account of the prisoners, several Tusculans being observed, they were separated from the rest, and brought to the tribunes: and, being examined, confessed that they had served in the war under the authority of the state. Hereupon Camillus, alarmed at the apprehension of a war so near home, declared, that he would immediately carry the prisoners to Rome, that the senate might not be ignorant of the revolt of the Tusculans from the confederacy: meanwhile, his colleague, if he thought proper, should command the camp and the army. One day had been sufficient to teach him, not to prefer his own counsels to better. However, neither himself, nor any person in the army supposed, that Camillus would, without marks of displeasure, pass over his misconduct, by which the public had been thrown into such perilous hazard; and, as well in the army, as at Rome, the account uniformly received and universally admitted, was, that, with respect to the different degrees of success, experienced in the country of the Volscians, the blame of the troops being worsted in fight, and quitting the field, was to be imputed to Lucius Furius, and that the whole honour of their victory belonged to Camillus. On the prisoners being brought before the senate, it was decreed, that war should be made on the Tusculans, and Camillus was appointed to the command in that expedition: on which, he requested to be allowed one assistant in the business, and having received permission to name any of his colleagues, whom he thought proper, contrary to all men’s expectation he chose Lucius Furius; by which, he both alleviated the disgrace of his colleague, and, at the same time, acquired great honour to himself. However, there was no war with the Tusculans. By a strict adherence to peaceable measures, they warded off the force of the Romans, which it had been impossible for them to have done by arms: for, on entering their territory, no removals were made from the places adjacent to the roads, no interruption in the cultivation of the grounds, the gates of their city stood open, crowds of the inhabitants came forth in their gowns to meet the generals, and provisions for the troops were brought with cheerfulness into the camp, both from the city and the country. Camillus pitched his camp before the gates, and being desirous to know, whether the same appearance of peace prevailed within the walls, which was held out in the country, went into the city; and when he saw the doors and the shops open, and all kinds of wares exposed to sale; tradesmen busy in their respective employments, the schools of learning buzzing with the voices of the scholars, and the streets filled with the populace of every sort, among whom were women and children going different ways, as their several occasions called them, and when, in short, he perceived no circumstance which bore any appearance of fright, or even of surprise; he looked round to find in what manner, and where the preparation for war had been made, for there was not the least trace of any thing having been either removed, or placed to oppose him in his way: all, indeed, was in an uniform state of peace, so that one could hardly suppose, that even the rumour of war had reached them.
XXVI. Overcome, therefore, by the submissive demeanour of the enemy, he ordered their senate to be called, and said to them: “Men of Tusculum; ye are the only persons who have hitherto discovered the real strength, and the true arms, wherewith ye might secure yourselves from the resentment of the Romans. Go to Rome, to the senate. The fathers will consider whether your former conduct more merited punishment, or your present forgiveness. I shall not arrogate to myself the gratitude which ye will owe for favour conferred by the public. From me, ye shall have liberty to solicit pardon. The senate will grant such return to your prayers, as they shall judge proper.” When the Tusculans came to Rome, and the senate of that people, who, very lately, were faithful allies, appeared in the porch of the senate-house, with sorrow in their countenances, the senators, moved with compassion, immediately ordered them to be called in, in a manner expressive of hospitality, rather than of enmity. The Tusculan dictator spoke to this effect: “Conscript fathers; we, against whom ye have proclaimed and were about to wage war, just as ye see us now, standing in the porch of your house, went forth to meet your commanders and your legions. This was our habit, this the habit of our commons; and ever shall be, unless, at any time, we shall receive arms from you, and in your cause. We return thanks to your generals and your troops for having given credit to their own eyes, rather than to public rumour; and for committing no hostilities themselves, where they found none subsisting. The peace, by which our conduct has been governed, the same we request from you. War, we beseech you to avert to that quarter, where, if any where, war subsists. The power of your arms against us, if after submission we are to experience it, we will experience unarmed. This is our determination; may the immortal gods render it as successful as it is dutiful. As to what regards the charges, by which ye were moved to declare war against us, although it is needless to refute with words, what has been contradicted by facts, yet, admitting that they were true, after giving such evident proofs of repentance, we should think ourselves safe in pleading guilty before you. Consider us then as guilty towards you, since ye are persons, to whom such satisfaction may be made with propriety.” These were nearly the words of the Tusculans. They obtained peace at the present, and not very long after, the freedom of the state also. The legions were then withdrawn from Tusculum.
XXVII. Camillus, after having highly signalized himself by his conduct and bravery in the Volscian war, by his successful management in the Tusculan expedition, and in both, by his singular moderation towards his colleague, went out of office,Y.R.375. 377. having elected military tribunes for the ensuing year, Lucius and Publius Valerius, Lucius a fifth time, Publius a third, and Caius Sergius a third time, Lucius Menenius a second time, Spurius Papirius, and Servius Cornelius Maluginensis. Censors became necessary this year principally on account of the various representations made of the debts; the tribunes of the commons exaggerating the amount of them, with design to increase the general discontent, while it was under-rated by those whose interest it was, that the difficulty of procuring payment should appear to be owing rather to the want of honesty than of ability in the debtors. The censors appointed were Caius Sulpicius Camerinus, and Spurius Postumius Regillensis: after they had entered on the business, it was interrupted by the death of Postumius, as it was not allowable to employ a substitute as colleague with a censor. Sulpicius, therefore, abdicating the office, others were named to it; but some defect being discovered in the manner of their appointment, they were not received; and to appoint a third set was not allowed, as the gods seemed unwilling to admit of censors for that year. The plebeian tribunes now exclaimed, that such mockery of the commons was not to be endured; that “the senate declined a public inquiry, which would ascertain each man’s property, as that would discover that one-half of the commonwealth was held in a state of depression by the other; while, in the mean time, the commons, overwhelmed with debt, were exposed continually to the arms of one enemy after another. Wars were now industriously sought on all sides, without any distinction. From Antium the legions were led to Satricum, from Satricum to Velitræ, from thence to Tusculum. The Latines, the Hernicians, the Prænestians, were now threatened with hostilities; and this, out of hatred to the citizens, rather than for injuries; with design to wear out the commons under arms, not suffering them either to take breath in the city, or to have leisure to reflect on their liberty, or to take their places in an assembly, where they might sometimes hear a tribune’s voice, discoursing about the reduction of interest, and the removal of other grievances. But, for their part, if they could find in the commons a spirit capable of emulating the liberty of their fathers, they would neither suffer any Roman citizen to be made over to a creditor for money lent, nor any levy of troops to be made, until, the debts being examined, and some method adopted for lessening them, every man should know what was his own, and what another’s; whether his person was still to enjoy freedom, or whether that too was due to the stocks.” The prize, held out to sedition, quickly excited it; for numbers were continually made over to creditors; and, accounts being received of the Prænestines being in arms, the senate voted new legions to be levied, to both which proceedings obstructions began to be raised, at once by the interposition of the tribunitian power, and the united efforts of the commons. For neither did the tribunes suffer those who were adjudged to their creditors to be carried to prison, nor did the younger citizens give in their names for the war; while the senate were less solicitous at present about enforcing the laws concerning the lending of money, than about effecting the levy; for now they were informed that the enemy had marched from Præneste, and taken post in the Sabine territory. That very intelligence, however, rather irritated the tribunes to persist in the opposition which they had set up, than deterred them; nor was any thing sufficient to allay the discontents, but the approach of hostilities almost to the very walls.
XXVIII. For the Prænestines having learned that there was no army levied at Rome, no general fixed on, and that the patricians and commons were taken up with quarrels among themselves, their leaders deemed this a fortunate opportunity for molestation; and, having made a hasty march, ravaging the country all along as they passed, they advanced their standards to the Colline gate. Great was the consternation in the city; the alarm was given through every part; people ran together to the walls and gates, and turning at length their thoughts from sedition to war, they created Titus Quintius Cincinnatus dictator, who nominated Aulus Sempronius Atratinus master of the horse. No sooner was this heard, than the enemy, such was the terror of that office, retired from the walls; while, on the dictator’s edict being issued, the Roman youth attended without excuse. During the time that the levy was going on at Rome, the enemy encamped not far from the river Allia, whence they carried their depredations through all the country round, boasting among themselves, that they had chosen a post fatal to the city of Rome, whose troops would be dismayed, and fly from thence, as they had done in the Gallic war. For, “if the Romans were afraid of a day, which was deemed inauspicious, and marked with the name of that place, how much more than the Allian day would they dread the Allia itself, the monument of so great a disaster? The fierce looks of the Gauls, and the sound of their voices, would certainly recur to their eyes and ears.” Possessed with these groundless notions of circumstances as groundless, they rested their hopes on the fortune of the place. On the other hand, the Romans considered that “in whatever place their Latine enemies stood, they knew very well that they were the same whom they had utterly vanquished at the lake Regillus, and had held under peaceable subjection for now an hundred years: that the Allia, being that way distinguished, would rather stimulate them to blot out the remembrance of their misfortune, than raise apprehensions of any ground being inauspicious to their success. Were they even to meet the Gauls themselves on that spot, they would fight, as they fought at Rome, for the recovery of their country; as, the day after at Gabii, where they took effectual care, that not a single enemy, who had entered the walls of Rome, should carry home an account either of their successes or defeats.”
XXIX. With these sentiments on each side, they met at the Allia. As soon as the Roman dictator came within sight of the enemy, who were drawn up and ready for action, he said, “Aulus Sempronius, do you perceive that those men have taken post at the Allia, relying, no doubt, on the fortune of the place? Nor have the immortal gods afforded them any surer ground of confidence, or any more effectual support. But do you, relying on arms and courage, make a brisk charge on the middle of their line. When they shall be thrown into disorder, I will bear down on them with the legions. Ye gods! who witnessed the treaty, be favourable to our cause, and exact the penalty due for the affront offered to yourselves, and also for the deception imposed on us, through an appeal to your divinity.” The Prænestines were unable to stand against either the cavalry or the infantry: the first shout and charge broke their ranks. In a little time, no part of their line remaining entire, they turned their backs, and fled in such consternation, that they even passed by their own camp, and never relaxed their speed, until Præneste was in view. There, rallying, they took possession of a post, which they fortified after a hasty manner, dreading, lest, if they retreated within the walls, the country should be immediately wasted with fire, and when every other place was desolated, siege should be laid to the city. But no sooner did the victorious Romans approach, after plundering the camp at the Allia, than they abandoned this fortress also, and shut themselves up in the town of Præneste, scarcely thinking the walls a sufficient security. There were eight other towns under the dominion of the Prænestines: these were attacked in succession, and taken, without any great difficulty, and the army led to Velitræ. That also was taken by storm. They then came to Præneste, the main source of the war, and it fell into their hands, not by force, but capitulation. Titus Quintius having thus gained the victory in one pitched battle, having taken from the enemy, by storm, two camps and nine towns, and Præneste on surrender, returned to Rome; and, in his triumph, carried into the Capitol the statue of Jupiter Imperator, which he had brought away from Præneste. It was dedicated between the recesses of Jupiter and Minerva, and on a tablet, fixed under it as a monument of his exploits, were engraved nearly these words: “Jupiter, and all the gods, granted that Titus Quintius, dictator, should take nine towns in nine days.” On the twentieth day after his appointment he abdicated the dictatorship.
XXX. An election was then held of military tribunes, with consular power,Y.R.376. 376. when equal numbers of patricians and plebeians were chosen. The patricians were, Publius and Caius Manlius, with Lucius Julius; the plebeians, Caius Sextilius, Marcus Albinius, and Lucius Antistius. To the Manlii, because they were superior to the plebeians in point of descent, and to Julius in interest, the Volscians were assigned as a province, out of the ordinary course, without casting of lots, or mutual agreement: of which step both they themselves, and the senate, who made the disposal, had afterwards reason to repent. Without taking measures to obtain the proper intelligence, they sent out some cohorts to forage. Marching hastily to support these, in consequence of a false report brought to them, of their being ensnared, without even retaining the author of the report, and who was not a Roman but a Latine soldier, they themselves fell into an ambuscade; where, whilst they gave and received many wounds, maintaining resistance on disadvantageous ground merely by dint of valour, the enemy, in another quarter, made an assault on the Roman camp, which lay in a low situation. The generals, by their rashness and unskilfulness, had thrown affairs, in both places, into most imminent danger; and that any part of the army was saved was owing to the fortune of the Roman people, and the bravery of the soldiers, capable of acting with steadiness, even without a commander. When an account of these transactions was brought to Rome, it was, at first, thought necessary that a dictator should be nominated: but intelligence being received from the country of the Volscians that matters were quiet, and it being evident that they knew not how to take advantage of success and opportunity, even the troops and generals which were there were recalled; and a cessation of hostilities continued during the remainder of the year, as far as regarded that people. The only interruption of tranquillity which occurred, and that towards the end of the year, was the revival of hostilities by the Prænestines, who had prevailed on the states of the Latines to co-operate with them. During this year, new colonists were inrolled for Setia, the colony themselves complaining of a scarcity of men. Internal tranquillity, which was procured by the influence of the plebeian military tribunes, and the respect paid to their dignity by those of their own condition, proved some consolation for the failure of success in war.
XXXI. In the beginning of the next year, the flames of sedition blazed out with great violence;Y.R.377. 375. the military tribunes, with consular power, being Spurius Furius, Quintus Servilius a second time, Caius Licinius, Publius Clœlius, Marcus Horatius, and Lucius Geganius. This sedition again arose from the debts; for the purpose of ascertaining which, Spurius Servilius Priscus and Quintus Clœlius Siculus were appointed censors, but were hindered, by a war, from proceeding in the business: for hasty messengers, at first, and then people who fled from the country, brought information that the Volscian legions had entered the borders, and were committing depredations through the Roman territory. Alarming as this intelligence was, so far was their fear of a foreign enemy from restraining the violence of their domestic feuds, that, on the contrary, it gave occasion to the tribunitian power to exert itself with greater vehemence in obstructing the levies, until these conditions were imposed on the senate: that, during the continuance of the war, no one should pay a tax, nor should any judicial process be carried on respecting money due. This relaxation being obtained for the commons, there was no farther delay in the levies. When the new legions were enlisted, it was resolved that they should be divided, and two different armies led into the Volscian territory. Spurius Furius and Marcus Horatius proceeded to the right, towards Antium and the sea-coast; Quintus Servilius and Lucius Geganius to the left, towards Ecetra and the mountains. On neither side did the enemy meet them. Devastations were therefore made, not like those which the Volscians had committed in the manner of banditti, snatching an opportunity, and hurried by their fears, relying on the dissensions among the Romans, and dreading their valour; but with a regular army, and giving full scope to their resentment, more detrimental, too, by reason of their continuance; for the Volscians, dreading lest an army should come out from Rome against them, had made their incursions only into the skirts of the frontiers; the Romans loitered in their country, in hopes of bringing them to an engagement. Every house, therefore, was burnt, and several villages also; not a fruit-tree was left, nor the seed in the ground to give a prospect of a harvest. All the men and cattle found without the walls were driven off as spoil, and the troops, from both quarters, were led back to Rome.
XXXII. Thus a short interval had been allowed to the debtors, but no sooner was quiet restored abroad, than the courts were filled anew with lawsuits against them: and so distant was every hope of lessening the burthen of former debts, that they were obliged to contract new ones, by a tax for building a wall of hewn stone, which the censors had contracted for. To this hardship the commons were necessitated to submit, because there were, at the time, no levies which the tribunes might obstruct; nay, such an ascendancy had the nobility,Y.R.378. 374. that they obliged them to choose all the military tribunes out of the patricians, Lucius Æmilius, Publius Valerius a fourth time, Caius Veturius, Servius Sulpicius, Lucius and Caius Quintius Cincinnatus. By the same influence, a resolution was carried, without opposition, that, to make head against the Latines and Volscians, who, with their forces united, were encamped at Satricum, all the young men should be obliged to take the military oath; and that three armies should be formed; one, for the protection of the city; another, which, in case any disturbance should arise elsewhere, might be sent where the sudden exigencies of war should require. The third, and by far the most powerful, Publius Valerius and Lucius Æmilius led to Satricum, and there, finding the enemy drawn up in order of battle, on level ground, they instantly came to an engagement. But a heavy rain, attended with a violent storm of wind, put a stop to the fight; when, though victory had not declared for them, they yet had a fair prospect of it. Next day the battle was renewed, and, for a considerable time, the Latine legions particularly, who, during the long continuance of the confederacy, had learned the Roman discipline, maintained their ground with equal bravery and success. At length, a charge of the cavalry disordered their ranks, and before this could be remedied, the infantry advanced upon them. Wherever the Roman line attacked, the enemy were pushed from their ground; and when once the advantage turned against them, they found the Roman force irresistible. They were therefore utterly routed; and flying to Satricum, which was two miles distant, had many of their men slain, chiefly by the cavalry. Their camp was taken and plundered. The night after the battle, they went off from Satricum to Antium, in a manner more like a flight than a march: and though the Roman army followed, almost in their steps, yet fear proved fleeter than fury; so that they had got within their walls, before the Romans could harass or impede their rear. Several days were spent in wasting the country; for the Romans were not properly furnished with military engines for attacking walls, nor the others in a condition to hazard a battle.
XXXIII. At this time a dissension arose between the Antians and the Latines: for the Antians, quite reduced by a war which had lasted from their birth, began to think of submission. The Latines, having but lately revolted, after a long enjoyment of peace, and their spirits being still fresh, were, therefore, the more resolutely determined to persevere in the war. Their dispute lasted no longer, than until each party perceived that they might accomplish their own views, without obstruction from the other. The Latines, by leaving the place, freed themselves from the imputation of being concerned in a peace which they deemed dishonourable. The Antians, as soon as those were removed, whose presence impeded their salutary designs, surrendered themselves and their territory to the Romans. The rage of the Latines, on finding that they could neither do any damage to the Romans in war, nor keep the Volscians any longer in arms, vented itself in setting fire to the city of Satricum, which had been their first place of refuge after defeat. Not a building in that city remained; for they threw their firebrands indiscriminately on those that belonged to gods and to men, except the temple of mother Matuta: and from this they were withheld, not by any scruples of their own, or reverence towards the gods, but by a tremendous voice, which issued through the temple, with severe denunciations of vengeance, unless they removed their abominable fires to a distance from the temples. Inflamed with the same rage, they proceeded to Tusculum, in resentment of its having forsaken the general association of the Latines, and joined itself to the Romans, not only as an ally, but even as a member of their state. No notice being received there of their intention, they rushed in by the gates, and, on the first shout, made themselves masters of the whole town, excepting the citadel. Into this the townsmen had made their escape, with their wives and children, and sent messengers to Rome, to acquaint the senate with their misfortune. With no less expedition than became the honour of the Roman people, an army was despatched to Tusculum, commanded by Lucius Quintius and Servius Sulpicius, military tribunes. They found the gates of Tusculum shut, and the Latines acting the parts both of besiegers and besieged; on one side, defending the walls of the town; on the other, carrying on the attack of the citadel; at once striking terror into others, and feeling it themselves. The approach of the Romans made a great alteration in the minds of both parties: the despondency of the Tusculans it converted into the most joyful alacrity; and the assured confidence entertained by the Latines, that they should quickly become masters of the citadel, as they were already of the town, into an anxiety almost hopeless for their own safety. The shout was now raised by the Tusculans from the citadel, and returned, by a much louder one, from the Roman army. The Latines were hard pressed on all sides; nor could they either sustain the force of the Tusculans, pouring down on them from the higher ground, or repel the Romans advancing to the walls, and forcing the bars of the gates. The walls, first, were mastered by scalade; the gates were then broke open; and the two enemies, pressing them in front and in rear, no strength being left for fight, no room for escape, they were surrounded and cut to pieces to a man. Tusculum being thus recovered from the enemy, the army returned to Rome.
XXXIV. In proportion to the degree of tranquillity which prevailed this year abroad, in consequence of the successes obtained in war, did the violence of the patricians, and the distresses of the commons, increase daily in the city; the necessity of immediate payment, of itself, impairing the ability to pay: so that, having no means left of answering any demands out of their property, they were cast in suits, and ordered into custody. Thus, at the expense of their reputations and persons, they satisfied their creditors; punishment being substituted in the place of money. In consequence of this, they sunk into such despondency, not only the lowest, but even the principal plebeians, that no man could be found adventurous enough either to stand candidate, among patricians, for the military tribuneship (a privilege which they had used such mighty efforts to obtain); or even to sue for and undertake the plebeian magistracies: insomuch that it seemed as if the patricians had now recovered, for ever, the possession of that honour; and that it had been only usurped, for a few years, by the commons. The excessive joy, which that party would have reaped from this event, was prevented by a cause, which was but trifling, as is very often the case, in comparison with the important consequences which it produced. Marcus Fabius Ambustus was a man of considerable weight among those of his own rank, and also among the commons, because they considered him as one who was not at all disposed to treat them with contempt: he had two daughters married, the elder to Servius Sulpicius, the younger to Caius Licenius Stolo, of high reputation, but a plebeian: and the very circumstance of Fabius not having scorned this alliance had procured him favour in the minds of the populace. It happened, that while the two sisters were amusing themselves in conversation at the house of Servius Sulpicius, then military tribune, on Sulpicius’s return home from the Forum, one of his lictors, according to custom, rapped at the door with his rod: the younger Fabia, who was a stranger to the custom, being frightened at this, was laughed at by her sister, who was surprised at her ignorance of the matter. That laugh, however, left a sting in the other’s breast; as the merest trifles will often affect the female mind. The crowd also of attendants, and of people offering their service, I suppose, made her think her sister happy in her marriage, and repine at her own; according to the so generally prevailing foible, for it is certain that scarcely any can bear to be surpassed by those nearest their own level. While she was under great disquietude, from this recent mortification, her father happened to see her, and asked, “Is all well?” and though she dissembled, at first, the cause of her uneasiness, because it was neither very consistent with the affection of a sister, nor very honourable to her husband, he, by tender inquiries, at length brought her to confess, that her unhappiness arose from being united to an inferior, from being married into a house which neither dignities nor honours could enter. Ambustus, then, consoling his daughter, bid her keep up her spirits: for that she should shortly see, in her own house, the same honours which she saw at her sister’s. He then, with his son-in-law, began to frame his designs, and in conjunction with Lucius Sextius, a young man of active talents, to whose hopes there appeared no impediment, except the want of patrician descent.
XXXV. The juncture appeared seasonable for the introduction of innovations, on account of the immense burthen of debt, from which evil the commons could have no hope of relief, except some of their own order were placed in the administration of government. To that point they saw it necessary to direct their most vigorous exertions. The commons, by spirited endeavours and perseverance, had already gained one step towards it; from whence, if they struggled forward, they might arrive at the summit, and be placed on an equal footing with the patricians, in honour as well as in merit. It was resolved, that at present there should be plebeian tribunes created; in which office the commons might find the means of opening for themselves a way to the other distinctions.Y.R.379. 373. Accordingly, Caius Licinius and Lucius Sextius were elected tribunes, and proposed several new laws, every one of which was injurious to the power of the patricians, and in favour of the interest of the plebeians. One related to debt, enacting, that whatever had been paid as interest, being deducted from the principal, the remainder should be discharged in three years, by so many equal instalments. Another, setting bounds to landed property, enacted, that no one should possess more than five hundred acres of land: a third, that there should be no election of military tribunes; and that one of the consuls should, indispensably, be chosen out of the commons: all points of the utmost consequence, and not to be accomplished without powerful struggles. When the patricians were thus challenged to contend, at once, for all those objects which excite the warmest desires in the human heart, they were terrified and dismayed; nor could they, either in their public or private consultations, devise any other remedy than the one which they had frequently tried before, a protest: accordingly, they engaged some of the tribunes to oppose the propositions of their colleagues. These, having collected about them a band of patricians for their support, as soon as they saw the tribes summoned by Licinius and Sextius, to give their suffrages, refused to suffer either the proposition to be read, or any of the usual forms, in taking the votes of the people, to be gone through. After assemblies had been often called to no purpose, and the propositions were now considered as rejected, Sextius said to them, “It is very well; since it is determined that a protest shall carry such force in it, we will defend the commons with the same weapon. Come, patricians, proclaim an assembly for the election of military tribunes; I will take care that those words, I FORBID IT, shall not be very pleasing in your ears, though ye listen with such delight to our colleagues chaunting them at present.” Nor did his threats fall without effect; except for ædiles and plebeian tribunes, there were no elections held. Licinius and Sextius being re-elected plebeian tribunes, suffered not any curule magistrates to be appointed; and, during the space of five years, the city was kept without magistrates in those offices, the commons constantly re-electing the two tribunes, and these preventing the election of military tribunes.
XXXVI. There had been a seasonable cessation of wars; but the colonists of Velitræ, grown wanton through ease, and knowing that there was no army on foot at Rome, made several incursions into the Roman territory, and even laid siege to Tusculum. When, on this event, the Tusculans, their old allies and new fellow-citizens, implored assistance, not only the patricians, but even the commons, were moved, principally by a sense of honour; and the plebeian tribunes withdrawing their opposition,Y.R.385. 367. an election of military tribunes was held by an interrex, when Lucius Furius, Aulus Manlius, Servius Sulpicius, Servius Cornelius, and the two Valerii, Publius and Caius, were chosen into that office. These, in raising the levies, found not the same tractable temper in the commons which they had shewn in the election: however, having, after very warm disputes, completed the number of troops, they began their march, and compelled the enemy, not only to retire from Tusculum, but to take shelter within their own walls; and Velitræ was then besieged by a much greater force than had threatened Tusculum. Yet the commanders, who conducted the siege, were not able to bring it to a conclusion before the new military tribunes were elected: these were Quintus Servilius, Caius Veturius a second time,Y.R.386. 366. Aulus and Marcus Cornelius, Quintus Quintius, and Marcus Fabius. Neither did these, in their tribunate, perform any thing memorable at Velitræ. The dangerous state of affairs at home called more powerfully for their attention: for, besides Sextius and Licinius, the proposers of the laws, now re-elected the eighth time to the office of plebeian tribune, Fabius likewise, the military tribune, father-in-law of Stolo, without disguise, professed himself a supporter of those laws of which he had been an adviser: and whereas there had been, at first, among the plebeian tribunes, eight protesters against the laws, there were now only five; and these, as usual with men who desert their party, were embarrassed and perplexed. In expressions borrowed from others, they alleged, as a pretext for their protesting, merelv what they had been privately instructed to say, that “a large share of the commons were absent in the army at Velitræ; that the assembly ought to be deferred until the soldiers returned, in order that the entire body of the commons might have an opportunity of giving their votes, in matters wherein they were so deeply interested.” Sextius and Licinius, in conjunction with the other part of their colleagues, and Fabius, one of the military tribunes, having, from the experience of so many years, acquired the art of managing the minds of the commons, called on the principal patricians, and teazed them with interrogatories, on each of the subjects proposed to the people: “Were they so shameless as to require, that when the proportion of a plebeian was only two acres of land, they should be allowed to possess above five hundred acres each? That a single man should enjoy the share of near three hundred citizens; while a plebeian had scarcely an extent of land sufficient for a stinted habitation, or a place of burial? Did they think it reasonable, that the commons, inextricably embarrassed by the accumulation of interest, should surrender their persons to the stocks, and to the harsh treatment of creditors, rather than that they should be allowed a discharge of the debt, on paying off the principal? That men should daily be driven in flocks from the Forum, after being made over to their creditors? That the houses of the nobility should be filled with such prisoners? And that, in the habitation of every patrician, there should be a private prison?”
XXXVII. After painting those matters in the most invidious and pitiable colours, to an audience, whereof each individual was in dread that the case might become his own, and exciting, in the hearers, even greater indignation than they felt themselves, they went on to insist, that “there never could be any stop put to the patricians engrossing the lands to themselves, and crushing the commons under the weight of interest, unless the latter should constitute one of the consuls out of their own body, to be a guardian of their liberty. That the tribunes of the commons were now despised, because those invested with that power, by the present practice of protests, rendered its own strength inefficacious. It was impossible to deal on equal terms, while the others held in their hands the power of command, and they, only that of giving protection. Unless admitted to a share in the government, the commons could never enjoy an equal portion in the commonwealth. Nor ought it to be thought sufficient that plebeians should be allowed to stand candidates at the election of consuls; none of them would ever be elected, unless it were made an indispensable rule that one consul must, necessarily, be taken from among the commons. Had they now forgotten, that though the practice of electing military tribunes, rather than consuls, had been instituted, for the very purpose of opening the highest honours to the plebeians, yet, during a space of forty-four years, not one plebeian had been elected into that office? How then could they believe, that when there were but two places to be filled, those men would voluntarily bestow a share of the honour on the commons, who were accustomed to monopolize the whole eight places at the election of military tribunes? That they would suffer a passage to be laid open to the consulship, who, for such a length of time, had kept the tribuneship so closely fenced up? They must acquire by a law, what they could not accomplish by influence at elections; and one consul’s place must be set apart, beyond the reach of contest, to which the commons may have access: since, as long as it is left subject to dispute, it will ever become the prize of the more powerful. Nor could the nobles now pretend to say, what formerly they had been fond of asserting, that there were not to be found, among the plebeians, men qualified for the curule offices. For, was the administration of government conducted with less diligence and vigour since the tribunate of Publius Licinius Calvus, the first plebeian elected, than during those years in which none but patricians were military tribunes? Nay, on the contrary, several patricians, on the expiration of their office, had been condemned for misconduct, but never one plebeian. Quæstors too, in like manner as military tribunes, began, a few years before, to be elected out of the commons: nor had the Roman people seen reason to be displeased with any one of them. The consulship now remained to be attained by the plebeians; that was the bulwark, that the basis of their liberty. Could they once arrive at that, then, indeed, the Roman people would be satisfied that kings were really banished from the city, and liberty settled on a sure foundation. For, from that day, every advantage, in which the patricians now surpassed them, would come into the possession of the commons; command and honour, military glory, birth, nobility, all highly valuable to themselves in the present enjoyment, and which they could leave, with an increase of value, to their children.” Finding such discourses favourably attended to, they published another proposition: that instead of two commissioners for performing religious rites, ten should be appointed, half of whom should be plebeians, half patricians; and they deferred the meeting, which was to decide on all these matters, until the troops, then engaged in the siege of Velitræ, should return.
Y.R.387. 365.XXXVIII. The year expired before the legions were brought home from Velitræ; and consequently, the affair of the laws remained suspended, and was handed over to the new military tribunes: for as to the plebeian tribunes, the commons re-elected the same; particularly the two who had proposed the laws. The military tribunes elected were Titus Quintius, Servius Cornelius, Servius Sulpicius, Spurius Servilius, Lucius Papirius, and Lucius Veturius. Immediately on the commencement of the new year, the contest about the laws was pushed to extremity; and when, on the tribes being assembled, the proposers of the laws persisted in their proceedings, in spite of the protests of their colleagues, the patricians were so alarmed that they recurred for aid to their last resource, an office superior to all others in power, and a citizen superior to all others in reputation. It was resolved that a dictator should be appointed. Accordingly Marcus Furius Camillus was nominated, and he chose Lucius Æmilius master of the horse. On the other side, the proposers of the laws, in opposition to this great effort of their adversaries, with determined resolution, collected every means of strength, in aid of the plebeian cause; and, summoning an assembly of the people, cited the tribes to give their votes. The dictator, attended by a band of patricians, having taken his seat, with many angry and menacing expressions, the business, at first, produced the usual contest among the plebeian tribunes; some of them supporting the law, and others protesting against it. But their protest, which by right ought to have prevailed, being nevertheless overpowered by the people’s warm attachment to the laws themselves, and to the promoters of them; and, the first tribes having pronounced, “Be it as you propose;” Camillus said, “Roman citizens, since the headstrong passions of your tribunes, not their legal authority, rule your proceedings; and since, after having at the expense of a secession, procured the privilege of protesting, ye now yourselves invalidate it, by the same violence through which ye obtained it; I, as dictator, out of regard, as well to your particular interest, as to the general interest of the commonwealth, will support the right of protesting: and, by the power of my authority, will defend your rights of protection, which ye endeavour to betray. Wherefore, if Caius Licinius and Lucius Sextius will give way to the protest of their colleagues, I shall be far from introducing the authority of a patrician magistrate into an assembly of the commons. But if, in opposition to the protest, they persist in their attempt to impose laws on the state, as if it were under captivity to them, I will not suffer the tribunitian power to be brought to dissolution by its own act.” The tribunes, in contempt of this declaration, still proceeding in the business with unabated activity, Camillus was so highly provoked, that he sent his lictors to disperse the commons; adding threats, that “if they persisted, he would compel every one of the younger men to take the military oath, and would instantly lead an army out of the city.” This struck great terror into the populace: but the opposition served rather to inflame than lessen the resolution of their leaders. However, before the dispute was brought to any decision, the dictator abdicated his office; either, because some informality was discovered in his appointment, as some writers have said; or because the plebeian tribunes proposed to the commons, and the commons passed it into an order, that if Marcus Furius Camillus performed any act as dictator, he should be fined five hundred thousand asses.* But the following considerations induce me to believe, that he was deterred from acting rather by a defect in the auspices, than by such an unprecedented order: first, the temper of the man himself; then Publius Manlius being immediately substituted in his room. What end could it answer, to appoint him for managing a dispute in which Camillus had been worsted? besides, the year following, the same Camillus was created dictator, and he certainly could not, without shame, have resumed an authority, which had been foiled in his hands the year before. At the time too, when the proposition about fining him is reported to have been published, he must either have had power sufficient to have prevented the passing of this order, by which he saw himself degraded, or else he could not have been able to oppose the others, on account of which this was introduced; for through the whole course of the various disputes, in regard to the authority of the tribunes, and that of the consuls even down to our memory, the dictatorship ever held a decided pre-eminence over both.
XXXIX. During the interval between the abdication of the former dictator, and the new one, Manlius, entering into office, as if it were an interregnum, the tribunes summoned an assembly of the people; and it was there discovered, which of the laws proposed were favourites of the public, and which of the proposers. For the commons passed those which respected interest of money, and the lands, and rejected the one respecting a plebeian consul; both which decisions would have been carried into effect, had not the tribunes insisted, that they had put the question to the assembly, on the whole of the laws collectively. Publius Manlius then turned the advantage to the side of the commons, by nominating as his master of the horse, a plebeian, Caius Licinius, who had been military tribune. This, we are informed, gave much displeasure to the patricians, to whom the dictator apologized for his conduct, alleging the near relationship between him and Licinius; at the same time asserting, that the post of master of the horse was no way superior to that of consular tribune. When the assembly for electing plebeian tribunes was proclaimed, Licinius and Sextius conducted themselves in such a manner, that, while they professed an unwillingness any longer to be continued in office, they applied to the commons the most powerful incentives, towards the effectuating of that purpose, which, from their dissimulation in the above particular, they seemed little desirous to promote. Telling them, that “they were now standing the ninth year, as it were in battle array against the nobility, with the greatest danger to their own particular interests, and without any advantage to the public. That, as they were now grown old, so, together with them, both the propositions which they had published, and the whole tribunitian power, were fallen into a state of languor. At first, the attack was carried on, against their propositions, by the protest of their colleagues; then, by banishing the younger citizens to the war of Velitræ; at last, the dictatorial thunder had been levelled against themselves. At present, neither colleagues, nor war, nor dictator stood in their way: for the latter had even, by nominating a plebeian master of the horse, given them an omen of a plebeian consul. The commons were the only obstruction to themselves, and to their own interests. They could, if they chose it, immediately, have the city and the forum free from creditors, and the lands free from unjust occupiers. And when would they ever consider these kindnesses with proper gratitude, if, at the very time when they were receiving plans for their own advantage, they precluded the authors of them from all hope of distinction? It was not suitable with the candour of the Roman people, to require that the burthen of interest money should be taken off from them, and that they should be introduced into the possession of the lands unjustly occupied by the powerful, and at the same time leave the persons, through whose means they acquired those lands, to grow old in the quality of tribunitians; not only without honours, but even without hope of them. Wherefore, let them, first, determine in their own mind what choice they would make, and then notify that choice, in the election of their tribunes. If they chose that the propositions published by them should be passed collectively, then there would be some reason for re-electing the same tribunes; for they would carry into effect their own wishes. But, if they chose that nothing more should pass, than what each found necessary to his private affairs, there would then be no occasion for the invidious mode of re-election; and, as they would fail of obtaining the tribuneship, so would the people of obtaining the matters proposed to them.”
XL. On hearing such peremptory language from the tribunes, and whilst amazement, at the insolence of their behaviour, held the rest of the patricians motionless and silent, Appius Claudius Crassus, grandson of the decemvir, is said to have stood forth to combat their argument; and, prompted, rather by hatred and anger, than by hope of success, to have spoken to this effect: “Roman citizens, to me it would be neither new nor surprising, if I should hear applied to myself on the present occasion, the same charge, which has always been objected, by seditious tribunes, to our family; that the Claudian race, even from the very beginning, has shown a more zealous attachment to the dignity of the patricians, than to any other object in the state; and that they have constantly opposed the interests of the commons. One of these assertions, neither I, nor any of the Claudii, will deny; that, from the time when we were first adopted, and admitted into the order of the patricians, we have earnestly endeavoured that the dignity of those families, among which ye were pleased to place us, might truly be said to have been augmented, rather than diminished, through our means. As to the other declaration, I can take upon me to insist and maintain, in behalf of myself and of my ancestors, that, unless we are to suppose that actions, which tend to the general good of the state, are injurious to the commons, as if they were inhabitants of another city, we never, either in our private capacity, or in office, proceeded knowingly, in any instance, to the detriment of those commons: and that there cannot, consistently with truth, be mentioned any one act, or word, of ours, contrary to your interest; though some indeed there may have been contrary to your inclinations. But even were I not of the Claudian family, nor sprung from patrician blood, but an individual in the general mass of citizens, only supposing me sensible that I was descended from free-born parents, and that I lived in a free state, could I keep silence in such a case as this; when Lucius Sextius, and Caius Licinius, perpetual tribunes, as it seems, have during the nine years in which they have reigned, acquired such a degree of arrogance, as to declare, that they will not allow you freedom of suffrage, either in elections or in enacting laws? On a certain condition, one of them says, ye shall reelect us tribunes, a tenth time. What else is this, than if he said, what others court, we disdain, so far, that, without a valuable consideration, we will not accept of it? And now, I pray you, what is that consideration, for which we may have you perpetually tribunes of the commons? Why, he tells you it is, that ye admit all our propositions collectively, be they pleasing or displeasing, profitable or unprofitable. Let me intreat you, ye Tarquinii, who are tribunes of the commons, to suppose that I, one of the citizens, called out in reply to you from the middle of the assembly: with your good leave, let us be permitted to choose, out of these propositions, such as we judge salutary to ourselves, and to reject others. No, says he, ye shall have no such permission. Must ye enact, concerning interest of money and lands, which tends to the good of every one of yourselves, and must not the prodigy of seeing Lucius Sextius and Caius Licinius consuls take place in the city of Rome, because ye view it with scorn and abhorrence? Either admit all, or I propose nothing. Just as if, before a person pressed with hunger, one were to lay food and poison together, and then to order him either to abstain from what would minister to life, or to mix along with it what would cause death. If then this state were really free, would not the whole assembly have replied to you thus; begone with your tribuneships and your propositions. What? If you do not propose that which is advantageous to the people to admit, can there be no other found to procure them advantages? If any patrician (or what they wish to be thought more invidious) if a Claudian should say, either admit all, or I propose nothing; what man among you, citizens, would endure it? Will ye never learn to attend to facts, rather than persons? For ever listen with partial ears to every thing uttered by men of their office, and with prejudice to what is said by any of us? But, surely, their language is very different from what becomes members of a republic: and what shall we say of their proposal, which they are so incensed at your rejecting? It is exactly of a piece, citizens, with their language. He says, I desire it may be enacted, that it shall not be lawful for you to elect into the consulship such persons as ye may approve: for can he mean otherwise who orders, that one consul must necessarily be taken from the plebeians, and does not allow you the power of electing two patricians? If wars were to be waged now, such as the Etrurian for instance, when Porsena lay on the Janiculum; or, as the Gallic lately, when, except the Capitol and citadel, all places were in possession of the enemy, and that Lucius Sextius stood candidate for the consulship with Camillus, would ye be able to bear, that Sextius should, without any competition, be made consul, while Camillus would be obliged to struggle against the danger of a repulse? Is this to introduce a community of honours? to make it lawful for two plebeians, but unlawful for two patricians, to be chosen consuls. To make it necessary to elect one plebeian, but allowable to pass by all the patricians; what sort of fellowship, what sort of confederacy is this? Are you not satisfied with obtaining a part of that in which hitherto you have had no concern; must you be laying violent hands on the whole? I fear, says Sextius, that if ye are at liberty to elect two patricians, ye will elect no plebeian. What is this but to say, because ye would not, of your own choice, elect unworthy persons, I will impose on you a necessity of admitting them without choice. What follows, but that, if one plebeian be named, together with two patricians, he is not even under an obligation to the people, and may say, that he was appointed by the law, and not elected by their suffrages?
XLI. “The power of extorting, not of suing for honours, is what they aim at; and to attain the most exalted without incurring the obligations even of the lowest: they choose also to make their way to them by means of accidental successes, rather than by merit. Is there any man who can think it an affront to have his character inspected and estimated? Who can deem it reasonable, that he alone, amidst struggling competitors, should have a certainty of obtaining honours? Who would exempt himself from your judgment? Who would render your suffrages necessary (if suffrages I must say) instead of voluntary; servile instead of free? Not to mention Licinius and Sextius, the years of whose perpetuated power, as if they were kings, ye number in the Capitol; what man is there this day, in the state, so mean that he might not, by the opportunities created by this law, make his way to the consulship, with greater ease, than we or our children? Since, in some cases, it will not be in your power to elect us, though ye wish it, and ye will be under a necessity of electing them, though against your will. Of the injury offered to merit, I shall say no more, for merit regards only the human race. But what shall I say, with respect to religion, and the auspices; the affront and injury offered to which, reflect immediately on the immortal gods? That this city was founded under auspices; that all business, civil and military, foreign and domestic, is conducted under them, who can be ignorant? In whom therefore is the privilege of auspices vested according to the constitution of our forefathers? In the patricians undoubtedly. For no plebeian magistrate is even so elected. So peculiar to us are the auspices, that the patrician magistrates, whom the people may approve, can be in no other manner elected; while we ourselves, without the suffrages of the people, create an interrex, under auspices; and, in private stations also hold such privilege, which they do not, even when in office. Does not he then, in effect, abolish the auspices, who by creating plebeian consuls, takes them out of the hands of the patricians, the only persons capable of holding them? They may now mock at religion, and say, where is the great matter, if the chickens do not feed? If they come out too slowly from the coop? If a bird chaunt an ominous note? These are trivial matters: but by not disregarding these trivial matters, our ancestors raised this state to the highest eminence. In the present times, as if we stood in no need of the favour of the gods, we violate all religious institutions. Let therefore pontiffs, augurs, kings of the sacrifices, be chosen at random. Let us place the tiara of Jupiter’s flamen on any one that offers, provided he be a man. Let us commit the Ancilia, the shrines, the gods, and the charge of their worship, to persons to whom they cannot, without impiety, be intrusted. Let neither laws be enacted, nor magistrates elected under auspices. Let not the approbation of the senate be requisite, either to the assemblies of the centuries, or of the Curias. Let Sextius and Licinius, like Romulus and Tatius, reign in the city of Rome, in return for their generosity in plundering from other men’s fortunes: in giving away other men’s money and lands, does it not occur to you, that by one of these laws, great part of the possessions must be converted into desolate wilds, in consequence of the owners being expelled from them: by the other, that credit would be annihilated, by which all human society must be at an end. For every reason, then, I am of opinion, that ye ought to reject those propositions altogether. Whatever is your determination, may the gods grant it a happy issue.”
XLII. The speech of Appius produced no other effect, than the putting off the decision on the propositions to another time. Sextius and Licinius, being again re-elected tribunes, the tenth time, procured a law to be enacted, that, of the decemvirs for superintending religious matters, half should be chosen from among the commons. Accordingly, five patricians were elected, and five plebeians. Which step being gained, the way seemed open to the consulship. Satisfied with this victory, the commons conceded so far to the patricians, that, no mention being made of consuls for the present, military tribunes should be elected.Y.R.388. 364. The election fell on Aulus and Marcus Cornelius a second time, Marcus Geganius, Publius Manlius, Lucius Veturius, and Publius Valerius a sixth time. Except the siege of Velitræ, an affair of which the issue was rather tedious than doubtful, the Romans were undisturbed by any foreign concerns; when a sudden report of the Gauls approaching in arms, occasioned so great an alarm, that Marcus Furius Camillus was appointed dictator the fifth time, and he nominated Titus Quintius Pennus master of horse. Claudius asserts, that a battle was fought with the Gauls this year, on the banks of the river Anio, and that, at this time, happened the famous combat on the bridge, in which Titus Manlius, engaging with a Gaul who had challenged him, slew him in the sight of the two armies, and spoiled him of a chain. But I am led, by the authority of many writers to believe, that these events happened at least ten years later; and that a pitched battle was now fought with the Gauls by the dictator Camillus, in the territory of Alba. The victory was neither doubtful, nor obtained with difficulty by the Romans; although, from people’s recollection of former misfortunes, the coming of the Gauls had diffused very great terror. Many thousands of the barbarians were slain in the field, and great numbers in the storming of their camp. The rest dispersing, mostly towards Apulia, escaped, partly by continuing their flight to a great distance; and partly by being, through dismay and terror, scattered widely, in different quarters. The dictator had a triumph decreed him, with the concurrence of the senate and commons. Scarcely, however, had he got rid of the business of this war, than he found employment, from a more violent commotion at home: and the issue of an obstinate struggle was, that the dictator and senate were overpowered, and the propositions of the tribunes admitted. In consequence, an election of consuls was held, in spite of the opposition of the nobility, in which Lucius Sextius was made consul, the first of plebeian rank. Nor did the disputes end even here. The patricians refusing to give their approbation, the affair was likely to produce a secession of the commons, with dreadful consequences; when their dissensions were accommodated on terms, by the interposition of the dictator. The nobility made concessions to the commons, with respect to the plebeian consul, and the commons to the nobility with respect to one prætor to be elected out of the patricians, to administer justice in the city. Concord being, by these means, restored between the orders, after such a long continuance of mutual animosity, the senate were of opinion, that such an event deserved to be signalized by an exhibition of the most magnificent games, and by the addition of another day, to the usual three, of the Latine festival; expecting on this occasion, if on any whatever, to find a general willingness to show that testimony of gratitude to the immortal gods. But the plebeian ædiles refused to undertake the business: on which the younger patricians, with one accord, cried out, that out of their desire of paying due honour to the deities, they would with pleasure perform it, provided they were appointed ædiles. Their offer was accepted, with universal thanks, and the senate decreed, that the dictator should propose to the people, to appoint two of the patricians to the office of ædiles; and that the senate would give their approbation to all the elections made in that year.
[* ]The mural crown was made of gold, and presented to those, who, in assaults, were the first that forced their way into the towns. The civic crown was composed of oak leaves, and bestowed on him who had saved the life of a citizen. The camp crown, corona vallaris or castrensis, was of gold, and given to the man who first mounted the rampart of an enemy’s camp. The obsidional crown, corona obsidionalis, was composed of grass, and presented by the troops relieved from a siege, to the commander who succoured them.
[* ]1614l. 11s. 8d.