From the Founding of the City/Book 6
The history of the Romans from the foundation of the City to its capture, first under kings, then under consuls, dictators, decemvirs, and consular tribunes, the record of foreign wars and domestic dissensions, has been set forth in the five preceding books. The subject matter is enveloped in obscurity; partly from its great antiquity, like remote objects which are hardly discernible through the vastness of the distance; partly owing to the fact that written records, which form the only trustworthy memorials of events, were in those times few and scanty, and even what did exist in the pontifical commentaries and public and private archives nearly all perished in the conflagration of the City. Starting from the second beginnings of the City, which, like a plant cut down to its roots, sprang up in greater beauty and fruitfulness, the details of its history both civil and military will now be exhibited in their proper order, with greater clearness and certainty. At first the State was supported by the same prop by which it had been raised from the ground, M. Furius, its chief, and he was not allowed to resign office until a year had elapsed. It was decided that the consular tribunes, during whose rule the capture of the City had taken place, should not hold the elections for the ensuing year; matters reverted to an interregnum. The citizens were taken up with the pressing and laborious task of rebuilding their City, and it was during this interval that Q. Fabius, immediately on laying down his office, was indicted by Cn. Marcius, a tribune of the plebs, on the ground that after being sent as an envoy to the Gauls to speak on behalf of the Clusians, he had, contrary to the law of nations, fought against them. He was saved from the threatened proceedings by death; a death so opportune that many people believed it to be a voluntary one. The interregnum began with P. Cornelius Scipio as the first interrex; he was followed by M. Furius Camillus, under whom the election of military tribunes was conducted. Those elected were L. Valerius Publicola, for the second time, L. Verginius, P. Cornelius, A. Manlius, L. Aemilius, and L. Postumius.
They entered upon their office immediately, and their very first case was to submit to the senate measures affecting religion. Orders were made that in the first place search should be made for the treaties and laws - these latter including those of the Twelve Tables and some belonging to the time of the kings - as far as they were still extant. Some were made accessible to the public, but those which dealt with divine worship were kept secret by the pontiffs, mainly in order that the people might remain dependent on them for religious guidance. Then they entered upon a discussion of the "days of prohibition." The 18th of July was marked by a double disaster, for on that day the Fabii were annihilated at the Cremera, and in after years the battle at the Alia which involved the ruin of the City was lost on the same day. From the latter disaster the day was called "the day of the Alia," and was observed by a religious abstinence from all public and private business. The consular tribune Sulpicius had not offered acceptable sacrifices on July 16 (the day after the Ides), and without having secured the good will of the gods the Roman army was exposed to the enemy two days later. Some think that it was for this reason that on the day after the Ides in each month all religious functions were ordered to be suspended, and hence it became the custom to observe the second and the middle days of the month in the same way.
They were not, however, long left undisturbed whilst thus considering the best means of restoring the commonwealth after its grievous fall. On the one side, the Volscians, their ancient foes, had taken up arms in the determination to wipe out the name of Rome; on the other side, traders were bringing in reports of an assembly at the fane of Voltumna, where the leading men from all the Etruscan cantons were forming a hostile league. Still further alarm was created by the defection of the Latins and Hernicans. After the battle of Lake Regillus these nations had never wavered for 100 years in their loyal friendship with Rome. As so many dangers were threatening on all sides and it became evident the name of Rome was not only held in hatred by her foes, but regarded with contempt by her allies, the senate decided that the State should be defended under the auspices of the man by whom it had been recovered, and that M. Furius Camillus should be nominated Dictator. He nominated as his Master of the Horse, C. Servilius Ahala, and after closing the law courts and suspending all business he proceeded to enrol all the men of military age. Those of the "seniors" who still possessed some vigour were placed in separate centuries after they had taken the military oath. When he had completed the enrolment and equipment of the army he formed it into three divisions. One he stationed in the Veientine territory fronting Etruria. The second was ordered to form an entrenched camp to cover the City; A. Manlius, as military tribune, was in command of this division, whilst L. Aemilius in a similar capacity directed the movement against the Etruscans. The third division he led in person against the Volscians and advanced to attack their encampment at a place called Ad Mecium, not far from Lanuvium. They had gone to war in a feeling of contempt for their enemy as they believed that almost all the Roman fighting men had been annihilated by the Gauls, but when they heard that Camillus was in command they were filled with such alarm that they raised a rampart round them and barricaded the rampart with trees piled up round it to prevent the enemy from penetrating their lines at any point. As soon as he became aware of this Camillus ordered fire to be thrown on the barricade. The wind happened to be blowing strongly towards the enemy, and so it not only opened up a way through the fire, but by driving the flames into the camp it produced such consternation amongst the defenders, with the steam and smoke and crackling of the green wood as it burnt, that the Roman soldiers found less difficulty in surmounting the rampart and forcing the camp than in crossing the burnt barricade. The enemy were routed and cut to pieces. After the capture of the camp the Dictator gave the booty to the soldiers; an act all the more welcome to them as they did not expect it from a general by no means given to generosity. In the pursuit he ravaged the length and breadth of the Volscian territory, and at last after seventy years of war forced them to surrender. From his conquest of the Volscians he marched across to the Aequi who were also preparing for war, surprised their army at Bolae, and in the first assault captured not only their camp but their city.
While these successes were occurring in the field of operations where Camillus was the life and soul of the Roman cause, in another direction a terrible danger was threatening. Nearly the whole of Etruria was in arms and was besieging Sutrium, a city in alliance with Rome. Their envoys approached the senate with a request for help in their desperate condition, and the senate passed a decree that the Dictator should render assistance to the Sutrines as soon as he possibly could. Their hopes were deferred, and as the circumstances of the besieged were such as to admit of no longer delay - their scanty numbers being worn out with toil, want of sleep, and fighting, which always fell upon the same persons - they made a conditional surrender of their city. As the mournful procession set forth, leaving their hearths and homes, without arms and with only one garment apiece, Camillus and his army happened just at that moment to appear on the scene. The grief-stricken crowd flung themselves at his feet; the appeals of their leaders, wrung from them by dire necessity, were drowned by the weeping of the women and children who were being dragged along as companions in exile. Camillus bade the Sutrines spare their laments, it was to the Etruscans that he was bringing grief and tears. He then gave orders for the baggage to be deposited, and the Sutrines to remain where they were, and leaving a small detachment on guard ordered his men to follow him with only their arms. With his disencumbered army he marched to Sutrium, and found, as he expected, everything in disorder, as usual after a success, the gates open and unguarded, and the victorious enemy dispersed through the streets carrying plunder away from the houses. Sutrium was captured accordingly twice in the same day; the lately victorious Etruscans were everywhere massacred by their new enemies; no time was allowed them either to concentrate their strength or seize their weapons. As they tried each to make their way to the gates on the chance of escaping to the open country they found them closed; this was the first thing the Dictator ordered to be done. Then some got possession of their arms, others who happened to be armed when the tumult surprised them called their comrades together to make a stand. The despair of the enemy would have led to a fierce struggle had not criers been despatched throughout the city to order all to lay down their arms and those without arms to be spared; none were to be injured unless found in arms. Those who had determined in their extremity to fight to the end, now that hopes of life were offered them threw away their arms in all directions, and, since Fortune had made this the safer course, gave themselves as unarmed men to the enemy. Owing to their great number, they were distributed in various places for safe keeping. Before nightfall the town was given back to the Sutrines uninjured and untouched by all the ruin of war, since it had not been taken by storm but surrendered on conditions.
Camillus returned in triumphal procession to the City, after having been victorious in three simultaneous wars. By far the greatest number of the prisoners who were led before his chariot belonged to the Etruscans. They were publicly sold, and so much was realised that after the matrons had been repaid for their gold, three golden bowls were made from what was left. These were inscribed with the name of Camillus, and it is generally believed that previous to the fire in the Capitol they were deposited in the chapel of Jupiter before the feet of Juno. During the year, those of the inhabitants of Veii, Capenae, and Fidenae who had gone over to the Romans whilst these wars were going on, were admitted into full citizenship and received an allotment of land. The senate passed a resolution recalling those who had repaired to Veii and taken possession of the empty houses there to avoid the labour of rebuilding. At first they protested and took no notice of the order; then a day was fixed, and those who had not returned by that date were threatened with outlawry. This step made each man fear for himself, and from being united in defiance they now showed individual obedience. Rome was growing in population, and buildings were rising up in every part of it. The State gave financial assistance; the aediles urged on the work as though it were a State undertaking; the individual citizens were in a hurry to complete their task through need of accommodation. Within the year the new City was built.
At the close of the year elections of consular tribunes were held. Those elected were T. Quinctius Cincinnatus, Q. Servilius Fidenas (for the fifth time), L. Julius Julus, L. Aquilius Corvus, L. Lucretius Tricipitinus, and Ser. Sulpicius Rufus. One army was led against the Aequi - not to war, for they acknowledged that they were conquered, but - to ravage their territories so that no strength might be left them for future aggression. The other advanced into the district of Tarquinii. There, Cortuosa and Contenebra, towns belonging to the Etruscans, were taken by assault. At Cortuosa there was no fighting, the garrison were surprised and the place was carried at the very first assault. Contenebra stood a siege for a few days, but the incessant toil without any remission day or night proved too much for them. The Roman army was formed into six divisions, each of which took its part in the fighting in turn every six hours. The small number of the defenders necessitated the same men continually coming into action against a fresh enemy; at last they gave up, and an opening was afforded the Romans for entering the city. The tribunes decided that the booty should be sold on behalf of the State, but they were slower in announcing their decision than in forming it; whilst they were hesitating, the soldiery had already appropriated it, and it could not be taken from them without creating bitter resentment. The growth of the City was not confined to private buildings. A substructure of squared stones was built beneath the Capitol during this year, which, even amidst the present magnificence of the City, is a conspicuous object.
Whilst the citizens were taken up with their building, the tribunes of the plebs tried to make the meetings of the Assembly more attractive by bringing forward agrarian proposals. They held out the prospect of acquiring the Pomptine territory, which, now that the Volscians had been reduced by Camillus, had become the indisputable possession of Rome. This territory, they alleged, was in much greater danger from the nobles than it had been from the Volscians, for the latter only made raids into it as long as they had strength and weapons, but the nobles were putting themselves in possession of the public domain, and unless it was allotted before they appropriated everything there would be no room for plebeians there. They did not produce much impression on the plebeians, who were busy with their building and only attended the Assembly in small numbers, and as their expenses had exhausted their means, they felt no interest in land which they were unable to develop owing to want of capital. In a community devoted to religious observances, the recent disaster had filled the leading men with superstitious fears; in order, therefore, that the auspices might be taken afresh they fell back upon an interregnum. There were three interreges in succession - M. Manlius Capitolinus, Ser. Sulpicius Camerinus, and L. Valerius Potitus. The last of these conducted the election of consular tribunes. Those elected were: L. Papirius, C. Cornelius, C. Sergius, L. Aemilius (for the second time), L. Menenius, and L. Valerius Publicola (for the third time). They immediately entered office. In this year the temple of Mars, which had been vowed in the Gaulish war, was dedicated by T. Quinctius, one of the two custodians of the Sibylline Books. The new citizens were formed into four additional tribes - the Stellatine, the Tromentine, the Sabatine, and the Arnian. These brought up the number of the tribes to twenty-five.
The question of the Pomptine territory was again raised by L. Sicinius, a tribune of the plebs, and the people attended the Assembly in greater numbers and showed a more eager desire for land than they had done. In the senate the subject of the Latin and Hernican wars was mentioned, but owing to the concern felt about a more serious war, it was adjourned. Etruria was in arms. They again fell back on Camillus. He was made consular tribune, and five colleagues were assigned to him: Ser. Cornelius Maluginensis, Q. Servilius Fidenas (for the sixth time), L. Quinctius Cincinnatus, L. Horatius Pulvillus, and P. Valerius. At the beginning of the year public anxiety was diverted from the Etruscan war by the arrival in the City of a body of fugitives from the Pomptine territory, who reported that the Antiates were in arms, and that the Latin cantons had sent their fighting men to assist them. The latter explained in their defence that it was not in consequence of a formal act of their government; all they had done was to decline prohibiting any one from serving where he chose as a volunteer. It was no longer the fashion to think lightly of any wars. The senate thanked heaven that Camillus was in office, for certainly had he been a private citizen he must have been nominated Dictator. His colleagues admitted that when any alarm arose of threatened war the supreme direction of everything must be in one man's hands, and they had made up their minds to subordinate their powers to Camillus, feeling assured that to enhance his authority in no way derogated from their own. This action of the consular tribunes met with the hearty approval of the senate, and Camillus, in modest confusion, returned thanks to them. He went on to say that a tremendous burden had been laid upon him by the people of Rome in making him practically Dictator for the fourth time; a heavy responsibility had been put upon him by the senate, who had passed such a flattering judgment upon him; heaviest of all by his colleagues in the honour they had done him. If it were possible for him to show still greater activity and vigilance, he would strive so to surpass himself that he might make the lofty estimation, which his fellow-citizens had with such striking unanimity formed of him, a lasting one. As far as war with the Antiates was concerned, the outlook was threatening rather than dangerous; at the same time he advised them, whilst fearing nothing, to treat nothing with indifference. Rome was beset by the ill-will and hatred of its neighbours, and the interests of the State therefore required several generals and several armies.
He proceeded: "You, P. Valerius, I wish to associate with myself in counsel and command, and you will lead the legions in concert with me against the Antiates. You, Q. Servilius, will keep a second army ready for instant service encamped by the City, prepared for any movement, such as recently took place, on the part of Etruria or on the side of the Latins and Hernicans who are causing us this fresh trouble. I am quite certain that you will conduct the campaign in a manner worthy of your father, your grandfather, yourself, and your six tribuneships. A third army must be raised by L. Quinctius from the seniors, and those excused from service on grounds of health, to garrison the defences of the City. L. Horatius is to provide armour, weapons, corn, and everything else required in a time of war. You, Ser. Cornelius, are appointed by us your colleagues as president of this Council of State, and guardian of everything pertaining to religion, of the Assembly, the laws, and all matters touching the City." All gladly promised to devote themselves to the various duties assigned them; Valerius, associated in the chief command, added that he should look upon M. Furius as Dictator and regard himself as his Master of the Horse, and the estimation in which they held their sole commander should be the measure of the hopes they entertained as to the issue of the war. The senators, in high delight, exclaimed that they at all events were full of hope with regard to war and peace and all that concerned the republic; there would never be any need for a Dictator when they had such men in office, with such perfect harmony of feeling, prepared equally to obey or command, conferring glory on their country instead of appropriating their country's glory to themselves.
After proclaiming a suspension of all public business and completing the enrolment of troops, Furius and Valerius proceeded to Satricum. Here the Antiates had massed not only Volscian troops drawn from a new generation but also an immense body of Latins and Hernicans, nations whose strength had been growing through long years of peace. This coalition of new enemies with old ones daunted the spirits of the Roman soldiers. Camillus was already drawing up his men for battle when the centurions brought reports to him of the discouragement of his troops, the want of alacrity in arming themselves, and the hesitation and unwillingness with which they were marching out of camp. Men were even heard saying that "they were going to fight one against a hundred, and that such a multitude could hardly be withstood even if unarmed, much less now that they were in arms." He at once sprang on his horse, faced the line and, riding along the front, addressed his men: "What is this gloom, soldiers, this extraordinary hesitation? Are you strangers to the enemy, or to me, or to yourselves? As for the enemy - what is he but the means through which you always prove your courage and win renown? And as for you - not to mention the capture of Falerii and Veii and the slaughter of the Gaulish legions inside your captured City - have you not, under my leadership, enjoyed a triple triumph for a threefold victory over these very Volscians, as well as over the Aequi and over Etruria? Or is it that you do not recognise me as your general because I have given the battle signal not as Dictator but as a consular tribune? I feel no craving for the highest authority over you, nor ought you to see in me anything beyond what I am in myself; the Dictatorship has never increased my spirits and energy, nor did my exile diminish them. We are all of us, then, the same that we have ever been, and since we are bringing just the same qualities into this war that we have displayed in all former wars, let us look forward to the same result. As soon as you meet your foe, every one will do what he has been trained and accustomed to do; you will conquer, they will fly."
Then, after sounding the charge, he sprang from his horse and, catching hold of the nearest standard-bearer, he hurried with him against the enemy, exclaiming at the same time: "On, soldier, with the standard!" When they saw Camillus, weakened as he was by age, charging in person against the enemy, they all raised the battle-cry and rushed forward, shouting in all directions, "Follow the General!" It is stated that by Camillus' orders the standard was flung into the enemy's lines in order to incite the men of the front rank to recover it. It was in this quarter that the Antiates were first repulsed, and the panic spread through the front ranks as far as the reserves. This was due not only to the efforts of the troops, stimulated as they were by the presence of Camillus, but also to the terror which his actual appearance inspired in the Volscians, to whom he was a special object of dread. Thus, wherever he advanced he carried certain victory with him. This was especially evident in the Roman left, which was on the point of giving way, when, after flinging himself on his horse and armed with an infantry shield, he rode up to it and by simply showing himself and pointing to the rest of the line who were winning the day, restored the battle. The action was now decided, but owing to the crowding together of the enemy their flight was impeded and the victorious soldiers grew weary of the prolonged slaughter of such an enormous number of fugitives. A sudden storm of rain and wind put an end to what had become a decisive victory more than a battle. The signal was given to retire, and the night that followed brought the war to a close without any further exertions on the part of the Romans, for the Latins and Hernicans left the Volscians to their fate and started for home, after obtaining a result correspondent to their evil counsels. When the Volscians found themselves deserted by the men whom they had relied upon when they renewed hostilities, they abandoned their camp and shut themselves up in Satricum. At first Camillus invested them with the usual siege works; but when he found that no sorties were made to impede his operations, he considered that the enemy did not possess sufficient courage to justify him in waiting for a victory of which there was only a distant prospect. After encouraging his soldiers by telling them not to wear themselves by protracted toil, as though they were attacking another Veii, for victory was already within their grasp, he planted scaling ladders all round the walls and took the place by storm. The Volscians flung away their arms and surrendered.
The general, however, had a more important object in view - Antium, the capital of the Volscians and the starting point of the last war. Owing to its strength, the capture of that city could only be effected by a considerable quantity of siege apparatus, artillery, and war machines. Camillus therefore left his colleague in command and went to Rome to urge upon the senate the necessity of destroying Antium. In the middle of his speech - I think it was the will of heaven that Antium should remain some time longer - envoys arrived from Nepete and Sutrium begging for help against the Etruscans and pointing out that the chance of rendering assistance would soon be lost. Fortune diverted Camillus' energies from Antium to that quarter, for those places, fronting Etruria, served as gates and barriers on that side, and the Etruscans were anxious to secure them whenever they were meditating hostilities, whilst the Romans were equally anxious to recover and hold them. The senate accordingly decided to arrange with Camillus that he should let Antium go and undertake the war with Etruria. They assigned to him the legions in the City which Quinctius was commanding, and though he would have preferred the army which was acting against the Volsci, of which he had had experience and which was accustomed to his command, he raised no objection; all he asked for was that Valerius should share the command with him. Quinctius and Horatius were sent against the Volscian in succession to Valerius. When they reached Sutrium, Furius and Valerius found a part of the city in the hands of the Etruscans; in the rest of the place the inhabitants were with difficulty keeping the enemy at bay behind barricades which they had erected in the streets. The approach of succours from Rome and the name of Camillus, famous amongst allies and enemies alike, relieved the situation for the moment and allowed time to render assistance. Camillus accordingly formed his army into two divisions and ordered his colleague to take one round to the side which the enemy were holding and commence an attack on the walls. This was done not so much in the hope that the attack would succeed as that the enemy's attention might be distracted so as to afford a respite to the wearied defenders and an opportunity for him to effect an entrance into the town without fighting. The Etruscans, finding themselves attacked on both sides, the walls being assaulted from without and the townsmen fighting within, flung themselves in one panic-stricken mass through the only gate which happened to be clear of the enemy. A great slaughter of the fugitives took place both in the city and in the fields outside. Furius' men accounted for many inside the walls, whilst Valerius' troops were more lightly equipped for pursuit, and they did not put an end to the carnage till nightfall prevented their seeing any longer. After the recapture of Sutrium and its restoration to our allies, the army marched to Nepete, which had surrendered to the Etruscans and of which they were in complete possession.
It looked as if the capture of that city would give more trouble, not only because the whole of it was in the hands of the enemy, but also because the surrender had been effected through the treachery of some of the townsfolk. Camillus, however, determined to send a message to their leaders requesting them to withdraw from the Etruscans and give a practical proof of that loyalty to allies which they had implored the Romans to observe towards them. Their reply was that they were powerless; the Etruscans were holding the walls and guarding the gates. At first it was sought to intimidate the townsmen by harrying their territory. As, however, they persisted in adhering more faithfully to the terms of surrender than to their alliance with Rome, fascines of brushwood were collected from the surrounding country to fill up the fosse, the army advanced to the attack, the scaling ladders were placed against the walls, and at the very first attempt the town was captured. Proclamation was then made that the Nepesines were to lay down their arms, and all who did so were ordered to be spared. The Etruscans, whether armed or not, were killed, and the Nepesines who had been the agents of the surrender were beheaded; the population who had no share in it received their property back, and the town was left with a garrison. After thus recovering two cities in alliance with Rome from the enemy, the consular tribunes led their victorious army, covered with glory, home. During this year satisfaction was demanded from the Latins and Hernici; they were asked why they had not for these last few years furnished a contingent in accordance with the treaty. A full representative assembly of each nation was held to discuss the terms of the reply. This was to the effect that it was through no fault or public act of the State that some of their men had fought in the Volscian ranks; these had paid the penalty of their folly, not a single one had returned. The reason why they had supplied no troops was their incessant fear of the Volscians; this thorn in their side they had not, even after such a long succession of wars, been able to get rid of. The senate regarded this reply as affording a justifiable ground for war, but the present time was deemed inopportune.
The consular tribunes who succeeded were A. Manlius, P. Cornelius, T. and L. Quinctius Capitolinus, L. Papirius Cursor (for the second time), and C. Sergius (for the second time). In this year a serious war broke out, and a still more serious disturbance at home. The war was begun by the Volscians, aided by the revolted Latins and Hernici. The domestic trouble arose in a quarter where it was least to be apprehended, from a man of patrician birth and brilliant reputation - M. Manlius Capitolinus. Full of pride and presumption, he looked down upon the foremost men with scorn; one in particular he regarded with envious eyes, a man conspicuous for his distinctions and his merits - M. Furius Camillus. He bitterly resented this man's unique position amongst the magistrates and in the affections of the army, and declared that he was now such a superior person that he treated those who had been appointed under the same auspices as himself, not as his colleagues, but as his servants, and yet if any one would form a just judgment he would see that M. Furius could not possibly have rescued his country. When it was beleaguered by the enemy had not he, Manlius, saved the Capitol and the Citadel? Camillus attacked the Gauls while they were off their guard, their minds pre-occupied with obtaining the gold and securing peace; he, on the other hand, had driven them off when they were armed for battle and actually capturing the Citadel. Camillus' glory was shared by every man who conquered with him, whereas no mortal man could obviously claim any part in his victory.
With his head full of these notions and being unfortunately a man of headstrong and passionate nature, he found that his influence was not so powerful with the patricians as he thought it ought to be, so he went over to the plebs - the first patrician to do so - and adopted the political methods of their magistrates. He abused the senate and courted the populace and, impelled by the breeze of popular favour more than by conviction or judgment, preferred notoriety to respectability. Not content with the agrarian laws which had hitherto always served the tribunes of the plebs as the material for their agitation, he began to undermine the whole system of credit, for he saw that the laws of debt caused more irritation than the others; they not only threatened poverty and disgrace, but they terrified the freeman with the prospect of fetters and imprisonment. And, as a matter of fact, a vast amount of debt had been contracted owing to the expense of building, an expense most ruinous even to the rich. It became, therefore, a question of arming the government with stronger powers, and the Volscian war, serious in itself but made much more so by the defection of the Latins and Hernici, was put forward as the ostensible reason. It was, however, the revolutionary designs of Manlius that mainly decided the senate to nominate a Dictator. A. Cornelius Cossus was nominated, and he named T. Quinctius Capitolinus as his Master of the Horse.
Although the Dictator recognised that a more difficult contest lay before him at home than abroad, he enrolled his troops and proceeded to the Pomptine territory, which, he heard, had been invaded by the Volscians. Either he considered it necessary to take prompt military measures or he hoped to strengthen his hands as Dictator by a victory and a triumph. I have no doubt that my readers will be tired of such a long record of incessant wars with the Volscians, but they will also be struck with the same difficulty which I have myself felt whilst examining the authorities who lived nearer to the period, namely, from what source did the Volscians obtain sufficient soldiers after so many defeats? Since this point has been passed over by the ancient writers, what can I do more than express an opinion such as any one may form from his own inferences? Probably, in the interval between one war and another, they trained each fresh generation against the renewal of hostilities, as is now done in the enlistment of Roman troops, or their armies were not always drawn from the same districts, though it was always the same nation that carried on the war, or there must have been an innumerable free population in those districts which are barely now kept from desolation by the scanty tillage of Roman slaves, with hardly so much as a miserably small recruiting ground for soldiers left. At all events, the authorities are unanimous in asserting that the Volscians had an immense army in spite of their having been so lately crippled by the successes of Camillus. Their numbers were increased by the Latins and Hernici, as well as by a body of Circeians, and even by a contingent from Velitrae, where there was a Roman colony.
On the day he arrived the Dictator formed his camp. On the morrow, after taking the auspices and supplicating the favour of the gods by sacrifice and prayer, he advanced in high spirits to the soldiers who were already in the early dawn arming themselves according to orders against the moment when the signal for battle should be given. "Ours, soldiers," he exclaimed, "is the victory, if the gods and their interpreters see at all into the future. Let us then, as becomes men filled with sure hopes, who are going to engage an enemy who is no match for us, lay our javelins at our feet and arm ourselves only with our swords. I would not even have any running forward from the line; stand firm and receive the enemy's charge without stirring a foot. When they have hurled their ineffective missiles and their disordered ranks fling themselves upon you, then let your swords flash and let every man remember that it is the gods who are helping the Romans, it is the gods who have sent you into battle with favourable omens. You, T. Quinctius, keep your cavalry in hand and wait till the fight has begun, but when you see the lines locked together, foot to foot, then strike with the terror of your cavalry those who are already overtaken with other terrors. Charge and scatter their ranks while they are in the thick of the fight." Cavalry and infantry alike fought in accordance with their instructions. The commander did not disappoint his soldiers, nor did Fortune disappoint the commander.
The vast host of the enemy, relying solely on their numbers and measuring the strength of each army merely by their eyes, went recklessly into the battle and as recklessly abandoned it. Courageous enough in the battle shout, in discharging their weapons, in making the first charge, they were unable to stand the foot to foot fighting and the looks of their opponents, glowing with the ardour of battle. Their front was driven in and the demoralisation extended to the supports; the charge of the cavalry produced fresh panic; the ranks were broken in many places, the whole army was in commotion and resembled a retreating wave. When each of them saw that as those in front fell he would be the next to be cut down, they turned and fled. The Romans pressed hard upon them, and as long as the enemy defended themselves whilst retreating, it was the infantry to whom the task of pursuit fell. When they were seen to be throwing away their arms in all directions and dispersing over the fields, the signal was given for the squadrons of cavalry to be launched against them, and these were instructed not to lose time by cutting down individual fugitives and to give the main body a chance of escaping. It would be enough to check them by hurling missiles and galloping across their front, and generally terrifying them until the infantry could come up and regularly dispatch the enemy. The flight and pursuit did not end till nightfall. The Volscian camp was taken and plundered on the same day, and all the booty, with the exception of the prisoners, was bestowed on the soldiers. The majority of the captives belonged to the Hernici and Latins, not men of the plebeian class, who might have been regarded as only mercenaries, they were found to include some of the principal men of their fighting force, a clear proof that those States had formally assisted the enemy. Some were also recognised as belonging to Circeii and to the colony at Velitrae. They were all sent to Rome and examined by the leaders of the senate; they gave them the same replies which they had made to the Dictator, and disclosed without any attempt at evasion the defection of their respective nations.
The Dictator kept his army permanently encamped, fully expecting that the senate would declare war against those peoples. A much greater trouble at home, however, necessitated his recall. The sedition which, owing to its ringleader's work, was exceptionally alarming, was gaining strength from day to day. For to any one who looked at his motives, not only the speeches, but still more the conduct of M. Manlius, though ostensibly in the interest of the people, would have appeared revolutionary and dangerous. When he saw a centurion, a distinguished soldier, led away as an adjudged debtor, he ran into the middle of the Forum with his crowd of supporters and laid his hand on him. After declaiming against the tyranny of patricians and the brutality of usurers and the wretched condition of the plebs he said: " It was then in vain that I with this right hand saved the Capitol and Citadel if I have to see a fellow-citizen and a comrade in arms carried off to chains and slavery just as though he had been captured by the victorious Gauls." Then, before all the people, he paid the sum due to the creditors, and after thus freeing the man by "copper and scales," sent him home. The released debtor appealed to gods and men to reward Manlius, his deliverer and the beneficial protector of the Roman plebs. A noisy crowd immediately surrounded him, and he increased the excitement by displaying the scars left by wounds he had received in the wars against Veii and the Gauls and in recent campaigns. "Whilst," he cried, "I was serving in the field and whilst I was trying to restore my desolated home, I paid in interest an amount equal to many times the principal, but as the fresh interest always exceeded my capital, I was buried beneath the load of debt. It is owing to M. Manlius that I can now look upon the light of day, the Forum, the faces of my fellow-citizens; from him I have received all the kindness which a parent can show to a child; to him I devote all that remains of my bodily powers, my blood, my life. In that one man is centered everything that binds me to my home, my country, and my country's gods."
The plebs, wrought upon by this language, had now completely espoused this one man's cause, when another circumstance occurred, still more calculated to create universal confusion. Manlius brought under the auctioneer's hammer an estate in the Veientine territory which comprised the principal part of his patrimony - "In order," he said, "that as long as any of my property remains, I may prevent any of you Quirites from being delivered up to your creditors as judgment debtors." This roused them to such a pitch that it was quite clear that they would follow the champion of their liberties through anything, right or wrong. To add to the mischief, he delivered speeches in his own house, as though he were haranguing the Assembly, full of calumnious abuse of the senate. Indifferent to the truth or falsehood of what he said, he declared, among other things, that the stores of gold collected for the Gauls were being hidden away by the patricians; they were no longer content with appropriating the public lands unless they could also embezzle the public funds; if that affair were brought to light, the debts of the plebs could be wiped off. With this hope held out to them they thought it a most shameful proceeding that whilst the gold got together to ransom the City from the Gauls had been raised by general taxation, this very gold when recovered from the enemy had become the plunder of a few. They insisted therefore, on finding out where this vast stolen booty was concealed, and as Manlius kept putting them off and announcing that he would choose his own time for the disclosure, the universal interest became absorbed in this question to the exclusion of everything else. There would clearly be no limit to their gratitude if his information proved correct, or to their displeasure if it turned out to be false.
Whilst matters were in this state of suspense the Dictator had been summoned from the army and arrived in the City. After satisfying himself as to the state of public feeling he called a meeting of the senate for the following day and ordered them to remain in constant attendance upon him. He then ordered his chair of office to be placed on the tribunal in the Comitium and, surrounded by the senators as a bodyguard, sent his officer to M. Manlius. On receiving the Dictator's summons Manlius gave his party a signal that a conflict was imminent and appeared before the tribunal with an immense crowd round him. On the one side the senate, on the other side the plebs, each with their eyes fixed on their respective leaders, stood facing one another as though drawn up for battle. After silence was obtained, the Dictator said: "I wish the senate and myself could come to an understanding with the plebs on all other matters as easily as, I am convinced, we shall about you and the subject on which I am about to examine you. I see that you have led your fellow-citizens to expect that all debts can be paid without any loss to the creditors out of the treasure recovered from the Gauls, which you say the leading patricians are secreting. I am so far from wishing to hinder this project that, on the contrary, I challenge you, M. Manlius, to take off from their hidden hordes those who, like sitting hens, are brooding over treasures which belong to the State. If you fail to do this, either because you yourself have your part in the spoils or because your charge is unfounded, I shall order you to be thrown into prison and will not suffer the people to be excited by the false hopes which you have raised.
Manlius said in reply that he had not been mistaken in his suspicions; it was not against the Volscians who were treated as enemies whenever it was in the interest of the patricians so to treat them, nor against the Latins and Hernici whom they were driving to arms by false charges, that a Dictator had been appointed, but against him and the Roman plebs. They had dropped their pretended war and were now attacking him; the Dictator was openly declaring himself the protector of the usurers against the plebeians; the gratitude and affection which the people were showing towards himself were being made the ground for charges against him which would ruin him. He proceeded: "The crowd which I have round me is an offence in your eyes, A. Cornelius, and in yours, senators. Then why do you not each of you withdraw it from me by acts of kindness, by offering security, by releasing your fellow-citizens from the stocks, by preventing them from being adjudged to their creditors, by supporting others in their necessity out of the superabundance of your own wealth? But why should I urge you to spend your own money? Be content with a moderate capital, deduct from the principal what has already been paid in interest, then the crowd round me will be no more noticeable than that round any one else. But do I alone show this anxiety for my fellow-citizens? I can only answer that question as I should answer another - Why did I alone save the Capitol and the Citadel? Then I did what I could to save the body of citizens as a whole, now I am doing what I can to help individuals. As to the gold of the Gauls, your question throws difficulties round a thing which is simple enough in itself. For why do you ask me about a matter which is within your own knowledge? Why do you order what is in your purse to be shaken out from it rather than surrender it voluntarily, unless there is some dishonesty at bottom? The more you order your conjuring tricks to be detected, the more, I fear, will you hoodwink those who are watching you. It is not I who ought to be compelled to discover your plunder for you, it is you who ought to be compelled to publicly produce it."
The Dictator ordered him to drop all subterfuge, and insisted upon his either adducing trustworthy evidence or admitting that he had been guilty of concocting false accusations against the senate and exposing them to odium on a baseless charge of theft. He refused, and said he would not speak at the bidding of his enemies, whereupon the Dictator ordered him to be taken to prison. When apprehended by the officer he exclaimed: "Jupiter Optimus Maximus, Queen Juno, Minerva, all ye gods and goddesses who dwell in the Capitol, do ye suffer your soldier and defender to be thus persecuted by his enemies? Shall this right hand with which I drove the Gauls from your shrines be manacled and fettered?" None could endure to see or hear the indignity offered him, but the State, in its absolute submission to lawful authority, had imposed upon itself limits which could not be passed; neither the tribunes of the plebs nor the plebeians themselves ventured to cast an angry look or breathe a syllable against the action of the Dictator. It seems pretty certain that after Manlius was thrown into prison, a great number of plebeians went into mourning; many let their hair grow, and the vestibule of the prison was beset by a depressed and sorrowful crowd. The Dictator celebrated his triumph over the Volscians, but his triumph increased his unpopularity; men complained that the victory was won at home, not in the field, over a citizen, not over an enemy. One thing alone was lacking in the pageant of tyranny, Manlius was not led in procession before the victor's chariot. Matters were rapidly drifting towards sedition, and the senate took the initiative in endeavouring to calm the prevailing unrest. Before any demand had been put forward they ordered that 2000 Roman citizens should be settled as colonists at Satricum, and each receive two and a half jugera of land. This was regarded as too small a grant, distributed amongst too small a number; it was looked upon, in fact, as a bribe for the betrayal of Manlius, and the proposed remedy only inflamed the disease. By this time the crowd of Manlian sympathisers had become conspicuous for their dirty garments and dejected looks. It was not till the Dictator laid down his office after his triumph and so removed the terror which he inspired that the tongues and spirits of men were once more free.
Men were heard openly reproaching the populace for always encouraging their defenders till they led them to the brink of the precipice and deserting them when the moment of danger actually came. It was in this way, they said, that Sp. Cassius, while seeking to get the plebs on to the land, and Sp. Maelius, whilst staving off famine at his own cost from the mouths of his fellow-citizens, had both been crushed; it was in this way that M. Manlius was betrayed to his foes, whilst rescuing a part of the community who were overwhelmed and submerged by usurious extortion and bringing them back to light and liberty. The plebs fattened up their own defenders for slaughter. Was it not to be permitted that a man of consular rank should refuse to answer at the beck and call of a Dictator ? Assuming that he had previously been speaking falsely, and had therefore no reply ready at the time, was there ever a slave who had been thrown into prison as a punishment for lying? Had they forgotten that night which was all but a final and eternal night for Rome? Could they not recall the sight of the troop of Gauls climbing up over the Tarpeian rock, or that of Manlius himself as they had actually seen him, covered with blood and sweat, after rescuing, one might almost say, Jupiter himself from the hands of the enemy. Had they discharged their obligation to the saviour of their country by giving him half a pound of corn each? Was the man whom they almost regarded as a god, whom they at all events placed on a level with Jupiter of the Capitol by giving him the epithet of Capitolinus - was that man to be allowed to drag out his life in chains and darkness at the mercy of the executioner? Had the help of one man sufficed to save all, and was there amongst them all no help to be found for that one man? By this time the crowd refused to leave the spot even at night, and were threatening to break open the prison when the senate conceded what they were going to extort by violence, and passed a resolution that Manlius should be released. This did not put an end to the seditious agitation, it simply provided it with a leader. During this time the Latins and Hernici, together with the colonists from Circeii and Velitrae, sent to Rome to clear themselves from the charge of being concerned in the Volscian war and to ask for the surrender of their countrymen who had been made prisoners, that they might proceed against them under their own laws. An unfavourable reply was given to the Latins and Hernici, a still more unfavourable one to the colonists, because they had entertained the impious project of attacking their mother country. Not only was the surrender of the prisoners refused, but they received a stern warning from the senate, which was withheld from the Latins and Hernici, to make their way speedily from the City out of the sight of the Roman people; otherwise they would be no longer protected by the rights of ambassadors, rights which were established for foreigners, not for citizens.
At the close of the year, amidst the growing agitation headed by Manlius, the elections were held. The new consular tribunes were: Ser. Cornelius Maluginensis and P. Valerius Potitus (each for the second time), M. Furius Camillus (for the fifth time), Ser. Sulpicius Rufus (for the second time), C. Papirius Crassus and T. Quinctius Cincinnatus (for the second time). The year opened in peace, which was most opportune for both patricians and plebeians - for the plebs, because as they were not called away to serve in the ranks, they hoped to secure relief from the burden of debt, especially now that they had such a strong leader; for the patricians, as no external alarms would distract their minds from dealing with their domestic troubles. As each side was more prepared for the struggle it could not long be delayed. Manlius, too, was inviting the plebeians to his house and discussing night and day revolutionary plans with their leaders in a much more aggressive and resentful spirit than formerly. His resentment was kindled by the recent humiliation inflicted on a spirit unaccustomed to disgrace; his aggressiveness was encouraged by his belief that the Dictator had not ventured to treat him as Quinctius Cincinnatus had treated Sp. Maelius, for not only had the Dictator avoided the odium created by his imprisonment through resignation, but even the senate had not been able to face it.
Emboldened and embittered by these considerations, he roused the passions of the plebs, who were already incensed enough, to a higher pitch by his harangues. "How long, pray," he asked, " are you going to remain in ignorance of your strength, an ignorance which nature forbids even to beasts? Do at least reckon up your numbers and those of your opponents. Even if you were going to attack them on equal terms, man for man, I believe that you would fight more desperately for freedom than they for power. But you are much more numerous, for all you who have been in attendance on your patrons as clients will now confront them as adversaries. You have only to make a show of war and you will have peace. Let them see you are prepared to use force, they will abate their claims. You must dare something as a body or you will have to suffer everything as individuals. How long will you look to me? I certainly shall not fail you, see to it that Fortune does not fail me. I, your avenger, when your enemies thought fit was suddenly reduced to nothing, and you watched the man carried off to prison who had warded off imprisonment from so many of you. What have I to hope for, if my enemies dare to do more to me? Am I to look for the fate of Cassius and Maelius? It is all very well to cry in horror, ' The gods will prevent that,' but they will never come down from heaven on my account. You must prevent it; they must give you the courage to do so, as they gave me courage to defend you as a soldier from the barbarian enemy and as a civilian from your tyrannical fellow-citizens. Is the spirit of this great nation so small that you will always remain contented with the aid which your tribunes now afford you against your enemies, and never know any subject of dispute with the patricians, except as to how far you allow them to lord it over you ? This is not your natural instinct, you are the slaves of habit. For why is it that you display such spirit towards foreign nations as to think it fair and just that you should rule over them? Because with them you have been wont to contend for dominion, while against these domestic enemies it has been a contest for liberty, which you have mostly attempted rather than maintained. Still, whatever leaders you have had, whatever qualities you yourselves have shown, you have so far, either by your strength or your good fortune, achieved every object, however great, on which you have set your hearts. Now it is time to attempt greater things. If you will only put your own good fortune to the test, if you will only put me to the test, who have already been tested fortunately, I hope, for you, you will have less trouble in setting up some one to lord it over the patricians than you have had in setting up men to resist their lording it over you. Dictatorships and consulships must be levelled to the ground in order that the Roman plebs may lift up its head. Take your places, then, in the Forum; prevent any judgment for debt from being pronounced. I profess myself the Patron of the plebs, a title with which my care and fidelity have invested me; if you prefer to designate your leader by any other title of honour or command, you will find in him a more powerful instrument for attaining the objects you desire." It is said that this was the first step in his attempt to secure kingly power, but there is no clear tradition as to his fellow-conspirators or the extent to which his plans were developed
On the other side, however, the senate were discussing this secession of the plebs to a private house, which happened to be situated on the Capitol, and the great danger with which liberty was menaced. A great many exclaimed that what was wanted was a Servilius Ahala, who would not simply irritate an enemy to the State by ordering him to be sent to prison, but would put an end to the intestine war by the sacrifice of a single citizen. They finally took refuge in a resolution which was milder in its terms but possessed equal force, viz., that "the magistrates should see to it that the republic received no hurt from the mischievous designs of M. Manlius." Thereupon the consular tribunes and the tribunes of the plebs - for these latter recognised that the end of liberty would also be the end of their power, and had, therefore, placed themselves under the authority of the senate - all consulted together as to what were the necessary steps to take. As no one could suggest anything but the employment of force and its inevitable bloodshed, while this would obviously lead to a frightful struggle, M. Menenius and Q. Publilius, tribunes of the plebs, spoke as follows: "Why are we making that which ought to be a contest between the State and one pestilent citizen into a conflict between patricians and plebeians? Why do we attack the plebs through him when it is so much safer to attack him through the plebs, so that he may sink into ruin under the weight of his own strength? It is our intention to fix a day for his trial. Nothing is less desired by the people than kingly power. As soon as that body of plebeians become aware that the quarrel is not with them, and find that from being his supporters they have become his judges; as soon as they see a patrician on his trial, and learn that the charge before them is one of aiming at monarchy, they will not show favour to any man more than to their own liberty."
Amidst universal approval they fixed a day for the trial of Manlius. There was at first much perturbation amongst the plebs, especially when they saw him going about in mourning garb without a single patrician, or any of his relatives or connections and, strangest of all, neither of his brothers, Aulus and Titus Manlius, being similarly attired. For up to that day such a thing had never been known, that at such a crisis in a man's fate even those nearest to him did not put on mourning. They remembered that when Appius Claudius was thrown into prison, his personal enemy, Caius Claudius, and the whole house of the Claudii, wore mourning. They regarded it as a conspiracy to crush a popular hero, because he was the first man to go over from the patricians to the plebs. What evidence strictly bearing out the charge of treason was adduced by the prosecution at the actual trial, beyond the gatherings at his house, his seditious utterances, and his false statement about the gold, I do not find stated by any authority. But I have no doubt that it was anything but slight, for the hesitation shown by the people in finding him guilty was not due to the merits of the case, but to the locality where the trial took place. This is a thing to be noted in order that men may see how great and glorious deeds are not only deprived of all merit, but made positively hateful by a loathesome hankering after kingly power.
He is said to have produced nearly four hundred people to whom he had advanced money without interest, whom he had prevented from being sold up and having their persons adjudged to their creditors. It is stated that besides this he not only enumerated his military distinctions, but brought them forward for inspection; the spoils of as many as thirty enemies whom he had slain, gifts from commanders-in-chief to the number of forty, amongst them two mural crowns and eight civil ones. In addition to these, he produced citizens whom he had rescued from the enemy, and named C. Servilius, Master of the Horse, who was not present, as one of them. After he had recalled his warlike achievements in a great speech corresponding to the loftiness of his theme, his language rising to the level of his exploits, he bared his breast, ennobled by the scars of battle, and looking towards the Capitol repeatedly invoked Jupiter and the other deities to come to the aid of his shattered fortunes. He prayed that they would, in this crisis of his fate, inspire the Roman people with the same feeling with which they inspired him when he was protecting the Citadel and the Capitol and so saving Rome. Then turning to his judges, he implored them one and all to judge his cause with their eyes fixed on the Capitol, looking towards the immortal gods.
As it was in the Campus Martius that the people were to vote in their centuries, and the defendant, stretching forth his hands towards the Capitol, had turned from men to the gods in his prayers, it became evident to the tribunes that unless they could release men's spell-bound eyes from the visible reminder of his glorious deed, their minds, wholly possessed with the sense of the service he had done them, would find no place for charges against him, however true. So the proceedings were adjourned to another day, and the people were summoned to an Assembly in the Peteline Grove outside the Flumentan Gate, from which the Capitol was not visible. Here the charge was established, and with hearts steeled against his appeals, they passed a dreadful sentence, abhorrent even to the judges. Some authorities assert that he was sentenced by the duumvirs, who were appointed to try cases of treason. The tribunes hurled him from the Tarpeian rock, and the place which was the monument of his exceptional glory became also the scene of his final punishment. After his death two stigmas were affixed to his memory. One by the State. His house stood where now the temple and mint of Juno Moneta stand, a measure was consequently brought before the people that no patrician should occupy a dwelling within the Citadel or on the Capitoline. The other by the members of his house, who made a decree forbidding any one henceforth to assume the names of Marcus Manlius. Such was the end of a man who, had he not been born in a free State, would have attained distinction. When danger was no longer to be feared from him the people, remembering only his virtues, soon began to regret his loss. A pestilence which followed shortly after and inflicted great mortality, for which no cause could be assigned, was thought by a great many people to be due to the execution of Manlius. They imagined that the Capitol had been polluted by the blood of its deliverer, and that the gods had been displeased at a punishment having been inflicted almost before their eyes on the man by whom their temples had been wrested from an enemy's hands.
The pestilence was followed by scarcity, and the widespread rumour of these two troubles was followed the next year by a number of wars. The consular tribunes were: L. Valerius (for the fourth time), A. Manlius, Ser. Sulpicius, L. Lucretius, and L. Aemilius (all for the third time), and M. Trebonius. In addition to the Volscians, who seemed destined by some fate to keep the Roman soldiery in perpetual training; in addition to the colonies of Circeii and Velitrae, who had long been meditating revolt; in addition to Latium, which was an object of suspicion, a new enemy suddenly appeared at Lanuvium, which had hitherto been a most loyal city. The senate thought this was due to a feeling of contempt because the revolt of their countrymen at Velitrae had remained so long unpunished. They accordingly passed a decree that the people should be asked as soon as possible to consent to a declaration of war against them. To make the plebs more ready to enter on this campaign, five commissioners were appointed to distribute the Pomptine territory and three to settle a colony at Nepete. Then the proposal was submitted to the people, and in spite of the protests of the tribunes the tribes unanimously declared for war. Preparations for war continued throughout the year, but, owing to the pestilence, the army was not led out. This delay allowed the colonists time for propitiating the senate, and there was a considerable party amongst them in favour of sending a deputation to Rome to ask for pardon. But, as usual, the interest of the State was bound up with the interests of individuals, and the authors of the revolt, fearing that they alone would be held responsible and surrendered, in consequence, to appease the resentment of the Romans, turned the colonists from all thoughts of peace. Nor did they confine themselves to persuading their senate to veto the proposed embassy; they stirred up a large number of the plebs to make a predatory incursion on Roman territory. This fresh outrage destroyed all hopes of peace. This year, for the first time, there arose a rumour of a revolt at Praeneste, but when the people of Tusculum, Gabinii, and Labici, whose territories had been invaded, laid a formal complaint, the senate took it so calmly that it was evident they did believe the charge because they did not wish it to be true.
Sp. and L. Papirius, the new consular tribunes, marched with the legions to Velitrae. Their four colleagues, Ser. Cornelius Maluginensis, Q. Servilius, C. Sulpicius, and L. Aemilius were left to defend the City and to meet any fresh movement in Etruria, for danger was suspected everywhere on that side. At Velitrae, where the auxiliaries from Praeneste were almost more numerous than the colonists themselves, an engagement took place in which the Romans soon won the day, for as the city was so near, the enemy took to flight early in the battle and made for the city as their one refuge. The tribunes abstained from storming the place, for they were doubtful of success and did not think it right to reduce the colony to ruin. The dispatches to the senate announcing the victory were more severe on the Praenestines than on the Veliternians. Accordingly, by a decree of the senate confirmed by the people, war was declared against Praeneste. The Praenestines joined forces with the Volscians and in the following year took by storm the Roman colony of Satricum, after an obstinate defence, and made a brutal use of their victory. This incident exasperated the Romans. They elected M. Furius Camillus as consular tribune for the sixth time, and gave him four colleagues, A. and L. Postumius Regillensis, L. Furius, L. Lucretius, and M. Fabius Ambustus. By a special decree of the senate the war with the Volscians was entrusted to M. Furius Camillus; the tribune chosen by lot as his coadjutor was L. Furius, not so much, as it turned out, in the interest of the State, as in the interest of his colleague, for whom he served as the means of gaining fresh renown. He gained it on public grounds by restoring the fortunes of the State which had been brought low by the other's rashness, and on private grounds, because he was more anxious to win the other's gratitude after retrieving his error than to win glory for himself. Camillus was now advanced in age, and after being elected was prepared to make the usual affidavit declining office on the grounds of health, but the people refused to allow him. His vigorous breast was still animated by an energy unweakened by age, his senses were unimpaired, and his interest in political affairs was lost in the prospect of war. Four legions were enrolled, each consisting of 4000 men. The army was ordered to muster the next day at the Esquiline Gate and at once marched for Satricum. Here the captors of the colony awaited him, their decided superiority of numbers inspiring them with complete confidence. When they found that the Romans were approaching they advanced at once to battle, anxious to bring matters to a decisive issue as soon as possible. They imagined that this would prevent the inferiority in numbers of their opponents from being in any way aided by the skill of their commander, which they looked upon as the sole ground of confidence for the Romans.
The same eagerness for battle was felt by the Roman army and by Camillus' colleague. Nothing stood in the way of their hazarding an immediate engagement except the prudence and authority of one man, who was seeking an opportunity, by protracting the war, for aiding the strength of his force by strategy. This made the enemy more insistent; they not only deployed their lines in front of their camp, but even marched forward in the middle of the plain and showed their supercilious confidence in their numbers by advancing their standards close to the Roman entrenchments. This made the Romans indignant, still more so L. Furius. Young and naturally high-tempered, he was now infected with the hopefulness of the rank and file whose spirits were rising with very little to justify their confidence. He increased their excitement by belittling the authority of his colleague on the score of his age, the only possible reason he had for doing so; he declared that wars were the province of the younger men, for courage grows and decays in correspondence with the bodily powers. "Camillus," he said, "once a most active warrior, had now become a laggard; he, whose habit it had been, immediately on arriving at camps or cities, to take them at the first assault, was now wasting time and stagnating inside his lines. What accession to his own strength or diminution of the enemy's strength was he hoping for? What favourable chance, what opportune moment, what ground on which to employ his strategy? The old man's plans had lost all fire and life. Camillus had had his share of life as well as glory. What was gained by letting the strength of a State which ought to be immortal share in the senile decay of one mortal frame?"
By speeches of this kind he had brought over the whole camp to his view and in many quarters they were demanding to be led to immediate battle. Addressing Camillus, he said: "M. Furius, we cannot resist the impetuosity of the soldiers, and the enemy to whom we have given fresh courage by our hesitation are now showing intolerable contempt for us. You are one against all; yield to the universal desire and allow yourself to be overcome in argument that you may the sooner overcome in battle." In his reply, Camillus said that in all the wars he had waged down to that day, as sole commander, neither he nor the Roman people had had any reason to complain of either his generalship or his good fortune. Now he was aware that he had as a colleague one who was his equal in authority and rank, his superior in physical strength and activity. As for the army, he had been accustomed to direct and not to be directed, but as for his colleague, he could not hamper his authority. Let him do with the help of heaven whatever he considered best for the State. He begged that owing to his years he might be excused from being in the front line; whatever duties an old man could discharge in battle, in these he would not show himself lacking. He prayed to the immortal gods that no mischance might make them feel that his plan after all was the best. His salutory advice was not listened to by men, nor was his patriotic prayer heard by the gods. His colleague who had determined on battle drew up the front line, Camillus formed a powerful reserve and posted a strong force in front of the camp. He himself took his station on some rising ground and anxiously awaited the result of tactics so different from his own.
No sooner had their arms clashed together at the first onset than the enemy began to retire, not through fear but for tactical reasons. Behind them the ground rose gently up to their camp, and owing to their preponderance in numbers they had been able to leave several cohorts armed and drawn up for action in their camp. After the battle had begun these were to make a sortie as soon as the enemy were near their entrenchments. In pursuing the retiring enemy the Romans had been drawn on to the rising ground and were in some disorder. Seizing their opportunity the enemy made their charge from the camp. It was the victors' turn now to be alarmed, and this new danger and the uphill fighting made the Roman line give ground. Whilst the Volscians who had charged from the camp pressed home their attack, the others who had made the pretended flight renewed the contest. At last the Romans no longer retired in order; forgetting their recent battle-ardour and their old renown they began to flee in all directions, and in wild disorder were making for their camp. Camillus, after being assisted to mount by those around, hastily brought up the reserves and blocked their flight. "Is this, soldiers," he cried, "the battle which you were clamouring for? Who is the man, who is the god that you can throw the blame upon? Then you were foolhardy; now you are cowards. You have been following another captain, now follow Camillus and conquer, as you are accustomed to do, under my leadership. Why are you looking at the rampart and the camp? Not a man of you shall enter there unless you are victorious." A feeling of shame at first arrested their disorderly flight, then, when they saw the standards brought round and the line turning to face the enemy, and their leader, illustrious through a hundred triumphs and now venerable through age, showing himself amongst the foremost ranks, where the risk and toil were greatest, mutual reproaches mingled with words of encouragement were heard through the whole field till finally they burst into a ringing cheer.
The other tribune did not show himself wanting to the occasion. Whilst his colleague was rallying the infantry he was sent to the cavalry. He did not venture to censure them - his share in their fault left him too little authority for that - but dropping all tone of command he implored them one and all to clear him from the guilt of that day's misfortunes. "In spite," he said, "of the refusal and opposition of my colleague I preferred to associate myself with the rashness of all rather than with the prudence of one. Whatever your fortunes may be, Camillus sees his own glory reflected in them; I, unless the day is won, shall have the utter wretchedness of sharing the fortunes of all but bearing the infamy alone." As the infantry were wavering it seemed best for the cavalry, after dismounting and leaving their horses to be held, to attack the enemy on foot. Conspicuous for their arms and dashing courage they went wherever they saw the infantry force pressed. Officers and men emulated each other in fighting with a determination and courage which never slackened. The effect of such strenuous bravery was shown in the result; the Volscians who a short time before had given ground in simulated fear were now scattered in real panic. A large number were killed in the actual battle and the subsequent flight, others in the camp, which was carried in the same charge; there were more prisoners, however, than slain.
On examining the prisoners, it was discovered that some were from Tusculum; these were brought separately before the tribunes and on being questioned admitted that their State authorised their taking up arms. Alarmed at the prospect of a war so close to the City, Camillus said that he would at once conduct the prisoners to Rome so that the senate might not remain in ignorance of the fact that the Tusculans had abandoned the alliance with Rome. His colleague might, if he thought good, remain in command of the army in camp. One day's experience had taught him not to prefer his own counsels to wiser ones, but even so, neither he nor any one in the army supposed that Camillus would calmly pass over that blunder of his by which the republic had been exposed to headlong disaster. Both in the army and at Rome it was universally remarked that in the chequered fortune which had attended the Volscian campaign, the blame for the unsuccessful battle and flight would be visited on L. Furius, the glory of the successful one would rest with M. Furius Camillus. After the examination of the prisoners the senate resolved upon war with Tusculum, and entrusted the conduct of it to Camillus. He requested that he might have one coadjutor, and on receiving permission to choose whom he would, he selected, to every one's surprise, L. Furius. By this act of generosity he removed the stigma attaching to his colleague and won great glory for himself.
But there was no war with the Tusculans. Unable to resist the attack of Rome by force of arms they turned it aside by a firm and lasting peace. When the Romans entered their territory, there was no flight of the inhabitants from the places near their line of march, the cultivation of the fields was not interrupted, the gates of the city stood open, and the townsmen in civic attire came in crowds to meet the commanders, whilst provisions for the camp were brought ungrudgingly from town and country. Camillus fixed his camp in front of the gates and decided to ascertain for himself whether the peaceful aspect which things wore in the country prevailed within the walls as well. Inside the city he found the doors of the houses standing open and all kinds of things exposed for sale in the stalls; the workmen all busy at their respective tasks and the schools humming with the voices of the children learning to read; the streets filled with crowds, including women and children going in all directions about their business and wearing an expression free not only from fear but even from surprise. He looked everywhere in vain for some signs of war; there was not the slightest trace of anything having been removed or brought forward just for the moment; all things looked so calm and peaceful that it seemed hardly possible that the bruit of war could have reached them.
Disarmed by the submissive demeanour of the enemy he gave orders for the senate to be summoned. He then addressed them in the following terms: "Men of Tusculum, you are the only people who have discovered the true weapons, the true strength, with which to protect yourselves from the wrath of Rome. Go to the senate at Rome; they will decide aright whether your past offence deserves punishment most or your present submission, pardon. I will not anticipate the grace and favour which the State may show you; you shall receive from me the permission to plead for forgiveness; the senate will vouchsafe to your supplication the answer which shall seem good to them." After the arrival of the Tusculan senators in Rome, when the mournful countenances of those who a few weeks before had been staunch allies were seen in the vestibule of the Senate-house, the Roman senate were touched with pity and at once ordered them to be called in as guest-friends rather than as enemies. The Dictator of Tusculum was the spokesman. "Senators," he said, "we against whom you have declared and commenced hostilities, went out to meet your generals and your legions armed and equipped just as you see us now standing in the vestibule of your House. This civilian dress has always been the dress of our order and of our plebs and ever will be, unless at any time we receive from you arms for your defence. We are grateful to your generals and to your armies because they trusted their eyes rather than their ears, and did not make enemies where none existed. We ask of you the peace which we have ourselves observed, and pray you to turn the tide of war where a state of war exists; if we are to learn by painful experience the power which your arms can exert against us, we will learn it without using arms ourselves. This is our determination - may the gods make it as fortunate as it is dutiful! As for the accusations which induced you to declare war, although it is unnecessary to refute in words what has been disproved by facts, still, even supposing them to be true, we believe that it would have been safe to admit them, since we should have given such evident proofs of repentance. Let us acknowledge that we have wronged you, if only you are worthy to receive such satisfaction." This was practically what the Tusculans said. They obtained peace at the time and not long after full citizenship. The legions were marched back from Tusculum.
After thus distinguishing himself by his skill and courage in the Volscian war and bringing the expedition against Tusculum to such a happy termination, and on both occasions treating his colleague with singular consideration and forbearance, Camillus went out of office. The consular tribunes for the next year were: Lucius Valerius (for the fifth time) and Publius (for the third time), C. Sergius (also for the third time), L. Menenius (for the second time), P. Papirius, and Ser. Cornelius Maluginensis. This year it was found necessary to appoint censors, mainly owing to the vague rumours which were afloat about the burden of debt. The plebeian tribunes, in order to stir up ill-feeling exaggerated the amount, while it was underestimated by those whose interest it was to represent the difficulty as due to the unwillingness rather than the inability of the debtor to pay. The censors appointed were C. Sulpicius Camerinius and Sp. Postumius Regillensis. They commenced a fresh assessment, but the work was interrupted by the death of Postumius, because it was doubtful whether the co-optation of a colleague, in the case of the censors, was permissible. Sulpicius accordingly resigned, and fresh magistrates were appointed, but owing to some flaw in their election did not act. Religious fears deterred them from proceeding to a third election; it seemed as though the gods would not allow a censorship for that year. The tribunes declared that such mockery was intolerable. "The senate," according to them, "dreaded the publication of the assessment lists, which supplied information as to every man's property, because they did not wish the amount of the debtor to be brought to light, for it would show how one half of the community was being ruined by the other half, while the debt-burdened plebs were all the time being exposed to one enemy after another. Excuses for war were being sought indiscriminately in every direction; the legions were marched from Antium to Satricum, from Satricum to Velitrae, from there to Tusculum. And now the Latins, the Hernici, and the Praenestines were being threatened with hostilities in order that the patricians might wreak their vengeance on their fellow-citizens more even than upon the enemy. They were wearing out the plebs by keeping them under arms and not allowing them any breathing time in the City or any leisure for thoughts of liberty, or any possibility for taking their place in the Assembly, where they might listen to the voice of a tribune urging the reduction of interest and the redress of other grievances. Why, if the plebs had spirit enough to recall to mind the liberties which their fathers won, they would never suffer a Roman citizen to be made over to his creditors, nor would they permit an army to be raised until an account was taken of the existing debt and some method of reducing it discovered, so that each man might know what he actually owed, and what was left for himself -whether his person was free or whether that, too, was due to the stocks." The premium thus put upon sedition made it at once more active. Many cases were occurring of men being made over to their creditors, and in view of a war with Praeneste, the senate had resolved that fresh legions should be enrolled, but both these proceedings were arrested by the intervention of the tribunes, supported by the whole body of the plebs. The tribunes refused to allow the judgment debtors to be carried off; the men whose names were called for enrolment refused to answer. The senate was less concerned to insist upon the rights of creditors than to carry out the enlistment, for information had been received that the enemy had advanced from Praeneste and were encamped in the district of Gabii. This intelligence, however, instead of deterring the plebeian tribunes from opposition, only made them more determined, and nothing availed to quiet the agitation in the City but the approach of war to its very walls.
A report had reached Praeneste that no army had been raised in Rome and no commander-in-chief selected, and that the patricians and plebeians had turned against one another. Seizing the opportunity, their generals had led their army by rapid marches through fields which they had utterly laid waste and appeared before the Colline Gate. There was wide-spread alarm in the City. A general cry arose, "To arms!" and men hurried to the walls and gates. At last, abandoning sedition for war, they nominated T. Quinctius Cincinnatus as Dictator. He named A. Sempronius Atratinus as his Master of the Horse. No sooner did they hear of this - so great was the terror which a Dictatorship inspired - than the enemy retired from the walls, and the men liable for active service assembled without any hesitation at the Dictator's orders. Whilst the army was being mobilised in Rome, the camp of the enemy had been fixed not far from the Alia. From this point they spread devastation far and wide, and congratulated themselves that they had chosen a position of fatal import for the City of Rome; they expected that there would be the same panic and flight as in the Gaulish war. For, they argued, if the Romans regarded with horror even the day which took its name from that spot and was under a curse, how much more would they dread the Alia itself, the memorial of that great disaster. They would most assuredly have the appalling sight of the Gauls before their eyes and the sound of their voices in their ears. Indulging in these idle dreams, they placed all their hopes in the fortune of the place. The Romans, on the other hand, knew perfectly well that wherever he was, the Latin enemy was the same as the one who had been conquered at Lake Regillus and kept in peaceable subjection for a hundred years. The fact that the place was associated with the memories of their great defeat would sooner stimulate them to wipe out the recollection of that disgrace than make them feel that any place on earth could be of ill omen for their success. Even if the Gauls themselves were to appear there, they would fight just as they fought when they recovered their City, just as they fought the next day at Gabii, when they did not leave a single enemy who had entered Rome to carry the news of their defeat and the Roman victory to their countrymen.
In these different moods, each side reached the banks of the Alia. When the enemy came into view in battle formation ready for action, the Dictator turned to A. Sempronius: "Do you see," he said, "how they have taken their station on the Alia, relying on the fortune of the place? May heaven have given them nothing more certain to trust to, or stronger to help them! You, however, placing your confidence in arms and valour, will charge their center at full gallop, while I with the legions will attack them whilst in disorder. Ye deities who watch over treaties, assist us, and exact the penalties due from those who have sinned against you and deceived us by appealing to your divinity!" Neither the cavalry charge nor the infantry attack was sustained by the Praenestines. At the first onset and battle shout their ranks were broken, and when no portion of the line any longer kept its formation they turned and fled in confusion. In their panic they were carried past their camp, and did not stop their headlong flight until they were within sight of Praeneste. There the fugitives rallied and seized a position which they hastily fortified; they were afraid of retiring within the walls of their city lest their territory should be wasted with fire and, after everything had been devastated, the city should be invested. The Romans, however, after spoiling the camp at the Alia, came up; this position, therefore, was also abandoned. They shut themselves in Praeneste, feeling hardly safe even behind its walls. There were eight towns under the jurisdiction of Praeneste. These were successively attacked and reduced without much fighting. Then the army advanced against Velitrae, which was successfully stormed. Finally, they arrived at Praeneste, the origin and center of the war. It was captured, not by assault, but after surrender. After being thus victorious in battle and capturing two camps and nine towns belonging to the enemy and receiving the surrender of Praeneste, Titus Quinctius returned to Rome. In his triumphal procession he carried up to the Capitol the image of Jupiter Imperator, which had been brought from Praeneste. It was set up in a recess between the shrines of Jupiter and Minerva, and a tablet was affixed to the pedestal recording the Dictator's successes. The inscription ran something like this: "Jupiter and all the gods have granted this boon to Titus Quinctius the Dictator, that he should capture nine towns." On the twentieth day after his appointment he laid down the Dictatorship.
When the election of consular tribunes took place, an equal number were elected from each order. The patricians were: P. and C. Manlius, together with L. Julius; the plebeians were: C. Sextilius, M. Albinius, and L. Anstitius. As the two Manlii took precedence of the plebeians by birth and were more popular than Julius, they had the Volscians assigned to them by special resolution, without casting lots or any understanding with the other consular tribunes; a step which they themselves and the senate who made the arrangement had cause to regret. They sent out some cohorts to forage without previously reconnoitring. On receiving a false message that these were cut off, they started off in great haste to their support, without detaining the messenger, who was a hostile Latin and had passed himself off as a Roman soldier. Consequently, they fell straight into an ambuscade. It was only the sheer courage of the men that enabled them to make a stand on unfavourable ground and offer a desperate resistance. At the same time, their camp, which lay on the plain in another direction, was attacked. In both incidents the generals had imperilled everything by their rashness and ignorance; if by the good fortune of Rome anything was saved it was due to the steadiness and courage of the soldiers who had no one to direct operations. On the report of these occurrences reaching Rome, it was at first decided that a Dictator should be nominated, but on subsequent information being received that all was quiet amongst the Volscians, who evidently did not know how to make use of their victory, the armies were recalled from that quarter. On the side of the Volscians peace prevailed; the only trouble that marked the close of the year was the renewal of hostilities by the Praenestines, who had stirred up the Latin cantons. The colonists of Setia complained of the fewness of their number, so a fresh body of colonists was sent to join them. The misfortunes of the war were compensated by the quiet which prevailed at home owing to the influence and authority which the consular tribunes from the plebeians possessed with their party.
The new consular tribunes were: Sp. Furius, Q. Servilius (for the second time), L. Menenius (for the third time), P. Cloelius, M. Horatius, and L. Geganius. No sooner had their year begun than the flames of a violent disturbance broke out, for which the distress caused by the debts supplied both cause and motive. Sp. Servilius Priscus and Q. Cloelius Siculus were appointed censors to go into the matter, but they were prevented from doing so by the outbreak of war. The Volscian legions invaded the Roman territory and were committing ravages in all directions. The first intimation came through panic-stricken messengers followed by a general flight from the country districts. So far was the alarm thus created from repressing the domestic dissensions that the tribunes showed all the greater determination to obstruct the enrolment of troops. They succeeded at last in imposing two conditions on the patricians: that none should pay the war-tax until the war was over, and that no suits for debt should be brought into court. After the plebs had obtained this relief there was no longer any delay in the enrolment. When the fresh troops had been raised they were formed into two armies, both of which were marched into the Volscian territory. Sp. Furius and M. Horatius turned to the right in the direction of Antium and the coast; Q. Servilius and L. Geganius proceeded to the left towards Ecetra and the mountain district. In neither direction did the enemy meet them. So they commenced to ravage the country in a very different method from that which the Volscians had practiced. These, emboldened by the dissensions but afraid of the courage of their enemy, had made hasty depredations like freebooters dreading a surprise, but the Romans acting as a regular army wreaked their just anger in ravages which were all the more destructive because they were continuous. The Volscians, fearing lest an army might come from Rome, confined their ravages to the extreme frontier; the Romans, on the other hand, lingered in the enemy's country to provoke him to battle. After burning all the scattered houses and several of the villages and leaving not a single fruit tree or any hope of harvest for the year, and carrying off as booty all the men and cattle that remained outside the walled towns, the two armies returned to Rome.
A short breathing space had been allowed to the debtors, but as soon as hostilities ceased and quiet was restored large numbers of them were again being adjudged to their creditors, and so completely had all hopes of lightening the old load of debt vanished that new debts were being contracted to meet a tax imposed for the construction of a stone wall for which the censors had made a contract. The plebs were compelled to submit to this burden because there was no enrolment which their tribunes could obstruct. They were even forced by the influence of the nobility to elect only patricians as consular tribunes; their names were: L. Aemilius, P. Valerius (for the fourth time), C. Veturius, Ser. Sulpicius, L. and C. Quinctius Cincinnatus. The patricians were also strong enough to effect the enrolment of three armies to act against the Latins and Volscians, who had united their forces and were encamped at Satricum. All those who were liable for active service were made to take the military oath; none ventured to obstruct. One of these armies was to protect the City; another was to be in readiness to be despatched wherever any sudden hostile movement might be attempted; the third, and by far the strongest, was led by P. Valerius and L. Aemilius to Satricum. Here they found the enemy drawn up for battle on favourable ground and immediately engaged him. The action, though so far not decisive, was going in favour of the Romans when it was stopped by violent storms of wind and rain. The next day it was resumed and was kept up for some time on the part of the enemy with a courage and success equal to that of the Romans, mainly by the Latin legions who through their long alliance were familiar with Roman tactics. A cavalry charge disordered their ranks, and before they could recover, the infantry made a fresh attack and the further they pressed forward the more decided the retreat of the enemy became, and once the battle turned, the Roman attack became irresistible. The rout of the enemy was complete, and as they did not make for their camp but tried to reach Satricum, which was two miles distant, they were mostly cut down by the cavalry. The camp was taken and plundered. The following night they evacuated Satricum, and in a march which was much more like a flight made their way to Antium, and though the Romans followed almost on their heels, the state of panic they were in enabled them to outstrip their pursuers. The enemy entered the city before the Romans could delay or harass their rear. Some days were spent in harrying the country as the Romans were not sufficiently provided with military engines for attacking the walls, nor were the enemy disposed to run the risk of a battle.
A quarrel now arose between the Antiates and the Latins. The Antiates, crushed by their misfortunes and exhausted by a state of war which had lasted all their lives, were contemplating peace; the newly revolted Latins, who had enjoyed a long peace and whose spirits were yet unbroken, were all the more determined to keep up hostilities. When each side had convinced the other that it was perfectly free to act as it thought best, there was an end of the quarrel. The Latins took their departure and so cleared themselves from all association with a peace which they considered dishonourable; the Antiates, when once the inconvenient critics of their salutary counsels were out of the way, surrendered their city and territory to the Romans. The exasperation and rage of the Latins at finding themselves unable to injure the Romans in war or to induce the Volscians to keep up hostilities rose to such a pitch that they set fire to Satricum, which had been their first shelter after their defeat. They flung firebrands on sacred and profane buildings alike, and not a single roof of that city escaped except the temple of Mother Matuta. It is stated that it was not any religious scruple or fear of the gods that restrained them, but an awful Voice which sounded from the temple threatening them with terrible punishment if they did not keep their accursed firebrands far from the shrine. Whilst in this state of frenzy, they next attacked Tusculum, in revenge for its having deserted the national council of the Latins and not only becoming an ally of Rome but even accepting her citizenship. The attack was unexpected and they burst in through the open gates. The town was taken at the first alarm with the exception of the citadel. Thither the townsmen fled for refuge with their wives and children, after sending messengers to Rome to inform the senate of their plight. With the promptitude which the honour of the Roman people demanded an army was marched to Tusculum under the command of the consular tribunes, L. Quinctius and Ser. Sulpicius. They found the gates of Tusculum closed and the Latins, with the feelings of men who are at once besieging and being besieged, were in one direction defending the walls and in the other attacking the citadel, inspiring terror and feeling it at the same time. The arrival of the Romans produced a change in the temper of both sides; it turned the gloomy forebodings of the Tusculans into the utmost cheerfulness, whilst the confidence which the Latins had felt in a speedy capture of the citadel, as they were already in possession of the town, sank into a faint and feeble hope of even their own safety. The Tusculans in the citadel gave a cheer, it was answered by a much louder one from the Roman army. The Latins were hard pressed on both sides; they could not withstand the attack of the Tusculans charging from the higher ground, nor could they repel the Romans who were mounting the walls and forcing the gates. The walls were first taken by escalade, then the bars of the gates were burst. The double attack in front and rear left the Latins no strength to fight and no room for escape; between the two they were killed to a man.
The greater the tranquillity which prevailed everywhere abroad after these successful operations so much the greater became the violence of the patricians and the miseries of the plebeians, since the ability to pay their debts was frustrated by the very fact that payment had become necessary. They had no means left on which to draw, and after judgment had been given against them they satisfied their creditors by surrendering their good name and their personal liberty; punishment took the place of payment. To such a state of depression had not only the humbler classes but even the leading men amongst the plebeians been reduced, that there was no energetic or enterprising individual amongst them who had the spirit to take up or become a candidate even for the plebeian magistracies, still less to win a place amongst the patricians as consular tribune, an honour which they had previously done their utmost to secure. It seemed as though the patricians had for all time won back from the plebs the sole enjoyment of a dignity which for the last few years had been shared with them. As a check to any undue exaltation on the part of the patricians, an incident occurred which was slight in itself, but, as is often the case, led to important results. M. Fabius Ambustus, a patrician, possessed great influence amongst the men of his own order and also with the plebeians, because they felt that he did not in any way look down on them. His two daughters were married, the elder one to Ser. Sulpicius, the younger to C. Licinius Stolo, a distinguished man, but a plebeian. The fact that Fabius did not regard this alliance as beneath him had made him very popular with the masses. The two sisters happened to be one day at Ser. Sulpicius' house, passing the time in conversation, when on his return from the Forum the tribune's apparitor gave the customary knocks on the door with his rod. The younger Fabia was startled at what was to her an unfamiliar custom, and her sister laughed at her and expressed surprise that she was ignorant of it. That laugh, however, left its sting in the mind of a woman easily excited by trifles. I think, too, that the crowd of attendants coming to ask for orders awoke in her that spirit of jealousy which makes every one anxious to be surpassed as little as possible by one's neighbours. It made her regard her sister's marriage as a fortunate one and her own as a mistake. Her father happened to see her whilst she was still upset by this mortifying incident and asked her if she was well. She tried to conceal the real reason, as showing but little affection for her sister and not much respect for her own husband. He kindly but firmly insisted upon finding out, and she confessed the real cause of her distress; she was united to one who was her inferior in birth, married into a house where neither honour nor political influence could enter. Ambustus consoled his daughter and bade her keep up her spirits; she would very soon see in her own house the same honours which she saw at her sister's. From that time he began to concert plans with his son-in-law; they took into their counsels L. Sextius, a pushing young man who regarded nothing as beyond his ambition except patrician blood.
A favourable opportunity for making innovations presented itself in the terrible pressure of debt, a burden from which the plebs did not hope for any alleviation until they had raised men of their own order to the highest authority in the State. This, they thought, was the aim which they must devote their utmost efforts to reach, and they believed that they had already, by dint of effort, secured a foothold from which, if they pushed forward, they could secure the highest positions, and so become the equals of the patricians in dignity as they now were in courage. For the time being, C. Licinius and L. Sextius decided to become tribunes of the plebs; once in this office they could clear for themselves the way to all the other distinctions. All the measures which they brought forward after they were elected were directed against the power and influence of the patricians and calculated to promote the interests of the plebs. One dealt with the debts, and provided that the amount paid in interest should be deducted from the principal and the balance repaid in three equal yearly instalments. The second restricted the occupation of land and prohibited any one from holding more than five hundred jugera. The third provided that there should be no more consular tribunes elected, and that one consul should be elected from each order. They were all questions of immense importance, which could not be settled without a tremendous struggle.
The prospect of a fight over those things which excite the keenest desires of men - land, money, honours - produced consternation among the patricians. After excited discussions in the senate and in private houses, they found no better remedy than the one they had adopted in previous contests, namely, the tribunitian veto. So they won over some of the tribunes to interpose their veto against these proposals. When they saw the tribes summoned by Licinius and Sextius to give their votes, these men, surrounded by a bodyguard of patricians, refused to allow either the reading of the bills or any other procedure which the plebs usually adopted when they came to vote. For many weeks the Assembly was regularly summoned without any business being done, and the bills were looked upon as dead. "Very good," said Sextius, "since it is your pleasure that the veto shall possess so much power, we will use this same weapon for the protection of the plebs. Come then, patricians, give notice of an Assembly for the election of consular tribunes, I will take care that the word which our colleagues are now uttering in concert to your great delight, the word 'I FORBID,' shall not give you much pleasure." These were not idle threats. No elections were held beyond those of the tribunes and aediles of the plebs. Licinius and Sextius, when re-elected, would not allow any curule magistrates to be appointed, and as the plebs constantly re-elected them, and as they constantly stopped the election of consular tribunes, this dearth of magistrates lasted in the City for five years.
Fortunately, with one exception, there was a respite from foreign war. The colonists of Velitrae, becoming wanton in a time of peace and in the absence of any Roman army, made various incursions into Roman territory and began an attack on Tusculum. The citizens, allies of old, and now citizens, implored help, and their situation moved not only the senate, but the plebs as well, with a sense of shame. The tribunes of the plebs gave way and the elections were conducted by an interrex. The consular tribunes elected were: L. Furius, A. Manlius, Ser. Sulpicius, Ser. Cornelius, P. and C. Valerius. They did not find the plebeians nearly so amenable in the enlistment as they had been in the elections; it was only after a very great struggle that an army was raised. They not only dislodged the enemy from before Tusculum, but forced him to take refuge behind his walls. The siege of Velitrae was carried on with far greater vigour than that of Tusculum had been. Those commanders who had commenced the investment did not, however, effect its capture. The new consular tribunes were: Q. Servilius, C. Veturius, A. and M. Cornelius, Q. Quinctius, and M. Fabius. Even under these tribunes nothing worth mention took place at Velitrae. At home affairs were becoming more critical. Sextius and Licinius, the original proposers of the laws, who had been re-elected tribunes of the plebs for the eighth time, were now supported by Fabius Ambustus, Licinius Stolo's father-in-law. He came forward as the decided advocate of the measures which he had initiated, and whereas there had at first been eight members of the college of tribunes who had vetoed the proposals, there were now only five. These five, as usually happens with men who desert their party, were embarrassed and dismayed, and defended their opposition by borrowed arguments privately suggested to them by the patricians. They urged that as a large number of plebeians were in the army at Velitrae the Assembly ought to be adjourned till the return of the soldiers, to allow of the entire body of the plebs voting on matters affecting their interests. Sextius and Licinius, experts after so many years' practice in the art of handling the plebs, in conjunction with some of their colleagues and the consular tribune, Fabius Ambustus, brought forward the leaders of the patrician party and worried them with questions on each of the measures they were referring to the people. "Have you," they asked, "the audacity to demand that whilst two jugera are allotted to each plebeian, you yourselves should each occupy more than five hundred jugera, so that while a single patrician can occupy the land of nearly three hundred citizens, the holding of a plebeian is hardly extensive enough for the roof he needs to shelter him, or the place where he is to be buried? Is it your pleasure that the plebeians, crushed by debt, should surrender their persons to fetters and punishments sooner than that they should discharge their debts by repaying the principal? That they should be led off in crowds from the Forum as the property of their creditors? That the houses of the nobility should be filled with prisoners, and wherever a patrician lives there should be a private dungeon?"
They were denouncing these indignities in the ears of men, apprehensive for their own safety, who listened to them with stronger indignation than the men who were speaking felt. They went on to assert that after all there would be no limit to the seizure of land by the patricians or the murder of the plebs by the deadly usury until the plebs elected one of the consuls from their own ranks as a guardian of their liberties. The tribunes of the plebs were now objects of contempt since their power was shattering itself by their own veto. There could be no fair or just administration as long as the executive power was in the hands of the other party, while they had only the right of protesting by their veto; nor would the plebs ever have an equal share in the government till the executive authority was thrown open to them; nor would it be enough, as some people might suppose, to allow plebeians to be voted for at the election of consuls. Unless it was made obligatory for one consul at least to be chosen from the plebs, no plebeian would ever become consul. Had they forgotten that after they had decided that consular tribunes should be elected in preference to consuls in order that the highest office might be open to plebeians, not a single plebeian was elected consular tribune for four-and-forty years? What did they suppose? Did they imagine that the men who had been accustomed to fill all the eight places when consular tribunes were elected would of their own free will consent to share two places with the plebs, or that they would allow the path to the consulship to be opened when they had so long blocked the one to the consular tribuneship? The people would have to secure by law what they could not gain by favour, and one of the two consulships would have to be placed beyond dispute as open to the plebs alone, for if it were open to a contest it would always be the prey of the stronger party. The old, oft-repeated taunt could no longer be made now that there were no men amongst the plebs suitable for curule magistracies. Was the government carried on with less spirit and energy after the consulship of P. Licinius Calvus, who was the first plebeian to be elected to that post, than during the years when only patricians held the office? Nay, on the contrary, there had been some cases of patricians being impeached after their year of office, but none of plebeians. The quaestors also, like the consular tribunes, had a few years previously begun to be elected from the plebs; in no single instance had the Roman people had any cause to regret those appointments. The one thing that was left for the plebs to strive for was the consulship. That was the pillar, the stronghold of their liberties. If they arrived at that, the Roman people would realise that monarchy had been completely banished from the City, and that their freedom was securely established, for in that day everything in which the patricians were pre-eminent would come to the plebs - power, dignity, military glory, the stamp of nobility; great things for themselves to enjoy, but greater still as legacies to their children. When they saw that speeches of this kind were listened to with approval, they brought forward a fresh proposal, viz. that instead of the duumviri (the two keepers of the Sacred Books) a College of Ten should be formed, half of them plebeians and half patricians. The meeting of the Assembly, which was to pass these measures, was adjourned till the return of the army which was besieging Velitrae.
The year passed away before the legions were brought back. Thus the new measures were hung up and left for the new consular tribunes to deal with. They were T. Quinctius, Ser. Cornelius, Ser. Sulpicius, Sp. Servilius, L. Papirius, and L. Veturius. The plebs re-elected their tribunes, at all events the same two who had brought forward the new measures. At the very beginning of the year the final stage in the struggle was reached. When the tribes were summoned and the proposers refused to be thwarted by the veto of their colleagues, the patricians, now thoroughly alarmed, took refuge in their last line of defence - supreme power, and a supreme citizen to wield it. They resolved upon the nomination of a Dictator, and M. Furius Camillus was nominated; he chose L. Aemilius as his Master of the Horse. Against such formidable preparations on the part of their opponents, the proposers on their side prepared to defend the cause of the plebs with the weapons of courage and resolution. They gave notice of a meeting of the Assembly and summoned the tribes to vote. Full of anger and menace, the Dictator, surrounded by a compact body of patricians, took his seat, and the proceedings commenced as usual with a struggle between those who were bringing in the bills and those who were interposing their veto against them. The latter were in the stronger position legally, but they were overborne by the popularity of the measures and the men who were proposing them. The first tribes were already voting "Aye," when Camillus said, "Since, Quirites, it is not the authority of your tribunes but their defiance of authority that you are ruled by now, and their right of veto, which was once secured by the secession of the plebs, is now being rendered nugatory by the same violent conduct by which you obtained it, I, as Dictator, acting in your own interests quite as much as in that of the State, shall support the right of veto and protect by my authority the safeguard which you are destroying. If, therefore, C. Licinius and L. Sextius give way before the opposition of their colleagues, I will not intrude the powers of a patrician magistrate into the councils of the plebs; if, however, in spite of that opposition they are bent on imposing their measures on the State, as though it had been subjugated in war, I will not allow the tribunitian power to work its own destruction."
The tribunes of the plebs treated this pronouncement with contempt, and persisted in their course with unshaken resolution. Thereupon Camillus, excessively angry, sent lictors to disperse the plebeians and threatened, if they went on, to bind the fighting men by their military oath and march them out of the City. The plebs were greatly alarmed, but their leaders were exasperated rather than intimidated by his opposition. But while the contest was still undecided he resigned office, either owing to some irregularity in his nomination, as certain writers maintain, or because the tribunes proposed a resolution, which the plebs adopted, to the effect that if Camillus took any action as Dictator a fine of 500,000 ases should be imposed upon him. That his resignation was due to some defect in the auspices rather than to the effect of such an unprecedented proposal I am led to believe by the following considerations: the well-known character of the man himself; the fact that P. Manlius immediately succeeded him as Dictator - for what influence could he have exerted in a contest in which Camillus had been worsted? the further fact that Camillus was again Dictator the following year, for surely he would have been ashamed to reassume an authority which had been successfully defied the year before. Besides, at the time when, according to the tradition, the resolution imposing a fine on him was passed, either he had as Dictator the power to negative a measure which he saw was meant to circumscribe his authority, or else he was powerless to resist even those other measures on account of which this one was carried. But amidst all the conflicts in which tribunes and consuls have been engaged, the Dictator's powers have always been above controversy.
Between Camillus' resignation of office and Manlius' entrance on his Dictatorship, the tribunes held a council of the plebs as though an interregnum had occurred. Here it was evident which of the proposed measures were preferred by the plebs and which their tribunes were most eager about. The measures dealing with usury and the allotment of State land were being adopted, that providing that one consul should always be a plebeian was rejected; both the former would probably have been carried into law if the tribunes had not said that they were putting them en bloc. P. Manlius, on his nomination as Dictator, strengthened the cause of the plebs by appointing a plebeian, C. Licinius, who had been a consular tribune, as his Master of the Horse. I gather that the patricians were much annoyed; the Dictator generally defended his action on the ground of relationship; he pointed out also that the authority of a Master of the Horse was no greater than that of a consular tribune. When notice was given for the election of tribunes of the plebs, Licinius and Sextius declared their unwillingness to be re-elected, but they put it in a way which made the plebeians all the more eager to secure the end which they secretly had in view. For nine years, they said, they had been standing in battle array, as it were, against the patricians, at the greatest risk to themselves and with no advantage to the people. The measures they had brought forward and the whole power of the tribunes had, like themselves, become enfeebled by age. Their proposed legislation had been frustrated first by the veto of their colleagues, then by the withdrawal of their fighting men to the district of Velitrae, and last of all the Dictator had launched his thunders at them. At the present time there was no obstacle either from their colleagues or from war or from the Dictator, for he had given them an earnest of the future election of plebeian consuls by appointing a plebeian as Master of the Horse. It was the plebs who stood in the way of their tribunes and their own interests. If they chose they could have a City and a Forum free from creditors, and fields rescued from their unlawful occupiers. When were they ever going to show sufficient gratitude for these boons, if while accepting these beneficial measures they cut off from those who proposed them all hope of attaining the highest honours? It was not consistent with the self-respect of the Roman people for them to demand to be relieved of the burden of usury and placed on the land which is now wrongfully held by the magnates, and then to leave the tribunes, through whom they won these reforms, without honourable distinction in their old age or any hope of attaining it. They must first make up their minds as to what they really wanted and then declare their will by their votes at the election. If they wanted the proposed measures carried as a whole, there was some reason for their re-electing the same tribunes, because they would carry their own measures through; if, however, they only wished that to be passed which each man happened to want for himself, there was no need for them to incur odium by prolonging their term of office; they would not have the tribuneship themselves, nor would the people obtain the proposed reforms.
This determined language from the tribunes filled the patricians with speechless indignation and amazement. It is stated that Appius Claudius, a grandson of the old decemvir, moved by feelings of anger and hatred more than by any hope of turning them from their purpose, came forward and spoke to the following effect: "It would be nothing new or surprising to me, Quirites, to hear once more the reproach that has always been levelled against our family by revolutionary tribunes, namely, that from the very beginning we have never regarded anything in the State as more important than the honour and dignity of the patricians, and that we have always been inimical to the interests of the plebs. The former of these charges I do not deny. I acknowledge that from the day when we were admitted into the State and into the senate we have laboured most assiduously in order that the greatness of those houses amongst which it was your will that we should be numbered might be said in all truth to have been enhanced rather than impaired. In reply to the second charge, I would go so far as to assert, on my own behalf and on that of my ancestors, that neither as individuals nor in our capacity as magistrates have we ever done anything knowingly which was against the interests of the plebs, unless any one should suppose that what is done on behalf of the State as a whole is necessarily injurious to the plebs as though they were living in another city; nor can any act or word of ours be truthfully brought up as opposed to your real welfare, though some may have been opposed to your wishes. Even if I did not belong to the Claudian house and had no patrician blood in my veins, but more simply one of the Quirites, knowing only that I was sprung from free-born parents and was living in a free State - even then, could I keep silence when I see that this L. Sextius, this C. Licinius, tribunes for life - good heavens! - have reached such a pitch of impudence during the nine years of their reign that they are refusing to allow you to vote as you please in the elections and in the enacting of laws?
"'On one condition,' they say, 'you shall reappoint us tribunes for the tenth time.' What is this but saying, 'What others seek we so thoroughly despise that we will not accept it without a heavy premium'? But what premium have we to pay that we may always have you as tribunes of the plebs? 'That you adopt all our measures en bloc, whether you agree with them or not, whether they are useful or the reverse.' Now I ask you - you Tarquinian tribunes of the plebs - to listen to me. Suppose that I, as a citizen, call out from the middle of the Assembly, 'Allow us, with your kind permission, to choose out of these proposed measures what we think beneficial for us and reject the others.' 'No,' he says, 'you will not be allowed to do so. You would pass the measure about usury and the one about the distribution of land, for these concern you all; but you would not allow the City of Rome to witness the portentous sight of L. Sextius and C. Licinius as consuls, a prospect you regard with detestation and loathing. Either accept all, or I propose none.' Just as if a man were to place poison together with food before some one famished with hunger and bid him either abstain from what would support his life or mix with it what would bring death. If this were a free State, would not hundreds of voices have exclaimed, 'Begone, with your tribuneships and proposals!' What? If you do not bring in reforms which it is to the people's advantage to adopt, is there no one else who will? If any patrician, if even a Claudius - whom they detest still more -were to say, 'Either accept all, or I propose none,' which of you, Quirites, would tolerate it? Will you never have more regard for measures than for men? Will you always listen with approving ears to everything which your magistrate says and with hostile ears to whatever is said by any of us?
"His language is utterly unbecoming a citizen of a free republic. Well, and what sort of a proposal is it, in heaven's name, that they are indignant with you for having rejected? One, Quirites, which quite matches his language. 'I am proposing,' he says, 'that you shall not be allowed to appoint whom you please as consuls.' What else does his proposal mean? He is laying down the law that one consul at least shall be elected from the plebs, and is depriving you of the power of electing two patricians. If there were to-day a war with Etruria such as when Porsena encamped on the Janiculum, or such as that in recent times with the Gauls, when everything round us except the Capitol and the Citadel were in the enemy's hands, and, in the press of such a war, L. Sextius were standing for the consulship with M. Furius Camillus and some other patrician, could you tolerate Sextius being quite certain of election and Camillus in danger of defeat? Is this what you call an equal distribution of honours, when it is lawful for two plebeians to be made consuls, but not for two patricians; when one must necessarily be taken from the plebs, while it is open to reject every patrician? What is this comradeship, this equality of yours? Do you count it little to come into a share of what you have had no share in hitherto, unless whilst you are seeking to obtain the half you can carry off the whole? He says, 'I am afraid if it is left open for two patricians to be elected, you will never elect a plebeian.' What is this but saying, 'Because you would not of your own will elect unworthy persons, I will impose upon you the necessity of electing them against your will'? What follows? That if only one plebeian is standing with two patricians he has not to thank the people for his election; he may say he was appointed by the law not by their vote.
"Their aim is not to sue for honours but to extort them from you, and they will get the greatest favours from you without showing the gratitude due even for the smallest. They prefer seeking posts of honour by trusting to accident rather than by personal merit. There is many a man, too proud to submit his merits and claims to inspection and examination, who would think it quite fair that he alone among his competitors should be quite certain of attaining a post of honour, who would withdraw himself from your judgment and transfer your free votes into compulsory and servile ones. Not to mention Licinius and Sextius, whose years of uninterrupted power you number up as though they were kings in the Capitol, who is there in the State to-day in such humble circumstances as not to find the path to the consulship made easier by the opportunities offered in that measure for him than it is for us and our children? Even when you sometimes wish to elect us you will not have the power; those people you will be compelled to elect, even if you do not wish to do so. Enough has been said about the indignity of the thing. Questions of dignity, however, only concern men; what shall I say about the duties of religion and the auspices, the contempt and profanation of which specially concern the gods? Who is there who knows not that it was under auspices that this City was founded, that only after auspices have been taken is anything done in war or peace, at home or in the field? Who have the right to take the auspices in accordance with the usage of our fathers? The patricians, surely, for not a single plebeian magistrate is elected under auspices. So exclusively do the auspices belong to us that not only do the people when electing patrician magistrates elect them only when the auspices are favourable, but even we, when, independently of the people, we are choosing an interrex, only do so after the auspices have been taken: we as private citizens have the auspices which your order does not possess even as magistrates. What else is the man doing who by the creation of plebeian consuls takes away the auspices from the patricians who alone can possess them - what else, I ask, is he doing but depriving the State of the auspices? Now, men are at liberty to mock at our religious fears. 'What does it matter if the sacred chickens do not feed, if they hesitate to come out of their coop, if a bird has shrieked ominously?' These are small matters, but it was by not despising these small matters that our ancestors have achieved the supreme greatness of this State. Now, as though there were no need of securing peace with the gods, we are polluting all ceremonial acts. Are pontiffs, augurs, kings for sacrifice to be appointed indiscriminately? Are we to place the mitre of the Flamen of Jupiter upon any one's head provided only he be a man? Are we to hand over the sacred shields, the shrines, the gods, and the care of their worship to men to whom it would be impious to entrust them? Are laws no longer to be passed, or magistrates elected in accordance with the auspices? Are the senate no longer to authorise the Assembly of centuries, or the Assembly of curies? Are Sextius and Licinius to reign in this City of Rome as though they were a second Romulus, a second Tatius, because they give away other people's money and other people's lands? So great a charm is felt in preying upon other people's fortunes, that it has not occurred to them that by expelling the occupiers from their lands under the one law vast solitudes will be created, whilst by the action of the other all credit will be destroyed and with it all human society abolished. For every reason I consider that these proposals ought to be rejected, and may heaven guide you to a right decision!"
The speech of Appius only availed to effect the postponement of the voting. Sextius and Licinius were re-elected for the tenth time. They carried a law providing that of the ten keepers of the Sibylline Books, five should be chosen from the patricians and five from the plebeians. This was regarded as a further step towards opening the path to the consulship. The plebs, satisfied with their victory, made the concession to the patricians that for the present all mention of consuls should be dropped. Consular tribunes were accordingly elected. Their names were A. and M. Cornelius (each for the second time), M. Geganius, P. Manlius, L. Veturius, and P. Valerius (for the sixth time). With the exception of the siege of Velitrae, in which the result was delayed rather than doubtful, Rome was quiet so far as foreign affairs went. Suddenly the City was startled by rumours of the hostile advance of the Gauls. M. Furius Camillus was nominated Dictator for the fifth time. He named as his Master of the Horse T. Quinctius Poenus. Claudius is our authority for the statement that a battle was fought at the Anio with the Gauls this year, and that it was then that the famous fight took place on the bridge in which T. Manlius killed a Gaul who had challenged him and then despoiled him of his golden collar in the sight of both armies. I am more inclined, with the majority of authors, to believe that these occurrences took place ten years later. There was, however, a pitched battle fought this year by the Dictator, M. F. Camillus, against the Gauls in the Alban territory. Although, bearing in mind their former defeat, the Romans felt a great dread of the Gauls, their victory was neither doubtful nor difficult. Many thousands of the barbarians were slain in the battle, many more in the capture of their camp. Many others, making chiefly in the direction of Apulia, escaped, some by distant flight, and others who had become widely scattered and in their panic had lost their way.
By the joint consent of the senate and plebs a triumph was decreed to the Dictator. He had hardly disposed of that war before a more alarming commotion awaited him at home. After tremendous conflicts, the Dictator and the senate were worsted; consequently the proposals of the tribunes were carried, and in spite of the opposition of the nobility the elections were held for consuls. L. Sextius was the first consul to be elected out of the plebs. Even that was not the end of the conflict. The patricians refused to confirm the appointment, and matters were approaching a secession of the plebs and other threatening signs of appalling civic struggles. The Dictator, however, quieted the disturbances by arranging a compromise; the nobility made a concession in the matter of a plebeian consul, the plebs gave way to the nobility on the appointment of a praetor to administer justice in the City who was to be a patrician. Thus after their long estrangement the two orders of the State were at length brought into harmony. The senate decided that this event deserved to be commemorated - and if ever the immortal gods merited men's gratitude, they merited it then - by the celebration of the Great Games, and a fourth day was added to the three hitherto devoted to them. The plebeian aediles refused to superintend them, whereupon the younger patricians were unanimous in declaring that they would gladly allow themselves to be appointed aediles for the honour of the immortal gods. They were universally thanked, and the senate made a decree that the Dictator should ask the people to elect two aediles from amongst the patricians, and that the senate should confirm all the elections of that year.