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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 31: War with the Aequi.[456-4 BC]
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Marcus Valerius and Spurius Vergilius were the new consuls. There was quiet at home and abroad. Owing to excessive rain there was a scarcity of provisions. A law was carried making the Aventine a part of the State domain. The tribunes of the plebs were reelected. |
These men in the following year, when Titus Romilius and Gaius Veturius were the consuls, were continually making the Law the staple of all their harangues, and said that they should be ashamed of their number being increased to no purpose, if that matter made as little progress during their two years of office as it had made during the five preceding years.
Whilst the agitation was at its height, a hurried message came from Tusculum to the effect that the Aequi were in the Tusculan territory. The good services which that nation had so lately rendered made the people ashamed to delay sending assistance. Both consuls were sent against the enemy, and found him in his usual position on Algidus. An action was fought there; above 7000 of the enemy were killed, the rest were put to flight; immense booty was taken. This, owing to the low state of the public treasury, the consuls sold. Their action, however, created ill-feeling in the army, and afforded the tribunes material on which to base an accusation against them. When, therefore, they went out of office, in which they were succeeded by Spurius Tarpeius and Aulus Aeternius, they were both impeached -- Romilius by Gaius Calvius Cicero, plebeian tribune and Veturius by Lucius Alienus, plebeian aedile. To the intense indignation of the senatorial party, both were condemned and fined. Romilius had to pay 10,000 ases," and Veturius 15,000. The fate of their predecessors did not shake the resolution of the new consuls; they said that while it was quite possible that they might also be condemned, it was not possible for the plebs and its tribunes to carry the Law. Through long discussion it had become stale, the tribunes now threw it over and approached the patricians in a less aggressive spirit They urged that an end should be put to their disputes and if they objected to the measures adopted by the plebeians they should consent to the appointment of a body of legislators, chosen in equal numbers from plebeians and patricians to enact what would be useful to both orders and secure equal liberty for each. The patricians thought the proposal worth consideration, they said, however, that no one should legislate unless he were a patrician since they were agreed as to the laws and only differed as to who should enact them. Commissioners were sent to to Athens with instructions to make a copy of the famous laws of Solon, and to investigate the institutions, customs, and laws of other Greek States. Their names were: Spurius Postumius Albus, Aulus Manlius, and Publius Sulpicius Camerinus.