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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book X Chapter 9: Wars with the Aequi and Umbrians.[300 BC]
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The Assembly was on the point of ordering the voting to proceed, and it was evident that the measure would be adopted, when, on the intervention of some of the tribunes, all further business was adjourned for the day. On the morrow, the dissentient tribunes having given way, the law was passed amid great enthusiasm. The co-opted pontiffs were Publius Decius Mus, the supporter of the measure, Publius Sempronius Sophus, Gaius Marcius Rutilus, and Marcus Livius Denter. The five augurs who were also taken from the plebs were Gaius Genucius, Publius Aelius Paetus, Marcus Minucius Faesus, Gaius Marcius, and Titus Publilius. So the number of the pontiffs was raised to eight and that of the augurs to nine. |
The Valerian Law.
In this year the consul, Marcus Valerius, carried a proposal to strengthen the provisions of the law touching the right of appeal. This was the third time since the expulsion of the kings that this law was re-enacted, and always by the same family. I think that the reason for renewing it so often was solely the fact that the excessive power exercised by a few men was dangerous to the liberties of the plebs. The Porcian Law, however, seems to have been passed solely for the protection of the citizens in life and limb, for it imposed the severest penalties on any one who killed or scourged a Roman citizen. The Valerian Law, it is true, forbade any one who had exercised his right of appeal to be scourged or beheaded, but if any one transgressed its provisions it added no penalty, but simply declared such transgression to be a "wicked act." Such was the self-respect and sense of shame amongst the men of those days, that I believe that declaration to have been a sufficiently strong barrier against violations of the law. Nowadays there is hardly a slave who would not use stronger language against his master.
Wars of the Aequi and Umbrians.
The other consul, Apuleius, invested the town of Nequinum in Umbria. It was situated where Narnia now stands, on high ground which on one side was steep and precipitous, and it was impossible to take it either by assault or by regular siege-works. It was left to the new consuls, Marcus Fulvius Paetus and Titus Manlius Torquatus, to carry the siege to a successful issue.
According to Licinius Macer and Tubero, all the centuries intended to elect Quintus Fabius consul for this year, but he urged them to postpone his consulship until some more important war broke out, for he considered that he would be more useful to the State as a City magistrate. So without dissembling his real wishes or ostensibly seeking the post, he was elected curule aedile along with Lucius Papirius Cursor. I cannot, however, be certain on this point, for the earlier annalist, Piso, states that the curule aediles for this year were Gnaeus Domitius, Gnaeus Furius Calvinus, Spurius Carvilius, and Quintus Fabius Maximus. I think that the cognomen of the last-mentioned aedile -- Maximus -- was the cause of the error, and that a story in which the lists of both elections were combined was constructed to fit in with the mistake.
These were the principal events of the year in Rome.