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Quote of the day: Nay, rather, that you may know what has
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book II Chapter 61: Impeachment of Appius Claudius.[470 BC]
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Valerius and Titus Aemilius were consuls for the next year, which was a still stormier one, owing, in the first place, to the struggle between the two orders over the Agrarian Law, and secondly to the prosecution of Appius Claudius. He was impeached by the tribunes, Marcus Duellius and Gnaeus Siccius, on the ground of his determined opposition to the Law, and also because he defended the cause of the occupiers of the public land, as if he were a third consul. Never before had any one been brought to trial before the people whom the plebs so thoroughly detested, both on his own and his father's account. For hardly any one had the patricians exerted themselves more than for him whom they regarded as the champion of the senate and the vindicator of its authority, the stout bulwark against disturbances of tribunes or plebs, and now saw exposed to the rage of the plebeians simply for having gone too far in the struggle. Appius Claudius himself alone of all the patricians, looked upon the tribunes, the plebs, and his own trial as of no account. Neither the threats of the plebeians nor the entreaties of the senate could induce him -- I will not say to change his attire and accost men as a suppliant, but -- even to soften and subdue to some extent his wonted asperity of language when he had to make his defence before the people. There was the same expression, the same defiant look, the same proud tones of speech, so that a large number of the plebeians were no less afraid of Appius on his trial than they had been when he was consul. He only spoke in his defence once, but in the same aggressive tone that he always adopted and his firmness so dumbfounded the tribunes and the plebs' that they adjourned the case of their own accord, and then allowed it to drag on. There was not a very long interval however. Before the date of the adjourned trial arrived he was carried off by illness. The tribunes tried to prevent any funeral oration being pronounced over him, but the plebeians would not allow the obsequies of so great a man to be robbed of the customary honours. They listened to the panegyric of the dead as attentively as they had listened to the indictment of the living, and vast crowds followed him to the tomb.