|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 43: The Assassination of Siccius.[450 BC]
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|To these defeats at the hands of the enemy have to be added two infamous crimes on the part of the decemvirs. Lucius Siccius was serving in the campaign against the Sabines. Seeing the bitter feeling against the decemvirs, he used to hold secret conversations with the soldiery and threw out hints about the creation of tribunes and resorting to a secession. He was sent to select and survey a site for a camp, and the soldiers who had been told off to accompany him were instructed to choose a favourable opportunity for attacking and despatching him. They did not effect their purpose with impunity, several of the assassins fell around him whilst he was defending himself with a courage equal to his strength, and that was exceptional. The rest brought a report back to camp that Siccius had fallen into an ambush and had died fighting bravely, whilst some soldiers had been lost with him. At first the informants were believed, but subsequently a cohort which had gone out by permission of the decemvirs to bury those who had fallen, found, when they reached the spot, no corpse despoiled, but the body of Siccius lying in the centre fully armed with those around all turned towards him, whilst there was not a single body belonging to the enemy nor any trace of their having retired. They brought the body back and declared that, as a matter of fact, he had been killed by his own men. The camp was filled with deep resentment, and it was decided that Siccius should be forthwith carried to Rome. The decemvirs anticipated this resolve by hastily burying him with military honours at the cost of the State. The soldiers manifested profound grief at his funeral, and the worst possible suspicions were everywhere entertained against the decemvirs.