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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VI Chapter 27: Unrest in the City -- War with Praeneste.[380 BC]
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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), Gaius Sergius (also for the third time). Lucius Menenius (for the second time), Publius Papirius, and Servius 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 Gaius Sulpicius Camerinius and Spurius Postumius Regillensis (1)
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.
(1): These appear to have been the first censors appointed since the Gaulish invasion.
Event: War with Praeneste