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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VI Chapter 42: War with the Gauls.[367 BC]
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The speech of Appius only availed to effect the postponement of the voting. Sextius and Licinius were re-elected for the tenth time. They carried a law providing that of the ten keepers of the Sibylline Books, five should be chosen from the patricians and five from the plebeians. This was regarded as a further step towards opening the path to the consulship. The plebs, satisfied with their victory, made the concession to the patricians that for the present all mention of consuls should be dropped. Consular tribunes were accordingly elected. Their names were Aulus and Marcus Cornelius (each for the second time), Marcus Geganius, Publius Manlius, Lucius Veturius, and Publius Valerius (for the sixth time). |
With the exception of the siege of Velitrae, in which the result was delayed rather than doubtful, Rome was quiet so far as foreign affairs went. Suddenly the City was startled by rumours of the hostile advance of the Gauls. Marcus Furius Camillus was nominated dictator for the fifth time. He named as his Master of the Horse Titus Quinctius Poenus.
Claudius is our authority for the statement that a battle was fought at the Anio with the Gauls this year, and that it was then that the famous fight took place on the bridge in which Titus Manlius killed a Gaul who had challenged him and then despoiled him of his golden collar in the sight of both armies. I am more inclined, with the majority of authors, to believe that these occurrences took place ten years later.
There was, however, a pitched battle fought this year by the dictator, Marcus Furius Camillus, against the Gauls in the Alban territory. Although, bearing in mind their former defeat, the Romans felt a great dread of the Gauls, their victory was neither doubtful nor difficult. Many thousands of the barbarians were slain in the battle, many more in the capture of their camp. Many others, making chiefly in the direction of Apulia, escaped, some by distant flight, and others who had become widely scattered and in their panic had lost their way.
He had hardly disposed of that war before a more alarming commotion awaited him at home. After tremendous conflicts, the dictator and the senate were worsted; consequently the proposals of the tribunes were carried, and in spite of the opposition of the nobility the elections were held for consuls. Lucius Sextius was the first consul to be elected out of the plebs.
Even that was not the end of the conflict. The patricians refused to confirm the appointment, and matters were approaching a secession of the plebs and other threatening signs of appalling civic struggles. The dictator, however, quieted the disturbances by arranging a compromise; the nobility made a concession in the matter of a plebeian consul, the plebs gave way to the nobility on the appointment of a praetor to administer justice in the City who was to be a patrician. Thus after their long estrangement the two orders of the State were at length brought into harmony.
The senate decided that this event deserved to be commemorated -- and if ever the immortal gods merited men's gratitude, they merited it then -- by the celebration of the Great Games, and a fourth day was added to the three hitherto devoted to them. The plebeian aediles refused to superintend them, whereupon the younger patricians were unanimous in declaring that they would gladly allow themselves to be appointed aediles for the honour of the immortal gods. They were universally thanked, and the senate made a decree that the dictator should ask the people to elect two aediles from amongst the patricians, and that the senate should confirm all the elections of that year.