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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book V Chapter 14: Elections.[398 BC]
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These were the occurrences of the year. And now the time for the election of consular tribunes was approaching. The senate was almost more anxious about this than about the war, for they recognised that they were not simply sharing the supreme power with the plebs, but had almost completely lost it. An understanding was come to by which their most distinguished members were to come forward as candidates; they believed that for very shame they would not be passed over. Besides this, they resorted to every expedient, just as if they were every one of them candidates, and called to their aid not men alone, but even the gods. They made a religious question of the last two elections. In the former year, they said, an intolerably severe winter had occurred which seemed to be a divine warning; in the last year they had not warnings only but the judgments themselves. The pestilence which had visited the country districts and the City was undoubtedly a mark of the divine displeasure, for it had been found in the Books of Fate that to avert that scourge the gods must be appeased. The auspices were taken before an election, and the gods deemed it an insult that the highest offices should be made common and the distinction of classes thrown into confusion. |
Men were awestruck not only by the dignity and rank of the candidates, but by the religious aspect of the question, and they elected all the consular tribunes from the patricians, the great majority being all men of high distinction. Those elected were Lucius Valerius Potitus -- for the fifth time -- Marcus Valerius Maximus, Marcus Furius Camillus -- for the third time -- Lucius Furius Medullinus -- for the third time -- Quintus Servilius Fidenates -- for the second time -- and Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus -- for the second time.
During their year of office nothing of any importance was done at Veii; their whole activity was confined to raids. Two of the commanders-in-chief carried off an enormous quantity of plunder -- Potitus from Falerii and Camillus from Capenae. They left nothing behind which fire or sword could destroy.