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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book V Chapter 30: To Veii?[392 BC]
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The senate, on the other hand, he [Note 1] was perpetually inciting to oppose the measure [Note 2]. They must not, he said, go down to the Forum, when the day came for voting on it, in any other temper than that of men who realised that they would have to fight for their hearths and altars, for the temples of the gods, and even for the soil on which they had been born. As for himself, if he dared to think of his own reputation when his country's existence was at stake, it would be indeed an honour to him that the city which he had taken should become a popular resort, that that memorial of his glory should give him daily delight, that he should have before his eyes the city which had been carried in his triumphal procession [Note 3], and that all should tread in the track of his renown. But he considered it an offence against heaven for a city to be repeopled after it had been deserted and abandoned by the gods, or for the Roman people to dwell on a soil enslaved and change the conquering country for a conquered one.|
Roused by these appeals of their leader, the senators, old and young, came down in a body to the Forum when the proposal was being put to the vote. They dispersed among the tribes, and each taking his fellow-tribesmen by the hand, implored them with tears not to desert the fatherland, for which they and their fathers had fought so bravely and so successfully. They pointed to the Capitol, the temple of Vesta, and the other divine temples round them, and besought them not to drive the Roman people, as homeless exiles, from their ancestral soil and their household gods into the city of their foes. They even went so far as to say that it were better that Veii had never been taken than that Rome should be deserted. As they were having recourse not to violence but to entreaties, and were interspersing their entreaties with frequent mention of the gods, it became for the majority of voters a religious question and the measure was defeated by a majority of one tribe.
The senate were so delighted at their victory that on the following day a resolution was passed, at the instance of the consuls, that seven jugera of the Veientine territory should be allotted to each plebeian, and not to the heads of families only, account was taken of all the children in the house, that men might be willing to bring up children in the hope that they would receive their share.
Note 1: Camillus