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Quote of the day: That two men, who for shamelessness, ind
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VII Chapter 18: Contest over the Consulship.[355-4 BC]
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So in the 400th year from the foundation of the City and the 35th after its capture by the Gauls, the second consulship was wrested from the plebs, for the first time since the passing of the Licinian Law seven years previously.

Empulum was taken this year from the from the Tiburtines without any serious fighting. It seems uncertain whether both consuls held joint command in this campaign, as some writers assert, or whether the fields of the Tarquinians were ravaged by Sulpicius at the same time that Valerius was leading his legions against the Tiburtines.

The consuls had a more serious conflict at home with the plebs and their tribunes. They considered it as a question not only of courage but of honour and loyalty to their order that as two patricians had received the consulship so they should hand it on to two patricians. They felt that they must either renounce all claims to it, if it became a plebeian magistracy or they must keep it in its entirety as a possession which they had received in its entirety from their fathers.

The plebs protested: "What were they living for? Why were they enrolled as citizens if they could not with their united strength maintain the right to what had been won for them by the courage of those two men, Lucius Sextius and Gaius Licinius? It were better to put up with kings or decemvirs or any other form of absolutism, even though with a worse name, than to see both consuls patricians, the other side not alternately governing and being governed but regarding itself as placed in perpetual authority, and looking upon the plebs as simply born to be their slaves."

There was no lack of tribunes to lead the agitation, but in such a state of universal excitement everybody was his own leader. After many fruitless journeys to the Campus Martius, where numerous election days had been wasted in disturbances, the plebs was at last worsted by the steady persistence of the consuls. There was such a feeling of despair that the tribunes, followed by a gloomy and sullen plebs, exclaimed as they left the Campus that there was an end to all liberty, and that they must not only quit the Campus but must even abandon the City now that it was crushed and enslaved by the tyranny of the patricians. The consuls, though deserted by the majority of the people, only a few voters remaining behind, proceeded none the less determinedly with the election. Both the consuls elected were patricians, Marcus Fabius Ambustus (for the third time) and Titus Quinctius. In some of the annalists I find Marcus Popilius given as consul instead of Titus Quinctius.

Events: War with the Tiburtines, War with the Tarquinians

Quadringentesimo anno quam urbs Romana condita erat, quinto tricesimo quam a Gallis reciperata, ablato post undecimum annum a plebe consulatu [patricii consules ambo ex interregno magistratum iniere, C. Sulpicius Peticus tertium M. Valerius Publicola]. Empulum eo anno ex Tiburtibus haud memorando certamine captum, siue duorum consulum auspicio bellum ibi gestum est, ut scripsere quidam, seu per idem tempus Tarquiniensium quoque sunt uastati agri ab Sulpicio consule, quo Valerius aduersus Tiburtes legiones duxit. Domi maius certamen consulibus cum plebe ac tribunis erat. Fidei iam suae non solum uirtutis ducebant esse, ut accepissent duo patricii consulatum, ita ambobus patriciis mandare: quin aut toto cedendum esse ut plebeius iam magistratus consulatus fiat, aut totum possidendum quam possessionem integram a patribus accepissent. Plebes contra fremit: quid se uiuere, quid in parte ciuium censeri, si, quod duorum hominum uirtute, L. Sexti ac C. Licini, partum sit, id obtinere uniuersi non possint? Vel reges uel decemuiros uel si quod tristius sit imperii nomen patiendum esse potius quam ambos patricios consules uideant nec in uicem pareatur atque imperetur sed pars altera in aeterno imperio locata plebem nusquam alio natam quam ad seruiendum putet. Non desunt tribuni auctores turbarum, sed inter concitatos per se omnes uix duces eminent. Aliquotiens frustra in campum descensum cum esset multique per seditiones acti comitiales dies, postremo uicit perseuerantia consulum: plebis eo dolor erupit, ut tribunos actum esse de libertate uociferantes relinquendumque non campum iam solum sed etiam urbem captam atque oppressam regno patriciorum maesta sequeretur. Consules relicti a parte populi per infrequentiam comitia nihilo segnius perficiunt. Creati consules ambo patricii, M. Fabius Ambustus tertium T. Quinctius. In quibusdam annalibus pro T. Quinctio M. Popilium consulem inuenio.