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Quote of the day: The dark complexion of the Silures, thei
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 21: Marcellus defends himself; elections[209 BC]
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The question of depriving Marcellus of his command was debated in the Circus Flaminius before an enormous gathering in which all orders of the State were represented. The tribune of the plebs launched his accusations, not only against Marcellus, but against the nobility as a whole. It was due to their crooked policy and lack of energy, he said, that Hannibal had for ten years been holding Italy as his province; he had, in fact, passed more of his life there than in Carthage. The Roman people were now reaping the fruits of the extension of Marcellus' command, his army after its double defeat was now passing the summer comfortably housed in Venusia. Marcellus made such a crushing reply to the tribune's speech by simply recounting all that he had done that not only was the proposal to deprive him of his command rejected, but the next day all the centuries with absolute unanimity elected him consul. Titus Quinctius Crispinus, who was praetor at the time, was assigned to him as his colleague. The next day came the election of praetors. Those elected were Publius Licinius Crassus Dives, the Pontifex Maximus, Publius Licinius Varus, Sextus Julius Caesar and Quintus Claudius. In the middle of the elections considerable anxiety was created by the intelligence that Etruria had revolted. Gaius Calpurnius, who was acting in that province as propraetor, had written to say that the movement was started at Arretium. Marcellus, the consul-elect, was hastily despatched thither to ascertain the position of affairs, and if he thought it sufficiently serious to require the presence of his army he was to transfer his operations from Apulia to Etruria. The Etruscans were sufficiently intimidated by these measures to keep quiet. Envoys came from Tarentum to ask for terms of peace under which they might retain their liberties and their laws. The senate directed them to come again as soon as Fabius arrived in Rome. The Roman Games and the Plebeian Games were celebrated this year, each for one day. The curule aediles were Lucius Cornelius Caudinus and Servius Sulpicius Galba; the plebeian aediles, Gaius Servilius and Quintus Caecilius Metellus. It was asserted that Servilius had no legal right to be either tribune of the plebs or aedile, because there was sufficient evidence that his father, who was supposed to have been killed by the Boii near Mutina ten years previously when acting as agrarian commissioner, was really alive and a prisoner in the hands of the enemy.