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Quote of the day: At last, after well-merited commendation
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXXVIII Chapter 9: A triumph for Nero and Livius[207 BC]
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Just at the close of this summer Quintus Fabius, the son of Maximus, who was on the staff of the consul Marcus Livius, came to Rome to inform the senate that the consul considered Lucius Porcius and his legions sufficient for the defence of Gaul, in which case he, Livius, and his consular army might be safely withdrawn. The senate recalled not only Livius, but his colleague as well, but the instructions given to each differed. Marcus Livius was ordered to bring his troops back, but Nero's legions were to remain in their province, confronting Hannibal. The consuls had been in correspondence with each other and had agreed that as they had been of the same mind in their conduct of public affairs, so, though coming from opposite directions, they should approach the City at the same time. Whichever should be the first to reach Praeneste was to wait there for his colleague, and, as it happened, they both arrived there on the same day. After despatching a summons for the senate to meet at the temple of Bellona in three days' time they went on together towards the City. The whole population turned out to meet them with shouts of welcome, and each tried to grasp the consuls' hands; congratulations and thanks were showered upon them for having, by their efforts, rendered the common-wealth safe. When the senate was assembled they followed the precedent set by all victorious generals and laid before the House a report of their military operations. Then they made request that in recognition of their energetic and successful conduct of public affairs special honours should be rendered to the gods and they, the consuls, should be allowed to enter the City in triumph. The senators passed a decree that their request should be granted out of gratitude to the gods in the first place, and then, next to the gods, out of gratitude to the consuls. A solemn thanksgiving was decreed on their behalf, and each of them was allowed to enjoy a triumph. As they had been in perfect agreement as to the management of their campaign, they decided that they would not have separate triumphs, and the following arrangement was made: As the victory had been won in the province assigned to Livius, and as it had fallen to him to take the auspices on the day of battle, and further, as his army had been brought back to Rome, whilst Nero's army was unable to leave its province, it was decided that Livius should ride in the chariot at the head of his soldiers, and Gaius Claudius Nero alone on horseback. The triumph thus shared between them enhanced the glory of both, but especially of the one who allowed his comrade to surpass him in honour as much as he himself surpassed him in merit. "That horseman," men said to one another, "traversed Italy from end to end in six days, and at the very time when Hannibal believed him to be confronting him in Apulia he was fighting a pitched battle with Hasdrubal in Gaul. So one consul had checked the advance of two generals, two great captains from the opposite corners of Italy, by opposing his strategy to the one and meeting the other in person. The mere name of Nero had sufficed to keep Hannibal quiet in his camp, and as to Hasdrubal, what brought about his defeat and destruction but Nero's arrival in the field? The one consul may ride in a chariot with as many horses as he pleases, the real triumph belongs to the other who is borne on horseback through the City; even if he went on foot Nero's renown would never die, whether through the glory he acquired in war, or the contempt he showed for it in his triumph." These and similar remarks from the spectators followed Nero till he reached the Capitol. The money they brought into the treasury amounted to 300,000 sesterces and 80,000 of bronze coinage. Marcus Livius' largesse to his soldiers amounted to fifty-six ases per man, and Gaius Nero promised to give the same amount to his men as soon as he rejoined his army. It is remarked that in their jests and songs the soldiers on that day celebrated the name of Gaius Claudius Nero more frequently than that of their own consul; and that the members of the equestrian order were full of praises for Lucius Veturius and Quintus Caecilius, and urged the plebs to make them consuls for the coming year. The consuls added considerably to the weight of this recommendation when on the morrow they informed the Assembly with what courage and fidelity the two officers had served them.