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Notes
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 16: The Capitol taken.[460 BC]
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The state of affairs became clearer to the senators and consuls. They were, however, apprehensive lest behind these openly declared aims there should be some design of the Veientines or Sabines, and whilst there was this large hostile force within the City the Etruscan and Sabine legions should appear, and then the Volscians and Aequi, their standing foes, should come, not into their territory to ravage, but into the City itself, already partly captured. Many and various were their fears. What they most dreaded was a rising of the slaves, when every man would have an enemy in his own house, whom it would be alike unsafe to trust and not to trust, since by withdrawing confidence he might be made a more determined enemy. Such threatening and overwhelming dangers could only be surmounted by unity and concord, and no fears were felt as to the tribunes or the plebs. That evil was mitigated, for as it only broke out when there was a respite from other evils, it was believed to have subsided now in the dread of foreign aggression. Yet it, more than almost anything else, helped to further depress the fortunes of the sinking State. For such madness seized the tribunes that they maintained that it was not war but an empty phantom of war which had settled in the Capitol, in order to divert the thoughts of the people from the Law. Those friends, they said, and clients of the patricians would depart more silently than they had come if they found their noisy demonstration frustrated by the passing of the Law. They then summoned the people to lay aside their arms and form an Assembly for the purpose of carrying the Law. Meantime the consuls, more alarmed at the action of the tribunes than at the nocturnal enemy, convened a meeting of the senate.

Event: The Capitol surprised and taken

Dilucere res magis patribus atque consulibus. Praeter ea tamen quae denuntiabantur, ne Veientium neu Sabinorum id consilium esset timere et, cum tantum in urbe hostium esset, mox Sabinae Etruscaeque legiones ex composito adessent, tum aeterni hostes, Volsci et Aequi, non ad populandos, ut ante, fines sed ad urbem ut ex parte captam uenirent. Multi et uarii timores; inter ceteros eminebat terror seruilis ne suus cuique domi hostis esset, cui nec credere nec non credendo, ne infestior fieret, fidem abrogare satis erat tutum; uixque concordia sisti uidebatur posse. Tantum superantibus aliis ac mergentibus malis nemo tribunos aut plebem timebat; mansuetum id malum et per aliorum quietem malorum semper exoriens tum quiesse peregrino terrore sopitum uidebatur. Ad id prope unum maxime inclinatis rebus incubuit. Tantus enim tribunos furor tenuit ut non bellum, sed uanam imaginem belli ad auertendos ab legis cura plebis animos Capitolium insedisse contenderent; patriciorum hospites clientesque si perlata lege frustra tumultuatos esse se sentiant, maiore quam uenerint silentio abituros. Concilium inde legis perferendae habere, auocato populo ab armis. Senatum interim consules habent, alio se maiore ab tribunis metu ostendente quam quem nocturnus hostis intulerat.