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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 63: The Sabines beaten.[449 BC]
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So they resumed the struggle which they were giving up and recovered the ground they had lost, and in a moment not only was the battle restored but the Sabines on that wing were even forced back. The cavalry returned to their horses, protected by the infantry through whose ranks they passed, and galloped off to the other wing to announce their success to their comrades. At the same time they made a charge on the enemy, who were now demoralised through the defeat of their strongest wing. None showed more brilliant courage in that battle. The consul's [Note 1] eyes were everywhere, he commended the brave, had words of rebuke wherever the battle seemed to slacken. Those whom he censured displayed at once the energy of brave men, they were stimulated by a sense of shame, as much as the others by his commendation. The battle-cry was again raised, and by one united effort on the part of the whole army they repulsed the enemy; the Roman attack could no longer be withstood. The Sabines were scattered in all directions through the fields, and left their camp as a spoil to the enemy. What the Romans found there was not the property of their allies, as had been the case on Algidus, but their own, which had been lost in the ravaging of their homesteads. |
For this double victory, won in two separate battles, the senate decreed thanksgivings on behalf of the consuls, but their jealousy restricted them to one day. The people, however, without receiving orders, went on the second day also in vast crowds to the temples, and this unauthorised and spontaneous thanksgiving was celebrated with almost greater enthusiasm than the former.
The consuls had mutually agreed to approach the City during these two days and convene a meeting of the senate in the Campus Martius. Whilst they were making their report there on the conduct of the campaigns, the leaders of the senate entered a protest against their session being held in the midst of the troops, in order to intimidate them. To avoid any ground for this charge the consuls immediately adjourned the senate to the Flaminian Meadows, where the temple of Apollo -- then called the Apollinare -- now stands. The senate by a large majority refused the consuls the honour of a triumph, whereupon Lucius Icilius, as tribune of the plebs, brought the question before the people. Many came forward to oppose it, particularly Gaius Claudius, who exclaimed in excited tones that it was over the senate, not over the enemy, that the consuls wished to celebrate their triumph. It was demanded as an act of gratitude for a private service rendered to a tribune, not as an honour for merit. Never before had a triumph been ordered by the people, it had always lain with the senate to decide whether one was deserved or not; not even kings had infringed the prerogative of the highest order in the State. The tribunes must not make their power pervade everything, so as to render the existence of a Council of State impossible. The State will only be free, the laws equal, on condition that each order preserves its own rights, its own power and dignity.
Much to the same effect was said by the senior members of the senate, but the tribes unanimously adopted the proposal. That was the first instance of a triumph being celebrated by order of the people without the authorisation of the senate.
Note 1: consul = Horatius
Event: War with Sabines and Aequi
|Vadunt igitur in proelium ab sua parte omissum et locum ex quo cesserant repetunt; momentoque non restituta modo pugna, sed inclinatur etiam Sabinis cornu. Eques inter ordines peditum tectus se ad equos recipit; transuolat inde in partem alteram suis uictoriae nuntius; simul et in hostes iam pauidos, quippe fuso suae partis ualidiore cornu, impetum facit. Non aliorum eo proelio uirtus magis enituit. Consul prouidere omnia, laudare fortes, increpare sicubi segnior pugna esset. Castigati fortium statim uirorum opera edebant tantumque hos pudor quantum alios laudes excitabant. Redintegrato clamore undique omnes conisi hostem auertunt, nec deinde Romana uis sustineri potuit. Sabini fusi passim per agros castra hosti ad praedam relinquunt. Ibi non sociorum sicut in Algido res, sed suas Romanus populationibus agrorum amissas recipit. Gemina uictoria duobus bifariam proeliis parta, maligne senatus in unum diem supplicationes consulum nomine decreuit. Populus iniussu et altero die frequens iit supplicatum; et haec uaga popularisque supplicatio studiis prope celebratior fuit. Consules ex composito eodem biduo ad urbem accessere senatumque in Martium campum euocauere. Vbi cum de rebus ab se gestis agerent, questi primores patrum senatum inter milites dedita opera terroris causa haberi. Itaque inde consules, ne criminationi locus esset, in prata Flaminia, ubi nunc aedes Apollinis est—iam tum Apollinare appellabant—, auocauere senatum. Vbi cum ingenti consensu patrum negaretur triumphus, L. Icilius tribunus plebis tulit ad populum de triumpho consulum, multis dissuasum prodeuntibus, maxime C. Claudio uociferante de patribus, non de hostibus consules triumphare uelle gratiamque pro priuato merito in tribunum, non pro uirtute honorem peti. Nunquam ante de triumpho per populum actum; semper aestimationem arbitriumque eius honoris penes senatum fuisse; ne reges quidem maiestatem summi ordinis imminuisse. Ne ita omnia tribuni potestatis suae implerent, ut nullum publicum consilium sinerent esse. Ita demum liberam ciuitatem fore, ita aequatas leges, si sua quisque iura ordo, suam maiestatem teneat. In eandem sententiam multa et a ceteris senioribus patrum cum essent dicta, omnes tribus eam rogationem acceperunt. Tum primum sine auctoritate senatus populi iussu triumphatum est.|