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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book V Chapter 25: The quarrels go on.[395 BC]
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This discussion was attended by disgraceful quarrels, for the senate had drawn over a section of the tribunes of the plebs to their view, and the only thing that restrained the plebeians from offering personal violence was the use which the patricians made of their personal influence. Whenever shouts were raised to get up a brawl, the leaders of the senate were the first to go into the crowd and tell them to vent their rage on them, to beat and kill them. The mob shrank from offering violence to men of their age and rank and distinction, and this feeling prevented them from attacking the other patricians. Camillus went about delivering harangues everywhere, and saying that it was no wonder that the citizens had gone mad, for though bound by a vow, they showed more anxiety about everything than about discharging their religious obligations. He would say nothing about the contribution, which was really a sacred offering rather than a tithe, and since each individual bound himself to a tenth, the State, as such, was free from the obligation. But his conscience would not allow him to keep silence about the assertion that the tenth only applied to movables, and that no mention was made of the city and its territory, which were also really included in the vow. As the senate considered the question a difficult one to decide, they referred it to the pontiffs, and Camillus was invited to discuss it with them. They decided that of all that had belonged to the Veientines before the vow was uttered and had subsequently passed into the power of Rome, a tenth part was sacred to Apollo. Thus the city and territory came into the estimate. The money was drawn from the treasury, and the consular tribunes were commissioned to purchase gold with it. As there was not a sufficient supply, the matrons, after meeting to talk the matter over, made themselves by common consent responsible to the tribunes for the gold, and sent all their trinkets to the treasury. The senate were in the highest degree grateful for this, and the tradition goes that in return for this munificence the matrons had conferred upon them the honour of driving to sacred festivals and games in a carriage, and on holy days and work days in a two-wheeled car. The gold received from each was appraised in order that the proper amount of money might be paid for it, and it was decided that a golden bowl should be made and carried to Delphi as a gift to Apollo. |
When the religious question no longer claimed their attention, the tribunes of the plebs renewed their agitation; the passions of the populace were aroused against all the leading men, most of all against Camillus. They said that by devoting the spoils of Veii to the State and to the gods he had reduced them to nothing. They attacked the senators furiously in their absence; when they were present and confronted their rage, shame kept them silent.
As soon as the plebeians saw that the matter would be carried over into the following year, they reappointed the supporters of the proposal as their tribunes; the patricians devoted themselves to securing the same support for those who had vetoed the proposal. Consequently, nearly all the same tribunes of the plebs were re-elected.
Event: The gift for Apollo
|—haec cum foedis certaminibus agerentur—nam partem tribunorum plebi patres in suam sententiam traxerant—, nulla res alia manibus temperare plebem cogebat quam quod, urbi rixae committendae causa clamor ortus esset, principes senatus primi turbae offerentes se peti feririque atque occidi iubebant. Ab horum aetatibus dignitatibusque et honoribus uiolandis dum abstinebatur, et ad reliquos similes conatus uerecundia irae obstabat. Camillus identidem omnibus locis contionabatur: haud mirum id quidem esse, furere ciuitatem quae damnata uoti omnium rerum potiorem curam quam religione se exsoluendi habeat. Nihil de conlatione dicere, stipis uerius quam decumae, quando ea se quisque priuatim obligauerit, liberatus sit populus. Enimuero illud se tacere suam conscientiam non pati quod ex ea tantum praeda quae rerum mouentium sit decuma designetur: urbis atque agri capti, quae et ipsa uoto contineatur, mentionem nullam fieri. cum ea disceptatio, anceps senatui uisa, delegata ad pontifices esset, adhibito Camillo uisum collegio, quod eius ante conceptum uotum Veientium fuisset et post uotum in potestatem populi Romani uenisset, eius partem decimam Apollini sacram esse. Ita in aestimationem urbs agerque uenit. Pecunia ex aerario prompta, et tribunis militum consularibus ut aurum ex ea coemerent negotium datum. Cuius cum copia non esset, matronae coetibus ad eam rem consultandam habitis communi decreto pollicitae tribunis militum aurum et omnia ornamenta sua, in aerarium detulerunt. Grata ea res ut quae maxime senatui unquam fuit; honoremque ob eam munificentiam ferunt matronis habitum ut pilento ad sacra ludosque, carpentis festo profestoque uterentur. Pondere ab singulis auri accepto aestimatoque ut pecuniae soluerentur, crateram auream fieri placuit quae donum Apollini Delphos portaretur. Simul ab religione animos remiserunt, integrant seditionem tribuni plebis; incitatur multitudo in omnes principes, ante alios in Camillum: eum praedam Veientanam publicando sacrandoque ad nihilum redegisse. Absentes ferociter increpant; praesentium, cum se ultro iratis offerrent, uerecundiam habent. Simul extrahi rem ex eo anno uiderunt, tribunos plebis latores legis in annum eosdem reficiunt; et patres hoc idem de intercessoribus legis adnisi; ita tribuni plebis magna ex parte iidem refecti.|