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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book V Chapter 30: To Veii?[392 BC]
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The senate, on the other hand, he [Note 1] was perpetually inciting to oppose the measure [Note 2]. They must not, he said, go down to the Forum, when the day came for voting on it, in any other temper than that of men who realised that they would have to fight for their hearths and altars, for the temples of the gods, and even for the soil on which they had been born. As for himself, if he dared to think of his own reputation when his country's existence was at stake, it would be indeed an honour to him that the city which he had taken should become a popular resort, that that memorial of his glory should give him daily delight, that he should have before his eyes the city which had been carried in his triumphal procession [Note 3], and that all should tread in the track of his renown. But he considered it an offence against heaven for a city to be repeopled after it had been deserted and abandoned by the gods, or for the Roman people to dwell on a soil enslaved and change the conquering country for a conquered one.|
Roused by these appeals of their leader, the senators, old and young, came down in a body to the Forum when the proposal was being put to the vote. They dispersed among the tribes, and each taking his fellow-tribesmen by the hand, implored them with tears not to desert the fatherland, for which they and their fathers had fought so bravely and so successfully. They pointed to the Capitol, the temple of Vesta, and the other divine temples round them, and besought them not to drive the Roman people, as homeless exiles, from their ancestral soil and their household gods into the city of their foes. They even went so far as to say that it were better that Veii had never been taken than that Rome should be deserted. As they were having recourse not to violence but to entreaties, and were interspersing their entreaties with frequent mention of the gods, it became for the majority of voters a religious question and the measure was defeated by a majority of one tribe.
The senate were so delighted at their victory that on the following day a resolution was passed, at the instance of the consuls, that seven jugera of the Veientine territory should be allotted to each plebeian, and not to the heads of families only, account was taken of all the children in the house, that men might be willing to bring up children in the hope that they would receive their share.
Note 1: Camillus
|Senatum uero incitare aduersus legem haud desistebat: ne aliter descenderent in forum, cum dies ferendae legis uenisset, quam ut qui meminissent sibi pro aris focisque et deum templis ac solo in quo nati essent dimicandum fore. Nam quod ad se priuatim attineat, si suae gloriae sibi inter dimicationem patriae meminisse sit fas, sibi amplum quoque esse urbem ab se captam frequentari, cottidie se frui monumento gloriae suae et ante oculos habere urbem latam in triumpho suo, insistere omnes uestigiis laudum suarum; sed nefas ducere desertam ac relictam ab dis immortalibus incoli urbem, et in captiuo solo habitare populum Romanum et uictrice patria uictam mutari. His adhortationibus principes concitati [patres] senes iuuenesque cum ferretur lex agmine facto in forum uenerunt, dissipatique per tribus, suos quisque tribules prensantes, orare cum lacrimis coepere ne eam patriam pro qua fortissime felicissimeque ipsi ac patres eorum dimicassent desererent, Capitolium, aedem Vestae, cetera circa templa deorum ostentantes; ne exsulem, extorrem populum Romanum ab solo patrio ac dis penatibus in hostium urbem agerent, eoque rem adducerent ut melius fuerit non capi Veios, ne Roma desereretur. Quia non ui agebant sed precibus, et inter preces multa deorum mentio erat, religiosum parti maximae fuit, et legem una plures tribus antiquarunt quam iusserunt. Adeoque ea uictoria laeta patribus fuit, ut postero die referentibus consulibus senatus consultum fieret ut agri Veientani septena iugera plebi diuiderentur, nec patribus familiae tantum, sed ut omnium in domo liberorum capitum ratio haberetur, uellentque in eam spem liberos tollere.|