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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VI Chapter 11: The Treason of Marcus Manlius Capitolinus.[386 BC]
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The consular tribunes who succeeded were Aulus Manlius, Publius Cornelius, Titus, and Lucius Quinctius Capitolinus, Lucius Papirius Cursor (for the second time), and Gaius Sergius (for the second time). |
In this year a serious war broke out, and a still more serious disturbance at home. The war was begun by the Volscians, aided by the revolted Latins and Hernici. The domestic trouble arose in a quarter where it was least to be apprehended, from a man of patrician birth and brilliant reputation -- Marcus Manlius Capitolinus. Full of pride and presumption, he looked down upon the foremost men with scorn; one in particular he regarded with envious eyes, a man conspicuous for his distinctions and his merits -- Marcus Furius Camillus. He bitterly resented this man's unique position amongst the magistrates and in the affections of the army, and declared that he was now such a superior person that he treated those who had been appointed under the same auspices as himself, not as his colleagues, but as his servants, and yet if any one would form a just judgment he would see that Marcus Furius could not possibly have rescued his country (1). When it was beleaguered by the enemy had not he, Manlius, saved the Capitol and the Citadel? Camillus attacked the Gauls while they were off their guard, their minds pre-occupied with obtaining the gold and securing peace; he, on the other hand, had driven them off when they were armed for battle and actually capturing the Citadel. Camillus' glory was shared by every man who conquered with him, whereas no mortal man could obviously claim any part in his victory.
With his head full of these notions and being unfortunately a man of headstrong and passionate nature, he found that his influence was not so powerful with the patricians as he thought it ought to be, so he went over to the plebs -- the first patrician to do so -- and adopted the political methods of their magistrates. He abused the senate and courted the populace and, impelled by the breeze of popular favour more than by conviction or judgment, preferred notoriety to respectability. Not content with the agrarian laws which had hitherto always served the tribunes of the plebs as the material for their agitation, he began to undermine the whole system of credit for he saw that the laws of debt caused more irritation than the others; they not only threatened poverty and disgrace, but they terrified the freeman with the prospect of fetters and imprisonment. And, as a matter of fact, a vast amount of debt had been contracted owing to the expense of building, an expense most ruinous even to the rich.
It became, therefore, a question of arming the government with stronger powers, and the Volscian war, serious in itself but made much more so by the defection of the Latins and Hernici, was put forward as the ostensible reason. It was, however, the revolutionary designs of Manlius that mainly decided the senate to nominate a dictator. Aulus Cornelius Cossus was nominated and he named Titus Quinctius Capitolinus as his Master of the Horse.
(1): His country. -- The magistrates, the senators, the fighting men -- all that constituted "his country" -- were shut up in the Capitol and owed their preservation to Manlius.
Event: War with Volscians
|Insequenti anno, A. Manlio P. Cornelio T. Et L. Quinctiis Capitolinis L. Papirio Cursore [iterum C. Sergio] iterum tribunis consulari potestate, graue bellum foris, grauior domi seditio exorta, bellum ab Volscis adiuncta Latinorum atque Hernicorum defectione, seditio, unde minime timeri potuit, a patriciae gentis uiro et inclitae famae, M. Manlio Capitolino. Qui nimius animi cum alios principes sperneret, uni inuideret eximio simul honoribus atque uirtutibus, M. Furio, aegre ferebat solum eum in magistratibus, solum apud exercitus esse; tantum iam eminere ut iisdem auspiciis creatos non pro collegis sed pro ministris habeat; cum interim, si quis uere aestimare uelit, a M. Furio reciperari patria ex obsidione hostium non potuerit, nisi a se prius Capitolium atque arx seruata esset; et ille inter aurum accipiendum et in spem pacis solutis animis Gallos adgressus sit, ipse armatos capientesque arcem depulerit; illius gloriae pars uirilis apud omnes milites sit qui simul uicerint: suae uictoriae neminem omnium mortalium socium esse. His opinionibus inflato animo, ad hoc uitio quoque ingenii uehemens et impotens, postquam inter patres non quantum aequum censebat excellere suas opes animaduertit, primus omnium ex patribus popularis factus cum plebeiis magistratibus consilia communicare; criminando patres, alliciendo ad se plebem iam aura non consilio ferri famaeque magnae malle quam bonae esse. Et non contentus agrariis legibus, quae materia semper tribunis plebi seditionum fuisset, fidem moliri coepit: acriores quippe aeris alieni stimulos esse, qui non egestatem modo atque ignominiam minentur sed neruo ac uinculis corpus liberum territent. Et erat aeris alieni magna uis re damnosissima etiam diuitibus, aedificando, contracta. Bellum itaque Volscum, graue per se, oneratum Latinorum atque Hernicorum defectione, in speciem causae iactatum ut maior potestas quaereretur; sed noua consilia Manli magis compulere senatum ad dictatorem creandum. Creatus A. Cornelius Cossus magistrum equitum dixit T. Quinctium Capitolinum.|