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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VII Chapter 22: Renewed Conflicts over the Magistracies.[351 BC]
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Abroad, however, everything was tranquil. At home, owing to the dictator's attempt to secure the election of patricians to both consulships, matters were brought to an interregnum. There were two interreges, Gaius Sulpicius and Marcus Fabius, and they succeeded where the dictator had failed, as the plebs, owing to the pecuniary relief recently granted them, were in a less aggressive mood . Both consuls elected were patricians -- Gaius Sulpicius Peticus, who had been the first of the two interreges, and Titus Quinctius Pennus, some give as his third name Caeso, others Gaius. |
They both proceeded to war; Quinctius against against Falerii, Sulpicius against against Tarquinii. The enemy nowhere faced them in open battle; the war was carried on against fields rather than against men; burning and destroying went on everywhere. This waste and decay, like that of a slow decline, wore down the resolution of the two peoples, and they asked for a truce first from the consuls then by their permission from the senate. They obtained one for forty years.
After the anxiety created by these two threatening wars was in this way allayed, there was a respite for a time from arms. The liquidation of the debts had in the case of many properties led to a change of ownership, and it was decided that a fresh assessment should be made. When, however, notice was given of the election of censors, Gaius Marcius Rutilus, who had been the first dictator nominated from the plebs, announced that he was a candidate for the censorship. This upset the good feeling between the two orders. He took this step at what looked like an unfavourable moment because both consuls happened to be patricians, and they declared that they would allow no vote for him. But he resolutely held to his purpose, and the tribunes, anxious to recover the rights of the plebs which were lost in the consular elections assisted him to the utmost of their power. There was no dignity which the greatness of his character was unequal to supporting, and the plebs were desirous of being called to share the censorship by the same man who had opened up the path to the dictatorship. There was no division of opinion shown in the elections, Marcius was unanimously elected censor, together with Manlius Gnaeus.
This year also saw Marcus Fabius as dictator, not from any apprehension of war but to prevent the Licinian Law from being observed in the consular elections. The dictatorship, however, did not make the combined efforts of the senate more influential in the election of consuls than it had been in the election of censors.
Interregnum:The time an interrex governed the state.
Interrex:Temporary (5 days!) head of state when the king or both consuls had died.